TO PREVENT BIAS
Bismarck said something in a speech which has a very wide application: “There have been times when I thought it possible to hold foreign stock. But afterward I found that the possession of such stock was calculated to some extent to mislead me in my judgment of the policy of the government whose securities I held, and so I think it is now about fourteen years since I got rid, on principle, of all such bonds. I now only wish to interest myself in my own country and not in foreign securities.”
God sanctifies you. He does not make something else of you, and then sanctify that. Your “peculiarity” when sanctified will be your arm of strength. If you were of a stormy, impetuous nature in sin; in holiness you will be an exhorter or be fervent in prayer. If you are naturally winning, you will be effective in persuading sinners to Christ. If you have an ardent temperament, as John had, when sanctified you will be a loving Christian. The things you unlawfully loved, you will now hate, and the things you improperly hated you will love, but your natural bent or bias when sanctified will still be a bent or bias; this is why experiences are so unlike. It is the same Spirit, but a different individual. Satan knows this and tries to lead you to seek the identical experience of some you admire, — voice, gesture, manner and all. To be sure, God could dissolve and recast your physical and intellectual being in the same mold with that one, but it would be superfluous. He can sanctify you just as well, and so increase the variety, and add to His glory. Be natural. Be yourself. Whole armies of excellent Joneses, Smiths and Robinsons have been totally wrecked in trying to be a Wesley, an Inskip or a Taylor. Nature is made up of separate faculties. The perversion of these is sin: their right use holiness. When sinfully used it is “hid.” Let it be occupied by the Holy Ghost and it will soon be heard from with “usury.” In Moses, Abraham and Paul there were special adaptabilities to certain ends. So there are in your own make-up. Therefore get filled with the Spirit and turn it, or them, to account in the kingdom of our Master.
FREIGHT OR EXPRESS
John B. Gough has gone to his reward, but I shall never forget my indebtedness to him for an illustration I heard him use the last time I listened to him. I don’t even remember what he was illustrating; I do remember the use the Holy Spirit made of the illustration to my own soul. Mr. Gough said he sat once by the side of an engineer on a lightning express train, and, as the engine flew around a curve, he said to the engineer, “Do you never fear while going at this speed?”
The engineer turned to him and said: “Mr. Cough, it doesn’t do for an engineer to be afraid. Sometimes they do become timid, and when it is found out that they are, they give them a freight train.” In a moment I saw the danger of being afraid when God fires up the soul with a new truth and means it to go with speed. Alas, for those who have not been true to the truth given them, and, as Emerson says, have “struck souls to a fear,” and another soul has been given the truth they were afraid to utter, and that other has taken their crown, and they have been given a “freight train” instead of a lightning express. If God made you for a freight train, take good care of your train, “here all the honor lies;” but if He fitted you up for an express train, it is humbug to find yourself on a freight train.
I well remember in the long ago sitting beside Phoebe Palmer in a morning prayer-meeting, held during the sessions of our annual conference of ministers of our Methodist church. It was the morning General Lee surrendered to General Grant. I was full of the thought of a complete surrender to Jesus Christ; she turned to me and said quietly, “The King’s business requires haste.” I sprang to my feet, and in an express sort of way gave the burning thought the Holy Ghost had given me, and in that hour a leading business man of New York surrendered to Christ.
Oh, what victories are lost by fear! — fear of what people will think of you, when the probability is that up to this time you have never done anything to make them think of you in any way. We want souls these days who know no fear but the fear of God. Souls that are ready to take God’s dispatches at quickest notice, and in quickest time. “Be ready for every good word and work.” Anything short of this is not entire consecration. May many more souls be fired up by the Holy Ghost, to be like express trains for God to take truths He wishes to send.
— Margaret Bottome.
“For the blessed Savior’s sake,
Do all the good you can,
To all the souls you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
In all the ways you can,
And just as long as you can.”
I hope you own one, my reader. It is not every Christian who does. I know a great many umbrellas that go constantly to office and store, to places of amusement and the homes of friends, which are never seen at church on Sunday or at prayer-meeting.
When we ask the Lord to take and use “all that we are, and all that we have,” we do not always mean our rainy-Sunday selves and our umbrellas. Now I am sure that there is no one who believes more heartily than I in that religion which makes one “diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” I cannot think very highly of that piety which is only for church use. But, on the other hand, the fervor of spirit which never carries us through disagreeable weather to the house of the Lord does not bear the name. If our Sunday umbrellas bear the inscription, “Holiness to the Lord,” they will be taken out in Sunday sprinkles as well as in Monday showers. If the Lord has given us umbrellas, waterproof cloaks, and overshoes (and what have we that we have not received?) then it is neither right nor grateful on our part to use these things for our own running to and fro.
What would you think of your pastor if his umbrella were not at the service of the Lord? What has your pastor a right to think of you? You need not be afraid of rain — the light which shines from under a consecrated umbrella cannot be quenched by raindrops. Indeed, we sometimes get the richest and most abundant oil in our lamps on rainy Sundays, and our lights burn the brighter through all the coming week.
I am sure that Satan must know that consecrated umbrellas in consecrated hands are weapons hard to be withstood, so He makes us think (if we think of it at all) that our umbrellas are not worthy the oil of consecration. We know better. In future let us have the courage of our convictions.
A boy, much moved by the appeal at a religious service for contributions and for personal dedication to God’s work, met a collector with a plate, at the close of the service. “Put the plate lower-lower yet-lower still,” said the lad; till the collector, amused, put the plate on the floor. Then the lad sat down in the plate and said: “I have no money to give to God and to this good work, and so I give myself.” If that offering were made with right motives, we doubt not it was most acceptable to God. Many are willing to give money, or other things they can easily spare, to good objects; too few are ready to consecrate themselves, and to make personal sacrifices, in God’s service.
WHAT MUST I GIVE UP?
“But where,” is asked, “does this common ground end, and the realm of the world begin?” We may be helped to an answer if we look first at the opposite boundary, and ask where the common ground ends and the domain of the Church begins. What is the gate through which everyone passes who enters the Church? Is it not the confession of subjection to Christ? Within that inclosure Christ is recognized as supreme. His word is law. His authority is paramount. His sovereignty is undisputed. The man who enters there pledges himself to honor Christ everywhere; and so long as he is where he can be recognized and understood as being loyal to Christ, everything is well. Now with that thought in mind, pass to the other side, and where now do you find the world begins? It commences at the point where another than Christ is recognized and acknowledged as ruler. Call it fashion. or pleasure, or whatever else. The moment you pass into a place where, not Jesus, but another is recognized and reputed as the sovereign, you are guilty of conforming to the world. Wherever the world is acknowledged as ruler, there, even though in the abstract he might think the place indifferent, the Christian should not enter. Gesler’s cap in the abstract was nothing at all — a mere thing of cloth and feathers; and, in the abstract, it was a small matter to bow to it; but bowing to that cap meant acknowledging allegiance to Austria, and William Tell showed his patriotism by refusing so to honor it. The question, therefore, is not whether in other circumstances the things done in the world’s inclosure might not be done by the Christian without sin, but whether he should do them there, where his doing of them is recognized as homage to the world. Whose flag is over a place of amusement? Whose image and superscription are on a custom or practice?
HE GAVE TEN CENTS ON EVERY DOLLAR
All of you have heard of Colgate’s soap; many of you use it. Here is a story about its manufacturer, William Colgate.
Many years ago a lad of sixteen years left home to seek his fortune. All his worldly possessions were tied up in a bundle, which he carried in his hand. As he trudged along, he met au old neighbor, the captain of a canal boat, and the following conversation took place, which changed the whole current of the boy’s life:
“Well, William, where are you going?”
“I don’t know,” he answered. “Father is too poor to keep me any longer, and says I must now make a living for myself.”
“There’s no trouble about that,” said the captain. “Be sure you start right and you’ll get along finely.”
William told his friend that the only trade he knew anything about was soap and candle making, at which he had helped his father while at home.
“Well,” said the old man, “let me pray with you once more, and give you a little advice, and then I will let you go.
They both kneeled down upon the tow-path (the path along which the horses which drew the canal boat walked); the dear old man prayed earnestly for William, and then gave this advice:
“Some one will be the leading soap-maker in New York. It may be you as well as anybody else. I hope it may be. Be a good man; give your heart to Christ; give the Lord all that belongs to Him of every dollar you earn; make an honest soap; give a full pound, and I am certain you will yet be a prosperous and rich man.”
When the boy arrived in the city he found it hard to get work. Lonesome and far away from home, he remembered his mother’s last words, and the last words of the canal-boat captain. He was then led to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and united with the Church. He remembered his promise to the old captain, and the first dollar he earned brought up the question of the Lord’s part. In the Bible he found that the Jews were commanded to give one-tenth; so he said, “If the Lord will take one-tenth, I will give that.” And so he did, and ten cents of every dollar were sacred to the Lord.
Having regular employment, he soon became a partner; and after a few years his partner died, and William became sole owner of the business.
He now resolved to keep his promise to the old captain. He made an honest soap, gave a full pound, and instructed his bookkeeper to open an account with the Lord, and carry one-tenth of all his income to that account. He prospered; his business grew; his family was blessed; his soap sold, and he grew rich faster than he had ever hoped. He then gave the Lord two-tenths, and prospered more than ever; then he gave three-tenths, then four-tenths, then five-tenths.
He educated his family, settled his plans for life, and gave all his income to the Lord. He prospered more than ever.
It is reported of Charles XII. of Sweden that, when he ascended the throne, he wrote on a map of Sweden, “God has given me this kingdom, and the devil shall not take it away from me.”
The Christian should say of his body, “God has given me this body, and (in God’s name) the devil shall not rule over it.”
“We are to take care of the casket for the sake of the jewel.” The body is to be well used for the sake of the soul it contains. Both body and soul should be given to the Lord, and in a solemn act of consecration we should write in our uttermost soul, “Holiness to the Lord”