Title: Kept for the Master’s Use
Creator(s): Havergal, Frances Ridley
Print Basis: Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1895
Rights: Public domain.
LC Call no: BV467
Worship (Public and Private) Including the church year, Christian
symbols, liturgy, prayer, hymnology
Hymns in languages other than English
Kept for the Master’s Use–Havergal
Henry Altemus Company
Copyrighted 1895, by Henry Altemus.
HENRY ALTEMUS, MANUFACTURER,
I. Our Lives kept for Jesus, 9
II. Our Moments kept for Jesus, 26
III. Our Hands kept for Jesus, 34
IV. Our Feet kept for Jesus, 46
V. Our Voices kept for Jesus, 51
VI. Our Lips kept for Jesus, 66
VII. Our Silver and Gold kept for Jesus, 79
VIII. Our Intellects kept for Jesus, 91
IX. Our Wills kept for Jesus, 96
X. Our Hearts kept for Jesus, 104
XI. Our Love kept for Jesus, 109
XII. Our Selves kept for Jesus, 115
XIII. Christ for us, 122
My beloved sister Frances finished revising the proofs of this book
shortly before her death on Whit Tuesday, June 3, 1879, but its
publication was to be deferred till the Autumn.
In appreciation of the deep and general sympathy flowing in to her
relatives, they wish that its publication should not be withheld.
Knowing her intense desire that Christ should be magnified, whether by
her life or in her death, may it be to His glory that in these pages
she, being dead,
MARIA V. G. HAVERGAL.
The Master’s Use.
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful’ for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, ALL for Thee.
Our Lives kept for Jesus.
Keep my life, that it may be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.’
Many a heart has echoed the little song:
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee!’
And yet those echoes have not been, in every case and at all times, so
clear, and full, and firm, so continuously glad as we would wish, and
perhaps expected. Some of us have said:
I launch me forth upon a sea
Of boundless love and tenderness;’
and after a little we have found, or fancied, that there is a hidden
leak in our barque, and though we are doubtless still afloat, yet we
are not sailing with the same free, exultant confidence as at first.
What is it that has dulled and weakened the echo of our consecration
song? what is the little leak that hinders the swift and buoyant course
of our consecrated life? Holy Father, let Thy loving spirit guide the
hand that writes, and strengthen the heart of every one who reads what
shall be written, for Jesus’ sake.
While many a sorrowfully varied answer to these questions may, and
probably will, arise from touched and sensitive consciences, each being
shown by God’s faithful Spirit the special sin, the special yielding to
temptation which has hindered and spoiled the blessed life which they
sought to enter and enjoy, it seems to me that one or other of two
things has lain at the outset of the failure and disappointment.
First, it may have arisen from want of the simplest belief in the
simplest fact, as well as want of trust in one of the simplest and
plainest words our gracious Master ever uttered! The unbelieved fact
being simply that He hears us; the untrusted word being one of those
plain, broad foundation-stones on which we rested our whole weight, it
may be many years ago, and which we had no idea we ever doubted, or
were in any danger of doubting now,–Him that cometh to Me I will in no
wise cast out.’
Take my life!’ We have said it or sung it before the Lord, it may be
many times; but if it were only once whispered in His ear with full
purpose of heart, should we not believe that He heard it? And if we
know that He heard it, should we not believe that He has answered it,
and fulfilled this, our heart’s desire? For with Him hearing means
heeding. Then why should we doubt that He did verily take our lives
when we offered them–our bodies when we presented them? Have we not
been wronging His faithfulness all this time by practically, even if
unconsciously, doubting whether the prayer ever really reached Him? And
if so, is it any wonder that we have not realized all the power and joy
of full consecration? By some means or other He has to teach us to
trust implicitly at every step of the way. And so, if we did not really
trust in this matter, He has had to let us find out our want of trust
by withholding the sensible part of the blessing, and thus stirring us
up to find out why it is withheld.
An offered gift must be either accepted or refused. Can He have refused
it when He has said, Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out’?
If not, then it must have been accepted. It is just the same process as
when we came to Him first of all, with the intolerable burden of our
sins. There was no help for it but to come with them to Him, and take
His word for it that He would not and did not cast us out. And so
coming, so believing, we found rest to our souls; we found that His
word was true, and that His taking away our sins was a reality.
Some give their lives to Him then and there, and go forth to live
thenceforth not at all unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them.
This is as it should be, for conversion and consecration ought to be
simultaneous. But practically it is not very often so, except with
those in whom the bringing out of darkness into marvellous light has
been sudden and dazzling, and full of deepest contrasts. More
frequently the work resembles the case of the Hebrew servant described
in Exodus xxi., who, after six years’ experience of a good master’s
service, dedicates himself voluntarily, unreservedly, and irrevocably
to it, saying, I love my master; I will not go out free;’ the master
then accepting and sealing him to a life-long service, free in law, yet
bound in love. This seems to be a figure of later consecration founded
on experience and love.
And yet, as at our first coming, it is less than nothing, worse than
nothing that we have to bring; for our lives, even our redeemed and
pardoned lives, are not only weak and worthless, but defiled and
sinful. But thanks be to God for the Altar that sanctifieth the gift,
even our Lord Jesus Christ Himself! By Him we draw nigh unto God; to
Him, as one with the Father, we offer our living sacrifice; in Him, as
the Beloved of the Father, we know it is accepted. So, dear friends,
when once He has wrought in us the desire to be altogether His own, and
put into our hearts the prayer, Take my life,’ let us go on our way
rejoicing, believing that He has taken our lives, our hands, our feet,
our voices, our intellects, our wills, our whole selves, to be ever,
only, all for Him. Let us consider that a blessedly settled thing; not
because of anything we have felt, or said, or done, but because we know
that He heareth us, and because we know that He is true to His word.
But suppose our hearts do not condemn us in this matter, our
disappointment may arise from another cause. It may be that we have not
received, because we have not asked a fuller and further blessing.
Suppose that we did believe, thankfully and surely, that the Lord heard
our prayer, and that He did indeed answer and accept us, and set us
apart for Himself; and yet we find that our consecration was not merely
miserably incomplete, but that we have drifted back again almost to
where we were before. Or suppose things are not quite so bad as that,
still we have not quite all we expected; and even if we think we can
truly say, O God, my heart is fixed,’ we find that, to our daily
sorrow, somehow or other the details of our conduct do not seem to be
fixed, something or other is perpetually slipping through, till we get
perplexed and distressed. Then we are tempted to wonder whether after
all there was not some mistake about it, and the Lord did not really
take us at our word, although we took Him at His word. And then the
struggle with one doubt, and entanglement, and temptation only seems to
land us in another. What is to be done then?
First, I think, very humbly and utterly honestly to search and try our
ways before our God, or rather, as we shall soon realize our
helplessness to make such a search, ask Him to do it for us, praying
for His promised Spirit to show us unmistakably if there is any secret
thing with us that is hindering both the inflow and outflow of His
grace to us and through us. Do not let us shrink from some unexpected
flash into a dark corner; do not let us wince at the sudden touching of
a hidden plague-spot. The Lord always does His own work thoroughly if
we will only let Him do it; if we put our case into His hands, He will
search and probe fully and firmly, though very tenderly. Very
painfully, it may be, but only that He may do the very thing we
want,–cleanse us and heal us thoroughly, so that we may set off to
walk in real newness of life. But if we do not put it unreservedly into
His hands, it will be no use thinking or talking about our lives being
consecrated to Him. The heart that is not entrusted to Him for
searching, will not be undertaken by Him for cleansing; the life that
fears to come to the light lest any deed should be reproved, can never
know the blessedness and the privileges of walking in the light.
But what then? When He has graciously again put a new song in our
mouth, and we are singing,
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me His praise should sing?’
and again with fresh earnestness we are saying,
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee!’
are we only to look forward to the same disappointing experience over
again? are we always to stand at the threshold? Consecration is not so
much a step as a course; not so much an act, as a position to which a
course of action inseparably belongs. In so far as it is a course and a
position, there must naturally be a definite entrance upon it, and a
time, it may be a moment, when that entrance is made. That is when we
say, Take’; but we do not want to go on taking a first step over and
over again. What we want now is to be maintained in that position, and
to fulfil that course. So let us go on to another prayer. Having
already said, Take my life, for I cannot give it to Thee,’ let us now
say, with deepened conviction, that without Christ we really can do
nothing,–Keep my life, for I cannot keep it for Thee.’
Let us ask this with the same simple trust to which, in so many other
things, He has so liberally and graciously responded. For this is the
confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to
His will, He heareth us; and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we
ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him. There
can be no doubt that this petition is according to His will, because it
is based upon many a promise. May I give it to you just as it floats
through my own mind again and again, knowing whom I have believed, and
being persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed
Keep my life, that it may be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Keep my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Keep my hands, that they may move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Keep my feet, that they may be
Swift and beautiful’ for Thee.
Keep my voice, that I may sing
Always, only, for my King.
Keep my lips, that they may be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Keep my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Keep my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Keep my will, oh, keep it Thine!
For it is no longer mine.
Keep my heart; it is Thine own;
It is now Thy royal throne.
Keep my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Keep myself, that I may be
Ever, only, ALL for Thee.
Yes! He who is able and willing to take unto Himself, is no less able
and willing to keep for Himself. Our willing offering has been made by
His enabling grace, and this our King has seen with joy.’ And now we
pray, Keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the
heart of Thy people’ (1 Chron. xxix. 17, 18).
This blessed taking,’ once for all, which we may quietly believe as an
accomplished fact, followed by the continual keeping,’ for which He
will be continually inquired of by us, seems analogous to the great
washing by which we have part in Christ, and the repeated washing of
the feet for which we need to be continually coming to Him. For with
the deepest and sweetest consciousness that He has indeed taken our
lives to be His very own, the need of His active and actual keeping of
them in every detail and at every moment is most fully realized. But
then we have the promise of our faithful God, I the Lord do keep it, I
will keep it night and day.’ The only question is, will we trust this
promise, or will we not? If we do, we shall find it come true. If not,
of course it will not be realized. For unclaimed promises are like
uncashed cheques; they will keep us from bankruptcy, but not from want.
But if not, why not? What right have we to pick out one of His faithful
sayings, and say we don’t expect Him to fulfil that? What defence can
we bring, what excuse can we invent, for so doing?
If you appeal to experience against His faithfulness to His word, I
will appeal to experience too, and ask you, did you ever really trust
Jesus to fulfil any word of His to you, and find your trust deceived?
As to the past experience of the details of your life not being kept
for Jesus, look a little more closely at it, and you will find that
though you may have asked, you did not trust. Whatever you did really
trust Him to keep, He has kept, and the unkept things were never really
entrusted. Scrutinize this past experience as you will, and it will
only bear witness against your unfaithfulness, never against His
Yet this witness must not be unheeded. We must not forget the things
that are behind till they are confessed and forgiven. Let us now bring
all this unsatisfactory past experience, and, most of all, the want of
trust which has been the poison-spring of its course, to the precious
blood of Christ, which cleanseth us, even us, from all sin, even this
sin. Perhaps we never saw that we were not trusting Jesus as He
deserves to be trusted; if so, let us wonderingly hate ourselves the
more that we could be so trustless to such a Saviour, and so sinfully
dark and stupid that we did not even see it. And oh, let us wonderingly
love Him the more that He has been so patient and gentle with us,
upbraiding not, though in our slow-hearted foolishness we have been
grieving Him by this subtle unbelief, and then, by His grace, may we
enter upon a new era of experience, our lives kept for Him more fully
than ever before, because we trust Him more simply and unreservedly to
Here we must face a question, and perhaps a difficulty. Does it not
almost seem as if we were at this point led to trusting to our trust,
making everything hinge upon it, and thereby only removing a subtle
dependence upon ourselves one step farther back, disguising instead of
renouncing it? If Christ’s keeping depends upon our trusting, and our
continuing to trust depends upon ourselves, we are in no better or
safer position than before, and shall only be landed in a fresh series
of disappointments. The old story, something for the sinner to do,
crops up again here, only with the ground shifted from works’ to trust.
Said a friend to me, I see now! I did trust Jesus to do everything else
for me, but I thought that this trusting was something that I had got
to do.’ And so, of course, what she had got to do’ had been a perpetual
effort and frequent failure. We can no more trust and keep on trusting
than we can do anything else of ourselves. Even in this it must be
Jesus only’; we are not to look to Him only to be the Author and
Finisher of our faith, but we are to look to Him for all the
intermediate fulfilment of the work of faith (2 Thess. i. 11); we must
ask Him to go on fulfilling it in us, committing even this to His
For we both may and must
Commit our very faith to Him,
Entrust to him our trust.
What a long time it takes us to come down to the conviction, and still
more to the realization of the fact that without Him we can do nothing,
but that He must work all our works in us! This is the work of God,
that ye believe in Him whom He has sent. And no less must it be the
work of God that we go on believing, and that we go on trusting. Then,
dear friends, who are longing to trust Him with unbroken and unwavering
trust, cease the effort and drop the burden, and now entrust your trust
to Him! He is just as well able to keep that as any other part of the
complex lives which we want Him to take and keep for Himself. And oh,
do not pass on content with the thought, Yes, that is a good idea;
perhaps I should find that a great help!’ But, Now, then, do it.’ It is
no help to the sailor to see a flash of light across a dark sea, if he
does not instantly steer accordingly.
Consecration is not a religiously selfish thing. If it sinks into that,
it ceases to be consecration. We want our lives kept, not that we may
feel happy, and be saved the distress consequent on wandering, and get
the power with God and man, and all the other privileges linked with
it. We shall have all this, because the lower is included in the
higher; but our true aim, if the love of Christ constraineth us, will
be far beyond this. Not for me’ at all but for Jesus’; not for my
safety, but for His glory; not for my comfort, but for His joy; not
that I may find rest, but that He may see the travail of His soul, and
be satisfied! Yes, for Him I want to be kept. Kept for His sake; kept
for His use; kept to be His witness; kept for His joy! Kept for Him,
that in me He may show forth some tiny sparkle of His light and beauty;
kept to do His will and His work in His own way; kept, it may be, to
suffer for His sake; kept for Him, that He may do just what seemeth Him
good with me; kept, so that no other lord shall have any more dominion
over me, but that Jesus shall have all there is to have;–little
enough, indeed, but not divided or diminished by any other claim. Is
not this, O you who love the Lord–is not this worth living for, worth
asking for, worth trusting for?
This is consecration, and I cannot tell you the blessedness of it. It
is not the least use arguing with one who has had but a taste of its
blessedness, and saying to him, How can these things be?’ It is not the
least use starting all sorts of difficulties and theoretical
suppositions about it with such a one, any more than it was when the
Jews argued with the man who said, One thing I know, that whereas I was
blind, now I see.’ The Lord Jesus does take the life that is offered to
Him, and He does keep the life for Himself that is entrusted to Him;
but until the life is offered we cannot know the taking, and until the
life is entrusted we cannot know or understand the keeping. All we can
do is to say, O taste and see!’ and bear witness to the reality of
Jesus Christ, and set to our seal that we have found Him true to His
every word, and that we have proved Him able even to do exceeding
abundantly above all we asked or thought. Why should we hesitate to
bear this testimony? We have done nothing at all; we have, in all our
efforts, only proved to ourselves, and perhaps to others, that we had
no power either to give or keep our lives. Why should we not, then,
glorify His grace by acknowledging that we have found Him so
wonderfully and tenderly gracious and faithful in both taking and
keeping as we never supposed or imagined? I shall never forget the
smile and emphasis with which a poor working man bore this witness to
his Lord. I said to him, Well, H., we have a good Master, have we not?’
Ah,’ said he, a deal better than ever I thought!’ That summed up his
experience, and so it will sum up the experience of every one who will
but yield their lives wholly to the same good Master.
I cannot close this chapter without a word with those, especially my
younger friends, who, although they have named the name of Christ, are
saying, Yes, this is all very well for some people, or for older
people, but I am not ready for it; I can’t say I see my way to this
sort of thing.’ I am going to take the lowest ground for a minute, and
appeal to your past experience.’ Are you satisfied with your experience
of the other sort of thing’? Your pleasant pursuits, your harmless
recreations, your nice occupations, even your improving ones, what
fruit are you having from them? Your social intercourse, your daily
talks and walks, your investments of all the time that remains to you
over and above the absolute duties God may have given you, what fruit
that shall remain have you from all this? Day after day passes on, and
year after year, and what shall the harvest be? What is even the
present return? Are you getting any real and lasting satisfaction out
of it all? Are you not finding that things lose their flavour, and that
you are spending your strength day after day for nought? that you are
no more satisfied than you were a year ago–rather less so, if
anything? Does not a sense of hollowness and weariness come over you as
you go on in the same round, perpetually getting through things only to
begin again? It cannot be otherwise. Over even the freshest and purest
earthly fountains the Hand that never makes a mistake has written, He
that drinketh of this water shall thirst again.’ Look into your own
heart and you will find a copy of that inscription already traced,
Shall thirst again.’ And the characters are being deepened with every
attempt to quench the inevitable thirst and weariness in life, which
can only be satisfied and rested in full consecration to God. For Thou
hast made us for Thyself, and the heart never resteth till it findeth
rest in Thee.’ To-day I tell you of a brighter and happier life, whose
inscription is, Shall never thirst,’–a life that is no dull
round-and-round in a circle of unsatisfactorinesses, but a life that
has found its true and entirely satisfactory centre, and set itself
towards a shining and entirely satisfactory goal, whose brightness is
cast over every step of the way. Will you not seek it?
Do not shrink, and suspect, and hang back from what it may involve,
with selfish and unconfiding and ungenerous half-heartedness. Take the
word of any who have willingly offered themselves unto the Lord, that
the life of consecration is a deal better than they thought!’ Choose
this day whom you will serve with real, thorough-going, whole-hearted
service, and He will receive you; and you will find, as we have found,
that He is such a good Master that you are satisfied with His goodness,
and that you will never want to go out free. Nay, rather take His own
word for it; see what He says: If they obey and serve Him, they shall
spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.’ You
cannot possibly understand that till you are really in His service! For
He does not give, nor even show, His wages before you enter it. And He
says, My servants shall sing for joy of heart.’ But you cannot try over
that song to see what it is like, you cannot even read one bar of it,
till your nominal or even promised service is exchanged for real and
undivided consecration. But when He can call you My servant,’ then you
will find yourself singing for joy of heart, because He says you shall.
And who, then, is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the
Do not startle at the term, or think, because you do not understand all
it may include, you are therefore not qualified for it. I dare say it
comprehends a great deal more than either you or I understand, but we
can both enter into the spirit of it, and the detail will unfold itself
as long as our probation shall last. Christ demands a hearty
consecration in will, and He will teach us what that involves in act.’
This explains the paradox that full consecration’ may be in one sense
the act of a moment, and in another the work of a lifetime. It must be
complete to be real, and yet if real, it is always incomplete; a point
of rest, and yet a perpetual progression.
Suppose you make over a piece of ground to another person. You give it
up, then and there, entirely to that other; it is no longer in your own
possession; you no longer dig and sow, plant and reap, at your
discretion or for your own profit. His occupation of it is total; no
other has any right to an inch of it; it is his affair thenceforth what
crops to arrange for and how to make the most of it. But his practical
occupation of it may not appear all at once. There may be waste land
which he will take into full cultivation only by degrees, space wasted
for want of draining or by over fencing, and odd corners lost for want
of enclosing; fields yielding smaller returns than they might because
of hedgerows too wide and shady, and trees too many and spreading, and
strips of good soil trampled into uselessness for want of defined
Just so is it with our lives. The transaction of, so to speak, making
them over to God is definite and complete. But then begins the
practical development of consecration. And here He leads on softly,
according as the children be able to endure.’ I do not suppose any one
sees anything like all that it involves at the outset. We have not a
notion what an amount of waste of power there has been in our lives; we
never measured out the odd corners and the undrained bits, and it never
occurred to us what good fruit might be grown in our straggling
hedgerows, nor how the shade of our trees has been keeping the sun from
the scanty crops. And so, season by season, we shall be sometimes not a
little startled, yet always very glad, as we find that bit by bit the
Master shows how much more may be made of our ground, how much more He
is able to make of it than we did; and we shall be willing to work
under Him and do exactly what He points out, even if it comes to
cutting down a shady tree, or clearing out a ditch full of pretty weeds
As the seasons pass on, it will seem as if there was always more and
more to be done; the very fact that He is constantly showing us
something more to be done in it, proving that it is really His ground.
Only let Him have the ground, no matter how poor or overgrown the soil
may be, and then He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert
like the garden of the Lord.’ Yes, even our desert’! And then we shall
sing, My beloved has gone down into His garden, to the beds of spices,
to feed in the gardens and to gather lilies.’
Made for Thyself, O God!
Made for Thy love, Thy service, Thy delight;
Made to show forth Thy wisdom, grace, and might;
Made for Thy praise, whom veiled archangels laud:
Oh, strange and glorious thought, that we may be
A joy to Thee!
Yet the heart turns away
From this grand destiny of bliss, and deems
‘Twas made for its poor self, for passing dreams,
Chasing illusions melting day by day,
Till for ourselves we read on this world’s best,
This is not rest!’
Our Moments kept for Jesus.
Keep my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.’
It may be a little help to writer and reader if we consider some of the
practical details of the life which we desire to have kept for Jesus’
in the order of the little hymn at the beginning of this book, with the
one word take’ changed to keep.’ So we will take a couplet for each
The first point that naturally comes up is that which is almost
synonymous with life–our time. And this brings us at once face to face
with one of our past difficulties, and its probable cause.
When we take a wide sweep, we are so apt to be vague. When we are
aiming at generalities we do not hit the practicalities. We forget that
faithfulness to principle is only proved by faithfulness in detail. Has
not this vagueness had something to do with the constant
ineffectiveness of our feeble desire that our time should be devoted to
In things spiritual, the greater does not always include the less, but,
paradoxically, the less more often includes the greater. So in this
case, time is entrusted to us to be traded with for our Lord. But we
cannot grasp it as a whole. We instinctively break it up ere we can
deal with it for any purpose. So when a new year comes round, we commit
it with special earnestness to the Lord. But as we do so, are we not
conscious of a feeling that even a year is too much for us to deal
with? And does not this feeling, that we are dealing with a larger
thing than we can grasp, take away from the sense of reality? Thus we
are brought to a more manageable measure; and as the Sunday mornings or
the Monday mornings come round, we thankfully commit the opening week
to Him, and the sense of help and rest is renewed and strengthened. But
not even the six or seven days are close enough to our hand; even
to-morrow exceeds our tiny grasp, and even to-morrow’s grace is
therefore not given to us. So we find the need of considering our lives
as a matter of day by day, and that any more general committal and
consecration of our time does not meet the case so truly. Here we have
found much comfort and help, and if results have not been entirely
satisfactory, they have, at least, been more so than before we reached
this point of subdivision.
But if we have found help and blessing by going a certain distance in
one direction, is it not probable we shall find more if we go farther
in the same? And so, if we may commit the days to our Lord, why not the
hours, and why not the moments? And may we not expect a fresh and
special blessing in so doing?
We do not realize the importance of moments. Only let us consider those
two sayings of God about them, In a moment shall they die,’ and, We
shall all be changed in a moment,’ and we shall think less lightly of
them. Eternal issues may hang upon any one of them, but it has come and
gone before we can even think about it. Nothing seems less within the
possibility of our own keeping, yet nothing is more inclusive of all
other keeping. Therefore let us ask Him to keep them for us.
Are they not the tiny joints in the harness through which the darts of
temptation pierce us? Only give us time, we think, and we should not be
overcome. Only give us time, and we could pray and resist, and the
devil would flee from us! But he comes all in a moment; and in a
moment–an unguarded, unkept one–we utter the hasty or exaggerated
word, or think the un-Christ-like thought, or feel the un-Christ-like
impatience or resentment.
But even if we have gone so far as to say, Take my moments,’ have we
gone the step farther, and really let Him take them–really entrusted
them to Him? It is no good saying take,’ when we do not let go. How can
another keep that which we are keeping hold of? So let us, with full
trust in His power, first commit these slippery moments to Him,–put
them right into His hand,–and then we may trustfully and happily say,
Lord, keep them for me! Keep every one of the quick series as it
arises. I cannot keep them for Thee; do Thou keep them for Thyself!’
But the sanctified and Christ-loving heart cannot be satisfied with
only negative keeping. We do not want only to be kept from displeasing
Him, but to be kept always pleasing Him. Every kept from’ should have
its corresponding and still more blessed kept for.’ We do not want our
moments to be simply kept from Satan’s use, but kept for His use; we
want them to be not only kept from sin, but kept for His praise.
Do you ask, But what use can he make of mere moments?’ I will not stay
to prove or illustrate the obvious truth that, as are the moments so
will be the hours and the days which they build. You understand that
well enough. I will answer your question as it stands.
Look back through the history of the Church in all ages, and mark how
often a great work and mighty influence grew out of a mere moment in
the life of one of God’s servants; a mere moment, but overshadowed and
filled with the fruitful power of the Spirit of God. The moment may
have been spent in uttering five words, but they have fed five
thousand, or even five hundred thousand. Or it may have been lit by the
flash of a thought that has shone into hearts and homes throughout the
land, and kindled torches that have been borne into earth’s darkest
corners. The rapid speaker or the lonely thinker little guessed what
use his Lord was making of that single moment. There was no room in it
for even a thought of that. If that moment had not been, though perhaps
unconsciously, kept for Jesus,’ but had been otherwise occupied, what a
harvest to His praise would have been missed!
The same thing is going on every day. It is generally a moment–either
an opening or a culminating one–that really does the work. It is not
so often a whole sermon as a single short sentence in it that wings
God’s arrow to a heart. It is seldom a whole conversation that is the
means of bringing about the desired result, but some sudden turn of
thought or word, which comes with the electric touch of God’s power.
Sometimes it is less than that; only a look (and what is more
momentary?) has been used by Him for the pulling down of strongholds.
Again, in our own quiet waiting upon God, as moment after moment glides
past in the silence at His feet, the eye resting upon a page of His
Word, or only looking up to Him through the darkness, have we not found
that He can so irradiate one passing moment with His light that its
rays never die away, but shine on and on through days and years? Are
not such moments proved to have been kept for Him? And if some, why not
This view of moments seems to make it clearer that it is impossible to
serve two masters, for it is evident that the service of a moment
cannot be divided. If it is occupied in the service of self, or any
other master, it is not at the Lord’s disposal; He cannot make use of
what is already occupied.
Oh, how much we have missed by not placing them at his disposal! What
might He not have done with the moments freighted with self or loaded
with emptiness, which we have carelessly let drift by! Oh, what might
have been if they had all been kept for Jesus! How He might have filled
them with His light and life, enriching our own lives that have been
impoverished by the waste, and using them in far-spreading blessing and
While we have been undervaluing these fractions of eternity, what has
our gracious God been doing in them? How strangely touching are the
words, What is man, that Thou shouldest set Thine heart upon him, and
that Thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?’
Terribly solemn and awful would be the thought that He has been trying
us every moment, were it not for the yearning gentleness and love of
the Father revealed in that wonderful expression of wonder, What is
man, that Thou shouldest set Thine heart upon him?’ Think of that
ceaseless setting of His heart upon us, careless and forgetful children
as we have been! And then think of those other words, none the less
literally true because given under a figure: I, the Lord, do keep it; I
will water it every moment.’
We see something of God’s infinite greatness and wisdom when we try to
fix our dazzled gaze on infinite space. But when we turn to the marvels
of the microscope, we gain a clearer view and more definite grasp of
these attributes by gazing on the perfection of His infinitesimal
handiworks. Just so, while we cannot realize the infinite love which
fills eternity, and the infinite vistas of the great future are dark
with excess of light’ even to the strongest telescopes of faith, we see
that love magnified in the microscope of the moments, brought very
close to us, and revealing its unspeakable perfection of detail to our
But we do not see this as long as the moments are kept in our own
hands. We are like little children closing our fingers over diamonds.
How can they receive and reflect the rays of light, analyzing them into
all the splendour of their prismatic beauty, while they are kept shut
up tight in the dirty little hands? Give them up; let our Father hold
them for us, and throw His own great light upon them, and then we shall
see them full of fair colours of His manifold loving-kindnesses; and
let Him always keep them for us, and then we shall always see His light
and His love reflected in them.
And then, surely, they shall be filled with praise. Not that we are to
be always singing hymns, and using the expressions of other people’s
praise, any more than the saints in glory are always literally singing
a new song. But praise will be the tone, the colour, the atmosphere in
which they flow; none of them away from it or out of it.
Is it a little too much for them all to flow in ceaseless praise’?
Well, where will you stop? What proportion of your moments do you think
enough for Jesus? How many for the spirit of praise, and how many for
the spirit of heaviness? Be explicit about it, and come to an
understanding. If He is not to have all, then how much? Calculate,
balance, and apportion. You will not be able to do this in heaven–you
know it will be all praise there; but you are free to halve your
service of praise here, or to make the proportion what you will.
Yet,–He made you for His glory.
Yet,–He chose you that you should be to the praise of His glory.
Yet,–He loves you every moment, waters you every moment, watches you
unslumberingly, cares for you unceasingly.
Yet,–He died for you!
Dear friends, one can hardly write it without tears. Shall you or I
remember all this love, and hesitate to give all our moments up to Him?
Let us entrust Him with them, and ask Him to keep them all, every
single one, for His own beloved self, and fill them all with His
praise, and let them all be to His praise!
Our Hands Kept for Jesus.
Keep my hands, that they may move
At the impulse of Thy love.’
When the Lord has said to us, Is thine heart right, as My heart is with
thy heart?’ the next word seems to be, If it be, give Me thine hand.’
What a call to confidence, and love, and free, loyal, happy service is
this! and how different will the result of its acceptance be from the
old lamentation: We labour and have no rest; we have given the hand to
the Egyptians and to the Assyrians.’ In the service of these other
lords,’ under whatever shape they have presented themselves, we shall
have known something of the meaning of having both the hands full with
travail and vexation of spirit.’ How many a thing have we taken in
hand,’ as we say, which we expected to find an agreeable task, an
interest in life, a something towards filling up that unconfessed
aching void’ which is often most real when least acknowledged; and
after a while we have found it change under our hands into irksome
travail, involving perpetual vexation of spirit! The thing may have
been of the earth and for the world, and then no wonder it failed to
satisfy even the instinct of work, which comes natural to many of us.
Or it may have been right enough in itself, something for the good of
others so far as we understood their good, and unselfish in all but
unravelled motive, and yet we found it full of tangled vexations,
because the hands that held it were not simply consecrated to God.
Well, if so, let us bring these soiled and tangle-making hands to the
Lord, Let us lift up our heart with our hands’ to Him, asking Him to
clear and cleanse them.
If He says, What is that in thine hand?’ let us examine honestly
whether it is something which He can use for His glory or not. If not,
do not let us hesitate an instant about dropping it. It may be
something we do not like to part with; but the Lord is able to give
thee much more than this, and the first glimpse of the excellency of
the knowledge of Christ Jesus your Lord will enable us to count those
things loss which were gain to us.
But if it is something which He can use, He will make us do ever so
much more with it than before. Moses little thought what the Lord was
going to make him do with that rod in his hand’! The first thing he had
to do with it was to cast it on the ground,’ and see it pass through a
startling change. After this he was commanded to take it up again, hard
and terrifying as it was to do so. But when it became again a rod in
his hand, it was no longer what it was before, the simple rod of a
wandering desert shepherd. Henceforth it was the rod of God in his
hand’ (Ex. iv. 20), wherewith he should do signs, and by which God
Himself would do marvellous things’ (Ps. lxxviii. 12).
If we look at any Old Testament text about consecration, we shall see
that the marginal reading of the word is, fill the hand’ (e. g. Ex.
xxviii. 41; 1 Chron. xxix. 5). Now, if our hands are full of other
things,’ they cannot be filled with the things that are Jesus
Christ’s’; there must be emptying before there can be any true filling.
So if we are sorrowfully seeing that our hands have not been kept for
Jesus, let us humbly begin at the beginning, and ask Him to empty them
thoroughly, that He may fill them completely.
For they must be emptied. Either we come to our Lord willingly about
it, letting Him unclasp their hold, and gladly dropping the glittering
weights they have been carrying, or, in very love, He will have to
force them open, and wrench from the reluctant grasp the earthly
things’ which are so occupying them that He cannot have His rightful
use of them. There is only one other alternative, a terrible one,–to
be let alone till the day comes when not a gentle Master, but the
relentless king of terrors shall empty the trembling hands as our feet
follow him out of the busy world into the dark valley, for it is
certain we can carry nothing out.’
Yet the emptying and the filling are not all that has to be considered.
Before the hands of the priests could be filled with the emblems of
consecration, they had to be laid upon the emblem of atonement (Lev.
viii. 14, etc.). That came first. Aaron and his sons laid their hands
upon the head of the bullock for the sin-offering.’ So the transference
of guilt to our Substitute, typified by that act, must precede the
dedication of ourselves to God.
My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While like a penitent I stand,
And there confess my sin.’
The blood of that Holy Substitute was shed to make reconciliation upon
the altar.’ Without that reconciliation we cannot offer and present
ourselves to God; but this being made, Christ Himself presents us. And
you, that were sometime alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked
works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through
death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in His
Then Moses brought the ram for the burnt-offering; and Aaron and his
sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram, and Moses burnt the
whole ram upon the altar; it was a burnt-offering for a sweet savour,
and an offering made by fire unto the Lord.’ Thus Christ’s offering was
indeed a whole one, body, soul, and spirit, each and all suffering even
unto death. These atoning sufferings, accepted by God for us, are, by
our own free act, accepted by us as the ground of our acceptance.
Then, reconciled and accepted, we are ready for consecration; for then
he brought the other ram; the ram of consecration; and Aaron and his
sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.’ Here we see Christ,
who is consecrated for evermore.’ We enter by faith into union with Him
who said, For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be
sanctified through the truth.’
After all this, their hands were filled with consecrations for a sweet
savour,’ so, after laying the hand of our faith upon Christ, suffering
and dying for us, we are to lay that very same hand of faith, and in
the very same way, upon Him as consecrated for us, to be the source and
life and power of our consecration. And then our hands shall be filled
with consecrations,’ filled with Christ, and filled with all that is a
sweet savour to God in Him.
And who then is willing to fill his hand this day unto the Lord?’ Do
you want an added motive? Listen again: Fill your hands to-day to the
Lord, that He may bestow upon you a blessing this day.’ Not a long time
hence, not even to-morrow, but this day.’ Do you not want a blessing?
Is not your answer to your Father’s What wilt thou?’ the same as
Achsah’s, Give me a blessing!’ Here is His promise of just what you so
want; will you not gladly fulfil His condition? A blessing shall
immediately follow. He does not specify what it shall be; He waits to
reveal it. You will find it such a blessing as you had not supposed
could be for you–a blessing that shall verily make you rich, with no
sorrow added–a blessing this day.
All that has been said about consecration applies to our literal
members. Stay a minute, and look at your hand, the hand that holds this
little book as you read it. See how wonderfully it is made; how
perfectly fitted for what it has to do; how ingeniously connected with
the brain, so as to yield that instantaneous and instinctive obedience
without which its beautiful mechanism would be very little good to us!
Your hand, do you say? Whether it is soft and fair with an easy life,
or rough and strong with a working one, or white and weak with illness,
it is the Lord Jesus Christ’s. It is not your own at all; it belongs to
Him. He made it, for without Him was not anything made that was made,
not even your hand. And He has the added right of purchase–He has
bought it that it might be one of His own instruments. We know this
very well, but have we realized it? Have we really let Him have the use
of these hands of ours? and have we ever simply and sincerely asked Him
to keep them for His own use?
Does this mean that we are always to be doing some definitely
religious’ work, as it is called? No, but that all that we do is to be
always definitely done for Him. There is a great difference. If the
hands are indeed moving at the impulse of His love,’ the simplest
little duties and acts are transfigured into holy service to the Lord.
A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine;
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that and the action fine.’
A Christian school-girl loves Jesus; she wants to please Him all day
long, and so she practices her scales carefully and conscientiously. It
is at the impulse of His love that her fingers move so steadily through
the otherwise tiresome exercises. Some day her Master will find a use
for her music; but meanwhile it may be just as really done unto Him as
if it were Mr. Sankey at his organ, swaying the hearts of thousands.
The hand of a Christian lad traces his Latin verses, or his figures, or
his copying. He is doing his best, because a banner has been given him
that it may be displayed, not so much by talk as by continuance in
well-doing. And so, for Jesus’ sake, his hand moves accurately and
A busy wife, or daughter, or servant has a number of little manual
duties to perform. If these are done slowly and leisurely, they may be
got through, but there will not be time left for some little service to
the poor, or some little kindness to a suffering or troubled neighbour,
or for a little quiet time alone with God and His word. And so the
hands move quickly, impelled by the loving desire for service or
communion, kept in busy motion for Jesus’ sake. Or it may be that the
special aim is to give no occasion of reproach to some who are
watching, but so to adorn the doctrine that those may be won by the
life who will not be won by the word. Then the hands will have their
share to do; they will move carefully, neatly, perhaps even elegantly,
making every thing around as nice as possible, letting their
intelligent touch be seen in the details of the home, and even of the
dress, doing or arranging all the little things decently and in order
for Jesus’ sake. And so on with every duty in every position.
It may seem an odd idea, but a simple glance at one’s hand, with the
recollection, This hand is not mine; it has been given to Jesus, and it
must be kept for Jesus,’ may sometimes turn the scale in a doubtful
matter, and be a safeguard from certain temptations. With that thought
fresh in your mind as you look at your hand, can you let it take up
things which, to say the very least, are not for Jesus’? things which
evidently cannot be used, as they most certainly are not used, either
for Him or by Him? Cards, for instance! Can you deliberately hold in it
books of a kind which you know perfectly well, by sadly repeated
experience, lead you farther from instead of nearer to Him? books which
must and do fill your mind with those other things’ which, entering in,
choke the word? books which you would not care to read at all, if your
heart were burning within you at the coming of His feet to bless you?
Next time any temptation of this sort approaches, just look at your
It was of a literal hand that our Lord Jesus spoke when He said,
Behold, the hand of him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table;’
and, He that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall
betray Me.’ A hand so near to Jesus, with Him on the table, touching
His own hand in the dish at that hour of sweetest, and closest, and
most solemn intercourse, and yet betraying Him! That same hand taking
the thirty pieces of silver! What a tremendous lesson of the need of
keeping for our hands! Oh that every hand that is with Him at His
sacramental table, and that takes the memorial bread, may be kept from
any faithless and loveless motion! And again, it was by literal wicked
hands’ that our Lord Jesus was crucified and slain. Does not the
thought that human hands have been so treacherous and cruel to our
beloved Lord make us wish the more fervently that our hands may be
totally faithful and devoted to Him?
Danger and temptation to let the hands move at other impulses is every
bit as great to those who have nothing else to do but to render direct
service, and who think they are doing nothing else. Take one practical
instance–our letter-writing. Have we not been tempted (and fallen
before the temptation), according to our various dispositions, to let
the hand that holds the pen move at the impulse to write an unkind
thought of another; or to say a clever and sarcastic thing, or a
slightly coloured and exaggerated thing, which will make our point more
telling; or to let out a grumble or a suspicion; or to let the pen run
away with us into flippant and trifling words, unworthy of our high and
holy calling? Have we not drifted away from the golden reminder, Should
he reason with unprofitable talk, and with speeches wherewith he can do
no good?’ Why has this been, perhaps again and again? Is it not for
want of putting our hands into our dear Master’s hand, and asking and
trusting Him to keep them? He could have kept; He would have kept!
Whatever our work or our special temptations may be, the principle
remains the same, only let us apply it for ourselves.
Perhaps one hardly needs to say that the kept hands will be very gentle
hands. Quick, angry motions of the heart will sometimes force
themselves into expression by the hand, though the tongue may be
restrained. The very way in which we close a door or lay down a book
may be a victory or a defeat, a witness to Christ’s keeping or a
witness that we are not truly being kept. How can we expect that God
will use this member as an instrument of righteousness unto Him, if we
yield it thus as an instrument of unrighteousness unto sin? Therefore
let us see to it, that it is at once yielded to Him whose right it is;
and let our sorrow that it should have been even for an instant
desecrated to Satan’s use, lead us to entrust it henceforth to our
Lord, to be kept by the power of God through faith for the Master’s
For when the gentleness of Christ dwells in us, He can use the merest
touch of a finger. Have we not heard of one gentle touch on a wayward
shoulder being the turning-point of a life? I have known a case in
which the Master made use of less than that–only the quiver of a
little finger being made the means of touching a wayward heart.
What must the touch of the Master’s own hand have been! One imagines it
very gentle, though so full of power. Can He not communicate both the
power and the gentleness? When He touched the hand of Peter’s wife’s
mother, she arose and ministered unto them. Do you not think the hand
which Jesus had just touched must have ministered very excellently? As
we ask Him to touch our lips with living fire,’ so that they may speak
effectively for Him, may we not ask Him to touch our hands, that they
may minister effectively, and excel in all that they find to do for
Him? Then our hands shall be made strong by the hands of the Mighty God
It is very pleasant to feel that if our hands are indeed our Lord’s, we
may ask Him to guide them, and strengthen them, and teach them. I do
not mean figuratively, but quite literally. In everything they do for
Him (and that should be everything we ever undertake) we want to do it
well–better and better. Seek that ye may excel.’ We are too apt to
think that He has given us certain natural gifts, but has nothing
practically to do with the improvement of them, and leaves us to
ourselves for that. Why not ask him to make these hands of ours more
handy for His service, more skilful in what is indicated as the next
thynge’ they are to do? The kept’ hands need not be clumsy hands. If
the Lord taught David’s hands to war and his fingers to fight, will He
not teach our hands, and fingers too, to do what He would have them do?
The Spirit of God must have taught Bezaleel’s hands as well as his
head, for he was filled with it not only that he might devise cunning
works, but also in cutting of stones and carving of timber. And when
all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, the
hands must have been made skilful as well as the hearts made wise to
prepare the beautiful garments and curtains.
There is a very remarkable instance of the hand of the Lord, which I
suppose signifies in that case the power of His Spirit, being upon the
hand of a man. In 1 Chron. xxviii. 19, we read: All this, said David,
the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, even all
the works of this pattern.’ This cannot well mean that the Lord gave
David a miraculously written scroll, because, a few verses before, it
says that he had it all by the Spirit. So what else can it mean but
that as David wrote, the hand of the Lord was upon his hand, impelling
him to trace, letter by letter, the right words of description for all
the details of the temple that Solomon should build, with its courts
and chambers, its treasuries and vessels? Have we not sometimes sat
down to write, feeling perplexed and ignorant, and wishing some one
were there to tell us what to say? At such a moment, whether it were a
mere note for post, or a sheet for press, it is a great comfort to
recollect this mighty laying of a Divine hand upon a human one, and ask
for the same help from the same Lord. It is sure to be given!
And now, dear friend, what about your own hands? Are they consecrated
to the Lord who loves you? And if they are, are you trusting Him to
keep them, and enjoying all that is involved in that keeping? Do let
this be settled with your Master before you go on to the next chapter.
After all, this question will hinge on another, Do you love Him? If you
really do, there can surely be neither hesitation about yielding them
to Him, nor about entrusting them to Him to be kept. Does He love you?
That is the truer way of putting it; for it is not our love to Christ,
but the love of Christ to us which constraineth us. And this is the
impulse of the motion and the mode of the keeping. The steam-engine
does not move when the fire is not kindled, nor when it is gone out; no
matter how complete the machinery and abundant the fuel, cold coals
will neither set it going nor keep it working. Let us ask Him so to
shed abroad His love in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given
unto us, that it may be the perpetual and only impulse of every action
of our daily life.
Our Feet kept for Jesus.
Keep my feet, that they may be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.’
The figurative keeping of the feet of His saints, with the promise that
when they run they shall not stumble, is a most beautiful and helpful
subject. But it is quite distinct from the literal keeping for Jesus of
our literal feet.
There is a certain homeliness about the idea which helps to make it
very real. These very feet of ours are purchased for Christ’s service
by the precious drops which fell from His own torn and pierced feet
upon the cross. They are to be His errand-runners. How can we let the
world, the flesh, and the devil have the use of what has been purchased
with such payment?
Shall the world’ have the use of them? Shall they carry us where the
world is paramount, and the Master cannot be even named, because the
mention of His Name would be so obviously out of place? I know the
apparent difficulties of a subject which will at once occur in
connection with this, but they all vanish when our bright banner is
loyally unfurled, with its motto, All for Jesus!’ Do you honestly want
your very feet to be kept for Jesus’? Let these simple words, Kept for
Jesus,’ ring out next time the dancing difficulty or any other
difficulty of the same kind comes up, and I know what the result will
Shall the flesh’ have the use of them? Shall they carry us hither and
thither merely because we like to go, merely because it pleases
ourselves to take this walk or pay this visit? And after all, what a
failure it is! If people only would believe it, self-pleasing is always
a failure in the end. Our good Master gives us a reality and fulness of
pleasure in pleasing Him which we never get out of pleasing ourselves.
Shall the devil’ have the use of them? Oh no, of course not! We start
back at this, as a highly unnecessary question. Yet if Jesus has not,
Satan has. For as all are serving either the Prince of Life or the
prince of this world, and as no man can serve two masters, it follows
that if we are not serving the one, we are serving the other. And Satan
is only too glad to disguise this service under the less startling form
of the world, or the still less startling one of self. All that is not
kept for Jesus,’ is left for self or the world, and therefore for
There is no fear but that our Lord will have many uses for what is kept
by Him for Himself. How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad
tidings of good things!’ That is the best use of all; and I expect the
angels think those feet beautiful, even if they are cased in muddy
boots or goloshes.
Once the question was asked, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing
that thou hast no tidings ready?’ So if we want to have these beautiful
feet, we must have the tidings ready which they are to bear. Let us ask
Him to keep our hearts so freshly full of His good news of salvation,
that our mouths may speak out of their abundance. If the clouds be full
of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth.’ The two olive branches
empty the golden oil out of themselves.’ May we be so filled with the
Spirit that we may thus have much to pour out for others!
Besides the great privilege of carrying water from the wells of
salvation, there are plenty of cups of cold water to be carried in all
directions; not to the poor only,–ministries of love are often as much
needed by a rich friend. But the feet must be kept for these; they will
be too tired for them if they are tired out for self-pleasing. In such
services we are treading in the blessed steps of His most holy life,
who went about doing good.’
Then there is literal errand-going,–just to fetch something that is
needed for the household, or something that a tired relative wants,
whether asked or unasked. Such things should come first instead of
last, because these are clearly indicated as our Lord’s will for us to
do, by the position in which He has placed us; while what seems more
direct service, may be after all not so directly apportioned by Him. I
have to go and buy some soap,’ said one with a little sigh. The sigh
was waste of breath, for her feet were going to do her Lord’s will for
that next half-hour much more truly than if they had carried her to her
well-worked district, and left the soap to take its chance.
A member of the Young Women’s Christian Association wrote a few words
on this subject, which, I think, will be welcome to many more than she
expected them to reach:–
May it not be a comfort to those of us who feel we have not the mental
or spiritual power that others have, to notice that the living
sacrifice mentioned in Rom. xii. 1 is our “bodies- Of course, that
includes the mental power, but does it not also include the loving,
sympathizing glance, the kind, encouraging word, the ready errand for
another, the work of our hands, opportunities for all of which come
oftener in the day than for the mental power we are often tempted to
envy? May we be enabled to offer willingly that which we have. For if
there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man
hath, and not according to that he hath not.’
If our feet are to be kept at His disposal, our eyes must be ever
toward the Lord for guidance. We must look to Him for our orders where
to go. Then He will be sure to give them. The steps of a good man are
ordered by the Lord.’ Very often we find that they have been so very
literally ordered for us that we are quite astonished,–just as if He
had not promised!
Do not smile at a very homely thought! If our feet are not our own,
ought we not to take care of them for Him whose they are? Is it quite
right to be reckless about getting wet feet,’ which might be guarded
against either by forethought or afterthought, when there is, at least,
a risk of hindering our service thereby? Does it please the Master when
even in our zeal for His work we annoy anxious friends by carelessness
in little things of this kind?
May every step of our feet be more and more like those of our beloved
Master. Let us continually consider Him in this, and go where He would
have gone, on the errands which He would have done, following hard’
after Him. And let us look on to the time when our feet shall stand in
the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, when holy feet shall tread the
streets of the holy city; no longer pacing any lonely path, for He hath
said, They shall walk with Me in white.’
Sarah Geraldina Stock.
And He hath said, “How beautiful the feet!”
The “feet” so weary, travel-stained, and worn–
The “feet” that humbly, patiently have borne
The toilsome way, the pressure, and the heat.
The “feet,” not hasting on with wingd might,
Nor strong to trample down the opposing foe;
So lowly, and so human, they must go
By painful steps to scale the mountain height.
Not unto all the tuneful lips are given,
The ready tongue, the words so strong and sweet;
Yet all may turn, with humble, willing “feet,”
And bear to darkened souls the light from heaven.
And fall they while the goal far distant lies,
With scarce a word yet spoken for their Lord–
His sweet approval He doth yet accord;
Their “feet” are beauteous in the Master’s eyes.
With weary human “feet” He, day by day,
Once trod this earth to work His acts of love;
And every step is chronicled above
His servants take to follow in His way.’
Our Voices kept for Jesus.
Keep my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King.’
I have wondered a little at being told by an experienced worker, that
in many cases the voice seems the last and hardest thing to yield
entirely to the King; and that many who think and say they have
consecrated all to the Lord and His service, revolt’ when it comes to
be a question of whether they shall sing always, only,’ for their King.
They do not mind singing a few general sacred songs, but they do not
see their way to really singing always and only unto and for Him. They
want to bargain and balance a little. They question and argue about
what proportion they may keep for self-pleasing and company-pleasing,
and how much they must give up’; and who will and who won’t like it;
and what they really must sing,’ and what they really must not sing’ at
certain times and places; and what won’t do,’ and what they can’t very
well help,’ and so on. And so when the question, How much owest thou
unto my Lord?’ is applied to this particularly pleasant gift, it is not
met with the loyal, free-hearted, happy response, All! yes, all for
I know there are special temptations around this matter. Vain and
selfish ones–whispering how much better a certain song suits your
voice, and how much more likely to be admired. Faithless
ones–suggesting doubts whether you can make the holy song go.’
Specious ones–asking whether you ought not to please your neighbours,
and hushing up the rest of the precept, Let every one of you please his
neighbour for his good to edification’ (Rom. xv. 2). Cowardly
ones–telling you that it is just a little too much to expect of you,
and that you are not called upon to wave your banner in people’s very
faces, and provoke surprise and remark, as this might do. And so the
banner is kept furled, the witness for Jesus is not borne, and you sing
for others and not for your King.
The words had passed your lips, Take my voice!’ And yet you will not
let Him have it; you will not let Him have that which costs you
something, just because it costs you something! And yet He lent you
that pleasant voice that you might use it for Him. And yet He, in the
sureness of His perpetual presence, was beside you all the while, and
heard every note as you sang the songs which were, as your inmost heart
knew, not for Him.
Where is your faith? Where is the consecration you have talked about?
The voice has not been kept for Him, because it has not been truly and
unreservedly given to Him. Will you not now say, Take my voice, for I
had not given it to Thee; keep my voice, for I cannot keep it for
And He will keep it! You cannot tell, till you have tried, how surely
all the temptations flee when it is no longer your battle but the
Lord’s; nor how completely and curiously all the difficulties vanish,
when you simply and trustfully go forward in the path of full
consecration in this matter. You will find that the keeping is most
wonderfully real. Do not expect to lay down rules and provide for every
sort of contingency. If you could, you would miss the sweetness of the
continual guidance in the kept’ course. Have only one rule about
it–just to look up to your Master about every single song you are
asked or feel inclined to sing. If you are willing and obedient,’ you
will always meet His guiding eye. He will always keep the voice that is
wholly at His disposal. Soon you will have such experience of His
immediate guidance that you will be utterly satisfied with it, and only
sorrowfully wonder you did not sooner thus simply lean on it.
I have just received a letter from one who has laid her special gift at
the feet of the Giver, yielding her voice to Him with hearty desire
that it might be kept for His use. She writes: I had two lessons on
singing while in Germany from our Master. One was very sweet. A young
girl wrote to me, that when she had heard me sing, “O come, every one
that thirsteth,” she went away and prayed that she might come, and she
did come, too. Is not He good? The other was: I had been tempted to
join the Gesang Verein in N—-. I prayed to be shown whether I was
right in so doing or not. I did not see my way clear, so I went. The
singing was all secular. The very first night I went I caught a bad
cold on my chest, which prevented me from singing again at all till
Christmas. Those were better than any lessons from a singing master!’
Does not this illustrate both the keeping from and the keeping for? In
the latter case I believe she honestly wished to know her Lord’s
will,–whether the training and practice were needed for His better
service with her music, and that, therefore, she might take them for
His sake; or whether the concomitants and influence would be such as to
hinder the close communion with Him which she had found so precious,
and that, therefore, she was to trust Him to give her much more than
this.’ And so, at once, He showed her unmistakeably what He would have
her not do, and gave her the sweet consciousness that He Himself was
teaching her and taking her at her word. I know what her passionate
love for music is, and how very real and great the compensation from
Him must have been which could thus make her right down glad about what
would otherwise have been an immense disappointment. And then, as to
the former of these two lessons,’ the song she names was one
substituted when she said, Take my voice,’ for some which were far more
effective for her voice. But having freely chosen to sing what might
glorify the Master rather than the singer, see how, almost immediately,
He gave her a reward infinitely outweighing all the drawing-room
compliments or concert-room applause! That one consecrated song found
echoes in heaven, bringing, by its blessed result, joy to the angels
and glory to God. And the memory of that song is immortal; it will live
through ages to come, never lost, never dying away, when the vocal
triumphs of the world’s greatest singers are past and forgotten for
ever. Now you who have been taking a half-and-half course, do you get
such rewards as this? You may well envy them! But why not take the same
decided course, and share the same blessed keeping and its fulness of
If you only knew, dear hesitating friends, what strength and gladness
the Master gives when we loyally sing forth the honour of His Name,’
you would not forego it! Oh, if you only knew the difficulties it
saves! For when you sing always and only for your King,’ you will not
get much entangled by the King’s enemies, Singing an out-and-out sacred
song often clears one’s path at a stroke as to many other things. If
you only knew the rewards He gives–very often then and there; the
recognition that you are one of the King’s friends by some lonely and
timid one; the openings which you quite naturally gain of speaking a
word for Jesus to hearts which, without the song, would never have
given you the chance of the word! If you only knew the joy of believing
that His sure promise, My Word shall not return unto Me void,’ will be
fulfilled as you sing that word for Him! If you only tasted the solemn
happiness of knowing that you have indeed a royal audience, that the
King Himself is listening as you sing! If you only knew–and why should
you not know? Shall not the time past of your life suffice you for the
miserable, double-hearted, calculating service? Let Him have the whole
use of your voice at any cost, and see if He does not put many a
totally unexpected new song into your mouth!
I am not writing all this to great and finished singers, but to
everybody who can sing at all. Those who think they have only a very
small talent, are often most tempted not to trade with it for their
Lord. Whether you have much or little natural voice, there is reason
for its cultivation and room for its use. Place it at your Lord’s
disposal, and He will show you how to make the most of it for Him; for
not seldom His multiplying power is brought to bear on a consecrated
voice. A puzzled singing master, very famous in his profession, said to
one who tried to sing for Jesus, Well, you have not much voice; but,
mark my words, you will always beat anybody with four times your
voice!’ He was right, though he did not in the least know why.
A great many so-called sacred songs’ are so plaintive and pathetic that
they help to give a gloomy idea of religion. Now don’t sing these; come
out boldly, and sing definitely and unmistakeably for your King, and of
your King, and to your King. You will soon find, and even outsiders
will have to own, that it is a good thing thus to show forth His
loving-kindness and His faithfulness (see Ps. xcii. 1-3).
Here I am usually met by the query, But what would you advise me to
sing?’ I can only say that I never got any practical help from asking
any one but the Master Himself, and so I would advise you to do the
same! He knows exactly what will best suit your voice and enable you to
sing best for Him; for He made it, and gave it just the pitch and tone
He pleased, so, of course, He is the best counsellor about it. Refer
your question in simplest faith to Him, and I am perfectly sure you
will find it answered. He will direct you, and in some way or other the
Lord will provide the right songs for you to sing. That is the very
best advice I can possibly give you on the subject, and you will prove
it to be so if you will act upon it.
Only one thing I would add: I believe there is nothing like singing His
own words. The preacher claims the promise, My word shall not return
unto Me void,’ and why should not the singer equally claim it? Why
should we use His own inspired words, with faith in their power, when
speaking or writing, and content ourselves with human words put into
rhyme (and sometimes very feeble rhyme) for our singing?
What a vista of happy work opens out here! What is there to prevent our
using this mightiest of all agencies committed to human agents, the
Word, which is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged
sword, whenever we are asked to sing? By this means, even a young girl
may be privileged to make that Word sound in the ears of many who would
not listen to it otherwise. By this, the incorruptible seed may be sown
in otherwise unreachable ground.
It is a remarkable fact that it is actually the easiest way thus to
take the very highest ground. You will find that singing Bible words
does not excite the prejudice or contempt that any other words,
sufficiently decided to be worth singing, are almost sure to do. For
very decency’s sake, a Bible song will be listened to respectfully; and
for very shame’s sake, no adverse whisper will be ventured against the
words in ordinary English homes. The singer is placed on a
vantage-ground, certain that at least the words of the song will be
outwardly respected, and the possible ground of unfriendly criticism
thus narrowed to begin with.
But there is much more than this. One feels the power of His words for
oneself as one sings. One loves them and rejoices in them, and what can
be greater help to any singer than that? And one knows they are true,
and that they cannot really return void, and what can give greater
confidence than that? God may bless the singing of any words, but He
must bless the singing of His own Word, if that promise means what it
The only real difficulty in the matter is that Scripture songs, as a
rule, require a little more practice than others. Then practise them a
little more! You think nothing of the trouble of learning, for
instance, a sonata, which takes you many a good hour’s practice before
you can render it perfectly and expressively. But you shrink from a
song, the accompaniment of which you cannot read off without any
trouble at all. And you never think of such a thing as taking one-tenth
the pains to learn that accompaniment that you took to learn that
sonata! Very likely, too, you take the additional pains to learn the
sonata off by heart, so that you may play it more effectively. But you
do not take pains to learn your accompaniment by heart, so that you may
throw all your power into the expression of the words, undistracted by
reading the notes and turning over the leaves. It is far more useful to
have half a dozen Scripture songs thoroughly learnt and made your own,
than to have in your portfolios several dozen easy settings of sacred
poetry which you get through with your eyes fixed on the notes. And
every one thus thoroughly mastered makes it easier to master others.
You will say that all this refers only to drawing-room singing. So it
does, primarily, but then it is the drawing-room singing which has been
so little for Jesus and so much for self and society; and so much less
has been said about it, and so much less done. There would not be half
the complaints of the difficulty of witnessing for Christ in even
professedly Christian homes and circles, if every converted singer were
also a consecrated one. For nothing raises or lowers the tone of a
whole evening so much as the character of the music. There are few
things which show more clearly that, as a rule, a very definite step in
advance is needed beyond being a believer or even a worker for Christ.
Over how many grand or cottage pianos could the Irish Society’s motto,
For Jesus’ sake only,’ be hung, without being either a frequent
reproach, or altogether inappropriate?
But what is learnt will, naturally, be sung. And oh! how many Christian
parents give their daughters the advantage of singing lessons without
troubling themselves in the least about what songs are learnt, provided
they are not exceptionally foolish! Still more pressingly I would say,
how many Christian principals, to whom young lives are entrusted at the
most important time of all for training, do not give themselves the
least concern about this matter! As I write, I turn aside to refer to a
list of songs learnt last term by a fresh young voice which would
willingly be trained for higher work. There is just one sacred’ song in
the whole long list, and even that hardly such a one as the writer of
the letter above quoted would care to sing in her fervent-spirited
service of Christ. All the rest are harmless and pleasing, but only
suggestive of the things of earth, the things of the world that is
passing away; not one that might lead upward and onward, not one that
might touch a careless heart to seek first the kingdom of God, not one
that might show forth the glory and praise of our King, not one that
tells out His grace and love, not one that carries His comfort to His
weary ones or His joy to His loving ones. She is left to find and learn
such songs as best she may; those which she will sing with all the ease
and force gained by good teaching of them are no help at all, but
rather hindrance in anything like wish or attempt to sing for Jesus.’
There is not the excuse that the songs of God’s kingdom, songs which
waft His own words to the souls around, would not have answered the
teacher’s purpose as well. God has taken care of that. He has not left
Himself without witness in this direction. He has given the most
perfect melodies and the richest harmonies to be linked with His own
words, and no singer can be trained beyond His wonderful provision in
this way. I pray that even these poor words of mine may reach the
consciences of some of those who have this responsibility, and lead
them to be no longer unfaithful in this important matter, no longer
giving this strangely divided service–training, as they profess to
desire, the souls for God, and yet allowing the voices to be trained
only for the world.
But we must not run away with the idea that singing sacred songs and
singing for Jesus are convertible terms. I know by sorrowful personal
experience that it is very possible to sing a sacred song and not sing
it for Jesus. It is easier to have one’s portfolio all right than one’s
heart, and the repertory is more easily arranged than the motives. When
we have taken our side, and the difficulties of indecision are
consequently swept away, we have a new set of more subtle temptations
to encounter. And although the Master will keep, the servant must watch
and pray; and it is through the watching and the praying that the
keeping will be effectual. We have, however, rather less excuse here
than even elsewhere. For we never have to sing so very suddenly that we
need be taken unawares. We have to think what to sing, and perhaps find
the music, and the prelude has to be played, and all this gives quite
enough time for us to recollect whose we are and whom we serve, and to
arouse to the watch. Quite enough, too, for quick, trustful prayer that
our singing may be kept free from that wretched self-seeking or even
self-consciousness, and kept entirely for Jesus. Our best and happiest
singing will flow when there is a sweet, silent undercurrent of
prayerful or praiseful communion with our Master all through the song.
As for nervousness, I am quite sure this is the best antidote to that.
On the other hand, it is quite possible to sing for Jesus without
singing a sacred song. Do not take an ell for the inch this seems to
give, and run off with the idea that it does not matter after all what
you sing, so that you sing in a good frame of mind! No such thing! And
the admission needs very careful guarding, and must not be wrested into
an excuse for looking back to the world’s songs. But cases may and do
arise in which it may be right to gratify a weary father, or win a
wayward brother, by trying to please them with music to which they will
listen when they would not listen to the songs you would rather sing.
There are cases in which this may be done most truly for the Lord’s
sake, and clearly under His guidance.
Sometimes cases arise in which we can only say, Neither know we what to
do, but our eyes are upon Thee.’ And when we honestly say that, depend
upon it we shall find the promise true, I will guide thee with Mine
eye.’ For God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above
that ye are able, but will, with the temptation, also make a way (Gr.
the way) to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
I do not know why it should be so, but it certainly is a much rarer
thing to find a young gentleman singing for Jesus than a young lady,–a
very rare thing to find one with a cultivated voice consecrating it to
the Master’s use. I have met some who were not ashamed to speak for
Him, to whom it never seemed even to occur to sing for Him. They would
go and teach a Bible class one day, and the next they would be
practising or performing just the same songs as those who care nothing
for Christ and His blood-bought salvation. They had left some things
behind, but they had not left any of their old songs behind. They do
not seem to think that being made new creatures in Christ Jesus had
anything to do with this department of their lives. Nobody could gather
whether they were on the Lord’s side or not, as they stood and sang
their neutral songs. The banner that was displayed in the class-room
was furled in the drawing-room. Now, my friends, you who have or may
have far greater opportunities of displaying that banner than we
womenkind, why should you be less brave and loyal than your sisters? We
are weak and you are strong naturally, but recollect that want of
decision always involves want of power, and compromising Christians are
always weak Christians. You will never be mighty to the pulling down of
strongholds while you have one foot in the enemy’s camp, or on the
supposed neutral ground, if such can exist (which I doubt), between the
camps. You will never be a terror to the devil till you have enlisted
every gift and faculty on the Lord’s side. Here is a thing in which you
may practically carry out the splendid motto, All for Jesus.’ You
cannot be all for Him as long as your voice is not for Him. Which shall
it be? All for Him, or partly for Him? Answer that to Him whom you call
Master and Lord.
When once this drawing-room question is settled, there is not much need
to expatiate about other forms of singing for Jesus. As we have
opportunity we shall be willing to do good with our pleasant gift in
any way or place, and it is wonderful what nice opportunities He makes
for us. Whether to one little sick child or to a thousand listeners,
according to the powers and openings granted, we shall take our happy
position among those who minister with singing (1 Chron. vi. 32). And
in so far as we really do this unto the Lord, I am quite sure He gives
the hundred-fold now in this present time more than all the showy songs
or self-gratifying performances we may have left for His sake. As we
steadily tread this part of the path of consecration, we shall find the
difficulties left behind, and the real pleasantness of the way reached,
and it will be a delight to say to oneself, I cannot sing the old
songs;’ and though you have thought it quite enough to say, With my
song will I please my friends,’ especially if they happen to be pleased
with a mildly sacred song or two, you will strike a higher and happier,
a richer and purer note, and say with David, With my song will I praise
Him.’ David said also, My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto
Thee, and my soul, which Thou hast redeemed.’ And you will find that
this comes true.
Singing for Jesus, our Saviour and King;
Singing for Jesus, the Lord whom we love!
All adoration we joyously bring,
Longing to praise as they praise Him above.
Singing for Jesus, our Master and Friend,
Telling His love and His marvellous grace,–
Love from eternity, love to the end,
Love for the loveless, the sinful, and base.
Singing for Jesus, and trying to win
Many to love Him, and join in the song;
Calling the weary and wandering in,
Rolling the chorus of gladness along.
Singing for Jesus, our Life and our Light;
Singing for Him as we press to the mark;
Singing for Him when the morning is bright;
Singing, still singing, for Him in the dark!
Singing for Jesus, our Shepherd and Guide;
Singing for gladness of heart that He gives;
Singing for wonder and praise that He died;
Singing for blessing and joy that He lives!
Singing for Jesus, oh, singing with joy;
Thus will we praise Him, and tell out His love,
Till He shall call us to brighter employ,
Singing for Jesus for ever above.
Our Lips kept for Jesus.
Keep my lips, that they may be
Filled with messages from Thee.’
The days are past for ever when we said, Our lips are our own.’ Now we
know that they are not our own.
And yet how many of my readers often have the miserable consciousness
that they have spoken unadvisedly with their lips’! How many pray, Keep
the door of my lips,’ when the very last thing they think of expecting
is that they will be kept! They deliberately make up their minds that
hasty words, or foolish words, or exaggerated words, according to their
respective temptations, must and will slip out of that door, and that
it can’t be helped. The extent of the real meaning of their prayer was
merely that not quite so many might slip out. As their faith went no
farther, the answer went no farther, and so the door was not kept.
Do let us look the matter straight in the face. Either we have
committed our lips to our Lord, or we have not. This question must be
settled first. If not, oh, do not let another hour pass! Take them to
Jesus, and ask Him to take them.
But when you have committed them to Him, it comes to this,–is He able
or is He not able to keep that which you have committed to Him? If He
is not able, of course you may as well give up at once, for your own
experience has abundantly proved that you are not able, so there is no
help for you. But if He is able–nay, thank God there is no if’ on this
side!–say, rather, as He is able, where was this inevitable necessity
of perpetual failure? You have been fancying yourself virtually doomed
and fated to it, and therefore you have gone on in it, while all the
time His arm was not shortened that it could not save, but you have
been limiting the Holy One of Israel. Honestly, now, have you trusted
Him to keep your lips this day? Trust necessarily implies expectation
that what we have entrusted will be kept. If you have not expected Him
to keep, you have not trusted. You may have tried, and tried very hard,
but you have not trusted, and therefore you have not been kept, and
your lips have been the snare of your soul (Prov. xviii. 7).
Once I heard a beautiful prayer which I can never forget; it was this:
Lord, take my lips, and speak through them; take my mind, and think
through it; take my heart, and set it on fire.’ And this is the way the
Master keeps the lips of His servants, by so filling their hearts with
His love that the outflow cannot be unloving, by so filling their
thoughts that the utterance cannot be un-Christ-like. There must be
filling before there can be pouring out; and if there is filling, there
must be pouring out, for He hath said, Out of the abundance of the
heart the mouth speaketh.’
But I think we should look for something more direct and definite than
this. We are not all called to be the King’s ambassadors, but all who
have heard the messages of salvation for themselves are called to be
the Lord’s messengers,’ and day by day, as He gives us opportunity, we
are to deliver the Lord’s message unto the people.’ That message, as
committed to Haggai, was, I am with you, saith the Lord.’ Is there not
work enough for any lifetime in unfolding and distributing that one
message to His own people? Then, for those who are still far off, we
have that equally full message from our Lord to give out, which He has
condensed for us into the one word, Come!’
It is a specially sweet part of His dealings with His messengers that
He always gives us the message for ourselves first. It is what He has
first told us in darkness–that is, in the secrecy of our own rooms, or
at least of our own hearts–that He bids us speak in light. And so the
more we sit at His feet and watch to see what He has to say to
ourselves, the more we shall have to tell to others. He does not send
us out with sealed despatches, which we know nothing about, and with
which we have no concern.
There seems a seven-fold sequence in His filling the lips of His
messengers. First, they must be purified. The live coal from off the
altar must be laid upon them, and He must say, Lo, this hath touched
thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is purged.’
Then He will create the fruit of them, and this seems to be the great
message of peace, Peace to him that is far off, and to him that is
near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him’ (see Isa. lvii. 19). Then
comes the prayer, O Lord, open Thou my lips,’ and its sure fulfilment.
For then come in the promises, Behold, I have put My words in thy
mouth,’ and, They shall withal be fitted in thy lips.’ Then, of course,
the lips of the righteous feed many,’ for the food is the Lord’s own
giving. Everything leads up to praise, and so we come next to My mouth
shall praise Thee with joyful lips, when I remember Thee.’ And lest we
should fancy that when’ rather implies that it is not, or cannot be,
exactly always, we find that the meditation of Jesus throws this added
light upon it, By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise
to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to’
(margin, confessing) His name.’
Does it seem a coming down from the mount to glance at one of our
King’s commandments, which is specially needful and applicable to this
matter of our lips being kept for Him? Watch and pray, that ye enter
not into temptation.’ None of His commands clash with or supersede one
another. Trusting does not supersede watching; it does but complete and
effectuate it. Unwatchful trust is a delusion, and untrustful watching
is in vain. Therefore let us not either wilfully or carelessly enter
into temptation, whether of place, or person, or topic, which has any
tendency to endanger the keeping of our lips for Jesus. Let us pray
that grace may be more and more poured into our lips as it was into
His, so that our speech may be alway with grace. May they be pure, and
sweet, and lovely, even as His lips, like lilies, dropping
We can hardly consider the keeping of our lips without recollecting
that upon them, more than all else (though not exclusively of all
else), depends that greatest of our responsibilities, our influence. We
have no choice in the matter; we cannot evade or avoid it; and there is
no more possibility of our limiting it, or even tracing its limits,
than there is of setting a bound to the far-vibrating sound-waves, or
watching their flow through the invisible air. Not one sentence that
passes these lips of ours but must be an invisibly prolonged influence,
not dying away into silence, but living away into the words and deeds
of others. The thought would not be quite so oppressive if we could
know what we have done and shall be continuing to do by what we have
said. But we never can, as a matter of fact. We may trace it a little
way, and get a glimpse of some results for good or evil; but we never
can see any more of it than we can see of a shooting star flashing
through the night with a momentary revelation of one step of its
strange path. Even if the next instant plunges it into apparent
annihilation as it strikes the atmosphere of the earth, we know that it
is not really so, but that its mysterious material and force must be
added to the complicated materials and forces with which it has come in
contact, with a modifying power none the less real because it is beyond
our ken. And this is not comparing a great thing with a small, but a
small thing with a great. For what is material force compared with
moral force? what are gases, and vapours, and elements, compared with
souls and the eternity for which they are preparing?
We all know that there is influence exerted by a person’s mere
presence, without the utterance of a single word. We are conscious of
this every day. People seem to carry an atmosphere with them, which
must be breathed by those whom they approach. Some carry an atmosphere
in which all unkind thoughts shrivel up and cannot grow into
expression. Others carry one in which thoughts of Christ and things
divine’ never seem able to flourish. Have you not felt how a happy
conversation about the things we love best is checked, or even
strangled, by the entrance of one who is not in sympathy? Outsiders
have not a chance of ever really knowing what delightful intercourse we
have one with another about these things, because their very presence
chills and changes it. On the other hand, how another person’s incoming
freshens and develops it and warms us all up, and seems to give us,
without the least conscious effort, a sort of lift!
If even unconscious and involuntary influence is such a power, how much
greater must it be when the recognised power of words is added!
It has often struck me as a matter of observation, that open profession
adds force to this influence, on whichever side it weighs; and also
that it has the effect of making many a word and act, which might in
other hands have been as nearly neutral as anything can be, tell with
by no means neutral tendency on the wrong side. The question of Eliphaz
comes with great force when applied to one who desires or professes to
be consecrated altogether, life and lips: Should he reason with
unprofitable talk, and with speeches wherewith one can do no good?’
There is our standard! Idle words, which might have fallen
comparatively harmlessly from one who had never named the Name of
Christ, may be a stumbling-block to inquirers, a sanction to
thoughtless juniors, and a grief to thoughtful seniors, when they come
from lips which are professing to feed many. Even intelligent talk on
general subjects by such a one may be a chilling disappointment to some
craving heart, which had indulged the hope of getting help, comfort, or
instruction in the things of God by listening to the conversation. It
may be a lost opportunity of giving and gaining no one knows how much!
How well I recollect this disappointment to myself, again and again,
when a mere child! In those early seeking days I never could understand
why, sometimes, a good man whom I heard preach or speak as if he loved
Christ very much, talked about all sorts of other things when he came
back from church or missionary meeting. I did so wish he would have
talked about the Saviour, whom I wanted, but had not found. It would
have been so much more interesting even to the apparently thoughtless
and merry little girl. How could he help it, I wondered, if he cared
for that Pearl of Great Price as I was sure I should care for it if I
could only find it! And oh, why didn’t they ever talk to me about it,
instead of about my lessons or their little girls at home? They did not
know how their conversation was observed and compared with their sermon
or speech, and how a hungry little soul went empty away from the supper
The lips of younger Christians may cause, in their turn, no less
disappointment. One sorrowful lesson I can never forget; and I will
tell the story in hope that it may save others from causes of similar
regret. During a summer visit just after I had left school, a class of
girls about my own age came to me a few times for an hour’s singing. It
was very pleasant indeed, and the girls were delighted with the hymns.
They listened to all I had to say about time and expression, and not
with less attention to the more shyly-ventured remarks about the words.
Sometimes I accompanied them afterwards down the avenue; and whenever I
met any of them I had smiles and plenty of kindly words for each, which
they seemed to appreciate immensely. A few years afterwards I sat by
the bedside of one of these girls–the most gifted of them all with
both heart and head. She had been led by a wonderful way, and through
long and deep suffering, into far clearer light than I enjoyed, and had
witnessed for Christ in more ways than one, and far more brightly than
I had ever done. She told me how sorrowfully and eagerly she was
seeking Jesus at the time of those singing classes. And I never knew
it, because I never asked, and she was too shy to speak first! But she
told me more, and every word was a pang to me,–how she used to linger
in the avenue on those summer evenings, longing that I would speak to
her about the Saviour; how she hoped, week after week, that I would
just stretch out a hand to help her, just say one little word that
might be God’s message of peace to her, instead of the pleasant,
general remarks about the nice hymns and tunes. And I never did! And
she went on for months, I think for years, after, without the light and
gladness which it might have been my privilege to bring to her life.
God chose other means, for the souls that He has given to Christ cannot
be lost because of the unfaithfulness of a human instrument. But she
said, and the words often ring in my ears when I am tempted to let an
opportunity slip, Ah, Miss F., I ought to have been yours!’
Yes, it is true enough that we should show forth His praise not only
with our lips, but in our lives; but with very many Christians the
other side of the prayer wants praying–they want rousing up even to
wish to show it forth not only in their lives but with their lips. I
wonder how many, even of those who read this, really pray, O Lord, open
Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.’
And when opened, oh, how much one does want to have them so kept for
Jesus that He may be free to make the most of them, not letting them
render second-rate and indirect service when they might be doing direct
and first-rate service to His cause and kingdom! It is terrible how
much less is done for Him than might be done, in consequence of the
specious notion that if what we are doing or saying is not bad, we are
doing good in a certain way, and therefore may be quite easy about it.
We should think a man rather foolish if he went on doing work which
earned five shillings a week, when he might just as well do work in the
same establishment and under the same master which would bring him in
five pounds a week. But we should pronounce him shamefully dishonest
and dishonourable if he accepted such handsome wages as the five
pounds, and yet chose to do work worth only five shillings, excusing
himself by saying that it was work all the same, and somebody had
better do it. Do we not act something like this when we take the lower
standard, and spend our strength in just making ourselves agreeable and
pleasant, creating a general good impression in favour of religion,
showing that we can be all things to all men, and that one who is
supposed to be a citizen of the other world can be very well up in all
that concerns this world? This may be good, but is there nothing
better? What does it profit if we do make this favourable impression on
an outsider, if we go no farther and do not use the influence gained to
bring him right inside the fold, inside the only ark of safety? People
are not converted by this sort of work; at any rate, I never met or
heard of any one. He thinks it better for his quiet influence to tell!’
said an affectionately excusing relative of one who had plenty of
special opportunities of soul-winning, if he had only used his lips as
well as his life for his Master. And how many souls have been converted
to God by his “quiet influence” all these years?’ was my reply. And to
that there was no answer! For the silent shining was all very beautiful
in theory, but not one of the many souls placed specially under his
influence had been known to be brought out of darkness into marvellous
light. If they had, they must have been known, for such light can’t
help being seen.
When one has even a glimmer of the tremendous difference between having
Christ and being without Christ; when one gets but one shuddering
glimpse of what eternity is, and of what it must mean, as well as what
it may mean, without Christ; when one gets but a flash of realization
of the tremendous fact that all these neighbours of ours, rich and poor
alike, will have to spend that eternity either with Him or without
Him,–it is hard, very hard indeed, to understand how a man or woman
can believe these things at all, and make no effort for anything beyond
the temporal elevation of those around, sometimes not even beyond their
amusements! People must have entertainment,’ they urge. I do not find
that must in the Bible, but I do find, We must all stand before the
judgment-seat of Christ.’ And if you have any sort of belief in that,
how can you care to use those lips of yours, which might be a fountain
of life to the dying souls before you, merely to entertain’ them at
your penny reading or other entertainment? As you sow, so you reap. The
amusing paper is read, or the lively ballad recited, or the popular
song sung, and you reap your harvest of laughter or applause, and of
complacence at your success in entertaining’ the people. And there it
ends, when you might have sown words from which you and they should
reap fruit unto life eternal. Is this worthy work for one who has been
bought with such a price that he must say,
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all’?
So far from yielding all’ to that rightful demand of amazing love, he
does not even yield the fruit of his lips to it, much less the lips
themselves. I cannot refrain from adding, that even this lower aim of
entertaining’ is by no means so appreciated as is supposed. As a
cottager of no more than average sense and intelligence remarked, It
was all so trifling at the reading; I wish gentlefolks would believe
that poor people like something better than what’s just to make them
laugh.’ After all, nothing really pays like direct, straightforward,
uncompromising words about God and His works and word. Nothing else
ever made a man say, as a poor Irishman did when he heard the Good News
for the first time, Thank ye, sir; you’ve taken the hunger off us
Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord; what about ours? Well,
they are all uttered before the Lord in one sense, whether we will or
no; for there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, Thou, O Lord, knowest
it altogether! How solemn is this thought, but how sweet does it become
when our words are uttered consciously before the Lord as we walk in
the light of His perpetual presence! Oh that we may so walk, that we
may so speak, with kept feet and kept lips, trustfully praying, Let the
meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth be alway acceptable in
Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer!’
Bearing in mind that it is not only the words which pass their
lightly-hinged portal, but our literal lips which are to be kept for
Jesus, it cannot be out of place, before closing this chapter, to
suggest that they open both ways. What passes in should surely be
considered as well as what passes out. And very many of us are
beginning to see that the command, Whether ye eat or drink, or
whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,’ is not fully obeyed when
we drink, merely because we like it, what is the very greatest obstacle
to that glory in this realm of England. What matter that we prefer
taking it in a more refined form, if the thing itself is daily and
actively and mightily working misery, and crime, and death, and
destruction to thousands, till the cry thereof seems as if it must
pierce the very heavens! And so it does–sooner, a great deal, than it
pierces the walls of our comfortable dining-room! I only say here, you
who have said, Take my lips,’ stop and repeat that prayer next time you
put that to your lips which is binding men and women hand and foot, and
delivering them over, helpless, to Satan! Let those words pass once
more from your heart out through your lips, and I do not think you will
feel comfortable in letting the means of such infernal work pass in
Our Silver and Gold Kept for Jesus.
Keep my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.’
The silver and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts.’ Yes, every
coin we have is literally our Lord’s money.’ Simple belief of this fact
is the stepping-stone to full consecration of what He has given us,
whether much or little.
Then you mean to say we are never to spend anything on ourselves?’ Not
so. Another fact must be considered,–the fact that our Lord has given
us our bodies as a special personal charge, and that we are responsible
for keeping these bodies, according to the means given and the work
required, in working order for Him. This is part of our own work.’ A
master entrusts a workman with a delicate machine, with which his
appointed work is to be done. He also provides him with a sum of money
with which he is to procure all that may be necessary for keeping the
machine in thorough repair. Is it not obvious that it is the man’s
distinct duty to see to this faithfully? Would he not be failing in
duty if he chose to spend it all on something for somebody else’s work,
or on a present for his master, fancying that would please him better,
while the machine is creaking and wearing for want of a little oil, or
working badly for want of a new band or screw? Just so, we are to spend
what is really needful on ourselves, because it is our charge to do so;
but not for ourselves, because we are not our own, but our Master’s. He
who knoweth our frame, knows its needs of rest and medicine, food and
clothing; and the procuring of these for our own entrusted bodies
should be done just as much for Jesus’ as the greater pleasure of
procuring them for some one else. Therefore there need be no quibbling
over the assertion that consecration is not real and complete while we
are looking upon a single shilling as our own to do what we like with.
Also the principle is exactly the same, whether we are spending pence
or pounds; it is our Lord’s money, and must not be spent without
reference to Him.
When we have asked Him to take, and continually trust Him to keep our
money, shopping’ becomes a different thing. We look up to our Lord for
guidance to lay out His money prudently and rightly, and as He would
have us lay it out. The gift or garment is selected consciously under
His eye, and with conscious reference to Him as our own dear Master,
for whose sake we shall give it, or in whose service we shall wear it,
and whose own silver or gold we shall pay for it, and then it is all
But have you found out that it is one of the secrets of the Lord, that
when any of His dear children turn aside a little bit after having once
entered the blessed path of true and conscious consecration, He is sure
to send them some little punishment? He will not let us go back without
a sharp, even if quite secret, reminder. Go and spend ever such a
little without reference to Him after you have once pledged the silver
and gold entirely to Him, and see if you are not in some way rebuked
for it! Very often by being permitted to find that you have made a
mistake in your purchase, or that in some way it does not prosper. If
you observe these things,’ you will find that the more closely we are
walking with our Lord, the more immediate and unmistakeable will be His
gracious rebukes when we swerve in any detail of the full consecration
to which He has called us. And if you have already experienced and
recognised this part of His personal dealing with us, you will know
also how we love and bless Him for it.
There is always a danger that just because we say all,’ we may
practically fall shorter than if we had only said some,’ but said it
very definitely. God recognises this, and provides against it in many
departments. For instance, though our time is to be all’ for Him, yet
He solemnly sets apart the one day in seven which is to be specially
for Him. Those who think they know better than God, and profess that
every day is a Sabbath, little know what floodgates of temptation they
are opening by being so very wise above what is written. God knows
best, and that should be quite enough for every loyal heart. So, as to
money, though we place it all at our Lord’s disposal, and rejoice to
spend it all for Him directly or indirectly, yet I am quite certain it
is a great help and safeguard, and, what is more, a matter of simple
obedience to the spirit of His commands, to set aside a definite and
regular proportion of our income or receipts for His direct service. It
is a great mistake to suppose that the law of giving the tenth to God
is merely Levitical. Search and look’ for yourselves, and you will find
that it is, like the Sabbath, a far older rule, running all through the
Bible,  and endorsed, not abrogated, by Christ Himself. For,
speaking of tithes, He said, These ought ye to have done, and not to
leave the other undone.’ To dedicate the tenth of whatever we have is
mere duty; charity begins beyond it; free-will offerings and
thank-offerings beyond that again.
First-fruits, also, should be thus specially set apart. This, too, we
find running all through the Bible. There is a tacit appeal to our
gratitude in the suggestion of them,–the very word implies bounty
received and bounty in prospect. Bringing the first of the first-fruits
into the house of the Lord thy God,’ was like saying grace’ for all the
plenty He was going to bestow on the faithful Israelite. Something of
gladness, too, seems always implied. The day of the first-fruits’ was
to be a day of rejoicing (compare Num. xxviii. 26 with Deut. xvi. 10,
11). There is also an appeal to loyalty: we are commanded to honour the
Lord with the first-fruits of all our increase. And that is the way to
prosper, for the next word is, So shall thy barns be filled with
plenty.’ The friend who first called my attention to this command, said
that the setting apart first-fruits–making a proportion for God’s work
a first charge upon the income–always seemed to bring a blessing on
the rest, and that since this had been systematically done, it actually
seemed to go farther than when not thus lessened.
Presenting our first-fruits should be a peculiarly delightful act, as
they are themselves the emblem of our consecrated relationship to God.
For of His own will begat He us by the word of truth, that we should be
a kind of first-fruits of His creatures. How sweet and hallowed and
richly emblematic our little acts of obedience in this matter become,
when we throw this light upon them! And how blessedly they may remind
us of the heavenly company, singing, as it were, a new song before the
throne; for they are the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb.
Perhaps we shall find no better plan of detailed and systematic setting
apart than the New Testament one: Upon the first day of the week let
every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.’ The
very act of literally fulfilling this apostolic command seems to bring
a blessing with it, as all simple obedience does. I wish, dear friends,
you would try it! You will find it a sweet reminder on His own day of
this part of your consecration. You will find it an immense help in
making the most of your little charities. The regular inflow will guide
the outflow, and ensure your always having something for any sudden
call for your Master’s poor or your Master’s cause. Do not say you are
afraid you could not keep to it.’ What has a consecrated life to do
with being afraid’? Some of us could tell of such sweet and singular
lessons of trust in this matter, that they are written in golden
letters of love on our memories. Of course there will be trials of our
faith in this, as well as in everything else. But every trial of our
faith is but a trial of His faithfulness, and is much more precious
than gold which perisheth.’
What about self-denial?’ some reader will say. Consecration does not
supersede this, but transfigures it. Literally, a consecrated life is
and must be a life of denial of self. But all the effort and pain of it
is changed into very delight. We love our Master; we know, surely and
absolutely, that He is listening and watching our every word and way,
and that He has called us to the privilege of walking worthy of the
Lord unto all pleasing.’ And in so far as this is a reality to us, the
identical things which are still self-denial in one sense, become
actual self-delight in another. It may be self-denial to us to turn
away from something within reach of our purse which it would be very
convenient or pleasant to possess. But if the Master lifted the veil,
and revealed Himself standing at our side, and let us hear His audible
voice asking us to reserve the price of it for His treasury, should we
talk about self-denial then? Should we not be utterly ashamed to think
of it? or rather, should we, for one instant, think about self or
self-denial at all? Would it not be an unimaginable joy to do what He
asked us to do with that money? But as long as His own unchangeable
promise stands written in His word for us, Lo, I am with you alway,’ we
may be sure that He is with us, and that His eye is as certainly on our
opened or half-opened purse as it was on the treasury, when He sat over
against it and saw the two mites cast in. So let us do our shopping as
seeing Him who is invisible.’
It is important to remember that there is no much or little in God’s
sight, except as relatively to our means and willingness. For if there
be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath,
and not according to that he hath not.’ He knows what we have not, as
well as what we have. He knows all about the low wages in one sphere,
and the small allowance, or the fixed income with rising prices in
another. And it is not a question of paying to God what can be screwed
out of these, but of giving Him all, and then holding all at His
disposal, and taking His orders about the disposal of all.
But I do not see at all how self-indulgence and needless extravagance
can possibly co-exist with true consecration. If we really never do go
without anything for the Lord’s sake, but, just because He has
graciously given us means, always supply for ourselves not only every
need but every notion,’ I think it is high time we looked into the
matter before God. Why should only those who have limited means have
the privilege of offering to their Lord that which has really cost them
something to offer? Observe, it is not merely going without something
we would naturally like to have or do, but going without it for Jesus’
sake. Not, I will go without it, because, after all, I can’t very well
afford it;’ or, because I really ought to subscribe to so and so;’ or,
because I daresay I shall be glad I have not spent the money:’ but, I
will do without it, because I do want to do a little more for Him who
so loves me–just that much more than I could do if I did this other
thing.’ I fancy this is more often the heart language of those who have
to cut and contrive, than of those who are able to give liberally
without any cutting and contriving at all. The very abundance of God’s
good gifts too often hinders from the privilege and delight of really
doing without something superfluous or comfortable or usual, that they
may give just that much more to their Lord. What a pity!
The following quotation may (I hope it will), touch some conscience:–A
gentleman once told us that his wine bill was 100 a year–more than
enough to keep a Scripture reader always at work in some populous
district. And it is one of the countless advantages of total abstinence
that it at once sets free a certain amount of money for such work.
Smoking, too, is a habit not only injurious to the health in a vast
majority of cases, and, to our mind, very unbecoming in a “temple of
the Holy Ghost,” but also one which squanders money which might be used
for the Lord. Expenses in dress might in most people be curtailed;
expensive tastes should be denied; and simplicity in all habits of life
should be a mark of the followers of Him who had not where to lay His
And again: The self-indulgence of wealthy Christians, who might largely
support the Lord’s work with what they lavish upon their houses, their
tables, or their personal expenditure, is very sad to see.’ 
Here the question of jewellery seems to come in. Perhaps it was an
instance of the gradual showing of the details of consecration,
illustrated on page 21, but I will confess that when I wrote Take my
silver and my gold,’ it never dawned on me that anything was included
beyond the coin of the realm! But the Lord leads on softly,’ and a good
many of us have been shown some capital bits of unenclosed but easily
enclosable ground, which have yielded pleasant fruit.’ Yes, very
pleasant fruit! It is wonderfully nice to light upon something that we
really never thought of as a possible gift to our Lord, and just to
give it, straight away, to Him. I do not press the matter, but I do ask
my lady friends to give it fair and candid and prayerful consideration.
Which do you really care most about–a diamond on your finger, or a
star in the Redeemer’s kingdom, shining for ever and ever? That is what
it comes to, and there I leave it.
On the other hand, it is very possible to be fairly faithful in much,
and yet unfaithful in that which is least. We may have thought about
our gold and silver, and yet have been altogether thoughtless about our
rubbish! Some have a habit of hoarding away old garments, pieces,’
remnants, and odds and ends generally, under the idea that they will
come in useful some day;’ very likely setting it up as a kind of mild
virtue, backed by that noxious old saying, Keep it by you seven years,
and you’ll find a use for it.’ And so the shabby things get shabbier,
and moth and dust doth corrupt, and the drawers and places get choked
and crowded; and meanwhile all this that is sheer rubbish to you might
be made useful at once, to a degree beyond what you would guess, to
some poor person.
It would be a nice variety for the clever fingers of a lady’s maid to
be set to work to do up old things; or some tidy woman may be found in
almost every locality who knows how to contrive children’s things out
of what seems to you only fit for the rag-bag, either for her own
little ones or those of her neighbours.
My sister trimmed 70 or 80 hats every spring for several years with the
contents of friends’ rubbish drawers, thus relieving dozens of poor
mothers who liked their children to go tidy on Sunday,’ and also
keeping down finery in her Sunday school. Those who literally fulfilled
her request for rubbish’ used to marvel at the results.
Little scraps of carpet, torn old curtains, faded blinds, and all such
gear, go a wonderfully long way towards making poor cottagers and old
or sick people comfortable. I never saw anything in this rubbish’ line
yet that could not be turned to good account somehow, with a little
considering of the poor and their discomforts.
I wish my lady reader would just leave this book now, and go straight
up-stairs and have a good rummage at once, and see what can be thus
cleared out. If she does not know the right recipients at first hand,
let her send it off to the nearest working clergyman’s wife, and see
how gratefully it will be received! For it is a great trial to workers
among the poor not to be able to supply the needs they see. Such
supplies are far more useful than treble their small money value.
Just a word of earnest pleading for needs, closely veiled, but very
sore, which might be wonderfully lightened if this wardrobe
over-hauling were systematic and faithful. There are hundreds of poor
clergymen’s families to whom a few old garments or any household
oddments are as great a charity as to any of the poor under their
charge. There are two Societies for aiding these with such gifts, under
initials which are explained in the Reports; the P.P.C.
Society–Secretary, Miss Breay, Battenhall Place, Worcester; and the
A.F.D. Society–Secretary, Miss Hinton, 4 York Place, Clifton. I only
ask my lady friends to send for a report to either of these devoted
secretaries; and if their hearts are not so touched by the cases of
brave and bitter need that they go forthwith to wardrobes and drawers
to see what can be spared and sent, they are colder and harder than I
give Englishwomen credit for.
There is no bondage in consecration. The two things are opposites, and
cannot co-exist, much less mingle. We should suspect our consecration,
and come afresh to our great Counsellor about it, directly we have any
sense of bondage. As long as we have an unacknowledged feeling of
fidget about our account-book, and a smothered wondering what and how
much we ought’ to give, and a hushed-up wishing the thing had not been
put quite so strongly before us, depend upon it we have not said
unreservedly, Take my silver and my gold.’ And how can the Lord keep
what He has not been sincerely asked to take?
Ah! if we had stood at the foot of the Cross, and watched the
tremendous payment of our redemption with the precious blood of
Christ,–if we had seen that awful price told out, drop by drop, from
His own dear patient brow and torn hands and feet, till it was ALL
paid, and the central word of eternity was uttered, It is finished!’
should we not have been ready to say, Not a mite will I withhold!’
From Woman’s Work.
Shall I hold them back–my jewels?
Time has travelled many a day
Since I laid them by for ever,
Safely locking them away;
And I thought them yielded wholly.
When I dared no longer wear
Gems contrasting, oh, so sadly!
With the adorning I would bear.
Shall I keep them still–my jewels?
Shall I, can I yet withhold
From that living, loving Saviour
Aught of silver or of gold?
Gold so needed, that His gospel
May resound from sea to sea;
Can I know Christ’s service lacketh,
Yet forget His “unto Me”!
No; I lay them down–my jewels,
Truly on the altar now.
Stay! I see a vision passing
Of a gem-encircled brow:
Heavenly treasure worn by Jesus,
Souls won through my gift outpoured;
Freely, gladly I will offer
Jewels thus to crown my Lord!’
 See Gen. xiv. 20, xxviii. 22; Lev. xxvii. 30, 32; Num. xviii. 21;
Deut. xiv. 22; 2 Chron. xxxi. 5, 6, 12; Neh. x. 37, xii. 44, xiii. 12;
Mal. iii. 8, 10; Matt. xxiii. 23; Luke xi. 42; 1 Cor xvi. 2; Heb. vii.
 Christian Progress, vol. iii. pp. 25, 26.
Our Intellects kept for Jesus.
Keep my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.’
There are two distinct sets of temptations which assail those who have,
or think they have, rather less, and those who have, or think they
have, rather more than an average share of intellect; while those who
have neither less nor more are generally open in some degree to both.
The refuge and very present help from both is the same. The intellect,
whether great or small, which is committed to the Lord’s keeping, will
be kept and will be used by Him.
The former class are tempted to think themselves excused from effort to
cultivate and use their small intellectual gifts; to suppose they
cannot or need not seek to win souls, because they are not so clever
and apt in speech as So-and-so; to attribute to want of gift what is
really want of grace; to hide the one talent because it is not five.
Let me throw out a thought or two for these.
Which is greatest, gifts or grace? Gifts are given to every man
according to his several ability.’ That is, we have just as much given
as God knows we are able to use, and what He knows we can best use for
Him. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure
of the gift of Christ.’ Claiming and using that royal measure of grace,
you may, and can, and will do more for God than the mightiest intellect
in the world without it. For which, in the clear light of His Word, is
likely to be most effectual, the natural ability which at its best and
fullest, without Christ, can do nothing’ (observe and believe that
word!), or the grace of our Almighty God and the power of the Holy
Ghost, which is as free to you as it ever was to any one?
If you are responsible for making use of your limited gift, are you not
equally responsible for making use of the grace and power which are to
be had for the asking, which are already yours in Christ, and which are
Also, do you not see that when there are great natural gifts, people
give the credit to them, instead of to the grace which alone did the
real work, and thus God is defrauded of the glory? So that, to say it
reverently, God can get more glory out of a feeble instrument, because
then it is more obvious that the excellency of the power is of God and
not of us. Will you not henceforth say, Most gladly, therefore, will I
rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon
Don’t you really believe that the Holy Spirit is just as able to draw a
soul to Jesus, if He will, by your whisper of the one word, Come,’ as
by an eloquent sermon an hour long? I do! At the same time, as it is
evidently God’s way to work through these intellects of ours, we have
no more right to expect Him to use a mind which we are wilfully
neglecting, and taking no pains whatever to fit for His use, than I
should have to expect you to write a beautiful inscription with my pen,
if I would not take the trouble to wipe it and mend it.
The latter class are tempted to rely on their natural gifts, and to act
and speak in their own strength; to go on too fast, without really
looking up at every step, and for every word; to spend their Lord’s
time in polishing up their intellects, nominally for the sake of
influence and power, and so forth, while really, down at the bottom, it
is for the sake of the keen enjoyment of the process; and perhaps, most
of all, to spend the strength of these intellects for that which doth
not profit,’ in yielding to the specious snare of reading clever books
on both sides,’ and eating deliberately of the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil.
The mere mention of these temptations should be sufficient appeal to
conscience. If consecration is to be a reality anywhere, should it not
be in the very thing which you own as an extra gift from God, and which
is evidently closest, so to speak, to His direct action, spirit upon
spirit? And if the very strength of your intellect has been your
weakness, will you not entreat Him to keep it henceforth really and
entirely for Himself? It is so good of Him to have given you something
to lay at His feet; shall not this goodness lead you to lay it all
there, and never hanker after taking it back for yourself or the world?
Do you not feel that in very proportion to the gift you need the
special keeping of it? He may lead you by a way you know not in the
matter; very likely He will show you that you must be willing to be a
fool for His sake first, before He will condescend to use you much for
His glory. Will you look up into His face and say, Not willing’?
He who made every power can use every power–memory, judgment,
imagination, quickness of apprehension or insight; specialties of
musical, poetical, oratorical, or artistic faculty; special tastes for
reasoning, philosophy, history, natural science, or natural
history,–all these may be dedicated to Him, sanctified by Him, and
used by Him. Whatever He has given, He will use, if we will let Him.
Often, in the most unexpected ways, and at the most unexpected turns,
something read or acquired long ago suddenly comes into use. We cannot
foresee what will thus come in useful’; but He knew, when He guided us
to learn it, what it would be wanted for in His service. So may we not
ask Him to bring His perfect foreknowledge to bear on all our mental
training and storing? to guide us to read or study exactly what He
knows there will be use for in the work to which He has called or will
Nothing is more practically perplexing to a young Christian, whose
preparation time is not quite over, or perhaps painfully limited, than
to know what is most worth studying, what is really the best investment
of the golden hours, while yet the time is not come for the field of
active work to be fully entered, and the thoroughly furnishing’ of the
mind is the evident path of present duty. Is not His name called
Counsellor’? and will He not be faithful to the promise of His name in
this, as well as in all else?
The same applies to every subsequent stage. Only let us be perfectly
clear about the principle that our intellect is not our own, either to
cultivate, or to use, or to enjoy, and that Jesus Christ is our real
and ever-present Counsellor, and then there will be no more worry about
what to read and how much to read, and whether to keep up one’s
accomplishments, or one’s languages, or one’s ologies’! If the Master
has need of them, He will show us; and if He has not, what need have we
of them? If we go forward without His leading, we may throw away some
talent, or let it get too rusty for use, which would have been most
valuable when other circumstances arose or different work was given. We
must not think that keeping’ means not using at all! What we want is to
have all our powers kept for His use.
In this they will probably find far higher development than in any
other sort of use. I know cases in which the effect of real
consecration on mere mental development has been obvious and surprising
to all around. Yet it is only a confirmation of what I believe to be a
great principle, viz. that the Lord makes the most of whatever is
unreservedly surrendered to Him. There will always be plenty of waste
in what we try to cut out for ourselves. But He wastes no material!
Our Wills kept for Jesus.
Keep my will, oh, keep it Thine,
For it is no longer mine.’
Perhaps there is no point in which expectation has been so limited by
experience as this. We believe God is able to do for us just so much as
He has already done, and no more. We take it for granted a line must be
drawn somewhere; and so we choose to draw it where experience ends, and
faith would have to begin. Even if we have trusted and proved Him as to
keeping our members and our minds, faith fails when we would go deeper
and say, Keep my will!’ And yet the only reason we have to give is,
that though we have asked Him to take our will, we do not exactly find
that it is altogether His, but that self-will crops up again and again.
And whatever flaw there might be in this argument, we think the matter
is quite settled by the fact that some whom we rightly esteem, and who
are far better than ourselves, have the same experience, and do not
even seem to think it right to hope for anything better. That is
conclusive! And the result of this, as of every other faithless
conclusion, is either discouragement and depression, or, still worse,
acquiescence in an unyielded will, as something that can’t be helped.
Now let us turn from our thoughts to God’s thoughts. Verily, they are
not as ours! He says He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all
that we ask or think. Apply this here. We ask Him to take our wills and
make them His. Does He or does He not mean what He says? and if He
does, should we not trust Him to do this thing that we have asked and
longed for, and not less but more? Is anything too hard for the Lord?’
Hath He said, and shall He not do it?’ and if He gives us faith to
believe that we have the petition that we desired of Him, and with it
the unspeakable rest of leaning our will wholly upon His love, what
ground have we for imagining that this is necessarily to be a mere
fleeting shadow, which is hardly to last an hour, but is necessarily to
be exhausted ere the next breath of trial or temptation comes? Does He
mock our longing by acting as I have seen an older person act to a
child, by accepting some trifling gift of no intrinsic value, just to
please the little one, and then throwing it away as soon as the child’s
attention is diverted? Is not the taking rather the pledge of the
keeping, if we will but entrust Him fearlessly with it? We give Him no
opportunity, so to speak, of proving His faithfulness to this great
promise, because we will not fulfil the condition of reception,
believing it. But we readily enough believe instead all that we hear of
the unsatisfactory experience of others! Or, start from another word.
Job said, I know that Thou canst do everything,’ and we turn round and
say, Oh yes, everything except keeping my will!’ Dare we add, And I
know that Thou canst not do that’? Yet that is what is said every day,
only in other words; and if not said aloud, it is said in faithless
hearts, and God hears it. What does Almighty’ mean, if it does not
mean, as we teach our little children, able to do everything’?
We have asked this great thing many a time, without, perhaps, realizing
how great a petition we were singing, in the old morning hymn, Guard my
first springs of thought and will!’ That goes to the root of the
matter, only it implies that the will has been already surrendered to
Him, that it may be wholly kept and guarded.
It may be that we have not sufficiently realized the sin of the only
alternative. Our wills belong either to self or to God. It may seem a
small and rather excusable sin in man’s sight to be self-willed, but
see in what a category of iniquity God puts it! (2 Pet. ii. 10). And
certainly we are without excuse when we have such a promise to go upon
as, It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His
pleasure.’ How splendidly this meets our very deepest
helplessness,–worketh in you to will!’ Oh, let us pray for ourselves
and for each other, that we may know what is the exceeding greatness of
His power to usward who believe.’ It does not say, to usward who fear
and doubt;’ for if we will not believe, neither shall we be
established. If we will not believe what God says He can do, we shall
see it with our eyes, but we shall not eat thereof. They could not
enter in because of unbelief.’
It is most comforting to remember that the grand promise, Thy people
shall be willing in the day of Thy power,’ is made by the Father to
Christ Himself. The Lord Jesus holds this promise, and God will fulfil
it to Him. He will make us willing because He has promised Jesus that
He will do so. And what is being made willing, but having our will
taken and kept?
All true surrender of the will is based upon love and knowledge of, and
confidence in, the one to whom it is surrendered. We have the human
analogy so often before our eyes, that it is the more strange we should
be so slow to own even the possibility of it as to God. Is it thought
anything so very extraordinary and high-flown, when a bride
deliberately prefers wearing a colour which was not her own taste or
choice, because her husband likes to see her in it? Is it very
unnatural that it is no distress to her to do what he asks her to do,
or to go with him where he asks her to come, even without question or
explanation, instead of doing what or going where she would undoubtedly
have preferred if she did not know and love him? Is it very surprising
if this lasts beyond the wedding day, and if year after year she still
finds it her greatest pleasure to please him, quite irrespective of
what used to be her own ways and likings? Yet in this case she is not
helped by any promise or power on his part to make her wish what he
wishes. But He who so wonderfully condescends to call Himself the
Bridegroom of His church, and who claims our fullest love and trust,
has promised and has power to work in us to will. Shall we not claim
His promise and rely on His mighty power, and say, not
self-confidently, but looking only unto Jesus–
Keep my will, for it is Thine;
It shall be no longer mine!’
Only in proportion as our own will is surrendered, are we able to
discern the splendour of God’s will.
For oh! it is a splendour,
A glow of majesty,
A mystery of beauty
If we will only see;
A very cloud of glory
Enfolding you and me.
A splendour that is lighted
At one transcendent flame,
The wondrous Love, the perfect Love,
Our Father’s sweetest name;
For His Name and very Essence
And His Will are all the same!
Conversely, in proportion as we see this splendour of His will, we
shall more readily or more fully surrender our own. Not until we have
presented our bodies a living sacrifice can we prove what is that good,
and perfect, and acceptable will of God. But in thus proving it, this
continual presentation will be more and more seen to be our reasonable
service, and becomes more and more a joyful sacrifice of praise.
The connection in Romans xii. 1, 2, between our sacrifice which He so
graciously calls acceptable to Himself, and our finding out that His
will is acceptable to ourselves, is very striking. One reason for this
connection may be that only love can really understand love, and love
on both sides is at the bottom of the whole transaction and its
results. First, He loves us. Then the discovery of this leads us to
love Him. Then, because He loves us, He claims us, and desires to have
us wholly yielded to His will, so that the operations of love in and
for us may find no hindrance. Then, because we love Him we recognise
His claim and yield ourselves. Then, being thus yielded, He draws us
nearer to Him,  and admits us, so to speak, into closer intimacy, so
that we gain nearer and truer views of His perfections. Then the unity
of these perfections becomes clearer to us. Now we not only see His
justice and mercy flowing in an undivided stream from the cross of
Christ, but we see that they never were divided, though the strange
distortions of the dark, false glass of sin made them appear so, but
that both are but emanations of God’s holy love. Then having known and
believed this holy love, we see further that His will is not a separate
thing, but only love (and therefore all His attributes) in action; love
being the primary essence of His being, and all the other attributes
manifestations and combinations of that ineffable essence, for God is
Love. Then this will of God which has seemed in old far-off days a
stern and fateful power, is seen to be only love energized; love
saying, I will.’ And when once we really grasp this (hardly so much by
faith as by love itself), the will of God cannot be otherwise than
acceptable, for it is no longer a question of trusting that somehow or
other there is a hidden element of love in it, but of understanding
that it is love; no more to be dissociated from it than the power of
the sun’s rays can be dissociated from their light and warmth. And love
recognised must surely be love accepted and reciprocated. So, as the
fancied sternness of God’s will is lost in His love, the stubbornness
of our will becomes melted in that love, and lost in our acceptance of
Jean Sophia Pigott.
Take Thine own way with me, dear Lord,
Thou canst not otherwise than bless;
I launch me forth upon a sea
Of boundless love and tenderness.
I could not choose a larger bliss
Than to be wholly Thine; and mine
A will whose highest joy is this,
To ceaselessly unclasp in Thine.
I will not fear Thee, O my God!
The days to come can only bring
Their perfect sequences of love,
Thy larger, deeper comforting.
Within the shadow of this love,
Loss doth transmute itself to gain;
Faith veils earth’s sorrows in its light,
And straightway lives above her pain.
We are not losers thus; we share
The perfect gladness of the Son,
Not conquered–for, behold, we reign;
Conquered and Conqueror are one.
Thy wonderful grand will, my God!
Triumphantly I make it mine;
And faith shall breathe her glad “Amen”
To every dear command of Thine.
Beneath the splendour of Thy choice,
Thy perfect choice for me, I rest;
Outside it now I dare not live,
Within it I must needs be blest.
Meanwhile my spirit anchors calm
In grander regions still than this;
The fair, far-shining latitudes
Of that yet unexplord bliss.
Then may Thy perfect, glorious will
Be evermore fulfilled in me,
And make my life an answ’ring chord
Of glad, responsive harmony.
Oh! it is life indeed to live
Within this kingdom strangely sweet,
And yet we fear to enter in,
And linger with unwilling feet.
We fear this wondrous rule of Thine,
Because we have not reached Thy heart;
Not venturing our all on Thee,
We may not know how good Thou art.’
 Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the Lord, come near’ (2
Chron. xxix. 31).
Our hearts kept for Jesus.
Keep my heart; it is Thine own;
It is now Thy royal throne.’
It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace,’ and yet
some of us go on as if it were not a good thing even to hope for it to
We should be ashamed to say that we had behaved treacherously to a
friend; that we had played him false again and again; that we had said
scores of times what we did not really mean; that we had professed and
promised what, all the while, we had no sort of purpose of performing.
We should be ready to go off by next ship to New Zealand rather than
calmly own to all this, or rather than ever face our friends again
after we had owned it. And yet we are not ashamed (some of us) to say
that we are always dealing treacherously with our Lord; nay, more, we
own it with an inexplicable complacency, as if there were a kind of
virtue in saying how fickle and faithless and desperately wicked our
hearts are; and we actually plume ourselves on the easy confession,
which we think proves our humility, and which does not lower us in the
eyes of others, nor in our own eyes, half so much as if we had to say,
I have told a story,’ or, I have broken my promise.’ Nay, more, we have
not the slightest hope, and therefore not the smallest intention of
aiming at an utterly different state of things. Well for us if we do
not go a step farther, and call those by hard and false names who do
seek to have an established heart, and who believe that as the Lord
meant what He said when He promised, No good thing will He withhold
from them that walk uprightly,’ so He will not withhold this good
Prayer must be based upon promise, but, thank God, His promises are
always broader than our prayers. No fear of building inverted pyramids
here, for Jesus Christ is the foundation, and this and all the other
promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him amen, unto the glory of God
by us.’ So it shall be unto His glory to fulfil this one to us, and to
answer our prayer for a kept’ or established’ heart. And its fulfilment
shall work out His glory, not in spite of us, but by us.’
We find both the means and the result of the keeping in the 112th
Psalm: His heart is fixed.’ Whose heart? An angel? A saint in glory?
No! Simply the heart of the man that feareth the Lord, and delighteth
greatly in His commandments. Therefore yours and mine, as God would
have them be; just the normal idea of a God-fearing heart, nothing
extremely and hopelessly beyond attainment.
Fixed.’ How does that tally with the deceitfulness and waywardness and
fickleness about which we really talk as if we were rather proud of
them than utterly ashamed of them?
Does our heavenly Bridegroom expect nothing more of us? Does His
mighty, all-constraining love intend to do no more for us than to leave
us in this deplorable state, when He is undoubtedly able to heal the
desperately wicked heart (compare verses 9 and 14 of Jeremiah xvii.),
to rule the wayward one with His peace, and to establish the fickle one
with His grace? Are we not without excuse’?
Fixed, trusting in the Lord.’ Here is the means of the fixing–trust.
He works the trust in us by sending the Holy Spirit to reveal God in
Christ to us as absolutely, infinitely worthy of our trust. When we see
Jesus’ by Spirit-wrought faith, we cannot but trust Him; we distrust
our hearts more truly than ever before, but we trust our Lord entirely,
because we trust Him only. For, entrusting our trust to Him, we know
that He is able to keep that which we commit (i. e. entrust) to Him. It
is His own way of winning and fixing our hearts for Himself. Is it not
a beautiful one? Thus his heart is established.’ But we have not quite
faith enough to believe that. So what is the very first doubting, and
therefore sad thought that crops up? Yes, but I am afraid it will not
That is your thought. Now see what is God’s thought about the case. His
heart is established, he shall not be afraid.’
Is not that enough? What is, if such plain and yet divine words are
not? Well, the Gracious One bears with us, and gives line upon line to
His poor little children. And so He says, The peace of God, which
passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds, through
Christ Jesus.’ And again, Thy thoughts shall be established.’ And
again, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on
Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.’
And to prove to us that these promises can be realized in present
experience, He sends down to us through nearly 3000 years the words of
the man who prayed, Create in me a clean heart, O God,’ and lets us
hear twice over the new song put by the same Holy Spirit into his
mouth: My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed’ (Ps. lvii. 7,
The heart that is established in Christ is also established for Christ.
It becomes His royal throne, no longer occupied by His foe, no longer
tottering and unstable. And then we see the beauty and preciousness of
the promise, He shall be a Priest upon His throne.’ Not only reigning,
but atoning. Not only ruling, but cleansing. Thus the throne is
established in mercy,’ but by righteousness.’
I think we lose ground sometimes by parleying with the tempter. We have
no business to parley with an usurper. The throne is no longer his when
we have surrendered it to our Lord Jesus. And why should we allow him
to argue with us for one instant, as if it were still an open question?
Don’t listen; simply tell him that Jesus Christ is on the long-disputed
throne, and no more about it, but turn at once to your King and claim
the glorious protection of His sovereignty over you. It is a splendid
reality, and you will find it so. He will not abdicate and leave you
kingless and defenceless. For verily, The Lord is our King; He will
save us’ (Isa. xxxiii. 22).
Our hearts are naturally– God can make them–
Evil, Heb. iii. 12. Clean, Ps. li. 10.
Desperately wicked, Jer. xvii. 9. Good, Luke viii. 15.
Weak, Ezek. xvi. 30. Fixed, Ps. cxii. 7.
Deceitful, Jer. xvii. 9. Faithful, Neh. ix. 8.
Deceived, Isa. xliv. 20. Understanding, 1 Kings iii. 9.
Double, Ps. xii. 2. Honest, Luke viii. 15.
Impenitent, Rom. ii. 5. Contrite, Ps. li. 17.
Rebellious, Jer. v. 23. True, Heb. x. 22.
Hard, Ezek. iii. 7. Soft, Job xxiii. 16.
Stony, Ezek. xi. 19. New, Ezek. xviii. 31.
Froward, Prov. xvii. 20. Sound, Ps. cxix. 80.
Despiteful, Ezek. xxv. 15. Glad, Ps. xvi. 9.
Stout, Isa. x. 12. Established, Ps. cxii. 8.
Haughty, Prov. xviii. 12. Tender, Ephes. iv. 32.
Proud, Prov. xxi. 4. Pure, Matt. v. 8.
Perverse, Prov. xii. 8. Perfect, 1 Chron. xxix. 9.
Foolish, Rom. i. 21. Wise, Prov. xi. 29.
Our love kept for Jesus.
Keep my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.’
Not as a mere echo from the morning-gilded shore of Tiberias, but as an
ever new, ever sounding note of divinest power, come the familiar words
to each of us, Lovest thou Me?’ He says it who has loved us with an
everlasting love. He says it who has died for us. He says it who has
washed us from our sins in His own blood. He says it who has waited for
our love, waited patiently all through our coldness.
And if by His grace we have said, Take my love,’ which of us has not
felt that part of His very answer has been to make us see how little
there was to take, and how little of that little has been kept for Him?
And yet we do love Him! He knows that! The very mourning and longing to
love Him more proves it. But we want more than that, and so does our
He has created us to love. We have a sealed treasure of love, which
either remains sealed, and then gradually dries up and wastes away, or
is unsealed and poured out, and yet is the fuller and not the emptier
for the outpouring. The more love we give, the more we have to give. So
far it is only natural. But when the Holy Spirit reveals the love of
Christ, and sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts, this natural
love is penetrated with a new principle as it discovers a new Object.
Everything that it beholds in that Object gives it new depth and new
colours. As it sees the holiness, the beauty, and the glory, it takes
the deep hues of conscious sinfulness, unworthiness, and nothingness.
As it sees even a glimpse of the love that passeth knowledge, it takes
the glow of wonder and gratitude. And when it sees that love drawing
close to its deepest need with blood-purchased pardon, it is
intensified and stirred, and there is no more time for weighing and
measuring; we must pour it out, all there is of it, with our tears, at
the feet that were pierced for love of us.
And what then? Has the flow grown gradually slower and shallower? Has
our Lord reason to say, My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook,
and as a stream of brooks they pass away’? It is humiliating to have
found that we could not keep on loving Him, as we loved in that
remembered hour when Thy time was the time of love.’ We have proved
that we were not able. Let this be only the stepping-stone to proving
that He is able!
There will have been a cause, as we shall see if we seek it honestly.
It was not that we really poured out all our treasure, and so it
naturally came to an end. We let it be secretly diverted into other
channels. We began keeping back a little part of the price for
something else. We looked away from, instead of looking away unto
Jesus. We did not entrust Him with our love, and ask Him to keep it for
And what has He to say to us? Ah, He upbraideth not. Listen! Thus saith
the Lord, I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine
espousals.’ Can any words be more tender, more touching, to you, to me?
Forgetting all the sin, all the backsliding, all the coldness, casting
all that into the unreturning depths of the sea, He says He remembers
that hour when we first said, Take my love.’ He remembers it now, at
this minute. He has written it for ever on His infinite memory, where
the past is as the present.
His own love is unchangeable, so it could never be His wish or will
that we should thus drift away from Him. Oh, Come and let us return
unto the Lord!’ But is there any hope that, thus returning, our
flickering love may be kept from again failing? Hear what He says: And
I will betroth thee unto Me for ever’ And again: Thou shalt abide for
Me many days; so will I also be for thee.’ Shall we trust His word or
not? Is it worthy of our acceptation or not? Oh, rest on this word of
the King, and let Him from this day have the keeping of your love, and
He will keep it!
The love of Christ is not an absorbing, but a radiating love. The more
we love Him, the more we shall most certainly love others. Some have
not much natural power of loving, but the love of Christ will
strengthen it. Some have had the springs of love dried up by some
terrible earthquake. They will find fresh springs’ in Jesus, and the
gentle flow will be purer and deeper than the old torrent could ever
be. Some have been satisfied that it should rush in a narrow channel,
but He will cause it to overflow into many another, and widen its
course of blessing. Some have spent it all on their God-given dear
ones. Now He is come whose right it is; and yet in the fullest
resumption of that right, He is so gracious that He puts back an even
larger measure of the old love into our hand, sanctified with His own
love, and energized with His blessing, and strengthened with His new
commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.’
In that always very interesting part, called a Corner for
Difficulties,’ of that always very interesting magazine, Woman’s Work,
the question has been discussed, When does love become idolatry? Is it
the experience of Christians that the coming in of a new object of
affection interferes with entire consecration to God?’ I should like to
quote the many excellent answers in full, but must only refer my
readers to the number for March 1879. One replies: It seems to me that
He who is love would not give us an object for our love unless He saw
that our hearts needed expansion; and if the love is consecrated, and
the friendship takes its stand in Christ, there is no need for the fear
that it will become idolatry. Let the love on both sides be given to
God to keep, and however much it may grow, the source from which it
springs must yet be greater.’ Perhaps I may be pardoned for giving, at
the same writer’s suggestion, a quotation from Under the Surface on
this subject. Eleanor says to Beatrice:–
I tremble when I think
How much I love him; but I turn away
From thinking of it, just to love him more;–
Indeed, I fear, too much.’
Do you love him as much as Christ loves us?
Let your lips answer me.’
Why ask me, dear?
Our hearts are finite, Christ is infinite.’
Then, till you reach the standard of that love,
Let neither fears nor well-meant warning voice
Distress you with “too much.” For He hath said
How much–and who shall dare to change His measure?
“That ye should love as I have loved you.”
O sweet command, that goes so far beyond
The mightiest impulse of the tenderest heart!
A bare permission had been much; but He
Who knows our yearnings and our fearfulness,
Chose graciously to bid us do the thing
That makes our earthly happiness,
A limit that we need not fear to pass,
Because we cannot. Oh, the breadth and length,
And depth and height of love that passeth knowledge!
Yet Jesus said, “As I have loved you.”‘
O Beatrice, I long to feel the sunshine
That this should bring; but there are other words
Which fall in chill eclipse. Tis written, “Keep
Yourselves from idols.” How shall I obey?’
Oh, not by loving less, but loving more.
It is not that we love our precious ones
Too much, but God too little. As the lamp
A miner bears upon his shadowed brow
Is only dazzling in the grimy dark,
And has no glare against the summer sky,
So, set the tiny torch of our best love
In the great sunshine of the love of God,
And, though full fed and fanned, it casts no shade
And dazzles not, o’erflowed with mightier light.’
There is no love so deep and wide as that which is kept for Jesus. It
flows both fuller and farther when it flows only through Him. Then,
too, it will be a power for Him. It will always be unconsciously
working for Him. In drawing others to ourselves by it, we shall be
necessarily drawing them nearer to the fountain of our love, never
drawing them away from it. It is the great magnet of His love which
alone can draw any heart to Him; but when our own are thoroughly
yielded to its mighty influence, they will be so magnetized that He
will condescend to use them in this way.
Is it not wonderful to think that the Lord Jesus will not only accept
and keep, but actually use our love?
Of Thine own have we given Thee,’ for we love Him because He first
Set apart to love Him,
And His love to know;
Not to waste affection
On a passing show;
Called to give Him life and heart,
Called to pour the hidden treasure,
That none other claims to measure,
Into His belovd hand! thrice blessd set apart’!
Our Selves kept for Jesus.
Keep my self, that I may be
Ever, only, all for Thee.’
For Thee!’ That is the beginning and the end of the whole matter of
There was a prelude to its endless song,’–a prelude whose theme is
woven into every following harmony in the new anthem of consecrated
life: The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.’ Out of
the realized for me,’ grows the practical for Thee!’ If the former is a
living root, the latter will be its living fruit.
For Thee!’ This makes the difference between forced or formal, and
therefore unreasonable service, and the reasonable service’ which is
the beginning of the perfect service where they see His face. This
makes the difference between slave work and free work. For Thee, my
Redeemer; for Thee who hast spoken to my heart; for Thee, who hast done
for me–what? Let us each pause, and fill up that blank with the great
things the Lord hath done for us. For Thee, who art to me–what? Fill
that up too, before Him! For Thee, my Saviour Jesus, my Lord and my
And what is to be for Him? My self. We talk sometimes as if, whatever
else could be subdued unto Him, self could never be. Did St. Paul
forget to mention this important exception to the all things’ in Phil.
iii. 21? David said: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within
me, bless His Holy Name.’ Did he, too, unaccountably forget to mention
that he only meant all that was within him, except self? If not, then
self must be among the all things’ which the Lord Jesus Christ is able
to subdue unto Himself, and which are to bless His Holy Name.’ It is
Self which, once His most treacherous foe, is now, by full and glad
surrender, His own soldier–coming over from the rebel camp into the
royal army. It is not some one else, some temporarily possessing
spirit, which says within us, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee,’ but
our true and very self, only changed and renewed by the power of the
Holy Ghost. And when we do that we would not, we know that it is no
more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.’ Our true self is the
new self, taken and won by the love of God, and kept by the power of
Yes, kept!’ There is the promise on which we ground our prayer; or,
rather, one of the promises. For, search and look for your own
strengthening and comfort, and you will find it repeated in every part
of the Bible, from I am with thee, and will keep thee,’ in Genesis, to
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation,’ in Revelation.
And kept for Him! Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you,
when it is only the fulfilling of His own eternal purpose in creating
us? This people have I formed for Myself.’ Not ultimately only, but
presently and continually; for He says, Thou shalt abide for Me;’ and,
He that remaineth, even he shall be for our God.’ Are you one of His
people by faith in Jesus Christ? Then see what you are to Him. You,
personally and individually, are part of the Lord’s portion (Deut.
xxxii. 9) and of His inheritance (1 Kings viii. 53, and Eph. i. 18).
His portion and inheritance would not be complete without you; you are
His peculiar treasure (Ex. xix. 5); a special people’ (how warm, and
loving, and natural that expression is!) unto Himself’ (Deut. vii. 6).
Would you call it keeping,’ if you had a special’ treasure, a darling
little child, for instance, and let it run wild into all sorts of
dangers all day long, sometimes at your side, and sometimes out in the
street, with only the intention of fetching it safe home at night? If
ye then, being evil, would know better, and do better, than that, how
much more shall our Lord’s keeping be true, and tender, and continual,
and effectual, when He declares us to be His peculiar treasure,
purchased (See 1 Pet. ii. 9, margin) for Himself at such unknown cost!
He will keep what thus He sought,
Safely guard the dearly bought;
Cherish that which He did choose,
Always love and never lose.
I know what some of us are thinking. Yes; I see it all plainly enough
in theory, but in practice I find I am not kept. Self goes over to the
other camp again and again. If is not all for Jesus, though I have
asked and wished for it to be so.’ Dear friends, the all’ must be
sealed with only.’ Are you willing to be only’ for Jesus? You have not
given all’ to Jesus while you are not quite ready to be only’ for Him.
And it is no use to talk about ever’ while we have not settled the
only’ and the all.’ You cannot be for Him,’ in the full and blessed
sense, while you are partly for’ anything or any one else. For the Lord
hath set apart him that is godly for Himself.’ You see, the for
Himself’ hinges upon the set apart.’ There is no consecration without
separation. If you are mourning over want of realized consecration,
will you look humbly and sincerely into this point? A garden enclosed
is my sister, my spouse,’ saith the Heavenly Bridegroom.
Set apart for Jesus!
Is not this enough,
Though the desert prospect
Open wild and rough?
Set apart for His delight,
Chosen for His holy pleasure,
Sealed to be His special treasure!
Could we choose a nobler joy?–and would we, if we might? 
But yielding, by His grace, to this blessed setting apart for Himself,
The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto Himself, as He hath
sworn unto thee.’ Can there be a stronger promise? Just obey and trust
His word now, and yield yourselves now unto God, that He may establish
thee to-day for a people unto Himself.’ Commit the keeping of your
souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator, being persuaded
that He is able to keep that which you commit to Him.
Now, Lord, I give myself to Thee,
I would be wholly Thine,
As Thou hast given Thyself to me,
And Thou art wholly mine;
O take me, seal me for Thine own,
Thine altogether, Thine alone.
Here comes in once more that immeasurably important subject of our
influence. For it is not what we say or do, so much as what we are,
that influences others. We have heard this, and very likely repeated it
again and again, but have we seen it to be inevitably linked with the
great question of this chapter? I do not know anything which,
thoughtfully considered, makes us realize more vividly the need and the
importance of our whole selves being kept for Jesus. Any part not
wholly committed, and not wholly kept, must hinder and neutralize the
real influence for Him of all the rest. If we ourselves are kept all
for Jesus, then our influence will be all kept for Him too. If not,
then, however much we may wish and talk and try, we cannot throw our
full weight into the right scale. And just in so far as it is not in
the one scale, it must be in the other; weighing against the little
which we have tried to put in the right one, and making the short
weight still shorter.
So large a proportion of it is entirely involuntary, while yet the
responsibility of it is so enormous, that our helplessness comes out in
exceptionally strong relief, while our past debt in this matter is
simply incalculable. Are we feeling this a little? getting just a
glimpse, down the misty defiles of memory, of the neutral influence,
the wasted influence, the mistaken influence, the actually wrong
influence which has marked the ineffaceable although untraceable
course? And all the while we owed Him all that influence! It ought to
have been all for Him! We have nothing to say. But what has our Lord to
say? I forgave thee all that debt!’
Then, after that forgiveness which must come first, there comes a
thought of great comfort in our freshly felt helplessness, rising out
of the very thing that makes us realize this helplessness. Just because
our influence is to such a great extent involuntary and unconscious, we
may rest assured that if we ourselves are truly kept for Jesus, this
will be, as a quite natural result, kept for Him also. It cannot be
otherwise, for as is the fountain, so will be the flow; as the spring,
so the action; as the impulse, so the communicated motion. Thus there
may be, and in simple trust there will be, a quiet rest about it, a
relief from all sense of strain and effort, a fulfilling of the words,
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own
works, as God did from His.’ It will not be a matter of trying to have
good influence, but just of having it, as naturally and constantly as
the magnetized bar.
Another encouraging thought should follow. Of ourselves we may have but
little weight, no particular talents or position or anything else to
put into the scale; but let us remember that again and again God has
shown that the influence of a very average life, when once really
consecrated to Him, may outweigh that of almost any number of merely
professing Christians. Such lives are like Gideon’s three hundred,
carrying not even the ordinary weapons of war, but only trumpets and
lamps and empty pitchers, by whom the Lord wrought great deliverance,
while He did not use the others at all. For He hath chosen the weak
things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.
Should not all this be additional motive for desiring that our whole
selves should be taken and kept?
I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever. Therefore we
may rejoicingly say ever’ as well as only’ and all for Thee!’ For the
Lord is our Keeper, and He is the Almighty and the Everlasting God,
with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He will never
change His mind about keeping us, and no man is able to pluck us out of
His hand. Neither will Christ let us pluck ourselves out of His hand,
for He says, Thou shalt abide for Me many days.’ And He that keepeth us
will not slumber. Once having undertaken His vineyard, He will keep it
night and day, till all the days and nights are over, and we know the
full meaning of the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,
unto which we are kept by His power.
And then, for ever for Him! passing from the gracious keeping by faith
for this little while, to the glorious keeping in His presence for all
eternity! For ever fulfilling the object for which He formed us and
chose us, we showing forth His praise, and He showing the exceeding
riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in the ages to come! He
for us, and we for Him for ever! Oh, how little we can grasp this! Yet
this is the fruition of being kept for Jesus!’
Set apart for ever
For Himself alone!
Now we see our calling
Owning, with no secret dread,
This our holy separation,
Now the crown of consecration 
Of the Lord our God shall rest upon our willing head.
 Loyal Responses, p. 11.
 Num. vi. 7.
Christ for Us.
So will I also be for Thee.’–Hos. iii. 3.
The typical promise, Thou shalt abide for Me many days,’ is indeed a
marvel of love. For it is given to the most undeserving, described
under the strongest possible figure of utter worthlessness and
treacherousness,–the woman beloved, yet an adulteress.
The depth of the abyss shows the length of the line that has fathomed
it, yet only the length of the line reveals the real depth of the
abyss. The sin shows the love, and the love reveals the sin. The Bible
has few words more touching, though seldom quoted, than those just
preceding this wonderful promise: The love of the Lord toward the
children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.’
Put that into the personal application which no doubt underlies it, and
say, The love of the Lord toward me, who have looked away from Him,
with wandering, faithless eyes, to other helps and hopes, and have
loved earthly joys and sought earthly gratifications,–the love of the
Lord toward even me!’ And then hear Him saying in the next verse, So I
bought her to Me;’ stooping to do that in His unspeakable condescension
of love, not with the typical silver and barley, but with the precious
blood of Christ. Then, having thus loved us, and rescued us, and bought
us with a price indeed, He says, still under the same figure, Thou
shalt abide for Me many days.’
This is both a command and a pledge. But the very pledge implies our
past unfaithfulness, and the proved need of even our own part being
undertaken by the ever patient Lord. He Himself has to guarantee our
faithfulness, because there is no other hope of our continuing
faithful. Well may such love win our full and glad surrender, and such
a promise win our happy and confident trust!
But He says more. He says, So will I also be for thee!’ And this seems
an even greater marvel of love, as we observe how He meets every detail
of our consecration with this wonderful word. 
1. His Life for thee!’ The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the
sheep.’ Oh, wonderful gift! not promised, but given; not to friends,
but to enemies. Given without condition, without reserve, without
return. Himself unknown and unloved, His gift unsought and unasked, He
gave His life for thee; a more than royal bounty–the greatest gift
that Deity could devise. Oh, grandeur of love! I lay down My life for
the sheep!’ And we for whom He gave it have held back, and hesitated to
give our lives, not even for Him (He has not asked us to do that), but
to Him! But that is past, and He has tenderly pardoned the unloving,
ungrateful reserve, and has graciously accepted the poor little
fleeting breath and speck of dust which was all we had to offer. And
now His precious death and His glorious life are all for thee.’
2. His Eternity for thee.’ All we can ask Him to take are days and
moments–the little span given us as it is given, and of this only the
present in deed and the future in will. As for the past, in so far as
we did not give it to Him, it is too late; we can never give it now!
But His past was given to us, though ours was not given to Him. Oh,
what a tremendous debt does this show us!
Away back in the dim depths of past eternity, or ever the earth and the
world were made,’ His divine existence in the bosom of His Father was
all for thee,’ purposing and planning for thee,’ receiving and holding
the promise of eternal life for thee.’
Then the thirty-three years among sinners on this sinful earth: do we
think enough of the slowly-wearing days and nights, the heavy-footed
hours, the never-hastening minutes, that went to make up those
thirty-three years of trial and humiliation? We all know how slowly
time passes when suffering and sorrow are near, and there is no reason
to suppose that our Master was exempted from this part of our
Then His present is for thee.’ Even now He liveth to make
intercession;’ even now He thinketh upon me;’ even now He knoweth,’ He
careth,’ He loveth.’
Then, only to think that His whole eternity will be for thee!’ Millions
of ages of unfoldings of all His love, and of ever new declarings of
His Father’s name to His brethren. Think of it! and can we ever
hesitate to give all our poor little hours to His service?
3. His Hands for thee.’ Literal hands; literally pierced, when the
whole weight of His quivering frame hung from their torn muscles and
bared nerves; literally uplifted in parting blessing. Consecrated,
priestly hands; filled’ hands (Ex. xxviii. 41, xxix. 9, etc.,
margin)–filled once with His great offering, and now with gifts and
blessings for thee.’ Tender hands, touching and healing, lifting and
leading with gentlest care. Strong hands, upholding and defending. Open
hands, filling with good and satisfying desire (Ps. civ. 28, and cxlv.
16). Faithful hands, restraining and sustaining. His left hand is under
my head, and His right hand doth embrace me.’
4. His Feet for thee.’ They were weary very often, they were wounded
and bleeding once. They made clear footprints as He went about doing
good, and as He went up to Jerusalem to suffer; and these blessed steps
of His most holy life,’ both as substitution and example, were for
thee.’ Our place of waiting and learning, of resting and loving, is at
His feet. And still those blessed feet’ are and shall be for thee,’
until He comes again to receive us unto Himself, until and when the
word is fulfilled, They shall walk with Me in white.’
5. His Voice for thee.’ The Voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying,
Open to me, my sister, my love;’ the Voice that His sheep hear’ and
know,’ and that calls out the fervent response, Master, say on!’ This
is not all. It was the literal voice of the Lord Jesus which uttered
that one echoless cry of desolation on the Cross for thee,’ and it will
be His own literal voice which will say, Come, ye blessed!’ to thee.
And that same tender and glorious Voice’ has literally sung and will
sing for thee.’ I think He consecrated song for us, and made it a sweet
and sacred thing for ever, when He Himself sang an hymn,’ the very last
thing before He went forth to consecrate suffering for us. That was not
His last song. The Lord thy God … will joy over thee with singing.’
And the time is coming when He will not only sing for thee’ or over
thee,’ but with thee. He says He will! In the midst of the church will
I sing praise unto Thee.’ Now what a magnificent glimpse of joy this
is! Jesus Himself leading the praises of His brethren,’  and we
ourselves singing not merely in such a chorus, but with such a leader!
If singing for Jesus’ is such delight here, what will this singing with
Jesus’ be? Surely song may well be a holy thing to us henceforth.
6. His Lips for thee.’ Perhaps there is no part of our consecration
which it is so difficult practically to realize, and in which it is,
therefore, so needful to recollect?–I also for thee.’ It is often
helpful to read straight through one or more of the Gospels with a
special thought on our mind, and see how much bears upon it. When we
read one through with this thought–His lips for me!’–wondering, verse
by verse, at the grace which was poured into them, and the gracious
words which fell from them, wondering more and more at the cumulative
force and infinite wealth of tenderness and power and wisdom and love
flowing from them, we cannot but desire that our lips and all the fruit
of them should be wholly for Him. For thee’ they were opened in
blessing; for thee’ they were closed when He was led as a lamb to the
slaughter. And whether teaching, warning, counsel, comfort, or
encouragement, commandments in whose keeping there is a great reward,
or promises which exceed all we ask or think–all the precious fruit of
His lips is for thee,’ really and truly meant for thee.’
7. His Wealth for thee.’ Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He
became poor, that ye through His poverty might be made rich.’ Yes,
through His poverty’ the unsearchable riches of Christ are for thee.’
Seven-fold riches are mentioned; and these are no unminted treasure or
sealed reserve, but all ready coined for our use, and stamped with His
own image and superscription, and poured freely into the hand of faith.
The mere list is wonderful. Riches of goodness,’ riches of forbearance
and long-suffering,’ riches both of wisdom and knowledge,’ riches of
mercy,’ exceeding riches of grace,’ and riches of glory.’ And His own
Word says, All are yours!’ Glance on in faith, and think of eternity
flowing on and on beyond the mightiest sweep of imagination, and
realize that all His riches in glory’ and the riches of His glory’ are
and shall be for thee!’ In view of this, shall we care to reserve
anything that rust doth corrupt for ourselves?
8. His treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ for thee.’ First, used for
our behalf and benefit. Why did He expend such immeasurable might of
mind upon a world which is to be burnt up, but that He would fit it
perfectly to be, not the home, but the school of His children? The
infinity of His skill is such that the most powerful intellects find a
lifetime too short to penetrate a little way into a few secrets of some
one small department of His working. If we turn to Providence, it is
quite enough to take only one’s own life, and look at it
microscopically and telescopically, and marvel at the treasures of
wisdom lavished upon its details, ordering and shaping and fitting the
tiny confused bits into the true mosaic which He means it to be. Many a
little thing in our lives reveals the same Mind which, according to a
well-known and very beautiful illustration, adjusted a perfect
proportion in the delicate hinges of the snowdrop and the droop of its
bell, with the mass of the globe and the force of gravitation. How kind
we think it if a very talented friend spends a little of his thought
and power of mind in teaching us or planning for us! Have we been
grateful for the infinite thought and wisdom which our Lord has
expended upon us and our creation, preservation, and redemption?
Secondly, to be shared with us. He says, All that I have is thine.’ He
holds nothing back, reserves nothing from His dear children, and what
we cannot receive now He is keeping for us. He gives us hidden riches
of secret places’ now, but by and by He will give us more, and the
glorified intellect will be filled continually out of His treasures of
wisdom and knowledge. But the sanctified intellect will be, must be,
used for Him, and only for Him, now!
9. His Will for thee.’ Think first of the infinite might of that will;
the first great law and the first great force of the universe, from
which alone every other law and every other force has sprung, and to
which all are subordinate. He worketh all things after the counsel of
His own will.’ He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven,
and among the inhabitants of the earth.’ Then think of the infinite
mysteries of that will. For ages and generations the hosts of heaven
have wonderingly watched its vouchsafed unveilings and its sublime
developments, and still they are waiting, watching, and wondering.
Creation and Providence are but the whisper of its power, but
Redemption is its music, and praise is the echo which shall yet fill
His temple. The whisper and the music, yes, and the thunder of His
power,’ are all for thee.’ For what is the good pleasure of His will’?
(Eph. i. 5.) Oh, what a grand list of blessings purposed, provided,
purchased, and possessed, all flowing to us out of it! And nothing but
blessings, nothing but privileges, which we never should have imagined,
and which, even when revealed, we are slow of heart to believe;’
nothing but what should even now fill us with joy unspeakable and full
Think of this will as always and altogether on our side–always working
for us, and in us, and with us, if we will only let it; think of it as
always and only synonymous with infinitely wise and almighty love;
think of it as undertaking all for us, from the great work of our
eternal salvation down to the momentary details of guidance and supply,
and do we not feel utter shame and self-abhorrence at ever having
hesitated for an instant to give up our tiny, feeble, blind will, to
be–not crushed, not even bent, but blent with His glorious and perfect
10. His Heart for thee.’ Behold … He is mighty … in heart,’ said
Job (Job xxxvi. 5, margin). And this mighty and tender heart is for
thee!’ If He had only stretched forth His hand to save us from bare
destruction, and said, My hand for thee!’ how could we have praised Him
enough? But what shall we say of the unspeakably marvellous
condescension which says, Thou hast ravished (margin, taken away) my
heart, my sister, my spouse!’ The very fountain of His divine life, and
light, and love, the very centre of His being, is given to His beloved
ones, who are not only set as a seal upon His heart,’ but taken into
His heart, so that our life is hid there, and we dwell there in the
very centre of all safety, and power, and love, and glory. What will be
the revelation of that day,’ when the Lord Jesus promises, Ye shall
know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me’? For He implies that we do
not yet know it, and that our present knowledge of this dwelling in Him
is not knowledge at all compared with what He is going to show us about
Now shall we, can we, reserve any corner of our hearts from Him?
11. His Love for thee.’ Not a passive, possible love, but outflowing,
yes, outpouring of the real, glowing, personal love of His mighty and
tender heart. Love not as an attribute, a quality, a latent force, but
an acting, moving, reaching, touching, and grasping power. Love, not a
cold, beautiful, far-off star, but a sunshine that comes and enfolds
us, making us warm and glad, and strong and bright and fruitful.
His love! What manner of love is it? What should be quoted to prove or
describe it? First the whole Bible with its mysteries and marvels of
redemption, then the whole book of Providence and the whole volume of
creation. Then add to these the unknown records of eternity past and
the unknown glories of eternity to come, and then let the immeasurable
quotation be sung by angels and archangels, and all the company of
heaven,’ with all the harps of God, and still that love will be untold,
still it will be the love of Christ that passeth knowledge.’
But it is for thee!’
12. Himself for thee.’ Christ also hath loved us, and given Himself for
us.’ The Son of God … loved me, and gave Himself for me.’ Yes,
Himself! What is the Bride’s true and central treasure? What calls
forth the deepest, brightest, sweetest thrill of love and praise? Not
the Bridegroom’s priceless gifts, not the robe of His resplendent
righteousness, not the dowry of unsearchable riches, not the
magnificence of the palace home to which He is bringing her, not the
glory which she shall share with Him, but Himself! Jesus Christ, who
His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree;’ this same
Jesus,’ whom having not seen, ye love;’ the Son of God, and the Man of
Sorrows; my Saviour, my Friend, my Master, my King, my Priest, my Lord
and my God–He says, I also for thee!’ What an I’! What power and
sweetness we feel in it, so different from any human I,’ for all His
Godhead and all His manhood are concentrated in it, and all for thee!’
And not only all,’ but ever’ for thee. His unchangeableness is the seal
upon every attribute; He will be this same Jesus’ for ever. How can
mortal mind estimate this enormous promise? How can mortal heart
conceive what is enfolded in these words, I also for thee’?
One glimpse of its fulness and glory, and we feel that henceforth it
must be, shall be, and by His grace will be our true-hearted,
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, ONLY, ALL for Thee!
 The remainder of this chapter is printed in a little penny book,
entitled, I also for Thee, by F. R. H., published by Caswell,
Birmingham, and by Nisbet & Co.
 See A. Newton on the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. ii. ver. 12.
MISS HAVERGAL’S LATEST POEMS.
That part is finished! I lay down my pen,
And wonder if the thoughts will flow as fast
Through the more difficult defile. For the last
Was easy, and the channel deeper then.
My Master, I will trust Thee for the rest;
Give me just what Thou wilt, and that will be my best!
How can I tell the varied, hidden need
Of Thy dear children, all unknown to me,
Who at some future time may come and read
What I have written! All are known to Thee.
As Thou hast helped me, help me to the end;
Give me Thy own sweet messages of love to send.
So now, I pray Thee, keep my hand in Thine;
And guide it as Thou wilt. I do not ask
To understand the wherefore’ of each line;
Mine is the sweeter, easier, happier task,
Just to look up to Thee for every word,
Rest in Thy love, and trust, and know that I am heard.
The Thoughts of God.
They say there is a hollow, safe and still,
A point of coolness and repose
Within the centre of a flame, where life might dwell
Unharmed and unconsumed, as in a luminous shell,
Which the bright walls of fire enclose
In breachless splendour, barrier that no foes
Could pass at will.
There is a point of rest
At the great centre of the cyclone’s force,
A silence at its secret source;–
A little child might slumber undistressed,
Without the ruffle of one fairy curl,
In that strange central calm amid the mighty whirl.
So, in the centre of these thoughts of God,
Cyclones of power, consuming glory-fire,–
As we fall o’erawed
Upon our faces, and are lifted higher
By His great gentleness, and carried nigher
Than unredeemd angels, till we stand
Even in the hollow of His hand,
Nay, more! we lean upon His breast–
There, there we find a point of perfect rest
And glorious safety. There we see
His thoughts to usward, thoughts of peace
That stoop in tenderest love; that still increase
With increase of our need; that never change,
That never fail, or falter, or forget
O pity infinite!
O royal mercy free!
O gentle climax of the depth and height
Of God’s most precious thoughts, most wonderful, most strange!
For I am poor and needy, yet
The Lord Himself, Jehovah, thinketh upon me!’
Free to Serve.’
She chose His service. For the Lord of Love
Had chosen her, and paid the awful price
For her redemption; and had sought her out,
And set her free, and clothed her gloriously,
And put His royal ring upon her hand,
And crowns of loving-kindness on her head.
She chose it. Yet it seemed she could not yield
The fuller measure other lives could bring;
For He had given her a precious gift,
A treasure and a charge to prize and keep,
A tiny hand, a darling hand, that traced
On her heart’s tablet words of golden love.
And there was not much room for other lines,
For time and thought were spent (and rightly spent,
For He had given the charge), and hours and days
Were concentrated on the one dear task.
But He had need of her. Not one new gem
But many for His crown;–not one fair sheaf,
But many, she should bring. And she should have
A richer, happier harvest-home at last.
Because more fruit, more glory and more praise
Her life should yield to Him. And so He came,
The Master came Himself, and gently took
The little hand in His, and gave it room
Among the angel-harpers. Jesus came
And laid His own hand on the quivering heart,
And made it very still, that He might write
Invisible words of power–Free to serve!’
Then through the darkness and the chill He sent
A heat-ray of His love, developing
The mystic writing, till it glowed and shone
And lit up all her life with radiance new,–
The happy service of a yielded heart.
With comfort that He never ceased to give
(Because her need could never cease) she filled
The empty chalices of other lives,
And time and thought were thenceforth spent for Him
Who loved her with His everlasting love.
Let Him write what He will upon our hearts,
With His unerring pen. They are His own,
Hewn from the rock by His selecting grace,
Prepared for His own glory. Let Him write!
Be sure He will not cross out one sweet word
But to inscribe a sweeter,–but to grave
One that shall shine for ever to His praise,
And thus fulfil our deepest heart-desire.
The tearful eye at first may read the line,
Bondage to grief!’ But He shall wipe away
The tears, and clear the vision, till it read
In ever-brightening letters, Free to serve!’
For whom the Son makes free is free indeed.
Nor only by reclaiming His good gifts,
But by withholding, doth the Master write
These words upon the heart. Not always needs
Erasure of some blessd line of love
For this more blest inscription. Where He finds
A tablet empty for the lines left out,’
That might have been’ engraved with human love
And sweetest human cares, yet never bore
That poetry of life, His own dear hand
Writes Free to serve!’ And these clear characters
Fill with fair colours all the unclaimed space,
Else grey and colourless.
Then let it be
The motto of our lives until we stand
In the great freedom of Eternity,
Where we shall serve Him’ while we see His face,
For ever and for ever Free to serve.’
Coming to the King.
2 Chronicles ix. 1-12.
Surely in what place my Lord the King shall be, whether in death or
life, even there also will thy servant be.’–2 Sam. xv. 21.
Where I am, there shall also my servant be.’–John xii. 26.
I came from very far away to see
The King of Salem; for I had been told
Of glory and of wisdom manifold,
And condescension infinite and free.
How could I rest, when I had heard His fame,
In that dark lonely land of death from whence I came?
I came (but not like Sheba’s queen), alone!
No stately train, no costly gifts to bring;
No friend at court, save One, that One the King!
I had requests to spread before His throne,
And I had questions none could solve for me,
Of import deep, and full of awful mystery.
I came and communed with that mighty King,
And told Him all my heart; I cannot say,
In mortal ear, what communings were they.
But wouldst thou know, go too, and meekly bring
All that is in thy heart, and thou shalt hear
His voice of love and power, His answers sweet and clear.
O happy end of every weary quest!
He told me all I needed, graciously;–
Enough for guidance, and for victory
O’er doubts and fears, enough for quiet rest;
And when some veiled response I could not read,
It was not hid from Him,–this was enough indeed.
His wisdom and His glories passed before
My wondering eyes in gradual revelation;
The house that He had built, its strong foundation,
Its living stones; and, brightening more and more,
Fair glimpses of that palace far away,
Where all His loyal ones shall dwell with Him for aye.
True the report that reached my far-off land
Of all His wisdom and transcendent fame;
Yet I believed not until I came,–
Bowed to the dust till raised by royal hand.
The half was never told by mortal word;
My King exceeded all the fame that I had heard!
Oh, happy are His servants! happy they
Who stand continually before His face,
Ready to do His will of wisest grace!
My King! is mine such blessedness to-day?
For I too hear Thy wisdom, line by line,
Thy ever brightening words in holy radiance shine.
Oh, blessd be the Lord thy God, who set
Our King upon His throne! Divine delight
In the Beloved crowning Thee with might,
Honour, and majesty supreme; and yet
The strange and Godlike secret opening thus,–
The kingship of His Christ ordained through love to us!
What shall I render to my glorious King?
I have but that which I receive from Thee;
And what I give, Thou givest back to me,
Transmuted by Thy touch; each worthless thing
Changed to the preciousness of gem or gold,
And by Thy blessing multiplied a thousand fold.
All my desire Thou grantest, whatsoe’er
I ask! Was ever mythic tale or dream
So bold as this reality,–this stream
Of boundless blessings flowing full and free?
Yet more than I have thought or asked of Thee,
Out of Thy royal bounty still Thou givest me.
Now I will turn to my own land, and tell
What I myself have seen and heard of Thee.
And give Thine own sweet message, Come and see!’
And yet in heart and mind for ever dwell
With Thee, my King of Peace, in loyal rest,
Within the fair pavilion of Thy presence blest.
The Two Paths.
Via Dolorosa and Via Giojosa.
[Suggested by a Picture.]
My Master, they have wronged Thee and Thy love!
They only told me I should find the path
A Via Dolorosa all the way!
Even Thy sweetest singers only sang
Of pressing onward through the same sharp thorns,
With bleeding footsteps, through the chill dark mist,
Following and struggling till they reach the light,
The rest, the sunshine of the far beyond.
The anthems of the pilgrimage were set
In most pathetic minors, exquisite,
Yet breathing sadness more than any praise;
Thy minstrels let the fitful breezes make
olian moans on their entrusted harps,
Until the listeners thought that this was all
The music Thou hadst given. And so the steps
That halted where the two ways met and crossed,
The broad and narrow, turned aside in fear,
Thinking the radiance of their youth must pass
In sombre shadows if they followed Thee;
Hearing afar such echoes of one strain,
The cross, the tribulation, and the toil,
The conflict, and the clinging in the dark.
What wonder that the dancing feet are stayed
From entering the only path of peace!
Master, forgive them! Tune their harps anew,
And put a new song in their mouths for Thee,
And make Thy chosen people joyful in Thy love.
Lord Jesus, Thou hast trodden once for all
The Via Dolorosa,–and for us!
No artist power or minstrel gift may tell
The cost to Thee of each unfaltering step,
When love that passeth knowledge led Thee on,
Faithful and true to God, and true to us.
And now, belovd Lord, Thou callest us
To follow Thee, and we will take Thy word
About the path which Thou hast marked for us.
Narrow indeed it is! Who does not choose
The narrow track upon the mountain side,
With ever-widening view, and freshening air,
And honeyed heather, rather than the road,
With smoothest breadth of dust and loss of view,
Soiled blossoms not worth gathering, and the noise
Of wheels instead of silence of the hills,
Or music of the waterfalls? Oh, why
Should they misrepresent Thy words, and make
Narrow’ synonymous with very hard’?
For Thou, Divinest Wisdom, Thou hast said
Thy ways are ways of pleasantness, and all
Thy paths are peace; and that the path of him
Who wears Thy perfect robe of righteousness
Is as the light that shineth more and more
Unto the perfect day. And Thou hast given
An olden promise, rarely quoted now, 
Because it is too bright for our weak faith:
If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend
Days in prosperity, and they shall spend
Their years in pleasures.’ All because Thy days
Were full of sorrow, and Thy lonely years
Were passed in grief’s acquaintance–all for us!
Master, I set my seal that Thou art true,
Of Thy good promise not one thing hath failed!
And I would send a ringing challenge forth,
To all who know Thy name, to tell it out,
Thy faithfulness to every written word,
Thy loving-kindness crowning all the days,–
To say and sing with me: The Lord is good,
His mercy is for ever, and His truth
Is written on each page of all my life!’
Yes! there is tribulation, but Thy power
Can blend it with rejoicing. There are thorns,
But they have kept us in the narrow way,
The King’s Highway of holiness and peace.
And there is chastening, but the Father’s love
Flows through it; and would any trusting heart
Forego the chastening and forego the love?
And every step leads on to more and more,’
From strength to strength Thy pilgrims pass and sing
The praise of Him who leads them on and on,
From glory unto glory, even here!
 Job xxvi. 15.
Only for Jesus.
Only for Jesus! Lord, keep it for ever
Sealed on the heart and engraved on the life!
Pulse of all gladness and nerve of endeavour,
Secret of rest, and the strength of our strife.
Vessels of Mercy, Prepared unto Glory.’
(Rom. ix. 23.)
Jer. xviii. 4.
Isa. xxii. 23, 24.
2 Tim. ii. 21.
2 Cor. iv. 5, 6.
Acts ix. 15.
Prov. xxv. 4.
Vessels of mercy, prepared unto glory!
This is your calling and this is your joy!
This, for the new year unfolding before ye,
Tells out the terms of your blessed employ.
Vessels, it may be, all empty and broken,
Marred in the Hand of inscrutable skill;
(Love can accept the mysterious token!)
Marred but to make them more beautiful still.
Vessels, it may be, not costly or golden;
Vessels, it may be, of quantity small,
Yet by the Nail in the Sure Place upholden,
Never to shiver and never to fall.
Vessels to honour, made sacred and holy,
Meet for the use of the Master we love,
Ready for service, all simple and lowly,
Ready, one day, for the temple above.
Yes, though the vessels be fragile and earthen,
God hath commanded His glory to shine;
Treasure resplendent henceforth is our burthen,
Excellent power, not ours but Divine.
Chosen in Christ ere the dawn of Creation,
Chosen for Him, to be filled with His grace,
Chosen to carry the streams of salvation
Into each thirsty and desolate place.
Take all Thy vessels, O glorious Finer,
Purge all the dross, that each chalice may be
Pure in Thy pattern, completer, diviner,
Filled with Thy glory and shining for Thee.
The Turned Lesson.
I thought I knew it!’ she said,
I thought I had learnt it quite!’
But the gentle Teacher shook her head,
With a grave yet loving light
In the eyes that fell on the upturned face,
As she gave the book
With the mark still set in the self-same place.
I thought I knew it!’ she said;
And a heavy tear fell down,
As she turned away with bending head,
Yet not for reproof or frown,
Not for the lesson to learn again,
Or the play hour lost;–
It was something else that gave the pain.
She could not have put it in words,
But her Teacher understood,
As God understands the chirp of the birds
In the depth of an autumn wood.
And a quiet touch on the reddening cheek
Was quite enough;
No need to question, no need to speak.
Then the gentle voice was heard,
Now I will try you again!’
And the lesson was mastered,–every word!
Was it not worth the pain?
Was it not kinder the task to turn,
Than to let it pass,
As a lost, lost leaf that she did not learn?
Is it not often so,
That we only learn in part,
And the Master’s testing-time may show
That it was not quite by heart’?
Then He gives, in His wise and patient grace,
That lesson again
With the mark still set in the self-same place.
Only, stay by His side
Till the page is really known.
It may be we failed because we tried
To learn it all alone,
And now that He would not let us lose
One lesson of love
(For He knows the loss),–can we refuse?
But oh! how could we dream
That we knew it all so well!
Reading so fluently, as we deem,
What we could not even spell!
And oh! how could we grieve once more
That Patient One
Who has turned so many a task before!
That waiting One, who now
Is letting us try again;
Watching us with the patient brow,
That bore the wreath of pain;
Thoroughly teaching what He would teach,
Line upon line,
Thoroughly doing His work in each.
Then let our hearts be still,’
Though our task is turned to-day;
Oh let Him teach us what He will,
In His own gracious way.
Till, sitting only at Jesus’ feet,
As we learn each line
The hardest is found all clear and sweet!
Rest him, O Father! Thou didst send him forth
With great and gracious messages of love;
But Thy ambassador is weary now,
Worn with the weight of his high embassy.
Now care for him as Thou hast cared for us
In sending him; and cause him to lie down
In Thy fresh pastures, by Thy streams of peace.
Let Thy left hand be now beneath his head,
And Thine upholding right encircle him,
And, underneath, the Everlasting arms
Be felt in full support. So let him rest,
Hushed like a little child, without one care;
And so give Thy belovd sleep to-night.
Rest him, dear Master! He hath poured for us
The wine of joy, and we have been refreshed.
Now fill his chalice, give him sweet new draughts
Of life and love, with Thine own hand; be Thou
His ministrant to-night; draw very near
In all Thy tenderness and all Thy power.
Oh speak to him! Thou knowest how to speak
A word in season to Thy weary ones,
And he is weary now. Thou lovest him–
Let Thy disciple lean upon Thy breast,
And, leaning, gain new strength to rise and shine.’
Rest him, O loving Spirit! Let Thy calm
Fall on his soul to-night. O holy Dove,
Spread Thy bright wing above him, let him rest
Beneath its shadow; let him know afresh
The infinite truth and might of Thy dear name–
Our Comforter!’ As gentlest touch will stay
The strong vibrations of a jarring chord,
So lay Thy hand upon his heart, and still
Each overstraining throb, each pulsing pain.
Then, in the stillness, breathe upon the strings,
And let thy holy music overflow
With soothing power his listening, resting soul.
A Song in the Night.
[Written in severe pain, Sunday afternoon, October 8th, 1876, at the
Pension Wengen, Alps.]
I take this pain, Lord Jesus,
From Thine own hand,
The strength to bear it bravely
Thou wilt command.
I am too weak for effort,
So let me rest,
In hush of sweet submission,
On Thine own breast.
I take this pain, Lord Jesus,
As proof indeed
That Thou art watching closely
My truest need;
That Thou, my Good Physician,
Art watching still;
That all Thine own good pleasure
Thou wilt fulfil.
I take this pain, Lord Jesus;
What Thou dost choose
The soul that really loves Thee
Will not refuse.
It is not for the first time
I trust to-day;
For Thee my heart has never
A trustless Nay!’
I take this pain, Lord Jesus;
But what beside?
Tis no unmingled portion
Thou dost provide.
In every hour of faintness
My cup runs o’er
With faithfulness and mercy,
And love’s sweet store.
I take this pain, Lord Jesus,
As Thine own gift;
And true though tremulous praises
I now uplift.
I am too weak to sing them,
But Thou dost hear
The whisper from the pillow,
Thou art so near!
‘Tis Thy dear hand, O Saviour,
That presseth sore,
The hand that bears the nail-prints
And now beneath its shadow,
Hidden by Thee,
The pressure only tells me
Thou lovest me!
What will You do without Him?
I could not do without Him!
Jesus is more to me
Than all the richest, fairest gifts
Of earth could ever be.
But the more I find Him precious–
And the more I find Him true–
The more I long for you to find
What He can be to you.
You need not do without Him,
For He is passing by,
He is waiting to be gracious,
Only waiting for your cry:
He is waiting to receive you–
To make you all His own!
Why will you do without Him,
And wander on alone?
Why will you do without Him?
Is He not kind indeed?
Did He not die to save you?
Is He not all you need?
Do you not want a Saviour?
Do you not want a Friend?
One who will love you faithfully,
And love you to the end?
Why will you do without Him?
The Word of God is true!
The world is passing to its doom–
And you are passing too.
It may be no to-morrow
Shall dawn on you or me;
Why will you run the awful risk
Of all eternity?
What will you do without Him,
In the long and dreary day
Of trouble and perplexity,
When you do not know the way,
And no one else can help you,
And no one guides you right,
And hope comes not with morning,
And rest comes not with night?
You could not do without Him,
If once He made you see
The fetters that enchain you,
Till He hath set you free.
If once you saw the fearful load
Of sin upon your soul;
The hidden plague that ends in death,
Unless He makes you whole!
What will you do without Him,
When death is drawing near?
Without His love–the only love
That casts out every fear;
When the shadow-valley opens,
Unlighted and unknown,
And the terrors of its darkness
Must all be passed alone!
What will you do without Him,
When the great white throne is set,
And the Judge who never can mistake,
And never can forget,–
The Judge whom you have never here
As Friend and Saviour sought,
Shall summon you to give account
Of deed and word and thought?
What will you do without Him,
When He hath shut the door,
And you are left outside, because
You would not come before?
When it is no use knocking,
No use to stand and wait;
For the word of doom tolls through your heart
That terrible Too late!’
You cannot do without Him!
There is no other name
By which you ever can be saved,
No way, no hope, no claim!
Without Him–everlasting loss
Of love, and life, and light!
Without Him–everlasting woe,
And everlasting night.
But with Him–oh! with Jesus!
Are any words so blest?
With Jesus, everlasting joy
And everlasting rest!
With Jesus–all the empty heart
Filled with His perfect love;
With Jesus–perfect peace below,
And perfect bliss above.
Why should you do without Him?
It is not yet too late;
He has not closed the day of grace,
He has not shut the gate.
He calls you! hush! He calls you!
He would not have you go
Another step without Him,
Because He loves you so.
Why will you do without Him?
He calls and calls again–
Come unto Me! Come unto Me!’
Oh, shall He call in vain?
He wants to have you with Him;
Do you not want Him too?
You cannot do without Him,
And He wants–even you.
Church Missionary Jubilee Hymn.
He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.’–Isa.
Rejoice with Jesus Christ to-day,
All ye who love His holy sway!
The travail of His soul is past,
He shall be satisfied at last.
Rejoice with Him, rejoice indeed!
For He shall see His chosen seed.
But ours the trust, the grand employ,
To work out this divinest joy.
Of all His own He loseth none,
They shall be gathered one by one;
He gathereth the smallest grain,
His travail shall not be in vain.
Arise and work! arise and pray
That He would haste the dawning day!
And let the silver trumpet sound,
Wherever Satan’s slaves are found.
The vanquished foe shall soon be stilled,
The conquering Saviour’s joy fulfilled,
Fulfilled in us, fulfilled in them,
His crown, His royal diadem.
Soon, soon our waiting eyes shall see
The Saviour’s mighty Jubilee!
His harvest joy is filling fast,
He shall be satisfied at last.
A Happy New Year to You!
New mercies, new blessings, new light on thy way;
New courage, new hope, and new strength for each day;
New notes of thanksgiving, new chords of delight,
New praise in the morning, new songs in the night,
New wine in thy chalice, new altars to raise;
New fruits for thy Master, new garments of praise;
New gifts from His treasures, new smiles from His face;
New streams from the Fountain of infinite grace;
New stars for thy crown, and new tokens of love;
New gleams of the glory that waits thee above;
New light of His countenance, full and unpriced;
All this be the joy of thy new life in Christ!
Another year is dawning!
Dear Master, let it be
In working or in waiting,
Another year with Thee.
Another year of leaning
Upon Thy loving breast,
Of ever-deepening trustfulness,
Of quiet, happy rest.
Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face.
Another year of progress,
Another year of praise;
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days.’
Another year of service,
Of witness for Thy love;
Another year of training
For holier work above.
Another year is dawning!
Dear Master, let it be
On earth, or else in heaven,
Another year for Thee!
New Year’s Wishes.
What shall I wish thee?
Treasures of earth?
Songs in the springtime,
Pleasure and mirth?
Flowers on thy pathway,
Skies ever clear?
Would this ensure thee
A Happy New Year?
What shall I wish thee?
What can be found
Bringing thee sunshine
All the year round?
Where is the treasure,
Lasting and dear,
That shall ensure thee
A Happy New Year?
Faith that increaseth,
Walking in light;
Hope that aboundeth,
Happy and bright;
Love that is perfect,
Casting out fear;
These shall ensure thee
A Happy New Year.
Peace in the Saviour,
Rest at His feet,
Smile of His countenance
Radiant and sweet,
Joy in His presence!
Christ ever near!
This will ensure thee
A Happy New Year!
Most Blessed For Ever.’
(Though the date of these lines is uncertain, they are chosen as a
closing chord to her songs on earth.)
The prayer of many a day is all fulfilled,
Only by full fruition stayed and stilled;
You asked for blessing as your Father willed,
Now He hath answered: Most blessed for ever!’
Lost is the daily light of mutual smile,
You therefore sorrow now a little while;
But floating down life’s dimmed and lonely aisle
Comes the clear music: Most blessed for ever!’
From the great anthems of the Crystal Sea,
Through the far vistas of Eternity,
Grand echoes of the word peal on for thee,
Sweetest and fullest: Most blessed for ever.’
On this day…
- What if Jesus meant the stuff he said? – 2011
- Heroes of the Cross – 2011
- We didn’t dare them to take Jesus seriously – 2011
- Our King Forever – 2011
- The flesh, and the spirit – 2011
- God has done everything necessary to enthrall us with Himself – 2011
- Acknowledging our sin – 2011
- A decision for Jesus Christ – 2011
- Where worship doesn’t exist – 2011
- Waiting on God! – Andrew Murray – 2010