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and true, but it did not seem to fit me exactly; it We read in the book of Acts, that as Saul of seemed to me stiff and hard. But now God's hand Tarsus was on his way to Damascus, suddenly there is upon me, and God's hand adapts itself to me. shone round about him a light from heaven. He fell He does not press too hard. His hand is light. to the ground, and in reply to the voice that spake to His hand is tender. He knows just how much I him, saying, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest," can understand, and bear, and do. He gives me he replied, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do ?”
, . light and grace. All that was said at the meet- We call this the conversion of Paul, and rightly so ; ings was true enough, but it is far better to have but in what chapter of the book of Acts, or of any it straight from Him."
other book, do we find anything about the consecraThat is what we need. Begin right now, to-day, tion of Paul? We answer that the Apostle's conand go to that Teacher, the One great Teacher, version was so genuine and so thorough that it who will never depart. He will lead us further carried with it at once an entire consecration. He and further on in His truth, as it is said by the understood at the outset that if this was his Lord, beloved A postle : “ The anointing which ye have if he had been persecuting the Son of God who died received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not for him, there was only one thing to do; that was, that any man teach you; but as the same anoint- to spend the whole of his remaining life—all he was ing teacheth you in all things, and is truth, and and all he had—in the service of that Master. There is no lie, even as it hath taught you ye shall was only one question to be asked, “Lord, what abide in Him."
wilt Thou have me to do ?”
Of course he went on and took further steps; he
received the Holy Spirit a little while after that. WHAT IS CONSECRATION ?
He went on from strength to strength, from knowI have had a request for prayer put into my ledge to knowledge, from love to love, there is no hands, which runs as follows :-“A sister asks doubt; but anything that looks like a renewed act prayer for her brother, that he may be led to conse- of what we are accustomed to call consecration, we crate himself fully to the Lord.” Now, what does do not find. He was so converted that he never had this mean? Very likely a few years ago such a re- to retrace his steps. He does not appear ever to have quest would have been worded somewhat differently. been in the slightest degree a backslider. Perhaps it would have been :-“ A sister prays that If we had all been converted out and out, as her brother may be truly converted.” Or, perhaps, Paul was, I think it would have been the same with if the sister looked upon her brother as converted, us as it was with him. There would be no occasion she would have asked prayer that he might"advance for insisting upon consecration as an act subsequent in the knowledge and service of the Lord.” But, to conversion. But what are the facts of the case ? for the last ten years or so, a word-not exactly a Very generally we do go back more or less. Yet new word, but a word that was seldom employed— we are trying to live what we call a Christian life, has got into general use. This is the word, “Con- without truly and practically admitting that we secration.” Such meetings as these, for instance, belong altogether to the Lord. If so, what is the have often been called “ Consecration meetings." first thing to be done in order to enter into a life
I inquire again, What does it mean? I daresay that deserves the name of “ spiritual,” a life that many are asking the same question. “What,” they can be “ deepened,” that can be strengthened, that ask us, “is this new thing 'consecration'? We do can go on from faith to faith, taking hold of one not know that we have ever made any special act of promise after another, and being led forward to consecration, yet we consider ourselves as believers, more efficient service? We have to return to the as Christians. We know many who never talk fundamental fact that we do belong to God. We about consecration at all, but whom we know to be acknowledge it, but we want to realise it practically. consecrated to the Lord, if that means set apart for Therefore we have to come to Him and beg forgiveHim, and devoted to His service." What, then, is ness, and place ourselves again in His hands. It is this new thing? What does it signify, to begin a very simple thing. with? What is the use of it? What are the fruits If anybody should say, “That's nothing new; of it?
we all know that we belong to God, and that we
should live for Him;" I answer, “ Very well, are pounds you would call it stealing. But when it is you doing it? If you are, I have no controversy your life, belonging to God, that you are using for with you. If you consider yourselves really, prac- yourself, what do you call such conduct? Why
. tically, on Mondays as well as Sundays, at other make so much ado about giving it back to God? times as well as at the time of prayer, as belonging Mark you, it does not read, “You ought not to be to Christ alone, that is all right. Call it what you your own,” but “you are not.” You can never be please, we are perfectly agreed. But if you have right or be happy until you acknowledge the fact not done it, why should you have any controversy that you are not your own; until you give God what with me because I am urging you to do it?” That belongs to Him, saying, “I have been a thiefis the whole question.
robbing God' (as the prophet Malachi says)-but Suppose that after this meeting a man should I will be so no longer. come to me and say, “I would like to have a little You now place yourself in His hands. And what talk with you." Willingly, what is the matter ?” happens then? Oh, when you place yourself in " Come here into this corner.” “ Here I am, what God's hands, you are where you should be. God is the point?” “I want to ask your advice about receives His own, and can use His own, and can a difficult question.” “Well, I will do my best; keep His own. Then He can put, and He does put what is it?" "As I was coming into the meeting at your disposal all that He has. It is little enough
” a gentleman before me took his note-book out of that we can give Him; but who can measure His his pocket and happened to drop a five-pound note; gift to us? It has been well said : “Give God but he never saw that he had lost it." Well, your hands full, and He will give you His hands you saw it, and picked up the note for him, I dare full.” All that belongs to God is at your service. say.' “Yes—that is to say, I picked it up, but I Does that mean that all things belong to me? Of put it into my own pocket.” “You did, indeed! course it does. "Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, And now you require a little conversation about the or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or matter ?”
" Yes." “Do you consider the money things to come; all are yours." All, mark you, but yours ?" “No, it is hardly mine; but do you not one thing; that is yourself, "ye are not your
own." think it might be enough to return one-half of the As long as you are your own, or imagine you are, sum to the owner? Suppose I give him back £4, or act as though you were, how can God put any. or say £4 10s. Would not that be enough?" thing at your service? You are defrauding Him, “Not enough to save you from being a thief, making war against Him; could He encourage you surely." If the man should, after further talking in your rebellion? In that position, what belongs and listening, come to this conclusion, “ Well, let to God does not belong to you. All things are me see, I really think I will do a rare thing, and against you. The very “stars in their courses will consecrate these five pounds to their owner," - are making war against you. Why? Simply what would you think of him then ?
because you are not in God's hands. You want My dear friends, that is what thousands of to live without Him, to live for your own purposes, Christians are saying. They admit—who can help according to your own wisdom. “Well," God
" admitting ?—that they belong to God, who is our says, " let him try it." Just as if a little child Maker, our "faithful Creator," as the Apostle puts were silly enough to imagine that he would be it, and our Saviour, who has given His tears and happier by being independent of his father's will His blood to redeem us. Now, then, do we not and away from his father's home. So he walks belong to Him altogether? The Apostle says our out into the street, until somebody picks him up, bodies, as well as our souls, belong to Him. “ Ye and he returns to the arms of his father. He then are not your own; ye are bought with a price." finds out that so long as he was independent he Every Christian in the world admits that. Well, was miserable ; but just as soon as he came back then, how much of you belongs to Him? Is it not to his father all that was in the house was his at all you have and all you are—body, soul, and spirit ? once. We have it in the words of the parable : There are no two answers to the question. Then" "My son, all that I have is thine." So there is are you using for your own objects what does not nothing in the universe that does not belong to the belong to you ? If it were a paltry matter of five child of God, just because he is the child of God,
because God is his father, and all things are in You remember—to return to our starting-pointGod's hands for them that are willing to serve Him. the first thing Saul of Tarsus had to do when he
And what a beautiful life it is! Oh, that I was converted. It was a very simple thing; he might, by the grace of God, persuade many among had to go into the city, and there he would be told you, especially the young men, that there is no life what he had to do next. Some of you may be worth having beside the life of consecration. To afraid of thus making yourselves over to God as a belong to God, to belong to the King of kings, practical thing, as a definite transaction between to be His messenger, to be His witness, to be you and Him. But it has to be done. If you His servant-ah! to be His child !-can you remain in a haze, always wishing and admitting conceive of anything greater or more blessed ? that you ought to do it, but never doing it, it will Then God can let you have all things—anything be no easier in a month or a year than it is to-night; that will be good for you, anything that is lovely, it will be more difficult. If we do it God will give that is pure, that is honest, that is of good report. us something to accomplish for Him to-night. PerPerhaps you young men sometimes think that haps it will simply be to go home quietly and rest. Christians shut themselves up into very close People think they will doubtless have at once to quarters, as it were ; you want a little more space perform some very extraordinary feat, such, for in which to spread your wings. Very well; give instance, as to speak of salvation to every person yourselves to God, and you will have the whole they may meet with to-morrow. Is it not enough breadth of the heavens open to you. The reason for you that the Lord, the loving, gentle, wise why Christians are sometimes a little cramped, is Master will appoint your task for you? Can you because they are not altogether at God's disposal. be afraid of Him? Do not lay out plans for extraGod is ready to use their every faculty, their will, ordinary things, and say: "I will have
"I will have to do this their mind, their affections, their education, culture, or that." The one thing you will have to do will imagination, everything. He would have them be to walk according to God's Word, and obey the serve Him in all that is true, and beautiful, and Holy Ghost. He will show you His will. He has good.
promised to do it. He has come for the purpose. We return to the one question : Are we in God's Only place yourself in His hands, and cease to hands? Has He given us our place, our work, our retain that which is not your own. measure of grace for the work? Then shall our lives be truly holy and happy, grand, and glorious and mighty, seen and felt and envied by all
A THOUGHT IN SICKNESS. beholders. Not the least wonder of that life shall be the ease and spontaneousness of a second nature
“ He took him aside from the multitude."-St. Mark vii. 33. coming from God. It is, I think, a German writer, Aside with Jesus ! is it hard to be, who quaintly says: “First, the natural man must 0 Blessed Master, thus alone with 'Thee ? be converted into a spiritual man, and then the Aside with Jesus, parted from the strife, spiritual man has to become a natural man.”
That The turmoil, and the care of daily life. is to say, spiritual life has to become natural to us; Aside with Jesus, basking in His smile ; we must live in it as in our own atmosphere; Brought to the “ desert place” to “rest awhile.” desiring, not wanting, not seeking anything outside Aside with Jesus, His sweet Voice to hear, of it; not casting side glances at the world, thinking Speaking “the Word ” to me, as I can “ bear.” that this forbidden thing must be so sweet, and Aside with Jesus, gazing in His face, that other thing so nice; but that we dare not And gathering thence fresh stores of needed grace. touch them, because we are Christians. No, that Aside with Jesus, His blest touch to feel, is not the true life. We look to Christ and see The deafened "ear," the faltering "tongue” to heal. what He is, what He gives, counting all things Aside with Jesus ! help me, Lord, to use but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of The blest retirement as Thou shalt choose; Him. This, however, implies that we are living in That, back to work returning, all may see, Him, and, to begin with, that we have surrendered And “knowledge take” that I have been with Thee! to Him.
C. A. B.
BY REV. CHARLES A. FOX.
“IF THOU CANST BELIEVE."
you willing to be pitied ? are you willing to cast yourself on His compassion and to say as one of
England's greatest statesmen-William Pitt-said “If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.” Jesus said unto him, “If thou canst believe, all when he was dying, “I cast myself on the mercy of things are possible to him that believeth."- Mark ix. 22. God”? Are you willing to be pitied of your God
We know the story. It is that of the poor and Saviour? The whole earth is hanging on Him, epileptic boy whom the father brought to the disci- -"He upholdeth all things by the word of His
-“ ples, when Christ was on the Mount of Transfigura- power"-are you willing to hang upon Him? tion, and they could not cast out the evil spirit. But there is also this in the simple remark of the And as Christ came down, with something of the poor father. Something else troubled him ; there
2 transfiguration glory clinging about Him, the father was a deep, real distrust of God : “ If Thou canst met Him with these words, “If Thou canst do any do anything." Do we know anything of this? The thing, have compassion on us, and help us." This devil has done his work very successfully when he is just a picture of us,-we and the whole world are makes men despair of any compassion or mercy at the foot of the Transfiguration Hill, some have coming from God-of anything good from God. It been up and seen the glory, and some have come
is here when man comes so low, when he is willing down to tell, for thank God they are not now for- to be pitied, when he is at utter self-despair, and when bidden to tell. One would have thought in the he dare not even hope anything of God, that we Church of God that the prohibition still prevailed, see how the precious Lord Jesus comes with an so silent are we; but nay, now we are bidden to tell answer. See now the tender compassion of Jesus, it out. Until Calvary it was,
Come and see !".
“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him after the Resurrection it was,
“Go and tell.” Re- that believeth.” It seems hard at first, but the surrection power gives a resurrection tongue, and father saw it at once—“If Thou canst do anything"
_/ now we are to carry the news of blessing to all men. nay, “If thou canst believe." He turns back the
We are now at the foot of the Transfiguration challenge upon us. " If thou canst believe.” Hill; is it a cry of any soul here to-night, “If does God make so much of faith? Why is there Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and always so much stress laid on believing? Because help us "? This is the mutual challenge going on faith is the most self-abnegating thing in the world; between God and us; we say to Him, “If Thou it is the most self-abhorring principle possible. It canst,” and God replies, “ If thou canst believe, all is that which abhors itself, and goes out of itself into things are possible to him that believeth.” There another. It is not only the most self-abhorring is this perpetual mutual challenge going on between principle, but also that which was brought out this dust and Deity, and between Deity and dust. morning in Job's experience (Job xlii.); it is a pour
Now observe first this simple thought, this man ing out of self into God. It is the most self-abhorwas at the point of utter self-despair. “If Thou ring, and also the most God-adhering principle. Itcanst do anything, have compassion on us, and help goes out of self and accepts God. us,"_" anything ; " and there can be no blessing May I then put very simply before you how to unless we come to that, and are ready to say, any
cast out the Evil Spirit ? Unbelief is the first thing thing,"—no matter if it humble, if it crucify. If which hinders. Therefore there can be no casting out we want this blessing to be a reality in us, we must of the Devil without faith. And faith has in it these be as this man was, ready to do anything-to take three blessed principles :- First, human incapacity. anything from the Lord in utter self-despair, because it is self-despairing ; willing to be pitied; willing for he could not do anything for himself. He was will anything; having no human capacity. Then, second, ing also to be pitied of God—“If Thou canst do faith places its whole reliance on Divine veracity. anything, have compassion on us, and help us." Oh, cast yourself on the Word of God. This prinMany think it manly to dislike being pitied. But ciple is life and light and power. It despairs of we know that in the dealings between heaven and everything else, and it most clings about the Word earth it is the most manly thing to dare to be pitied of God as nothing else does ; it is in love with the of God. Many are outside the blessing because Word of God. Can you trust it? Can you give they are not willing for this. Oh, my brother, are yourself away simply in obedience to His Word ?
" At Thy Word I will let down the net,” trusting to some direct transaction between Thee and us tothe Divine veracity. There is deep progress here, night. but all depeuds on our acting with this trust.
What will you do with the Word of God to-night ? Can you cling to and trust the Word of God ? | Will you trample it under foot? Will you say they Can
you fasten on it and float out to sea on a single are good and beautiful thoughts, and lay them up in word of God? Can you do as the nobleman of Cana that clean napkin of your memory? No, come todid !--go home on the word of Jesus. Surely he night to dare out on the raft of some truth of God;
l; must have been repeating to himself over and over to live for God alone, and follow Him. It is Ileaven as he went, “ He said unto me, * Thy son liveth.'” to follow Him. There " they follow the Lamb “ Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, whithersoever He goeth," and He has come to thou shouldest see the glory of God ?" God appeals make a heaven in my heart. to His own Word. It has always been so. By His This, then, is faith—confession of human incaWord Creation was made, and by His Word the pacity—entire reliance on the Divine veracity—and new creation is made. Let us, then, have entire it involves holy audacity. reliance on the Divine veracity.
The Lord was dealing with a very real case. He Not only is there in faith confession of human had been in this state - from a child.” It was not incapacity and reliance on the Divine veracity, but a recent case. How often we may have said, “The there is also this further important thing—there Lord does not know that this is not a new case; it must also be in faith a holy audacity. Many daro has been so “from a child.' Perhaps He might not go forth and embark,
have healed if it had been a recent case, but this "Faith embarks her all
has been an established one from childhood. He Upon some ancient promise of the Word,
does not know that we have been often in the fire Blind senge discarding."
of passion, consumed by our own sin : often in the It is a grand thing when a man first trusts to the water of trial.” Do you know what the Lord Word of God, when he passes out to sea upon it, saith ?
"If thou canst believe, all things aro astonished at the revelation of God. He is like a possible to him that believeth.” He opens the man who thinks it very terrible to begin to swim, door of Divine possibilities to us.
It is possible but when he gives himself away to the waters, then for Him, and He makes it possible for us. That they bear him up, and he is astonished at the ease is what I call being God; He gives away His and simplicity with which he floats away on the own possibilities, and makes us able to do what buoyant waters. Is there any of this holy audacity He does. in any soul here to-night? Will you let yourself
“Faith laughs at impossibilities, down, and feel that God's Word is under you alone,
And says, It shall be done." and trust to that? There is no good going any Will you laugh at impossibilities, and say “ It further until this one glorious deed of the soul is shall be done"? settled.. Dare out on the deep of God's Word in
know what it is to kneel down and bow the dark. Do it to-night, it is as good as any night. yourself before God- to go in some deep trial and Dare out with holy audacity, which is most Divine agony of wrestling, feeling quite worn out, and then audacity. To-night dare out and trust to His holy to lie down and fall asleep on some word of God, truth.
rested and refreshed because you Do you say
that you are “too humble" } Nay, have believed ? Shall we enter the door of Divine it is because you are not humble enough that you possibilities to-night? We are soiled and stained do not dare out and believe it true. There are with sin, we are buried deep in sin, but there is an thousands who stand shivering on the brink because open door of Divine possibilities—there is a life of they will not trust themselves to Him. They have forgiveness, of peace and power. God tells you read that it is safe to do it; they know of others so—He Who hates sin, God the only One in the having done it, yet they dare not do it for them- | Universe who hates sin, tells you so; and those selves, and so they are not set free. Oh, let there also whom He has taught to hate it, can tell you be some illuminated word from Thce to-night, my that this life is possible. Lord, so that they must trust Thee! Let there be “ If thou canst believe, all things are possible to