Sermon 910. Overwhelming Obligations
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" Psalm 116:12.
DEEP emotion prompts this question. But where are the depths of love and gratitude that can meet its exuberant demands? Youwill perhaps remember an incident in the life of a famous soldier, who also became a famous Christian, Colonel James Gardiner.One night he was little thinking of Divine things, but on the contrary had made an appointment of the most vicious kind. Hewas waiting for the appointed hour when he saw, or thought he saw before him in the room where he sat alone, a visible representationof the Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross.
He was impressed, as if a voice, or something equivalent to a voice, had come to him to this effect-"O sinner, I did all thisfor you. What have you done for me?" Some such representation as that I would put before the eyes of every person in thisassembly. I earnestly pray that the vision of the Christ of God, the mercy of God, the love of God, may appear to all youreyes. And may a Voice say in your conscience, both to saint and sinner, "I did all this for you. What have you done for Me?"It will be a humiliating night probably for us all, if such should be the case-but humiliation may prove salutary-yes, thevery healthiest frame of mind in which we can be found.
I. I shall first of all this evening, invite you to CAST UP A SUM IN ARITHMETIC. The text suggests this. "What shall I renderunto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" Come, let us reckon up! Though I know that the number will surpass all humannumeration, let us try to reckon up His benefits toward any one of us. I wish each one of you, distinctly and severally, wouldnow endeavor to think of the mercy of God towards yourself.
First, let us call over the roll of our temporal mercies. They are but secondary, but they are very valuable. There is a specialProvidence in the endowment of life to each individual creature. David did not disdain to trace back the hand of God to thehour of his nativity. And Paul adored the Grace of God that separated him from the time that his mother gave him birth. Ourgratitude may, in like manner, revert to the days when we hung upon the breast. Or in the case of some, you may thank thegoodness that supplied the lack of a mother's tender love.
Childhood's early days might then make our thoughts busy, and our tongues vocal with praise. But here we are now. We havebeen preserved, some of us, these thirty or forty years. We might have been cut down and punished in our sin. We might havebeen swept away to the place where despair makes eternal night. But we have been kept alive in the midst of many accidents.By some marvelous godsend, death has been turned aside just as it seemed, with a straight course, to be posting toward us.When fierce diseases have been waiting round to hurry us to our last home, we have yet escaped.
Nor have we merely existed. God has been pleased to give us food, raiment, and a place where to lay our weary heads. To manyhere present He has given all the comforts of this life, till they can say, "My cup runs over, I have more than any heartcan wish." To all here He has given enough, and though you may have passed through many straits, your bread has been givenyou, and your water has been sure. Is not this cause for thankfulness?
You cannot think of a shivering beggar tonight in the streets, you cannot think of the hundreds of thousands in this unhappycountry-unhappy for that reason-who have no shelter but such as the poorhouse can afford them. And no bread but such as isdoled out to them as a pauper's meager pittance, without being grateful that you have been, up to now, supplied with thingsconvenient for your sustenance, and defended from that bitter, biting penury which palls self-respect, cows industry, dampsthe ardor of resolution, chafes the heart, corrodes the mind, prostrates every vestige of manliness, and leaves manhood itselfto be the prey of misery and the victim of despair.
More than that, we have reason tonight to be very grateful for the measure of health which we enjoy. "It is indeed a strangeand awful sensation to be suddenly reduced by the unnerving hand of sickness to the feebleness of infancy. For giant strengthto lie prostrate, and busy activity to be chained to the weary bed." Oh, when the bones begin to ache, and sinews and tissuesseem to be but roads for pain to travel on, then we thank God for even a moment's rest. Do you not
know what it is to toss to and fro in the night and wish for the day, and when the daylight has come, to pine for the night?
If there has been an interval of relief, just a little lull in the torture and the pain, how grateful you have been for it!Shall we not be thankful for health, then, and specially so for a long continuance of it? You strong men that hardly knowwhat sickness means, if you could be made to walk the wards of the hospital and see where there have been broken bones, wherethere are disorders that depress the system, maladies incurable, pangs that rack and convulse the frame, and pains all butunbearable, you would think, I hope, that you had cause enough for gratitude.
Not far off this spot there stands a dome-I thank God for the existence of the place of which it forms a part-but I can neverlook at it. I hope I never shall, without lifting up my heart in thanks to God that my reason is spared. It is no small unhappinessto be bereft of our faculties, to have the mind swept to and fro in hurricanes of desperate, raging madness, or to be victimsof hallucinations that shut you out from all usefulness, and even companionship with your fellow men. That you are not inSt. Luke's or Bedlam tonight should be a cause for thankfulness to Almighty God.
But why do I enlarge here? Consider to what pains the human body may be subjected. Imagine what ills may come upon humanity.Conceive what distress, what woe, what anguish, we are all capable of bearing-and then in proportion as you have been securedfrom all these, and in proportion on the other hand as you have been blessed with comforts and enjoyments-"let each generousimpulse of your nature warm into ecstasy." And then ask yourselves the question, "What shall we render unto the Lord for allHis benefits toward us?" Cast up the sum, and then draw a line and ask what is due to God for even these common gifts of Providence.
But, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, you who have something better than this life to rest upon, I touch a higher and asweeter string-a chord which ought to tremble with a nobler melody, when I say to you-think of the spiritual blessings whichyou have received! It is not very long ago that you were in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity. We look backbut for a little while, some of us, and we were under the bondage of the Law. We had been awakened, and we felt the load andthe guilt of sin-a grievous burden from which we feared we never could escape-a flagrant defilement from which we knew nomeans of cleansing.
Do not I remember well my fruitless prayers, my tears that were my meat both day and night, my grief of heart! They cut meto the quick, and I found no kind of deliverance! How I sought the Lord then! How I cried for mercy, but I found none! I wasshut up and could not come forth. I was delivered up to fear, and doubt, and despair. Bless the Lord, it is over now! Blessedbe the name of God, my soul has escaped like a bird out of the net! And this night, instead of talking of sin as a thing unpardonable,I can stand here and say for you, as well as myself, that He has put away all our iniquity, and cast our transgressions intothe depths of the sea!
If He had never done anything for us but that, it seems to me that we should be bound forever and forever to extol His namewith as much exultation as Miriam and Moses felt, when Miriam took the timbrel, and Moses wrote the song, "Sing unto the Lord,for He has triumphed gloriously. The horse and his rider has He cast into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and Heis become my salvation."
Not indeed, Beloved, that forgiven sin was the total. It was but an item, the beginning of His tender mercies towards us.For after that He comforted us like as a mother comforts her children. He bound up every wound. He removed every blot. Hecovered us with a robe of righteousness and decked us with the jewels of the Spirit's Graces. He adopted us into His family,even we who were aliens by nature, foes by long habit, rebels and traitors by our revolt against His government. He made usheirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. All the privileges of sonship, which never would have been ours by nature, havebeen secured to us by regeneration, and by adoption. All His benefits!
If these were all, oh, what should we render unto Him who is the Author and Giver of such inestimable blessings? All His benefits!How could we estimate their value, even if we had to stop here? Mark you, they are benefits, indeed, not merely the kind intentof benevolence, or good wishes, which may or may not be of real service to us. But verily the saving effect of beneficence,or good deeds accomplished for us-the full advantage of which we have richly to enjoy.
There is a vexatious uncertainty about all human philanthropy. How weak it often is, expending strength for nothing, and failingto mature its best projects! Though the physician should exhaust the resources of medical science while he spares no painsin watching his patient, that patient may die. Though the advocate pleads for his client with intense fer-
vor, cogent reasoning, and a torrent of eloquence, that client may yet lose his cause. Though the general of an army commandthe troops ever so skillfully, and fight against the enemy ever so bravely, the battle may yet be lost.
The heroic volunteer who assays to rescue a drowning man may fail in the endeavor and lose his own life in the attempt. Thevaliant crew that man the lifeboat may not succeed in bringing the shipwrecked to shore. The best aims may miscarry. Kindness,like ore of gold in the breast of the creature, may never be minted into the coin of benefit, or pass current for its realworth. Not all donations expended in charity are effectual to relieve distress. But the benefits of God are all fully beneficial.They answer the ends they are designed to serve.
Forgetfulness on the part of God's children is without excuse, for here we are, monuments of mercy, pillars of Grace, livingEpistles-yes, the living, the living to praise You, O God, as I do this day. And thus beholden to the Lord for all His benefits,I feel that my thoughts and actions of adoring gratitude should break forth, restrained by no shore, but be continually overflowingevery embankment that custom has thrown up, and send out in tears of love and sweat of labor, fertilizing streams on the righthand and on the left.
All His benefits! Ring that note again. His benefits are so many, so various, so minute, that they often escape our observationwhile they exactly meet our wants. True it is, the Lord has done great things for us which may well challenge the admirationof angels. But true it also is that He has done little things for us, and bestowed attention upon all our tiny needs and ourchildish cares and anxieties. As we turn over the leaves of our diary, we are lost in wonder at the keenness of that visionand the extent of that knowledge whereby even the hairs of our head are all numbered .
O God, what infinite tenderness, what boundless compassion You have shown to us! You have continued to forgive our offenses-Youhave perpetually upheld us in the hour of temptation. What comforts have delighted our soul in the times of trouble! Whatgentle admonitions have brought us back in the times of our going astray! We have had preserving mercies, sustaining mercies,enriching mercies, sanctifying mercies. Who shall count the small dust of the favors and bounties of the Lord?
My dear Brethren, it is no small benefit that God has conferred upon some of us that we are members of a happy Church on earth-thatwe are united together in the bonds of love. I know some of you used to be members of other Churches where there were periodicconflicts, and you are glad enough that you have come with a loving and happy people where you can serve the Lord to yourheart's content. By His Grace you meet with warm-hearted fellow Christians who bid you Godspeed. My heart exults in the thoughtof all the prosperity we have enjoyed in this place. The Lord's name be praised! Even as a Church, over and above the mercieswhich have come to us as private Christians, I would say-and I would invite you to join me in saying-"What shall we renderto the Lord for all His benefits toward us?"
But, Beloved, we have only begun the list of those mercies that we strive in vain to enumerate. We shall not try to finishit, for blessed be God, it never will be finished. He has given us Himself to be our portion. He has given us His Providenceto be our guardian. He has given us His promises to be the vouchers of our inheritance. We shall not die, though we must sleep,unless the Lord first comes. Yet we shall sleep in Jesus! Our bones and ashes shall be watched over and preserved until theResurrection trumpet shall summon them by its voice, and our bodies shall be reanimated by Divine power.
For our souls, we have the sure and certain hope that we shall be with Christ where He is, that we may behold His glory. Weare looking forward to the blessed day when He shall say to us, "Come up higher," and from the lower room of the feast weshall ascend into the upper chamber, nearer to the King, to sit at His right hand and feast forever. Oh, the depths of Hismercy! Oh, the heights of His loving kindness! Faithfulness has followed us. Not a promise has been broken. Not one good thinghas failed us!
Now, my dear Brothers and Sisters, what have I just given you but a sort of general outline of the mercies the Lord has bestowedon us, and the benefits we have received at His hand? If each one would try to fill that outline up, by the rehearsal of hisown case, and the life story of his own experience, how much glory God might get from this assembly tonight! Your case isdifferent from mine in the incidents that compose it. I believe mine is different from any of yours- but this I know-thereis not a man in this place that owes more to God than I do. There is not one here that ought to be more grateful.
There cannot be one that is more indebted to the goodness of the Lord than I am for every step of the pilgrimage that I havetrod, from the first day even until now. I can, no, I must speak well of His name. Truly God is good, and I have
found Him so. "The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him." I have proved Him so. Well, I knowall your tongues are itching to say the same. You feel that though He has led you through deep waters, and through fiery trials,and sometimes chastened you very severely, He has not given you over to death. He has dealt with you as a father with Hisson whom He loves, and been to you as a Friend that never forsakes.
You would not breathe half a word against His blessed name. Rather you would say, to borrow an expression which Rutherfordconstantly used, that you are, "drowned debtors to God's mercy." He meant that he was over head and ears in debt to God-hecould not tell how deep his obligations were, so he just called himself, "a drowned debtor" to the loving kindness and themercy of his God. Well, there is a sum for you. If you want to use your arithmetical faculties, sit down when you can getan hour's quiet, and try to identify all the precious thoughts of God towards you-all His benefits.
II. Our second point shall be A CALCULATION OF THE GRATITUDE WHICH IS DUE TO GOD FOR ALL
THIS. I should like to make each man his own assessor tonight, to assess the income of mercy which he has received, and putdown what should be the tribute of gratitude which he should return to the revenue of the great King. "What shall I renderunto the Lord for all His benefits?"
Calculate, for a minute, what we owe to God the Father, and what we ought to render Him for the debt. As many as have believedin Christ were chosen of God the Father from before all worlds. He might have left them unchosen. It was His own absolutegood pleasure which wrote them in the roll of the elect. He has chosen you, my Brothers and Sisters, that you should be holy,that you should be His children, that you should be made like your elder Brother, Christ Jesus. And because He chose you tothis, to this you shall come-though all the powers of earth and Hell should withstand- for the Divine decree abides immutablysteadfast and shall surely be fulfilled.
You are God's favorite one, His child, ordained to dwell forever in eternal bliss. What shall we render for this? O let thethought just stir the depths of your soul a minute, if indeed it is so, that the seal of the Everlasting Covenant has beenset upon you! Before the sun began to shine, or the moon to march in her courses, God did choose me, in whom there was nothingto engross His love-nothing to attract His favor. O my God, if it is so, that I, of all the sons of Adam, should be made adistinguishing object of Your Grace, and the subject of Your discriminating favor, take me. Take my body, take my soul, takemy spirit, take my goods, my talents, my faculties-take all I have, and all I am, and all I ever hope to be-for I am Yours.You have loosed my bonds, but Your mercy has bound me to Your service forever.
Now think for a minute of what you owe to God the Son, to Jesus Christ. I mean as many of you as have believed on Him. Thinkfor a moment on the habitation of the highest Glory, and consider how Jesus left His Father's Throne, deserted the courtsof angels, and came down below to robe Himself in an infant's clay. There contemplate Him living in our nature. See Him afterHe has grown up, leading a life of toil and pain, bearing our sicknesses, and carrying our sorrows. Let your eyes look straightinto the face of the Man who was acquainted with grief.
I shall not ask you to trace all His footsteps, but I would bid you come to that famous garden, where in the dead of the nightHe knelt and prayed, until in agony, He sweat drops of blood. It was for you, for you, Believer, that there the bloody sweatfell to the ground! You see Him rise up. He is betrayed by His friend. For you the betrayal was endured. He is taken. He isled off to Pilate. They falsely accuse Him. They spit in His face. They crown Him with thorns. They put a mock scepter ofreed into His hands-for you all that ignominy was endured! For you, especially and particularly, the Lord of Glory passedthrough these cruel mockings.
See Him as He bears His Cross-His shoulders are bleeding from the recent lashes. See Him, as along the Via Dolo-rosa He sustainsthe cruel load. He bears that Cross for you. Your sins are laid on His shoulders and make that Cross more heavy than had itbeen made of iron. See Him on the Cross, lifted up between Heaven and earth, a spectacle of grievous woe. Hear Him cry, "Ithirst!" And hear His cry more bitter, still, while Heaven and earth are startled by it, "Why have You forsaken Me, My God,My God?"
He is enduring all those griefs for you. For you the thirst and the fainting, the nakedness and the agony. For you the bowingof the head, the yielding up the ghost, the slumber in the cold and silent tomb. For you His resurrection when He rises inthe glory of His might, and for you afterwards the ascension into Heaven, when they sing, "Lift up your heads, O you gates,and be you lift up, you everlasting doors." For you His constant pleading at the right hand of the Father. Yes, all for YOU,and what should be done for Him?
What tribute shall we lay at the pierced feet? What present shall we put into that nailed hand? Where are kisses that shallbe sweet enough for His dear wounds? Where is adoration that shall be reverent enough for His blessed and exalted Person?Daughters of music, bring your sweetest songs! You men of wealth, bring Him your treasures. You men of fame and learning,come lay your laurels at His feet. Let us all bring all that we have, for such a Christ as this deserves more than all. Whatshall we render, Christ of God, to You for all Your benefits towards us?
Let me ask you to think for a moment on the third Person of the blessed Godhead, namely, the Holy Spirit. Let us never forgetthat when we were like filthy rags His hand touched us. When we were like corrupt and rotten carcasses in the graves of sin,His breath quickened us. It was His hand that led us to the Cross. It was His fingers that took the film from our eyes. Itwas His eye salve that illuminated us that we should look to Jesus and live. Since that hour the blessed Spirit has livedin our hearts. Oh, what a dreadful place, I was about to say, for God to dwell in! But the Holy Spirit has never utterly leftus. We have grieved Him. We have oftentimes vexed Him-but still He is here, still resident within the soul, never departing-beingHimself the very life of the living incorruptible seed that abides forever.
My dear Friends, how often the Holy Spirit has comforted you! How very frequently in your calm moments has He revealed Christto you! How often has the blessed Truth been laid home to you with a Divine savor which it never could have had, if it hadnot been for Him! He is God, and the angels worship Him, and yet He has come into the closest possible contact with you. Christwas Incarnate, and the flesh in which He was Incarnate was pure and perfect. The Holy Spirit was not incarnate, but stillHe comes to dwell in the bodies of His saints-bodies still impure, still unholy.
Oh, what Grace and condescension is this! You blessed Dove, You dear Comforter, You kind Lover of the fallen sons of men-Yourcondescension is matchless! We love You even as we love Christ Himself, and this night if we ask the question, "What shallwe render unto the Lord, the Holy Spirit, for all His benefits towards us?" we know not how to answer, but can only say, "Takeus, take us, Holy Spirit. Use us. Fill us with Yourself. Sanctify us to Your holiest purposes. Use us right up-make us livingsacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God-for it is our reasonable service."
Now perhaps, by God's Spirit, the text may come a little more vividly before your minds. You have had another opportunityof adding up all the benefits of God-another opportunity, dear Brothers and Sisters, of calculating what you ought to do.Give heed, then, for I intend to come, in closing, to be very personal and practical. I wish to speak very pointedly to youas individuals-but there are so many of you that some are sure to slip away in the crowd. I half wish I were in the positionof the preacher who had but one hearer, and addressed him as, "Dearly Beloved Roger."
I want to put the question of my text as though only one person were here, and that one person, yourself. "What shall I renderto the Lord?" Never mind your neighbor, your brother, your sister, your husband, your wife, or anybody else just now. If youare a saved soul, the question for you is, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" "What shallI render?" Suppose, dear Friend, you had been the woman bowed with an infirmity for so many years, and Christ had loosed you,and you had stood upright tonight? What would you render?
Well, you HAVE been loosed from your infirmity-a much worse decrepitude than the physical ailment she was released from! Supposeyou had been poor blind Bartimeus sitting by the wayside begging, born blind, and you had your sight given you tonight? Whatwould you render? But you HAVE had such a gift bestowed on you. You were in spiritual blindness-worse than that which is onlynatural-and Christ has opened your eyes! What will you render? Suppose you had been Lazarus, and had been in the grave solong that you began to be corrupt, and Christ had raised you to life? What would you render? Well, you HAVE been quickenedwhen you were dead in sin. You were corrupt. You were buried in darkness and in sin. But you can say with the Psalmist, "OLord, You have brought up my soul from the grave."
Now what will you render to Him? Suppose He stood on this platform tonight, and instead of this poor voice, and these uncleanlips, the voice of the Well-Beloved should speak in music to you? And the lips that are like lilies dropping sweet smellingmyrrh could talk to each of you? What would you render to Him, then? Well, do the same as though He were here, for He seesyou! Yes, and His Spirit, hovering over this assembly, will accept the tribute you give as though He were here in the flesh-orotherwise He will grieve over you and resent the neglect of your heart. Think of Him as being here, and render unto Him asthough He were visibly and audibly in our midst.
What will you render? Let me ask you, dearly Beloved, whether you have ever thought of what men and women can render. Youmay have read the lives, I hope you have, of Mr. and Mrs. Judson in Burma, ready to sacrifice all for Christ. Or the livesof our martyrs, in Foxe's Martyrology, who rejoiced if they might burn for Christ. We still have some men
and women among us-I wish there were more whose lives of consecration tell you what men can be and do. Are you anything likethey are? If not, while they are not what they ought to be, and they fall short of the Master's image, how far short mustyou be? Oh, I pray you are grieved that it is so, and press the question upon yourselves the more, What shall I render untothe Lord for all His benefits toward me?
A side question may help you. What have you rendered? You are getting old now, or at least you are getting to the prime oflife. What have you done for Christ up to this time? Come, look. Look back now, I must urge you to do it. Converted late perhaps,or if converted young, it matters not, still the question must come-What have you done up to now? Oh, I dare not answer thequestion myself-yet I am not in that respect the worst here-I dare not look back upon my past life of service for God withanything like satisfaction. After having done all that we could do, we are but unprofitable servants. We have not done whatwas our duty. There is no man here, I fear, who can answer the question, "What have I rendered?" with any self-contentment.We must all drop a tear, feel abashed, and say, "Good Lord, let not the future be as barren as the past, but by Your mercyhelp us to a better and a nobler sort of living!"
May I ask you, as it may assist in answering the question, how old you are? Some of you tell me that you are far advancedin age. Then what must you render in the few years you can have to live? Live hard, Beloved, live hard-live fast in a spiritualsense, for you have little time to use, none to waste. Get as much done as can be done for your dear Lord, before He callsyou to His face. You are young, others of you tell me. Oh, then with such a long opportunity as God may give you, you oughtto be diligent every moment! If you are not diligent now in your early days, there is no likelihood that you will be afterwards.Since you have the special and peculiar advantage of early piety, O render to the Lord the more, because He has opened beforeyou a wider field, and given you more time to cultivate it than full many of His people have known.
Let me ask you, again, What are your capacities? That, perhaps, will help you to answer the question. "Oh," says one, "I cannotdo much." Well then, my dear Friend, do the little you can. Do it all-do it up to the very point-do not leave an inch untouched.If you can only do a little, do all of that, and do it heartily. And keep at it till you die. Says another, "Perhaps God hasentrusted some talents to me." Then He expects a great deal from the employment of them. O do not let your talents lie idle!Your talents are not meant for your gain, nor merely to serve the world. They are meant to serve your God, who has redeemedyou with the precious blood of Jesus. Take care, whether you have much or little, to give Him all.
I will put another question to you that may stir your mettle. How did you serve Satan before you were converted? What rareboys some of you were-not sparing body or soul to enjoy the pleasures of sin. Oh, with what zest, with what fervor and forceand vehemence did many of you dance to the tune of the devil's music! I wish you would serve God half as well as some of thedevil's servants serve him. What? Now you have a new Friend, a new Lover, a new Husband-shall He ever look you in the faceand say, "You do not love Me so well as the old. You do not serve Me so zealously"? Shall Jesus Christ say to any man or womanamong us, "You do not love Me so well as you did love the world. You were never weary of serving the world, but you do soonget weary of serving Me"? O my poor Heart, wake up! Wake up! What are you doing, to have served sin at such a rate, and thento serve Christ so little?
Another question may be to the point. How do you serve yourselves? You are in business, some of you, and I like to see a manof business with his hands full and his wits about him. Your drones, those indolent fellows who go about the shop half asleep,and seem as if they never did wake up, what is the use of them? Men who seem to cumber the earth, men who never did see asnail unless they happened to meet one, for they could not have overtaken it, they travel so slowly- such men are or littleuse to God or man. I know that the most of you are diligent in business. You never hear the ring of a guinea without beingon the alert to earn it if possible.
Your coats are off, and very likely your shirtsleeves are turned up when there is a chance of driving trade. That I commend.But oh, do let us have something like it in the service of Jesus Christ! Do not let us be drudging in the world, and drawlingin the Church-lively in the service of mammon, and then laggard in the service of Christ! Heart and soul, manliness, vigor,vehemence-let the utmost strain of all our powers be put forth in the service of Him who was never prone to be slow in theservice of our souls when they had to be redeemed.
I shall not keep you much longer, but still pressing the same question, let me ask you, dear Friends, how do you think suchservice as you have rendered will look when you come to see it by the light of eternity? Oh, nothing of life will
be worth having lived, when we come to die, except that part of it which was devoted and consecrated to Christ. Live, then,with your deathbeds in immediate prospect. Live in the light of the next world so your pulse will be quickened, and your heartexcited in the Master's service.
I now put the question, What shall we render? What shall I render unto the Lord? Let the question go all round the pews, andlet everybody answer, What shall I render? Is there any new thing I can do for Christ that I never did before? Cannot I speaka word for Christ to somebody tonight? Tonight, because you cannot overtake the loss of a single opportunity. Tomorrow's mercieswill bring tomorrow's obligations. Today's obligations must be discharged today. What shall I render tonight? Is there anybodyI can speak to of Jesus before I retire to my chamber? It is a little thing, but let me do it! What shall I render? Let megive my God praise tonight somehow.
There is the communion table around which we are about to gather. That may help me to render Him some homage. I will theretake the cup of salvation, and call upon His name. Tomorrow I shall be in the world going forth to my labors. What shall Irender? I will consecrate part of my substance to God, but I will try to consecrate all tomorrow and next day to Him. WhileI am at my work, if I use a saw, or use a hammer, or if I stand at a counter, or in the fields, or in the streets I will askthat my thoughts may be on God-that I may be kept from sin, and that by my example I may render some tribute of honor to Hisname in the sight of my fellow men. And I will try to seize every opportunity that comes in my way of telling-
"To sinner round,
What a dear Savior I have found."
And yet, dear Friends, it is not for me to answer the question that is propounded for you. With these few brief hints I doput the question in all its touching pathos, in all its deep solemnity, in all its momentous gravity, before every Christianman and woman here-and I cite you to answer it before the Searcher of all hearts-"What shall I render?" Thrice happy you whorespond in lip and life to the urgent call! "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you haveshowed toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you showthe same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end that you are not slothful, but followers of them who throughfaith and patience inherit the promises."
As for those of you, my Hearers, who are not yet converted-you who are not saved-this is not the question for you. Your questionis, "What must I do to be saved?" and the answer is, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." O believeon Him tonight! Trust Him-that is the point-trust Jesus Christ. You may come to Him and be saved at once. Then, not till then,you will begin to serve Him. May God bless you, my dear Friends, every one of you, for Christ's sake.