Sermon 3355. Life's Inevitable Burden
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MAY 22, 1913.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, MAY 16, 1867.
"For every man shall bear his own burden." Galatians 6:6.
IN pondering Scripture Truth, we must not strain metaphors, nor use figures of speech as though they were literal statements.You have an instance of the truth of this remark in this Chapter. In one verse the Apostle says, "Bear you one another's burdens,and so fulfill the Law of Christ," while in the verse of our text, he says, "Every man shall bear his own burden." Still,he is not contradicting himself. He would be if he were speaking literally of burdens, but he is speaking metaphorically and,consequently, he uses the figure first in one way and then in another. It may be useful to us, Brothers, to learn never todraw arguments and doctrines from metaphors. Many do and there are many supposed doctrines which really have no better ground-workthan mere metaphors. I remember hearing one contending against the chastening of God's people and he urged that the Churchwas the bride of Christ and that it was impossible that Christ, as the Husband of the Church, should in any way chasten orstrike His own spouse, which would be a very reasonable thing to say of a man. If the metaphor ran on four legs, the argumentmight have been correct, but as no metaphor is intended so to do, and is only to be understood in the sense intended by theperson employing it, the argument is fallacious and valueless! I have heard others say that true Christians are citizens ofHeaven and, consequently, we ought not to exercise our votes in political matters! This is another piece of utterly illogicalreasoning because we might as well say to Christians that they ought not to eat animal food as they form the Lord's flock,and sheep must not, and cannot, eat animal food! The fact is, the reasoning from metaphor is always risky and sometimes provesquite absurd!
I mention this because I am quite sure that very much of it does prevail in the Christian world and that people use the languageof Scripture in a manner in which they would not use the same language if found in other books. The Word of God is, however,not to be treated with less, but moreveneration in our reading and study of it, and yet in the same simple, common-sense fashionas that in which we would treat any other book. The truth is there are burdens which may be shared and which should be shared.The burden of grief, the burden of pecuniary need, the burden of heart trouble may sometimes be borne, but on the other hand,there are burdens which no man can share with his fellow, nor ought he even to thinkof sharing, but where each man must standapart and alone before God-and no one can assist him.
Of these burdens we shall speak tonight, and they shall be our first point. Then, lest we should become burdensome to you,we shall offer a few considerations which may tend to take out the weight of the burdens which we must unavoidably carry,each one for himself. And then we shall close by endeavoring to find something practical to be done tonight as the resultof the text. First, then, we have to speak of-
I. CERTAIN BURDENS WHICH EACH MAN WILL BE QUITE CERTAIN TO HAVE TO BEAR FOR HIMSELF.
In speaking of the first three burdens which I shall have to mention, I shall address myself to you all, whether saints orsinners, for there are some Truths of God which are common to all men as men. And such is the first burden-the burden of originalsin. The burden of our natural depravity, the burden of our fallen nature, the burden of our constitution which is pervertedby evil-these we shall, each one of us, have to carry for himself. It may be said that this is not our burden, but Adam's-butthe burden of the father, if he brings the whole household into poverty-becomes the burden of the family and each individualmember of it. If the head should ache, it is no use for the hand to say, "It is no business of mine." There is, too, so vitaland intimate a connection between the whole body of humanity, between Adam
the head, and all the members of the body corporate, that Adam's Fall becomes ours, Adam's ruin our ruin and the taint inthe blood is to be found in us all. Some of you are "dead in trespasses and sins" and, therefore, this burden is no more aburden to you than the heavy clods of the churchyard are to the bodies that lie beneath them. But if ever you are quickenedby Divine Grace, you will soon find that "the body of this death," as Paul calls indwelling sin, is a very heavy burden tobattle with and you will have to personally fight out the conflict within your own soul. You will have to call in the aidof Divine Power, or you will never get the victory, but-mark you-in the conquest of your own corruption, in the overcomingof your own besetting sins and of those evils which are more powerful in you than they are in others because you are constitutionallyinclined to them-in that battle you will have to fight for yourselves! You may get some assistance from other people's experience,but still, the struggle and the conflict must be with you.
Young people, never imagine that all the training in the world can rid you of your evil without an earnest struggle on yourown part! Don't conceive that a mother's prayers will give you tenderness of conscience unless you also learn of Christ foryourselves. Do not conceive that the rebukes of a father can conquer that evil temper unless you struggle against it. Andif you habitually have a tendency to pride, do not conceive that the preacher's homilies against pride can overcome pridein you! No, in the name of God you must go to the armory and ask for the sword of the Spirit, that you may personally, girdedwith Divine Strength, which you may obtain by earnest prayer, overcome in your own soul your besetting sins! In this respect,then, you will have to bear your own burden. I know I have to bear mine and I do not know that any of you could help me. AndI believe that each one of you, quickened by Divine Grace, must feel there is something peculiar about your case-some sin,perhaps, which you would not like to whisper into another's ear- perhaps only a sin of thought, but still it is a burden.I hope it will become more and more a burden to you, for the more burdensome it becomes, the more likely are you to conquerit! But you will have to bear it yourself and in the strength of the Holy Spirit you will have to conquer it, too, and getrid of it. You will have to pluck out the right eye and tear off the right arm. It were better for you, remember, to enterinto life crippled and maimed than to keep these and be cast into eternal Hell! It is for you, in God's name, personally todo battle with your personal depravity!
Each man must, each man alone can bear his own burden here. Again, each man must also bear his own burden of personal sinunless, (here comes in the grand and gracious proviso), unless the sin is blotted out or is utterly removed! Every man whohas sin to carry must bear his own burden. There is no shifting the sin from you to a sponsor. No fellow creature can standfor you and take your offenses. The Lord Jesus Christ did take His people's sins, as He was their Covenant Head, Surety andRepresentative-and they who are in Christ are free from sin-their sin being utterly removed and having ceased to be, havingbeen cast by the tremendous power of Christ into the depths of the sea, so that if they are sought for, they shall never befound against the Lord's people any more forever! But do remember, dear Hearer, that if you are not a pardoned soul, you havegot a burden to carry and you will have to bear it. You will have to bear it now, for "he that believes not is condemned already."You will have to bear it when you come to die and you will have enough to do to die having this burden of sin pressing uponyour heart. Worst of all, you will have to bear it when your spirit is disembodied and your naked soul is called before yourMaker. Ah, it will be a dreadful thing to go there with the blackness and defilement of sin about you! And you will have tobear it, too, in the day of the Resurrection and in the solemn article of judgment! And then, last of all, you will have tobear your own burden in the eternal future-and there it will sink you, sink you, sink you beyond all hope of rescue or escape!
Now, while there is life there is hope. "All manner of sin and iniquity shall be forgiven unto men. If we confess our sin,He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins," but unless the sin is removed, it must remain our own burden forever andforever! You will not get rid of it by joining a church. You cannot be rid of it by passing through rites and ceremonies.It will be no help to you to have been a citizen of a Christian nation, so-called, and to have worshipped in a Christian assembly."Every man shall bear his own burden." We came through the gates of life into this world alone-we shall go back through theiron gates of death, each man alone. And the judgment, though crowds will be gathered, will be the judgment of so many individuals,each weighed in the scale, alone, either to hear the verdict that they are "accepted in the Beloved," or else to hear it said,"Tekel"-"You are weighed in the balances and found wanting." How I wish that all my hearers would lay this to heart! Do nottry to hide away in the crowd, for God will search and bring you out individually and you shall be tested and tried apartfrom others! If you take ever so many sovereigns to the bank, it is not very likely you will pass one bad one, for they wouldvery soon discover it. That might be done, however, on earth, but it
could not be done in Heaven! "Every man shall bear his own burden," and if the burden of sin is upon him, it shall crush himbeyond all hope!
Once again, while thus speaking to both saints and sinners, "Every man shall bear his own burden" of the Law. By sin we donot escape from the Law. The Law of God is binding upon every man of woman born, unless, by being dead to the Law throughChrist, he escapes from under its yoke and bondage. Now, the Believer is not under Law. Do not misunderstand me. I mean thathe is not under Law in the sense in which the sinner is under it. He is not under its condemning power! He is not under Law,but he is under Grace! The principle of Law does not bind him-it is the principle of love which rules and governs his spirit.Now, every man who is under the Law is bound to keep it, and to keep it personally. Look, my dear Friends-you who have neverfled to Christ-look where you are. The Law of God is such a Law that Adam failed to keep it, though innocent. How, then, shallyou keep it while imperfect? It is a spiritual Law, a Law touching not only your actions, but your words and your thoughts-howcan you keep it? And yet, if you keep it not, it brandishes its great whip with the thongs and brings it down upon the consciencewith terrible effect. If you keep not the Law, remember the sentence, "Cursed is everyone that continues not in all thingswritten in the Book of the Law to do them." Happy is the man who has escaped from the territories of the Law of God and comeinto the dominions of Divine Grace! But so long as we are under the Law, its burden is ours and here comes in this grimlysolemn Truth of God that it is a burden which each man must carry on his own shoulders, but carry it he cannot and, therefore,it will crush us and the curse of God must come upon us through the Law!
And now we shall leave those three points which are common to all men and simply speak to Believers of the burdens which theyhave to carry and which they ought joyfully to shoulder, each man for himself!
And first, my Brothers and Sisters, when we have been quickened and awakened, we shall find daily necessity for the confessionof sin and here, "every man shall bear his own burden." A general confession may be very proper in the congregation, but itis only acceptable to God as it becomes an individual and particular confession in the case of each one using the words. Repentanceis peculiarly a private and personal Grace. Lamentation for sin is a thing for one's own chamber-the husband apart, and thewife apart-the daughter apart and the mother apart. Into confession in its fullness, no two can enter. As far as the sin hasbeen common they may confess together, but in so far as the guilt in each case is personal and particular, so must confessionbe. My dear Friends, let us not hesitate, whatever it may be that is upon our minds, tonight, to come and acknowledge it beforeour Father, who is in Heaven. We do not confess now like condemned criminals who confess before execution because they must-weconfess like the returned prodigal, with our heads on our dear Father's bosom, conscious that we are forgiven, quite surethat His love is set upon us and that we shall not be driven from Him on account of sin, but hating sin all the more becauseof this love-and weeping bitterly because of that wondrous Grace which has had such compassion upon us! Let us be very markedin our acknowledgment of sin in private. I believe the Lord often withholds from His people a sweet sense of perfect acceptanceuntil their confession shall be more precise-until they learn to "call a spade a spade," as we say, and so make a clean breastof the matter before the Most High.
Further, my Brothers and Sisters, there is another burden we have to carry and which we must cheerfully shoulder, and thatis the yoke of Christ Jesus says, "Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me." And then He adds, "for My yoke is easy and My burdenis light." We are bound to obey Christ. He is the Captain-we are His soldiers. There should be maintained in the Church asacred military discipline-we should obey spontaneously the commands of our great Leader! He is our Shepherd, we must keepclose to Him-walking in His footprints and delighting in His company. He is the Physician-we must follow His prescription,not hesitating, even though the draught He gives is very bitter. Perfect obedience is what Jesus Christ has a right to claimfrom us! Oh, that He would give us Grace that He might receive according to His rights! Is there any duty, my Brothers andSisters, which you have not yet fulfilled and which presses upon your conscience? Or is there some other duty on which yourconscience is but partially enlightened? Ask for a quickened conscience and when you obtain it, never tamper with it! Oh,to have a conscience quick as the apple of the eye, tender and delicate, that will not even bear the slightest dust of sin!Oh, to walk before God as Caleb did, of whom the Lord said, "My servant Caleb has followed Me fully." There were some of whomit was said, "They walked before the Lord, but not with all their heart, as did David." May we have the whole-heartednessof the most consecrated towards the Savior and whatever form the yoke of Christ may take, may we count it our highest joyto bear it! Since He carried our sorrow, let us be willing to carry out His commands to their utmost letter, desiring thatnot so much as a jot or a tittle shall be left unheeded of the Master's will!
Further, Brothers and Sisters, I think we ought, each one of us, to feel that we have a burden of prayer to carry to the MercySeat. "Every man shall bear his own burden" in this respect. I wish we did this in our assemblies. I am afraid that you oftenlet me pray, but some of you do not pray yourselves. I am afraid, too, that private prayer is neglected by a very large numberof Christians-not that the form of it is absolutely renounced, but the vigor of it is not maintained. I wish I could say thiswithout a blush concerning myself, but I do feel that very many of us do grievously fail here. We give the Lord some scantyfive or ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, whereas our Puritan forefathers prayed sometimes for hours! But it would matterlittle about the time if we did but give the spirit. It is poor work, sometimes, our praying! Oh, that we wrestled with theAngel and prevailed! My Brothers and Sisters, we have, everyone of us, something to take before God in prayer-and we rob theChurch of our contributions to her treasury of intercession if we do not put our share into it!
Some of you ought to pray for the Sunday school more than you do. Some of you should bear in prayer the burden of the youngof the congregation. The preacher has his burden of prayer-a heavy one. My Brothers and Sisters, the deacons and elders shouldbe-I trust they are-peculiarly men of prayer! They have a burden to carry-a burden of prayer for the Church. And you agedfathers in our Israel and you, my dear Sisters who are matrons in our midst, it often seems to me to be peculiarly your officeto be intercessors for the Church. It may be possible that many of you could not preach and could not be very serviceablein many active labors, but you can be the very strength and sinews of war for the Church militant by your prayers! No, no-itis not the whole Church praying that you are to think ofjust now, but you, yourself-praying-each man and woman taking hisown share of the great common burden which we have to take before the Mercy Seat and leave there!
So, too, must each of us take our own burden of witnessing for Christ All saints cannot witness to all Truth since nobodyknows all the Truth of God but God! Some of our hyper-Calvinistic friends also know it all, according to their own understanding-butat any rate we think that nobody else does! Finite minds can only grasp part of the Truth. The Infinite alone can lay holdof the whole of Truth. If we were altogether Infallible in our knowledge of Doctrine, we should be God, for only God can knowall things and know all things thoroughly-know all things without admixture of error. But wherein we do know, each man iscalled to bear testimony to the Truth he does know. There are many things that I do not know-why should I, then, pretend tobe a witness to them? But there are some two or three things I do know. I am quite sure about them-and if I do not speak positivelyupon them, I shall fail to bear my burden before the Lord. And there is some one Truth of God, perhaps, my Brother, aboutwhich you have a little Light of God, a little more Light than your neighbors. Do not hide the Light of God! God does notever light a lamp to put it under a bushel. If you have received, either by experience or research, any special Light whichis peculiar to you-spread it that it may be, as it should be, the common property of the Church of God, to the Glory of God!I wish that Christians in these days thought more of bearing their witness. The Scottish people in years gone by attachedgreat importance to the bearing of witness-testifying-standing out at all costs to give evidence to the Truth of God. Butnowadays Truth is cast into the street as though it were worthless! And Christians will honor a Truth and hold it, and yetwill put their finger to their lips and say, "For peace's sake, such a Truth is to be unspoken." No! Peace is precious, butit has its price, and is not to be purchased at any price! Truth first! "First pure, then peaceable." First, the Truth ofGod and then the peace of God. May we have both, but let us take care that we bear our own burden in witnessing for the LordJesus Christ.
Again, dear Brothers and Sisters, we have, each one of us, our own burden in the matter of caring for souls. You are placed,some of you, as working men amidst working men-your burden is manifestly your own class. Others of you move in other spheres.Do not forget that each sphere has its particular claim. You have ability? You have, then, a burden peculiar to a man of ability.You have wealth? There is a burden there. On the other hand, you live in obscurity. Your utmost sphere is your little childrenand your one or two rooms. Still remember that circles are prized not in proportion to their size, but in proportion to theirroundness-and so we shall be honored and rewarded by Divine Grace-not according to the largeness of our sphere, but accordingto the way in which we have filled it for Christ! We must each bear the burden of our own sphere. Mother, no one else canbe a mother to your children and do for them what you should do. Minister, if you are truly sent of God, no one can be a sponsorfor you in your ministry-you must take
that burden which God has put upon you, upon yourself! And you trader, merchant, working man-there is something which you,each of you, must do and however earnest all the rest of Christians may be, they cannot, by the surplus of their zeal, ifthere is any, by any possibility make up for a deficiency in your case! The timber may be very strong in one part of the vessel,but the strength of the timber there is no recompense for a rotten portion in another part of the keel- it must be strongall over. We are all set, as it were, to forge a chain-and if the link that you shall forge is thoroughly strong and wellwelded, yet if I make a mess of my portion of the work, the chain will be injured all through! Let us remember this and dischargeour own work in the strength of God, by the power of His Spirit, and we shall joy in ourselves by the Holy Spirit!
I might thus enlarge upon these burdens, but they all come to the same effect. There is one more word, however, which willbe addressed, perhaps, to half a dozen here-probably not so many. Sometimes, upon some men, God casts a burden which He neverputs on others. The Prophet speaks of "the burden of the Lord." Probably we have all carried it at some time, but at any oneparticular time there will not be many who are bearing it. That burden may be something very extraordinary to others, thoughyou have become so familiar with it that it seems ordinary to you. Perhaps tonight something is saying in your soul, "Go andspeak to such an one." Do not violate that monition! Believe me, there is more in spiritual impulses than some people think!You have all read the old story of the Quaker who felt moved to ride into a certain town, some 10 or 12 miles off at the deadof night-and to go to a certain house. He did so. He found the house and knocked at the door. No one came to the door. Heknocked again and when, at last, a man came downstairs and opened the door and asked him what he wanted. The Quaker said,"Perhaps you can tell me, for I do not know. The Lord has sent me to you, but what for I know not." Then the man produceda rope and said that just when the knock came to the door he was in the top room, planning to hang himself. God had evidentlysent the Quaker just at that time to prevent him. If you and I were more obedient to these "burdens of the Lord" when theycame, we might often do more good than we do. We must not be fanatical-there is a line to be drawn-but at the same time Iam afraid we often check sacred impulses, which, if followed, might be fraught with the most blessed consequences! Do youfeel called at this time, my dear Friend, to a work which you never undertook before? Consult not with flesh and blood! Donot be particular about asking help and assistance. "Every man shall bear his own burden." Go in the strength of God! If,like Gideon, you need a sign, take it, and when you have it and your heart has become like Gideon's fleece, wet clean through,even though it is with sorrow, so that you could wring it out, then go in this, your might, for if God has sent you, He willgo with you. "As your days, so shall your strength be." This may be a word to somebody-I know not to whom-but it was a burdenon me to say it-and there I leave it.
Now we turn to the second Truth of this theme! And with much greater brevity- II. SOME THINGS WHICH LIFT THE WEIGHT OF THESEPRESSING BURDENS. "Every man shall bear his own burden." It is not pleasant to be talked to all this long time about yourbeing a burden-bearer, but perhaps these things will make it more pleasant. The first thing of which to remind ourselves isthis- that it is quite consistent with the Truth of God declared in our text, to remind you that Jesus Christ is the greatBurden-Bearer for all His saints-that though, on the one hand, you will have to bear your own burdens, yet on the other handChrist will bear all your burdens for you! Your burden of sin was laid upon Him as the scapegoat for your soul. That you know,and now your sin is put away! And now, tonight, whatever your burden is, come with it to your best Friend, the "Friend thatsticks closer than a brother." Tell Him the cause of your complaint. The disciples of John, when their master's head was takenoff, took up the body and "went and told Jesus." Come and tell Jesus what it is that vexes you tonight! It is said of onesick child, "They brought him to Jesus." Is your trouble a sick child, or is it you who is sick? Or what is it? Bring it toJesus! All griefs either fly at His approach or else they change to joys! Or if they remain griefs, they minister to us anabundance of spiritual wealth-
"Come, make your needs, your burdens known-
He will present them at the Throne!
And angel bands are waiting there,
His messages of love to bear."
You must remember that your burden is easy to bear when Christ is with you. When Jesus Christ has strengthened you with allstrength in your inner man and put into you His own Omnipotence to be your succor, then shall the burden cease to be a burdento you any longer!
This also may tend to lighten the pressure, that as every man has to bear his own burden, so every man has his own hope. Iwould be afraid to change with anybody else. I have sometimes thought, when I have been much desponding, that I wished I hadhalf as good a hope as some of my Brothers and Sisters, but when I come to think it over-I do not know-I do not know-I wouldbe as happy as the least in the Lord's family if I knew that I was really one of His, but I really should not like to changewith any of the little ones, or the great ones, either, on the chance of their being His. No! I know my own hope and I willkeep it!
And, blessed be God, as we have our own burden, so we have our own joy. The most miserable and unhappy Christian in the world,when you come to get into his secrets, will tell you-he will let it out somehow-that he has a secret spring of joy which othershave not. In fact, it is to be remarked that those who have deep griefs have generally proportionately deep joys! The manof superficial sorrow generally has superficial mirth-but the man whose heart has been bored through and through has a streamof joy springing up as from an artesian well that cannot be equaled for freshness by the mere land springs of superficialpiety! Brothers and Sisters, we would not part with our joys nor with our hope. Though we have our sorrows to ourselves, yetwe have our joys to ourselves, too! And, thank God, they cannot be taken away from us!
So, too, the Christian has Christ all to himself. I have sometimes tried to think of that. Here is the Lord Jesus Christ,able to save ten thousand times ten thousand sinners-and yet He is all mine! All Christ is mine! Here He is feeding the millionsof His saints, and yet there is not a single crumb upon His table but what is mine! Nor a grain of corn in the granary ofmy Brother Joseph but what belongs to me! All Christ belongs to each one of God's people! You have got a burden to yourself,but you have also got God to yourself-think of that! Have you ever remembered that if you were the only creature in the world-theonly creature in the universe-if there were no angels and no other men-have you ever thought of what an inspection God wouldhave of you and how He would see you through and through? Well, at this present moment and at all times, you are as much anobject of His inspection as if that were the case! For multitudes of objects do not divide the exercise of Omniscience uponeach one. The Infinite Mind of God is such that the Infinite Care of God belongs to every individual throughout the entireuniverse! Yes, you have a God to yourself! Oh, what infinite supplies you have, Christian! Talk of your expenses! Look atyour income! Speak of your poverty! Look at your wealth! You talk of your weakness-now estimate your strength! You can castthe plumb line to the bottom of your sorrows and measure the Atlantic waves of your grief, but you cannot measure Heaven above,nor the earth beneath, nor the depths of Hell! If you could measure these, God is greater than them all! Oh, why, then, doyou despond because of the big burden, when you have peculiar help, peculiar joy, peculiar hope and peculiar strength? Restin God and be joyful!
Once again, it is true that we, all of us, have a burden to carry, but then we have not to carry that burden long. You donot much pity a man who has to carry a load only during the twinkling of an eye. Well, the whole of life is not any more thanthat! Just think, my dear Friends, of eternity-and what is life? Imagine ourselves sitting down in Heaven in the midst ofeternal blessedness, and what a moment life will seem! We shall know, then, what Paul meant when he said, "These light afflictionswhich are but for a moment." But for a moment! Oh, pluck up courage, Brothers and Sisters! You are nearer Home than you thoughtyou were and every moment you are getting nearer! We find our horses quicken their speed when we turn their heads homewardand they drag their loads with speed. Now, your head is homeward, Christian, you-
"Nightly pitch your moving tent, A day's march nearer home."
Therefore, be of good comfort and let not the burden gall your shoulders.
Once more. If you have a burden to yourself, remember that you will have your own place in Heaven which nobody else will have.You have your own sorrows, but you will have your own joys there! I think there is a note in the heavenly song for each oneof us to take. I do not suppose that Mary Magdalene sings precisely the same note as the dying thief. There will be her loftyvoice taking some of the treble notes and we shall have him, it may be, taking the deeper bass. I believe that if one of usshould be absent, the choir of Heaven would not be complete. In the noblest orchestra all the in-
struments and voices are needed for the completeness of the chorus, and so will it be in the orchestra of Heaven! Paul saysthat the saints that are gone before into Heaven are not perfect without us-that "they without us would not be made perfect."That is to say the company would not be complete, but gaps appear. So long as there is one soldier in a squad who has notarrived, the battalion is not completely formed. So we must each get there to perfect, to complete the number of the saintsin Heaven! Well, then, Beloved, as we are, each one, to have a place and portion in Heaven, each a mansion to himself or herself,we may well be content to bear our burdens here alone. And now to close. What is- III. THE PRACTICAL INFERENCE AND RESULT?
I do not know what it may be, but oh, may God the Holy Spirit burn my text into your hearts! I do not want you to rememberso much anything I have said-it does not matter about that-you can forgot it all! But I do want you to recollect this oneTruth of God-especially you Christians-that "every man shall bear his own burden." There is something for each one of youto do for Christ. Oh, that notion that the minister can do it, that the united action of the Church can do it-it has ruinedthe Christian Church to a large extent! A personal, individual sense of responsibility is what we need-each Christian judginghimself daily and hourly as to his capabilities, obligations and indebtedness to his Lord! Brother minister, you have gotyour burden to bear. Is there any new work you can undertake for Christ, or any old work that needs strengthening, into whichyou can throw yourself with greater zeal? Then I pray you do it! My Sister in the Lord, you have not done, perhaps, what youmight do. Now say in your heart, before you leave the pew, "By God's Grace, I will do whatever I can." I can look round, roundupon you here and see some who are really doing more than I could for a moment ask you to do, for you are "in labors moreabundant."
I thank God that there are such in this Church, but then I think of others. Oh, if all were like some, what a Church we wouldbe! If all the vines in our vineyard bore such clusters as some of the vines do, oh, how the wine presses would burst withnew wine! In the matter of liberality, the preacher must never judge-that is a matter for each man. "How much should you giveunto your Lord?" In the matter of service, it is not for us to allot you your work, but what can you do? Now, what will youdo tonight" "Oh, give me till the morning," says one. No! No! We have not an hour that we can afford to waste! Let us serveGod today-we will leave tomorrow to care for itself. Now is the accepted time for service, as well as salvation! Serve Himnow! Do something to forward His Kingdom and honor His name now! The only way to serve Christ in the future is to serve Himin the present, for the future never comes, or, if it does, it ceases to be future and is the living present.
Now I ask you, you who are now washed in His cleansing blood, you who now bear in your body the marks of the Lord Jesus, youwho have lain on His bosom, you who have been kissed with the kisses of His mouth, you who have been brought from under theapple tree and know how sweet His fruit is and how delightful His shadow is, you who are now one with Him, of His flesh andof His bones, you who expect soon to see Him, you who are longing to be with Him and hope to be caught up to dwell with Him,to see Him as He is, and to be like He is-I charge you by the roes and the hinds of the fields, by the lily beds wherein youhad fellowship with your Lord, and by the garden of nuts wherein He has revealed Himself to you-I charge you, by His everlastinglove, by the love you bear to Him, and by that sweet song you sang just now-
"For He is mine, and I am His- The God whom I adore! My Father, Savior, Comforter, Now and forevermore,"
serve Him now! Serve Him forevermore and may the Lord bless you and make you blessed, and a great blessing to others, forJesus' sake. Amen.