Sermon 3543. Speaking on God's Behalf
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1916.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"I have yet to speak on God's behalf." Job 36:2.
So said Elihu. And verily many of us might make the same resolve. We have tasted that the Lord is gracious. When first wecame to Him laden with guilt and full of woes, we found Him ready to pardon-a God with whom there is plenteous redemption-
"Many days have passed since then, Many changes have we seen."
Still, we have the same tale to tell. God has been faithful to us under all circumstances! He has passed by our backslidings.He has been patient with all of our shortcomings and He has borne with our waywardness. To this day His kindness has not abated,His promise has not been forfeited and His Covenant is unbroken-it has never failed us. In bounden duty, yet with cheerfulgratitude, we are compelled to say that the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever! On God's behalf, then, we will speak.Much reason have we to do so. While the world is scoffing or despising, while some are doubting and others are blaspheming.While idolatry and infidelity have their respective champions, we will offer our personal testimony in the teeth of all theLord's adversaries. Blessed be His name, He is a faithful and true God, and if all the dwellers on earth should belie andforsake Him, His love binds us fast! We cannot, neither will we let our trust in Him be displaced or our witness to Him besilenced! It seems to me that the chief business of a Christian while here below is to speak on God's behalf. Why is he placedhere? Lower ends or meaner objectives do not appear to me to resolve that question. Merely to work, to toil, to fulfill hisdays as a hireling, in common with the rest of his fellow creatures, were a poor account to give of a pilgrim bound to theheavenly city! Is he not allowed to tarry here that he may glorify his God by speaking on His behalf? Are we not, each oneof us, appointed to linger in these lowlands that we may personally bear witness to what we have heard and seen, tasted andhandled, tested and proved to be true of the good Word of Life? This sacred obligation may be very heart-searching to someof you. I am afraid there are dumb tongues that do not speak on God's behalf-and which of us can escape a sharp rebuke onthis score? Those of us who do speak, speak not as we should-we are not always giving such evidence and bearing such witnessas well becomes us on God's behalf.
I purpose this evening to mention some of the occasions on which we have yet to speak on God's behalf. Somepreva-lent excusesfor silence. Some imperative reasons for bearing testimony. And some pointed suggestions to those who feel compelled to opentheir mouth boldly for the honor of God. To my mind, it seems obvious that-
I. THERE ARE CERTAIN OCCASIONS WHEN EVERY SAVED ONE SHOULD SPEAK ON GOD'S BEHALF.
Is it not peculiarly incumbent upon us immediately after we have found peace by putting our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ?He that believes with his heart is bound, according to the Gospel rule, to confess also with his mouth. Have you heard thegood tidings, the way of salvation, yourself-believed it and received the fullness of its blessing? Then you are forbiddento hide your light under a bushel! You are admonished to let it be seen by all that are in the house. You are not, as a coward,to conceal your allegiance to your Lord, but you are, as a warrior, to put on the King's livery, enter the ranks and joinwith the rest of His people. Is not this the message we are told to circulate, "He that believes and is baptized shall besaved"? Should you not, therefore, avow your faith and confess your Lord in Baptism? Then, having believed His Word and obeyedHis precept, take up His Cross as one who is dead and buried with Him in the outward type and symbol-to follow wherever Heleads! This seems to me, as I read the Word of God, to have been the course with all the early Christians. They believed andwere baptized. They did not postpone or procrastinate, but no sooner
were they Christians than they confessed their Christianity in Baptism. And why is it not so now? Would God that His peoplewould come back to the simple methods of the early Churches and feel that, being saved, their next business is to give theanswer of a good conscience toward God, speaking thus on His behalf, and avowing themselves to be the Lord's people!
This is but a fitting preface to a life of testimony. The whole of a Christian's career should be vocal with spiritual power.By the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit within him, he should ring out, as it were, in silver notes, through all his conversation,both in the Church and in the world, a goodly, gracious, grateful testimony-"I have yet to speak on God's behalf. Even ifI have spoken for the last 20 years, it becomes me yet to speak on God's behalf." I may be gray-headed, I may lean upon mystaff, I may come near the bounds of man's short span on this poor stage, "I have yet to speak on God's behalf." Even whenpillows hold up my aching head and when my flesh and my heart are failing-until the pulse of life shall flag and the powerof speech shall fail-our witness to the sons of men must never falter, much less must it come to an ignoble end. "I have yetto speak." When first I knew Him I was compelled to speak. Would that every converted man was moved instantly to avow hisLord! But if we have anything to regret in the past, let us not be hesitant now. Say it, resolve it, yes, vow it! I have andI shall have yet to speak on God's behalf till speech shall fail me, till, dying, "I clasp my Savior in my arms, the antidoteof death."
And oh, how specially bound the Christian is to speak on God's behalf when he is cast among ungodly men and women! There maybe in the house where you live no lover of Jesus except yourself. Take care that your conversation makes the rest know thatyou have been with Jesus and have learned of Him! There is no other candle in the house-oh, put not the extinguisher on thatone! You are the only salt-take care that you are sprinkled over the mass. Let the savor of your walk and conversation bediffused among your associates! At times the name of Christ will be blasphemed, perhaps, in your presence. Or it may be unholyand even lewd conversation will assail your ears. It is for you to express your displeasure at anything which is displeasingto Him you serve! You must put in a word, though you do but feebly thrust it in edgeways, for the Christ whom ungodly tonguesare slandering! You may not sit still and hear your best Friend evilly spoken of-that were ungrateful in the extreme! Wellmight He say, "Is this your kindness to your Friend?" Should you smile, they will think you are amused, but if you laugh withthem over an unholy jest, they would say you enjoyed it! "You also were as one of them" was a charge made against a professor.Oh, let it never be laid against any of us! If we see our neighbor sin and rebuke him not when the opportunity offers, webecome partakers in his sin. Remember this-on such occasions it is our bounden duty to speak on God's behalf!
Yet again, we meet with Brothers and Sisters in affliction. They are mourning and bemoaning themselves and their hardships.God's own people commonly find that in all their trials they are beset with temptations. How apt they are to speak unadvisedlybecause they think untowardly of the order of God's Providence and the manner of His love! I wish this ill condition of theheart and this bad habit of the lips were less prevalent than unhappily it is. They talk as if they served a hard Master andthey murmur as if His Providence were peculiarly severe towards them. I beseech you, seize the propitious moment to speakon God's behalf! Daughter of poverty! You who have known the pinch of want, tell of the faithfulness of God that supportedyou! Child of pain! You who have tossed so long upon a bed of affliction, changing your posture over and over till your bonesbegan to peep through your skin, tell, you patient sufferers-and there are many of you whose pangs are smart, whose woundsare incurable-tell how God has succored you! Be not silent, you who have gone through fire and water, the furnace and theflood! Testify, you fathers in the Church, and you mothers in Israel speak on God's behalf of the goodness, the guidance andthe Grace you have had. Do not let the young recruits entertain hard thoughts of your Lord and Master! Tell them that thebattle of life, stern though it is, does not baffle His counsel or His care. He who has upheld you will bear them throughten thousand billows, keep them alive in the midst of afflictions fiery as a furnace seven times heated-and even to the endwill prove that He is their gracious God! You have yet to speak on God's behalf.
Now, Brothers and Sisters, some of you may not only have so to speak in the chambers where the afflicted are confined, andin the Sunday School where the little children come round your knee, and in your own families and workshops, but you may havea call to speak in the open streets, or in the pulpits of our sanctuaries. I pray you, then, if you have ability for suchwork in this day of blasphemy and rebuke, stand not back! I am persuaded that some of my Brothers look for greater talents,before they can speak for Christ, than they have a right to expect at the first. If none are permit-
ted to speak on God's behalf but those who have ten talents, surely the Kingdom of God must be deeply indebted to the educationand scholarship of learned men! But if I read this Word aright, it is not so. Rather has it pleased God to take weak and foolishthings to confound the mighty and the wise. Therefore, let not the Brother of low degree keep back his testimony. If you canonly say a few good words, say them! Who would withhold a few drops of moisture from the flowers in the garden because hehad no plenteous streams at his command? Should every twinkling star cease its shining because it was not a sun, the night-howdark! The firmament-how bereft of its beauty! Did each drop of rain refuse to fall because it was but a drop, we would lackthe goodly showers which cheer the thirsty soil! Do what you can if you cannot do what you would, for you, even you, haveyet to speak on God's behalf! And, perhaps, you have more talent than you think-a little exercise might bring out your latentpowers. Men grow not up to man's estate in a week or a year. Rome was not built in a day. How can you expect to be qualifiedto serve your God with much success unless you are trained with drill and discipline? If you begin to walk, or even to crawlon all fours, you may afterwards learn to run. Be content to use such powers as you have to the utmost of your ability, forHe has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Do not reserve your strength, but consecrate all you have, "for Hegives more Grace. " Diligently cultivate every faculty, knowing that He gives Grace upon Grace. "I have yet to speak on God'sbehalf."
I know not whether I am just now like the seraph who flew with a live coal, bearing it in the tongs from off the altar, totouch some lips, to put it to anyone's mouth, and say, "Lo, this has touched your lips." It may be so. Some child of God,up to now dumb, may be called henceforth to speak for his Master. If you now hear a voice saying, "Who will go for Us? Whomshall We send?" Let your answer be, "Here am I, send me." Respond, in the words of our text, "I have yet to speak on God'sbehalf." Turn we now to-
II. THOSE ARGUMENTS WHICH READILY SUGGEST THEMSELVES TO SOME MINDS FOR KEEPING SILENCE.
Have I yet to speak on God's behalf? "No," says one, "pardon me, but speaking out for God cannot be accounted essential tosalvation. Are there not some who come, like Nicodemus, by night? May there not be many Believers in Jesus who have not thecourage to speak out of the fullness of their heart? Why should not I be one of these secret Believers, and yet enter intoHeaven?" You think to go to the Celestial City by a by-road, unseen and unnoticed, hoping to be safe at the last. Supposeit true that to avow your faith is not absolutely essential to salvation-I ask you if it is not absolutely essential to obedience?And I ask again if obedience is not essential to every Believer as a vindication of his faith? Though you may tell me thatthere are many secret Believers, I venture to affirm that you never knew one, or if you think you did, the secret must havebeen ill kept if you knew it! Obviously, if it was a genuine secret, it must have been beyond your understanding, or mineeither, so we cannot fairly argue about it. And as we do not know that such a thing ever was, we have no fact to build upon.Surely to someone or other that gracious secret must have been made known, or what you tried to conceal someone would havefound out. I should think if your Christian character and conduct were not palpable, your Christianity could scarcely be sterling!Who can conceal fire in his bosom? Will it not sooner or later break out? The more wicked the persons by whom you are surrounded,the more readily will they discover the difference between a Christian and themselves. You can scarcely conceal the Lightof God-it must reveal itself. Why, therefore, should you attempt to hide it? Merely to do what is absolutely necessary forsalvation is a mean, selfish thing! To be always thinking about whether this or that is necessary to your being saved-is thishow you would show your allegiance to the Savior? Should the self-denial of our blessed Lord and Master be requited with theselfishness of followers who are always muttering, "Cui bond?. What profit can I make of His service?" Oh, that we may bedelivered from such an ungenerous disposition! Knowing that Christ has done so much for us and feeling the compelling powerof love, may we rejoice to serve Him, whether the service shall be grateful to our taste, or mortifying to our pride! Andin so doing, we shall soon find that in keeping His Commandments there is great reward!
"But do you happen to be of a very retiring disposition?" A beautiful disposition that is, I have no doubt, and rare enoughin some select circles to claim admiration, but undesirable, indeed, on some particular fields at some critical junctures.For a soldier, when the battle is raging, to be of a retiring disposition would be neither patriotic nor praiseworthy. Hadthis dainty temper been the main virtue of the hosts from where British heroes leapt forth, the trumpet of fame had long sinceceased to resound the deeds of prowess of which every Englishman is proud! A soldier of Christ may well
be modest in estimating himself, but he had need be mighty in serving his Lord. If he is too modest to avow his Master, thisshameless modesty betrays a cowardly spirit, at which his comrades well might shudder-
"Ashamed of Jesus? That dear Friend On whom my hopes of Heaven depend? No! When I blush, be this my shame, That I no morerevere His name."
Ashamed of Jesus? Really, the words seem so harsh that they imply an insult! Yet this beautiful, retiring disposition, whentranslated out of the fine words in which you wrap it up, means nothing more nor less than a disloyalty which verges hardon treason! Ashamed of Jesus, who shed His blood for you? Ah, you must all confess that there is no violation of genuine modestyin avowing one's intense attachment and allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ! This may be true retirement, after all, for youmay renounce, thereby, the world's praises, repudiate her honors, bring upon yourself her loudest censure and be requitedwith the cold shoulder by your companions when you take up your cross and follow Him.
But have I not often heard persons says, "Why should I speak on God's behalf, when already some who do speak are hypocrites?"This seems to me a reason why you should speak twice as much in order to counteract their false testimo-ny-and why you shouldspeak with all the more carefulness and integrity, making their example a beacon, lest you fall into the same condemnation!If a friend of mine has an enemy who is a snake in the grass, pretending kindness while he is plotting mischief, am I, therefore,to say, "I will forsake my friend, and not acknowledge him, because another is a traitor to him"? Such reasoning would refuteitself! Let us not, therefore, delude ourselves with its subtlety. The more hypocrites there are, the more need of honestmen to grasp the banner of the Cross! The more deceivers, the more cause why the faithful and the true should come and fillup the ranks-and prevent the battle being turned over to the enemy!
Or do you hesitate to speak for God because you are afraid your testimony would be so very feeble But why disquiet yourselveson this ground? Are not all great things the aggregate of little things? And may there not be something great involved inthe motion of the little? A good word from your tongue may kindle a thought or a series of thoughts which may issue in theconversion of one whose eloquence shall shake the nation! You emit but a spark, but what a conflagration it may cause, Heavenonly knows! What though you seem tiny and insignificant as the coral insect, yet if you do your fair share of the work withyour fellows, you may help to pile up an island that shall be abundant in fertility and adorned with beauty. You are not calledupon to do anything that exceeds your power or your skill. It is enough that you do what you can. God requires not accordingto what a man has not, but according to what a man has. Therefore, let it be no excuse for your silence that you cannot speakwith a voice of thunder.
"But," says one, "were I to open my mouth on God's behalf, I should feel ever afterwards a weight of responsibility from whichI could not escape. A man of God standing by that pool not many weeks ago said to me, "I dare not be baptized, though I believeit is a Scriptural ordinance, because I feel that it involves such a solemn profession. I would never be able to live up toit." My reply to him was. "Is not that the very reason why you should yield up yourself to God at once-for the more we feelbound to holiness, the better?" "Your vows are upon me." Should the profession of our faith in Christ become a restrictionto us, it need not be regretted on that account. We need such restrictions! If we shall feel bound to be more precise, weserve a precise God-and if we feel bound to be more jealous, we serve a jealous God. I like to see men put upon their mettle.Members of this Church, whenever the world picks holes in your coat and watches you, I am thankful to the world for doingso! It is good for our welfare to have an eagle eye upon us. What though Argus uses all his eyes, let us only be what we shouldbe, and we need not mind who criticized or carps at us! If we are not what we ought to be, but mere hypocrites, then, in truth,we may well wish to be hidden! Confess the name of Jesus, become a true follower in His blessed footsteps and walk with allhumility and carefulness as His Grace shall enables you, worthy of your high calling! Be bold to confess His name all themore! Certainly none the less because such confession will lay you under solemn obligations to live nearer to Him than before!
Still, I can imagine that there are many here who are using some excuse or other, which they would not like to mention. Theysay they will wait a little-they will tarry awhile. Others say nothing, but are simply neglecting the duty. Well, I will notstay to argue with them, but I will rather pray that God the Holy Spirit may convince them, if they have been quickened fromtheir spiritual death and are this day heirs of God, to face their incumbent duty and their blessed privilege in all ways-andon all prudent opportunities to speak on God's behalf. But there are-
III. VALID REASONS WHY WE SHOULD SPEAK ON GOD'S BEHALF, to which I will now draw your attention.
Surely it is demanded of all Believers. We are bidden to confess with the mouth if we have believed with the heart. We have,moreover, the promise that, "he that with his heart believes, and with his mouth confesses, shall be saved." And this likewise,"He that confesses Me before men, him will I confess before My Father who is in Heaven." The alternative is fraught with judgment-"Hethat denies Me"-which signifies a non-confession-"he that denies Me before men, him will I deny before My Father which isin Heaven." If it is, then, the Lord's will, it is at your peril that you forget or neglect it! "He that knows his Master'swill, and does it not, shall be beaten with many stripes." Hasten, then, you backward Christian! Make haste and delay notto keep this Commandment! Be convinced that you have yet to speak on God's behalf.
Be assured that such testimony as you can and ought to bear would be a great comfort to the Lord's people. You do not know,some of you saved ones who have never confessed your faith, what pleasure it would give the minister. I know of no joy comparableto that of hearing that one has been made the instrument of the conversion of a soul. It keeps our spirits up and our Masterknows that we have good need, sometimes, of some success to encourage us. He who thinks that the Christian ministry is aneasy post-exempt from care and free and from trials-had better try it. It were better to be a galley-slave, chained to theoar, than to be a minister of the Gospel, if it were not for the strong consolations which support us in the present-and forthe Divine reward which there will be at the last. He who diligently discharges this solemn vocation never knows rest or releasefrom anxiety. His mind is always actively exercised in his Master's service. His heart bears about a load which it cannotshake off. He dreams of some who walk disorderly-and wakes to sigh and cry over others who grow cold or lukewarm. He mustplow the stony ground and he can but regret the loss of his seed. He scatters the good seed on the way, and if it come notup, by-and-by, according to the promise, he cries, "Who has believed our report, and to whom has the arm of the Lord beenrevealed?" As cold water to a thirsty soul, so would the news be of your conversion! You saved ones ought, for that reason,to speak on God's behalf!
And how encouraging it is to the entire Church! In the Church assembly I am sure we often have simple music that is more thrillingthan any of the anthems in your cathedrals. There is joyful melody in our hearts before the Lord when we hear of a broken-heartedpenitent finding peace, of an outcast reclaimed from the wilds, an outrageous sinner led into paths of obedience and holiness!Even the angels account this to be rare music to be mightily relished. I believe they strike their golden harps to noblermelody when they learn that prodigals have sought their Father's face! You have yet to speak on God's behalf for His Church'ssake, that she may be encouraged!
Greatly, too, does it behoove you to speak on God's behalf, for the sake of the undecided. Some of them would probably befully persuaded if they saw your example. How many people there are in the world who are led by the influence that othersexert over them! Thousands have been brought to Jesus just as those early disciples, of whom we read, that Andrew followedJesus, and presently brought his own brother, Simon, to Jesus. Or Philip, who, after being found of Jesus, finds Nathanaeland tells him and draws him to the Savior. We can all exert an influence of some kind-let us tell what God has worked in usand many a one who halts between two opinions may, by Divine Grace, be induced to cast in his lot with the people of God!
Look on the great outlying world. What a mass of creatures whose lives must prove a blessing or a curse Will you not speakon God's behalf for their sakes? Do you not feel compelled to bear your testimony against their neglect, their waywardnessand their willful disobedience of the great Father? With habitual negligence and constant forgetfulness, they slight Him whonever forgets them, Him who, with unslumbering eyes, watches for their good! Lay this to heart, my Brothers and Sisters, andcome out, I pray you! Be you separate, touch not the unclean thing! You have your Father's promise that He will be a Fatherto you and you shall be His children. You are not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world-why, then, should you seekto remain mingled with the world in name? Be distinct and separate! Take up your cross daily and follow your Master.
For your own sake, too, I would venture to press this upon any of you who are backward in avowing your faith. You cannot conceivewhat blessing it would bring you were you distinctly and persistently to speak for Jesus! That timidity which now embarrassesyou would speedily cease to check your zeal. After you had once openly professed Christ, gifts that now slumber unconsciouslyto yourself would be developed by exercise. Rich comfort the service of God would then
bring you! Were you ever to win a soul for Jesus, you would be happier than the merchantman when he found the goodly pearl!You would think that all the happiness you ever knew before was less than nothing compared with the joy of saving a soul fromdeath and rescuing a sinner from going down into the pit of Hell! Oh, the bliss of speaking a word that affects three worlds,making a change in Heaven, earth and Hell, as devils grind their teeth in wrath because one of their victims is snatched outof their jaws-as men on earth wonder and admire the change that Grace has worked-and as angels rejoice when they hear of sinnerssaved!
For the sake of Him who bought you with His precious blood, seek out others who have been redeemed at the same inestimableprice! For the sake of that blessed Spirit who brought you to Jesus and who now moves in you that you may move others to cometo Jesus, be up and doing, steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that yourlabor is not in vain in the Lord! You have yet to speak on God's behalf, and these are the motives that ought to move you.And now let me close with-
IV. ONE OR TWO SUGGESTIONS.
Should you feel, dear Friends, that you ought to speak on God's behalf-and I hope you do feel it-whether Brothers in publicministry, or Sisters in the privacy of social circles, I would counsel you, before you begin to speak, to seek of God guidanceas to how you shall speak on His behalf. There are better words spoken of by the ignorant when they wait upon God, than bythe wise when they speak out of their own heads. It is wonderful to read the answers which some of the martyrs gave to theiraccusers. Think of that woman, Anne Askew, how, after being racked and tortured, she nonplussed the priests. It is reallymarvelous to read how she overcame them. And there was my Lord Mayor of London- what a fool she made of him! He put to herthis question-"Woman, if a mouse were to eat the blessed sacrament which contains the body and blood of Christ, what do youthink would become of it?" "My lord," she answered, "that is a deep question. I had rather you would answer it yourself. MyLord Mayor, what do you think would become of the mouse that should do that," "I verily believe" said the Lord Mayor, whoseears must have been preternaturally long, "I verily believe the mouse would be damned!" And what said Anne Askew? Why, whatcould she reply better than this, "Alas, poor mouse." Often a few short words-three or four words-have met the case when themartyrs have waited upon God! And they have made their adversaries seem so ridiculous that I think they might hear a laughboth from Heaven and Hell at once at their foolery, for God's servants have convicted them of folly and put them to shame!Ask what you should say, particularly when men would wrest your words, and when they would catch you in the speech. Be likeyour Master some-times-stoop down and write on the ground-wait a while. Sometimes a question is best answered by another question.Ask your Master to teach you that rhetoric which confuses men who would catch you in your speech.
And if you seek the conversion of others, especially remember that it is words from God's mouth rather than words from yourmouth that will effect it. Ask the Master, for He knows how to draw the bow when you cannot. You might draw it at a venture,but He can draw at a certainty, so that the arrows shall surely pierce between the joints of the armor. Here is a prayer forevery man and woman that has to speak for Jesus-"Open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise."
And look to the Holy Spirit, that He would bless what He directs you to say. It were better to speak five words by the promptingsof the Holy Spirit than to utter whole volumes without His guidance. Better be filled with silent musings by the blessed Spiritof God than pour forth floods of words and sentences, however pleasant, without His influence. There is an irresistible powerabout the man who has an unction from the Holy One which Demosthenes or Pericles, Cicero or Socrates, never dreamed of! Putthe man up to speak to his fellow men who is endowed with this mysterious power and he will make hearts of stone melt andforce a way for the Truth of God through gates of brass and bars of triple steel! Where the Divine Witness attests the wordspoken, there is a majesty in the simplest utterances that carries conviction to the heart, while it makes Satan and all hisMyrmidons tremble! Seek for this might. Tarry at Jerusalem till you are endowed with power from on high and thenspeak boldlyon God's behalf! Wherever your calling may be, and whenever your opportunity shall arise, speak as one whose heart has beenenlarged, as one whose mouth has been opened, as one who is filled with the Spirit!
Very earnestly would I caution you young Christians not to put off or delay speaking, otherwise you will lack the facilityyou might quickly attain by habitually attending to it. An aptitude for speaking to people one by one is very desirable. Iknow some Brothers in the ministry whom I greatly envy for the possession of a talent which I do not possess in the
same proportion as they do. The genius of conversation so sanctified that one can be personal and yet prudent-plain and pointed,yet withal pleasant-administering a rebuke without endangering a rebuff, winning a man's confidence while wounding his prideand commending the Gospel by the courteousness with which it is stated-that is a power of utterance to be emulated by us all!We are too apt to be ambitious of speaking to the many and oblivious of the talking power that can deftly speak to a friend.Begin early, then, after your conversion to speak, one by one, with your kinsfolk and acquaintances! Keep up the practice.Should you find yourselves getting sluggish, so that it becomes irksome to you, seek unto the Lord, confess your sin beforeHim. The tact of speaking to individuals is worth all the study and attention you can bestow upon it. Ask for wisdom and prudenceto know when to speak and how to speak! It is not every fisherman who can catch fish. There is a knack about it and so thereis about speaking for Christ. There is a suitable time and there is a suitable way. Why, there are some people who, if theywere to try to speak for Christ, would do mischief! They have got such forbidding faces, such ungainly manners, such a coarseway of expressing themselves, that in spite of good intentions, they rather hinder than help. They expect to catch their flieswith vinegar, but they will never succeed or be able to do it. If they could learn to be kind and genial, affable and sympathetic,they would be far more likely to succeed. There are men who put the Truth of God in such a shape that it looks like a lie.There are other men who do a good deal with so little delicacy that they affront those they intend to oblige. Do let us learn,when we speak for God, to speak in the best possible manner, exercising all the Christian Graces! Of our blessed Lord it wassaid, "Never man spoke like this Man." Of us who are His humble followers, may it be observed that we have been with Jesus,and have learned of Him.
God grant you, Believers all, Grace to speak for God! And you unbelievers, may you be brought to trust the Master and to loveHim, and then speak for Him! And His be the praise, though yours the profit! Amen.