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Yet the secret is

cannot think what the people seek from such a poor creature," he exclaims. clear to us who read his life to-day. Give thyself wholly to Christ, and Christ will give Himself wholly to thee; all the infinite wealth of His temporal and spiritual favour freely bestowed. “Jesus alone is sufficient," he wrote, "yet insufficient when He is not wholly and solely embraced." True without question is the saying, and equally true that those who wholly embrace Him shall have "allsufficiency in all things, and abound unto every good work." Think of this good man, once shunned and derided as a fanatic, now pressed upon by such eager crowds of anxious souls, that he can hardly find time to eat or sleep; once lying alone in an attic, burning up with fever, and so poor and neglected that from morning till night no one brought him even a cup of water, now made the recipient of such sumptuous legacies from friends whom he had never seen, and from spiritual kinsmen in foreign lands, that he feels obliged to decline them. How was he enriched unto all bountifulness, temporal and spiritual, even as he heartily and without reserve embraced what he calls "the mystery of the inward and the outward cross." Can we wonder that he should have given this as his estimate of life?

"Methinks it would be an inexpressible consolation to me, if in my dying hour, and when I shall have to appear in the presence of God, I could proclaim to all the world that

God alone is the fountain of life, and that there is no other way to find and enjoy Him than the narrow way of inward prayer, self-denial, and a life hid with Christ in God, opened out to us and consecrated by the death of the Saviour."

And unconscious, far-reaching spiritual attractiveness was the special reward of self-denial which he reaped. It is an honourable ambition to crave the power of drawing men, if we are intent only on bringing them to Christ. But let us remember that the true centre of gravitation is the cross. "I if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me." Whether by word or by example, whether by the preaching in which Jesus Christ is "evidently set forth crucified," or by the life in which His cross and obedience unto death shine out conspicuously, this is the strongest attraction. Oh to learn this lesson well, that through our self-renunciation, God's drawing power is most effectively brought to bear on human souls. Gerhard Terstegeen carried his renunciation so far as to be willing to forego the joy of divine communion if it must be. In seasons of spiritual abandonment and barrenness, he advised that we neither turn to the world for comfort nor persist in begging of God that comfort which He, for the time, is pleased to withhold. He says:

"Before the day of Pentecost arrived, the disciples could not hold out long in solitude, without the bodily and visible presence of Jesus. 'I go a fishing,' said Peter. Time appeared long to them in solitude; and such is the case

with us. We go, as it were, a fishing, in a book, in company with others, etc.; and it is a favour if, having caught nothing during the night, the Saviour meets us and shows us, as He did the disciples, the fruitlessness of all such attempts. I testify with fear, shame, and deep acknowledgment of the divine long-suffering and goodness, what my own experience has taught me in this respect; that the exercise of prayer is of so much importance, and that in seasons of inward darkness and barrenness, we fall into the temptation so easily. But, on the other hand, when we cannot proceed with the exercise of prayer in the customary manner, we ought not to hold fast with firm efforts and self-will what the Lord pleases to take from us; but humble ourselves, quietly consent to our nakedness and poverty, sacrifice our relish, light, and pleasure to His good pleasure, and make the latter our prayer and our food; we should thus find, in time, the advantage of letting go of ourselves, of privation, and the loss of self, so to speak, and be made capable of a more profound, or rather of a purer retirement, made of prayer, and union with God, which is the very object the Lord has in view."*

What a depth of self-abnegation is here reached ! To accept the cross of withheld communion, the self-denial of the divine favour, for the sake of the deeper humiliation and chastening-this is to go far beyond the common bounds of obedience. And we cannot wonder that the recompense attending it so far transcended the ordinary limits; so that from sharing his Master's trial of being despised and rejected of men, he shared also his Master's glory, and unto him was the gathering of the people.

*Life and Letters." pp. 169, 170.

We are speaking thus far of the present return which the Lord makes for faithful service. Sometimes this comes after the death of the servant of God; it is in the time that now is, but after the This seems departure of him who has earned it. to be the promise in the beatitude of the faithful dead given in the Apocalypse; "for they rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." * Their hands have ceased from toil and their tongue is silent; but because their labour was so truly in the Lord it continues in perpetual increase and blessing on the earth. They did not

live to behold the fruit of their service; but the generations following see it and praise their

memory.

We

Let us stand for a moment at the grave of one of these blessed ones who died in the Lord. It is in St. Mary's chancel in Taunton, England. stoop down and read the inscription:“ Here lies Master Joseph Alleine of Taunton-a sacrifice to God and to you";-and our thoughts run back to that November day in 1668 when this grave was closed. There stands the widowed Theodosia, the partner of his sorrows, and the mourner for his early death. Beside her is the aged George Newton, his beloved brother and companion in tribulation; and close by John Howe with a weeping train who have come over from a neighbouring parish to look for the last time upon the face of

*Rev. xiv. 13.

this endeared servant of Christ.* What thoughts must fill their minds as they try to justify the ways of God to men? This faithful minister, so

gifted by nature, so unreservedly devoted to God, brought to his grave at the age of thirty-five, utterly broken by long imprisonment and heartless persecution, his candle put out when darkness is covering the land and gross darkness the people, and he such a burning and shining light,—how could the Lord permit it? If such thoughts arise in the heart of the widowed one, let her turn back to that beautiful letter written to her in the early days of their espousal. Did Joseph Alleine have a presentiment of the sorrowful future that lay before them? Did the shadows of Ilchester prison already stretch across his path? It would almost seem so. But let us read from the letter :

"None ever was, or ever shall be, a loser by Jesus Christ. Many have lost much for Him, but never did, never shall any lose by Him. Take this for a certainty, whatsoever probabilities of outward comforts we leave, whatsoever outward advantages we balk, that we may glorify Him in our services, and enjoy Him in His ordinances more than others where we could, we shall receive an hundredfold in this life. 'Tis a sad thing to see how little Christ is trusted or believed in the world; men will trust Him no farther than they can see Him, and will leave no work for faith. Hath He not a thousand ways, both outward and inward, to make up a little outward dis

*

"Joseph Alleine : His Companions and Times," by Chas. tanford. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

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