Wanted! — Volunteers
“And next him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the Lord; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valour.” — 2 Chronicles xvii. 16.
IT was a great thing for king Jehoshaphat to have such a pious lord-lieutenant, one who could command an army, and at the same time obey the commands of God. Christian men ought greatly to value Christian servants, especially if such persons are employed in positions of trust. If we can have godly men to occupy our offices, and transact our business, we should be very grateful, and do our best to encourage and cheer them. It is true that sometimes those who make the loudest profession of religion arc the least trustworthy; but that very fact shows that there is something in the religion they falsely profess, which, if really laid hold of, makes a man more upright and reliable. Else why should it be counterfeited? The larger the responsibility, the more necessary it is to have men who can be depended upon to manage the business. It was for the great benefit of Jehoshaphat, as king, that he should have a godly captain over so large a part of his army as two hundred thousand mighty men of valour.
It was also a great thing for the country of Judah to have a godly man in such a position. “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” I hope that in England there will be an increasing desire that those persons who represent us in Parliament, or who legislate in any way, should be men of good character. The day will yet come when it will be judged that those who are immoral are not the men to make our laws, or to see that those laws are carried out. It is, however, a great blessing to a country to have godly men in high places who will see to it that right is done, that justice is maintained, and that the ends of true religion are promoted. Happy is the nation that has godly officers to discharge its business, men who fear God, and fear none beside!
I wonder how this man, Amasiah the son of Zichri, came to be a servant of God. We have no history of his experience, We could almost wish that we had; but since it is not recorded, it makes us feel that although men and women cannot tell us the way in which they were led to yield to Christ, yet if their lives show that they are serving God we must be well content. If you are saved, even though you cannot tell us when or how the great change was wrought, we will rejoice in the fact of your salvation. Amasiah is a man of whom wo do not know anything beyond this— he “willingly offered himself unto the Lord.” There must have been a turning-point in his career, a time when first he knew the grace of God, which wrought such a change in him. There must have been a waking up to the feeling that God deserved his love and his life. There must have been a time of quickening into spiritual consecration. We are told nothing about that, therefore we must leave it under the veil which Scripture draws over his history. But if I say little about his exercises of soul, and press onward to a very practical point, I earnestly desire that the inward enlightenment that he enjoyed may be known by many of you; and that God the Holy Ghost may work upon your hearts, and bring you out of the bondage and servitude of sin into the glorious liberty of the gospel, which will make you capable of willingly offering yourselves unto the Lord.
I am here as a recruiting-sergeant. I have no ribbons with me, nor shillings; but I cast a longing eye on many here present who as yet do not belong to my Master, and fervently do I hope that they may be enlisted in his service. Often have I seen the recruiting-sergeant lingering about certain streets, and looking at every young man passing by. I have known him address some young gentleman who wondered that he should ever have been spoken to about such a thing; and who in his offended dignity felt a deal more inclined to kick the sergeant than to give him a civil answer. But the officer has said to him, “I beg your pardon, sir; but I thought such a smart-looking fellow as you would be just the kind of man to take the Queen’s shilling;” and, soothed by the compliment, the gentleman has gone on his way laughing. He wanted no Queen’s shilling, and was not at all inclined for army service. I would desire to be as bold in addressing you as the sergeant is in his calling, and if I should intrude upon some young gentleman who should feel angry because of my importunity, I shall not at all object. I shall say, “Very well; but you must excuse my feeling that the more ability and influence you have, the greater is the reason why you should be converted to Christ, that you might serve my Master.” God knows how I rejoice over the poorest, the most ignorant, the most depraved of men or women, when they are brought to Christ; but I do like sometimes to see those come to him who have some life in them, and some talent about them, and who can, by consecrating themselves to the Lord, do for his cause and kingdom, by his grace, a real service in days to come. There is hard fighting to be done, and my Lord calls for men who will not be afraid to do it. Let all the heroism of your manhood impel you to this blessed service. You are not asked to serve the Lord because he promises you ease and pleasure; you are rather called to “endure hardness” as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. As we sang just now:
“Ye that are men, now serve him
Against unnumbered foes;
Your courage rise with danger,
And strength to strength oppose.”
I am going to use the account of this Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the Lord, as an illustration of what, I trust, will be true about many of my hearers. Oh, that the Holy Spirit may draw out somebody who shall become a very apostle in these times, a standard-bearer for the Lord Jesus, who shall—
“Lift high his royal banner”
among the sons of men!
I. First, let me say that Amasiah is distinguished from the other mighty men of King Jehoshaphat by the fact that HE MADE IT IIIS LIFE-WORK TO SERVE THE LORD. He “willingly offered himself unto the Lord,” and he was accepted, and became a life-long servant of Jehovah, the God of Israel.
It should not need much talk to make men feel that this is reasonable service. To serve your Maker, who created you that you should glorify him, is surely a natural thing to do; and it becomes a thing to be more expected when you are asked to serve your Redeemer, who shed his blood that you might be set free from sin, and “yield your members servants unto holiness.” Would it not be a right thing for you to offer yourself to him who yielded himself to the death for us?
“Offered was he, for greatest and the least;
Himself the Victim, and himself the Priest.”
This is an argument Amasiah had not, yet did he find reason enough to serve the Lord. How much stronger is the claim upon you! And if this plea needs to be strengthened still further, think that you are called to serve him with whom you hope to dwell for ever in heaven. It ought to be an instinct of every reasonable soul to set about such service instantly. Ordinary gratitude should cause every Christian man to say to his Lord, “Whom else should I serve? I owe to thee my very being, my new life, and all I possess. In thee I live; by thee I am daily fed. Why should I not serve thee?”
“Thine am I by all ties;
But chiefly thine,
That through thy sacrifice
Thou, Lord, art mine;
By thine own cords of love, so sweetly wound
Around me, I to thee am closely bound.”
Moreover, this is honourable service. Men like a service that seems to reflect some kind of glory upon them. To serve a great man, makes even the footman feel as if he was himself a great man, too; at least, I have seen some of these gentlemen give themselves mighty airs, under the notion that they were as grand as their master. But to serve God really gives honour and glory. O sirs, if this be not done in mere pretence, but in reality, what a grand life a man must lead who is the servant of God! To serve him whom angels serve, whom archangels serve, whose service is perfect freedom, is the most honourable service to which a man can attain. There is nothing humiliating or debasing about it, but everything that tends to lift us upward, and to make us grow in spiritual force. To serve God is to reign. Every man becomes a king in proportion as he really serves the Lord.
Further, this is remunerative service, the most remunerative in all the world. The devil spoke a truth that he did not mean to speak when he said, “Doth Job serve God for nought?” God never lets his servants serve him for nothing. He may not always give them gold or worldly prosperity; but he will give them a reward more satisfying to them than these things, more grateful to their hearts than all the treasures of the Indies. I never met with a man that served God who complained of his wages. Nay, it is so much a work of grace that the work itself is a gift to us. The privilege of serving God— ay, call it the high honour, the delight, the great gain of being a servant of God — if there were no other reward, this would suffice us. I can sympathize with him who said—
“Dismiss me not thy service, Lord,
But train me for thy will,
For even I, in fields so broad,
Some duties may fulfil;
And I will ask for no reward
Except to serve thee still.”
But the fact is that, in serving the Lord, we have, through grace, “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We realize that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. “We know that all things work together for good” to us while we are here, and that the best part of our religion is yet to come, for
“After death its joys shall be
Lasting as eternity.”
He whose life is devoted to the service of God must have a blessed life. It is not always a happy life in the judgment of men, yet is it still happy in the judgment of God, and in the estimation of the believer himself. The servants of God have a happy service.
I may also say that this is safe service. God will not put you into a position of danger when you enter his service. If you serve men, they may tempt you to do wrong. Many a young man, who has entered an office or a shop, has found himself commanded to do what no honest man ought to expect another to do. Many a young woman has taken her position in a family whore temptation has been like Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace to her. But if you serve God, he may try you, but he will never tempt you to sin. In following hard after him you will be in safe places, and the more you are obedient to the will of God the more secure will you be from temptations within and without. Obedience will keep you from peril. The grace of God will preserve you from all evil.
After all, I am not like that recruiting-sergeant, who, if he tries to get a man to serve under the colours, has to put it very prettily. He tells about the merry times that soldiers have, but he does not say much about wounds and wooden legs. He does not talk much about bleeding to death on the battle-field, nor about being discharged at last with nothing a week to live upon after your best days have been given in your country’s service. No; he always picks out the bright colours, and praises “Her Majesty’s Service” as if it were all pipeclay and red coats and fine feathers and glory, and I know not what besides. Now, I have not to do that. There is no fault in my Master’s service that I need to conceal from you. All round it is the best, the happiest, the most glorious position that a man can occupy; and though I would bid you count the cost before you enrol yourself under his leadership, you may rest assured that you can never calculate the value of the reward that Christ hath in store for all his faithful followers. Therefore, without any reserve, I may fairly come to each man hero and say, “Like Amasiah, the son of Zichri, offer yourself willingly unto the Lord.”
II. Now, to go a step further, notice, in the second place, concerning this man Amasiah, HE WAS A READY VOLUNTEER, “who willingly offered himself unto the Lord.” There is much truth in the old proverb, that “one volunteer is worth twenty pressed men.” Service willingly rendered has a fragrance and a bloom about it that make it most delightful and acceptable.
He needed no pressing. Some of you want so very much persuading, that you are hardly worth having when at last we get you. There is such a thing as pressing a man so long that all the juice is gone out of him, and you have only the husk of the man when you do manage to get him. Amasiah wanted no pressing at all, for in his soul there was an ardent desire to serve the living God; he “willingly offered himself unto the Lord.”
He needed no hunting out. How many even of church-members seem to be like Saul when he was elected king, and they could not find him! “Where is that tall fellow, head and shoulders above the rest of the people?” At last somebody said that he had hidden himself among the stuff. Many of our young men to-day are among the stuff; and there are numbers both of men and women who ought to be coming forward for the Lord’s service instead of hiding among the rubbish. My dear friend Mr. Pearce, the superintendent of our Sunday-school, says that he wants more teachers. There are plenty who might engage in the work, but they are among the stuff. Let them imitate Amasiah, “who willingly offered himself unto the Lord.”
Amasiah was a self-contained man. He needed no looking after, when he had once come out. We have some Christians who will keep right as long as somebody else looks after them. How many such there are in all churches! You must always be watching them, or else they will be up to mischief, or growing cold, ceasing to attend the means of grace, getting into evil company, and going back to the world. Amasiah was not of that kind. He “offered himself willingly unto the Lord;” and having done so, he stood to his consecration vow.
He needed no leader. On the contrary, he took the lead himself over two hundred thousand men. We have many that will follow pretty well. We want some that will not need leading except by our great Leader, the Lord Jesus; men who know what they know, believe what they believe, know how they ought to act, and are resolved so to act, and will do it even to the end. It was a fine motto which a distinguished worker once adopted: “Resolved, that I will act as if there were none else to act, not waiting for others.” This is the spirit which wo long to sec amongst the Lord’s people: not a spirit of lawlessness and disorder, but of loyalty and independence; a spirit which will not timidly wait until everybody is ready, but, knowing the will of God, will at all hazards go forward to do it. Amasiah, the leader of this host of “mighty men of valour”, would be certain to be a man of valour himself. Like leader, like followers: he that would lead bravo men must himself be brave. We need in this generation more men, who, in Christ’s service, shall perform deeds of daring, as British soldiers do to win the Victoria Cross, which has inscribed upon it the words, “For valour.” Christ has right royal rewards for those who faithfully servo him. I should like to meet with a band of brave young men ready to render valiant service to my Lord, young men with backbones; there have not been many of that kind made lately; they are to-day generally soft down the back. Most men I meet are very squeezable, men of india-rubber that yield every way. But we want for Christ and for his cause some who cannot be turned aside, to offer themselves willingly unto the Lord, doing it decidedly, at once, and from the bottom of their hearts. God grant by his Spirit that some such may by this sermon be led to the knowledge and service of the Lord!
III. The third point about Amasiah is that, while he was a volunteer, HE OFFERED HIMSELF TO THE LORD. “Himself” — it was the best thing ho had. Some of you, perhaps, have not anything else to offer. Then, do as ho did— willingly offer yourself. I have heard of a little boy at a public meeting where there was a missionary collection, when the collector came to him, he asked him to hold the plate a little lower. Thinking he wanted to see his money drop on to the plate, and, being a kindly man, he hold the plate down low. “Please, sir, it is not low enough; would you mind putting it on the floor?” The collector good-humouredly put it down, and then the boy said, “I have not even a penny to give to the collection, so I want to get into the plate, and give myself to God.” It was a simple thing to do; but that is exactly what we desire that many may do at this good hour. Willingly offer yourselves, like Amasiah, unto the Lord.
He made no reserve as to what he had. He gave himself, his money, his ability, his position, his influence. All was yielded up to the Lord. “Well,” says one, “I give so much to the weekly offering.” Do you? I am glad to hear it; but have you given yourself? “I sometimes go out and sing a sacred song at a meeting,” you say. That is quite right; you give your voice; but have you given yourself? “I have joined the church,” another says. That, too, is a very proper thing to do if you are really a believer; but it is not all, nor is it the first thing; you have given us the distinguished privilege of having your name written on our church-roll; but have you given yourself to the Lord? It is said of Amasiah, that he “willingly offered himself unto the Lord.” You have often found, I doubt not, a chrysalis. You have perhaps said, as you stooped to pick it up, “I will take that home, and see what kind of butterfly comes out of it.” You have kept it and kept it, and nothing has ever come out of it, because the butterfly had already flown. Many people about us are like that. We hope that they are going to do something, but nothing ever comes out of our chrysalis. There is nothing living inside, and hence there is never any flutter of life, nor flight of wings. But when a man gives himself to the Lord willingly, making no reserve as to what he has, then we have something worth the having. I like to sing—
“Yet if I might make some reserve,
And duty did not call,
I love my Lord with zeal so great
That I should give him all.”
Notice yet another thing about Amasiah, which, I think, must have been true: lie made no reserve as to what lie did. He gave himself to the Lord, as much as to say, “Lord, put me here, and I will keep here. Put me there, and I will keep there. Make me a great man, and I will serve thee. Make me a little man, and I will serve thee. Give me health and strength, and I will serve thee. But if thou dost choose rather to send me sickness, and lay me on a bed of languishing, still I will serve thee.” In some such way I can fancy that Amasiah gave himself up to the service of the King of kings. This is how we should come to Christ; willing when he says “Go,” to go; when he says “Come,” to come; when ho says “Do this,” to do it; willing to do his will, as the little girl said the angels do it, “without asking any questions”; and thus numbering ourselves among the company who stand ready to obey their Master s least word—
“Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs but to do or die.”
Christ must be the absolute Master of the saved soul; and the soul that is truly saved is willing cither to go or stay, as may seem best to his Lord; for it is to the Lord that he has given himself; to one who henceforth is to rule and reign over his whole life. I trust that some to whom these words come will thus offer themselves, making no reserve as to what they shall do, and—
“Where duty calls or danger,
Be never wanting there.”
When Amasiah willingly offered himself for the Lord’s service, he made no reserve as to when it should be. He probably gave himself to the Lord while he was a young man. He began with all his heart to serve God in his youth; and when he was in middle life, and his children were round about him, he was still unfalteringly the servant of God. When he grew grey, and others ventured to think that he had better retire from active service, he might think it wise to give up some of his work, but never would he retire from the service of his God; for he had willingly offered himself unto the Lord. He made no reserve about serving up to a certain time, and then leaving off; but he would serve his God while he had breath in his body.
And he made no reserve as to how that service should be rendered. As I have already said, he would serve God in health, but he would serve him in sickness too. Ay, and he would serve God by doing nothing at all, if such was his will. One of the hardest works for saints to do is to do nothing. When they got so infirm that they cannot leave their room, or even their bed; perhaps their very voice fails them, so that they cannot speak; then what difficult work it is to say with the heart, “Lord, I served thee when I laboured for thee, and I will serve thee when I cannot labour for thee. I trusted thee when I could speak about thee, and I will trust thee now that I cannot speak about thee. I am thy servant. If my Lord bids me do anything, I will do it; if he gives me no command, yet will I be his servant still. In life and in death my ear shall be bored to my master’s door-post”! In this fashion, I suppose, Amasiah willingly offered himself unto the Lord. Have you not sometimes seen the telegraph boys, standing or sitting still at the post-office when there is no message to be delivered? They are as much doing their work by waiting as when they carry to its destination the despatch which has been flashed along the wires. In waiting they servo, and in like manner they most truly serve the Lord who give up all idea of self-pleasing, and go or stay, as best pleases him, to whom they willingly offer themselves to be his servants.
I have been explaining what kind of volunteers I want to enlist for my Lord. I wonder whether the Holy Spirit is saying to some young man, “You are the man. You should willingly offer yourself to the Lord,” or whether he is gently suggesting to some dear sister, “You are beloved of the Lord, and may serve him like Deborah or Dorcas if you will but give yourself now.” You remember how Zinzendorf was converted to Christ by seeing, at Düsseldorf, Stenburg’s picture of Christ on the cross, and at the bottom these words—
“All this I did for thee;
What hast thou done for me?”
I pass on the question to you, though I cannot paint the picture, or make you see the vision. If Christ has redeemed you, why, it follows, as a matter of course, that you will reckon that you are not your own, for you are bought with a price, and, like Amasiah, you will willingly offer yourself unto God. As you survey the wondrous cross on which he died, you will surely be constrained to say with Dr. Watts: —
“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
IV. Now, I have a fourth observation to make, which is important, though it may not seem so. When Amasiah willingly offered himself unto the Lord, HE DID THIS IN A SECULAR CALLING.
He did not stipulate to be a prophet. I do not know how it is, but when a certain type of young man gets it into his head that he will serve God, the next thing is that he wants to see me about how he can get into the ministry. Perhaps I look at him, and I see that his mouth was never made for preaching. You can see by the appearance of his eyes that they were never made to look a congregation in the face. When he begins to talk, you can tell that he might possibly make a good learner for the next twenty years, and then, perhaps, he would be able to teach a class of boys; but the boys would soon be tired of him, for they would probably find out even then that they knew as much as he did. Some have no gift for instructing others, but that need not hinder them from serving Christ as they can. Remember, Amasiah did not say, “Lord, I will give myself to thee, if thou wilt let me be a prophet.” No! He willingly offered himself to the Lord, to be what the Lord would have him to be; and so he remained a soldier. He was in the army, and never went to any college, and never preached a sermon in his life; but he “willingly offered himself unto the Lord.” You may willingly offer yourself to the Lord, and go and keep a shop, selling articles unadulterated, sixteen ounces to the pound, and twelve to the dozen, unless you make it thirteen. You may willingly offer yourself to the Lord, and be a shoemaker: there have been consecrated cobblers before now, as both Sunday-schools and foreign missions can testify. You may willingly offer yourself to the Lord, even though your daily calling is that of a chimney-sweep; that is a very necessary business, and though your face may become blackened at it, your heart may be clean all the time. You may willingly offer yourself to the Lord, and be on the roads breaking stones, praying your Master the while to break stony hearts. There is no lawful occupation in which a man cannot thoroughly serve the Lord. It is a great privilege and blessing to be set apart to the work of winning souls; but we must never separate that work from all the rest of the callings of life, as though it alone were sacred, and all the rest were secular and almost sinful. Serve God where you are. Good woman, go on looking after those dear children now that your husband has been called home; you will be serving God by bringing up those boys and girls in the knowledge of Christ: God help you to do it! Go on, dear daughter, helping mother; you need not aspire to be shaking a kingdom; shako the bed well to-morrow morning. There are many persons who have some very exalted ideas in their heads, who will serve God best by just doing common-place work in a commonplace way, and will probably never be permitted to do anything else; at least, that will be the case until they step down from their stilts, and get rid of their lofty notions.
Yet it cannot have been very easy to Amasiah to live wholly to God as a soldier. His was a difficult calling; though, I suppose, in his days, it was not so difficult as it is now. But he did it, whether his occupation was difficult or not. Wherever your lot is cast, abide in your calling, and glorify God in it, as this man did. “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.” Even if your lot is cast in a barrack-room, be bold to confess your Master: many a man has become a soldier of Christ by seeing his comrade in the regiment kneel down and pray. With the memory of many a hero, both in the army and out of it, we may be certain that, however difficult the place, the grace of God is sufficient for us as it was for Amasiah.
Not only did he serve the Lord in this hard place, but he rose to eminence in it. I do not know how he began. When I saw him last — that is, when I last looked at my text— he was the commander of two hundred thousand mighty men of valour. A fine position that! He had become one of the five great generals of Jehoshaphat’s army. Where he began I cannot tell; but it is quite certain that, in fearing God, he was not hindered in his promotion. The man who fears God need not be hindered one whit in rising in the world; that is to say, if it is worth while rising in the world; for there are some kinds of elevation so disgraceful, that they are better shunned than sought. It is, in many cases, a great thing for a man to be kept down. A good doctor of divinity, whom I well knew, met a Christian man in the street, shook hands with him, and congratulated him. The man said, “I do not know, Dr. Jeter, why you congratulate me, for I have had a world of trouble; in fact, I have failed in my business.” To which the good doctor replied, “I congratulate you, because you failed honestly; you are the only man that I have seen for years who has done that.” Then he shook hands with him again, and said, “My dear fellow, I do thank God that you failed honestly.” But no man need fail because he serves God. No man need stick in the mud for ever because he becomes a Christian; for “godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
Yet another thing we may venture to say of Amasiah. He left an honourable record. Here is a man in Jehoshaphat’s army who willingly offers himself to the Lord, and rises to be commander of two hundred thousand mighty men of valour. It reminds me of Havelock and his saints in the Indian Mutiny. There was a stern fight to be fought, and the general said, “Send for Havelock and his saints,” and they soon accomplished the task. When you get men who thoroughly serve God in whatever position of life they are, they are terrible fellows. They will do the thing where others only talk about it; for God does help, even in the ordinary concerns of daily life, those that put their trust in him. They shall never be confounded. “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” They can say, “By thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.” Moreover, “The memory of the just is blessed;” the footprints they leave behind them help others on in the blessed way; and when they fall asleep, they are among the blessed dead who “rest from their labours;” — they could not do that if here they had been idle— “and their works do follow them.”
I am still working away, you see, at my main point. I am wanting to get that fine young fellow into my Lord’s army. I am praying God the Holy Ghost to influence men and women to say, “We will willingly offer ourselves unto the Lord. We will servo him with our whole heart and soul.” God grant that it may be so!
V. I have done when I add these words— Amasiah not only served the Lord himself, but IIE IS AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS. Let us make the best application of the sermon by working it out in our own lives.
First of all, he is an example to the young. He was probably a young man when he “willingly offered himself unto the Lord.” Why wait to grow older in sin, before entering the glorious service of Christ? The world has nothing that can satisfy your heart: turn from its folly, and choose the nobler path. If you are only a child, still I appeal to you; the earlier you offer yourself to the Lord, the better will it be for all the future of your life.
Amasiah is an example, also, to men of position. He held a high office, but he “willingly offered himself unto the Lord.” Young man of fortune and rank, I have a message from the Lord for thee! Offer thyself willingly unto the Lord. As thou wouldest be saved by the precious blood of Christ and the free grace of God, come thou and lay thyself down at those dear feet that bled for thy salvation; thou knowest not what work the Lord has yet for thee to do.
He is also an example to men who are rising in the world; for he was such. I speak to some of you who have not risen yet, but you are rising. You are doing well, as the world has it. God is prospering you. I would lay my hand upon your shoulder, young man, and say, “Since God is blessing you so, willingly offer yourself for his service. You know that you are not saved by the offering of yourself to Christ: you are saved by Christ offering himself for you, a sacrifice for sin. But if he has saved you, then come and offer yourself to the Lord. The children do not now cry for bread to you, as they used to do. No, thank God, those sad days are over with you! The wife has not to wear rags, as once she did God has been gracious to you, and helped you on in the world; and now, by the gratitude that you have for him, ask yourself whether you cannot serve him, and may he of his sweet love bring you so to do!” My Lord ought to have you. Shall ho not have you? I recollect how Mr. Howland Hill once held an auction over Lady Anne Erskine, who drove up in her carriage to the edge of the crowd, while Mr. Hill was preaching. He said “Ah! I see Lady Anne Erskine.” A careless, thoughtless woman she was then, and he said, “There is a great contention about who shall have her. The world wants to have her. What wilt thou give for her, O world? ‘I will give her fame and name and pleasure.’ And sin wants to have her What wilt though give for her, O sin? ‘A few paltry transient joys. And Satan wants to have her What wilt thou give for her, Satan? And the price was very low At last Christ came along, and he said, ‘I give myself for her. I give my life for her, my blood for her.’” And turning to her ladyship, Mr. Hill said, “You shall have her, my Lord Christ, if she does not object.” “My lady, which shall it be?” he said; and she bowed her head, and said that she accepted Christ’s offer, and would be sold to him, and be his for ever.
I do not know how to pick anybody out here for auction, but I would sell some of you to my Master if I could, without money and without price, save that which he paid for you when he poured out his life on the accursed tree. Where are the volunteers? Perhaps it is some bright boy that I have to get for Christ; or some dear girl whom the Lord means to have now; or some of these young men. Never did any one truly offer himself unto the Lord without being accepted; nay, your offer of yourself to the Lord proves that you are already his in the covenant of his grace. Oh, how happy are they who, in their youth, willingly offer themselves unto God! But, indeed, my Lord will take into his service people of all ages, both sexes, all ranks, and all conditions. He cares not what your possessions may be; but whatever they are, offer yourself and them to him, to whom they rightfully belong. He will take the poorest and weakest; but still I should like to win for my Master some man in the very strength of his days, with ability to think and power to speak, who will now say, “I have found my vocation. God calls me to Christ to find salvation in his wounds; and to be his servant. It shall be all my business here below to magnify his blessed name.” God grant it, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.