John 17:19 The Master’s Consecration
John 17:19
Great Texts of the Bible
The Master’s Consecration

And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.—John 17:19.

The richest, fullest life our earth has ever known was the life of Jesus Christ. No one ever had within himself such complete satisfactions, such assured convictions, and such settled peace as He. Rich and full as His life was to Himself, it was the richest, fullest life to others that has ever blessed humanity. Wherever He went He was the source of helpfulness. Even the hem of His garment had power in it, and from His lips, His hands, His heart went out an unceasing, abounding inspiration to the souls of men. Jesus Christ was a great fountain whose waters of comfort welled up like a flood within His own heart, and then flowed forth full-volumed to cheer the world. His life had more in it and gave more from it than any other life since time began. What was the secret of it? He sanctified Himself.

When Augustine Thierry, after withdrawing himself from the world, and devoting himself to study, that he might investigate the origin, causes and effects of the successive German invasions, spent six years in poring with the pertinacity of a Benedictine monk over worm-eaten manuscripts, and deciphering and comparing black-letter texts, at last completed his magnificent History of the Conquest, he found he had lost his eyesight. The most precious of his senses had been sacrificed to his zeal in literary research. The beauties of nature and the records of scholarship were thenceforth shut out from him; and yet did he think the sacrifice too great? In a letter, written to a friend long afterward, he said: “Were I to begin my life over again, I would choose the road that had led me to where I now am. Blind and afflicted, without hope and without leisure, I can safely offer this testimony, the sincerity of which, coming from a man in my condition, cannot be called in question. There is something in the world worth more than pleasure, more than fortune, more than health itself. I mean devotion, self-dedication to a great end.” There is a higher end than scientific research, and to that end Jesus Christ dedicated Himself.

In the instructive and profound book on The Religion of the Semites, Dr. Robertson Smith quotes, as containing the deepest conception of the Atonement, these words of our Lord, uttered as He knelt in prayer by the altar of the supreme sacrifice: “For their sakes I consecrate myself, that they themselves also may be consecrated in truth.” Besson writes in his spiritual letters, “It is in His passion that the Saviour shows Himself, like the sun at midday, in all the ardour of His love.” And in the shadow of the cross, He who had schooled Himself daily to the repression of feeling spoke the secret of His life and death. He interpreted His whole work as a consecration in the power of love. On the Cross He consecrated Himself as the atoning sacrifice—the absolute oblation for the sins of the whole world. Here is the first aspect of the Cross; its witness to the deep necessity of expiation, to the completeness of Christ’s offering for sin. But this doctrine may be stated with a narrow correctness which leaves a world of unknown feeling behind. Before the death of Christ came His life, and that was a long self-sacrifice. It was willingly surrendered hour by hour till all the years were full. Then it was completed—consummated in death.1 [Note: W. Robertson Nicoll, Ten-Minute Sermons, 235.]

I

The Act of Consecration


The word “sanctify” is used in the Bible with two distinct significations. The original meaning of the word is to consecrate, to dedicate, to set apart to God and to God’s service; and this is its ordinary meaning in the Old Testament. We commonly intend by it, to make holy: sanctity and holiness are the same; sanctification is the growing completeness of the Christian character, the hallowing of the personal life: in this sense the word is often used in the New Testament. Sanctification, in brief, may describe either the purpose or the process of the Christian life.

It is not hard to trace the connexion between these two meanings of the word; to see how the first meaning passes naturally and necessarily into the other. Perfect consecration would be complete and absolute holiness. No purity would be wanting to the motive, no elevation to the character, of one who should be devoted to the Lord his God, with “all his heart, and all his soul, and all his mind, and all his strength.” We must lay aside any thought of a native holiness, in man or angel, apart from conformity to God’s character and obedience to His will. God alone is holy, in and of Himself; the source of our sanctity, like the spring of our life, is in God. The charm and energy of the personal holiness even of Christ lay in His constant devotion to His Father’s will.

This is at once our Lord’s life-purpose, and an ideal for us. “I sanctify myself.” I am set apart, consecrated, devoted to Thee and to mankind. Consecrated in thought, word and deed: devoted in motive and in action. I am near Thee in my daily life, in my going out and coming in, in my trials as in my triumphs, in my death as in my life. I am like Thee, revealing Thy character; having Thy image stamped on me.

1. He concealed His greatness and glory.—The natural dignities of the Son of God had to be hidden from us. John, the beloved disciple, he who knew the Lord more intimately than any other, he who saw most clearly into the depths of that soul, who leaned upon the bosom of the Lord, tells us that he beheld the glory of the Son of God, His face like unto the sun in its strength, His eyes like unto flames of fire;—and John fell at His feet as dead. Thus was it on the Mount of Transfiguration, when for a moment the innate glory of the Son of God shone through the veil that hid it, and His robes were white and glistering, and again His face was like the sun, and again His eyes were like unto flames of fire, and the disciples, blinded and bewildered by such splendour, hid themselves, afraid, and shrank from that excess of light. Think of Him, then, for our sakes setting apart His glory that He might become our Blessed Brother and Friend, and that all might draw near to Him and be at home with Him; sitting down with lowly fishermen, welcoming the outcast, gathering to Himself the little children, drawing around Him all the sad and needy of the earth.

Out of this comes the other great temptation that assails Him. “If Thou art the Son of God, if Thou art not bound by these laws of humanity, if Thou canst dismay and bewilder Thine enemies by the manifestations of Thy glory, put forth Thy power, assert Thine authority.” Think of Him as He stands with outstretched hand rebuking Peter there in the shadow of Gethsemane, in that night, the full moon of the Passover high in the heavens, about Him the rough crowd gathered with swords and staves! Judas has betrayed his Lord with a kiss, and the soldiers step forward to lay their hands upon the Saviour, when Peter draws his sword to fight for the Lord. “Thinkest thou,” said Jesus, “that I cannot now pray to my Father and he will presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” But He sanctified Himself, setting Himself apart for our sakes.

Think, again, how it met Him on the Cross. From out the crowd that gathered about the city walls, there rings the fierce derision, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Others have suffered perhaps as cruel a martyrdom, others have hung in anguish, mocked and derided; but of all that ever went forth to die, He alone could say, “I lay down my life. No man taketh it from me.” This is the glory and triumph of Christ that, conscious of a power which could have achieved so sublime and instant a triumph over all His foes,—His cross transformed into a throne, about Him all His holy angels, and He seated amidst the terrors of judgment summoning these His murderers to His feet,—for our sakes He Bet Himself apart and hung upon His cross and sunk until there came the final cry, “It is finished.”

Is humiliation easy? Was it easy for Christ to humble Himself? Is it easy for us? “There are certain animals,” says George Eliot, “to which tenacity of position is a law of life—they can never flourish again, after a single wrench: and there are certain human beings to whom predominance is a law of life—they can only sustain humiliation so long as they can refuse to believe in it, and, in their own conception, predominate still.”1 [Note: George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss.]

Manin, the last doge of Venice, was compelled to swear allegiance to Austria in the name of his compatriots. With a broken heart he made ready for the ceremony, but as he stepped forward at the appointed time to pronounce the fatal words, his strength and his faculties gave way together. He fell senseless at the feet of his foes, and died not long afterward.2 [Note: W. M. Sloane, Napoleon Bonaparte, ii. 24.]

2. He made an absolute surrender of Himself.—There are times when Egoism can reach its best development only by what would be called a complete surrender of itself to the help of others. There is a tradition that one who desired to produce a fine kind of pottery always failed until he threw himself into the fire that was baking his work, and lo, the effort was now a success, the pottery came forth as he had desired. Egoism submerged in Altruism became perfected Egoism and perfected Altruism at once. So Christ reached an hour in His life when He could not be the most that He ought to be unless He actually laid down His life for others. He would have been a renegade to His own high ideas of nobility of character if He had not been willing to die for mankind. Egoism for its own development needed a prodigal Altruism. The fulness of His own life demanded an outpouring of that life.

I heard sometime since of an oculist who was very fond of cricket. But he had given it up, much as he enjoyed it, for he found that it affected the delicacy of his touch; and for the sake of those whom he sought to relieve he sanctified himself and set himself apart. That is what we want—that there shall come into our lives a force that prompts us always to be at our best and readiest for service, our fullest and richest to help, a tree that is always in leaf and always in bloom and always laden with its fruit, like the orange tree, where the beauty of the blossom meets with its fragrance the mellow glory of the fruit.1 [Note: Mark Guy Pearse.]

There are two great pictures, each of them by a famous artist. One picture represents a woman in a hospital. The woman is a princess, fair and beautiful to look upon, but the hospital is most loathsome, because it is the home of a number of dying lepers, and this fair and beautiful woman is represented as wiping the face of a dying leper. That picture is a symbol of the dignity and the beauty of social service. But there hangs by its side another picture by another great artist. It represents a woman in her oratory. She is in the attitude of prayer. Beside her stands an angel. She is looking over the open pages of the Holy Bible, which are illuminated. And the legend tells us that while she knelt there in that place of prayer, seven times she was interrupted. Seven times there came a call at her door, a demand upon her love, upon her charity—a sevenfold recognition of the needs of her brother man. And seven times, with a patience and with a moral beauty beyond all description, she goes to the door, relieves these cases of necessity, and returns to her knees, to her attitude of prayer. This is a picture of the supreme dignity and the great worth of personal sanctification.1 [Note: O. W. Whittaker.]

II

The Aim of Consecration


“I sanctify myself,”—that is the starting-point of redemption. “For their sakes,”—that is the end, the common good, the social welfare. The beginning is individual, the aim is social. The way to make a good world is, first of all, to be good oneself. First character, then charity; first life, then love;—that was the way of Jesus Christ. He does not stand in history as the great organizer or reformer of the social world. He stands primarily as the witness of the capacity for social service offered to each human soul. The Kingdom of God, which is the end of endeavour, is to come through the personal sanctification of individuals for the sake of others. The Christian paradox is the paradox of the solar system. An isolated soul, like an isolated planet, means instability and chaos. The stability of each part is found in its steady orbit round the larger centre, and the integrity of the whole vast order hangs on the adjustment of each single part. That is what is known in the world of nature as the law of attraction, and what Jesus calls in the spiritual world the Kingdom of God.

The mother consecrates herself for her infant. She devotes herself in self-forgetting love. The motive is strong, the strongest we know—mother-love. This emotion throbbing in the mother-heart finds expression in a thousand acts of loving care; but the child grows up and needs a mother’s care less; still the care subsists. Some mythical relation arising out of motherhood seems to grow up in the mother’s heart which delights in self-giving. The average mother has it, without any special gifts of intellect. The exceptional mother controls this natural emotion by foresight and educated taste. It is only the unnatural mother that has it not. And yet, though it is common, it is never learned from the outside. It springs up instinctively in answer to the infant’s need. It is spontaneous and almost unthinking, and yet it is the most beautiful love in life, for it gives all and asks nothing. What a lyric life becomes to the mother in her joy! Her thoughts run to poetry and her horizon is filled with her helpless child. It is all the world to her. Something of this mother-love there must be in all consecration. We must love some one, some community, some race, in self-abandoning, self-effacing love before we can consecrate ourselves for their sakes. This is one standard of our capacity for such an enterprise. Can we love others better than ourselves so as to serve them? Otherwise the service will at the moment of pressure seem to us less important and less demanding than our own comfort and we shall throw it up in petulance or despair.1 [Note: Alexander Tomory, 66.]

Dante, writing his poetry, never forgot Beatrice. He perfected that poetry in thought, in word, in spirit, in movement, hoping that it would receive public recognition and bring him honour. But he perfected it and sought recognition and honour because burning in his soul was love for his idealized Beatrice, at whose shrine and to whose praise he intended to offer all the recognition and honour that he might possibly win. Beatrice was a vision beckoning him on to industry and skill. In a far holier, higher way Christ had His beckoning vision. It was the whole world that beckoned Him to endeavour and development. Perhaps from that hill behind Nazareth He watched the ships of all nations going up and down the Mediterranean, and the world with all its kingdoms stood out before His thought. Certain it is that when the hour of temptation came to Him, and all the kingdoms of the world were made to pass before Him, He recognized them, and they appealed to Him because He had thought of them so often, so lovingly, so devotedly. Yes, the supreme vision of Christ was “others.” Never at any period of His life was He without it. He unrolled the scroll of the Scriptures, and what He read was that He should open the door to the imprisoned, should bind up the broken-hearted, and should give deliverance to the enslaved. He used saw and hammer in the shop, making box, wheel, or door, and His eyes, His thought, His being, could not stop with them; His vision was peering far out into all the earth, and He was seeing thousands upon thousands of hearts appealing to Him for help.2 [Note: James G. K. McClure, Loyalty, 214.]

1. For us, as for Christ, sanctification is separation for use.—It is in this sense that our Lord immediately goes on to say, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” To sanctify is to set apart. “The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself” (Psalm 4:3). In this sense the vessels of the Temple and of the Tabernacle were sanctified when they were set apart for a holy use. In this thought of separation the idea of the intrinsic character of the person or thing sanctified does not come into view in the first instance. Our Lord Himself, being perfectly holy, needed no moral renovation, but He did need to be set apart, to be devoted to the performance of the Father’s will. “For their sakes I sanctify myself,” that is, I set myself apart to do always the things that please Him. He came upon earth as a servant. “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). He came as separated unto God, not in any spirit of Pharisaism, but in the spirit of whole-hearted devotion. He came to do but one thing—“My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34), and this high aim is certainly, by virtue of his calling, also set before every Christian.

In the wonderful system of the telephone the whole complex communication depends at each point on the little film of metal which we call a transmitter. Take that little disk out of the mechanism, and it becomes insignificant and purposeless: but set the transmitter where it belongs, in the wonderful mechanism of the greater system, and each word that is spoken into it is repeated miles and miles away. So stands the individual in the vast system of the providence of God. He is a transmitter. Taken by himself, what can be more insignificant than he? Yet, at each point the whole system depends on the transmissive power of the individual life. It takes its place in the great order, saying to itself, “For their sakes I sanctify myself”; and then, by the miracle of the Divine method, each vibration of the insignificant but sanctified life reaches the needs which are waiting for its message far away.1 [Note: F. G. Peabody, Sunday Evenings in the College Chapel, 250.]

2. The next element is purification.—It follows almost without saying that if you set apart a person or a thing to the service of an absolutely holy God, anything that defiles that person or thing renders it unfit for God’s use, and hence, though the first meaning of the word is separation, it speedily “acquires,” as Archbishop Trench in his work on the New Testament synonyms points out, “a moral significance”; thus the thought of purification is added to the fundamental idea of separation. If I want to separate a cup to God’s service, and that cup is polluted, I must not only set it apart for God’s use, I must separate it from the pollution that is in it. Thus separation involves the idea of the removal of a defilement which is inconsistent with holy use. If I am to he separated to God, and sanctified for God’s service, it is not enough that I should be set apart without any reference to my intrinsic character. The character itself must be purified from the defilement which makes it unfit to be used in a holy service. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21). Thus we see that the deeper thought of the moral and spiritual renovation follows close upon the first great meaning of separation, and in fact springs out of it.

Henry Drummond never said a truer thing than when he declared that what God wanted was not more of us, but a better brand. We need the perfecting of holiness for the perfecting alike of our usefulness and of our happiness. According to the Divine ordination, holiness and happiness are evermore inseparable. This is the secret of the bliss of heaven. And in proportion as holiness is cherished in the heart and practised in the life, will the new Jerusalem come down from God out of heaven.

The men of grace have found

Glory begun below,

Celestial fruits on earthly ground

From faith and hope may grow.1 [Note: P. S. Honson, The Four Faces, 226.]

3. Transformation.—The purification is followed by a gradual transformation into the image of Christ. “Sanctify them in the truth.” “The truth” is not only the element in which we are to live, but the element into which we are to be transformed. The purposed end of the truth is not that we may find wisdom, but that we may gain holiness. That is to be the Christian distinctiveness; we are to be clothed in the garb of truth, and the world is to recognize, by our moral garments, that we are the kinsmen of the Lord. And in order that we may attain to this spiritual beauty, it is needful that we take our individual powers and deliberately separate them and dedicate them unto the truth. We must have a consecration service, and devote our reason to the truth. And we must have a consecration service, and devote our affections and our will. And the powers of the second rank must not be allowed to remain in assumed inferiority or defilement. Our imaginations must be devoted to the truth, and so must our language, and so must our humour. Every faculty and function in our life must be set apart to the clean, beautiful, beautifying truth, as revealed to us in our Saviour by His promised Spirit.

A Connecticut farmer came to a well-known clergyman, saying that the people in his neighbourhood had built a new meeting-house, and that they wanted this clergyman to come and dedicate it. The clergyman, accustomed to participate in dedicatory services where different clergymen took different parts of the service, inquired:

“What part do you want me to take in the dedication?”

The farmer, thinking that this question applied to the part of the building to be included in the dedication, replied:

“Why, the whole thing! Take it all in, from underpinning to steeple.”

That man wanted the building to be wholly sanctified as a temple of God, and that all at once. “Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”1 [Note: H. Clay Trumbull, Our Misunderstood Bible, 115.]

(1) We reach our best by devoting ourselves to the interests of others.—I am my best, not simply for myself, but for the world. Is there anything in all the teachings that man has had from his fellow-man, all that has come down to him from the lips of God, that is nobler, that is more far-reaching than this, that I am to be my best not simply for my own sake, but for the sake of that world which, by being my best, I shall make more complete, I shall, according to my ability, renew and recreate in the image of God? That is the law of my existence. And the man that makes that the law of his existence neglects neither himself nor his fellow-men; he neither becomes the self-absorbed student and cultivator of his own life upon the one hand, nor does he become, abandoning himself, simply the wasting benefactor of his brethren upon the other. I watch the workman build upon the building which by and by is to soar into the skies, to toss its pinnacles up to the heaven, and I see him looking up and wondering where those pinnacles are to be, thinking how high they are to be, measuring the feet, wondering how they are to be built, and all the time he is cramming a rotten stone into the building just where he has set to work. Let him forget the pinnacles, if he will, or hold only the floating image of them in his imagination for his inspiration; but the thing that he must do is to put a brave, strong soul, an honest and substantial life into the building just where he is now at work.

David Livingstone longed for knowledge and for purity of soul. He sought to be an astronomer, and a chemist, and a botanist, and a geographer. He surveyed lands and built houses and steered boats. He laboured to know languages and obtain power among barbarians. How glad he was of recognition in England, and how he valued everything that men called success! But why did he value them? That he might heal that open sore of the world, Africa; that he might be able to call attention to Africa, and bring beneficent aid to Africa, and sanctify Africa. The more he sanctified himself, yes, the larger man he became in his possession of truth, power, and purity, the more Africa lay upon his heart and the deeper in his soul rang the needs of the dark continent. When, with the early daylight, his servants coming into his room found him dead upon his knees beside his bed, they saw the perfected sanctification of Livingstone expressed in his actually dying for others.1 [Note: James G. K. McClure, Loyalty, 223.]

(2) We remain at our worst by dedicating ourselves to self.—A man may dedicate himself to a hundred things, but there is one thing to which he must not dedicate or re-dedicate self. He must be sure that he is not dedicating self to self. If he dedicates self to self he will not so soon awake, as we are sometimes told a man will, to bitter disappointment. For the more remarkable the powers are which he once dedicates to self, the more remarkable will he make the self to which they are dedicated, the more apparently worthy of the dedication will he become both to himself and to others. We do not see self-admiration diminish with years, with disappointments, or with knowledge of the world. It may, indeed, continue along with such high gifts and noble qualities that it seems the one fault in the man. But it is fatal.

It was to Croesus that Solon said, in the midst of all Croesus’s wealth and power and wisdom (and powerful and wise Croesus was as well as wealthy), “Count no man happy before he dies.” And it was the same Croesus who on his own funeral pyre, having lost children and kingdom and home, called out the single word “Solon! Solon!” and thus declared that Solon was right, and that happiness could not be secured by things selfish. Christ Himself could not have been happy even in being spotless, except as He used His spotlessness for the benefit of others.

(3) The spring of all our activities must be devotion to Christ.—“For their sakes,” said Jesus. “For His sake,” say we. That is our inspiration. The life of complete surrender is in Him and in Him alone. To know Him, to commune with Him, to rest in His love, to have and hold it as our own—that is the secret of the surrendered life.

Just to give up, and trust

All to a Fate unknown,

Plodding along life’s road in the dust,

Bounded by walls of stone;

Never to have a heart at peace;

Never to see when care will cease;

Just to be still when sorrows fall—

This is the bitterest lesson of all.

Just to give up, and rest

All on a Love secure,

Out of a world that’s hard at the best,

Looking to heaven as sure;

Ever to hope, through cloud and fear,

In darkest night, that the dawn is near;

Just to wait at the Master’s feet—

Surely, now, the bitter is sweet.1 [Note: Henry van Dyke.]

III

The Instrument of Consecration


1. The Truth is the great sanctifier. There is no ray of truth that ever came from the Father of lights that does not hallow the heart on which it falls. It is not make-believes that will give you sanctity. There is a falsetto character about all piety resting upon make-believes. But Truth—every ray of it, is blessing. See God, the infinite Father, the Alpha and Omega of whose being is Love, love so infinite and inconceivable that it embraces every individual soul of man, with a desire to save and bless it; see Him in the graciousness of His providence, in the majesty of His rule, and every attribute you behold engages your love, quickens your trust, brings you near, makes you wish to serve Him, makes you His and like Him. The truth in God sanctifies. The truth in Christ, in His work, love, patience, humanity, Godhead, intercession, the everlasting purpose of His heart, is all of it quickening. The truth in man is a sanctifying thing. Fear no truth. All nervousness that dreads inquiry, all apprehensiveness of the result of modern investigations, is unbelief and mistake. Nothing that is true will displace a quickening influence for good without giving a more quickening influence still. “Sanctify them through thy truth.” Every error of life springs from an error of thought. A lie is the root of all evil—some misconception or misunderstanding. Truth of providence, truth of the rewards of goodness, truth of grace, truth of immortality, truth of God and man—every ray of it is quickening.

In the truth, and not simply through the truth. The Truth is, as it were, the atmosphere, the element, in which believers are immersed and by which they are sustained: and we must think of the Truth in the widest sense in which we can conceive of it. Such Truth, which Christ is, and which Christ reveals, is everywhere about us: it corresponds with the whole range of present experience: it is realized in a personal communion with its Source. Its function is not simply to support but to transfigure. Its issue is not knowledge but holiness.1 [Note: B. F. Westcott, The Incarnation and Common Life, 176.]

2. “Thy word is truth.”—This leads us directly to the Bible and the Bible tends to make men saints, because it describes the lives and experiences of many who have lived near to God, and who have cared intensely for men. And we take fire by the things we read; as it has been said, “If you read Shakespeare, after a while you think Shakespeare and you talk Shakespeare.”

“Thy word is truth.” Thy word, written and unwritten, Thy word in the Bible, in nature, in history, in experience. We dare not limit either the time or the manner of His utterance. Forms of thought, the organization of the State, the relations of the sciences vary, and He meets our changing position with appropriate teaching. His message comes to each age and to each people as it came at Pentecost, in their own language. It comes to us through the struggles of the nations and the movements of society, through every fact that marks one least step in the method of creation or in the history of man. It is this message, given to us in our language, that we have to welcome and to interpret now. Only so will our personal consecration be perfected: only so will our social office be fulfilled.1 [Note: B. F. Westcott, The Incarnation and Common Life, 187.]

(1) The Word has a discovering and enlightening power. It is a mirror in which we see reflected our failures and sins; it is a searchlight discerning the very thoughts and intents of the heart.

A late postmaster in London gave a poor Roman Catholic woman a Testament. The priest visiting her on her dying bed found it beneath her pillow as she passed away, and took it with him, intending to destroy it. But it was found beneath his pillow likewise when he died, not long after.2 [Note: Homiletic Review, xxi. 158.]

(2) It has a cleansing and purifying power. We are very much influenced by what we read.

We are informed that the wretched man who took the life of President Carnot lived an apparently harmless, decent life for a good many years, until he came into contact with anarchist publications, which so saturated his mind with evil thoughts, schemes, and ideas that at length he was capable of the awful crime he committed. He was defiled, ruined, and destroyed by the word of falsehood which he read. It has again and again been shown in courts of justice that thieves and robbers have had the thoughts of such a life put into their heads by the tales of highwaymen and the like which are sown broadcast in print. The same principle holds true conversely, and it holds good with regard to the Word of God. The Bible has a sanctifying influence: it is a holy book—it sets before us holy examples, it exhorts us to a holy course of life, it furnishes us with holy doctrines, it points us to a holy Saviour.3 [Note: E. Moore, Christ in Possession, 74.]

(3) The Word has a nourishing and strengthening power. We are told that as new-born babes we are to desire the sincere milk of the Word that we may grow thereby. And the Apostle says, “I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up” (Acts 20:32). There is a vital link between the written word and the Living Word, and when the word of God dwells in us, Christ comes and dwells in us too. The secret of sanctification is an indwelling Saviour.

No distant Lord have I

Loving afar to be;

Made flesh for me, He cannot rest

Until He rests in me.

Brother in joy and pain,

Bone of my bone was He,

Now,—intimacy closer still,

He dwells Himself in me.

I need not journey far

This dearest friend to see,

Companionship is always mine,

He makes His home with me.1 [Note: Maltbie D. Babcock.]

The Master’s Consecration

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Stone (D.), The Discipline of Faith, 41.

Temple (F.), Five of his Latest Utterances, 7.

Tomory (A.), Memorials, 63.

Trumbull (H. C.), Our Misunderstood Bible, 108.

Watts-Ditchfield (J. E), Here and Hereafter, 27.

Welldon (J. E. C.), The Fire upon the Altar, 69.

Welldon (J. E. C.), The Gospel in a Great City, 114.

Williams (C. D.), A Valid Christianity for To-day, 201.

Examiner, June 1904, p. 584 (Jowett).

The Great Texts of the Bible - James Hastings

Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

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