We can realize down deep in our souls what Jesus meant when he gave himself to sanctify us and said, "I come to do thy will." We can enter into the fellowship of his sufferings and death, for all that we have and are, and all that we expect to be in the future, and all that we know and ever expect to know, are now forever and eternally yielded up to that precious will of God. It required the will of Jesus to be yielded up to death to do the will of the Father that we might be sanctified, and it equally requires our will to be yielded up to death and the loss of all things, that we might be sanctified. It required his will even to the death to obtain it for us, and it requires our will even to death to receive it from him. Yes, dear reader, a real death; so real that it includes everything, and it can only be said of us as it was said of the Colossian saints, "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
This death consecration is beautifully typified in the consecration and sanctification of the priests of the Old Testament dispensation. In Lev.8 we read that Moses was commanded of the Lord to take Aaron and his sons and three animals with him. The blood of one of these animals was to be shed for the sin-offering; one for the "burnt offering," and one for the "consecration" offering. The blood of each was shed and applied separately for a special purpose. Each finds its antitype in the precious blood of Jesus, who offered himself without spot to God that he might sanctify the church. The blood of the sin-offering provides for that part of our nature which would naturally reach out and cling to those things which are sinful. In every justified heart which is not yet wholly sanctified there exists such a principle which in itself is depraved and sinful, and were it permitted to respond to the sinful things without, it would bring the believers into transgression. This is the "body of sin," or "our old man," which according to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, must be destroyed and cleansed out. This existing in the heart, if unrestrained, is the fruitful soil out of which grows every evil work. We can see its productions in many different aspects in the religious world today. Every sect on earth is a production of this body of sin. Every manifestation of carnal division is some of its evil fruits. Everything that is in the least degree contrary to the pure word of God, whether it be word or deed, is but the outgrowth of this evil thing, which was created and planted into the hearts of Adam and Eve by the devil, and has become the dominating characteristic of depraved humanity. Justification does not cleanse this out of the heart. It only takes away the guilt and trespasses of the sinner, and brings him into the favor of God, who gave his Son a "trespass-offering" for the world. But Jesus gave himself a "sin-offering" for the church, and when the heart has yielded up to the death for the destruction of this depravity it can truly be said of such an one that we are dead to sin, for the blood of Jesus in this sin-offering will most certainly effect this cleansing.
But a true Bible consecration includes something more than a yielding up of the heart for the cleansing out of this sin principle. In the type, we see there was another animal sacrificed in this consecration service. It was the one for the "burnt offering." The blood of this sacrifice corresponds with the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus which also provides for the cleansing of that part of our nature that clings to the things of life which in themselves are not sinful but are God-given blessings. Our unsanctified affections must also become purified from every taint of depravity. That this may be accomplished, it becomes necessary that the heart yield up to the death every cherished object, even though it be a God-given blessing; it must be yielded up and laid upon the altar as a "burnt offering." The affections cannot be purified until the object of the affections is yielded. We cannot perfectly obey the first and great commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength," until every affection is fully taken off from every object of earth and placed upon God exclusively. This means that we willingly lay upon the altar our loved ones, no matter how sacred or precious they may be -- father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, children, home, property, reputation, and everything within the scope of our earthly existence. All henceforth and forever yielded up to God, no more to be ours, as really and as perfectly as though we were breathing our last upon our death-bed, and then in due time we were laid into our coffin, the lid fastened down, and lowered into the grave, the grave filled up and nothing left but a mound to mark where our earthly remains lie. Or, to view the subject from another standpoint, this yielding up must be as real as though our loved ones and every cherished treasure of earth were laid upon the altar, to be offered up a burnt sacrifice. In due time the fire will be kindled, and our cherished objects will one by one be consumed into smoke and finally all will disappear, a consumed sacrifice unto the Lord.
A quarter of a century ago my own precious mother was brought to this consecration. She was shown by the Holy Spirit that she did not have her children perfectly yielded up to the Lord. She was praying for their conversion. At last she became willing to lay them upon the altar and she did it thoroughly. She gave them to the Lord a living sacrifice. In a short time her four oldest were converted, and in due time the two others as they grew up were also brought into the fold of Christ. She rejoiced and praised God for this and often expressed herself that her children were not her own, they were the Lord's, for his service or sacrifice, just as he should see proper. At last this consecration was brought to the test. The Lord began to kindle the fire to consume the "burnt offering." He laid his hand upon one and took her home to heaven. Then another, and sent him thousands of miles away to preach the gospel in regions beyond. Then another, and sent him far distant in another direction to labor in the gospel vineyard. Then another, and sent her still another direction to publish the word of God; and as these cherished objects thus vanished out of her sight she could say, "They are the Lord's, not mine." In one of her letters she wrote me these words: "Well, my dear boy, I truly realized what it meant years ago to lay my dear children upon the altar of the Lord: but now I realize what it means to see them consumed into smoke."
Dear brother and sister, this is what a burnt offering means, and how good our heavenly Father is to require this sacrifice of us! Oh, how many sad heartaches it saves us! How many bitter tears of anguish and sorrow! I have stood at the open grave where a poor grief-stricken mother wrung her hands and cried out, "Oh, I cannot, I cannot give up my precious darling. Let me be buried with it -- I cannot be parted from it!" I have also stood at another grave, where the form of a consecrated loved one was sinking out of human sight. The mother stood gazing at the object of earth as it was laid back to dust, then with her eyes turned toward heaven she said, "Dear Lord, thou hast only taken thine own to thyself; my heart feels the parting pangs, but I say willingly, 'Thy will be done.'"
Ah, what a contrast! The one mother knew nothing of this blessed consecration, the other did. The one had but little grace to sustain her in her bereavement, the other had the abounding grace, for she had already yielded up her sacred treasures to the Lord. The one buried all her comfort and hope in the grave, the other simply buried a lifeless form of clay; though sacred and precious to her heart, yet she had consecrated it to the Lord, and now in seeing it vanish out of her sight, she could feel that it was not her own. The one returned to her empty home with her heart full of sorrow, the other returned in the comfort of Him who comforteth us in all our tribulations. She had paid the price of =her all=, and now she enjoys the blessing of =Jesus' all= -- the abiding of his glorious presence, which comforts her heart and home, and fills the emptiness with himself and his bountiful grace.
Oh, how beautiful and reasonable to consecrate everything that our affections have held sacred and dear, to him. We all know very well that all these treasures of earth are of no enduring substance. No matter how much they may be to us, they in due time will either vanish out of our sight, or else we will have to leave them. How much better, and how much more satisfactory it is to yield them all up to Jesus, to whom they rightly belong, and who has only loaned them to us in the first place. He is justly entitled to all of our affections, for what has he not yielded up that was due to himself, that he might purchase this glorious grace for us? Now he wants the supremacy in our hearts' affections, so that he can fashion us according to himself through and through, and impart his own nature into our affections, that we may henceforth love with his love, those sacred treasures around which our affections have so entwined, and claimed as ours. Before our consecration we loved him, but these other objects of our love were between us and him. They hindered our love towards him, and equally hindered his love from perfectly flowing into our hearts. We loved him, and realized that he loved us, but it was not perfect; there were objects in our way, and there were objects in his way. These objects were our sacred treasures. Depravity had affected our affections so that we could not hold these treasures as we should. But now what a satisfactory change! We yielded all these objects to him, and took him in their stead. Now he occupies the place. He owns our treasures, and we own him. But what of our treasures? We have them all back again, through him. Before our consecration, they were between us and him. Now he is between us and them, and with him he freely gives us all things. He can use all of these things according to his own good pleasure, making any disposition of them which might seem good in his sight, for they are his, not ours. If he should place us over them as his stewards, then we hold them in trust for him and do with them just as he orders, and when, one by one, they consume away on the altar of his service, or, if according to his sovereign will, he shall remove them out of our sight, we can say, "Amen, Lord, thy will be done."
Now, in the act of Bible consecration, the believer may not realize all of this, and the utmost depth of the cleansing that has been wrought in the heart and affections, or the difference between the sin-offering and the burnt offering, but it will not be long afterward, until the knowledge of this cleansing shall begin to dawn upon us and our soul becomes more and more enraptured in this glorious experience of sanctification. But we see in the type still another animal to be slain -- the consecration offering. The blood of this animal was applied to the body of Aaron and his sons. First it was put upon the tips of their right ears, the thumbs of their right hands, and the great toes of their right feet. Then afterwards it was sprinkled with the anointing oil upon Aaron and his garments too, and upon his sons and their garments. This ceremonial process was the completion of their sanctification. The blood of this consecration offering corresponds with the blood of Jesus which provides for the sanctification of our body. In this consecration we not only offer up our hearts and affections to Jesus, but we also present our bodies a living sacrifice. This includes our all, spirit, soul and body. Our ears, hands, and feet, our entire physical being, is dedicated henceforth to his service, to labor and suffer hardships, to be used in sacrifice, or service, either at the martyrs' stake or on the gospel altar, any way, and every way, in which he may order it for his own honor and glory. These eyes shall see, this tongue shall speak, this mind shall think, these ears shall hear, these hands shall labor, these feet shall run, this strength and these energies, this heart shall beat, every faculty, organ, and appetite shall be used only for him, who has so freely given himself for us; and thus this body becomes the temple, and the earthly dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost, his own exclusive dedicated property. While it is not possible that we could itemize these things in the consecration of our bodies, there is a yielding up of our all which sweeps the scope and brings the witness of the Spirit that our consecration is complete and we have "finished the work." We are now upon believing grounds, and faith can appropriate the power of the all-cleansing blood.
"By faith I venture on his word,