For none of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself.…
I. THE POWER OF HUMAN INFLUENCE.
1. Nothing in the universe is self-contained. There is an intimate connection and mutual dependence existing between all things and beings. This is true in —
(1) The angelic world (Hebrews 1.).
(2) In the world of nature. Not a single atom of matter, ray of light, etc., stands alone. The fall of a bullet (so says Mr. Grove) "changes the dynamical condition of the universe." Bacon affirms that "All things that have affinity with the heavens move upon the centre of another which they benefit."(3) The human world. The interdependence of one another is an absolute fact. Isaac Taylor has well said, "On principles even of mathematical calculations each individual of the human family may be demonstrated to hold in his hand the centre lines of an interminable web-work on which are sustained the fortunes of multitudes of his successors."
2. Influence binds us to one another and the world. It is twofold.
(1) Direct and palpable. Such is seen in the active employment of that moral power which we all possess, e.g., in teaching, etc.
(2) Indirect and imperceptible. This is the most constant, uniform, and powerful. We all come beneath this law. Each soul born into this world increases or diminishes the sum total of human happiness or woe. Every deed, word, thought, and emotion must sometimes be known and influential. What an awful solemnity does this give the present life; how closely does it link the future with the present! "Yonder" is but an outgrowth of this "here" and "now."
II. HUMAN INFLUENCES SHOULD BE CONSECRATED TO GOD'S SERVICE.
1. God claims this power as peculiarly belonging to Him. His empire is as extensive as space and eternity, "He is sovereign Lord over life" and "death." Either with or against our wills, our influence must minister to His purposes.
2. The Christian who realises the principles of the text consciously and willingly consecrates this power, "his life," "his death" to God. In every state of being we belong to Christ.
3. All claims to service rest either upon —
(2) Authority, or —
(3) Engagement. Upon each and all of these grounds God claims our conscious consecration.
III. THE ADVANTAGES RESULTING FROM AN UNRESERVED CONSECRATION OF INFLUENCE TO THE DIVINE SERVICE.
1. The end of life in its holiest and highest form is answered. The springs of an action determine its value, selfishness is adverse to usefulness. A disinterested Christian life alleviates much moral and physical misery.
2. Is the fountain of the purest and most permanent happiness.
3. Gilds the close of life with unspeakable light and peace.
(J. Foster, B.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.