There is a strange winsomeness about sacrifice, peculiar to itself, and peculiarly strong in its drawing power. Everywhere men acknowledge the peculiar fascination for them of the man who is not only wholly unselfish, but who utterly forgets himself in doing for others. The feeling is very common that the man in public life is chiefly concerned with what he can get out of it for himself. And when, now and then, the conviction seizes the crowd that some public man is not of that sort at all, but is devoting himself unselfishly and unsparingly to their interest, their admiration and love for him amounts to a worship and enthusiasm that knows no stint.
There's a something in unselfish sacrifice in their behalf that draws the crowd peculiarly and tremendously. Jesus said that if He were lifted up He would draw men. And He has. He was lifted up as none other, and He has been drawing men ever since as none other ever has or can. Quite apart from other truths involved, that sacrifice of His had in itself the tremendous drawing power of all unselfish action.
And sacrifice brews a subtle fragrance of its own that clings to the person as the soft sweet odor of wild roses. No one is ever conscious that there is any such fragrance going out to others. He knows the inner sweets that none know but they who give sacrifice brewing room within themselves. Such folks don't stop to think about themselves, except to be thinking of helping and not hindering.
The very winsomeness of the sacrifice spirit has led men to the seeking of sacrifice. It seems strange to us that earnest men in other generations have sought by self-inflicted suffering to attain to the power that goes with sacrifice. And even yet some morbid people may be found following in their steps.
Don't they know that out in common daily life the knife of sacrifice is held across the path constantly, sharp edge out, barring the way? And no one can go faithfully his common round, with flag at masthead, and needs crowding in at front and rear and sides, without meeting its cutting edge. That edge cutting in as you push on frees out the fine fragrance. Whenever you meet a man or woman with that fine winsomeness of spirit that can't be analyzed, but only felt, you may know that there's been some of this sort of sharp cutting within.
Blood is a rare fertilizer. They tell me that the bit of ground over in Belgium called Waterloo bears each spring a crop of rare blue forget-me-nots. That bit of ground had very unusual gardening. Ploughed up by cannon-and gun-shot, sown deep with men's lives, "worked" never so thoroughly by toiling, struggling feet, moistened with the gentle rain of dying tears, and soaked with red life, it now yields its yearly harvest of beauty. All life's a Waterloo and can be made to yield a rich growth of fragrant flowers.