And there's yet more of this winsomeness. There's a spirit power that goes out of sacrifice. It reaches far beyond the limited personal circle, out to the ends of the earth. It can't be analyzed, nor defined, nor described, but it can be felt. We don't know much about the law of spirit currents. But we know the spirit currents themselves, for every one is affected by them and every one is sending them out of himself.
You pick up a book, and suddenly find there's a something in it that takes hold of you irresistibly. A flame seems to burn in it, and then in you. Invisible fingers seem to reach out of the page and play freely up and down the key-board of your heart. Why is it? I don't know much about it. It's an elusive thing. But I can tell you my conviction, that grows stronger daily.
There's a life back of that book; there is sacrifice in that life of the keen, cutting sort; and Jesus is in that life, too, giving it His personal flavor. The life back of the book has come into the book. It's that life you are feeling as you read. Spirit power knows nothing about distance. The man who yields to sacrifice has a world-field, and is touching his field in a sense far greater than he ever knows.
And there is still more. The Master knows our sacrifices. He keenly notes the spirit that would give all, even as He did. He can breathe most of His own spirit into such a life. For it is most open to Him. He can do most through that spirit, for it comes nearest to His own. His own winsomeness breathes out of that life constantly.
There's a simple little tale that comes dressed in very homely garb. The story has in it a bit of that that makes the heart burn. It has all the marks of real life. It runs thus:
"In one poor room, that was all their home,
A mother lay on her bed,
Her seven children around her;
And, calling the eldest, she said:
'I'm going to leave you, Mary;
You're nearly fourteen, you know;
And now you must be a good girl, dear,
And make me easy to go.
'You can't depend much on father;
But just be patient, my child,
And keep the children out of his way
Whenever he comes home wild.
'And keep the house as well as you can;
And, little daughter, think
He didn't use to be so;
Remember, it's all the drink.'
The weeping daughter promised
Always to do her best;
And, closing her eyes over weary life,
The mother entered her rest.
And Mary kept her promise
As faithfully as she might.
She cooked, and washed, and mended,
And kept things tidy and bright.
And when the father came home drunk,
The children were sent to bed,
And Mary waited alone, and took
The beatings in their stead.
And the little chubby fingers lost
Their childish softness and grace,
And toughened and chapped and calloused,
And the rosy, childish face.
Grew thin and haggard and anxious,
Careworn, tired, and old,
As on those slender shoulders
The burdens of life were rolled.
So, when the heated season
Burned pitiless overhead,
And up from the filth of the noisome street
The fatal fever spread,
And work and want and drunken blows
Had weakened the tender frame,
Into the squalid room once more
The restful shadow came.
And Mary sent for the playmate
Who lived just over the way,
And said, 'The charity Doctor,
Has been here, Katie, today.
'He says I'll never be better—
The fever has been so bad;
And if it wasn't for one thing,
I'm sure I'd just be glad.
'It isn't about the children;
I've kept my promise good,
And mother will know I stayed with them
As long as ever I could.
'But you know how it has been, Katie;
I've had so much to do,
I couldn't mind the children
And go to the preaching, too.
'And I've been so tired-like at night,
I couldn't think to pray,
And now, when I see the Lord Jesus,
What ever am I to say?'
And Katie, the little comforter,
Her help to the problem brought;
And into her heart, made wise by love,
The Spirit sent this thought:
'I wouldn't say a word, dear,
For sure He understands;
I wouldn't say ever a word at all;
But, Mary, just show Him your hands!'"
Jesus knows every scar of sacrifice you bear, and loves it. For it tells Him your love. He knows the meaning of scars, because of His own. The marks of sacrifice cement our fellowship with Him. The nearer we come to fellowship with Him in the daily touch and spirit the more freely can He reach out His own great winsomeness through us, out to His dear world.