As Living Sacrifices

But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. – Exodus 1:12

How often have the richest and the ripest fruits of the Spirit been put forth by the Lord’s people when they have been most grieved and smitten! Then the saints have been like clusters thrown into the winepress; but who shall bring forth the red wine? And as with exultation they bruise and trample down, they shall crush nothing in the dust but husks: the living wine shall flow, and God shall receive the whole of it. If you read “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs,” or any of the martyrologies of earlier ages, you will find there patience, self-denial, consecration, confidence in God, and all the finer graces of temper in full bloom, perfuming the air with their fragrance. One is astonished at what our poor, weak humanity has been able to endure for the truth, when strengthened by the Spirit of God. Verily, humble and weak and timid women have shown true mettle, waxing valiant, and cheering on men of muscle and sinew, whose hearts had grown faint. We could mention the names of many saints, if this were the time, who have endured torment as severe as inquisitors could devise, or relentless executioners could inflict, and yet they have not denied their Lord. This is the patience of the saints, I think, when the martyrs perished in the Roman Amphitheatre, and the cruel crowd looked down to watch their agonies as their bones were crushed between the jaws of wild beasts; angels gathered in tiers, invisible multitudes of them gathered, and looked on with eyes of admiration at the spectacle of mortal men ravished with the love of God, waving the banner of immortal truth, while from frightful wounds and horrid gashes their life-blood streamed. Oh! what God can do by us when He works in us! Perhaps heaven itself, save when it gazed upon the cross, never saw a nobler spectacle than when men and women, who bore the cross of Christ in their hearts, gave themselves up wholly as living sacrifices unto Him. The church looks fairer and shines brighter when she is in the furnace. Not the smell of fire doth pass upon her. Her Lord is with her, and if the fire be heated seven times hotter, His glory is seven times the brighter…God has blessed the church by her persecution. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

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