From “A Larger Christian Life”
by Albert Benjamin Simpson, 1843-1919
God's plan for all his work is to begin in feebleness and expand and develop to maturity. He first makes a perfect sample and then multiplies it. So the work he has done for us is but a sample of what he can do and wants to do for all the world. The blessing that has filled and thrilled our hearts these past days, may be multiplied as many times as there are cities in the worlds and reproduced wherever there are hungry hearts to fill and messengers to tell of the grace and the fullness of Jesus. That gospel of the Saviour's fullness that has filled your heart can fill a thousand million hearts. That faith which has brought you deliverance can deliver all the captives of the great oppressor and set the whole world free. That humble work which has grown up out of “a handful of corn on the top of the mountains” can become a mighty forest on all the mountains and “shake like Lebanon, and they of the city flourish like the grass of the field.”
God has simply been making samples, but he can multiply them by millions. Will we let him use us for their reproduction, for they are multiplied by reproduction? They are not made as the machines in yonder factory, but they grow as seeds multiply, as yonder geraniums by culturings, as that oak by the seeds it drops into the ground, or that single grain of wheat that sometimes sends up twenty stalks from a single seed and each stalk bears half a hundred seeds. God has given us in this blessed work, a gospel, so full that it needs a world for its field. He is showing us the plan of a Christian church, that is much more than an association of congenial friends to listen once a week to an intellectual and musical entertainment and carry on by proxy a mechanism of Christian work; but rather a church that can be at once the mother and the home of every form of help and blessing which Jesus came to give to lost and suffering people, the birth-place and the home of souls, the fountain of healing and cleansing, the sheltering home for the orphan and distressed, the school for the culture and training of God's children, the armoury where they are equipped for the battle of the Lord and the army which fights those battles in his name. Such a centre of life and power Christ wants in every centre of population in this sad and sinful world.
The figure of enlargement is that of a tent, its curtains are to be stretched forth and its cords are to be lengthened. These curtains are surely the promises and provisions of the Gospel and they will stretch as wide as the needs of human lives and the multitudes that seek their shelter. The cords are cords of prayer, cords of faith, cords of love, cords of holy effort and service. He bids us lengthen the cords of prayer. Let us ask more, but let the strands of faith be as long and strong. Let us believe more fully, more firmly and for a wider circle than we have dared before. Let the cords of love be lengthened until we shall draw people to Christ with the very cords of our hearts. Let our efforts for his kingdom reach a wider circle. Let each of us make the world our parish and, as the bride of the Lamb, realise that all that concerns our Lord's kingdom concerns our hearts.
“For our maker is our husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name, the God of the whole earth shall he be called."
God has committed to our trust the gospel in its fullness. Let us never rest until in all its fullness it is known in every hamlet of this great land and in every land and tongue.