Phoebe Palmer



IX.



THY CROWN


"Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take
thy crown." Yes! thy crown is now awaiting thee! It is thy crown; for at an infinite expenditure it was purchased for thee. If earthly crowns are valuable in proportion to the expenditure of wealth, toil, and blood which they have cost, who will attempt to estimate the value of thy crown? He who was rich-the Proprietor of Heaven and earth became poor, in order that He might purchase this crown for thee. Not because thou wast His friend; for at the time the purchase was made thou wast His enemy. How wonderful! How glorious!

"O Lamb of God! was ever pain,
Was ever love like Thine?"


And can this crown be lost? or may another take it? If not, why the admonition directly from the throne of God, "Hold fast ... that no man take thy crown?" Ah! thy crown may be lost — it may be sold, — another may take it! It will be lost if thou dost let go thy grasp on the promises, or dost cease to comply with the conditions on which the promises are made. It may be sold. Judas sold his for thirty pieces of silver. I knew a young lady who, I believe, sold hers for the strange satisfaction of being affianced for life to one who was out of Christ — consequently a child of Satan; and for the privilege of thus spending her days, she sold her crown! I have known several who have sold it for the friendship of the world. I have known both men and women to lose it for the privilege of indulging in pride of opinion, love of reputation, for foolish talking and jesting, indulgence in some forbidden pleasures, or some carnal appetite, with many other things too numerous to mention. These did not intend, at the time the barter was made, that it should be final. But the moment they began to commute with Satan, he began to darken the understanding, and the crown seemed to depreciate in value, until it eventually appeared well nigh valueless; and thus, though scarcely intending to make the barter, it was in effect made, and the crown costing the Redeemer's blood was sold for perhaps less than thirty pieces of silver!

And, alas! how many I have seen who have let another take their crown! Various illustrations, of which I have personal knowledge, come pressing upon my mind. I knew one who was often prayerful and earnest, and not intentionally insincere. If to give her goods to feed the poor, or her body to be burned, had been clearly presented as a Divine requirement, she might not have hesitated; but the professing her faith in Christ with her mouth, the coming out in open profession, to stand marked before the world as an active Christian; this, with other things of like nature, was the stone of stumbling, the rock of offense; and for this cause she came near letting another take her crown. Yet she did not know that the fact of renouncing her will on these points stood in connection with the reception of her crown. Nor is it probable that she ever would have known it, if she had not come to an entire surrender, involving her will on these and other points. Her fearless and unyielding resolve now was, "Though I die in the effort to do my duty, I will do it." Duty was then made plain. "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine." Abundant opportunities to labour and to testify for God were presented; and these efforts were blessed to the spiritual good of many. This unwillingness to confess with the mouth had stood in connection with an inherent shrinking from mingling in common with the mass; but when the
will was given up to Christ, He took it, and caused that will to flow out upon the world through the channel of His own blessed will. And the class of persons who heard the Saviour gladly, was the very class to which she now most loved to minister. Pride, or the affectation of aristocratic feeling and demeanor, only excited her compassions now for the blindness of those who were under an influence so unlike to Christ.

Opportunities to lay up treasure in Heaven were sought after and seized upon more eagerly than the miser seeks after and seizes the gold that perisheth. For this, former opinions of etiquette, or mere ceremonious attentions, were often sacrificed; but by thus being "instant in season, out of season," stars were being added to her Crown, and she felt that the dignity of her high calling far exceeded the loftiest aspirations of the high-born worldling. Often did she sing —

"On all the groveling sons of earth
With pity I look down,
And claim, in virtue of my birth,
A never-fading
crown."

Once, on an occasion soon after the entire dedication of herself to God, she had left her beloved home for a short time to labour for God. She had seen some converted, and others wholly sanctified, through her instrumentality; but the enemy tempted her with thoughts of being away from home without her earthly protector, and other suggestions of like bearing. The Spirit at once said to her heart, "Pray that ye enter not into temptation." She had scarcely presented her case, before the Saviour said, "If you had not given that dear object up to Me, and given Me the highest place in your affections, you would not have been here to labour under these circumstances." She remembered those who had been blessed through her agency, and thought, "Would these souls have been left unblessed, and would the various work in connection with the Salvation of souls, which within these few days I have been called to do — would this work have been left undone?" "No!" said the Holy Spirit. "God would have raised up another to do your work. Had you not given Christ the throne of your affections, and resolved to love other objects subserviently to Him, and only as precious gifts from Him, the crown which you are now, through the aid of the Spirit, gemming with stars, would have been given to another. By the entire surrender you have made, you have just saved your crown; for God would have called another to do your work; and if another had done the work, another had taken the crown."

I have recently been informed of one who has doubtless lost his crown. His attention was strongly urged to the holy ministry. For some years he felt deeply solicitous on this subject; but the world presented other pursuits, and his spirit shrank from its high responsibilities, its self-sacrificing duties. But trials came. One sorrow in quick and continuous succession followed another, till, by afflictive providences, he was assured that he was not now required to minister in the sanctuary; and that if he would, he could not; for the hand of God had been laid heavily upon him, and he was disabled. God, who at the beginning of the dispensation of the Spirit said, "Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams," sealed instruction upon his mind in the following manner: —

He thought he was taken up to Heaven, where he saw many crowns laid up. His attention was directed to a large number laid up together; which, he was told, were crowns laid up for Ministers of the denomination to which he belonged. He noticed that the crowns differed greatly in brilliancy. Some were beautifully set with stars; while others were almost or quite starless. As he looked them over with intense interest, he would hold up now this, now the other, inquiring whom it was for. Of the names mentioned, some had not yet passed over the boundaries of time, and others were inhabitants of eternity.

At last he held up one more brilliant than any other, and with eagerness exclaimed, "And to whom does this belong?" "That was yours," was the reply; "but you refused to do the work that the Lord had for you to do, and it was given to Mr._____." The Minister whose name was mentioned, was an eminent revivalist still living. How he felt on waking, can more easily be conceived than described. What would he have given to put himself back in the circumstances of years before, when he might have held fast, and not permitted another to take his crown? Reader, would you have the identical crown which God has laid up for you? Then resolve this moment, in the strength of Jesus, that you will not rest your head upon your pillow, until you know that you are cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. Then will you be a vessel fitted for the Master's use, and ready for every good work. An abundant entrance will be ministered unto you; and your Saviour will at last give you your crown, set with many stars.