THE UNCLAIMED DEPOSIT.
The Scottish bankers have recently reported that the unclaimed deposits in their banks amount to forty million pounds, equal to nearly two hundred million dollars. For several generations depositors have suddenly died, and their bank books have been lost through casualties on the sea or land, and their kindred are ignorant of the treasures rightly theirs. Many of them are doubtless in great need through what Socrates called "myriad poverty," and are fighting desperately to keep the wolf from the door. If some philanthropist should get the names of these lost depositors and search out the legal heirs to the millions of money and persuade them to enforce their claims, he would be a benefactor indeed, worthy of a marble or bronze statue erected by their willing hands.
This suggests the vastness of the spiritual deposits made by our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, awaiting every child of God when he presents and proves his claim. Many of them are spiritual starvelings in hunger and distress, going about in rags, crying, "Oh! my leanness, my leanness!" when they might be feasting in a palace, clothed in white linen, each having a purse well filled with "gold tried in the fire." For Jesus Christ became poor that we who believe in Him might become rich. President Wayland, in his "Political Economy," defines riches as the abundant means for gratifying desire. Man's deepest desires are rooted in his spiritual nature. He desires unfailing happiness. This in the presence of a holy God must come from likeness to Him, so that we perfectly love what He loves and perfectly hate what He hates. This likeness dwells only in the sphere of love filling the soul to the very brim, that perfect love which casteth out fear. The origin of this love is not a fountain in the lowlands of nature; it is supernatural; it is a stream pouring down from the uplands of heaven.
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given unto us." Therefore the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself abiding in the believer is the true riches, the source of supreme felicity, wherever He is received as the indwelling Comforter. This gift is on deposit for every believer. But many do not claim this heritage of blessing, and others have not really heard the good news of the great deposit in their name. For there are many spiritual babes in God's family to whom, as they emerge from their minority, we must unfold their wealth of Christian privilege. For the gift of the abiding Paraclete is to those only who already love our Lord Jesus Christ and prove it by obedience (John xiv. 15, 16). Even to such persons this gift does not come as a matter of course. He comes only to those who so earnestly desire His presence as definitely to ask, and to persevere in asking, till they consciously receive this divine Person. Hence much of gospel preaching has for its proper object the incitement to seek this greatest gift which God can now send or believers receive. If the pulpit theme is prayer, there can be no real prayer unless the indwelling Spirit Himself "makes intercession for us." For He is "the Spirit of grace and supplication." If the subject of the sermon is singing as a part of Christian worship, the argument is incomplete without the exhortation to "sing in the Spirit." Does the Christian aspire to real freedom? He will find that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there, and there only in the wide universe, is real liberty. If the believer is weak, the faithful preacher will say that the only way for him to be strengthened with might is "by the Spirit in the inner man." If the preacher divulges the secret of true happiness, he will speak of "joy in the Holy Ghost." If the doubting soul needs assurance of sonship to God, the only voice which truly cries "Abba, Father," in believing hearts is that of "the Spirit of his Son." Without the cry of the living Spirit within, the written word is not a sufficient ground of assurance. Would you know where God's temple is? "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" Would you have the whole galaxy of Christian virtues adorning your character? The Holy Spirit is the divine decorator, supplying "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." If the believer, conscious of sonship to God, is wrestling with inward hereditary evil, that propensity to sin which theologians call original sin, and is desirous of deliverance and of a full preparation for life everlasting, let him seek perfect cleansing in the only way it can be found, "through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." Would he have an inward revelation of the Son of God in all His loveliness, such as Paul had, let him study Christ's words respecting "another Comforter:" "He shall glorify ME; for he shall take of mine, and show it unto you;" not to your bodily eyes, but to your spiritual perception, thus fulfilling the promise made by Jesus, not only to His twelve apostles and the disciples who heard His words, but also to every believer through all the coming generations, "I will manifest myself unto him."
We have thus described this treasure on deposit for you, my Christian reader, with a definite purpose. Is it up to this hour, in your case, an unclaimed deposit? If it is, it may be because you have greatly undervalued it under some misconception of its transcendent excellence. Divest yourself of unworthy prejudice; lay aside the error which blinds you to the glory of the gospel of the Comforter. Ask God to help you to study "the promise of the Father" with anointed eyes and a heart open skyward. Then will spiritual hunger, which is itself one of the beatitudes, be awakened, and faith to appropriate your your claimed deposit will spring up in your aspiring soul.
But if the study of the Holy Scriptures does not overcome your spiritual inertia and banish the prejudice which may he eclipsing this subject, listen to the testimony of those who have been to God's bank and in the name of Jesus Christ have boldly claimed this their deposit. Testimony is the prime thing in our courts and in all trade, social intercourse and medical science. It has its place in Christianity. "With the heart man believeth, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation," both initial and complete. Listen, therefore, with candor to the testimony of victorious souls, and you will find by what they conquered. You will conquer by the same sign. In the same field where they sought and found a treasure which makes them spiritual millionaires there is a lot reserved for your pickaxe and spade. Dig and become rich. A pauper in grace reflects little credit upon the Saviour who "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."