The Place for Self

 “Oh! send me forth, my Saviour,
  Oh! send me for Thy glory,
  Regarding not the praise of man,
  And trampling on the fear of man,
  And fighting for Thy glory.
  There is a man who often stands
  Between me and Thy glory,
  His name is Self—
  My carnal self,
  Self-seeking self,
  Stands ’twixt me and Thy glory.
  Oh! mortify him, mortify him,
  Put him down, my Saviour,
  Exalt Thyself above; lift high
  The banner of Thy cross,
  And in its folds
  Conceal Thy standard-bearer.”

For exactly fifty years have I had the above beautiful hymn in my possession. Who may have been the writer I cannot say, nor does it matter; but, seeing that it may be out of print and that its sentiments are not only very fine, but of immense spiritual importance to every one who would seek, in any sphere, or measure, to exalt the glory of the Lord Jesus, I feel that the reproduction of it now must be for the encouragement of all such. I may say that it was the prayer, in poetic language, of a few devoted servants of Christ who at that time laboured in Canada with very great blessing on all hands. The gracious power of God rested on them. Their labours were not in vain in the Lord.

By this time the most of them have passed away to be with the Lord, while their names are, no doubt, forgotten, or being forgotten. But what matters that? Their earnest prayer was: “Conceal Thy standard-bearer.” They sought that “self” should be annulled—carnal, self-seeking self—that it should be mortified, put to a practical death, in order that “Thyself alone” should be exalted.

It was in this self-obliterating and Christ-exalting sense that they desired to be sent forth, careless of human favour or flattery, so long as they fought for His glory. They went, they lived, they served, they lifted high the banner of the cross—and their fruit shall remain.

May the spirit of whole-hearted consecration that is breathed in these verses become infectious everywhere. Their object is one and the same. The motive, the desire, the deep craving in each is the true and only genius in Christianity. This, in its divine conception, knows of nothing but that which makes everything of the Lord and nothing of His servants and confessors. “That Christ may be magnified in my body whether by life or death,” was the consuming hope of the apostle Paul. All else was secondary. This was the commanding object in his wonderful and most fruitful life. And so should it be with every one of Christ’s saints and servants.

How abhorrent “self” becomes when Christ is rightly learned! It came to its end, in the sight of God, at Calvary. There it was mortified, indeed, in the cross, but we discover daily its present existence and power, even though possessed of the indwelling Spirit of God, in whose gracious strength alone can we overcome it.

But just as we really enjoy the Lord Himself in all that He is, so do we find an object infinitely superior to our wretched self.

May this sweet old hymn stimulate our hearts to a constantly renewed devotion to the living, loving, coming Lord.