“Perhaps you will be interested to know the origin of the consecration hymn, "Take my life." I went for a little visit of five days. There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer, "Lord, give me all in this house!" And He just did! Before I left the house every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration, and these little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart one after another, till they finished with, ‘Ever, Only, ALL for Thee!’”
The beautiful couplet in the same hymn,
"Take my voice, and let me sing,
Always, only for my King,"
was thenceforth (from December 1873) really carried out .
“Let us sing words which we feel and love, sacrificing everything to clearness of enunciation, and looking up to meet His smile all the while we are singing; our songs will reach more hearts than those of finer voices and more brilliant execution, unaccompanied by His power. A sacred song thus sung often gives a higher tone to the evening, and affords, both to singer and listeners, some opportunity of speaking a word for Jesus.
“. . . . I was at a large regular London party lately, and I was so happy. He seemed to give me "the secret of His presence," and of course I sang "for Jesus," and did not I have dead silence? Afterwards I had two really important conversations with strangers; one seemed extremely surprised at finding himself quite easily drifted from the badinage with which he started into a right down personal talk about his personal danger and his only hope for safety; he took it very well, and thanked me. Perhaps that seed may bear fruit. Somehow it is wonderful how the Master manages for me in such cases. I don't think any one can say I force the subject; it just all develops one thing out of another, quite naturally, till very soon they find themselves face to face with eternal things, and the Lord Jesus can be freely "lifted up" before them. I could not contrive a conversation thus.”
And the following letter gives another reference to the reality of her experience.
January 26, 1874.
“Dear Mr. S ,
I have just had. such a blessing in the shape of what would have been only two months ago a really bitter blow to me; and now it is actual accession of joy, because I find that it does not even touch me! I was expecting a letter from America, enclosing £35 now due to me, and possibly news that "Bruey" was going on like steam, and "Under the Surface" pressingly wanted. The letter has come, and, instead of all this, my publisher has failed in the universal crash. He holds my written promise to publish only with him as the condition of his launching me; so this is not simply a little loss, but an end of all my American prospects of either cash, influence, or fame, at any rate for a long time to come. I really had not expected that He would do for me so much above all I asked, as not merely to help me to acquiesce in this, but positively not to feel it at all, and only to rejoice in it as a clear test of the reality of victorious faith which I do find brightening almost daily. Two months ago this would have been a real trial to me, for I had built a good deal on my American prospects, now "Thy will be done" is not a sigh but only a song! I think if it had been all my English footing, present and prospective, as well as the American, that I thus found suddenly gone, it would have been worth it, for the joy it has been to find my Lord so faithful and true to all His promises. With regard to many of the promises, there seems no room for even the exercise of faith. It is not that I believe or grasp them, but that I find them all come true as I never did before. The sense of His unutterable lovingkindness to me is simply overwhelming. . . . Several times lately I have felt literally overwhelmed and overpowered with the realization of God's unspeakable goodness to me. I say it deliberately, and with thankfulness and joy for which I have no words. I have not a fear, or a doubt, or a care, or a shadow upon the sunshine of my heart. Every day brings some quiet new cause for thankfulness; only to-day He has given me such a victory as I never had before, in a very strong temptation; He lifted me above it in a way I never experienced yet.”
Two months afterwards she writes:
March 19, 1874,
Dear Mr. W ,
“. . . I can never set myself to write verse. I believe my King suggests a thought and whispers me a musical line or two, and then I look up and thank Him delightedly, and go on with it. That is how the hymns and poems come. Just now there is silence. I have not had the least stir of music in my mind since I wrote that tiny consecration hymn, a most unusually long interval; and till He sends it there will be none. I am always ready to welcome it and work it when it comes but I never press for it. . . .”
"Yea, let Him take ALL."—2 Sam. xix. 30.
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
She later wrote a book in which she comments on the meaning of the various couplets, and shares how the meaning was expressed in her own life.
Here is something she wrote four months later on giving her silver and gold:
“Leamington, August 1878. The Lord has shown me another little step, and of course I have taken it with extreme delight. "Take my silver and my gold" now means shipping off all my ornaments (including a jewel cabinet which is really fit for a countess) to the Church Missionary House, where they will be accepted and disposed of for me. I retain only a brooch or two for daily wear, which are memorials of my dear parents; also a locket with the only portrait I have of my niece in heaven, my Evelyn; and her "two rings," mentioned in "Under the Surface." But these I redeem, so that the whole value goes to the Church Missionary Society. I had no idea I had such a jeweller's shop, nearly fifty articles are being packed off. I don't think I need tell you I never packed a box with such pleasure.”
She wrote more on the subject to another person, explaining that giving all does not mean giving all in the next offering plate, or dressing shabbily:
“. . . I suppose it was the "silver and gold" line that was objected to; and I do think that couplet, "Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold," is peculiarly liable to be objected to by those who do not really understand the spirit of it, don't you? So I am not a bit surprised! Yes, "not a mite would I withhold;" but that does not mean that, because we have ten shillings in our purse, we are pledged to put it all into the next collecting plate, else we should have none for the next call! But it does mean that every shilling is to be, and I think I may say is, held at my Lord's disposal, and is distinctly not my own; but, as He has entrusted to me a body for my special charge, I am bound to clothe that body with His silver and gold, so that it shall neither suffer from cold, nor bring discredit upon His cause! I still forget sometimes, but as a rule I never spend a sixpence without the distinct feeling that it is His, and must be spent for Him only, even if indirectly.”
“The outer should be the expression of the inner, not an ugly mask or disguise. If the King's daughter is to be "all glorious within," she must not be outwardly a fright! I must dress both as a lady and a Christian. The question of cost I see very strongly, and do not consider myself at liberty to spend on dress that which might be spared for God's work; but it costs no more to have a thing well and prettily made, and I should only feel justified in getting a costly dress if it would last proportionately longer. When working among strangers, if I dressed below par, it would attract attention and might excite opposition; by dressing unremarkably, and yet with a generally pleasing effect, no attention is distracted. Also, what is suitable in one house is not so in another, and it would be almost an insult to appear at dinner among some of my relatives and friends in what I could wear without apology at home; it would be an actual breach of the rule "Be courteous;" also, I should not think it right to appear among wedding guests in a dress which would be perfectly suitable for wearing to the Infirmary. But I shall always ask for guidance in all things!” Memorials, 194,195