And if you still do not like the sound of that word surrender. It has a harsh sound that grates upon your nerves. Will you please notice the first word of that little sentence -- |Take.| Jesus does not say in sharp, hard tones, |Come here; bend down; I'll put
this yoke on you.| Never that. If you will, of your own glad accord, freely, winsomely take
the yoke upon you -- that is what He asks. In military usage surrender is forced
. Here it must be free
. Nothing else would be acceptable to Jesus.
When our commissioners went a few years ago to Paris to treat with the Spaniards, the latter are said to have desired certain changes in the language of the protocol. With the polished suavity for which they are noted the Spaniards urged that there be made slight changes in the words: no real change in the meaning, they said, simply in the verbiage. And our Judge Day at the head of the American Commissioners, listened politely and patiently until the plea was presented. And then he quietly said, |The article will be signed as it reads.| And the Spaniards protested, with much courtesy. The change asked for was trivial, merely in the language, not in the force of the words. And our men listened patiently and courteously. Then Mr. Day is said to have locked his little square jaw and replied very quietly, |The article will be signed as it reads.| And the article was so signed. That is military usage. The surrender was forced. The strength of the American fleets, the prestige of great victory were back of the quiet man's demand.
But that is not the law here. Jesus asks for only what we give freely and spontaneously. He does not want anything except what is given with a free, glad heart. This is to be a voluntary surrender. Jesus is a voluntary Saviour. He wants only voluntary followers. He would have us be as Himself. The oneness of spirit leads the way into the intimacy of closest friendship. And that is His thought for us.
Do you remember those fine lines, |The quality of mercy is not strained| -- if the thing be forced through a strainer, there is no mercy there -- |it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.| Only what the warm current of His love draws out does Jesus desire from us. It is to be a free surrender.