His appeal was stronger at this point than he knew. It is not too much to say that the spiritual tension of the people reached its highest point right there. The imitation of Jesus which had begun with the volunteers in the church was working like leaven in the organization, and Henry Maxwell would even thus early in his life have been amazed if he could have measured the extent of desire on the part of his people to take up the cross. While he was speaking this morning, before he closed with a loving appeal to the discipleship of two thousand years’ knowledge of the Master, many a man and woman in the church was saying as Rachel had said so passionately to her mother: “I want to do something that will cost me something in the way of sacrifice.” “I am hungry to suffer something.” Truly, Mazzini was right when he said that no appeal is quite so powerful in the end as the call: “Come and suffer.”
The service was over, the great audience had gone, and Maxwell again faced the company gathered in the lecture room as on the two previous Sundays. He had asked all to remain who had made the pledge of discipleship, and any others who wished to be included. The after service seemed now to be a necessity. As he went in and faced the people there his heart trembled. There were at least one hundred present. The Holy Spirit was never before so manifest. He missed Jasper Chase. But all the others were present. He asked Milton Wright to pray. The very air was charged with divine possibilities. What could resist such a baptism of power? How had they lived all these years without it?
Donald Marsh, President of Lincoln College, walked home with Mr. Maxwell.
“I have reached one conclusion, Maxwell,” said Marsh, speaking slowly. “I have found my cross and it is a heavy one, but I shall never be satisfied until I take it up and carry it.” Maxwell was silent and the President went on.
“Your sermon today made clear to me what I have long been feeling I ought to do. ‘What would Jesus do in my place?’ I have asked the question repeatedly since I made my promise. I have tried to satisfy myself that He would simply go on as I have done, attending to the duties of my college work, teaching the classes in Ethics and Philosophy. But I have not been able to avoid the feeling that He would do something more. That something is what I do not want to do. It will cause me genuine suffering to do it. I dread it with all my soul. You may be able to guess what it is.”
“Yes, I think I know. It is my cross too. I would almost rather do any thing else.”