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Title: New Tabernacle Sermons
Author: Talmage, T. De Witt (Thomas De Witt), 1832-1902
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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NEW TABERNACLE SERMONS
BY
T. DE WITT TALMAGE, D.D.

AUTHOR OF
"_CRUMBS SWEPT UP_," "_THE ABOMINATIONS OF MODERN SOCIETY_," etc.

Delivered in the Brooklyn Tabernacle.

VOL. I

NEW YORK:
GEORGE MUNRO, PUBLISHER,
17 TO 27 VANDEWATER STREET.
1886.



[Illustration: T. De Witt Talmage]


    _Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1885, by_
    GEORGE MUNRO, _in the Office of the Librarian of Congress,
    Washington, D.C._



CONTENTS.

                                               PAGE
    BRAWN AND MUSCLE                             7
    THE PLEIADES AND ORION                      21
    THE QUEEN'S VISIT                           34
    VICARIOUS SUFFERING                         45
    POSTHUMOUS OPPORTUNITY                      59
    THE LORD'S RAZOR                            72
    WINDOWS TOWARD JERUSALEM                    83
    STORMED AND TAKEN                           95
    ALL THE WORLD AKIN                         108
    A MOMENTOUS QUEST                          119
    THE GREAT ASSIZE                           134
    THE ROAD TO THE CITY                       147
    THE RANSOMLESS                             158
    THE THREE GROUPS                           171
    THE INSIGNIFICANT                          184
    THE THREE RINGS                            197
    HOW HE CAME TO SAY IT                      209
    CASTLE JESUS                               221
    STRIPPING THE SLAIN                        233
    SOLD OUT                                   246
    SUMMER TEMPTATIONS                         259
    THE BANISHED QUEEN                         274
    THE DAY WE LIVE IN                         285
    CAPITAL AND LABOR                          297
    DESPOTISM OF THE NEEDLE                    311
    TOBACCO AND OPIUM                          325
    WHY ARE SATAN AND SIN PERMITTED?           339



BRAWN AND MUSCLE.

    "And Samson went down to Timnath."--JUDGES xiv: 1.


There are two sides to the character of Samson. The one phase of his
life, if followed into the particulars, would administer to the
grotesque and the mirthful; but there is a phase of his character
fraught with lessons of solemn and eternal import. To these graver
lessons we devote our morning sermon.

This giant no doubt in early life gave evidences of what he was to be.
It is almost always so. There were two Napoleons--the boy Napoleon and
the man Napoleon--but both alike; two Howards--the boy Howard and the
man Howard--but both alike; two Samsons--the boy Samson and the man
Samson--but both alike. This giant was no doubt the hero of the
playground, and nothing could stand before his exhibitions of youthful
prowess. At eighteen years of age he was betrothed to the daughter of
a Philistine. Going down toward Timnath, a lion came out upon him,
and, although this young giant was weaponless, he seized the monster
by the long mane and shook him as a hungry hound shakes a March hare,
and made his bones crack, and left him by the wayside bleeding under
the smiting of his fist and the grinding heft of his heel.

There he stands, looming up above other men, a mountain of flesh, his
arms bunched with muscle that can lift the gate of a city, taking an
attitude defiant of everything. His hair had never been cut, and it
rolled down in seven great plaits over his shoulders, adding to his
bulk, fierceness, and terror. The Philistines want to conquer him, and
therefore they must find out where the secret of his strength lies.

There is a dissolute woman living in the valley of Sorek by the name
of Delilah. They appoint her the agent in the case. The Philistines
are secreted in the same building, and then Delilah goes to work and
coaxes Samson to tell what is the secret of his strength. "Well," he
says, "if you should take seven green withes such as they fasten wild
beasts with and put them around me I should be perfectly powerless."
So she binds him with the seven green withes. Then she claps her hands
and says: "They come--the Philistines!" and he walks out as though
they were no impediment. She coaxes him again, and says: "Now tell me
the secret of this great strength?" and he replies: "If you should
take some ropes that have never been used and tie me with them I
should be just like other men." She ties him with the ropes, claps her
hands, and shouts: "They come--the Philistines!" He walks out as
easily as he did before--not a single obstruction. She coaxes him
again, and he says: "Now, if you should take these seven long plaits
of hair, and by this house-loom weave them into a web, I could not get
away." So the house-loom is rolled up, and the shuttle flies backward
and forward and the long plaits of hair are woven into a web. Then she
claps her hands, and says: "They come--the Philistines!" He walks out
as easily as he did before, dragging a part of the loom with him.

But after awhile she persuades him to tell the truth. He says: "If you
should take a razor or shears and cut off this long hair, I should be
powerless and in the hands of my enemies." Samson sleeps, and that she
may not wake him up during the process of shearing, help is called in.
You know that the barbers of the East have such a skillful way of
manipulating the head to this very day that, instead of waking up a
sleeping man, they will put a man wide awake sound asleep. I hear the
blades of the shears grinding against each other, and I see the long
locks falling off. The shears or razor accomplishes what green withes
and new ropes and house-loom could not do. Suddenly she claps her
hands, and says: "The Philistines be upon thee, Samson!" He rouses up
with a struggle, but his strength is all gone. He is in the hands of
his enemies.

I hear the groan of the giant as they take his eyes out, and then I
see him staggering on in his blindness, feeling his way as he goes on
toward Gaza. The prison door is open, and the giant is thrust in. He
sits down and puts his hands on the mill-crank, which, with exhausting
horizontal motion, goes day after day, week after week, month after
month--work, work, work! The consternation of the world in captivity,
his locks shorn, his eyes punctured, grinding corn in Gaza!

I. First of all, behold in this giant of the text that physical power
is not always an index of moral power. He was a huge man--the lion
found it out, and the three thousand men whom he slew found it out;
yet he was the subject of petty revenges and out-gianted by low
passion. I am far from throwing any discredit upon physical stamina.
There are those who seem to have great admiration for delicacy and
sickliness of constitution. I never could see any glory in weak nerves
or sick headache. Whatever effort in our day is made to make the men
and women more robust should have the favor of every good citizen as
well as of every Christian. Gymnastics may be positively religious.

Good people sometimes ascribe to a wicked heart what they ought to
ascribe to a slow liver. The body and the soul are such near neighbors
that they often catch each other's diseases. Those who never saw a
sick day, and who, like Hercules, show the giant in the cradle, have
more to answer for than those who are the subjects of life-long
infirmities. He who can lift twice as much as you can, and walk twice
as far, and work twice as long, will have a double account to meet in
the judgment.

How often it is that you do not find physical energy indicative of
spiritual power! If a clear head is worth more than one dizzy with
perpetual vertigo--if muscles with the play of health in them are
worth more than those drawn up in chronic "rheumatics"--if an eye
quick to catch passing objects is better than one with vision dim and
uncertain--then God will require of us efficiency just in proportion
to what he has given us. Physical energy ought to be a type of moral
power. We ought to have as good digestion of truth as we have capacity
to assimilate food. Our spiritual hearing ought to be as good as our
physical hearing. Our spiritual taste ought to be as clear as our
tongue. Samsons in body, we ought to be giants in moral power.

But while you find a great many men who realize that they ought to use
their money aright, and use their intelligence aright, how few men you
find aware of the fact that they ought to use their physical organism
aright! With every thump of the heart there is something saying,
"Work! work!" and, lest we should complain that we have no tools to
work with, God gives us our hands and feet, with every knuckle, and
with every joint, and with every muscle saying to us, "Lay hold and do
something."

But how often it is that men with physical strength do not serve
Christ! They are like a ship full manned and full rigged, capable of
vast tonnage, able to endure all stress of weather, yet swinging idly
at the docks, when these men ought to be crossing and recrossing the
great ocean of human suffering and sin with God's supplies of mercy.
How often it is that physical strength is used in doing positive
damage, or in luxurious ease, when, with sleeves rolled up and bronzed
bosom, fearless of the shafts of opposition, it ought to be laying
hold with all its might, and tugging away to lift up this sunken wreck
of a world.

It is a most shameful fact that much of the business of the Church and
of the world must be done by those comparatively invalid. Richard
Baxter, by reason of his diseases, all his days sitting in the door of
the tomb, yet writing more than a hundred volumes, and sending out an
influence for God that will endure as long as the "Saints' Everlasting
Rest." Edward Payson, never knowing a well day, yet how he preached,
and how he wrote, helping thousands of dying souls like himself to
swim in a sea of glory! And Robert M'Cheyne, a walking skeleton, yet
you know what he did in Dundee, and how he shook Scotland with zeal
for God. Philip Doddridge, advised by his friends, because of his
illness, not to enter the ministry, yet you know what he did for the
"rise and progress of religion" in the Church and in the world.

Wilberforce was told by his doctors that he could not live a
fortnight, yet at that very time entering upon philanthropic
enterprises that demanded the greatest endurance and persistence.
Robert Hall, suffering excruciations, so that often in his pulpit
while preaching he would stop and lie down on a sofa, then getting up
again to preach about heaven until the glories of the celestial city
dropped on the multitude, doing more work, perhaps, than almost any
well man in his day.

Oh, how often it is that men with great physical endurance are not as
great in moral and spiritual stature! While there are achievements for
those who are bent all their days with sickness--achievements of
patience, achievements of Christian endurance--I call upon men of
health to-day, men of muscle, men of nerve, men of physical power, to
devote themselves to the Lord. Giants in body, you ought to be giants
in soul.

II. Behold also, in the story of my text, illustration of the fact of
the damage that strength can do if it be misguided. It seems to me
that this man spent a great deal of his time in doing evil--this
Samson of my text. To pay a bet which he had lost by guessing of his
riddle he robs and kills thirty people. He was not only gigantic in
strength, but gigantic in mischief, and a type of those men in all
ages of the world who, powerful in body or mind, or any faculty of
social position or wealth, have used their strength for iniquitous
purposes.

It is not the small, weak men of the day who do the damage. These
small men who go swearing and loafing about your stores and shops and
banking-houses, assailing Christ and the Bible and the Church--they do
not do the damage. They have no influence. They are vermin that you
crush with your foot. But it is the giants of the day, the misguided
giants, giants in physical power, or giants in mental acumen, or
giants in social position, or giants in wealth, who do the damage.

The men with sharp pens that stab religion and throw their poison all
through our literature; the men who use the power of wealth to
sanction iniquity, and bribe justice, and make truth and honor bow to
their golden scepter.

Misguided giants--look out for them! In the middle and the latter part
of the last century no doubt there were thousands of men in Paris and
Edinburgh and London who hated God and blasphemed the name of the
Almighty; but they did but little mischief--they were small men,
insignificant men. Yet there were giants in those days.

Who can calculate the soul-havoc of a Rousseau, going on with a very
enthusiasm of iniquity, with fiery imagination seizing upon all the
impulsive natures of his day? or David Hume, who employed his life as
a spider employs its summer, in spinning out silken webs to trap the
unwary? or Voltaire, the most learned man of his day, marshaling a
great host of skeptics, and leading them out in the dark land of
infidelity? or Gibbon, who showed an uncontrollable grudge against
religion in his history of one of the most fascinating periods of the
world's existence--the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire--a book in
which, with all the splendors of his genius, he magnified the errors
of Christian disciples, while, with a sparseness of notice that never
can be forgiven, he treated of the Christian heroes of whom the world
was not worthy?

Oh, men of stout physical health, men of great mental stature, men of
high social position, men of great power of any sort, I want you to
understand your power, and I want you to know that that power devoted
to God will be a crown on earth, to you typical of a crown in heaven;
but misguided, bedraggled in sin, administrative of evil, God will
thunder against you with His condemnation in the day when millionaire
and pauper, master and slave, king and subject, shall stand side by
side in the judgment, and money-bags, and judicial ermine, and royal
robe shall be riven with the lightnings.

Behold also, how a giant may be slain of a woman. Delilah started the
train of circumstances that pulled down the temple of Dagon about
Samson's ears. And tens of thousands of giants have gone down to death
and hell through the same impure fascinations. It seems to me that it
is high time that pulpit and platform and printing-press speak out
against the impurities of modern society. Fastidiousness and Prudery
say: "Better not speak--you will rouse up adverse criticism; you will
make worse what you want to make better; better deal in glittering
generalities; the subject is too delicate for polite ears." But there
comes a voice from heaven overpowering the mincing sentimentalities of
the day, saying: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a
trumpet, and show my people their transgressions and the house of
Jacob their sins."

The trouble is that when people write or speak upon this theme they
are apt to cover it up with the graces of belles-lettres, so that the
crime is made attractive instead of repulsive. Lord Byron in "Don
Juan" adorns this crime until it smiles like a May queen. Michelet,
the great French writer, covers it up with bewitching rhetoric until
it glows like the rising sun, when it ought to be made loathsome as a
small-pox hospital. There are to-day influences abroad which, if
unresisted by the pulpit and the printing-press, will turn New York
and Brooklyn into Sodom and Gomorrah, fit only for the storm of fire
and brimstone that whelmed the cities of the plain.

You who are seated in your Christian homes, compassed by moral and
religious restraints, do not realize the gulf of iniquity that bounds
you on the north and the south and the east and the west. While I
speak there are tens of thousands of men and women going over the
awful plunge of an impure life; and while I cry to God for mercy upon
their souls, I call upon you to marshal in the defense of your homes,
your Church and your nation. There is a banqueting hall that you have
never heard described. You know all about the feast of Ahasuerus,
where a thousand lords sat. You know all about Belshazzar's carousal,
where the blood of the murdered king spurted into the faces of the
banqueters. You may know of the scene of riot and wassail, when there
was set before Esopus one dish of food that cost $400,000. But I speak
now of a different banqueting hall. Its roof is fretted with fire. Its
floor is tesselated with fire. Its chalices are chased with fire. Its
song is a song of fire. Its walls are buttresses of fire. Solomon
refers to it when he says: "Her guests are in the depths of hell."

Our American communities are suffering from the gospel of Free
Loveism, which, fifteen or twenty years ago, was preached on the
platform and in some of the churches of this country. I charge upon
Free Loveism that it has blighted innumerable homes, and that it has
sent innumerable souls to ruin. Free Loveism is bestial; it is
worse--it is infernal! It has furnished this land with about one
thousand divorces annually. In one county in the State of Indiana it
furnished eleven divorces in one day before dinner. It has roused up
elopements, North, South, East, and West. You can hardly take up a
paper but you read of an elopement. As far as I can understand the
doctrine of Free Loveism it is this: That every man ought to have
somebody else's wife, and every wife somebody else's husband. They do
not like our Christian organization of society, and I wish they would
all elope, the wretches of one sex taking the wretches of the other,
and start to-morrow morning for the great Sahara Desert, until the
simoom shall sweep seven feet of sand all over them, and not one
passing caravan for the next five hundred years bring back one
miserable bone of their carcasses! Free Loveism! It is the
double-distilled extract of nux vomica, ratsbane, and adder's tongue.
Never until society goes back to the old Bible, and hears its eulogy
of purity and its anathema of uncleanness--never until then will this
evil be extirpated.

IV. Behold also in this giant of the text and in the giant of our own
century that great physical power must crumble and expire. The Samson
of the text long ago went away. He fought the lion. He fought the
Philistines. He could fight anything, but death was too much for him.
He may have required a longer grave and a broader grave; but the tomb
nevertheless was his terminus.

If, then, we are to be compelled to go out of this world, where are we
to go to? This body and soul must soon part. What shall be the destiny
of the former I know--dust to dust. But what shall be the destiny of
the latter? Shall it rise into the companionship of the white-robed,
whose sins Christ has slain? or will it go down among the unbelieving,
who tried to gain the world and save their souls, but were swindled
out of both? Blessed be God, we have a Champion! He is so styled in
the Bible: A Champion who has conquered death and hell, and he is
ready to fight all our battles from the first to the last. "Who is
this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, mighty to
save?" If we follow in the wake of that Champion death has no power
and the grave no victory. The worst man trusting in Him shall have his
dying pangs alleviated and his future illumined.

V. In the light of this subject I want to call your attention to a
fact which may not have been rightly considered by five men in this
house, and that is the fact that we must be brought into judgment for
the employment of our physical organism. Shoulder, brain, hand,
foot--we must answer in judgment for the use we have made of them.
Have they been used for the elevation of society or for its
depression? In proportion as our arm is strong and our step elastic
will our account at last be intensified. Thousands of sermons are
preached to invalids. I preach this sermon this morning to stout men
and healthful women. We must give to God an account for the right use
of this physical organism.

These invalids have comparatively little to account for, perhaps. They
could not lift twenty pounds. They could not walk half a mile without
sitting down to rest. In the preparation of this subject I have said
to myself, how shall I account to God in judgment for the use of a
body which never knew one moment of real sickness? Rising up in
judgment, standing beside the men and women who had only little
physical energy, and yet consumed that energy in a conflagration of
religious enthusiasm, how will we feel abashed!

Oh, men of the strong arm and the stout heart, what use are you making
of your physical forces? Will you be able to stand the test of that
day when we must answer for the use of every talent, whether it were a
physical energy, or a mental acumen, or a spiritual power?

The day approaches, and I see one who in this world was an invalid,
and as she stands before the throne of God to answer she says, "I was
sick all my days. I had but very little strength, but I did as well as
I could in being kind to those who were more sick and more
suffering." And Christ will say, "Well done, faithful servant."

And then a little child will stand before the throne, and she will
say, "On earth I had a curvature of the spine, and I was very weak,
and I was very sick; but I used to gather flowers out of the wild-wood
and bring them to my sick mother, and she was comforted when she saw
the sweet flowers out of the wild-wood. I didn't do much, but I did
something." And Christ shall say, as He takes her up in His arm and
kisses her, "Well done, well done, faithful servant; enter thou into
the joy of thy Lord."

What, then, will be said to us--we to whom the Lord gave physical
strength and continuous health? Hark! it thunders again. The judgment!
the judgment!

I said to an old Scotch minister, who was one of the best friends I
ever had, "Doctor, did you ever know Robert Pollock, the Scotch poet,
who wrote 'The Course of Time'?" "Oh, yes," he replied, "I knew him
well; I was his classmate." And then the doctor went on to tell me how
that the writing of "The Course of Time" exhausted the health of
Robert Pollock, and he expired. It seems as if no man could have such
a glimpse of the day for which all other days were made as Robert
Pollock had, and long survive that glimpse. In the description of that
day he says, among other things:

    "Begin the woe, ye woods, and tell it to the doleful winds
    And doleful winds wail to the howling hills,
    And howling hills mourn to the dismal vales,
    And dismal vales sigh to the sorrowing brooks,
    And sorrowing brooks weep to the weeping stream,
    And weeping stream awake the groaning deep;
    Ye heavens, great archway of the universe, put sack-cloth on;
    And ocean, robe thyself in garb of widowhood,
    And gather all thy waves into a groan, and utter it.
    Long, loud, deep, piercing, dolorous, immense.
    The occasion asks it, Nature dies, and angels come to lay
        her in her grave."

What Robert Pollock saw in poetic dream, you and I will see in
positive reality--the judgment! the judgment!



THE PLEIADES AND ORION.

    "Seek Him that maketh the Seven Stars and Orion."--AMOS. v. 8


A country farmer wrote this text--Amos of Tekoa. He plowed the earth
and threshed the grain by a new threshing-machine just invented, as
formerly the cattle trod out the grain. He gathered the fruit of the
sycamore-tree, and scarified it with an iron comb just before it was
getting ripe, as it was necessary and customary in that way to take
from it the bitterness. He was the son of a poor shepherd, and
stuttered; but before the stammering rustic the Philistines, and
Syrians, and Phoenicians, and Moabites, and Ammonites, and Edomites,
and Israelites trembled.

Moses was a law-giver, Daniel was a prince, Isaiah a courtier, and
David a king; but Amos, the author of my text, was a peasant, and, as
might be supposed, nearly all his parallelisms are pastoral, his
prophecy full of the odor of new-mown hay, and the rattle of locusts,
and the rumble of carts with sheaves, and the roar of wild beasts
devouring the flock while the shepherd came out in their defense. He
watched the herds by day, and by night inhabited a booth made out of
bushes, so that through these branches he could see the stars all
night long, and was more familiar with them than we who have tight
roofs to our houses, and hardly ever see the stars except among the
tall brick chimneys of the great towns. But at seasons of the year
when the herds were in special danger, he would stay out in the open
field all through the darkness, his only shelter the curtain of the
night, heaven, with the stellar embroideries and silvered tassels of
lunar light.

What a life of solitude, all alone with his herds! Poor Amos! And at
twelve o'clock at night, hark to the wolf's bark, and the lion's roar,
and the bear's growl, and the owl's te-whit-te-whos, and the serpent's
hiss, as he unwittingly steps too near while moving through the
thickets! So Amos, like other herdsmen, got the habit of studying the
map of the heavens, because it was so much of the time spread out
before him. He noticed some stars advancing and others receding. He
associated their dawn and setting with certain seasons of the year. He
had a poetic nature, and he read night by night, and month by month,
and year by year, the poem of the constellations, divinely rhythmic.
But two rosettes of stars especially attracted his attention while
seated on the ground, or lying on his back under the open scroll of
the midnight heavens--the Pleiades, or Seven Stars, and Orion. The
former group this rustic prophet associated with the spring, as it
rises about the first of May. The latter he associated with the
winter, as it comes to the meridian in January. The Pleiades, or Seven
Stars, connected with all sweetness and joy; Orion, the herald of the
tempest. The ancients were the more apt to study the physiognomy and
juxtaposition of the heavenly bodies, because they thought they had a
special influence upon the earth; and perhaps they were right. If the
moon every few hours lifts and lets down the tides of the Atlantic
Ocean, and the electric storms of last year in the sun, by all
scientific admission, affected the earth, why not the stars have
proportionate effect?

And there are some things which make me think that it may not have
been all superstition which connected the movements and appearance of
the heavenly bodies with great moral events on earth. Did not a meteor
run on evangelistic errand on the first Christmas night, and designate
the rough cradle of our Lord? Did not the stars in their courses fight
against Sisera? Was it merely coincidental that before the destruction
of Jerusalem the moon was eclipsed for twelve consecutive nights? Did
it merely happen so that a new star appeared in constellation
Cassiopeia, and then disappeared just before King Charles IX. of
France, who was responsible for St. Bartholomew massacre, died? Was it
without significance that in the days of the Roman Emperor Justinian
war and famine were preceded by the dimness of the sun, which for
nearly a year gave no more light than the moon, although there were no
clouds to obscure it?

Astrology, after all, may have been something more than a brilliant
heathenism. No wonder that Amos of the text, having heard these two
anthems of the stars, put down the stout rough staff of the herdsman
and took into his brown hand and cut and knotted fingers the pen of a
prophet, and advised the recreant people of his time to return to God,
saying: "Seek Him that maketh the Seven Stars and Orion." This
command, which Amos gave 785 years B.C., is just as appropriate for
us, 1885 A.D.

In the first place, Amos saw, as we must see, that the God who made
the Pleiades and Orion must be the God of order. It was not so much a
star here and a star there that impressed the inspired herdsman, but
seven in one group, and seven in the other group. He saw that night
after night and season after season and decade after decade they had
kept step of light, each one in its own place, a sisterhood never
clashing and never contesting precedence. From the time Hesiod called
the Pleiades the "seven daughters of Atlas" and Virgil wrote in his
Æneid of "Stormy Orion" until now, they have observed the order
established for their coming and going; order written not in
manuscript that may be pigeon-holed, but with the hand of the Almighty
on the dome of the sky, so that all nations may read it. Order.
Persistent order. Sublime order. Omnipotent order.

What a sedative to you and me, to whom communities and nations
sometimes seem going pell-mell, and world ruled by some fiend at
hap-hazard, and in all directions maladministration! The God who keeps
seven worlds in right circuit for six thousand years can certainly
keep all the affairs of individuals and nations and continents in
adjustment. We had not better fret much, for the peasant's argument of
the text was right. If God can take care of the seven worlds of the
Pleiades and the four chief worlds of Orion, He can probably take care
of the one world we inhabit.

So I feel very much as my father felt one day when we were going to
the country mill to get a grist ground, and I, a boy of seven years,
sat in the back part of the wagon, and our yoke of oxen ran away with
us and along a labyrinthine road through the woods, so that I thought
every moment we would be dashed to pieces, and I made a terrible
outcry of fright, and my father turned to me with a face perfectly
calm, and said: "De Witt, what are you crying about? I guess we can
ride as fast as the oxen can run." And, my hearers, why should we be
affrighted and lose our equilibrium in the swift movement of worldly
events, especially when we are assured that it is not a yoke of
unbroken steers that are drawing us on, but that order and wise
government are in the yoke?

In your occupation, your mission, your sphere, do the best you can,
and then trust to God; and if things are all mixed and disquieting,
and your brain is hot and your heart sick, get some one to go out with
you into the starlight and point out to you the Pleiades, or, better
than that, get into some observatory, and through the telescope see
further than Amos with the naked eye could--namely, two hundred stars
in the Pleiades, and that in what is called the sword of Orion there
is a nebula computed to be two trillion two hundred thousand billions
of times larger than the sun. Oh, be at peace with the God who made
all that and controls all that--the wheel of the constellations
turning in the wheel of galaxies for thousands of years without the
breaking of a cog or the slipping of a band or the snap of an axle.
For your placidity and comfort through the Lord Jesus Christ I charge
you, "Seek Him that maketh the Seven Stars and Orion."

Again, Amos saw, as we must see, that the God who made these two
groups of the text was the God of light. Amos saw that God was not
satisfied with making one star, or two or three stars, but He makes
seven; and having finished that group of worlds, makes another
group--group after group. To the Pleiades He adds Orion. It seems that
God likes light so well that He keeps making it. Only one being in the
universe knows the statistics of solar, lunar, stellar, meteoric
creations, and that is the--Creator Himself. And they have all been
lovingly christened, each one a name as distinct as the names of your
children. "He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by
their names." The seven Pleiades had names given to them, and they are
Alcyone, Merope, Celæno, Electra, Sterope, Taygete, and Maia.

But think of the billions and trillions of daughters of starry light
that God calls by name as they sweep by Him with beaming brow and
lustrous robe! So fond is God of light--natural light, moral light,
spiritual light. Again and again is light harnessed for
symbolization--Christ, the bright and morning star; evangelization,
the daybreak; the redemption of nations, Sun of Righteousness rising
with healing in His wings. Oh, men and women, with so many sorrows and
sins and perplexities, if you want light of comfort, light of pardon,
light of goodness, in earnest, pray through Christ, "Seek Him that
maketh the Seven Stars and Orion."

Again, Amos saw, as we must see, that the God who made these two
archipelagoes of stars must be an unchanging God. There had been no
change in the stellar appearance in this herdsman's life-time, and his
father, a shepherd, reported to him that there had been no change in
his life-time. And these two clusters hang over the celestial arbor
now just as they were the first night that they shone on the Edenic
bowers, the same as when the Egyptians built the Pyramids from the top
of which to watch them, the same as when the Chaldeans calculated the
eclipses, the same as when Elihu, according to the Book of Job, went
out to study the aurora borealis, the same under Ptolemaic system and
Copernican system, the same from Calisthenes to Pythagoras, and from
Pythagoras to Herschel. Surely, a changeless God must have fashioned
the Pleiades and Orion! Oh, what an anodyne amid the ups and downs of
life, and the flux and reflux of the tides of prosperity, to know that
we have a changeless God, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.

Xerxes garlanded and knighted the steersman of his boat in the
morning, and hanged him in the evening of the same day. Fifty thousand
people stood around the columns of the national capitol, shouting
themselves hoarse at the presidential inaugural, and in four months so
great were the antipathies that a ruffian's pistol in Washington depot
expressed the sentiment of a great multitude. The world sits in its
chariot and drives tandem, and the horse ahead is Huzza, and the horse
behind is Anathema. Lord Cobham, in King James' time, was applauded,
and had thirty-five thousand dollars a year, but was afterward
execrated, and lived on scraps stolen from the royal kitchen.
Alexander the Great after death remained unburied for thirty days,
because no one would do the honor of shoveling him under. The Duke of
Wellington refused to have his iron fence mended, because it had been
broken by an infuriated populace in some hour of political
excitement, and he left it in ruins that men might learn what a fickle
thing is human favor. "But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting
to everlasting to them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto the
children's children of such as keep His covenant, and to those who
remember His commandments to do them." This moment "seek Him that
maketh the Seven Stars and Orion."

Again, Amos saw, as we must see, that the God who made these two
beacons of the Oriental night sky must be a God of love and kindly
warning. The Pleiades rising in mid-sky said to all the herdsmen and
shepherds and husbandmen: "Come out and enjoy the mild weather, and
cultivate your gardens and fields." Orion, coming in winter, warned
them to prepare for tempest. All navigation was regulated by these two
constellations. The one said to shipmaster and crew: "Hoist sail for
the sea, and gather merchandise from other lands." But Orion was the
storm-signal, and said: "Reef sail, make things snug, or put into
harbor, for the hurricanes are getting their wings out." As the
Pleiades were the sweet evangels of the spring, Orion was the warning
prophet of the winter.

Oh, now I get the best view of God I ever had! There are two kinds of
sermons I never want to preach--the one that presents God so kind, so
indulgent, so lenient, so imbecile that men may do what they will
against Him, and fracture His every law, and put the cry of their
impertinence and rebellion under His throne, and while they are
spitting in His face and stabbing at His heart, He takes them up in
His arms and kisses their infuriated brow and cheek, saying, "Of such
is the kingdom of heaven." The other kind of sermon I never want to
preach is the one that represents God as all fire and torture and
thundercloud, and with red-hot pitch-fork tossing the human race into
paroxysms of infinite agony. The sermon that I am now preaching
believes in a God of loving, kindly warning, the God of spring and
winter, the God of the Pleiades and Orion.

You must remember that the winter is just as important as the spring.
Let one winter pass without frost to kill vegetation and ice to bind
the rivers and snow to enrich our fields, and then you will have to
enlarge your hospitals and your cemeteries. "A green Christmas makes a
fat grave-yard," was the old proverb. Storms to purify the air.
Thermometer at ten degrees above zero to tone up the system. December
and January just as important as May and June. I tell you we need the
storms of life as much as we do the sunshine. There are more men
ruined by prosperity than by adversity. If we had our own way in life,
before this we would have been impersonations of selfishness and
worldliness and disgusting sin, and puffed up until we would have been
like Julius Cæsar, who was made by sycophants to believe that he was
divine, and the freckles on his face were as the stars of the
firmament.

One of the swiftest transatlantic voyages made last summer by the
"Etruria" was because she had a stormy wind abaft, chasing her from
New York to Liverpool. But to those going in the opposite direction
the storm was a buffeting and a hinderance. It is a bad thing to have
a storm ahead, pushing us back; but if we be God's children and
aiming toward heaven, the storms of life will only chase us the sooner
into the harbor. I am so glad to believe that the monsoons, and
typhoons, and mistrals, and siroccos of the land and sea are not
unchained maniacs let loose upon the earth, but are under divine
supervision! I am so glad that the God of the Seven Stars is also the
God of Orion! It was out of Dante's suffering came the sublime "Divina
Commedia," and out of John Milton's blindness came "Paradise Lost,"
and out of miserable infidel attack came the "Bridgewater Treatise" in
favor of Christianity, and out of David's exile came the songs of
consolation, and out of the sufferings of Christ came the possibility
of the world's redemption, and out of your bereavement, your
persecution, your poverties, your misfortunes, may yet come an eternal
heaven.

Oh, what a mercy it is that in the text and all up and down the Bible
God induces us to look out toward other worlds! Bible astronomy in
Genesis, in Joshua, in Job, in the Psalms, in the prophets, major and
minor, in St. John's Apocalypse, practically saying, "Worlds! worlds!
worlds! Get ready for them!" We have a nice little world here that we
stick to, as though losing that we lose all. We are afraid of falling
off this little raft of a world. We are afraid that some meteoric
iconoclast will some night smash it, and we want everything to revolve
around it, and are disappointed when we find that it revolves around
the sun instead of the sun revolving around it. What a fuss we make
about this little bit of a world, its existence only a short time
between two spasms, the paroxysm by which it was hurled from chaos
into order, and the paroxysm of its demolition.

And I am glad that so many texts call us to look off to other worlds,
many of them larger and grander and more resplendent. "Look there,"
says Job, "at Mazaroth and Arcturus and his sons!" "Look there," says
St. John, "at the moon under Christ's feet!" "Look there," says
Joshua, "at the sun standing still above Gibeon!" "Look there," says
Moses, "at the sparkling firmament!" "Look there," says Amos, the
herdsman, "at the Seven Stars and Orion!" Don't let us be so sad about
those who shove off from this world under Christly pilotage. Don't let
us be so agitated about our own going off this little barge or sloop
or canal-boat of a world to get on some "Great Eastern" of the
heavens. Don't let us persist in wanting to stay in this barn, this
shed, this outhouse of a world, when all the King's palaces already
occupied by many of our best friends are swinging wide open their
gates to let us in.

When I read, "In my Father's house are many mansions," I do not know
but that each world is a room, and as many rooms as there are worlds,
stellar stairs, stellar galleries, stellar hallways, stellar windows,
stellar domes. How our departed friends must pity us shut up in these
cramped apartments, tired if we walk fifteen miles, when they some
morning, by one stroke of wing, can make circuit of the whole stellar
system and be back in time for matins! Perhaps yonder twinkling
constellation is the residence of the martyrs; that group of twelve
luminaries is the celestial home of the Apostles. Perhaps that steep
of light is the dwelling-place of angels cherubic, seraphic,
archangelic. A mansion with as many rooms as worlds, and all their
windows illuminated for festivity.

Oh, how this widens and lifts and stimulates our expectation! How
little it makes the present, and how stupendous it makes the future!
How it consoles us about our pious dead, that instead of being boxed
up and under the ground have the range of as many rooms as there are
worlds, and welcome everywhere, for it is the Father's house, in which
there are many mansions! Oh, Lord God of the Seven Stars and Orion,
how can I endure the transport, the ecstasy, of such a vision! I must
obey my text and seek Him. I will seek Him. I seek Him now, for I call
to mind that it is not the material universe that is most valuable,
but the spiritual, and that each of us has a soul worth more than all
the worlds which the inspired herdsman saw from his booth on the hills
of Tekoa.

I had studied it before, but the Cathedral of Cologne, Germany, never
impressed me as it did this summer. It is admittedly the grandest
Gothic structure in the world, its foundation laid in 1248, only two
or three years ago completed. More than six hundred years in building.
All Europe taxed for its construction. Its chapel of the Magi with
precious stones enough to purchase a kingdom. Its chapel of St. Agnes
with masterpieces of painting. Its spire springing five hundred and
eleven feet into the heavens. Its stained glass the chorus of all rich
colors. Statues encircling the pillars and encircling all. Statues
above statues, until sculpture can do no more, but faints and falls
back against carved stalls and down on pavements over which the kings
and queens of the earth have walked to confession. Nave and aisles and
transept and portals combining the splendors of sunrise. Interlaced,
interfoliated, intercolumned grandeur. As I stood outside, looking at
the double range of flying buttresses and the forest of pinnacles,
higher and higher and higher, until I almost reeled from dizziness, I
exclaimed; "Great doxology in stone! Frozen prayer of many nations!"

But while standing there I saw a poor man enter and put down his pack
and kneel beside his burden on the hard floor of that cathedral. And
tears of deep emotion came into my eyes, as I said to myself: "There
is a soul worth more than all the material surroundings. That man will
live after the last pinnacle has fallen, and not one stone of all that
cathedral glory shall remain uncrumbled. He is now a Lazarus in rags
and poverty and weariness, but immortal, and a son of the Lord God
Almighty; and the prayer he now offers, though amid many
superstitions, I believe God will hear; and among the Apostles whose
sculptured forms stand in the surrounding niches he will at last be
lifted, and into the presence of that Christ whose sufferings are
represented by the crucifix before which he bows; and be raised in due
time out of all his poverties into the glorious home built for him and
built for us by 'Him who maketh the Seven Stars and Orion.'"



THE QUEEN'S VISIT.

    "Behold, the half was not told me."--I KINGS x: 7.


Solomon had resolved that Jerusalem should be the center of all
sacred, regal, and commercial magnificence. He set himself to work,
and monopolized the surrounding desert as a highway for his caravans.
He built the city of Palmyra around one of the principal wells of the
East, so that all the long trains of merchandise from the East were
obliged to stop there, pay toll, and leave part of their wealth in the
hands of Solomon's merchants. He manned the fortress Thapsacus at the
chief ford of the Euphrates, and put under guard everything that
passed there. The three great products of Palestine--wine pressed from
the richest clusters and celebrated all the world over; oil which in
that hot country is the entire substitute for butter and lard, and was
pressed from the olive branches until every tree in the country became
an oil well; and honey which was the entire substitute for
sugar--these three great products of the country Solomon exported, and
received in return fruits and precious woods and the animals of every
clime.

He went down to Ezion-geber and ordered a fleet of ships to be
constructed, oversaw the workmen, and watched the launching of the
flotilla which was to go out on more than a year's voyage, to bring
home the wealth of the then known world. He heard that the Egyptian
horses were large and swift, and long-maned and round-limbed, and he
resolved to purchase them, giving eighty-five dollars apiece for them,
putting the best of these horses in his own stall, and selling the
surplus to foreign potentates at great profit.

He heard that there was the best of timber on Mount Lebanon, and he
sent out one hundred and eighty thousand men to hew down the forest
and drag the timber through the mountain gorges, to construct it into
rafts to be floated to Joppa, and from thence to be drawn by ox-teams
twenty-five miles across the land to Jerusalem. He heard that there
were beautiful flowers in other lands. He sent for them, planted them
in his own gardens, and to this very day there are flowers found in
the ruins of that city such as are to be found in no other part of
Palestine, the lineal descendants of the very flowers that Solomon
planted. He heard that in foreign groves there were birds of richest
voice and most luxuriant wing. He sent out people to catch them and
bring them there, and he put them into his cages.

Stand back now and see this long train of camels coming up to the
king's gate, and the ox-trains from Egypt, gold and silver and
precious stones, and beasts of every hoof, and birds of every wing,
and fish of every scale! See the peacocks strut under the cedars, and
the horsemen run, and the chariots wheel! Hark to the orchestra! Gaze
upon the dance! Not stopping to look into the wonders of the temple,
step right on to the causeway, and pass up to Solomon's palace!

Here we find ourselves amid a collection of buildings on which the
king had lavished the wealth of many empires. The genius of Hiram, the
architect, and of the other artists is here seen in the long line of
corridors and the suspended gallery and the approach to the throne.
Traceried window opposite traceried window. Bronzed ornaments bursting
into lotus and lily and pomegranate. Chapiters surrounded by network
of leaves in which imitation fruit seemed suspended as in hanging
baskets. Three branches--so Josephus tells us--three branches
sculptured on the marble, so thin and subtle that even the leaves
seemed to quiver. A laver capable of holding five hundred barrels of
water on six hundred brazen ox-heads, which gushed with water and
filled the whole place with coolness and crystalline brightness and
musical plash. Ten tables chased with chariot wheel and lion and
cherubim. Solomon sat on a throne of ivory. At the seating place of
the throne, on each end of the steps, a brazen lion. Why, my friends,
in that place they trimmed their candles with snuffers of gold, and
they cut their fruits with knives of gold, and they washed their faces
in basins of gold, and they scooped out the ashes with shovels of
gold, and they stirred the altar fires with tongs of gold. Gold
reflected in the water! Gold flashing from the apparel! Gold blazing
in the crown! Gold, gold, gold!

Of course the news of the affluence of that place went out everywhere
by every caravan and by wing of every ship, until soon the streets of
Jerusalem are crowded with curiosity seekers. What is that long
procession approaching Jerusalem? I think from the pomp of it there
must be royalty in the train. I smell the breath of the spices which
are brought as presents, and I hear the shout of the drivers, and I
see the dust-covered caravan showing that they come from far away. Cry
the news up to the palace. The Queen of Sheba advances. Let all the
people come out to see. Let the mighty men of the land come out on the
palace corridors. Let Solomon come down the stairs of the palace
before the queen has alighted. Shake out the cinnamon, and the
saffron, and the calamus, and the frankincense, and pass it into the
treasure house. Take up the diamonds until they glitter in the sun.

The Queen of Sheba alights. She enters the palace. She washes at the
bath. She sits down at the banquet. The cup-bearers bow. The meat
smokes. The music trembles in the dash of the waters from the molten
sea. Then she rises from the banquet, and walks through the
conservatories, and gazes on the architecture, and she asks Solomon
many strange questions, and she learns about the religion of the
Hebrews, and she then and there becomes a servant of the Lord God.

She is overwhelmed. She begins to think that all the spices she
brought, and all the precious woods which are intended to be turned
into harps and psalteries and into railings for the causeway between
the temple and the palace, and the one hundred and eighty thousand
dollars in money--she begins to think that all these presents amount
to nothing in such a place, and she is almost ashamed that she has
brought them, and she says within herself: "I heard a great deal
about this place, and about this wonderful religion of the Hebrews,
but I find it far beyond my highest anticipations. I must add more
than fifty per cent. to what has been related. It exceeds everything
that I could have expected. The half--the half was not told me."

Learn from this subject what a beautiful thing it is when social
position and wealth surrender themselves to God. When religion comes
to a neighborhood, the first to receive it are the women. Some men say
it is because they are weak-minded. I say it is because they have
quicker perception of what is right, more ardent affection and
capacity for sublimer emotion. After the women have received the
Gospel then all the distressed and the poor of both sexes, those who
have no friends, accept Jesus. Last of all come the people of
affluence and high social position. Alas, that it is so!

If there are those here to-day who have been favored of fortune, or,
as I might better put it, favored of God, surrender all you have and
all you expect to be to the Lord who blessed this Queen of Sheba.
Certainly you are not ashamed to be found in this queen's company. I
am glad that Christ has had His imperial friends in all
ages--Elizabeth Christina, Queen of Prussia; Maria Feodorovna, Queen
of Russia; Marie, Empress of France; Helena, the imperial mother of
Constantine; Arcadia, from her great fortunes building public baths in
Constantinople and toiling for the alleviation of the masses; Queen
Clotilda, leading her husband and three thousand of his armed warriors
to Christian baptism; Elizabeth of Burgundy, giving her jeweled glove
to a beggar, and scattering great fortunes among the distressed;
Prince Albert, singing "Rock of Ages" in Windsor Castle, and Queen
Victoria, incognita, reading the Scriptures to a dying pauper.

I bless God that the day is coming when royalty will bring all its
thrones, and music all its harmonies, and painting all its pictures,
and sculpture all its statuary, and architecture all its pillars, and
conquest all its scepters; and the queens of the earth, in long line
of advance, frankincense filling the air and the camels laden with
gold, shall approach Jerusalem, and the gates shall be hoisted, and
the great burden of splendor shall be lifted into the palace of this
greater than Solomon.

Again, my subject teaches me what is earnestness in the search of
truth. Do you know where Sheba was? It was in Abyssinia, or some say
in the southern part of Arabia Felix. In either case it was a great
way off from Jerusalem. To get from there to Jerusalem she had to
cross a country infested with bandits, and go across blistering
deserts. Why did not the Queen of Sheba stay at home and send a
committee to inquire about this new religion, and have the delegates
report in regard to that religion and wealth of King Solomon? She
wanted to see for herself, and hear for herself. She could not do this
by work of committee. She felt she had a soul worth ten thousand
kingdoms like Sheba, and she wanted a robe richer than any woven by
Oriental shuttles, and she wanted a crown set with the jewels of
eternity. Bring out the camels. Put on the spices. Gather up the
jewels of the throne and put them on the caravan. Start now; no time
to be lost. Goad on the camels. When I see that caravan,
dust-covered, weary, and exhausted, trudging on across the desert and
among the bandits until it reaches Jerusalem, I say: "There is an
earnest seeker after the truth."

But there are a great many of you, my friends, who do not act in that
way. You all want to get the truth, but you want the truth to come
to-you; you do not want to go to it. There are people who fold their
arms and say: "I am ready to become a Christian at any time; if I am
to be saved I shall be saved, and if I am to be lost I shall be lost."
A man who says that and keeps on saying it, will be lost. Jerusalem
will never come to you; you must go to Jerusalem. The religion of the
Lord Jesus Christ will not come to you; you must go and get religion.
Bring out the camels; put on all the sweet spices, all the treasures
of the heart's affection. Start for the throne. Go in and hear the
waters of salvation dashing in fountains all around about the throne.
Sit down at the banquet--the wine pressed from the grapes of the
heavenly Eschol, the angels of God the cup-bearers. Goad on the
camels; Jerusalem will never come to you; you must go to Jerusalem.
The Bible declares it: "The Queen of the South"--that is, this very
woman I am speaking of--"the Queen of the South shall rise up in
judgment against this generation and condemn it; for she came from the
uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon: and,
behold! a greater than Solomon is here." God help me to break up the
infatuation of those people who are sitting down in idleness expecting
to be saved. "Strive to enter in at the strait gate. Ask, and it
shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be
opened to you." Take the Kingdom of Heaven by violence. Urge on the
camels!

Again, my subject impresses me with the fact that religion is a
surprise to any one that gets it. This story of the new religion in
Jerusalem, and of the glory of King Solomon, who was a type of
Christ--that story rolls on and on, and is told by every traveler
coming back from Jerusalem. The news goes on the wing of every ship
and with every caravan, and you know a story enlarges as it is retold,
and by the time that story gets down into the southern part of Arabia
Felix, and the Queen of Sheba hears it, it must be a tremendous story.
And yet this queen declares in regard to it, although she had heard so
much and had her anticipations raised so high, the half--the half was
not told her.

So religion is always a surprise to any one that gets it. The story of
grace--an old story. Apostles preached it with rattle of chain;
martyrs declared it with arm of fire; death-beds have affirmed it with
visions of glory, and ministers of religion have sounded it through
the lanes, and the highways, and the chapels, and the cathedrals. It
has been cut into stone with chisel, and spread on the canvas with
pencil; and it has been recited in the doxology of great
congregations. And yet when a man first comes to look on the palace of
God's mercy, and to see the royalty of Christ, and the wealth of this
banquet, and the luxuriance of His attendants, and the loveliness of
His face, and the joy of His service, he exclaims with prayers, with
tears, with sighs, with triumphs: "The half--the half was not told
me!"

I appeal to those in this house who are Christians. Compare the idea
you had of the joy of the Christian life before you became a Christian
with the appreciation of that joy you have now since you have become a
Christian, and you are willing to attest before angels and men that
you never in the days of your spiritual bondage had any appreciation
of what was to come. You are ready to-day to answer, and if I gave you
an opportunity in the midst of this assemblage, you would speak out
and say in regard to the discoveries you have made of the mercy and
the grace and the goodness of God: "The half--the half was not told
me!"

Well, we hear a great deal about the good time that is coming to this
world, when it is to be girded with salvation. Holiness on the bells
of the horses. The lion's mane patted by the hand of a babe. Ships of
Tarshish bringing cargoes for Jesus, and the hard, dry, barren,
winter-bleached, storm-scarred, thunder-split rock breaking into
floods of bright water. Deserts into which dromedaries thrust their
nostrils, because they were afraid of the simoom--deserts blooming
into carnation roses and silver-tipped lilies.

It is the old story. Everybody tells it. Isaiah told it, John told it,
Paul told it, Ezekiel told it, Luther told it, Calvin told it, John
Milton told it--everybody tells it; and yet--and yet when the midnight
shall fly the hills, and Christ shall marshal His great army, and
China, dashing her idols into the dust, shall hear the voice of God
and wheel into line; and India, destroying her Juggernaut and
snatching up her little children from the Ganges, shall hear the
voice of God and wheel into line; and vine-covered Italy, and
wheat-crowned Russia, and all the nations of the earth shall hear the
voice of God and fall into line; then the Church, which has been
toiling and struggling through the centuries, robed and garlanded like
a bride adorned for her husband, shall put aside her veil and look up
into the face of her Lord the King, and say: "The half--the half was
not told me."

Well, there is coming a greater surprise to every Christian--a greater
surprise than anything I have depicted. Heaven is an old story.
Everybody talks about it. There is hardly a hymn in the hymn-book that
does not refer to it. Children read about it in their Sabbath-school
book. Aged men put on their spectacles to study it. We say it is a
harbor from the storm. We call it our home. We say it is the house of
many mansions. We weave together all sweet, beautiful, delicate,
exhilarant words; we weave them into letters, and then we spell it out
in rose and lily and amaranth. And yet that place is going to be a
surprise to the most intelligent Christian. Like the Queen of Sheba,
the report has come to us from the far country, and many of us have
started. It is a desert march, but we urge on the camels. What though
our feet be blistered with the way? We are hastening to the palace. We
take all our loves and hopes and Christian ambitions, as frankincense
and myrrh and cassia, to the great King. We must not rest. We must not
halt. The night is coming on, and it is not safe out here in the
desert. Urge on the camels. I see the domes against the sky, and the
houses of Lebanon, and the temples and the gardens. See the fountains
dance in the sun, and the gates flash as they open to let in the poor
pilgrims.

Send the word up to the palace that we are coming, and that we are
weary of the march of the desert. The King will come out and say:
"Welcome to the palace; bathe in these waters, recline on these banks.
Take this cinnamon and frankincense and myrrh and put it upon a censer
and swing it before the altar." And yet, my friends, when heaven
bursts upon us it will be a greater surprise than that--Jesus on the
throne, and we made like Him! All our Christian friends surrounding us
in glory! All our sorrows and tears and sins gone by forever! The
thousands of thousands, the one hundred and forty-and-four thousand,
the great multitudes that no man can number, will cry, world without
end: "The half--the half was not told us!"



VICARIOUS SUFFERING.

    "Without shedding of blood is no remission."--HEB. ix: 22.


John G. Whittier, the last of the great school of American poets that
made the last quarter of a century brilliant, asked me in the White
Mountains, one morning after prayers, in which I had given out
Cowper's famous hymn about "The Fountain Filled with Blood," "Do you
really believe there is a literal application of the blood of Christ
to the soul?" My negative reply then is my negative reply now. The
Bible statement agrees with all physicians, and all physiologists, and
all scientists, in saying that the blood is the life, and in the
Christian religion it means simply that Christ's life was given for
our life. Hence all this talk of men who say the Bible story of blood
is disgusting, and that they don't want what they call a
"slaughter-house religion," only shows their incapacity or
unwillingness to look through the figure of speech toward the thing
signified. The blood that, on the darkest Friday the world ever saw,
oozed, or trickled, or poured from the brow, and the side, and the
hands, and the feet of the illustrious sufferer, back of Jerusalem, in
a few hours coagulated and dried up, and forever disappeared; and if
man had depended on the application of the literal blood of Christ,
there would not have been a soul saved for the last eighteen
centuries.

In order to understand this red word of my text, we only have to
exercise as much common sense in religion as we do in everything else.
Pang for pang, hunger for hunger, fatigue for fatigue, tear for tear,
blood for blood, life for life, we see every day illustrated. The act
of substitution is no novelty, although I hear men talk as though the
idea of Christ's suffering substituted for our suffering were
something abnormal, something distressingly odd, something wildly
eccentric, a solitary episode in the world's history; when I could
take you out into this city, and before sundown point you to five
hundred cases of substitution and voluntary suffering of one in behalf
of another.

At two o'clock to-morrow afternoon go among the places of business or
toil. It will be no difficult thing for you to find men who, by their
looks, show you that they are overworked. They are prematurely old.
They are hastening rapidly toward their decease. They have gone
through crises in business that shattered their nervous system, and
pulled on the brain. They have a shortness of breath, and a pain in
the back of the head, and at night an insomnia that alarms them. Why
are they drudging at business early and late? For fun? No; it would be
difficult to extract any amusement out of that exhaustion. Because
they are avaricious? In many cases no. Because their own personal
expenses are lavish? No; a few hundred dollars would meet all their
wants. The simple fact is, the man is enduring all that fatigue and
exasperation, and wear and tear, to keep his home prosperous. There
is an invisible line reaching from that store, from that bank, from
that shop, from that scaffolding, to a quiet scene a few blocks, a few
miles away, and there is the secret of that business endurance. He is
simply the champion of a homestead, for which he wins bread, and
wardrobe, and education, and prosperity, and in such battle ten
thousand men fall. Of ten business men whom I bury, nine die of
overwork for others. Some sudden disease finds them with no power of
resistance, and they are gone. Life for life. Blood for blood.
Substitution!

At one o'clock to-morrow morning, the hour when slumber is most
uninterrupted and most profound, walk amid the dwelling-houses of the
city. Here and there you will find a dim light, because it is the
household custom to keep a subdued light burning: but most of the
houses from base to top are as dark as though uninhabited. A merciful
God has sent forth the archangel of sleep, and he puts his wings over
the city. But yonder is a clear light burning, and outside on the
window casement a glass or pitcher containing food for a sick child;
the food is set in the fresh air. This is the sixth night that mother
has sat up with that sufferer. She has to the last point obeyed the
physician's prescription, not giving a drop too much or too little, or
a moment too soon or too late. She is very anxious, for she has buried
three children with the same disease, and she prays and weeps, each
prayer and sob ending with a kiss of the pale cheek. By dint of
kindness she gets the little one through the ordeal. After it is all
over, the mother is taken down. Brain or nervous fever sets in, and
one day she leaves the convalescent child with a mother's blessing,
and goes up to join the three in the kingdom of heaven. Life for life.
Substitution! The fact is that there are an uncounted number of
mothers who, after they have navigated a large family of children
through all the diseases of infancy, and got them fairly started up
the flowering slope of boyhood and girlhood, have only strength enough
left to die. They fade away. Some call it consumption; some call it
nervous prostration; some call it intermittent or malarial
disposition; but I call it martyrdom of the domestic circle. Life for
life. Blood for blood. Substitution!

Or perhaps the mother lingers long enough to see a son get on the
wrong road, and his former kindness becomes rough reply when she
expresses anxiety about him. But she goes right on, looking carefully
after his apparel, remembering his every birthday with some memento,
and when he is brought home worn out with dissipation, nurses him till
he gets well and starts him again, and hopes, and expects, and prays,
and counsels, and suffers, until her strength gives out and she fails.
She is going, and attendants, bending over her pillow, ask her if she
has any message to leave, and she makes great effort to say something,
but out of three or four minutes of indistinct utterance they can
catch but three words: "My poor boy!" The simple fact is she died for
him. Life for life. Substitution!

About twenty-four years ago there went forth from our homes hundreds
of thousands of men to do battle for their country. All the poetry of
war soon vanished, and left them nothing but the terrible prose. They
waded knee-deep in mud. They slept in snow-banks. They marched till
their cut feet tracked the earth. They were swindled out of their
honest rations, and lived on meat not fit for a dog. They had jaws all
fractured, and eyes extinguished, and limbs shot away. Thousands of
them cried for water as they lay dying on the field the night after
the battle, and got it not. They were homesick, and received no
message from their loved ones. They died in barns, in bushes, in
ditches, the buzzards of the summer heat the only attendants on their
obsequies. No one but the infinite God who knows everything, knows the
ten thousandth part of the length, and breadth, and depth, and height
of anguish of the Northern and Southern battlefields. Why did these
fathers leave their children and go to the front, and why did these
young men, postponing the marriage-day, start out into the
probabilities of never coming back? For the country they died. Life
for life. Blood for blood. Substitution!

But we need not go so far. What is that monument in Greenwood? It is
to the doctors who fell in the Southern epidemics. Why go? Were there
not enough sick to be attended in these Northern latitudes? Oh, yes;
but the doctor puts a few medical books in his valise, and some vials
of medicine, and leaves his patients here in the hands of other
physicians, and takes the rail-train. Before he gets to the infected
regions he passes crowded rail-trains, regular and extra, taking the
flying and affrighted populations. He arrives in a city over which a
great horror is brooding. He goes from couch to couch, feeling of
pulse and studying symptoms, and prescribing day after day, night
after night, until a fellow-physician says: "Doctor, you had better go
home and rest; you look miserable." But he can not rest while so many
are suffering. On and on, until some morning finds him in a delirium,
in which he talks of home, and then rises and says he must go and look
after those patients. He is told to lie down; but he fights his
attendants until he falls back, and is weaker and weaker, and dies for
people with whom he had no kinship, and far away from his own family,
and is hastily put away in a stranger's tomb, and only the fifth part
of a newspaper line tells us of his sacrifice--his name just mentioned
among five. Yet he has touched the furthest height of sublimity in
that three weeks of humanitarian service. He goes straight as an arrow
to the bosom of Him who said: "I was sick and ye visited Me." Life for
life. Blood for blood. Substitution!

In the legal profession I see the same principle of self-sacrifice. In
1846, William Freeman, a pauperized and idiotic negro, was at Auburn,
N.Y., on trial for murder. He had slain the entire Van Nest family.
The foaming wrath of the community could be kept off him only by armed
constables. Who would volunteer to be his counsel? No attorney wanted
to sacrifice his popularity by such an ungrateful task. All were
silent save one, a young lawyer with feeble voice, that could hardly
be heard outside the bar, pale and thin and awkward. It was William H.
Seward, who saw that the prisoner was idiotic and irresponsible, and
ought to be put in an asylum rather than put to death, the heroic
counsel uttering these beautiful words:

"I speak now in the hearing of a people who have prejudged prisoner
and condemned me for pleading in his behalf. He is a convict, a
pauper, a negro, without intellect, sense, or emotion. My child with
an affectionate smile disarms my care-worn face of its frown whenever
I cross my threshold. The beggar in the street obliges me to give
because he says, 'God bless you!' as I pass. My dog caresses me with
fondness if I will but smile on him. My horse recognizes me when I
fill his manger. What reward, what gratitude, what sympathy and
affection can I expect here? There the prisoner sits. Look at him.
Look at the assemblage around you. Listen to their ill-suppressed
censures and their excited fears, and tell me where among my neighbors
or my fellow-men, where, even in his heart, I can expect to find a
sentiment, a thought, not to say of reward or of acknowledgment, or
even of recognition? Gentlemen, you may think of this evidence what
you please, bring in what verdict you can, but I asseverate before
Heaven and you, that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the
prisoner at the bar does not at this moment know why it is that my
shadow falls on you instead of his own."

The gallows got its victim, but the post-mortem examination of the
poor creature showed to all the surgeons and to all the world that the
public were wrong, and William H. Seward was right, and that hard,
stony step of obloquy in the Auburn court-room was the first step of
the stairs of fame up which he went to the top, or to within one step
of the top, that last denied him through the treachery of American
politics. Nothing sublimer was ever seen in an American court-room
than William H. Seward, without reward, standing between the fury of
the populace and the loathsome imbecile. Substitution!

In the realm of the fine arts there was as remarkable an instance. A
brilliant but hypercriticised painter, Joseph William Turner, was met
by a volley of abuse from all the art galleries of Europe. His
paintings, which have since won the applause of all civilized nations,
"The Fifth Plague of Egypt," "Fishermen on a Lee Shore in Squally
Weather," "Calais Pier," "The Sun Rising Through Mist," and "Dido
Building Carthage," were then targets for critics to shoot at. In
defense of this outrageously abused man, a young author of twenty-four
years, just one year out of college, came forth with his pen, and
wrote the ablest and most famous essays on art that the world ever
saw, or ever will see--John Ruskin's "Modern Painters." For seventeen
years this author fought the battles of the maltreated artist, and
after, in poverty and broken-heartedness, the painter had died, and
the public tried to undo their cruelties toward him by giving him a
big funeral and burial at St. Paul's Cathedral, his old-time friend
took out of a tin box nineteen thousand pieces of paper containing
drawings by the old painter, and through many weary and uncompensated
months assorted and arranged them for public observation. People say
John Ruskin in his old days is cross, misanthropic, and morbid.
Whatever he may do that he ought not to do, and whatever he may say
that he ought not to say between now and his death, he will leave this
world insolvent as far as it has any capacity to pay this author's pen
for its chivalric and Christian defense of a poor painter's pencil.
John Ruskin for William Turner. Blood for blood. Substitution!

What an exalting principle this which leads one to suffer for another!
Nothing so kindles enthusiasm or awakens eloquence, or chimes poetic
canto, or moves nations. The principle is the dominant one in our
religion--Christ the Martyr, Christ the celestial Hero, Christ the
Defender, Christ the Substitute. No new principle, for it was as old
as human nature; but now on a grander, wider, higher, deeper, and more
world-resounding scale! The shepherd boy as a champion for Israel with
a sling toppled the giant of Philistine braggadocio in the dust; but
here is another David who, for all the armies of churches militant and
triumphant, hurls the Goliath of perdition into defeat, the crash of
his brazen armor like an explosion at Hell Gate. Abraham had at God's
command agreed to sacrifice his son Isaac, and the same God just in
time had provided a ram of the thicket as a substitute; but here is
another Isaac bound to the altar, and no hand arrests the sharp edges
of laceration and death, and the universe shivers and quakes and
recoils and groans at the horror.

All good men have for centuries been trying to tell whom this
Substitute was like, and every comparison, inspired and uninspired,
evangelistic, prophetic, apostolic, and human, falls short, for Christ
was the Great Unlike. Adam a type of Christ, because he came directly
from God; Noah a type of Christ, because he delivered his own family
from deluge; Melchisedec a type of Christ, because he had no
predecessor or successor; Joseph a type of Christ, because he was cast
out by his brethren; Moses a type of Christ, because he was a
deliverer from bondage; Joshua a type of Christ, because he was a
conqueror; Samson a type of Christ, because of his strength to slay
the lions and carry off the iron gates of impossibility; Solomon a
type of Christ, in the affluence of his dominion; Jonah a type of
Christ, because of the stormy sea in which he threw himself for the
rescue of others; but put together Adam and Noah and Melchisedec and
Joseph and Moses and Joshua and Samson and Solomon and Jonah, and they
would not make a fragment of a Christ, a quarter of a Christ, the half
of a Christ, or the millionth part of a Christ.

He forsook a throne and sat down on His own footstool. He came from
the top of glory to the bottom of humiliation, and changed a
circumference seraphic for a circumference diabolic. Once waited on by
angels, now hissed at by brigands. From afar and high up He came down;
past meteors swifter than they; by starry thrones, Himself more
lustrous; past larger worlds to smaller worlds; down stairs of
firmaments, and from cloud to cloud, and through tree-tops and into
the earners stall, to thrust His shoulder under our burdens and take
the lances of pain through His vitals, and wrapped himself in all the
agonies which we deserve for our misdoings, and stood on the splitting
decks of a foundering vessel, amid the drenching surf of the sea, and
passed midnights on the mountains amid wild beasts of prey, and stood
at the point where all earthly and infernal hostilities charged on Him
at once with their keen sabers--our Substitute!

When did attorney ever endure so much for a pauper client, or
physician for the patient in the lazaretto, or mother for the child in
membranous croup, as Christ for us, and Christ for you, and Christ for
me? Shall any man or woman or child in this audience who has ever
suffered for another find it hard to understand this Christly
suffering for us? Shall those whose sympathies have been wrung in
behalf of the unfortunate have no appreciation of that one moment
which was lifted out of all the ages of eternity as most conspicuous,
when Christ gathered up all the sins of those to be redeemed under His
one arm, and all their sorrows under His other arm, and said: "I will
atone for these under my right arm, and will heal all those under my
left arm. Strike me with all thy glittering shafts, O Eternal Justice!
Roll over me with all thy surges, ye oceans of sorrow"? And the
thunderbolts struck Him from above, and the seas of trouble rolled up
from beneath, hurricane after hurricane, and cyclone after cyclone,
and then and there in presence of heaven and earth and hell, yea, all
worlds witnessing, the price, the bitter price, the transcendent
price, the awful price, the glorious price, the infinite price, the
eternal price, was paid that sets us free.

That is what Paul means, that is what I mean, that is what all those
who have ever had their heart changed mean by "blood." I glory in this
religion of blood! I am thrilled as I see the suggestive color in
sacramental cup, whether it be of burnished silver set on cloth
immaculately white, or rough-hewn from wood set on table in log-hut
meeting-house of the wilderness. Now I am thrilled as I see the altars
of ancient sacrifice crimson with the blood of the slain lamb, and
Leviticus is to me not so much the Old Testament as the New. Now I see
why the destroying angel passing over Egypt in the night spared all
those houses that had blood sprinkled on their door-posts. Now I know
what Isaiah means when he speaks of "one in red apparel coming with
dyed garments from Bozrah;" and whom the Apocalypse means when it
describes a heavenly chieftain whose "vesture was dipped in blood;"
and what Peter, the apostle, means when he speaks of the "precious
blood that cleanseth from all sin;" and what the old, worn-out,
decrepit missionary Paul means when, in my text, he cries, "Without
shedding of blood is no remission." By that blood you and I will be
saved--or never saved at all. In all the ages of the world God has not
once pardoned a single sin except through the Saviour's expiation, and
He never will. Glory be to God that the hill back of Jerusalem was the
battle-field on which Christ achieved our liberty!

The most exciting and overpowering day of last summer was the day I
spent on the battle-field of Waterloo. Starting out with the morning
train from Brussels, Belgium, we arrived in about an hour on that
famous spot. A son of one who was in the battle, and who had heard
from his father a thousand times the whole scene recited, accompanied
us over the field. There stood the old Hougomont Château, the walls
dented, and scratched, and broken, and shattered by grape-shot and
cannon-ball. There is the well in which three hundred dying and dead
were pitched. There is the chapel with the head of the infant Christ
shot off. There are the gates at which, for many hours, English and
French armies wrestled. Yonder were the one hundred and sixty guns of
the English, and the two hundred and fifty guns of the French. Yonder
the Hanoverian Hussars fled for the woods. Yonder was the ravine of
Ohain, where the French cavalry, not knowing there was a hollow in the
ground, rolled over and down, troop after troop, tumbling into one
awful mass of suffering, hoof of kicking horses against brow and
breast of captains and colonels and private soldiers, the human and
the beastly groan kept up until, the day after, all was shoveled under
because of the malodor arising in that hot month of June.

"There," said our guide, "the Highland regiments lay down on their
faces waiting for the moment to spring upon the foe. In that orchard
twenty-five hundred men were cut to pieces. Here stood Wellington with
white lips, and up that knoll rode Marshal Ney on his sixth horse,
five having been shot under him. Here the ranks of the French broke,
and Marshal Ney, with his boot slashed of a sword, and his hat off,
and his face covered with powder and blood, tried to rally his troops
as he cried: 'Come and see how a marshal of French dies on the
battle-field.' From yonder direction Grouchy was expected for the
French re-enforcement, but he came not. Around those woods Blucher was
looked for to re-enforce the English, and just in time he came up.
Yonder is the field where Napoleon stood, his arm through the reins of
the horse's bridle, dazed and insane, trying to go back." Scene of a
battle that went on from twenty-five minutes to twelve o'clock, on the
eighteenth of June, until four o'clock, when the English seemed
defeated, and their commander cried out; "Boys, can you think of
giving way? Remember old England!" and the tides turned, and at eight
o'clock in the evening the man of destiny, who was called by his
troops Old Two Hundred Thousand, turned away with broken heart, and
the fate of centuries was decided.

No wonder a great mound has been reared there, hundreds of feet
high--a mound at the expense of millions of dollars and many years in
rising, and on the top is the great Belgian lion of bronze, and a
grand old lion it is. But our great Waterloo was in Palestine. There
came a day when all hell rode up, led by Apollyon, and the Captain of
our salvation confronted them alone. The Rider on the white horse of
the Apocalypse going out against the black horse cavalry of death, and
the battalions of the demoniac, and the myrmidons of darkness. From
twelve o'clock at noon to three o'clock in the afternoon the greatest
battle of the universe went on. Eternal destinies were being decided.
All the arrows of hell pierced our Chieftain, and the battle-axes
struck Him, until brow and cheek and shoulder and hand and foot were
incarnadined with oozing life; but He fought on until He gave a final
stroke with sword from Jehovah's buckler, and the commander-in-chief
of hell and all his forces fell back in everlasting ruin, and the
victory is ours. And on the mound that celebrates the triumph we plant
this day two figures, not in bronze or iron or sculptured marble, but
two figures of living light, the Lion of Judah's tribe and the Lamb
that was slain.



POSTHUMOUS OPPORTUNITY.

    "If the tree fall toward the south or toward the north, in the
    place where the tree falleth there it shall be."--ECCLES. xi: 3.


There is a hovering hope in the minds of a vast multitude that there
will be an opportunity in the next world to correct the mistakes of
this; that, if we do make complete shipwreck of our earthly life, it
will be on a shore up which we may walk to a palace; that, as a
defendant may lose his case in the Circuit Court, and carry it up to
the Supreme Court or Court of Chancery and get a reversal of judgment
in his behalf, all the costs being thrown over on the other party, so,
if we fail in the earthly trial, we may in the higher jurisdiction of
eternity have the judgment of the lower court set aside, all the costs
remitted, and we may be victorious defendants forever.

My object in this sermon is to show that common sense, as well as my
text, declares that such an expectation is chimerical. You say that
the impenitent man, having got into the next world and seeing the
disaster, will, as a result of that disaster, turn, the pain the cause
of his reformation. But you can find ten thousand instances in this
world of men who have done wrong and distress overtook them suddenly.
Did the distress heal them? No; they went right on.

That man was flung of dissipations. "You must stop drinking," said
the doctor, "and quit the fast life you are leading, or it will
destroy you.". The patient suffers paroxysm after paroxysm; but, under
skillful medical treatment, he begins to sit up, begins to walk about
the room, begins to go to business. And, lo! he goes back to the same
grog-shops for his morning dram, and his even dram, and the drams
between. Flat down again! Same doctor. Same physical anguish. Same
medical warning.

Now, the illness is more protracted; the liver is more stubborn, the
stomach more irritable, and the digestive organs are more rebellious.
But after awhile he is out again, goes back to the same dram-shops,
and goes the same round of sacrilege against his physical health.

He sees that his downward course is ruining his household, that his
life is a perpetual perjury against his marriage vow, that that
broken-hearted woman is so unlike the roseate young wife that he
married, that her old schoolmates do not recognize her; that his sons
are to be taunted for a life-time by the father's drunkenness, that
the daughters are to pass into life under the scarification of a
disreputable ancestor. He is drinking up their happiness, their
prospects for this life, and, perhaps, for the life to come. Sometimes
an appreciation of what he is doing comes upon him. His nervous system
is all a tangle. From crown of head to sole of foot he is one aching,
rasping, crucifying, damning torture. Where is he? In hell on earth.
Does it reform him?

After awhile he has delirium tremens, with a whole jungle of hissing
reptiles let out on his pillow, and his screams horrify the neighbors
as he dashes out of his bed, crying: "Take these things off me!" As he
sits, pale and convalescent, the doctor says: "Now I want to have a
plain talk with you, my dear fellow. The next attack of this kind you
will have you will be beyond all medical skill, and you will die." He
gets better and goes forth into the same round again. This time
medicine takes no effect. Consultation of physicians agree in saying
there is no hope. Death ends the scene.

That process of inebriation, warning, and dissolution is going on
within stone's throw of this church, going on in all the neighborhoods
of Christendom. Pain does not correct. Suffering does not reform. What
is true in one sense is true in all senses, and will forever be so,
and yet men are expecting in the next world purgatorial rejuvenation.
Take up the printed reports of the prisons of the United States, and
you will find that the vast majority of the incarcerated have been
there before, some of them four, five, six times. With a million
illustrations all working the other way in this world, people are
expecting that distress in the next state will be salvatory. You can
not imagine any worse torture in any other world than that which some
men have suffered here, and without any salutary consequence.

Furthermore, the prospect of a reformation in the next world is more
improbable than a reformation here. In this world the life started
with innocence of infancy. In the case supposed the other life will
open with all the accumulated bad habits of many years upon him.
Surely, it is easier to build a strong ship out of new timber than out
of an old hulk that has been ground up in the breakers. If with
innocence to start with in this life a man does not become godly, what
prospect is there that in the next world, starting with sin, there
would be a seraph evoluted? Surely the sculptor has more prospect of
making a fine statue out of a block of pure white Parian marble than
out of an old black rock seamed and cracked with the storms of a half
century. Surely upon a clean, white sheet of paper it is easier to
write a deed or a will than upon a sheet of paper all scribbled and
blotted and torn from top to bottom. Yet men seem to think that,
though the life that began here comparatively perfect turned out
badly, the next life will succeed, though it starts with a dead
failure.

"But," says some one, "I think we ought to have a chance in the next
life, because this life is so short it allows only small opportunity.
We hardly have time to turn around between cradle and tomb, the wood
of the one almost touching the marble of the other." But do you know
what made the ancient deluge a necessity? It was the longevity of the
antediluvians. They were worse in the second century of their
life-time than in the first hundred years, and still worse in the
third century, and still worse all the way on to seven, eight, and
nine hundred years, and the earth had to be washed, and scrubbed, and
soaked, and anchored, clear out of sight for more than a month before
it could be made fit for decent people to live in. Longevity never
cures impenitency. All the pictures of Time represent him with a
scythe to cut, but I never saw any picture of Time with a case of
medicines to heal. Seneca says that Nero for the first five years of
his public life was set up for an example of clemency and kindness,
but his path all the way descended until at sixty-eight he became a
suicide. If eight hundred years did not make antediluvians any better,
but only made them worse, the ages of eternity could have no effect
except prolongation of depravity.

"But," says some one, "in the future state evil surroundings will be
withdrawn and elevated influences substituted, and hence expurgation,
and sublimation, and glorification." But the righteous, all their sins
forgiven, have passed on into a beatific state, and consequently the
unsaved will be left alone. It can not be expected that Doctor Duff,
who exhausted himself in teaching Hindoos the way to heaven, and
Doctor Abeel, who gave his life in the evangelization of China, and
Adoniram Judson, who toiled for the redemption of Borneo, should be
sent down by some celestial missionary society to educate those who
wasted all their earthly existence. Evangelistic and missionary
efforts are ended. The entire kingdom of the morally bankrupt by
themselves, where are the salvatory influences to come from? Can one
speckled and bad apple in a barrel of diseased apples turn the other
apples good? Can those who are themselves down help others up? Can
those who have themselves failed in the business of the soul pay the
debts of their spiritual insolvents? Can a million wrongs make one
right?

Poneropolis was a city where King Philip of Thracia put all the bad
people of his kingdom. If any man had opened a primary school at
Poneropolis I do not think the parents from other cities would have
sent their children there. Instead of amendment in the other world,
all the associations, now that the good are evolved, will be
degenerating and down. You would not want to send a man to a cholera
or yellow fever hospital for his health; and the great lazaretto of
the next world, containing the diseased and plague-struck, will be a
poor place for moral recovery. If the surroundings in this world were
crowded of temptation, the surroundings of the next world, after the
righteous have passed up and on, will be a thousand per cent. more
crowded of temptation.

The Count of Chateaubriand made his little son sleep at night at the
top of a castle turret, where the winds howled and where specters were
said to haunt the place; and while the mother and sisters almost died
with fright, the son tells us that the process gave him nerves that
could not tremble and a courage that never faltered. But I don't think
that towers of darkness and the spectral world swept by Sirocco and
Euroclydon will ever fit one for the land of eternal sunshine. I
wonder what is the curriculum of that college of Inferno, where, after
proper preparation by the sins of this life, the candidate enters,
passing on from freshman class of depravity to sophomore of
abandonment, and from sophomore to junior, and from junior to senior,
and day of graduation comes, and with diploma signed by Satan, the
president, and other professorial demoniacs, attesting that the
candidate has been long enough under their drill, he passes up to
enter heaven! Pandemonium a preparative course for heavenly admission!
Ah, my friends, Satan and his cohorts have fitted uncounted
multitudes for ruin, but never fitted one soul for happiness.

Furthermore, it would not be safe for this world if men had another
chance in the next. If it had been announced that, however wickedly a
man might act in this world, he could fix it up all right in the next,
society would be terribly demoralized, and the human race demolished
in a few years. The fear that, if we are bad and unforgiven here, it
will not be well for us in the next existence, is the chief influence
that keeps civilization from rushing back to semi-barbarism, and
semi-barbarism from rushing into midnight savagery, and midnight
savagery from extinction; for it is the astringent impression of all
nations, Christian and heathen, that there is no future chance for
those who have wasted this.

Multitudes of men who are kept within bounds would say, "Go to, now!
Let me get all out of this life there is in it. Come, gluttony, and
inebriation, and uncleanness, and revenge, and all sensualities, and
wait upon me! My life may be somewhat shortened in this world by
dissoluteness, but that will only make heavenly indulgence on a larger
scale the sooner possible. I will overtake the saints at last, and
will enter the Heavenly Temple only a little later than those who
behaved themselves here. I will on my way to heaven take a little
wider excursion than those who were on earth pious, and I shall go to
heaven _via_ Gehenna and _via_ Sheol." Another chance in the next
world means free license and wild abandonment in this.

Suppose you were a party in an important case at law, and you knew
from consultation with judges and attorneys that it would be tried
twice, and the first trial would be of little importance, but that the
second would decide everything; for which trial would you make the
most preparation, for which retain the ablest attorneys, for which be
most anxious about the attendance of witnesses? You would put all the
stress upon the second trial, all the anxiety, all the expenditure,
saying, "The first is nothing, the last is everything." Give the race
assurance of a second and more important trial in the subsequent life,
and all the preparation for eternity would be _post-mortem_,
post-funeral, post-sepulchral, and the world with one jerk be pitched
off into impiety and godlessness.

Furthermore, let me ask why a chance should be given in the next world
if we have refused innumerable chances in this? Suppose you give a
banquet, and you invite a vast number of friends, but one man declines
to come, or treats your invitation with indifference. You in the
course of twenty years give twenty banquets, and the same man is
invited to them all, and treats them all in the same obnoxious way.
After awhile you remove to another house, larger and better, and you
again invite your friends, but send no invitation to the man who
declined or neglected the other invitations. Are you to blame? Has he
a right to expect to be invited after all the indignities he has done
you? God in this world has invited us all to the banquet of His grace.
He invited us by His Providence and His Spirit three hundred and
sixty-five days of every year since we knew our right hand from our
left. If we declined it every time, or treated the invitation with
indifference, and gave twenty or forty or fifty years of indignity on
our part toward the Banqueter, and at last He spreads the banquet in a
more luxurious and kingly place, amid the heavenly gardens, have we a
right to expect Him to invite us again, and have we a right to blame
Him if He does not invite us?

If twelve gates of salvation stood open twenty years or fifty years
for our admission, and at the end of that time they are closed, can we
complain of it and say, "These gates ought to be open again. Give us
another chance"? If the steamer is to sail for Hamburg, and we want to
get to Germany by that line, and we read in every evening and every
morning newspaper that it will sail on a certain day, for two weeks we
have that advertisement before our eyes, and then we go down to the
docks fifteen minutes after it has shoved off into the stream and say:
"Come back. Give me another chance. It is not fair to treat me in this
way. Swing up to the dock again, and throw out planks, and let me come
on board." Such behavior would invite arrest as a madman.

And if, after the Gospel ship has lain at anchor before our eyes for
years and years, and all the benign voices of earth and heaven have
urged us to get on board, as she might sail away at any moment, and
after awhile she sails without us, is it common sense to expect her to
come back? You might as well go out on the Highlands at Neversink and
call to the "Aurania" after she has been three days out, and expect
her to return, as to call back an opportunity for heaven when it once
has sped away. All heaven offered us as a gratuity, and for a
life-time we refuse to take it, and then rush on the bosses of
Jehovah's buckler demanding another chance. There ought to be, there
can be, there will be no such thing as posthumous opportunity. Thus,
our common sense agrees with my text--"If the tree fall toward the
south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there
it shall be."

You see that this idea lifts this world up from an unimportant
way-station to a platform of stupendous issues, and makes all eternity
whirl around this hour. But one trial for which all the preparation
must be made in this world, or never made at all. That piles up all
the emphases and all the climaxes and all the destinies into life
here. No other chance! Oh, how that augments the value and the
importance of this chance!

Alexander with his army used to surround a city, and then would lift a
great light in token to the people that, if they surrendered before
that light went out, all would be well; but if once the light went
out, then the battering-rams would swing against the wall, and
demolition and disaster would follow. Well, all we need do for our
present and everlasting safety is to make surrender to Christ, the
King and Conqueror--surrender of our hearts, surrender of our lives,
surrender of everything. And He keeps a great light burning, light of
Gospel invitation, light kindled with the wood of the cross and
flaming up against the dark night of our sin and sorrow. Surrender
while that great light continues to burn, for after it goes out there
will be no other opportunity of making peace with God through our Lord
Jesus Christ. Talk of another chance! Why, this is a supernal chance!

In the time of Edward the Sixth, at the battle of Musselburgh, a
private soldier, seeing that the Earl of Huntley had lost his helmet,
took off his own helmet and put it upon the head of the earl; and the
head of the private soldier uncovered, he was soon slain, while his
commander rode safely out of the battle. But in our case, instead of a
private soldier offering helmet to an earl, it is a King putting His
crown upon an unworthy subject, the King dying that we might live.
Tell it to all points of the compass. Tell it to night and day. Tell
it to all earth and heaven. Tell it to all centuries, all ages, all
millenniums, that we have such a magnificent chance in this world that
we need no other chance in the next.

I am in the burnished Judgment Hall of the Last Day. A great white
throne is lifted, but the Judge has not yet taken it. While we are
waiting for His arrival I hear immortal spirits in conversation. "What
are you waiting here for?" says a soul that went up from Madagascar to
a soul that ascended from America. The latter says: "I came from
America, where forty years I heard the Gospel preached, and Bible
read, and from the prayer that I learned in infancy at my mother's
knee until my last hour I had Gospel advantage, but, for some reason,
I did not make the Christian choice, and I am here waiting for the
Judge to give me a new trial and another chance." "Strange!" says the
other; "I had but one Gospel call in Madagascar, and I accepted it,
and I do not need another chance."

"Why are you here?" says one who on earth had feeblest intellect to
one who had great brain, and silvery tongue, and scepters of
influence. The latter responds: "Oh, I knew more than my fellows. I
mastered libraries, and had learned titles from colleges, and my name
was a synonym for eloquence and power. And yet I neglected my soul,
and I am here waiting for a new trial." "Strange," says the one of the
feeble earthly capacity; "I knew but little of worldly knowledge, but
I knew Christ, and made Him my partner, and I have no need of another
chance."

Now the ground trembles with the approaching chariot. The great
folding-doors of the Hall swing open. "Stand back!" cry the celestial
ushers. "Stand back, and let the Judge of quick and dead pass
through!" He takes the throne, and, looking over the throng of
nations, He says: "Come to judgment, the last judgment, the only
judgment!" By one flash from the throne all the history of each one
flames forth to the vision of himself and all others. "Divide!" says
the Judge to the assembly. "Divide!" echo the walls. "Divide!" cry the
guards angelic.

And now the immortals separate, rushing this way and that, and after
awhile there is a great aisle between them, and a great vacuum
widening and widening, and the Judge, turning to the throng on one
side, says: "He that is righteous, let him be righteous still, and he
that is holy, let him be holy still;" and then, turning toward the
throng on the opposite side, He says: "He that is unjust, let him be
unjust still, and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still;" and
then, lifting one hand toward each group, He declares: "If the tree
fall toward the south or toward the north, in the place where the
tree falleth, there it shall be." And then I hear something jar with a
great sound. It is the closing of the Book of Judgment. The Judge
ascends the stairs behind the throne. The hall of the last assize is
cleared and shut. The high court of eternity is adjourned forever.



THE LORD'S RAZOR.

    "In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is
    hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the King of
    Assyria."--ISAIAH vii: 20.


The Bible is the boldest book ever written. There are no similitudes
in Ossian or the Iliad or the Odyssey so daring. Its imagery sometimes
seems on the verge of the reckless, but only seems so. The fact is
that God would startle and arouse and propel men and nations. A tame
and limping similitude would fail to accomplish the object. While
there are times when He employs in the Bible the gentle dew and the
morning cloud and the dove and the daybreak in the presentation of
truth, we often find the iron chariot, the lightning, the earthquake,
the spray, the sword, and, in my text, the razor.

This keen-bladed instrument has advanced in usefulness with the ages.
In Bible times and lands the beard remained uncut save in the seasons
of mourning and humiliation, but the razor was always a suggestive
symbol. David says of Doeg, his antagonist: "Thy tongue is a sharp
razor working deceitfully;" that is, it pretends to clear the face,
but is really used for deadly incision. In this morning's text the
weapon of the toilet appears under the following circumstances: Judea
needed to have some of its prosperities cut off, and God sends
against it three Assyrian kings--first Sennacherib, then Esrahaddon,
and afterward Nebuchadnezzar. Those three sharp invasions, that cut
down the glory of Judea, are compared to so many sweeps of the razor
across the face of the land. And these circumstances were called a
hired razor because God took the kings of Assyria, with whom He had no
sympathy, to do the work, and paid them in palaces and spoils and
annexations. These kings were hired to execute the divine behests. And
now the text, which on its first reading may have seemed trivial or
inapt, is charged with momentous import: "In the same day shall the
Lord shave with a razor that is hired--namely, by them beyond the
river, by the King of Assyria."

Well, if God's judgments are razors, we had better be careful how we
use them on other people. In careful sheath these domestic weapons are
put away, where no one by accident may touch them, and where the hands
of children may not reach them. Such instruments must be carefully
handled or not handled at all. But how recklessly some people wield
the judgments of God! If a man meet with business misfortune, how many
there are ready to cry out: "That is a judgment of God upon him
because he was unscrupulous, or arrogant, or overreaching, or miserly.
I thought he would get cut down! What a clean sweep of everything! His
city house and country house gone! His stables emptied of all the fine
bays and sorrels and grays that used to prance by his door! All his
resources overthrown, and all that he prided himself on tumbled into
demolition! Good for him!" Stop, my brother. Don't sling around too
freely the judgments of God, for they are razors.

Some of the most wicked business men succeed, and they live and die in
prosperity, and some of the most honest and conscientious are driven
into bankruptcy. Perhaps his manner was unfortunate, and he was not
really as proud as he looked to be. Some of those who carry their head
erect and look imperial are humble as a child, while many a man in
seedy coat and slouch hat and unblacked shoes is as proud as Lucifer.
You can not tell by a man's look. Perhaps he was not unscrupulous in
business, for there are two sides to every story, and everybody that
accomplishes anything for himself or others gets industriously lied
about. Perhaps his business misfortune was not a punishment, but the
fatherly discipline to prepare him for heaven, and God may love him
far more than He loves you, who can pay dollar for dollar, and are put
down in the commercial catalogues as A1. Whom the Lord loveth He gives
four hundred thousand dollars and lets die on embroidered pillows? No:
whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. Better keep your hand off the
Lord's razors, lest they cut and wound people that do not deserve it.
If you want to shave off some of the bristling pride of your own heart
do so; but be very careful how you put the sharp edge on others.

How I do dislike the behavior of those persons who, when people are
unfortunate, say: "I told you so--getting punished--served him right."
If those I-told-you-so's got their desert they would long ago have
been pitched over the battlements. The mote in their neighbor's
eyes--so small that it takes a microscope to find it--gives them more
trouble than the beam which obscures their own optics. With air
sometimes supercilious and sometimes Pharisaical, and always
blasphemous, they take the razor of the divine judgment and sharpen it
on the hone of their own hard hearts, and then go to work on men
sprawled out at full length under disaster, cutting mercilessly. They
begin by soft expressions of sympathy and pity and half praise, and,
lather the victim all over before they put on the sharp edge.

Let us be careful how we shoot at others lest we take down the wrong
one, remembering the servant of King William Rufus who shot at a deer,
but the arrow glanced against a tree and killed the king. Instead of
going out with shafts to pierce, and razors to cut, we had better
imitate the friend of Richard Coeur de Lion, who, in the war of the
Crusades, was captured and imprisoned, but none of his friends knew
where. So his loyal friend went around the land from stronghold to
stronghold, and sung at each window a snatch of song that Richard
Coeur de Lion had taught him in other days. And one day, coming before
a jail where he suspected his king might be incarcerated, he sung two
lines of song, and immediately King Richard responded from his cell
with the other two lines, and so his whereabouts were discovered, and
immediately a successful movement was made for his liberation. So let
us go up and down the world with the music of kind words and
sympathetic hearts, serenading the unfortunate, and trying to get out
of trouble men who had noble natures, but, by unforeseen
circumstances, have been incarcerated, thus liberating kings. More
hymn-book and less razor.

Especially ought we to be apologetic and merciful toward those who,
while they have great faults, have also great virtues. Some people are
barren of virtues. No weeds verily, but no flowers. I must not be too
much enraged at a nettle along the fence if it be in a field
containing forty acres of ripe Michigan wheat. At the present time,
naturalists tell us, there is on the sun a spot twenty thousand miles
long, but from the brightness and warmth I conclude it is a good deal
of a sun yet.

Again, when I read in my text that the Lord shaves with the hired
razor of Assyria the land of Judea, I bethink myself of the precision
of God's providence. A razor swung the tenth part of an inch out of
the right line means either failure or laceration, but God's dealings
never slip, and they do not miss by the thousandth part of an inch the
right direction. People talk as though things in this world were at
loose ends. Cholera sweeps across Marseilles and Madrid and Palermo,
and we watch anxiously. Will the epidemic sweep Europe and America?
People say, "That will entirely depend on whether inoculation is a
successful experiment; that will depend entirely on quarantine
regulations; that will depend on the early or late appearance of
frost; that epidemic is pitched into the world, and it goes blundering
across the continents, and it is all guess-work and an appalling
perhaps."

My friends, I think, perhaps, that God had something to do with it,
and that His mercy may have in some way protected us--that He may have
done as much for us as the quarantine and the health officers. It was
right and a necessity that all caution should be used, but there has
come enough macaroni from Italy, and enough grapes from the south of
France, and enough rags from tatterdemalions, and hidden in these
articles of transportation enough choleraic germs to have left by this
time all Brooklyn mourning at Greenwood, and all Philadelphia at
Laurel Hill, and all Boston at Mount Auburn. I thank all the doctors
and quarantines; but, more than all, and first of all, and last of
all, and all the time, I thank God. In all the six thousand years of
the world's existence there has not one thing merely "happened so."
God is not an anarchist, but a King, a Father.

When little Tod, the son of President Lincoln, died, all the land
sympathized with the sorrow in the White House. He used to rush into
the room where the cabinet was in session, and while the most eminent
men of the land were discussing the questions of national existence.
But the child had no care about those questions. Now God the Father,
and God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost are in perpetual session in
regard to this world and kindred worlds. Shall you, His child, rush in
to criticise or arraign or condemn the divine government? No; the
Cabinet of the Eternal Three can govern and will govern in the wisest
and best way, and there never will be a mistake, and like razor
skillfully swung, shall cut that which ought to be cut, and avoid that
which ought to be avoided. Precision to the very hair-breadth. Earthly
time-pieces may get out of order and strike wrong, saying that it is
one o'clock when it is two, or two when it is three. God's clock is
always right, and when it is one it strikes one, and when it is twelve
it strikes twelve, and the second hand is as accurate as the minute
hand.

Further, my text tells us that God sometimes shaves nations: "In the
same day shall the Lord shave with the razor that is hired." With one
sharp sweep He went across Judea and down went its pride and its
power. In 1861 God shaved our nation. We had allowed to grow Sabbath
desecration, and oppression, and blasphemy, and fraud, and impurity,
and all sorts of turpitude. The South had its sins, and the North its
sins, and the East its sins, and the West its sins. We had been warned
again and again, and we did not heed. At length the sword of war cut
from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf, and from Atlantic seaboard to
Pacific seaboard. The pride of the land, not the cowards, but the
heroes, on both sides went down. And that which we took for the sword
of war was the Lord's razor.

In 1862, again, it went across the land. In 1863 again. In 1864 again.
Then the sharp instrument was incased and put away. Never in the
history of the ages was any land more thoroughly shaved than during
those four years of civil combat; and, my brethren, if we do not quit
some of our individual sins, national sins, the Lord will again take
us in hand. He has other razors within reach besides war: epidemics,
droughts, deluges, plagues--grasshopper and locust; or our
overtowering success may so far excite the jealousy of other lands
that, under some pretext, the great nations of Europe and Asia may
combine to put us down. This nation, so easily approached on north
and south and from both oceans, might have on hand at once more
hostilities than were ever arrayed against any power.

We have recently been told by skillful engineers that all our
fortresses around New York harbor could not keep the shells from being
hurled from the sea into the heart of these great cities. Insulated
China, the wealthiest of all nations, as will be realized when her
resources are developed, will have adopted all the modes of modern
warfare, and at the Golden Gate may be discussing whether Americans
must go. If the combined jealousies of Europe and Asia should come
upon us, we should have more work on hand than would be pleasant. I
hope no such combination against us will ever be formed, but I want to
show that, as Assyria was the hired razor against Judea, and Cyrus the
hired razor against Babylon, and the Huns the hired razor against the
Goths, there are now many razors that the Lord could hire if, because
of our national sins, He should undertake to shave us. In 1870,
Germany was the razor with which the Lord shaved France. England is
the razor with which very shortly the Lord will shave Russia. But
nations are to repent in a day. May a speedy and world-wide coming to
God hinder, on both sides the sea, all national calamity. But do not
let us, as a nation, either by unrighteous law at Washington, or bad
lives among ourselves, defy the Almighty.

One would think that our national symbol of the eagle might sometimes
suggest another eagle, that which ancient Rome carried. In the talons
of that eagle were clutched at one time Britain, France, Spain, Italy,
Dalmatia, Rhactia, Noricum, Pannonia, Moesia, Dacia, Thrace,
Macedonia, Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, Egypt, and
all Northern Africa, and all the islands of the Mediterranean, indeed,
all the world that was worth having, an hundred and twenty millions of
people under the wings of that one eagle. Where is she now? Ask
Gibbon, the historian, in his prose poem, the "Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire." Ask her gigantic ruins straggling their sadness through
the ages, the screech owl at windows out of which world-wide
conquerors looked. Ask the day of judgment when her crowned
debauchees, Commodus and Pertinax, and Caligula and Diocletian, shall
answer for their infamy? As men and as nations let us repent, and have
our trust in a pardoning God, rather than depend on former successes
for immunity! Out of thirteen greatest battles of the world, Napoleon
had lost but one before Waterloo. Pride and destruction often ride in
the same saddle.

But notice once more, and more than all in my text, that God is so
kind and loving, that when it is necessary for Him to cut, He has to
go to others for the sharp-edged weapon. "In the same day shall the
Lord shave with a razor that is hired." God is love. God is pity. God
is help. God is shelter. God is rescue. There are no sharp edges about
Him, no thrusting points, no instruments of laceration. If you want
balm for wounds, He has that. If you want salve for divine eyesight,
He has that. But if there is sharp and cutting work to do which
requires a razor, that He hires. God has nothing about Him that hurts,
save when dire necessity demands, and then He has to go clear off to
some one else to get the instrument.

This divine geniality will be no novelty to those who have pondered
the Calvarean massacre, where God submerged Himself in human tears,
and crimsoned Himself from punctured arteries, and let the terrestrial
and infernal worlds maul Him until the chandeliers of the sky had to
be turned out, because the universe could not endure the indecency.
Illustrious for love He must have been to take all that as our
substitute, paying out of His own heart the price of our admission at
the gates of heaven.

King Henry II., of England, crowned his son as king, and on the day of
coronation put on a servant's garb and waited, he, the king, at the
son's table, to the astonishment of all the princes. But we know of a
more wondrous scene, the King of heaven and earth offering to put on
you, His child, the crown of life, and in the form of a servant
waiting on you with blessing. Extol that love, all painting, all
sculpture, all music, all architecture, all worship! In Dresdenian
gallery let Raphael hold Him up as a child, and in Antwerp Cathedral
let Rubens hand Him down from the cross as a martyr, and Handel make
all his oratorio vibrate around that one chord--"He was wounded for
our transgressions, bruised for our iniquity." But not until all the
redeemed get home, and from the countenances of all the piled-up
galleries of the ransomed shall be revealed the wonders of redemption,
shall either man or seraph or archangel know the height, and depth,
and length, and breadth of the love of God.

At our national capital, a monument in honor of him who did more than
any one to achieve our American Independence, was for scores of years
in building, and most of us were discouraged and said it never would
be completed. And how glad we all were when in the presence of the
highest officials of the nation, the work was done! But will the
monument to Him who died for the eternal liberation of the human race
ever be completed? For ages the work has been going up; evangelists
and apostles and martyrs have been adding to the heavenly pile, and
every one of the millions of the redeemed going up from earth, has
made to it contribution of gladness, and weight of glory is swung to
the top of other weight of glory, higher and higher as the centuries
go by, higher and higher as the whole millenniums roll, sapphire on
the top of jasper, sardonyx on the top of chalcedony, and chrysoprasus
above topaz, until, far beneath shall be the walls and towers and
domes of the great capitol, a monument forever and forever rising, and
yet never done. "Unto Him who hath loved us and washed us from our
sins in His own blood, and made us kings and priests forever."

Allelujah, amen.



WINDOWS TOWARD JERUSALEM.

    "His windows being open and his chamber toward
    Jerusalem."--DAN. vi: 10.


The scoundrelly princes of Persia, urged on by political jealousy
against Daniel, have succeeded in getting a law passed that whosoever
prays to God shall be put under the paws and teeth of the lions, who
are lashing themselves in rage and hunger up and down the stone cage,
or putting their lower jaws on the ground, bellowing till the earth
trembles. But the leonine threat did not hinder the devotion of
Daniel, the Coeur-de-Lion of the ages. His enemies might as well have
a law that the sun should not draw water or that the south wind should
not sweep across a garden of magnolias or that God should be
abolished. They could not scare him with the red-hot furnaces, and
they can not now scare him with the lions. As soon as Daniel hears of
this enactment he leaves his office of Secretary of State, with its
upholstery of crimson and gold, and comes down the white marble steps
and goes to his own house. He opens his window and puts the shutters
back and pulls the curtain aside so that he can look toward the sacred
city of Jerusalem, and then prays.

I suppose the people in the street gathered under and before his
window, and said: "Just see that man defying the law; he ought to be
arrested." And the constabulary of the city rush to the police
head-quarters and report that Daniel is on his knees at the wide-open
window. "You are my prisoner," says the officer of the law, dropping a
heavy hand on the shoulder of the kneeling Daniel. As the constables
open the door of the cavern to thrust in their prisoner, they see the
glaring eyes of the monsters. But Daniel becomes the first lion-tamer,
and they lick his hand and fawn at his feet, and that night he sleeps
with the shaggy mane of a wild beast for his pillow, while the king
that night, sleepless in the palace, has on him the paw and teeth of a
lion he can not tame--the lion of a remorseful conscience.

What a picture it would be for some artist; Darius, in the early dusk
of morning, not waiting for footmen or chariot, hastening to the den,
all flushed and nervous and in dishabille, and looking through the
crevices of the cage to see what had become of his prime-minister!
"What, no sound!" he says: "Daniel is surely devoured, and the lions
are sleeping after their horrid meal, the bones of the poor man
scattered across the floor of the cavern." With trembling voice Darius
calls out, "Daniel!" No answer, for the prophet is yet in profound
slumber. But a lion, more easily awakened, advances, and, with hot
breath blown through the crevice, seems angrily to demand the cause of
this interruption, and then another wild beast lifts his mane from
under Daniel's head, and the prophet, waking up, comes forth to report
himself all unhurt and well.

But our text stands us at Daniel's window, open toward Jerusalem. Why
in that direction open? Jerusalem was his native land, and all the
pomp of his Babylonish successes could not make him forget it. He
came there from Jerusalem at eighteen years of age, and he never
visited it, though he lived to be eighty-five years. Yet, when he
wanted to arouse the deepest emotions and grandest aspirations of his
heart, he had his window open toward his native Jerusalem. There are
many of you to-day who understand that without any exposition. This is
getting to be a nation of foreigners. They have come into all
occupations and professions. They sit in all churches. It may be
twenty years ago since you got your naturalization papers, and you may
be thoroughly Americanized, but you can't forget the land of your
birth, and your warmest sympathies go out toward it. Your windows are
open toward Jerusalem. Your father and mother are buried there. It may
have been a very humble home in which you were born, but your memory
often plays around it, and you hope some day to go and see it--the
hill, the tree, the brook, the house, the place so sacred, the door
from which you started off with parental blessing to make your own way
in the world; and God only knows how sometimes you have longed to see
the familiar places of your childhood, and how in awful crises of life
you would like to have caught a glimpse of the old, wrinkled face that
bent over you as you lay on the gentle lap twenty or forty or fifty
years ago. You may have on this side of the sea risen in fortune, and,
like Daniel, have become great, and may have come into prosperities
which you never could have reached if you had stayed there, and you
may have many windows to your house--bay-windows, and
sky-light-windows, and windows of conservatory, and windows on all
sides--but you have at least one window open toward Jerusalem.

When the foreign steamer comes to the wharf, you see the long line of
sailors, with shouldered mail-bags, coming down the planks, carrying
as many letters as you might suppose would be enough for a year's
correspondence, and this repeated again and again during the week.
Multitudes of them are letters from home, and at all the post-offices
of the land people will go to the window and anxiously ask for them,
hundreds of thousands of persons finding that window of foreign mails
the open window toward Jerusalem. Messages that say: "When are you
coming home to see us? Brother has gone into the army. Sister is dead.
Father and mother are getting very feeble. We are having a great
struggle to get on here. Would you advise us to come to you, or will
you come to us? All join in love, and hope to meet you, if not in this
world, then in a better. Good-bye."

Yes, yes; in all these cities, and amid the flowering western
prairies, and on the slopes of the Pacific, and amid the Sierras, and
on the banks of the lagoon, and on the ranches of Texas there is an
uncounted multitude who, this hour, stand and sit and kneel with their
windows open toward Jerusalem. Some of them played on the heather of
the Scottish hills. Some of them were driven out by Irish famine. Some
of them, in early life, drilled in the German army. Some of them were
accustomed at Lyons or Marseilles or Paris to see on the street Victor
Hugo and Gambetta. Some chased the chamois among the Alpine
precipices. Some plucked the ripe clusters from Italian vineyard.
Some lifted their faces under the midnight sun of Norway. It is no
dishonor to our land that they remember the place of their nativity.
Miscreants would they be if, while they have some of their windows
open to take in the free air of America and the sunlight of an
atmosphere which no kingly despot has ever breathed, they forgot
sometime to open the window toward Jerusalem.

No wonder that the son of the Swiss, when far away from home, hearing
the national air of his country sung, the malady of home-sickness
comes on him so powerfully as to cause his death. You have the example
of the heroic Daniel of my text for keeping early memories fresh.
Forget not the old folks at home. Write often; and, if you have
surplus of means and they are poor, make practical contribution, and
rejoice that America is bound to all the world by ties of sanguinity
as is no other nation. Who can doubt but it is appointed for the
evangelization of other lands? What a stirring, melting, gospelizing
theory that all the doors of other nations are open toward us, while
our windows are open toward them!

But Daniel, in the text, kept this port-hole of his domestic fortress
unclosed because Jerusalem was the capital of sacred influences. There
had smoked the sacrifice. There was the Holy of Holies. There was the
Ark of the Covenant. There stood the temple. We are all tempted to
keep our windows open on the opposite side, toward the world, that we
may see and hear and appropriate its advantages. What does the world
say? What does the world think? What does the world do? Worshipers of
the world instead of worshipers of God. Windows open toward Babylon.
Windows open toward Corinth. Windows open toward Athens. Windows open
toward Sodom. Windows open toward the flats, instead of windows open
toward the hills. Sad mistake, for this world as a god is like
something I saw the other day in the museum of Strasburg, Germany--the
figure of a virgin in wood and iron. The victim in olden time was
brought there, and this figure would open its arms to receive him,
and, once infolded, the figure closed with a hundred knives and lances
upon him, and then let him drop one hundred and eighty feet sheer
down. So the world first embraces its idolaters, then closes upon them
with many tortures, and then lets them drop forever down. The highest
honor the world could confer was to make a man Roman emperor; but, out
of sixty-three emperors, it allowed only six to die peacefully in
their beds.

The dominion of this world over multitudes is illustrated by the names
of coins of many countries. They have their pieces of money which they
call sovereigns and half sovereigns, crowns and half crowns, Napoleons
and half Napoleons, Fredericks and double Fredericks, and ducats, and
Isabellinos, all of which names mean not so much usefulness as
dominion. The most of our windows open toward the exchange, toward the
salon of fashion, toward the god of this world. In olden times the
length of the English yard was fixed by the length of the arm of King
Henry I., and we are apt to measure things by a variable standard and
by the human arm that in the great crises of life can give us no help.
We need, like Daniel, to open our windows toward God and religion.

But, mark you, that good lion-tamer is not standing at the window, but
kneeling, while he looks out. Most photographs are taken of those in
standing or sitting posture. I now remember but one picture of a man
kneeling, and that was David Livingstone, who in the cause of God and
civilization sacrificed himself; and in the heart of Africa his
servant, Majwara, found him in the tent by the light of a candle,
stuck on the top of a box, his head in his hands upon the pillow, and
dead on his knees. But here is a great lion-tamer, living under the
dash of the light, and his hair disheveled of the breeze, praying. The
fact is, that a man can see further on his knees than standing on
tiptoe. Jerusalem was about five hundred and fifty statute miles from
Babylon, and the vast Arabian Desert shifted its sands between them.
Yet through that open window Daniel saw Jerusalem, saw all between it,
saw beyond, saw time, saw eternity, saw earth, and saw heaven. Would
you like to see the way through your sins to pardon, through your
troubles to comfort, through temptation to rescue, through dire
sickness to immortal health, through night to day, through things
terrestrial to things celestial, you will not see them till you take
Daniel's posture. No cap of bone to the joints of the fingers, no cap
of bone to the joints of the elbow, but cap of bone to the knees, made
so because the God of the body was the God of the soul, and especial
provision for those who want to pray, and physiological structure
joins with spiritual necessity in bidding us pray, and pray, and pray.

In olden time the Earl of Westmoreland said he had no need to pray,
because he had enough pious tenants on his estate to pray for him;
but all the prayers of the church universal amount to nothing unless,
like Daniel, we pray for ourselves. Oh, men and women, bounded on one
side by Shadrach's red-hot furnace, and the other side by devouring
lions, learn the secret of courage and deliverance by looking at that
Babylonish window open toward the south-west! "Oh," you say, "that is
the direction of the Arabian Desert!" Yes; but on the other side of
the desert is God, is Christ, is Jerusalem, is heaven.

The Brussels lace is superior to all other lace, so beautiful, so
multiform, so expensive--four hundred francs a pound. All the world
seeks it. Do you know how it is made? The spinning is done in a dark
room, the only light admitted through a small aperture, and that light
falling directly on the pattern. And the finest specimens of Christian
character I have ever seen or ever expect to see are those to be found
in lives all of whose windows have been darkened by bereavement and
misfortune save one, but under that one window of prayer the
interlacing of divine workmanship went on until it was fit to deck a
throne, a celestial embroidery which angels admired and God approved.

But it is another Jerusalem toward which we now need to open our
windows. The exiled evangelist of Ephesus saw it one day as the surf
of the Icarian sea foamed and splashed over the bowlders at his feet,
and his vision reminded me of a wedding-day when the bride by sister
and maid was having garlands twisted for her hair and jewels strung
for her neck just before she puts her betrothed hand into the hand of
her affianced: "I, John, saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming
down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her
husband." Toward that bridal Jerusalem are our windows opened?

We would do well to think more of heaven. It is not a mere annex of
earth. It is not a desolate outpost. As Jerusalem was the capital of
Judae, and Babylon the capital of the Babylonian monarchy, and London
is the capital of Great Britain, and Washington is the capital of our
own republic, the New Jerusalem is the capital of the universe. The
king lives there, and the royal family of the redeemed have their
palaces there, and there is a congress of many nations and the
parliament of all the worlds. Yea, as Daniel had kindred in Jerusalem
of whom he often thought, though he had left home when a very young
man, perhaps father and mother and brothers and sisters still living,
and was homesick to see them, and they belonged to the high circles of
royalty, Daniel himself having royal blood in his veins, so we have in
the New Jerusalem a great many kindred, and we are sometimes homesick
to see them, and they are all princes and princesses, in them the
blood imperial, and we do well to keep our windows open toward their
eternal residence.

It is a joy for us to believe that while we are interested in them
they are interested in us. Much thought of heaven makes one heavenly.
The airs that blow through that open window are charged with life, and
sweep up to us aromas from gardens that never wither, under skies that
never cloud, in a spring-tide that never terminates. Compared with it
all other heavens are dead failures.

Homer's heaven was an elysium which he describes as a plain at the
end of the earth or beneath, with no snow nor rainfall, and the sun
never goes down, and Rhadamanthus, the justest of men, rules. Hesiod's
heaven is what he calls the islands of the blessed, in the midst of
the ocean, three times a year blooming with most exquisite flowers,
and the air is tinted with purple, while games and music and
horse-races occupy the time. The Scandinavian's heaven was the hall of
Walhalla, where the god Odin gave unending wine-suppers to earthly
heroes and heroines. The Mohammedan's heaven passes its disciples in
over the bridge Al-Sirat, which is finer than a hair and sharper than
a sword, and then they are let loose into a riot of everlasting
sensuality.

The American aborigines look forward to a heaven of illimitable
hunting-ground, partridge and deer and wild duck more than plentiful,
and the hounds never off the scent, and the guns never missing fire.
But the geographer has followed the earth round, and found no Homer's
elysium. Voyagers have traversed the deep in all directions, and found
no Hesiod's islands of the blessed. The Mohammedan's celestial
debauchery and the Indian's eternal hunting-ground for vast multitudes
have no charm. But here rolls in the Bible heaven. No more sea--that
is, no wide separation. No more night--that is, no insomnia. No more
tears--that is, no heart-break. No more pain--that is, dismissal of
lancet and bitter draught and miasma, and banishment of neuralgias and
catalepsies and consumptions. All colors in the wall except gloomy
black; all the music in the major-key, because celebrative and
jubilant. River crystalline, gate crystalline, and skies crystalline,
because everything is clear and without doubt. White robes, and that
means sinlessness. Vials full of odors, and that means pure regalement
of the senses. Rainbow, and that means the storm is over. Marriage
supper, and that means gladdest festivity. Twelve manner of fruits,
and that means luscious and unending variety. Harp, trumpet, grand
march, anthem, amen, and hallelujah in the same orchestra. Choral
meeting solo, and overture meeting antiphon, and strophe joining
dithyramb, as they roll into the ocean of doxologies. And you and I
may have all that, and have it forever through Christ, if we will let
Him with the blood of one wounded hand rub out our sin, and with the
other wounded hand swing open the shining portals.

Day and night keep your window open toward that Jerusalem. Sing about
it. Pray about it. Think about it. Talk about it. Dream about it. Do
not be inconsolable about your friends who have gone into it. Do not
worry if something in your heart indicates that you are not far off
from its ecstasies. Do not think that when a Christian dies he stops,
for he goes on.

An ingenious man has taken the heavenly furlongs as mentioned in
Revelation, and has calculated that there will be in heaven one
hundred rooms sixteen feet square for each ascending soul, though this
world should lose a hundred millions yearly. But all the rooms of
heaven will be ours, for they are family rooms; and as no room in your
house is too good for your children, so all the rooms of all the
palaces of the heavenly Jerusalem will be free to God's children and
even the throne-room will not be denied, and you may run up the steps
of the throne, and put your hand on the side of the throne, and sit
down beside the king according to the promise: "To him that overcometh
will I grant to sit with me in my throne."

But you can not go in except as conquerors. Many years ago the Turks
and Christians were in battle, and the Christians were defeated, and
with their commander Stephen fled toward a fortress where the mother
of this commander was staying. When she saw her son and his army in
disgraceful retreat, she had the gates of the fortress rolled shut,
and then from the top of the battlement cried out to her son, "You can
not enter here except as conqueror!" Then Stephen rallied his forces
and resumed the battle and gained the day, twenty thousand driving
back two hundred thousand. For those who are defeated in the battle
with sin and death and hell nothing but shame and contempt; but for
those who gain the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ the gates of
the New Jerusalem will hoist, and there shall be an abundant entrance
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord, toward which you do well to
keep your windows open.



STORMED AND TAKEN.

    "And Abimelech gat him up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the
    people that were with him, and Abimelech took an ax in his
    hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and
    laid it on his shoulder.... And all the people likewise cut
    down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them
    to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all
    the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand
    men and women."--JUDGES ix: 48, 49.


Abimelech is a name malodorous in Bible history, and yet full of
profitable suggestion. Buoys are black and uncomely, but they tell
where the rocks are. The snake's rattle is hideous, but it gives
timely warning. From the piazza of my summer home, night by night I
saw a lighthouse fifteen miles away, not placed there for adornment,
but to tell mariners to stand off from that dangerous point. So all
the iron-bound coast of moral danger is marked with Saul, and Herod,
and Rehoboam, and Jezebel, and Abimelech. These bad people are
mentioned in the Bible, not only as warnings, but because there were
sometimes flashes of good conduct in their lives worthy of imitation.
God sometimes drives a very straight nail with a very poor hammer.

The city of Shechem had to be taken, and Abimelech and his men were to
do it. I see the dust rolling up from their excited march. I hear the
shouting of the captains and the yell of the besiegers. The swords
clack sharply on the parrying shields, and the vociferation of two
armies in death-grapple is horrible to hear. The battle goes on all
day, and as the sun is setting Abimelech and his army cry "Surrender!"
to the beaten foe. And, unable longer to resist, the city of Shechem
falls; and there are pools of blood, and dissevered limbs, and glazed
eyes looking up beggingly for mercy that war never shows, and dying
soldiers with their head on the lap of mother, or wife, or sister, who
have come out for the last offices of kindness and affection: and a
groan rolls across the city, stopping not, because there is no spot
for it to rest, so full is the place of other groans. A city wounded!
A city dying! A city dead! Wail for Shechem, all ye who know the
horrors of a sacked town!

As I look over the city I can find only one building standing, and
that is the temple of the god Berith. Some soldiers outside of the
city, in a tower, finding that they can no longer defend Shechem, now
begin to look out for their own personal safety, and they fly to this
temple of Berith. They get within the door, shut it, and they say,
"Now we are safe. Abimelech has taken the whole city, but he can not
take this temple of Berith. Here we shall be under the protection of
the gods." Oh, Berith, the god! do your best now for these refugees.
If you have eyes, pity them. If you have hands, help them. If you have
thunderbolts, strike for them.

But how shall Abimelech and his army take this temple of Berith and
the men who are there fortified? Will they do it with sword? Nay.
Will they do it with spear? Nay. With battering-ram, rolled up by
hundred-armed strength, crashing against the walls? Nay. Abimelech
marches his men to a wood in Zalmon. With his ax he hews off a limb of
a tree, and puts that limb upon his own shoulder, and then he says to
his men, "You do the same." They are obedient to their commander.

Oh, what a strange army, with what strange equipment! They come to the
foot of the temple of Berith, and Abimelech takes his limb of a tree
and throws it down; and the first platoon of soldiers come up and they
throw down their branches; and the second platoon, and the third,
until all around about the temple of Berith there is a pile of
tree-branches. The Shechemites look out from the windows of the temple
upon what seems to them childish play on the part of their enemies.
But soon the flints are struck, and the spark begins to kindle the
brush, and the flame comes up all through the pile, and the red
elements leap to the casement, and the woodwork begins to blaze, and
one arm of flame is thrown up on the right side of the temple, and
another arm of flame is thrown up on the left side of the temple,
until they clasp their lurid palms under the wild night sky, and the
cry of "Fire!" within, and "Fire!" without announces the terror, and
the strangulation, and the doom of the Shechemites, and the complete
overthrow of the temple of the god Berith. Then there went up a shout,
long and loud, from the stout lungs and swarthy chests of Abimelech
and his men, as they stood amid the ashes and the dust, crying:
"Victory! Victory!"

Now, I learn first from this subject the folly of depending upon any
one form of tactics in anything we have to do for this world or for
God. Look over the weaponry of olden times--javelins, battle-axes,
habergeons--and show me a single weapon with which Abimelech and his
men could have gained such complete victory. It is no easy thing to
take a temple thus armed. I saw a house where, during revolutionary
times, a man and his wife kept back a whole regiment hour after hour,
because they were inside the house, and the assaulting soldiers were
outside the house. Yet here Abimelech and his army come up, they
surround this temple, and they capture it without the loss of a single
man on the part of Abimelech, although I suppose some of the old
Israelitish heroes told Abimelech: "You are only going up there to be
cut to pieces." Yet you are willing to testify to-day that by no other
mode--certainly not by ordinary modes--could that temple so easily, so
thoroughly have been taken. Fathers and mothers, brethren and sisters
in Jesus Christ, what the Church most wants to learn this day is that
any plan is right, is lawful, is best, which helps to overthrow the
temple of sin, and capture this world for God. We are very apt to
stick to the old modes of attack.

We put on the old-style coat of mail. We come up with the sharp, keen,
glittering steel spear of argument, expecting in that way to take the
castle, but they have a thousand spears where we have ten. And so the
castle of sin stands. Oh, my friends, we will never capture this world
for God by any keen saber of sarcasm, by any glittering lances of
rhetoric, by any sapping and mining of profound disquisition, by any
gunpowdery explosions of indignation, by sharp shootings of wit, by
howitzers of mental strength made to swing shell five miles, by
cavalry horses gorgeously caparisoned pawing the air. In vain all the
attempts on the part of these ecclesiastical foot soldiers, light
horsemen, and grenadiers.

My friends, I propose this morning a different style of tactics. Let
each one go to the forest of God's promise and invitation, and hew
down a branch and put it on his shoulder, and let us all come around
these obstinate iniquities, and then, with this pile, kindled by the
fires of a holy zeal and the flames of a consecrated life, we will
burn them out. What steel can not do, fire may. And I, this morning,
announce myself in favor of any plan of religious attack that
succeeds--any plan of religious attack, however radical, however odd,
however unpopular, however hostile to all the conventionalities of
Church and State. We want more heart in our song, more heart in our
alms-giving, more heart in our prayers, more heart in our preaching.
Oh, for less of Abimelech's sword, and more of Abimelech's
conflagration! I have often heard

    "There is a fountain filled with blood"

sung artistically by four birds perched on their Sunday roost in the
gallery, until I thought of Jenny Lind, and Nilsson, and Sontag, and
all the other warblers; but there came not one tear to my eye, nor one
master emotion to my heart. But one night I went down to the African
Methodist meeting-house in Philadelphia, and at the close of the
service a black woman, in the midst of the audience, began to sing
that hymn, and all the audience joined in, and we were floated some
three or four miles nearer heaven than I have ever been since. I saw
with my own eyes that "fountain filled with blood"--red, agonizing,
sacrificial, redemptive--and I heard the crimson plash of the wave as
we all went down under it:

    "For sinners plunged beneath that flood
    Lose all their guilty stains."

Oh, my friends, the Gospel is not a syllogism; It is not casuistry, it
is not polemics, or the science of squabble. It is blood-red fact; it
is warm-hearted invitation; it is leaping, bounding, flying good news;
it is efflorescent with all light; it is rubescent with all glow; it
is arborescent with all sweet shade. I have seen the sun rise on Mount
Washington, and from the Tip-top House; but there was no beauty in
that compared with the day-spring from on high when Christ gives light
to a soul. I have heard Parepa sing; but there was no music in that
compared with the voice of Christ when He said: "Thy sins are forgiven
thee; go in peace." Good news! Let every one cut down a branch of this
tree of life and wave it. Let him throw it down and kindle it. Let all
the way from Mount Zalmon to Shechem be filled with the tossing joy.
Good news! This bonfire of the Gospel shall consume the last temple of
sin, and will illumine the sky with apocalyptic joy that Jesus Christ
came into the world to save sinners. Any new plan that makes a man
quit his sin, and that prostrates a wrong, I am as much in favor of as
though all the doctors, and the bishops, and the archbishops, and the
synods, and the academical gownsmen of Christianity sanctioned it. The
temple of Berith must come down, and I do not care how it comes.

Still further, I learn from this subject the power of example. If
Abimelech had sat down on the grass and told his men to go and get the
boughs, and go out to the battle, they would never have gone at all,
or, if they had, it would have been without any spirit or effective
result; but when Abimelech goes with his own ax and hews down a
branch, and with Abimelech's arm puts it on Abimelech's shoulder, and
marches on--then, my text says, all the people did the same. How
natural that was! What made Garibaldi and Stonewall Jackson the most
magnetic commanders of this century? They always rode ahead. Oh, the
overcoming power of example! Here is a father on the wrong road; all
his boys go on the wrong road. Here is a father who enlists for
Christ; his children enlist.

I saw, in some of the picture-galleries of Europe, that before many of
the great works of the masters--the old masters--there would be
sometimes four or five artists taking copies of the pictures. These
copies they were going to carry with them, perhaps to distant lands;
and I have thought that your life and character are a masterpiece, and
it is being copied, and long after you are gone it will bloom or blast
in the homes of those who knew you, and be a Gorgon or a Madonna. Look
out what you say. Look out what you do. Eternity will hear the echo.
The best sermon ever preached is a holy life. The best music ever
chanted is a consistent walk.

I saw, near the beach, a wrecker's machine. It was a cylinder with
some holes at the side, made for the thrusting in of some long poles
with strong leverage; and when there is a vessel in trouble or going
to pieces out in the offing, the wreckers shoot a rope out to the
suffering men. They grasp it, and the wreckers turn the cylinder, and
the rope winds around the cylinder, and those who are shipwrecked are
saved. So at your feet to-day there is an influence with a tremendous
leverage. The rope attached to it swings far out into the billowy
future. Your children, your children's children, and all the
generations that are to follow, will grip that influence and feel the
long-reaching pull long after the figures on your tombstone are so
near worn out that the visitor can not tell whether it was in 1885, or
1775, or 1675 that you died.

Still further, I learn from this subject the advantages of concerted
action. If Abimelech had merely gone out with a tree-branch the work
would not have been accomplished, or if ten, twenty, or thirty men had
gone; but when all the axes are lifted, and all the sharp edges fall,
and all these men carry each his tree-branch down and throw it about
the temple, the victory is gained--the temple falls. My friends, where
there is one man in the Church of God at this day shouldering his
whole duty there are a great many who never lift an ax or swing a
blow.

Oh, we all want our boat to get over to the golden sands, but the most
of us are seated either in the prow or in the stern, wrapped in our
striped shawl, holding a big-handled sunshade, while others are
blistered in the heat, and pull until the oar-locks groan, and the
blades bend till they snap. Oh, religious sleepy-heads, wake up! While
we have in our church a great many who are toiling for God, there are
some too lazy to brush the flies off their heavy eyelids.

Suppose, in military circles, on the morning of battle the roll is
called, and out of a thousand men only a hundred men in the regiment
answered. What excitement there would be in the camp! What would the
colonel say? What high talking there would be among the captains, and
majors, and the adjutants! Suppose word came to head-quarters that
these delinquents excused themselves on the ground that they had
overslept themselves, or that the morning was damp and they were
afraid of getting their feet wet, or that they were busy cooking
rations. My friends, this is the morning of the day of God Almighty's
battle! Do you not see the troops? Hear you not all the trumpets of
heaven and all the drums of hell? Which side are you on? If you are on
the right side, to what cavalry troop, to what artillery service, to
what garrison duty do you belong? In other words, in what
Sabbath-school do you teach? in what prayer-meeting do you exhort? to
what penitentiary do you declare eternal liberty? to what almshouse do
you announce the riches of heaven? What broken bone of sorrow have you
ever set? Are you doing nothing? Is it possible that a man or woman
sworn to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ is doing nothing? Then
hide the horrible secret from the angels. Keep it away from the book
of judgment. If you are doing nothing do not let the world find it
out, lest they charge your religion with being a false-face. Do not
let your cowardice and treason be heard among the martyrs about the
throne, lest they forget the sanctity of the place and curse your
betrayal of that cause for which they agonized and died.

May the eternal God rouse us all to action! As for myself, I feel I
would be ashamed to die now and enter heaven until I have accomplished
something more decisive for the Lord that bought me. I would like to
join with you in an oath, with hand high uplifted to heaven, swearing
new allegiance to Jesus Christ, and to work more for His kingdom. Are
you ready to join with me in some new work for Christ? I feel that
there is such a thing as claustral piety, that there is such a thing
as insular work; but it seems to me that what we want now is concerted
action. The temple of Berith is very broad, and it is very high. It
has been going up by the hands of men and devils, and no human
enginery can demolish it; but if the fifty thousand ministers of
Christ in this country should each take a branch of the tree of life,
and all their congregations should do the same, and we should march on
and throw these branches around the great temples of sin, and
worldliness and folly, it would need no match, or coal, or torch of
ours to touch off the pile; for, as in the days of Elijah, fire would
fall from heaven and kindle the bonfire of Christian victory over
demolished sin. It is kindling now! Huzzah! The day is ours!

Still further, I learn from this subject the danger of false refuges.
As soon as these Shechemites got into the temple they thought they
were safe. They said: "Berith will take care of us. Abimelech may
batter down everything else; he can not batter down this temple where
we are now hid." But very soon they heard the timbers crackling, and
they were smothered with smoke, and they miserably died. And you and I
are just as much tempted to false refuges. The mirror this morning may
have persuaded you that you have a comely cheek; your best friends
may have persuaded you that you have elegant manners. Satan may have
told you that you are all right; but bear with me if I tell you that,
if unpardoned, you are all wrong. I have no clinometer by which to
measure how steep is the inclined plane you are descending, but I know
it is very steep. "Well," you say, "if the Bible is true I am a
sinner. Show me some refuge; I will step right into it."

I suppose every person in this audience this moment is stepping into
some kind of refuge. Here you step in the tower of good works. You
say: "I shall be safe here in this refuge." The battlements are
adorned; the steps are varnished; on the wall are pictures of all the
suffering you have alleviated, and all the schools you have
established, and all the fine things you have ever done. Up in that
tower you feel you are safe. But hear you not the tramp of your
unpardoned sins all around the tower? They each have a match. They are
kindling the combustible material. You feel the heat and the
suffocation. Oh, may you leap in time, the Gospel declaring: "By the
deeds of the law shall no flesh living be justified."

"Well," you say, "I have been driven out of that tower; where shall I
go?" Step into this tower of indifference. You say: "If this tower is
attacked, it will be a great while before it is taken." You feel at
ease. But there is an Abimelech, with ruthless assaults, coming on.
Death and his forces are gathering around, and they demand that you
surrender everything, and they clamor for your immortal overthrow, and
they throw their skeleton arms in the windows, and with their iron
fists they beat against the door; and while you are trying to keep
them out you see the torches of judgment kindling, and every forest is
a torch, and every mountain a torch, and every sea a torch; and while
the Alps, the Pyrenees, and Himalayas turn into a live coal, blown
redder and redder by the whirlwind breath of a God omnipotent, what
will become of your refuge of lies?

"But," says some one, "you are engaged in a very mean business,
driving us from tower to tower." Oh, no. I want to tell you of a
Gibraltar that never has been and never will be taken; of a wall that
no satanic assault can scale; of a bulwark that the judgment
earthquakes can not budge. The Bible refers to it when it says: "In
God is thy refuge, and underneath thee are the everlasting arms." Oh,
fling yourself into it! Tread down unceremoniously everything that
intercepts you. Wedge your way there. There are enough hounds of death
and peril after you to make you hurry. Many a man has perished just
outside the tower, with his foot on the step, with his hand on the
latch. Oh, get inside! Not one surplus second have you to spare.
Quick, quick, quick!

Great God, is life such an uncertain thing? If I bear a little too
hard with my right foot on the earth, does it break through into the
grave? Is this world, which swings at the speed of thousands of miles
an hour around the sun, going with tenfold more speed toward the
judgment-day? Oh, I am overborne with the thought; and in the
conclusion I cry to one and I cry to the other: "Oh, time! Oh,
eternity! Oh, the dead! Oh, the judgment-day! Oh, Jesus! Oh, God!"
But, catching at the last apostrophe, I feel that I have something to
hold on to: for "in God is thy refuge, and underneath thee are the
everlasting arms." And, exhausted with my failure to save myself, I
throw my whole weight of body, mind, and soul on this divine promise,
as a weary child throws itself into the arms of its mother; as a
wounded soldier throws himself on the hospital pillow; as a pursued
man throws himself into the refuge; for "in God is thy refuge, and
underneath thee are the everlasting arms." Oh, for a flood of tears
with which to express the joy of this eternal rescue!



ALL THE WORLD AKIN.

    "And hath made of one blood all nations of men."--ACTS xvii: 26.


Some have supposed that God originally made an Asiatic Adam and a
European Adam and an African Adam and an American Adam, but that
theory is entirely overthrown by my text, which says that all nations
are blood relatives, having sprung from one and the same stock. A
difference in climate makes much of the difference in national temper.

An American goes to Europe and stays there a long while, and finds his
pulse moderating and his temper becoming more calm. The air on this
side the ocean is more tonic than on the other side. An American
breathes more oxygen than a European. A European coming to America
finds a great change taking place in himself. He walks with more rapid
strides, and finds his voice becoming keener and shriller. The
Englishman who walks in London Strand at the rate of three miles the
hour, coming to America and residing for a long while here, walks
Broadway at the rate of four miles the hour. Much of the difference
between an American and a European, between an Asiatic and an African,
is atmospheric. The lack of the warm sunlight pales the Greenlander.
The full dash of the sunlight darkens the African.

Then, ignorance or intelligence makes its impression on the physical
organism--in the one case ignorance flattening the skull, as with the
Egyptian; in the other case intelligence building up the great dome of
the forehead, as with the German. Then the style of god that the
nation worships decides how much it shall be elevated or debased, so
that those nations that worship reptiles are themselves only a
superior form of reptile, while those nations that worship the natural
sun in the heavens are the noblest style of barbaric people. But
whatever be the difference of physiognomy, and whatever the difference
of temperament, the physiologist tells us that after careful analysis
he finds out that the plasma and the disk in the human blood have the
same characteristics: so that if you should put twenty men from twenty
nationalities abreast in line of battle, and a bullet should fly
through the hearts of the twenty men, the blood flowing forth would,
through analysis, prove itself to be the same blood in every instance.
In other words, the science of the day confirming the truth of my text
that "God hath made of one blood all nations of men."

I have thought, my friends, it might be profitable this morning if I
gave you some of the moral and religious impressions which I received
when, through your indulgence, I had transatlantic absence. First, I
observe that the majority of people in all lands are in a mighty
struggle for bread. While in nearly all lands there are only a few
cases of actual starvation reported, there is a vast population in
every country I visited who have a limited supply of food, or such
food as is incompetent to sustain physical vigor. This struggle in
some lands is becoming more agonizing, while here and there it is
lightened. I have joy in reporting that Ireland, about the sufferings
of which we have heard so much, has far better prospects than I have
seen there in previous visits. In 1879, coming home from that land, I
prophesied the famine that must come upon, and did come upon, the
deluged fields of that country. This year the crops are large, and
both parties--those who like the English Government and those who
don't like it--are expecting relief. I said to one of the intelligent
men of Ireland: "Tell me in a few words what are the sufferings of
Ireland, and what is the Land Relief enactment?" He replied: "I will
tell you. Suppose I am a landlord and you a tenant. You rent from me a
place for ten pounds a year. You improve it. You turn it from a bog
into a garden. You put a house upon it. After a while I, the landlord,
come around, and I say to my agent: 'How much rent is this man
paying;' He answers, 'Ten pounds.' 'Is that all? Put his rent up to
twenty pounds.' The tenant goes on improving his property, and after
awhile I come around and I say to my agent, 'How much rent is this man
paying?' He says, 'Twenty pounds.' 'Put his rent up to twenty-five
pounds.' The tenant protests and says, 'I can't pay it.' Then I, the
landlord, say, 'Pay it or get out;' and the tenant is helpless, and,
leaving the place, the property in its improved condition turns over
to the landlord. Now, to stop that outrage the Relief Enactment comes
in and appoints commissioners who shall see that if the tenant is
turned out, he shall receive the difference of value between the farm
as he got it and the farm as he surrenders it. Moreover, the
government loans money to the tenant, so that he may buy the property
out and out if the landlord will sell." Mighty advancement toward the
righting of a great wrong! But there and in all lands, not excepting
our own, there is a far-reaching distress. And let those who broke
their fast this morning, and those who shall dine to-day, remember
those who are in want, and by prayer and practical beneficence do all
they can to alleviate the hunger swoon of nations.

Another impression was--indeed the impression carried with me all the
summer--the thought already suggested, the brotherhood of man. The
fact is that the differences are so small between nations that they
may be said to be all alike. Though I spent the most of the summer in
silence, I spoke a few times and to people of different nations, and
how soon I noticed that they were very much alike! If a man knows how
to play the piano, it does not make any difference whether he finds it
in New Orleans or San Francisco or Boston or St. Petersburg or Moscow
or Madras; it has so many keys, and he puts his fingers right on them.
And the human heart is a divine instrument, with just so many keys in
all cases, and you strike some of them and there is joy, and you
strike some of them and there is sorrow. Plied by the same motives,
lifted up by the same success, depressed by the same griefs. The
cab-men of London have the same characteristics as the cab-men of New
York, and are just as modest and retiring. The gold and silver drive
Piccadilly and the Boulevards just as they drive Wall Street. If there
be a great political excitement in Europe, the Bourse in Paris howls
just as loudly as ever did the American gold-room.

The same grief that we saw in our country in 1864 you may find now in
the military hospitals of England containing the wounded and sick from
the Egyptian wars. The same widowhood and orphanage that sat down in
despair after the battles of Shiloh and South Mountain poured their
grief in the Shannon and the Clyde and the Dee and the Thames. Oh, ye
men and women who know how to pray, never get up from your knees until
you have implored God in behalf of the fourteen hundred millions of
the race just like yourselves, finding life a tremendous struggle! For
who knows but that as the sun to-day draws up drops of water from the
Caspian and the Black seas and from the Amazon and the Mississippi,
after a while to distill the rain, these very drops on the fields--who
knows but that the sun of righteousness may draw up the tears of your
sympathy, and then rain them down in distillation of comfort o'er all
the world?

Who is that poor man, carried on a stretcher to the Afghan ambulance?
He is your brother. If in the Pantheon at Paris you smite your hand
against the wall among the tombs of the dead, you will hear a very
strange echo coming from all parts of the Pantheon just as soon as you
smite the wall. And I suppose it is so arranged that every stroke of
sorrow among the tombs of bereavement ought to have loud, long, and
oft-repeated echoes of sympathy all around the world. Oh, what a
beautiful theory it is--and it is a Christian theory--that Englishman,
Scotchman, Irishman, Norwegian, Frenchman, Italian, Russian, are all
akin. Of one blood all nations. That is a very beautiful inscription
that I saw a few days ago over the door in Edinburgh, the door of the
house where John Knox used to live. It is getting somewhat dim now,
but there is the inscription, fit for the door of any household--"Love
God above all, and your neighbor as yourself."

I was also impressed in journeying on the other side the sea with the
difference the Bible makes in countries. The two nations of Europe
that are the most moral to-day and that have the least crime are
Scotland and Wales. They have by statistics, as you might find, fewer
thefts, fewer arsons, fewer murders. What is the reason? A bad book
can hardly live in Wales. The Bible crowds it out. I was told by one
of the first literary men in Wales: "There is not a bad book in the
Welsh language." He said: "Bad books come down from London, but they
can not live here." It is the Bible that is dominant in Wales. And
then in Scotland just open your Bible to give out your text, and there
is a rustling all over the house almost startling to an American. What
is it? The people opening their Bibles to find the text, looking at
the context, picking out the referenced passages, seeing whether you
make right quotation. Scotland and Wales Bible-reading people. That
accounts for it. A man, a city, a nation that reads God's Word must be
virtuous. That Book is the foe of all wrong-doing. What makes
Edinburgh better than Constantinople? The Bible.

Oh, I am afraid in America we are allowing the good book to be covered
up with other good books! We have our ever-welcome morning and evening
newspapers, and we have our good books on all subjects--geological
subjects, botanical subjects, physiological subjects, theological
subjects--good books, beautiful books, and so many good books that we
have not time to read the Bible. Oh, my friends, it is not a matter of
very great importance that you have a family Bible on the center-table
in your parlor! Better have one pocket New Testament, the passages
marked, the leaves turned down, the binding worn smooth with much
usage, than fifty pictorial family Bibles too handsome to read! Oh,
let us take a whisk-broom and brush the dust off our Bibles! Do you
want poetry? Go and hear Job describe the war-horse, or David tell how
the mountains skipped like lambs. Do you want logic? Go and hear Paul
reason until your brain aches under the spell of his mighty intellect.
Do you want history? Go and see Moses put into a few pages stupendous
information which Herodotus, Thucydides, and Prescott never preached
after. And, above all, if you want to find how a nation struck down by
sin can rise to happiness and to heaven, read of that blood which can
wash away the pollution of a world. There is one passage in the Bible
of vast tonnage: "God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but
have everlasting life." Oh, may God fill this country with Bibles and
help the people to read them!

I was also impressed in my transatlantic journeys with the wonderful
power that Christ holds among the nations. The great name in Europe
to-day is not Victoria, not Marquis of Salisbury, not William the
Emperor, not Bismarck; the great name in Europe to-day is Christ. You
find the crucifix on the gate-post, you find it in the hay field, you
find it at the entrance of the manor, you find it by the side of the
road.

The greatest pictures in all the galleries of Italy, Germany, France,
England, and Scotland are Bible pictures. What were the subjects of
Raphael's great paintings? "The Transfiguration," "The Miraculous
Draught of Fishes," "The Charge to Peter," "The Holy Family," "The
Massacre of the Innocents," "Moses at the Burning Bush," "The
Nativity," "Michael the Archangel," and the four or five exquisite
"Madonnas." What are Tintoretto's great pictures? "Fall of Adam,"
"Cain and Abel," "The Plague of the Fiery Serpent," "Paradise," "Agony
in the Garden," "The Temptation," "The Adoration of the Magi," "The
Communication," "Baptism," "Massacre of the Innocents," "The Flight
into Egypt," "The Crucifixion," "The Madonna." What are Titian's great
pictures? "The Flagellation of Christ," "The Supper at Emmaus," "The
Death of Abel," "The Assumption," "The Entombment," "Faith," "The
Madonna." What are Michael Angelo's great pictures? "The
Annunciation," "The Spirits in Prison," "At the feet of Christ," "The
Infant Christ," "The Crucifixion," "The Last Judgment." What are Paul
Veronese's great pictures? "Queen of Sheba," "The Marriage in Cana,"
"Magdalen Washing the Feet of Christ," "The Holy Family." Who has not
heard of Da Vinci's "Last Supper"? Who has not heard of Turner's
"Pools of Solomon"? Who has not heard of Claude's "Marriage of Isaac
and Rebecca"? Who has not heard of Dürer's "Dragon of the
Apocalypse"? The mightiest picture on this planet is Rubens'
"Scourging of Christ." Painter's pencil loves to sketch the face of
Christ. Sculptor's chisel loves to present the form of Christ. Organs
love to roll forth the sorrows of Christ.

The first time you go to London go into the Doré picture gallery. As I
went and sat down before "Christ Descending the Steps of the
Prætorium," at the first I was disappointed. I said: "There isn't
enough majesty in that countenance, not enough tenderness in that
eye;" but as I sat and looked at the picture it grew upon me until I
was overwhelmed with its power, and I staggered with emotion as I went
out into the fresh air, and said; "Oh, for that Christ I must live,
and for that Christ I must be willing to die!" Make that Christ your
personal friend, my sister, my brother. You may never go to Milan to
see Da Vinci's "Last Supper;" but, better than that, you can have
Christ come and sup with you. You may never get to Antwerp to see
Rubens' "Descent of Christ from the Cross," but you can have Christ
come down from the mountain of His suffering into your heart and abide
there forever. Oh, you must have Him! We are all so diseased with sin
that we want that which hurts us, and we won't have that which cures
us. The best thing for you and for me to do to-day is to get down on
our bended knees before God and say: "Oh, Almighty Son of God, I am
blind! I want to see. My arms are palsied. I want to take hold of thy
cross. Have mercy on me, O Lord Jesus!" Why will you live on husks
when you may sit down to this white bread of heaven? Oh, with such a
God, and with such a Christ, and with such a Holy Spirit, and with
such an immortal nature, wake up!

Once more, I was impressed greatly on the other side the sea with the
wonderful triumphs of the Christian religion. The tide is rising, the
tide of moral and spiritual prosperity in the world. I think that any
man who keeps his eyes open, traveling in foreign lands, will come to
that conclusion. More Bibles than ever before, more churches, more
consecrated men and women, more people ready to be martyrs now than
ever before, if need be; so that instead of there being, as people
sometimes say, less spirit of martyrdom now than ever before, I
believe where there was once one martyr there would be a thousand
martyrs if the fires were kindled--men ready to go through flood and
fire for Christ's sake. Oh, the signs are promising! The world is on
the way to millennial brightness. All art, all invention, all
literature, all commerce will be the Lord's.

These ships that you see going up and down New York harbor are to be
brought into the service of God. All those ships I saw at Liverpool,
at Southampton, at Glasgow, are to be brought into the service of
Christ. What is that passage, "Ships of Tarshish shall bring
presents"? That is what it means. Oh, what a goodly fleet when the
vessels of the sea come into the service of God! No guns frowning
through the port-holes, no pikes hung in the gangway, nothing from
cut-water to taffrail to suggest atrocity. Those ships will come from
all parts of the seas. Great flocks of ships that never met on the
high sea but in wrath, will cry, "Ship ahoy!" and drop down beside
each other in calmness, the flags of Emmanuel streaming from the
top-gallants. The old slaver, with decks scrubbed and washed and
glistened and burnished--the old slaver will wheel into line; and the
Chinese junk and the Venetian gondola, and the miners' and the
pirates' corvette, will fall into line, equipped, readorned,
beautified, only the small craft of this grand flotilla which shall
float out for the truth--a flotilla mightier than the armada of Xerxes
moving in the pomp and pride of Persian insolence; mightier than the
Carthaginian navy rushing with forty thousand oarsmen upon the Roman
galleys, the life of nations dashed out against the gunwales.

Rise, O sea! and shine, O heavens! to greet this squadron of light and
victory! On the glistening decks are the feet of them that bring good
tidings, and songs of heaven float among the rigging. Crowd on all the
canvas. Line-of-battle ship and merchantmen wheel into the way. It is
noon. Strike eight bells. From all the squadron the sailors' songs
arise. "Surely the isles shall wait for thee, and the ships of
Tarshish to bring thy sons from afar, their silver and their gold with
them, to the name of the Lord thy God, and the Holy One of Israel."



A MOMENTOUS QUEST.

    "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found."--ISA. lv: 6.


Isaiah stands head and shoulders above the other Old Testament authors
in vivid descriptiveness of Christ. Other prophets give an outline of
our Saviour's features. Some of them present, as it were, the side
face of Christ; others a bust of Christ; but Isaiah gives us the
full-length portrait of Christ. Other Scripture writers excel in some
things. Ezekiel more weird, David more pathetic, Solomon more
epigrammatic, Habakkuk more sublime; but when you want to see Christ
coming out from the gates of prophecy in all His grandeur and glory,
you involuntarily turn to Isaiah. So that if the prophecies in regard
to Christ might be called the "Oratorio of the Messiah," the writing
of Isaiah is the "Hallelujah Chorus," where all the batons wave and
all the trumpets come in. Isaiah was not a man picked up out of
insignificance by inspiration. He was known and honored. Josephus, and
Philo, and Sirach extolled him in their writings. What Paul was among
the apostles, Isaiah was among the prophets.

My text finds him standing on a mountain of inspiration, looking out
into the future, beholding Christ advancing and anxious that all men
might know Him; his voice rings down the ages: "Seek ye the Lord while
He may be found." "Oh," says some one: "that was for olden times."
No, my hearer. If you have traveled in other lands you have taken a
circular letter of credit from some banking-house in New York, and in
St. Petersburg, or Venice, or Rome, or Antwerp, or Brussels, or Paris;
you presented that letter and got financial help immediately. And I
want you to understand that the text, instead of being appropriate for
one age, or for one land, is a circular letter for all ages and for
all lands, and wherever it is presented for help, the help comes:
"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found."

I come, to-day, with no hair-spun theories of religion, with no nice
distinctions, with no elaborate disquisition; but with a plain talk on
the matters of personal religion. I feel that the sermon I preach this
morning will be the savor of life unto life, or of death unto death.
In other words, the Gospel of Christ is a powerful medicine: it either
kills or cures. There are those who say: "I would like to become a
Christian, I have been waiting a good while for the right kind of
influences to come;" and still you are waiting. You are wiser in
worldly things than you are in religious things. If you want to get to
Albany, you go to the Grand Central Depot, or to the steam-boat wharf,
and, having got your ticket, you do not sit down on the wharf or sit
in the depot; you get aboard the boat or train. And yet there are men
who say they are waiting to get to heaven--waiting, waiting, but not
with intelligent waiting, or they would get on board the line of
Christian influences that would bear them into the kingdom of God.

Now you know very well that to seek a thing is to search for it with
earnest endeavor. If you want to see a certain man in New York, and
there is a matter of $10,000 connected with your seeing him, and you
can not at first find him, you do not give up the search. You look in
the directory, but can not find the name; you go in circles where you
think, perhaps, he may mingle, and, having found the part of the city
where he lives, but perhaps not knowing the street, you go through
street after street, and from block to block, and you keep on
searching for weeks and for months.

You say: "It is a matter of $10,000 whether I see him or not." Oh,
that men were as persistent in seeking for Christ! Had you one half
that persistence you would long ago have found Him who is the joy of
the forgiven spirit. We may pay our debts, we may attend church, we
may relieve the poor, we may be public benefactors, and yet all our
life disobey the text, never seek God, never gain heaven. Oh, that the
Spirit of God would help this morning while I try to show you, in
carrying out the idea of my text, first, how to seek the Lord, and in
the next place, when to seek Him. "Seek ye the Lord while He may be
found."

I remark, in the first place, you are to seek the Lord through earnest
and believing prayer. God is not an autocrat or a despot seated on a
throne, with His arms resting on brazen lions, and a sentinel pacing
up and down at the foot of the throne. God is a father seated in a
bower, waiting for His children to come and climb on His knee, and get
His kiss and His benediction. Prayer is the cup with which we go to
the "fountain of living water," and dip up refreshment for our
thirsty soul. Grace does not come to the heart as we set a cask at the
corner of the house to catch the rain in the shower. It is a pulley
fastened to the throne of God, which we pull, bringing the blessing.

I do not care so much what posture you take in prayer, nor how large
an amount of voice you use. You might get down on your face before
God, if you did not pray right inwardly, and there would be no
response. You might cry at the top of your voice, and unless you had a
believing spirit within, your cry would not go further up than the
shout of a plow-boy to his oxen. Prayer must be believing, earnest,
loving. You are in your house some summer day, and a shower comes up,
and a bird, affrighted, darts into the window, and wheels about the
room. You seize it. You smooth its ruffled plumage. You feel its
fluttering heart. You say, "Poor thing, poor thing!" Now, a prayer
goes out of the storm of this world into the window of God's mercy,
and He catches it, and He feels its fluttering pulse, and He puts it
in His own bosom of affection and safety. Prayer is a warm, ardent,
pulsating exercise. It is the electric battery which, touched, thrills
to the throne of God! It is the diving-bell in which we go down into
the depths of God's mercy and bring up "pearls of great price." There
was an instance where prayer made the waves of the Gennesaret solid as
Russ pavement. Oh, how many wonderful things prayer has accomplished!
Have you ever tried it? In the days when the Scotch Covenanters were
persecuted, and the enemies were after them, one of the head men
among the Covenanters prayed: "Oh, Lord, we be as dead men unless Thou
shalt help us! Oh, Lord, throw the lap of Thy cloak over these poor
things!" And instantly a Scotch mist enveloped and hid the persecuted
from their persecutors--the promise literally fulfilled: "While they
are yet speaking I will hear."

Oh, impenitent soul, have you ever tried the power of prayer? God
says: "He is loving, and faithful, and patient." Do you believe that?
You are told that Christ came to save sinners. Do you believe that?
You are told that all you have to do to get the pardon of the Gospel
is to ask for it. Do you believe that? Then come to Him and say: "Oh,
Lord! I know Thou canst not lie. Thou hast told me to come for pardon,
and I could get it. I come, Lord. Keep Thy promise, and liberate my
captive soul."

Oh, that you might have an altar in the parlor, in the kitchen, in the
store, in the barn, for Christ will be willing to come again to the
manger to hear prayer. He would come in your place of business, as He
confronted Matthew, the tax commissioner. If a measure should come
before Congress that you thought would ruin the nation, how you would
send in petitions and remonstrances! And yet there has been enough sin
in your heart to ruin it forever, and you have never remonstrated or
petitioned against it. If your physical health failed, and you had the
means, you would go and spend the summer in Germany, and the winter in
Italy, and you would think it a very cheap outlay if you had to go all
round the earth to get back your physical health. Have you made any
effort, any expenditure, any exertion for your immortal and spiritual
health? No, you have not taken one step.

O that you might now begin to seek after God with earnest prayer. Some
of you have been working for years and years for the support of your
families. Have you given one half day to the working out of your
salvation with fear and trembling? You came here this morning with an
earnest purpose, I take it, as I have come hither with an earnest
purpose, and we meet face to face, and I tell you, first of all, if
you want to find the Lord, you must pray, and pray, and pray.

I remark again, you must seek the Lord through Bible study. The Bible
is the newest book in the world. "Oh," you say, "it was made hundreds
of years ago, and the learned men of King James translated it hundreds
of years ago." I confute that idea by telling you it is not five
minutes old, when God, by His blessed Spirit, retranslates it into the
heart. If you will, in the seeking of the way of life through
Scripture study, implore God's light to fall upon the page, you will
find that these promises are not one second old, and that they drop
straight from the throne of God into your heart.

There are many people to whom the Bible does not amount to much. If
they merely look at the outside beauty, why it will no more lead them
to Christ than Washington's farewell address or the Koran of Mohammed
or the Shaster of the Hindoos. It is the inward light of God's Word
you must get or die. I went up to the church of the Madeleine, in
Paris, and looked at the doors which were the most wonderfully
constructed I ever saw, and I could have stayed there for a whole
week; but I had only a little time, so, having glanced at the
wonderful carving on the doors, I passed in and looked at the radiant
altars, and the sculptured dome. Alas, that so many stop at the
outside door of God's Holy Word, looking at the rhetorical beauties,
instead of going in and looking at the altars of sacrifice and the
dome of God's mercy and salvation that hovers over penitent and
believing souls!

O my friends! if you merely want to study the laws of language, do not
go to the Bible. It was not made for that. Take "Howe's Elements of
Criticism"--it will be better than the Bible for that. If you want to
study metaphysics, better than the Bible will be the writings of
William Hamilton. But if you want to know how to have sin pardoned,
and at last to gain the blessedness of Heaven, search the Scriptures,
"for in them ye have eternal life."

When people are anxious about their souls--and there are some such
here to-day--there are those who recommend good books. That is all
right. But I want to tell you that the Bible is the best book under
such circumstances. Baxter wrote "A Call to the Unconverted," but the
Bible is the best call to the unconverted. Philip Doddridge wrote "The
Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul," but the Bible is the best
rise and progress. John Angell James wrote "Advice to the Anxious
Inquirer," but the Bible is the best advice to the anxious inquirer.

O, the Bible is the very book you need, anxious and inquiring soul! A
dying soldier said to his mate: "Comrade, give me a drop!" The comrade
shook up the canteen, and said: "There isn't a drop of water in the
canteen." "Oh," said the dying soldier, "that's not what I want; feel
in my knapsack for my Bible," and his comrade found the Bible, and
read him a few of the gracious promises, and the dying soldier said:
"Ah, that's what I want. There isn't anything like the Bible for a
dying soldier, is there, my comrade?" O blessed book while we live!
Blessed book when we die!

I remark, again, we must seek God through church ordinances. "What,"
say you, "can't a man be saved without going to church?" I reply,
there are men, I suppose, in glory, who have never seen a church: but
the church is the ordained means by which we are to be brought to God;
and if truth affects us when we are alone, it affects us more mightily
when we are in the assembly--the feelings of others emphasizing our
own feelings. The great law of sympathy comes into play, and a truth
that would take hold only with the grasp of a sick man, beats mightily
against the soul with a thousand heart-throbs.

When you come into the religious circle, come only with one notion,
and only for one purpose--to find the way to Christ. When I see people
critical about sermons, and critical about tones of voice, and
critical about sermonic delivery, they make me think of a man in
prison. He is condemned to death, but an officer of the government
brings a pardon and puts it through the wicket of the prison, and
says: "Here is your pardon. Come and get it." "What! Do you expect me
to take that pardon offered with such a voice as you have, with such
an awkward manner as you have? I would rather die than so compromise
my rhetorical notions!" Ah, the man does not say that; he takes it! It
is his life. He does not care how it is handed to him. And if, this
morning, that pardon from the throne of God is offered to our souls,
should we not seize it, regardless of all criticism, feeling that it
is a matter of heaven or hell?

But I come now to the last part of my text. It tells us when we are to
seek the Lord. "While He may be found." When is that? Old age? You may
not see old age. To-morrow? You may not see to-morrow. To-night? You
may not see to-night. Now! O if I could only write on every heart in
three capital letters, that word N-O-W--Now!

Sin is an awful disease. I hear people say with a toss of the head and
with a trivial manner: "Oh, yes, I'm a sinner." Sin is an awful
disease. It is leprosy. It is dropsy. It is consumption. It is all
moral disorders in one. Now you know there is a crisis in a disease.
Perhaps you have had some illustration of it in your family. Sometimes
the physician has called, and he has looked at the patient and said:
"That case was simple enough; but the crisis has passed. If you had
called me yesterday, or this morning, I could have cured the patient.
It is too late now; the crisis has passed." Just so it is in the
spiritual treatment of the soul--there is a crisis. Before that, life!
After that, death! O my dear brother, as you love your soul do not let
the crisis pass unattended to!

There are some here who can remember instances in life when, if they
had bought a certain property, they would have become very rich. A few
acres that would have cost them almost nothing were offered them.
They refused them. Afterward a large village or city sprung up on
those acres of ground, and they see what a mistake they made in not
buying the property. There was an opportunity of getting it. It never
came back again. And so it is in regard to a man's spiritual and
eternal fortune. There is a chance; if you let that go, perhaps it
never comes back. Certainly, that one never comes back.

A gentleman told me that at the battle of Gettysburg he stood upon a
height looking off upon the conflicting armies. He said it was the
most exciting moment of his life; now one army seeming to triumph, and
now the other. After awhile the host wheeled in such a way that he
knew in five minutes the whole question would be decided. He said the
emotion was almost unbearable. There is just such a time to-day with
you, O impenitent soul!--the forces of light on the one side, and the
siege-guns of hell on the other side, and in a few moments the matter
will be settled for eternity.

There is a time which mercy has set for leaving port. If you are on
board before that, you will get a passage for heaven. If you are not
on board, you miss your passage for heaven. As in law courts a case is
sometimes adjourned from term to term, and from year to year till the
bill of costs eats up the entire estate, so there are men who are
adjourning the matter of religion from time to time, and from year to
year, until heavenly bliss is the bill of costs the man will have to
pay for it.

Why defer this matter, oh, my dear hearer? Have you any idea that sin
will wear out? that it will evaporate? that it will relax its grasp?
that you may find religion as a man accidentally finds a lost
pocket-book? Ah, no! No man ever became a Christian by accident, or by
the relaxing of sin. The embarrassments are all the time increasing.
The hosts of darkness are recruiting, and the longer you postpone this
matter the steeper the path will become. I ask those men who are
before me this morning, whether, in the ten or fifteen years they have
passed in the postponement of these matters, they have come any nearer
God or heaven?

I would not be afraid to challenge this whole audience, so far as they
may not have found the peace of the Gospel, in regard to the matter.
Your hearts, you are willing frankly to tell me, are becoming harder
and harder, and that if you come to Christ it will be more of an
undertaking now than it ever would have been before. Oh, fly for
refuge! The avenger of blood is on the track! The throne of judgment
will soon be set; and, if you have anything to do toward your eternal
salvation, you had better do it now, for the redemption of your soul
is precious, and it ceaseth forever!

Oh, if men could only catch just one glimpse of Christ, I know they
would love Him! Your heart leaps at the sight of a glorious sunrise or
sunset. Can you be without emotion as the Sun of Righteousness rises
behind Calvary, and sets behind Joseph's sepulcher? He is a blessed
Saviour! Every nation has its type of beauty. There is German beauty,
and Swiss beauty, and Italian beauty, and English beauty; but I care
not in what land a man first looks at Christ, he pronounces Him "chief
among ten thousand, and the One altogether lovely." O my blessed
Jesus! Light in darkness! The Rock on which I build! The Captain of
Salvation! My joy! My strength! How strange it is that men can not
love Thee!

The diamond districts of Brazil are carefully guarded, and a man does
not get in there except by a pass from the government; but the love of
Christ is a diamond district we may all enter, and pick up treasures
for eternity. Oh, cry for mercy! "To-day, if ye will hear His voice,
harden not your hearts." There is a way of opposing the mercy of God
too long, and then there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a
fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour
the adversary. My friends, my neighbors, what can I say to induce you
to attend to this matter--to attend to it now? Time is flying,
flying--the city clock joining my voice this moment, seeming to say to
you, "Now is the time! Now is the time!" Oh, put it not off!

Why should I stand here and plead, and you sit there? It is your
immortal soul. It is a soul that shall never die. It is a soul that
must soon appear before God for review. Why throw away your chance for
heaven? Why plunge off into darkness when all the gates of glory are
open? Why become a castaway from God when you can sit upon the throne?
Why will ye die miserably when eternal life is offered you, and it
will cost you nothing but just willingness to accept it? "Come, for
all things are now ready." Come, Christ is ready, pardon is ready! The
Church is ready. Heaven is ready. You will never find a more
convenient season, if you should live fifty years more, than this
very one. Reject this, and you may die in your sins. Why do I say
this? Is it to frighten your soul? Oh, no! It is to persuade you. I
show you the peril. I show you the escape. Would I not be a coward
beyond all excuse, if, believing that this great audience must soon be
launched into the eternal world, and that all who believe in Christ
shall be saved, and that all who reject Christ will be lost--would I
not be the veriest coward on earth to hide that truth or to stand
before you with a cold, or even a placid manner? My dear brethren, now
is the day of your redemption.

It is very certain that you and I must soon appear before God in
judgment. We can not escape it. The Bible says: "Every eye shall see
Him, and they also which pierced Him, and all the kindreds of the
earth shall wail because of Him." On that day all our advantages will
come up for our glory or for our discomfiture--every prayer, every
sermon, every exhortatory remark, every reproof, every call of grace;
and while the heavens are rolling away like a scroll, and the world is
being destroyed, your destiny and my destiny will be announced. Alas!
alas! if on that day it is found that we have neglected these matters.
We may throw them off now. We can not then. We will all be in earnest
then. But no pardon then. No offer of salvation then. No rescue then.
Driven away in our wickedness--banished, exiled, forever!

Have you ever imagined what will be the soliloquy of the soul on that
day unpardoned, as it looks back upon its past life? "Oh," says the
soul, "I had glorious Sabbaths! There was one Sabbath in autumn when
I was invited to Christ. There was a Sabbath morning when Jesus stood
and spread out His arm and invited me to His holy heart. I refused
Him. I have destroyed myself. I have no one else to blame. Ruin
complete! Darkness unpitying, deep, eternal! I am lost!
Notwithstanding all the opportunities I have had of being saved, I am
lost! O Thou long-suffering Lord God Almighty, I am lost! O day of
judgment, I am lost! O father, mother, brother, sister, child in
glory, I am lost!" And then as the tide goes out, your soul goes out
with it--further from God, further from happiness, and I hear your
voice fainter, and fainter, and fainter: "Lost! Lost! Lost! Lost!
Lost!" O ye dying, yet immortal men, "seek the Lord while He may be
found."

But I want you to take the hint of the text that I have no time to
dwell on--the hint that there is a time when He can not be found.
There is a man in New York, eighty years of age, who said to a
clergyman who came in, "Do you think that a man at eighty years of age
can get pardoned?" "Oh, yes," said the clergyman. The old man said: "I
can't; when I was twenty years of age--I am now eighty years--the
Spirit of God came to my soul, and I felt the importance of attending
to these things, but I put it off. I rejected God, and since then I
have had no feeling." "Well," said the minister, "wouldn't you like to
have me pray with you?" "Yes," replied the old man, "but it will do no
good. You can pray with me if you like to." The minister knelt down
and prayed, and commended the man's soul to God. It seemed to have no
effect upon him. After awhile the last hour of the man's life came,
and through his delirium a spark of intelligence seemed to flash, and
with his last breath he said; "I shall never be forgiven!" "O seek the
Lord while He may be found."



THE GREAT ASSIZE.

DOCTOR TALMAGE'S SERMON, PREACHED AT CORK, IRELAND,
SUNDAY MORNING, SEPT 6th, 1885.

    "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy
    angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His
    glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He
    shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth
    his sheep from the goats."--MATTHEW xxv: 31, 32.


Half-way between Chamouny, Switzerland, and Martigny, I reined in the
horse on which I was riding, and looked off upon the most wonderful
natural amphitheater of valley and mountain and rock, and I said to my
companion, "What an appropriate place this would be for the last
judgment. Yonder overhanging rock the place for the judgment seat.
These galleries of surrounding hills occupied by attendant angels.
This vast valley, sweeping miles this way and miles that, the
audience-room for all nations." But sacred geography does not point
out the place. Yet we know that somewhere, some time, somehow, an
audience will be gathered together stupendous beyond all statistics,
and just as certainly as you and I make up a part of this audience
to-day, we will make up a part of that audience on that day.

A common sense of justice in every man's heart demands that there
shall be some great winding-up day, in which that which is now
inexplicable shall be explained.

Why did that good man suffer, and that bad man prosper? You say, "I
don't know, but I must know." Why is that good Christian woman dying
of what is called a spider cancer, while that daughter of folly sits
wrapped in luxury, ease, and health? You say, "I don't know, but I
must know." There are so many wrongs to be righted that if there were
not some great righting-up day in the presence of all ages, there
would be an outcry against God from which His glory would never
recover. If God did not at last try the nations, the nations would try
Him. We are, therefore, ready for the announcement of the text. The
world never saw Christ except in disguise. If once when He was on
earth He had let out His glory, instead of the blind eyes being
healed, all visions would have been extinguished. No human eye could
have endured it. And instead of bringing the dead to life, all around
about him would have been the slain under that overpowering
effulgence. Disguise of human flesh. Disguise of seamless robe.
Disguise of sandal. Disguise of voice. From Bethlehem caravansary to
mausoleum in the rock, a complete disguise.

But on the day of which I speak the Son of Man will come in His glory.
No hiding of luster. No sheathing of strength. No suppression of
grandeur. No wrapping out of sight of the Godhead. Any fifty of the
most brilliant sunsets that you ever saw on land or sea would be dim
as compared with the cerulean appearance on that day when Christ
rolls through, and rolls on, and rolls down in His glory. The air will
be all abloom with His presence, and everything from horizon to
horizon aflame with His splendor.

Elijah rode up the sky-steep in a chariot, the wheels of whirling fire
and the horses of galloping fire, and the charioteer drawing reins of
fire on bits of fire; but Christ will need no such equipage, for the
law of gravitation will be laid aside, and the natural elements will
be laid aside, and Christ will descend swiftly enough to make speedy
arrival, but slowly enough to allow the gaze of millions of
spectators. In his glory! Glory of form, glory of omnipotence, glory
of holiness, glory of justice, glory of love. In His glory! An
unveiled, an uncovered God descending to meet the human race in an
interview which will be prolonged only for a few hours, and yet which
shall settle all the past and all the present and all the future, and
be closed before the end of that day, which will close, not with
setting sun, but with the destruction of the planet as a snuffers
takes off the top of a burned wick.

It is a solemn time in a court-room when there is an important case on
hand, and the judge of the Supreme Court enters, and he sits down, and
with gavel strikes on the desk commanding bar and jury and witnesses
and audience into silence. All voices are hushed, all heads are
uncovered. But how much more impressive when Christ shall take the
judgment seat on the last day of the last week of the last month of
the last year of the world's existence, and with gavel of thunder-bolt
shall smite the mountains, commanding all the land and all the sea
into silence.

Can you have any doubt about who it is on the seat on the judgment
day? Better make investigation, to see whether there are any scars
about Him that reveal His person. Apparel may change. You can not
always tell by apparel. But scars will tell the story after all else
fails. I find under His left arm a scar, and on His right hand a scar,
and on His left hand a scar, and on His right foot a scar, and on His
left foot a scar. Oh, yes, He is the Son of Man in His glory. Every
mark of wound now a badge of victory, every ridge showing the fearful
gash now telling the story of pain and sacrifice which He suffered in
behalf of the human race.

But what is all that commotion and flutter, and surging to and fro
above Him and on either side of Him? It is a detailed regiment of
heaven, a constabulary angelic, sent forth to take part in that scene,
and to execute the mandates that shall be issued. Ten regiments, a
hundred regiments, a thousand regiments of angels; for on that day all
heaven will be emptied of its inhabitants to let them attend the
scene. All the holy angels. From what a center to what a
circumference. Widening out and widening out, and higher up and higher
up. Wings interlocking wings. Galleries of cloud above galleries of
cloud, all filled with the faces of angels come to listen and come to
watch, and come to help on that day for which all other days were
made. Who are those two taller and more conspicuous angels? The one is
Michael, who is the commander of all those who come out to destroy
sin. The other is Gabriel, who is announced as commander of all those
who come forth to help the righteous. Who is that mighty angel near
the throne? That is the resurrection angel, his lips still aquiver and
his cheek aflush with the blast that shattered the cemeteries and woke
the dead. Who is that other great angel, with dark and overshadowing
brow? That is the one who in one night, by one flap of his wing,
turned one hundred and eighty-five thousand of Sennacherib's host into
corpses.

Who are those bright immortals near the throne, their faces partly
turned toward each other as though about to sing? Oh, they are the
Bethlehem chanters of the first Christmas night! Who are this other
group standing so near the throne? They are the Saviour's especial
bodyguard, which hovered over Him in the wilderness and administered
to Him in the hour of martyrdom, and heaved away the rock of His
sarcophagus, and escorted Him upward on Ascension Day, now
appropriately escorting Him down. Divine glory flanked on both sides
by angelic radiance.

But now lower your eye from the divine and angelic to the human. The
entire human race is present. All nations, says my text. Before that
time the American Republic, the English Government, the French
Republic, all modern modes of government may be obliterated for
something better; but all nations, whether dead or alive, will be
brought up into that assembly. Thebes and Tyre and Babylon and Greece
and Rome as wide awake in that assembly as though they had never
slumbered amid the dead nations. Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South
America, and all the nineteenth century, the eighteenth century, the
twelfth century, the tenth century, the fourth century--all centuries
present. Not one being that ever drew the breath of life but will be
in that assembly.

No other audience a thousandth part as large. No other audience a
millionth part as large. No human eye could look across it. Wing of
albatross and falcon and eagle not strong enough to fly over it. A
congregation, I verily believe, not assembled on any continent,
because no continent would be large enough to hold it. But, as the
Bible intimates, in the air. The law of gravitation unanchored, the
world moved out of its place. As now sometimes on earth a great tent
is spread for some great convention, so over that great audience of
the judgment shall be lifted the blue canopy of the sky, and
underneath it for floor the air made buoyant by the hand of Almighty
God. An architecture of atmospheric galleries strong enough to hold up
worlds. Surely the two arms of God's almightiness are two pillars
strong enough to hold up any auditorium.

But that audience is not to remain in session long. Most audiences on
earth after an hour or two adjourn. Sometimes in court-rooms an
audience will tarry four or five hours, but then it adjourns. So this
audience spoken of in the text will adjourn. My text says, "He will
separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth the sheep from
the goats."

"No," says my Universalist friend, "let them all stay together." But
the text says, "He shall separate them." "No," say the kings of this
world, "let men have their choice, and if they prefer monarchical
institutions, let them go together, and if they prefer republican
institutions, let them go together." "No," say the conventionalities
of this world, "let all those who moved in what are called high
circles go together, and all those who on earth moved in low circles
go together. The rich together, the poor together, the wise together,
the ignorant together." Ah! no. Do you not notice in that assembly the
king is without his scepter, and the soldier without his uniform, and
the bishop without his pontifical ring, and the millionaire without
his certificates of stock, and the convict without his chain, and the
beggar without his rags, and the illiterate without his bad
orthography, and all of us without any distinction of earthly
inequality? So I take it from that as well as from my text that the
mere accident of position in this world will do nothing toward
deciding the questions of that very great day.

"He will separate them as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the
goats." The sheep, the cleanliest of creatures, here made a symbol of
those who have all their sins washed away in the fountain of redeeming
mercy. The goat, one of the filthiest of creatures, here a type of
those who in the last judgment will be found never to have had any
divine ablution. Division according to character. Not only character
outside, but character inside. Character of heart, character of
choice, character of allegiance, character of affection, character
inside as well as character outside.

In many cases it will be a complete and immediate reversal of all
earthly conditions. Some who in this world wore patched apparel will
take on raiment lustrous as a summer noon. Some who occupied a palace
will take a dungeon. Division regardless of all earthly caste, and
some who were down will be up, and some who were up will be down. Oh,
what a shattering of conventionalities! What an upheaval of all social
rigidities, what a turning of the wheel of earthly condition, a
thousand revolutions in a second! Division of all nations, of all
ages, not by the figure 9, nor the figure 8, nor the figure 7, nor the
figure 6, nor the figure 5, nor the figure 4; but by the figure 2.

Two! Two characters, two destinies, two estates, two dominions, two
eternities, a tremendous, an all-comprehensive, an all-decisive, and
everlasting two!

I sometimes think that the figure of the book that shall be opened
allows us to forget the thing signified by the symbol. Where is the
book-binder that could make a volume large enough to contain the names
of all the people who have ever lived? Besides that, the calling of
such a roll would take more than fifty years, more than a hundred
years, and the judgment is to be consummated in less time than passes
between sunrise and sunset. Ah! my friends, the leaves of that book of
judgment are not made out of paper, but of memory. One leaf in every
human heart. You have known persons who were near drowning, but they
were afterward resuscitated, and they have told you that in the two or
three minutes between the accident and the resuscitation, all their
past life flashed before them--all they had ever thought, all they had
ever done, all they had ever seen, in an instant came to them. The
memory never loses anything. It is only a folded leaf. It is only a
closed book.

Though you be an octogenarian, though you be a nonagenarian, all the
thoughts and acts of your life are in your mind, whether you recall
them now or not, just as Macaulay's history is in two volumes,
although the volumes may be closed, and you can not see a word of
them, and will not until they are opened. As in the case of the
drowning man, the volume of memory was partly open, or the leaf partly
unrolled; in the case of the judgment the entire book will be opened,
so that everything will be displayed from preface to appendix.

You have seen self-registering instruments which recorded how many
revolutions they had made and what work they had done, so the
manufacturer could come days after and look at the instrument and find
just how many revolutions had been made, or how much work had been
accomplished. So the human mind is a self-registering instrument, and
it records all its past movements. Now that leaf, that
all-comprehensive leaf in your mind and mine this moment, the leaf of
judgment, brought out under the flash of the judgment throne, you can
easily see how all the past of our lives in an instant will be seen.
And so great and so resplendent will be the light of that throne that
not only this leaf in my heart and that leaf in your heart will be
revealed at a flash, but all the leaves will be opened, and you will
read not only your own character and your own history, but the
character and history of others.

In a military encampment the bugle sounded in one way means one thing,
and sounded in another way it means another thing. Bugle sounded in
one way means, "Prepare for sudden attack." Bugle sounded in another
way means, "To your tents, and let all the lights be put out." I have
to tell you, my brother, that the trumpet of the Old Testament, the
trumpet that was carried in the armies of olden times, and the trumpet
on the walls in olden times, in the last great day will give
significant reverberation. Old, worn-out, and exhausted Time, having
marched across decades and centuries and ages, will halt, and the sun
and the moon and the stars will halt with it. The trumpet! the
trumpet!

Peal the first: Under its power the sea will stretch itself out dead,
the white foam on the lip, in its crystal sarcophagus, and the
mountains will stagger and reel and stumble, and fall into the valleys
never to rise. Under one puff of that last cyclone all the candles of
the sky will be blown out. The trumpet! the trumpet!

Peal the second: The alabaster halls of the air will be filled with
those who will throng up from all the cemeteries of all the ages--from
Greyfriar's Churchyard and Roman Catacomb, from Westminster Abbey and
from the coral crypts of oceanic cave, and some will rend off the
bandage of Egyptian mummy, and others will remove from their brow the
garland of green sea-weed. From the north and the south and the east
and the west they come. The dead! The trumpet! the trumpet!

Peal the third: Amid surging clouds and the roar of attendant armies
of heaven, the Lord comes through, and there are lightnings and
thunder-bolts, and an earthquake, and a hallelujah, and a wailing. The
trumpet! the trumpet!

Peal the fourth: All the records of human life will be revealed. The
leaf containing the pardoned sin, the leaf containing the unpardoned
sin. Some clapping hands with joy, some grinding their teeth with
rage, and all the forgotten past becomes a vivid present. The trumpet!
the trumpet!

Peal the last: The audience breaks up. The great trial is ended. The
high court of heaven adjourns. The audience hie themselves to their
two termini. They rise, they rise! They sink, they sink! Then the blue
tent of the sky will be lifted and folded up and put away. Then the
auditorium of atmospheric galleries will be melted. Then the folded
wings of attendant angels will be spread for upward flight. The fiery
throne of judgment will become a dim and a vanishing cloud. The
conflagration of divine and angelic magnificence will roll back and
off. The day for which all other days are made has closed, and the
world has burned down, and the last cinder has gone out, and an angel
flying on errand from world to world will poise long enough over the
dead earth to chant the funeral litany as he cries, "Ashes to ashes!"

That judgment leaf in your heart I seize hold of this moment for
cancellation. In your city halls the great book of mortgages has a
large margin, so that when the mortgagor has paid the full amount to
the mortgagee, the officer of the law comes, and he puts down on that
margin the payment and the cancellation; and though that mortgage
demanded vast thousands before, now it is null and void. So I have to
tell you that that leaf in my heart and in your heart, that leaf of
judgment, that all-comprehensive leaf, has a wide margin for
cancellation.

There is only one hand in all the universe that can touch that margin.
That hand this moment lifted to make the record null and void forever.
It may be a trembling hand, for it is a wounded hand, the nerves were
cut and the muscles were lacerated. That record on that leaf was made
in the black ink of condemnation; but if cancellation take place, it
will be made in the red ink of sacrifice. O judgment-bound brother and
sister! let Christ this moment bring to that record complete and
glorious cancellation. This moment, in an outburst of impassioned
prayer, ask for it. You think it is the fluttering of your heart. Oh,
no! it is the fluttering of that leaf, that judgment leaf.

I ask you not to take from your iron safe your last will and
testament, but I ask for something of more importance than that. I ask
you not to take from your private papers that letter so sacred that
you have put it away from all human eyesight, but I ask you for
something of more meaning than that. That leaf, that judgment leaf in
my heart, that judgment leaf in your heart, which will decide our
condition after this world shall have five thousand million years been
swept out the heavens, an extinct planet, and time itself will be so
long past that on the ocean of eternity it will seem only as now seems
a ripple on the Atlantic.

When the goats in vile herd start for the barren mountains of death,
and the sheep in fleeces of snowy whiteness and bleating with joy move
up the terraced hills to join the lambs already playing in the high
pastures of celestial altitude, oh, may you and I be close by the
Shepherd's crook! "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and
all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His
glory; and before Him shall be gathered all nations; and He shall
separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from
the goats."

Oh, that leaf, that one leaf in my heart, that one leaf in your heart!
That leaf of judgment! Oh, those two tremendous words at the last,
"Come!" "Go!" As though the overhanging heavens were the cup of a
great bell, and all the stars were welded into a silvery tongue and
swung from side to side until it struck, "Come!" As though all the
great guns of eternal disaster were discharged at once, and they
boomed forth in one resounding cannonade of "Go!" Arithmetical sum in
simple division. Eternity the dividend. The figure two the divisor.
Your unalterable destiny the quotient.



THE ROAD TO THE CITY.

    "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be
    called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over
    it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though
    fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any
    ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found
    there; but the redeemed shall walk there; and the ransomed of
    the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and
    everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and
    gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."--ISAIAH
    xxxv: 8-10.


There are hundreds of people in this house this morning who want to
find the right road. You sometimes see a person halting at cross
roads, and you can tell by his looks that he wishes to ask a question
as to what direction he had better take. And I stand in your presence
this morning conscious of the fact that there are many of you here who
realize that there are a thousand wrong roads, but only one right one;
and I take it for granted that you have come in to ask which one it
is. Here is one road that opens widely, but I have not much faith in
it. There are a great many expensive toll-gates scattered all along
that way. Indeed at every road you must pay in tears, or pay in
genuflexions, or pay in flagellations. On that road, if you get
through it at all, you have to pay your own way; and since this
differs so much from what I have heard in regard to the right way, I
believe it is the wrong way.

Here is another road. On either side of it are houses of sinful
entertainment, and invitations to come in, and dine and rest; but,
from the looks of the people who stand on the piazza I am very certain
that it is the wrong house and the wrong way. Here is another road. It
is very beautiful and macadamized. The horses' hoofs clatter and ring,
and they who ride over it spin along the highway, until suddenly they
find that the road breaks over an embankment, and they try to halt,
and they saw the bit in the mouth of the fiery steed, and cry "Ho!
ho!" But it is too late, and--crash!--they go over the embankment. We
shall turn, this morning, and see if we can not find a different kind
of a road.

You have heard of the Appian Way. It was three hundred and fifty miles
long. It was twenty-four feet wide, and on either side the road was a
path for foot passengers. It was made out of rocks cut in hexagonal
shape and fitted together. What a road it must have been! Made of
smooth, hard rock, three hundred and fifty miles long. No wonder that
in the construction of it the treasures of a whole empire were
exhausted. Because of invaders, and the elements, and time--the old
conqueror who tears up a road as he goes over it--there is nothing
left of that structure excepting a ruin. But I have this morning to
tell you of a road built before the Appian Way, and yet it is as good
as when first constructed. Millions of souls have gone over it.
Millions more will come.

    "The prophets and apostles, too,
      Pursued this road while here below;
    We therefore will, without dismay
      Still walk in Christ, the good old way."

"An highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way
of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for
those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion
shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall
not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there; and the
ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and
everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away!"

I. First, this road of the text is the King's highway. In the
diligence you dash over the Bernard pass of the Alps, mile after mile,
and there is not so much as a pebble to jar the wheels. You go over
bridges which cross chasms that make you hold your breath; under
projecting rock; along by dangerous precipices; through tunnels adrip
with the meltings of the glaciers; and, perhaps for the first time,
learn the majesty of a road built and supported by government
authority. Well, my Lord the King decided to build a highway from
earth to heaven. It should span all the chasms of human wretchedness;
it should tunnel all the mountains of earthly difficulty; it should be
wide enough and strong enough to hold fifty thousand millions of the
human race, if so many of them should ever be born. It should be
blasted out of the "Rock of Ages," and cemented with the blood of the
Cross, and be lifted amid the shouting of angels and the execration of
devils.

The King sent His Son to build that road. He put head and hand and
heart to it, and, after the road was completed, waved His blistered
hand over the way, crying, "It is finished!" Napoleon paid fifteen
million francs for the building of the Simplon Road, that his cannon
might go over for the devastation of Italy; but our King, at a greater
expense, has built a road for a different purpose, that the banners of
heavenly dominion might come down over it, and all the redeemed of
earth travel up over it.

Being a King's highway, of course it is well built. Bridges splendidly
arched and buttressed have given way and crushed the passengers who
attempted to cross them. But Christ, the King, would build no such
thing as that. The work done, He mounts the chariot of His love, and
multitudes mount with Him, and He drives on and up the steep of heaven
amid the plaudits of gazing worlds! The work is done--well
done--gloriously done--magnificently done.

II. Still further: this road spoken of is a clean road.

Many a fine road has become miry and foul because it has not been
properly cared for; but my text says the unclean shall not walk on
this one. Room on either side to throw away your sins. Indeed, if you
want to carry them along, you are not on the right road. That bridge
will break, those overhanging rocks will fall, the night will come
down, leaving you at the mercy of the mountain bandits, and at the
very next turn of the road you will perish. But if you are really on
this clean road of which I have been speaking, then you will stop
ever and anon to wash in the water that stands in the basin of the
eternal rock. Ay, at almost every step of the journey you will be
crying out: "Create within me a clean heart!" If you have no such
aspirations as that, it proves that you have mistaken your way; and if
you will only look up and see the finger-board above your head, you
may read upon it the words: "There is a way that seemeth right unto a
man, but the end thereof is death." Without holiness no man shall see
the Lord; and if you have any idea that you can carry along your sins,
your lusts, your worldliness, and yet get to the end of the Christian
race, you are so awfully mistaken that, in the name of God, this
morning I shatter the delusion.

III. Still further, the road spoken of is a plain road. "The wayfaring
men, though fools, shall not err therein." That is, if a man is three
fourths an idiot, he can find this road just as well as if he were a
philosopher. The imbecile boy, the laughing-stock of the street, and
followed by a mob hooting at him, has only just to knock once at the
gate of heaven, and it swings open: while there has been many a man
who can lecture about pneumatics, and chemistry, and tell the story of
Farraday's theory of electrical polarization, and yet has been shut
out of heaven. There has been many a man who stood in an observatory
and swept the heavens with his telescope, and yet has not been able to
see the Morning Star. Many a man has been familiar with all the higher
branches of mathematics, and yet could not do the simple sum, "What
shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own
soul?" Many a man has been a fine reader of tragedies and poems, and
yet could not "read his title clear to mansions in the skies." Many a
man has botanized across the continent, and yet not know the "Rose of
Sharon and the Lily of the Valley." But if one shall come in the right
spirit, crying the way to heaven, he will find it a plain way. The
pardon is plain. The peace is plain. Everything is plain.

He who tries to get on the road to heaven through the New Testament
teaching will get on beautifully. He who goes through philosophical
discussion will not get on at all. Christ says: "Come to Me, and I
will take all your sins away, and I will take all your troubles away."
Now what is the use of my discussing it any more? Is not that plain?
If you wanted to go to Albany, and I pointed you out a highway
thoroughly laid out, would I be wise in detaining you by a geological
discussion about the gravel you will pass over, or a physiological
discussion about the muscles you will have to bring into play? No.
After this Bible has pointed you the way to heaven, is it wise for me
to detain you with any discussion about the nature of the human will,
or whether the atonement is limited or unlimited? There is the
road--go on it. It is a plain way.

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners." And that is you and that
is me. Any little child here can understand this as well as I can.
"Unless you become as a little child, you can not see the kingdom of
God." If you are saved, it will not be as a philosopher, it will be as
a little child. "Of such is the kingdom of Heaven." Unless you get
the spirit of little children, you will never come out at their
glorious destiny.

IV. Still further: this road to heaven is a safe road. Sometimes the
traveler in those ancient highways would think himself perfectly
secure, not knowing there was a lion by the way, burying his head deep
between his paws, and then, when the right moment came, under the
fearful spring the man's life was gone, and there was a mauled carcass
by the roadside. But, says my text, "No lion shall be there." I wish I
could make you feel, this morning, your entire security. I tell you
plainly that one minute after a man has become a child of God, he is
as safe as though he had been ten thousand years in heaven. He may
slip, he may slide, he may stumble; but he can not be destroyed. Kept
by the power of God, through faith, unto complete salvation.
Everlastingly safe.

The severest trial to which you can subject a Christian man is to kill
him, and that is glory. In other words, the worst thing that can
happen a child of God is heaven. The body is only the old slippers
that he throws aside just before putting on the sandals of light. His
soul, you can not hurt it. No fires can consume it. No floods can
drown it. No devils can capture it.

    "Firm and unmoved are they
      Who rest their souls on God;
    Fixed as the ground where David stood,
      Or where the ark abode."

His soul is safe. His reputation is safe. Everything is safe. "But,"
you say, "suppose his store burns up?" Why, then, it will be only a
change of investments from earthly to heavenly securities. "But," you
say, "suppose his name goes down under the hoof of scorn and
contempt?" The name will be so much brighter in glory. "Suppose his
physical health fails?" God will pour into him the floods of
everlasting health, and it will not make any difference. Earthly
subtraction is heavenly addition. The tears of earth are the crystals
of heaven. As they take rags and tatters and put them through the
paper-mill, and they come out beautiful white sheets of paper, so,
often, the rags of earthly destitution, under the cylinders of death,
come out a white scroll upon which shall be written eternal
emancipation.

There was one passage of Scripture, the force of which I never
understood until one day at Chamounix, with Mont Blanc on one side,
and Montanvent on the other, I opened my Bible and read: "As the
mountains are around about Jerusalem, so the Lord is around about them
that fear Him." The surroundings were an omnipotent commentary.

    "Though troubles assail, and dangers affright;
    Though friends should all fail, and foes all unite;
    Yet one thing secures us, whatever betide,
    The Scriptures assure us the Lord will provide."

V. Still further: the road spoken of is a pleasant road. God gives a
bond of indemnity against all evil to every man that treads it. "All
things work together for good to those who love God." No weapon formed
against them can prosper. That is the bond, signed, sealed, and
delivered by the President of the whole universe. What is the use of
your fretting, O child of God, about food? "Behold the fowls of the
air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns;
yet your heavenly Father feedeth them." And will He take care of the
sparrow, will He take care of the hawk, and let you die? What is the
use of your fretting about clothes? "Consider the lilies of the field.
Shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" What is the
use worrying for fear something will happen to your home? "He blesseth
the habitation of the just." What is the use of your fretting lest you
will be overcome of temptations? "God is faithful, who will not suffer
you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation
also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

O this King's highway! Trees of life on either side, bending over
until their branches interlock and drop midway their fruit and shade.
Houses of entertainment on either side the road for poor pilgrims.
Tables spread with a feast of good things, and walls adorned with
apples of gold in pictures of silver. I start out on this King's
highway, and I find a harper, and I say: "What is your name?" The
harper makes no response, but leaves me to guess, as, with his eyes
toward heaven and his hand upon the trembling strings this tune comes
rippling on the air: "The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom
shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be
afraid?" I go a little further on the same road and meet a trumpeter
of heaven, and I say: "Haven't you got some music for a tired
pilgrim?" And wiping his lip and taking a long breath, he puts his
mouth to the trumpet and pours forth this strain: "They shall hunger
no more, neither shall they thirst any more, neither shall the sun
light on them, nor any heat, for the Lamb which is in the midst of the
throne shall lead them to living fountains of water, and God shall
wipe away all tears from their eyes." I go a little distance further
on the same road, and I meet a maiden of Israel. She has no harp, but
she has cymbals. They look as if they had rusted from sea-spray; and I
say to the maiden of Israel: "Have you no song for a tired pilgrim?"
And like the clang of victors' shields the cymbals clap as Miriam
begins to discourse: "Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed
gloriously; the horse and the rider hath He thrown into the sea." And
then I see a white-robed group. They come bounding toward me, and I
say: "Who are they? The happiest, and the brightest, and the fairest
in all heaven--who are they?" And the answer comes: "These are they
who came out of great tribulations, and had their robes washed and
made white with the blood of the Lamb."

I pursue this subject only one step further. What is the terminus? I
do not care how fine a road you may put me on, I want to know where it
comes out. My text declares it: "The redeemed of the Lord come to
Zion." You know what Zion was. That was the King's palace. It was a
mountain fastness. It was impregnable. And so heaven is the fastness
of the universe. No howitzer has long enough range to shell those
towers. Let all the batteries of earth and hell blaze away; they can
not break in those gates. Gibraltar was taken, Sebastopol was taken,
Babylon fell; but these walls of heaven shall never surrender either
to human or Satanic besiegement. The Lord God Almighty is the defense
of it. Great capital of the universe! Terminus of the King's highway!

Doctor Dick said that, among other things, he thought in heaven we
should study chemistry, and geometry, and conic sections. Southey
thought that in heaven he would have the pleasure of seeing Chaucer
and Shakespeare. Now, Doctor Dick may have his mathematics for all
eternity, and Southey his Shakespeare. Give me Christ and my old
friends--that is all the heaven I want, that is heaven enough for me.
O garden of light, whose leaves never wither, and whose fruits never
fail! O banquet of God, whose sweetness never palls the taste, and
whose guests are kings forever! O city of light, whose walls are
salvation, and whose gates are praise! O palace of rest, where God is
the monarch and everlasting ages the length of His reign! O song
louder than the surf-beat of many waters, yet soft as the whisper of
cherubim!

O my heaven! When my last wound is healed, when the last heart-break
is ended, when the last tear of earthly sorrow is wiped away, and when
the redeemed of the Lord shall come to Zion, then let all the harpers
take down their harps, and all the trumpeters take down their
trumpets, and all across heaven there be chorus of morning stars,
chorus of white-robed victors, chorus of martyrs from under the
throne, chorus of ages, chorus of worlds, and there be but one song
sung, and but one name spoken, and but one throne honored--that of
Jesus only.



THE RANSOMLESS.

    "Beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great
    ransom can not deliver thee."--JOB xxxvi: 18.


Trouble makes some men mad. It was so with Job. He had lost his
property, he had lost his physical health, he had lost his dear
children, and the losses had led to exasperation instead of any
spiritual profit. I suppose that he was in the condition that many are
now in who sit before me. There are those here whose fortunes have
begun to flap their wings, as though to fly away. There is a hollow
cough in some of your dwellings. There is a subtraction of comfort and
happiness, and you feel disgusted with the world, and impatient with
many events that are transpiring in your history, and you are in the
condition in which Job was when the words of my text accosted him:
"Beware lest He take thee away with His stroke and then a ransom can
not deliver thee."

I propose to show you that sometimes God suddenly removes from us our
gospel opportunities, and that, when He has done so, our case is
ransomless. "Beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a
great ransom can not deliver thee."

I. Sometimes the stroke comes in the removal of the intellect.

"Oh," says some man, "as long as I keep my mind I can afford to
adjourn religion." But suppose you do not keep it? A fever, the
hurling of a missile, the falling of a brick from a scaffolding, the
accidental discharge of a gun--and your mind is gone. If you have ever
been in an anatomical room, and have examined the human brain, you
know what a delicate organ it is. And can it be possible that our
eternity is dependent upon the healthy action of that which can be so
easily destroyed?

"Oh," says some one, "you don't know how strong a mind I have." I
reply: Losses, accident, bereavement, and sickness may shipwreck the
best physical or mental condition. There are those who have been ten
years in lunatic asylums who had as good a mind as you. While they had
their minds they neglected God, and when their intellect went, with it
went their last opportunity for heaven. Now they are not responsible
for what they do, or for what they say; but in the last day they will
be held responsible for what they did when they were mentally well;
and if, on that day, a soul should say: "Oh, God, I was demented, and
I had no responsibility," God will say: "Yes, you were demented; but
there were long years when you were not demented. That was your chance
for heaven, and you missed it." Oh, better be, as the Scotch say, a
little "daft," nevertheless having grace in the heart; better be like
poor Richard Hampson, the Cornish fool, whose biography has just
appeared in England--a silly man he was, yet bringing souls to Jesus
Christ by scores and scores--giving an account of his own conversion,
when he said: "The mob got after me, and I lost my hat, and climbed
up by a meat-stand, in order that I might not be trampled under foot,
and while I was there, my heart got on fire with love toward those who
were chasing me, and, springing to my feet, I began to exhort and to
pray." Oh, my God, let me be in the last, last day the Cornish fool,
rather than have the best intellect God ever created unillumined by
the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Consider what an uncertain possession you have in your intellect, when
there are so many things around to destroy it; and beware, lest before
you use it in making the religious choice, God takes it away with a
stroke. I know a good many of my friends who are putting off religion
until the last hour. They say when they get sick they will attend to
it, but generally the intellect is beclouded; and oh; what a doleful
thing it is to stand by a dying bed, and talk to a man about his soul,
and feel, from what you see of the motion of his head, and the glare
of his eye, and from what you hear of the jargon of his lips, that he
does not understand what you are saying to him. I have stood beside
the death-bed of a man who had lived a sinful life, and was as
unprepared for eternity as it is possible for a man to be, and I tried
to make him understand my pastoral errand; but all in vain. He could
not understand it, and so he died.

Oh! ye who are putting off until the sick hour preparation for
eternity, let me tell you that in all probability, you will not be
able in your last hour to attend to it at all. There are a great many
people who say they will repent on the death-bed.

I have no doubt there are many who have repented on the death-bed, but
I think it is the exception. Albert Barnes, who was one of the coolest
of men, and gave no rash statistics, said thus: that in a ministry of
nearly half a century--he was over seventy when he went up to
glory--he had known a great many people who said they repented on the
dying bed, but, unexpectedly to themselves, got well; and he says, How
many of those, do you suppose, who thought it was their dying bed, and
who, after they repented on that dying bed, having got well, lived
consistently, showing that it was real repentance, and not mock
repentance--how many? not one! not one!

II. Again: this stroke may come to you in the withdrawal of God's
spirit.

I see people before me who were, twenty years ago, serious about their
souls. They are not now. They have no interest in what I am saying.
They will never have any anxiety in what any minister of the Gospel
says about their souls. Their time seems to have passed. I know a man,
seventy-five years of age, who, in early life, became almost a
Christian, but grieved away the spirit of God, and he has never
thought earnestly since, and he can not be roused. I do not believe he
will be roused until eternity flashes on his astonished vision.

It does seem as if sometimes, in quite early life, the Holy Spirit
moves upon a heart, and being grieved away and rejected, never comes
back. You say that is all imaginary? A letter, the address of which I
will not give, dated last Monday morning, came to me on Tuesday,
saying this: "Your sermon last night (that is, last Sabbath night)
did not fit my case, although I believe it did all others in the
Academy; but your sermon of a week ago did fit my case, for I am 'past
feeling.' I am not ashamed to be a Christian. I would as soon be known
to be a Christian as anything else. Indeed, I wish I was, but I have
not the least power to become one. Don't you know that with some
persons there is a tide in their spiritual natures which, if taken at
the flood, leads on to salvation? Such a tide I felt two years ago. I
want you to pray for me, not that I may be led to Christ--for that
prayer would not be answered--but that I may be kept from the
temptation to suicide!"

What I had to say to the author of that I said in a private letter;
but what I have to say to this audience is: Beware lest you grieve the
Holy Ghost, and He be gone, and never return. Next Wednesday, at two
or three o'clock, a Cunard steamer will put out from Jersey City wharf
for Liverpool. After it has gone one hour, and the vessel is down by
the Narrows, or beyond, go out on the Jersey City wharf, and wave your
hand, and shout, and ask that steamer to come back to the wharf. Will
it? Yes, sooner than the Holy Ghost will come back when once He has
taken his final flight from thy soul. With that Holy Spirit some of
you have been in treaty, my dear friends.

The Holy Spirit said: "Come, come to Christ." You said: "No, I won't."
The Spirit said, more importunately: "Come to Christ." You said:
"Well, I will after awhile, when I get my business fixed up; when my
friends consent to my coming; when they won't laugh at me--then I'll
come." But the Holy Spirit more emphatically said: "Come now." You
said: "No, I can't. I can't come now." And that Holy Spirit stands in
your heart to-night, with His hand on the door of your soul, ready to
come out. Will you let Him depart? If so, then, with a pen of light,
dipped in ink of eternal blackness, the sentence may be now writing:
"Ephraim is joined to his idols. Let him alone! Let him alone!" When
that fatal record is made, you might as well brace yourselves up
against the sorrows of the last day, against the anguish of an
unforgiven death-bed, against the flame and the overthrow of an undone
eternity; for though you might live thirty years after that in the
world, your fate would be as certain as though you had already entered
the gates of darkness. That is the dead line. Look out how you cross
it!

    "'There is a line by us unseen,
      That crosses every path;
    The hidden boundary between
      God's patience and His wrath.'"

And some of you, to-night, have come up to that line. Ay, you have
lifted your foot, and when you put it down, it will be on the other
side! Look out how you cross it! Oh, grieve not the Spirit of God,
lest He never come back!

III. This fatal stroke spoken of in the text may be our exit from this
world. I hear aged people sometimes saying: "I can't live much
longer." But do you know the fact that there are a hundred young
people and middle-aged people who go out of this life to one aged
person, for the simple reason that there are not many aged people to
leave life? The aged seem to stand around like stalks--separate stalks
of wheat at the corner of the field; but when death goes a-mowing, he
likes to go down amid the thick of the harvest. What is more to the
point: a man's going out of this world is never in the way he
expects--it is never at the time he expects. The moment of leaving
this world is always a surprise. If you expect to go in the winter, it
may be in the summer; if in the summer, it may be in the winter; if in
the night, it maybe in the day-time; if you think to go in the
day-time, it may be in the night. Suddenly the event will rush upon
you, and you will be gone. Where? If a Christian--into joy. If not a
Christian--into suffering.

The Gospel call stops outside of the door of the sepulcher. The
sleeper within can not hear it. If that call should be sounded out
with clarion voice louder than ever rang through the air, that sleeper
could not hear it. I suppose every hour of the day, and now, while I
am speaking, there are souls rushing into eternity unprepared. They
slide from the pillow, or they slip from the pavement, and in an
eye-twinkling they are gone. Elegant and eloquent funeral oration will
not do them any good. Epitaph, cut on polished Scotch granite, will
not do them any good. Wailing of beloved kindred can not call them
back.

But, says some one: "I'll keep out of peril; I will not go on the sea,
I will not go into battle--I'll keep out of all danger." That is no
defense. Thousands of people, last night, on their couches, with the
front door locked, and no armed assassin anywhere around, surrounded
by all defended circumstances, slipped out of this life into the
next. If time had been on one side of the shuttle and eternity on the
other side of the shuttle, they could not have shot quicker across it.
A man was saying: "My father was lost at sea, and my grandfather, and
my great-grandfather. Wasn't it strange?" A man, talking to him, said:
"You ought never to venture on the sea, lest you, yourself, be lost at
sea." The man turned to the other, and said: "Where did your father
die?" He replied: "In his bed." "Where did your grandfather die?" "In
his bed." "Where did your great-grandfather die?" "In his bed."
"Then," he said, "be careful, lest some night, while you are asleep on
your couch, your time may come!"

Death alone is sure. Suddenly, you and I will go out of life. I am not
saying anything to your soul that I am not going to say to my own
soul. We have got to go suddenly out of this life. If I am prepared
for that change, I do not care where my body is taken from--at what
point I am taken out of this life. If I am ready, all is well. If I am
not ready, though I might be at home, and though my loved ones might
be standing around me, and though there might be the best surgical and
medical ability in the room, I tell you, if I were not prepared, I
would be frightened more than tongue can tell. It may seem like
cowardice, but I am not ashamed to say that I should have the most
indescribable horror about going out of this world if I thought I was
unprepared for the next--if I had no Christ in my soul; for it would
be a plunge compared with which a leap from the top of Mont Blanc
would be nothing.

But this brings me to the most tremendous thought of my text. The text
supposes that a man goes into ruin, and that an effort is made
afterward for his rescue, and then says the thing can not be done. Is
that so? After death seizes upon that soul, is there no resurrection?
If a man topples off the edge of life, is there nothing to break his
fall? If an impenitent man goes overboard, are there no
grappling-hooks to hoist him into safety? The text says distinctly:
"Then a great ransom can not deliver thee."

I know there are people who call themselves "Restorationists," and
they say a sinful man may go down into the world of the lost; he stays
there until he gets reformed, and then comes up into the world of
light and blessedness. It seems to me to be a most unreasonable
doctrine--as though the world of darkness were a place where a man
could get reformed. Is there anything in the society of the lost
world--the abandoned and the wretched of God's universe--to elevate a
man's character and lift him at last to heaven? Can we go into
companionship of the Neroes and the Herods, and the Jim Fisks, and
spend a certain number of years in that lost world, and then by that
society be purified and lifted up? Is that the kind of society that
reforms a man and prepares him for heaven? Would you go to Shreveport
or Memphis, with the yellow fever there, to get your physical health
restored? Can it be that a man may go down into the diseased world--a
world overwhelmed by an epidemic of transgressions--and by that
process, and in that atmosphere, be lifted up to health and glory?
Your common sense says: "No! no!" In such society as that, instead of
being restored, you would go down worse and worse, plunging every hour
into deeper depths of suffering and darkness. What your common sense
says the Bible reaffirms, when it says: "These shall go away into
three months of punishment." I have quoted it wrong. "These shall go
away into ten years of punishment." I have quoted it wrong. "These
shall go into a thousand years of punishment." I have quoted it wrong.
"These shall go into _everlasting_ punishment." And now I have quoted
it right; or, if you prefer, in the words of my text: "Then a great
ransom can not deliver thee."

Now just suppose that a spirit should come down from heaven and knock
at the gates of woe and say: "Let that man out! Let me come in and
suffer in his stead. I will be the sacrifice. Let him come out." The
grim jailer would reply: "No, you don't know what a place this is, or
you would not ask to come in; besides that, this man had full warning
and full opportunity of escape. He did not take the warning, and now a
great ransom shall not deliver him."

Sometimes men are sentenced to imprisonment for life. There comes
another judge on the bench, there comes another governor in the chair,
and in three or four years you find the man who was sentenced for life
in the street. You say: "I thought you were sentenced for life." "Oh!"
he says, "politics are changed, and I am now a free man." But it will
not be so for a soul at the last. There will be no new judge or new
governor. If at the end of a century a soul might come out, it would
not be so bad. If at the end of a thousand years it might come out,
it would not be so bad. If there were any time in all the future, in
quadrillions and quadrillions of years, that the soul might come out,
it would not be so bad; but if the Bible be true, it is a state of
unending duration.

Far on in the ages one lost soul shall cry out to another lost soul:
"How long have you been here?" and the soul will reply: "The years of
my ruin are countless. I estimated the time for thousands of years;
but what is the use of estimating when all these rolling cycles bring
us no nearer the terminus." Ages! Ages! Ages! Eternity! Eternity!
Eternity! The wrath to come! The wrath to come! The wrath to come! No
medicine to cure that marasmus of the soul. No hammer to strike off
the handcuff of that incarceration. No burglar's key to pick the locks
which the Lord hath fastened. Sir Francis Newport, in his last moment,
caught just one glimpse of that world. He had lived a sinful life.
Before he went into the eternal world he looked into it. The last
words he ever uttered were, as he gathered himself up on his elbows in
the bed: "Oh, the insufferable pangs of hell!" The lost soul will cry
out: "I can not stand this! I can not stand this! Is there no way
out?" and the echo will answer: "No way out." And the soul will cry:
"Is this forever?" and the echo will answer: "Forever!"

Is it all true? "These shall go away into everlasting punishment,
while the righteous go into life eternal." Are there two destinies?
and must all this audience share one or the other? Shall I give an
account for what I have told you to-night? Have I held back any truth,
though it were plain, though it were unpalatable? Must I meet you
there, oh, you dying but immortal auditory? I wish that my text, with
all its uplifted hands of warning, could come upon your souls: "Beware
lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom can not
deliver thee."

Glory be to God, there is a ransom that can now deliver you, braver
than Grace Darling putting out in a life-boat from Eddystone
Light-house for the rescue of the crew of the Forfarshire
steamer--Christ the Lord launched from heaven, amid the shouting of
the angels. Thirty-three years afterward, Christ the Lord launched
from earth to heaven, amid human and infernal execration; yet staying
here long enough to save all who will believe in Him. Do you hear
that? To save all who will believe in Him. Oh, that pierced side! Oh,
that bleeding brow! Oh, that crushed foot! Oh, that broken heart! That
is your hope, sinner. That is your ransom from sin, and death, and
hell.

Why have I told you all these things to-night, plainly and frankly? It
is because I know there is redemption for you, and I would have you
now come and get it. Oh, men and women long prayed for, and striven
with, and coaxed of the mercy of God--have you concentrated all your
physical, mental, and spiritual energies in one awful determination to
be lost? Is there nothing in the value of your soul, in the
graciousness of Christ, in the thunders of the last day, in the
blazing glories of heaven, and the surging wrath of an undone eternity
to start you out of your indifference, and make you pray? Oh, must God
come upon you in some other way? Must He take another darling child
from your household? Must He take another installment from your
worldly estate? Must life come upon you with sorrow after sorrow, and
smite you down with sickness before you will be moved, and before you
will feel?

Oh, weep now, while Jesus will count the tears! Sigh, now in
repentance, while Jesus will hear the grief. Now clutch the cross of
the Son of God before it be swept away. Beware, lest the Holy Spirit
leave thy heart. Beware, lest this night thy soul be required of thee.
"Beware, lest he take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom
can not deliver thee." Oh, Lord God of Israel, see these impenitent
souls on the verge of death ready to topple over! See them! Is there
no help? Is this plea all in vain? I can not believe it, blessed God.
Oh, thou mighty One, whose garments are red with the wine-press of
Thine own sufferings, in the greatness of Thy strength ride through
this audience, and may all this people fall into line, the willing
captives of Thy grace. Men and women immortal! I lay hold of you
to-night with both hands of entreaty and of prayer, and I beg of you,
prepare for death, judgment, and eternity.



THE THREE GROUPS.

    "And they sat down in ranks by hundreds and by fifties."--MARK
    vi: 40.


The sun was far down in the west, night was coming on, and there were
five thousand people tired, hungry, shelterless. You know how
Washington felt at Valley Forge, when his army was starving and
freezing. You may imagine how any great-hearted general would feel
while his troops were suffering. Imagine, then, how Christ, with His
great heart, must have felt as He saw these five thousand
hunger-bitten people. Yes, I suppose there were ten thousand there,
for the Bible says there were five thousand men, besides women and
children. The case is put in that way, not because the women and
children were of less importance than the men, but because they would
eat less; and the whole force of the miracle turns on the amount of
food required.

How shall this great multitude be supplied? I see a selfish man in
that crowd pulling a luncheon out of his own pocket, and saying: "Let
the people starve. They had no business to come out here in the desert
without any provisions. They are improvident, and the improvident
ought to suffer." There is another man, not quite so heartless, who
says: "Go up into the village and buy bread." What a foolish
proposition! There is not enough food in all the village for this
crowd; besides that, who has the money to pay for it? Xerxes' army,
one million strong, was fed by a private individual of great wealth
for only one day, but it broke him. Who, then, shall feed this
multitude?

I see a man rising in that great crowd and asking: "Is there any one
here who has bread or meat?" A kind of moan goes through the whole
throng. "No bread--no meat." But just at that time a lad steps up. You
know when a great crowd goes off upon an excursion, there are always
men and boys to go along for the purpose of merchandise and to strike
a bargain: and so, I suppose, this boy had gone along for the purpose
of merchandise; but he was nearly all sold out, having only five
loaves and two fishes left. He is a generous boy, and he turns them
over to Christ.

But these loaves would not feed twenty people, how much less ten
thousand! Though the action was so generous on the part of the boy, so
far as satisfying the multitude, it was a dead failure. Then Jesus
comes to the rescue. He is apt to come when there is a dead lift. He
commands the people that they sit down "in ranks, by hundreds and by
fifties," as much as to say: "Order! order! so that none be missed."
It was fortunate that that arrangement was made; otherwise, at the
very first appearance of bread, the strong ones would have clutched
it, while the feeble and the modest would have gone unsupplied.

I suppose it was no easy work to get that crowd seated, for they all
wanted to be in the front row, lest the bread give out before their
turn come. No sooner are they seated than there comes a great hush
over all the people. Jesus stands there, His light complexion and
auburn locks illumined by the setting sun. Every eye is on Him. They
wonder what He will do next. He takes one of the loaves that the boy
furnished and breaks off it a piece, which immediately grows to as
large a size as the original loaf, the original loaf staying as large
as it was before the piece was broken off. And they leaned forward
with intense scrutiny, saying: "Look! look!" When some one, anxious to
see more minutely what is going on, rises in front, they cry: "Sit
down in front! Let us look for ourselves."

And then, when the bread is passed around, they taste of it
skeptically and inquiringly, as much as to say: "Is it bread? Really,
is it bread?" Yes, the best bread that was ever made, for Christ made
it. Bread for the first fifty and second fifty. Bread for the first
hundred and the second hundred. Bread for the first thousand and the
second thousand. Pass it all around the circle: there, where that aged
man sits leaning on his staff, and where that woman sits with the
child in her arms. Pass it all around. Are you all fed? "Ay! ay!"
respond the ten thousand voices; "all fed." One basket would have held
the loaves before the miracle; it takes twelve baskets now. Sound it
through all the ages of earth and heaven, that Christ the Lord comes
to our suffering race with the bread of this life in one hand, and the
bread of eternal life in the other hand.

You have all immediately run out the analogy between that scene and
this. There were thousands there; there are thousands here. They were
in the desert; many of you are in the desert of trouble and sin. No
human power could feed them; no human power can feed you. Christ
appeared to them; Christ appears to you. Bread enough for all in the
desert; bread enough for all who are here. And, as on that occasion,
so in this: we have the people "sit down in ranks by hundreds and by
fifties;" for the fact that many of you stand is no fault of ours, for
we have tried to give you seats. As Christ divided that company into
groups, so I divide this audience into three groups: the pardoned, the
seeking, the careless.

I. And, first, I speak to the pardoned.

It is with some of you half past five in the morning, and some faint
streaks of light. With others it is seven o'clock, and thus full dawn.
With others it is twelve o'clock at noon, and you sit in full blaze of
Gospel pardon. I bring you congratulation. Joseph delivered from
Potiphar's dungeon; Daniel lifted from the lion's den; Saul arrested
and unhorsed on the road to Damascus. Oh, you delivered captives, how
your eyes should gleam, and your souls should bound, and your lips
should sing in this pardon! From what land did you come? A land of
darkness. What is to be your destiny? A land of light. Who got you
out? Christ, the Lord. Can you sit so placidly and unmoved while all
heaven comes to your soul with congratulation, and harps are strung,
and crowns are lifted, and a great joy swings round the heavens at the
news of your disinthrallment? If you could realize out of what a pit
you have been dug, to what height you are to be raised, and to what
glory you are destined, you would spring to your feet with "Hosanna!"

In 1808 there was a meeting of the emperors of France and Russia at
Erfurt. There were distinguished men there also from other lands. It
was so arranged that when any of the emperors arrived at the door of
the reception-room, the drum should beat three times; but when a
lesser dignitary should come, then the drum would sound but twice.
After awhile the people in the audience-chamber heard two taps of the
drum. They said: "A prince is coming." But after awhile there were
three taps, and they cried: "The emperor!" Oh, there is a more
glorious arrival at your soul to-night! The drum beats twice at the
coming in of the lesser joys and congratulations of your soul; but it
beats once, twice, thrice at the coming in of a glorious King--Jesus
the Saviour, Jesus the God! I congratulate you. All are yours--things
present and things to come.

II. I come now to speak of the second division--those who are seeking;
some of you with more earnestness, some of you with less earnestness.
But I believe that to-night, if I should ask all those who wish to
find the way to heaven to rise, and the world did not scoff at you,
and your own proud heart did not keep you down, there would be a
thousand souls who would cry out as they rose up: "Show me the way to
heaven!" That young man who smiled to the one next to him, as though
he cared for none of these things, would be on his knees crying for
mercy. Why this anxious look? Why this deep disquietude in the soul?
Why, at the beginning of this service, did you do what you have not
done for years--bow your head in prayer? You are seeking.

"I am a gambler," says one man. There is mercy for you. "I am a
libertine," says another. There is mercy for you. "I have plunged into
every abomination." Mercy for you. The door of grace does not stand
ajar to-night, nor half swung around on the hinges. It is wide, wide
open; and there is nothing in the Bible, or in Christ, or God, or
earth, or heaven, or hell, to keep you out of the door of safety, if
you want to go in. Christ has borne your burdens, fought your battles,
suffered for your sins. The debt is paid, and the receipt is handed to
you, written in the blood of the Son of God--will you have it? Oh,
decide the matter now! Decide it here! Fling your exhausted soul down
at the feet of an all-compassionate, all-sympathizing, all-pitying,
all-pardoning Jesus. The laceration on His brow, the gash in His side,
the torn muscles and nerves of His feet beg you to come.

But remember that one inch outside the door of pardon, and you are in
as much peril as though you were a thousand miles away. Many a
shipwrecked sailor has got almost to the beach, but did not get on it.
There are thousands in the world of the lost who came very near being
saved--perhaps as near as you are to-night--but were not saved.

On the eastern coast of England, a few weeks ago, in a
fishing-village, there was a good deal of excitement. While people
were in church, the sailors and fishermen hearing the Gospel on the
Sabbath, there was a cry: "To the beach!" and the minister closed the
Bible, and with his congregation went out to help, and they saw in the
offing a ship in trouble; but there was some disorder amid the
fishing-smacks, and amid all the boats, and it was almost impossible
to get anything launched. But after awhile they did, and they pulled
away for the wreck, and came almost up, when suddenly the distressed
bark in the offing capsized, and they all went down. Oh, if the
lifeboats had only been ten minutes quicker! And how many a life-boat
has been launched from the Gospel shore! It has come almost up to the
drowning, and yet, after all, they were not rescued. Somehow they did
not get into it!

I suppose there are people who have asked for our prayers, and I
suppose there were some in the side room, last Sabbath night, talking
about their souls, who will miss heaven. They do not take the last
step, and all the other steps go for nothing until you have taken the
last step, for I have here, in the presence of God and this people, to
announce the solemn truth, that to be almost saved is to be lost
forever. That is all I have to say to the second division.

III. I come now to speak to the careless. You look indifferent, and I
suppose you are indifferent. You say: "I came in here because a friend
invited me to see what is going on, but with no serious intentions
about my soul. I have so much work, and so much pleasure on hand,
don't bother me about religion." And yet you are gentlemanly, and you
are lady-like, in your behavior, and, therefore, I know that you will
listen respectfully if I talk courteously. Christian people are
sometimes afraid to talk to men and women of the world lest they be
insulted. If they talk courteously to people of the world, they will
listen courteously. So now I try to come in that way, and in that
spirit, and talk to those of you who tell me that you are careless
about your soul.

Then you have a soul, have you? Yes, precious, with infinite capacity
for joy or suffering, winged for flight somewhere. Beckoned upward,
beckoned downward. Fought after by angels and by fiends. Immortal!

    "The sun is but a spark of fire,
      A transient meteor in the sky:
    The soul, immortal as its Sire,
      Can never die."

Your body will soon be taken down, the castle will be destroyed, the
tower will be in the dust, the windows will be broken out, and the
place where your body sleeps will be forgotten; but your soul, after
that, will be living, acting, feeling, thinking--where? where? Oh,
there must be something of incomputable worth in that for which heaven
gave up its best inhabitant, and Christ went into martyrdom, and at
the coming of which angels chant an eternal litany and devils rush to
the gate. When everything above you, and beneath you, and around you,
is intent upon that soul, you can not afford to be careless,
especially when I think, this moment while I speak, there are
thousands of souls in heaven rejoicing that they attended to this
matter in time, while at this very instant there are souls in the lost
world mourning that they did not attend to it in time. Hark to the
howling of the damned!

Oh, if this room could be vacated of this audience, and you were all
gone, and the wan spirits of the lost could come up and occupy this
place, and I could stand before them with offers of pardon through
Jesus Christ, and then ask them if they would accept it, there would
come up an instantaneous, multitudinous, overwhelming cry: "Yes! yes!
yes! yes!" No such fortune for them. They had their day of grace, and
sacrificed it. You have yours; will you sacrifice it? I wish that I
could have you see these things as you will one day see them.

Suppose, on your way home, a runaway horse should dash across the
street, or between the dock and the boat you should accidentally slip,
where would you be at twelve o'clock to-night or seven o'clock
to-morrow morning? Or for all eternity where would you be? I do not
answer the question. I just leave it to you to answer.

But suppose you escape fatal accident. Suppose you go out by the
ordinary process of sickness. I will just suppose now that your last
hour has come. The doctor says, as he goes out of the room: "Can't get
well." There is something in the faces of those who stand around you
that prophesies that you can not get well. You say within yourself: "I
can't get well." Where are your comrades now? Oh, they are off to the
gay party that very night! They dance as well as they ever did. They
drink as much wine. They laugh as loud as though you were not dying.
They destroyed your soul, but do not come to help you die.

Well, there are father and mother in the room. They are very quiet,
but occasionally they go out into the next room and weep bitterly. The
bed is very much disheveled. They have not been able to make it up
for two or three days. There are four or five pillows lying around,
because they have been trying to make you as easy as they could. On
the one side of your bed are all the past years of your life--the
Bibles, the sermons, the communion-tables, the offers of mercy. You
say: "Take them away." Your mother thinks you are delirious. She says:
"There is nothing there, my dear, nothing there." There is something
there! It is your wasted opportunities. It is your procrastinations.
It is those years you gave to the world that you ought to have given
to Christ. They are there; and some of them put their fingers on your
aching temples, and some of them feel for the strings of your heart,
and some put more thorns in your tumbled pillow, and you say: "Turn me
over." And they turn you over, but, alas! there is a more appalling
vision. You say: "Take that away!" They say: "There is nothing there,
nothing there." There is--an open grave there! the judgment is there!
a lost eternity is there! Take it away! They can not take it away.

You say: "How dark it is getting in the room!" Why, the burners are
all lighted. Your family come up one by one, and tenderly kiss you
good-bye. Your feet are cold, and the hands are cold, and the lips are
cold, and they take a small mirror and they put it over your mouth to
see if there is any breathing, and that mirror is taken away without a
single blur upon it; and they whisper through the room: "She is gone."
And then the door of the body opens and the soul flashes out. Make
room for the destroyed spirit.

Push back that door! Lost! Let it come into its eternal residence.
Woe! woe! No cup of merriment now, but cup of the wrath of Almighty
God. The last chance for heaven gone. The door of mercy shut. The doom
sealed. The blackness of darkness forever!

Voltaire is there. Herod is there. Robespierre is there. The
debauchees are there. The murderers are there. All the rejectors of
Jesus Christ are there. And you will be there unless you repent. You
can not say, my dear brother, that you were not warned. This sermon
would be a witness against you. You can not say that God's Holy Spirit
never strove with your heart. He is striving now. You can not say that
you had no chance for heaven, for the Omnipotent Son of God offers you
His rescue. You can not say: "I had no warning about that world; I
didn't know there was any such place," for the Bible distinctly rings
in your ears to-day, saying: "At the end of the world the angels shall
separate the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into a
furnace of fire." And again that book says: "The wicked shall be
turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." And again it
says: "The smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever."

You can not say that you did not hear about heaven, the other
alternative, for you hear of it now: "The Lamb which is in the midst
of the throne shall lead them to living fountains of water, and God
shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." No sorrow, no suffering,
no death. Oh, will you be careless any longer, when I tell you that
Christ, the Conqueror of earth and hell, offers you now escape from
all peril, and offers to introduce you this very hour into the peace
and pardon of the Gospel, preparing you for that good land? The sides
of Calvary run blood for you. Jesus, who had not where to lay His
head, offers you His heart as a pillow of rest. Christ offers with His
own body to bridge over the chasm of death, saying: "Walk over Me; I
am the way."

O suffering Jesus! the thief scoffed at Thee, and the malefactor spat
on Thee, and the soldiers stabbed Thee; but these who sit before Thee
to-day have no heart to do that. O Jesus! tell them of Thy love, tell
them of Thy sympathy, tell them of the rewards Thou wilt give them in
the better land. Groan again, O blessed Jesus! groan again, and
perhaps when the rocks fall, their hard hearts may break.

    "Nothing brought Him from above,
     Nothing but redeeming love."

The promise is all free, the path all clear. Come, Mary, and sit
to-night at the feet of Jesus. Come, Bartimeus, and have your eyes
opened. Come, O prodigal! and sit at thy father's table. Come, O you
suffering, sinning, dying the soul! and find rest on the heart of
Jesus. The Spirit and Bride say "Come," and Churches militant and
triumphant say "Come," and all the voices of the past, mingling with
all the voices of the future, in one great thunder of emphasis, bid
you "Come now!" Are not those of you who are in the third class ready
to pass over into the second division, and become seekers after
Christ? Ay, are you not ready to pass over into the first division,
and become the pardoned sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty? I
can do no more than offer you, through Jesus Christ, peace on earth
and everlasting residence in His presence.

    "When God makes up His last account
    Of natives in His holy mount,
    'Twill be an honor to appear
    As one new-born and nourished there."

Good-night! The Lord bless you! Go to your homes seeking after Christ.
Sleep not until you have made your peace with God. Good-night--a deep,
hearty, loving, Christian good-night!



THE INSIGNIFICANT.

    "And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the
    reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field
    belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of
    Elimelech."--RUTH ii: 3.


The time that Ruth and Naomi arrive at Bethlehem is harvest-time. It
was the custom when a sheaf fell from a load in the harvest-field for
the reapers to refuse to gather it up: that was to be left for the
poor who might happen to come along that way. If there were handfuls
of grain scattered across the field after the main harvest had been
reaped, instead of raking it, as farmers do now, it was, by the custom
of the land, left in its place, so that the poor, coming along that
way, might glean it and get their bread. But, you say, "What is the
use of all these harvest-fields to Ruth and Naomi? Naomi is too old
and feeble to go out and toil in the sun; and can you expect that
Ruth, the young and the beautiful, should tan her cheeks and blister
her hands in the harvest-field?"

Boaz owns a large farm, and he goes out to see the reapers gather in
the grain. Coming there, right behind the swarthy, sun-browned
reapers, he beholds a beautiful woman gleaning--a woman more fit to
bend to a harp or sit upon a throne than to stoop among the sheaves.
Ah, that was an eventful day!

It was love at first sight. Boaz forms an attachment for the womanly
gleaner--an attachment full of undying interest to the Church of God
in all ages; while Ruth, with an ephah, or nearly a bushel of barley,
goes home to Naomi to tell her the successes and adventures of the
day. That Ruth, who left her native land of Moab in darkness, and
traveled through an undying affection for her mother-in-law, is in the
harvest-field of Boaz, is affianced to one of the best families in
Judah, and becomes in after-time the ancestress of Jesus Christ, the
Lord of glory! Out of so dark a night did there ever dawn so bright a
morning?

I. I learn, in the first place, from this subject how trouble develops
character. It was bereavement, poverty, and exile that developed,
illustrated, and announced to all ages the sublimity of Ruth's
character. That is a very unfortunate man who has no trouble. It was
sorrow that made John Bunyan the better dreamer, and Doctor Young the
better poet, and O'Connell the better orator, and Bishop Hall the
better preacher, and Havelock the better soldier, and Kitto the better
encyclopædist, and Ruth the better daughter-in-law.

I once asked an aged man in regard to his pastor, who was a very
brilliant man, "Why is it that your pastor, so very brilliant, seems
to have so little heart and tenderness in his sermons?" "Well," he
replied, "the reason is, our pastor has never had any trouble. When
misfortune comes upon him, his style will be different." After awhile
the Lord took a child out of that pastor's house; and though the
preacher was just as brilliant as he was before, oh, the warmth, the
tenderness of his discourses! The fact is, that trouble is a great
educator. You see sometimes a musician sit down at an instrument, and
his execution is cold and formal and unfeeling. The reason is that all
his life he has been prospered. But let misfortune or bereavement come
to that man, and he sits down at the instrument, and you discover the
pathos in the first sweep of the keys.

Misfortune and trials are great educators. A young doctor comes into a
sick-room where there is a dying child. Perhaps he is very rough in
his prescription, and very rough in his manner, and rough in the
feeling of the pulse, and rough in his answer to the mother's anxious
question; but years roll on, and there has been one dead in his own
house; and now he comes into the sick-room, and with tearful eye he
looks at the dying child, and he says, "Oh, how this reminds me of my
Charlie!" Trouble, the great educator. Sorrow--I see its touch in the
grandest painting; I hear its tremor in the sweetest song; I feel its
power in the mightiest argument.

Grecian mythology said that the fountain of Hippocrene was struck out
by the foot of the winged horse Pegasus. I have often noticed in life
that the brightest and most beautiful fountains of Christian comfort
and spiritual life have been struck out by the iron-shod hoof of
disaster and calamity. I see Daniel's courage best by the flash of
Nebuchadnezzar's furnace. I see Paul's prowess best when I find him on
the foundering ship under the glare of the lightning in the breakers
of Melita. God crowns His children amid the howling of wild beasts and
the chopping of blood-splashed guillotine and the crackling fires of
martyrdom. It took the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius to develop
Polycarp and Justin Martyr. It took the pope's bull and the cardinal's
curse and the world's anathema to develop Martin Luther. It took all
the hostilities against the Scotch Covenanters and the fury of Lord
Claverhouse to develop James Renwick, and Andrew Melville, and Hugh
McKail, the glorious martyrs of Scotch history. It took the stormy
sea, and the December blast, and the desolate New England coast, and
the war-whoop of savages, to show forth the prowess of the Pilgrim
Fathers--

    "When amid the storms they sung,
      And the stars heard, and the sea,
    And the sounding aisles of the dim wood
      Rang to the anthems of the free."

It took all our past national distresses, and it takes all our present
national sorrows, to lift up our nation on that high career where it
will march along after the foreign aristocracies that have mocked and
the tyrannies that have jeered, shall be swept down under the
omnipotent wrath of God, who hates despotism, and who, by the strength
of His own red right arm, will make all men free. And so it is
individually, and in the family, and in the Church, and in the world,
that through darkness and storm and trouble men, women, churches,
nations, are developed.

II. Again, I see in my text the beauty of unfaltering friendship. I
suppose there were plenty of friends for Naomi while she was in
prosperity; but of all her acquaintances, how many were willing to
trudge off with her toward Judah, when she had to make that lonely
journey? One--the heroine of my text. One--absolutely one. I suppose
when Naomi's husband was living, and they had plenty of money, and all
things went well, they had a great many callers; but I suppose that
after her husband died, and her property went, and she got old and
poor, she was not troubled very much with callers. All the birds that
sung in the bower while the sun shone have gone to their nests, now
the night has fallen.

Oh, these beautiful sun-flowers that spread out their color in the
morning hour! but they are always asleep when the sun is going down!
Job had plenty of friends when he was the richest man in Uz; but when
his property went and the trials came, then there were none so much
that pestered as Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and
Zophar the Naamathite.

Life often seems to be a mere game, where the successful player pulls
down all the other men into his own lap. Let suspicions arise about a
man's character, and he becomes like a bank in a panic, and all the
imputations rush on him and break down in a day that character which
in due time would have had strength to defend itself. There are
reputations that have been half a century in building, which go down
under some moral exposure, as a vast temple is consumed by the touch
of a sulphurous match. A hog can uproot a century plant.

In this world, so full of heartlessness and hypocrisy, how thrilling
it is to find some friend as faithful in days of adversity as in days
of prosperity! David had such a friend in Hushai; the Jews had such a
friend in Mordecai, who never forgot their cause; Paul had such a
friend in Onesiphorus, who visited him in jail; Christ had such in
the Marys, who adhered to Him on the cross; Naomi had such a one in
Ruth, who cried out: "Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from
following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where
thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God
my God; where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried: the
Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me."

III. Again, I learn from this subject that paths which open in
hardship and darkness often come out in places of joy. When Ruth
started from Moab toward Jerusalem, to go along with her
mother-in-law, I suppose the people said: "Oh, what a foolish creature
to go away from her father's house, to go off with a poor old woman
toward the land of Judah! They won't live to get across the desert.
They will be drowned in the sea, or the jackals of the wilderness will
destroy them." It was a very dark morning when Ruth started off with
Naomi; but behold her in my text in the harvest-field of Boaz, to be
affianced to one of the lords of the land, and become one of the
grandmothers of Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. And so it often is
that a path which often starts very darkly ends very brightly.

When you started out for heaven, oh, how dark was the hour of
conviction--how Sinai thundered, and devils tormented, and the
darkness thickened! All the sins of your life pounced upon you, and it
was the darkest hour you ever saw when you first found out your sins.
After awhile you went into the harvest-field of God's mercy; you
began to glean in the fields of divine promise, and you had more
sheaves than you could carry, as the voice of God addressed you,
saying: "Blessed is the man whose transgressions are forgiven, and
whose sins are covered." A very dark starting in conviction, a very
bright ending in the pardon and the hope and the triumph of the
Gospel!

So, very often in our worldly business or in our spiritual career, we
start off on a very dark path. We must go. The flesh may shrink back,
but there is a voice within, or a voice from above, saying, "You must
go;" and we have to drink the gall, and we have to carry the cross,
and we have to traverse the desert and we are pounded and flailed of
misrepresentation and abuse, and we have to urge our way through ten
thousand obstacles that have been slain by our own right arm. We have
to ford the river, we have to climb the mountain, we have to storm the
castle; but, blessed be God, the day of rest and reward will come. On
the tip-top of the captured battlements we will shout the victory; if
not in this world, then in that world where there is no gall to drink,
no burdens to carry, no battles to fight. How do I know it? Know it! I
know it because God says so: "They shall hunger no more, neither
thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat,
for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall lead them to
living fountains of water, and God shall wipe all tears from their
eyes."

It was very hard for Noah to endure the scoffing of the people in his
day, while he was trying to build the ark, and was every morning
quizzed about his old boat that would never be of any practical use;
but when the deluge came, and the tops of the mountains disappeared
like the backs of sea-monsters, and the elements, lashed up in fury,
clapped their hands over a drowned world, then Noah in the ark
rejoiced in his own safety and in the safety of his family, and looked
out on the wreck of a ruined earth.

Christ, hounded of persecutors, denied a pillow, worse maltreated than
the thieves on either side of the cross, human hate smacking its lips
in satisfaction after it had been draining His last drop of blood, the
sheeted dead bursting from the sepulchers at His crucifixion. Tell me,
O Gethsemane and Golgotha! were there ever darker times than those?
Like the booming of the midnight sea against the rock, the surges of
Christ's anguish beat against the gates of eternity, to be echoed back
by all the thrones of heaven and all the dungeons of hell. But the day
of reward comes for Christ; all the pomp and dominion of this world
are to be hung on His throne, uncrowned heads are to bow before Him on
whose head are many crowns, and all the celestial worship is to come
up at His feet, like the humming of the forest, like the rushing of
the waters, like the thundering of the seas, while all heaven, rising
on their thrones, beat time with their scepters: "Hallelujah, for the
Lord God omnipotent reigneth! Hallelujah, the kingdoms of this world
have become the kingdoms of our Lord Jesus Christ!"

    "That song of love, now low and far,
    Ere long shall swell from star to star;
    That light, the breaking day which tips
    The golden-spired Apocalypse."

IV. Again, I learn from my subject that events which seem to be most
insignificant may be momentous. Can you imagine anything more
unimportant than the coming of a poor woman from Moab to Judah? Can
you imagine anything more trivial than the fact that this Ruth just
happened to alight--as they say--just happened to alight on that field
of Boaz? Yet all ages, all generations, have an interest in the fact
that she was to become an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all
nations and kingdoms must look at that one little incident with a
thrill of unspeakable and eternal satisfaction. So it is in your
history and in mine: events that you thought of no importance at all
have been of very great moment. That casual conversation, that
accidental meeting--you did not think of it again for a long while;
but how it changed all the phase of your life!

It seemed to be of no importance that Jubal invented rude instruments
of music, calling them harp and organ; but they were the introduction
of all the world's minstrelsy; and as you hear the vibration of a
stringed instrument, even after the fingers have been taken away from
it, so all music now of lute and drum and cornet is only the
long-continued strains of Jubal's harp and Jubal's organ. It seemed to
be a matter of very little importance that Tubal Cain learned the uses
of copper and iron; but that rude foundry of ancient days has its echo
in the rattle of Birmingham machinery, and the roar and bang of
factories on the Merrimac.

It seemed to be a matter of no importance that Luther found a Bible in
a monastery; but as he opened that Bible, and the brass-bound lids
fell back, they jarred everything, from the Vatican to the furthest
convent in Germany, and the rustling of the wormed leaves was the
sound of the wings of the angel of the Reformation. It seemed to be a
matter of no importance that a woman, whose name has been forgotten,
dropped a tract in the way of a very bad man by the name of Richard
Baxter. He picked up the tract and read it, and it was the means of
his salvation.

In after-days that man wrote a book called "The Call to the
Unconverted," that was the means of bringing a multitude to God, among
others Philip Doddridge. Philip Doddridge wrote a book called "The
Rise and Progress of Religion," which has brought thousands and tens
of thousands into the kingdom of God, and among others the great
Wilberforce. Wilberforce wrote a book called "A Practical View of
Christianity," which was the means of bringing a great multitude to
Christ, among others Legh Richmond. Legh Richmond wrote a tract called
"The Dairyman's Daughter," which has been the means of the salvation
of unconverted multitudes. And that tide of influence started from the
fact that one Christian woman dropped a Christian tract in the way of
Richard Baxter--the tide of influence rolling on through Richard
Baxter, through Philip Doddridge, through the great Wilberforce,
through Legh Richmond, on, on, on, forever, forever. So the
insignificant events of this world seem, after all, to be most
momentous. The fact that you came up that street or this street seemed
to be of no importance to you, and the fact that you went inside of
some church may seem to be a matter of very great insignificance to
you, but you will find it the turning-point in your history.

V. Again, I see in my subject an illustration of the beauty of female
industry.

Behold Ruth toiling in the harvest-field under the hot sun, or at noon
taking plain bread with the reapers, or eating the parched corn which
Boaz handed to her. The customs of society, of course, have changed,
and without the hardships and exposure to which Ruth was subjected,
every intelligent woman will find something to do.

I know there is a sickly sentimentality on this subject. In some
families there are persons of no practical service to the household or
community; and though there are so many woes all around about them in
the world, they spend their time languishing over a new pattern, or
bursting into tears at midnight over the story of some lover who shot
himself! They would not deign to look at Ruth carrying back the barley
on her way home to her mother-in-law, Naomi. All this fastidiousness
may seem to do very well while they are under the shelter of their
father's house; but when the sharp winter of misfortune comes, what of
these butterflies? Persons under indulgent parentage may get upon
themselves habits of indolence; but when they come out into practical
life their soul will recoil with disgust and chagrin. They will feel
in their hearts what the poet so severely satirized when he said:

    "Folks are so awkward, things so impolite,
    They're elegantly pained from morning until night."

Through that gate of indolence how many men and women have marched,
useless on earth, to a destroyed eternity! Spinola said to Sir Horace
Vere: "Of what did your brother die?" "Of having nothing to do," was
the answer. "Ah!" said Spinola, "that's enough to kill any general of
us." Oh! can it be possible in this world, where there is so much
suffering to be alleviated, so much darkness to be enlightened, and so
many burdens to be carried, that there is any person who cannot find
anything to do?

Madame de Staël did a world of work in her time; and one day, while
she was seated amid instruments of music, all of which she had
mastered, and amid manuscript books which she had written, some one
said to her: "How do you find time to attend to all these things?"
"Oh," she replied, "these are not the things I am proud of. My chief
boast is in the fact that I have seventeen trades, by any one of which
I could make a livelihood if necessary." And if in secular spheres
there is so much to be done, in spiritual work how vast the field! How
many dying all around about us without one word of comfort! We want
more Abigails, more Hannahs, more Rebeccas, more Marys, more Deborahs
consecrated--body, mind, soul--to the Lord who bought them.

VI. Once more I learn from my subject the value of gleaning.

Ruth going into that harvest-field might have said: "There is a straw,
and there is a straw, but what is a straw? I can't get any barley for
myself or my mother-in-law out of these separate straws." Not so said
beautiful Ruth. She gathered two straws, and she put them together,
and more straws, until she got enough to make a sheaf. Putting that
down, she went and gathered more straws, until she had another sheaf,
and another, and another, and another, and then she brought them all
together, and she threshed them out, and she had an ephah of barley,
nigh a bushel. Oh, that we might all be gleaners!

Elihu Burritt learned many things while toiling in a blacksmith's
shop. Abercrombie, the world-renowned philosopher, was a philosopher
in Scotland, and he got his philosophy, or the chief part of it,
while, as a physician, he was waiting for the door of the sick-room to
open. Yet how many there are in this day who say they are so busy they
have no time for mental or spiritual improvement; the great duties of
life cross the field like strong reapers, and carry off all the hours,
and there is only here and there a fragment left, that is not worth
gleaning. Ah, my friends, you could go into the busiest day and
busiest week of your life and find golden opportunities, which,
gathered, might at last make a whole sheaf for the Lord's garner. It
is the stray opportunities and the stray privileges which, taken up
and bound together and beaten out, will at last fill you with much
joy.

There are a few moments left worth the gleaning. Now, Ruth, to the
field! May each one have a measure full and running over! Oh, you
gleaners, to the field! And if there be in your household an aged one
or a sick relative that is not strong enough to come forth and toil in
this field, then let Ruth take home to feeble Naomi this sheaf of
gleaning: "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed,
shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with
him." May the Lord God of Ruth and Naomi be our portion forever!



THE THREE RINGS.

    "Put a ring on his hand."--LUKE xv: 22.


I will not rehearse the familiar story of the fast young man of the
parable. You know what a splendid home he left. You know what a hard
time he had. And you remember how after that season of vagabondage and
prodigality he resolved to go and weep out his sorrows on the bosom of
parental forgiveness. Well, there is great excitement one day in front
of the door of the old farmhouse. The servants come rushing up and
say: "What's the matter? What _is_ the matter?" But before they quite
arrive, the old man cries out: "Put a ring on his hand." What a
seeming absurdity! What can such a wretched mendicant as this fellow
that is tramping on toward the house want with a ring? Oh, he is the
prodigal son. No more tending of the swine-trough. No more longing for
the pods of the carob-tree. No more blistered feet. Off with the rags!
On with the robe! Out with the ring! Even so does God receive every
one of us when we come back. There are gold rings, and pearl rings,
and carnelian rings, and diamond rings; but the richest ring that ever
flashed on the vision is that which our Father puts upon a forgiven
soul.

I know that the impression is abroad among some people that religion
bemeans and belittles a man; that it takes all the sparkle out of his
soul; that he has to exchange a roistering independence for an
ecclesiastical strait-jacket. Not so. When a man becomes a Christian,
he does not go down, he starts upward. Religion multiplies one by ten
thousand. Nay, the multiplier is in infinity. It is not a blotting
out--it is a polishing, it is an arborescence, it is an efflorescence,
it is an irradiation. When a man comes into the kingdom of God he is
not sent into a menial service, but the Lord God Almighty from the
palaces of heaven calls upon the messenger angels that wait upon the
throne to fly and "put a ring on his hand." In Christ are the largest
liberty, and brightest joy, and highest honor, and richest adornment.
"Put a ring on his hand."

I remark, in the first place, that when Christ receives a soul into
His love, He puts upon him the ring of adoption. Eight or ten years
ago, in my church in Philadelphia, there came the representative of
the Howard Mission of New York. He brought with him eight or ten
children of the street that he had picked up, and he was trying to
find for them Christian homes; and as the little ones stood on the
pulpit and sung, our hearts melted within us. At the close of the
services a great-hearted wealthy man came up and said: "I'll take this
little bright-eyed girl, and I'll adopt her as one of my own
children;" and he took her by the hand, lifted her into his carriage,
and went away.

The next day, while we were in the church gathering up garments for
the poor of New York, this little child came back with a bundle under
her arm, and she said: "There's my old dress; perhaps some of the
poor children would like to have it," while she herself was in bright
and beautiful array, and those who more immediately examined her said
that she had a ring on her hand. It was a ring of adoption.

There are a great many persons who pride themselves on their ancestry,
and they glory over the royal blood that pours through their arteries.
In their line there was a lord, or a duke, or a prime minister, or a
king. But when the Lord, our Father, puts upon us the ring of His
adoption, we become the children of the Ruler of all nations. "Behold
what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should
be called the sons of God." It matters not how poor our garments may
be in this world, or how scant our bread, or how mean the hut we live
in, if we have that ring of Christ's adoption upon our hand we are
assured of eternal defenses.

Adopted! Why, then, we are brothers and sisters to all the good of
earth and heaven. We have the family name, the family dress, the
family keys, the family wardrobe. The Father looks after us, robes us,
defends us, blesses us. We have royal blood in our veins, and there
are crowns in our line. If we are His children, then princes and
princesses. It is only a question of time when we get our coronet.
Adopted! Then we have the family secrets. "The secret of the Lord is
with them that fear Him." Adopted! Then we have the family
inheritance, and in the day when our Father shall divide the riches of
heaven we shall take our share of the mansions and palaces and
temples. Henceforth let us boast no more of an earthly ancestry. The
insignia of eternal glory is our coat of arms. This ring of adoption
puts upon us all honor and all privilege. Now we can take the words of
Charles Wesley, that prince of hymn-makers, and sing:

    "Come, let us join our friends above,
      Who have obtained the prize,
    And on the eagle wings of love
      To joy celestial rise.

    "Let all the saints terrestrial sing
      With those to glory gone;
    For all the servants of our King,
      In heaven and earth, are one."

I have been told that when any of the members of any of the great
secret societies of this country are in a distant city and are in any
kind of trouble, and are set upon by enemies, they have only to give a
certain signal and the members of that organization will flock around
for defense. And when any man belongs to this great Christian
brotherhood, if he gets in trouble, in trial, in persecution, in
temptation, he has only to show this ring of Christ's adoption, and
all the armed cohorts of heaven will come to his rescue.

Still further, when Christ takes a soul into His love He puts upon it
a marriage-ring. Now, that is not a whim of mine: "And I will betroth
thee unto Me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in
righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in
mercies." (Hosea ii: 19.) At the wedding altar the bridegroom puts a
ring upon the hand of the bride, signifying love and faithfulness.
Trouble may come upon the household, and the carpets may go, the
pictures may go, the piano may go, everything else may go--the last
thing that goes is that marriage-ring, for it is considered sacred. In
the burial hour it is withdrawn from the hand and kept in a casket,
and sometimes the box is opened on an anniversary day, and as you look
at that ring you see under its arch a long procession of precious
memories. Within the golden circle of that ring there is room for a
thousand sweet recollections to revolve, and you think of the great
contrast between the hour when, at the close of the "Wedding March,"
under the flashing lights and amid the aroma of orange-blossoms, you
set that ring on the round finger of the plump hand, and that other
hour when, at the close of the exhaustive watching, when you knew that
the soul had fled, you took from the hand, which gave back no
responsive clasp, from that emaciated finger, the ring that she had
worn so long and worn so well.

On some anniversary day you take up that ring, and you repolish it
until all the old luster comes back, and you can see in it the flash
of eyes that long ago ceased to weep. Oh, it is not an unmeaning thing
when I tell you that when Christ receives a soul into His keeping He
puts on it a marriage-ring. He endows you from that moment with all
His wealth. You are one--Christ and the soul--one in sympathy, one in
affection, one in hope.

There is no power in earth or hell to effect a divorcement after
Christ and the soul are united. Other kings have turned out their
companions when they got weary of them, and sent them adrift from the
palace gate. Ahasuerus banished Vashti; Napoleon forsook Josephine;
but Christ is the husband that is true forever. Having loved you once,
He loves you to the end. Did they not try to divorce Margaret, the
Scotch girl, from Jesus? They said: "You must give up your religion."
She said: "I can't give up my religion." And so they took her down to
the beach of the sea, and they drove in a stake at low-water mark, and
they fastened her to it, expecting that as the tide came up her faith
would fail. The tide began to rise, and came up higher and higher, and
to the girdle, and to the lip, and in the last moment, just as the
wave was washing her soul into glory, she shouted the praises of
Jesus.

Oh, no, you can not separate a soul from Christ! It is an everlasting
marriage. Battle and storm and darkness can not do it. Is it too much
exultation for a man, who is but dust and ashes like myself, to cry
out this morning: "I am persuaded that neither height, nor depth, nor
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor any other creature shall separate me from the love of God which is
in Christ Jesus my Lord"? Glory be to God that when Christ and the
soul are married they are bound by a chain, a golden chain--if I might
say so--a chain with one link, and that one link the golden ring of
God's everlasting love.

I go a step further, and tell you that when Christ receives a soul
into His love He puts on him the ring of festivity. You know that it
has been the custom in all ages to bestow rings on very happy
occasions. There is nothing more appropriate for a birthday gift than
a ring. You delight to bestow such a gift upon your children at such
a time. It means joy, hilarity, festivity. Well, when this old man of
the text wanted to tell how glad he was that his boy had got back, he
expressed it in this way. Actually, before he ordered sandals to be
put on his bare feet; before he ordered the fatted calf to be killed
to appease the boy's hunger, he commanded: "Put a ring on his hand."

Oh, it is a merry time when Christ and the soul are united! Joy of
forgiveness! What a splendid thing it is to feel that all is right
between me and God. What a glorious thing it is to have God just take
up all the sins of my life and put them in one bundle, and then fling
them into the depths of the sea, never to rise again, never to be
talked of again. Pollution all gone. Darkness all illumined. God
reconciled. The prodigal home. "Put a ring on his hand."

Every day I find happy Christian people. I find some of them with no
second coat, some of them in huts and tenement houses, not one earthly
comfort afforded them; and yet they are as happy as happy can be. They
sing "Rock of Ages" as no other people in the world sing it. They
never wore any jewelry in their life but one gold ring, and that was
the ring of God's undying affection. Oh, how happy religion makes us!
Did it make you gloomy and sad? Did you go with your head cast down? I
do not think you got religion, my brother. That is not the effect of
religion. True religion is a joy. "Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace."

Why, religion lightens all our burdens. It smooths all our way. It
interprets all our sorrows. It changes the jar of earthly discord for
the peal of festal bells. In front of the flaming furnace of trial it
sets the forge on which scepters are hammered out. Would you not like
to-day to come up from the swine-feeding and try this religion? All
the joys of heaven would come out and meet you, and God would cry from
the throne: "Put a ring on his hand."

You are not happy. I see it. There is no peace, and sometimes you
laugh when you feel a great deal more like crying. The world is a
cheat. It first wears you down with its follies, then it kicks you out
into darkness. It comes back from the massacre of a million souls to
attempt the destruction of your soul to-day. No peace out of God, but
here is the fountain that can slake the thirst. Here is the harbor
where you can drop safe anchorage.

Would you not like, I ask you--not perfunctorily, but as one brother
might talk to another--would you not like to have a pillow of rest to
put your head on? And would you not like, when you retire at night, to
feel that all is well, whether you wake up to-morrow morning at six
o'clock, or sleep the sleep that knows no waking? Would you not like
to exchange this awful uncertainty about the future for a glorious
assurance of heaven? Accept of the Lord Jesus to-day, and all is well.
If on your way home some peril should cross the street and dash your
life out, it would not hurt you. You would rise up immediately. You
would stand in the celestial streets. You would be amid the great
throng that forever worship and are forever happy. If this day some
sudden disease should come upon you, it would not frighten you. If you
knew you were going you could give a calm farewell to your beautiful
home on earth, and know that you are going right into the
companionship of those who have already got beyond the toiling and the
weeping.

You feel on Saturday night different from the way you feel any other
night of the week. You come home from the bank, or the store, or the
shop, and you say: "Well, now my week's work is done, and to-morrow is
Sunday." It is a pleasant thought. There is refreshment and
reconstruction in the very idea. Oh, how pleasant it will be, if, when
we get through the day of our life, and we go and lie down in our bed
of dust, we can realize: "Well, now the work is all done, and
to-morrow is Sunday--an everlasting Sunday."

    "Oh, when, thou city of my God,
      Shall I thy courts ascend?
    Where congregations ne'er break up,
      And Sabbaths have no end."

There are people in this house to-day who are very near the eternal
world. If you are Christians, I bid you be of good cheer. Bear with
you our congratulations to the bright city. Aged men, who will soon be
gone, take with you our love for our kindred in the better land, and
when you see them, tell them that we are soon coming. Only a few more
sermons to preach and hear. Only a few more heart-aches. Only a few
more toils. Only a few more tears. And then--what an entrancing
spectacle will open before us!

    "Beautiful heaven, where all is light,
    Beautiful angels clothed in white,
    Beautiful strains that never tire,
    Beautiful harps through all the choir;
    There shall I join the chorus sweet,
    Worshiping at the Saviour's feet."

I stand before you on this Sabbath, the last Sabbath preceding the
great feast-day in this Church. On the next Lord's-day the door of
communion will be open, and you will all be invited to come in. And so
I approach you now with a general invitation, not picking out here and
there a man, or here and there a woman, or here and there a child; but
giving you an unlimited invitation, saying: "Come, for all things are
now ready." We invite you to the warm heart of Christ, and the
inclosure of the Christian Church. I know a great many think that the
Church does not amount to much--that it is obsolete; that it did its
work and is gone now, so far as all usefulness is concerned. It is the
happiest place I have ever been in except my own home.

I know there are some people who say they are Christians who seem to
get along without any help from others, and who culture solitary
piety. They do not want any ordinances. I do not belong to that class.
I can not get along without them. There are so many things in this
world that take my attention from God, and Christ, and heaven, that I
want all the helps of all the symbols and of all the Christian
associations; and I want around about me a solid phalanx of men who
love God and keep His commandments. Are there any here who would like
to enter into that association? Then by a simple, child-like faith,
apply for admission into the visible Church, and you will be received.
No questions asked about your past history or present surroundings.
Only one test--do you love Jesus?

Baptism does not amount to anything, say a great many people; but the
Lord Jesus declared, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved," putting baptism and faith side by side. And an apostle
declares, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you." I do not stickle
for any particular mode of baptism, but I put great emphasis on the
fact that you ought to be baptized. Yet no more emphasis than the Lord
Jesus Christ, the Great Head of the Church, puts upon it.

The world is going to lose a great many of its votaries next Sabbath.
We give you warning. There is a great host coming in to stand under
the banner of the Lord Jesus Christ. Will you be among them? It is
going to be a great harvest-day. Will you be among the gathered
sheaves?

Some of you have been thinking on this subject year after year. You
have found out that this world is a poor portion. You want to be
Christians. You have come almost into the kingdom of God; but there
you stop, forgetful of the fact that to be almost saved is not to be
saved at all. Oh, my brother, after having come so near to the door of
mercy, if you turn back, you will never come at all. After all you
have heard of the goodness of God, if you turn away and die, it will
not be because you did not have a good offer.

    "God's spirit will not always strive
      With hardened, self-destroying man;
    Ye who persist His love to grieve
      May never hear his voice again."

May God Almighty this hour move upon your soul and bring you back from
the husks of the wilderness to the Father's house, and set you at the
banquet, and "put a ring on your hand."



HOW HE CAME TO SAY IT.

    "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be
    Anathema Maranatha."--I COR. xvi: 22.


The smallest lad in the house knows the meaning of all those words
except the last two, Anathema Maranatha. Anathema, to cut off.
Maranatha, at His coming. So the whole passage might be read: "If any
man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be cut off at His coming."
Well, how could the tender-hearted Paul say that? We have seen him
with tears discoursing about human want, and flushed with excitement
about human sorrow; and now he throws those red-hot iron words into
this letter to the Corinthians. Had he lost his patience? Ok, no. Had
he resigned his confidence in the Christian religion? Oh, no. Had the
world treated him so badly that he had become its sworn enemy? Oh, no.
It needs some explanation, I confess, and I shall proceed to show by
what process Paul came to the vehement utterance of my text. Before I
close, if God shall give His Spirit, you shall cease to be surprised
at the exclamation of the Apostle, and you yourselves will employ the
same emphasis, declaring, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ,
let him be Anathema Maranatha."

If the photographic art had been discovered early enough, we should
have had the facial proportions of Christ--the front face, the side
face, Jesus sitting, Jesus standing--provided He had submitted to that
art; but since the sun did not become a portrait painter until
eighteen centuries after Christ, our idea about the Saviour's personal
appearance is all guess work. Still, tradition tells us that He was
the most infinitely beautiful being that ever walked our small earth.
If His features had been rugged, and His gait had been ungainly, that
would not have hindered Him from being attractive. Many men you have
known and loved have had few charms of physiognomy. Wilberforce was
not attractive in face. Socrates was repulsive. Suwarrow, the great
Russian hero, looked almost an imbecile. And some whom you have known,
and honored, and loved, have not had very great attractiveness of
personal appearance. The shape of the mouth, and the nose, and the
eyebrow, did not hinder the soul from shining through the cuticle of
the face in all-powerful irradiation.

But to a lovely exterior Christ joined all loveliness of disposition.
Run through the galleries of heaven, and find out that He is _a
non-such_. The sunshine of His love mingling with the shadows of His
sorrows, crossed by the crystalline stream of His tears and the
crimson flowing forth of His blood, make a picture worthy of being
called the masterpiece of the eternities. Hung on the wall of heaven,
the celestial population would be enchanted but for the fact that they
have the grand and magnificent original, and they want no picture. But
Christ having gone away from earth, we are dependent upon four
indistinct pictures. Matthew took one, Mark another, Luke another,
and John another. I care not which picture you take, it is lovely.
Lovely? He was altogether lovely.

He had a way of taking up a dropsical limb without hurting it, and of
removing the cataract from the eye without the knife, and of starting
the circulation through the shrunken arteries without the shock of the
electric battery, and of putting intelligence into the dull stare of
lunacy, and of restringing the auditory nerve of the deaf ear, and of
striking articulation into the stiff tongue, and of making the
stark-naked madman dress himself and exchange tombstone for ottoman,
and of unlocking from the skeleton grip of death the daughter of
Jairus to embosom her in her glad father's arms. Oh, He was
lovely--sitting, standing, kneeling, lying down--always lovely.

Lovely in His sacrifice. Why, He gave up everything for us. Home,
celestial companionship, music of seraphic harps, balmy breath of
eternal summer, all joy, all light, all music, and heard the gates
slam shut behind Him as He came out to fight for our freedom, and with
bare feet plunged on the sharp javelins of human and satanic hate,
until His blood spurted into the faces of those who slew Him. You want
the soft, low, minor key of sweetest music to describe the pathos; but
it needs an orchestra, under swinging of an archangel's baton,
reaching from throne to manger, to drum and trumpet the doxologies of
His praise. He took everybody's trouble--the leper's sickness, the
widow's dead boy, the harlot's shame, the Galilean fisherman's poor
luck, the invalidism of Simon's mother-in-law, the sting of Malchus'
amputated ear.

Some people cry very easily, and for some it is very difficult to cry.
A great many tears on some cheeks do not mean so much as one tear on
another cheek. What is it that I see glittering in the mild eye of
Jesus? It was all the sorrows of earth, and the woes of hell, from
which He had plucked our souls, accreted into one transparent drop,
lingering on the lower eyelash until it fell on a cheek red with the
slap of human hands--just one salt, bitter, burning tear of Jesus. No
wonder the rock, the sky, and the cemetery were in consternation when
He died! No wonder the universe was convulsed! It was the Lord God
Almighty bursting into tears. Now, suppose that, notwithstanding all
this, a man can not have any affection for Him. What ought to be done
with such hard behavior?

It seems to me that there ought to be some chastisement for a man who
will not love such a Christ. Does it not make your blood tingle to
think of Jesus coming over the tens of thousands of miles that seem to
separate God from us, and then to see a man jostle Him out, and push
Him back, and shut the door in His face, and trample upon His
entreaties? While you may not be able to rise up to the towering
excitement of the Apostle in my text, you can at any rate somewhat
understand his feelings when he cried out: "After all this, 'if a man
love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.'"

Just look at the injustice of not loving Him. Now, there is nothing
that excites a man like injustice. You go along the street, and you
see your little child buffeted, or a ruffian comes and takes a boy's
hat and throws it into the ditch. You say: "What great meanness, what
injustice that is!" You can not stand injustice. I remember, in my
boyhood days, attending a large meeting in Tripler Hall, New York.
Thousands of people were huzzaing, and the same kind of audiences were
assembled at the same time in Boston, Edinburgh, and London. Why?
Because the Madaii family, in Italy, had been robbed of their Bible.
"A little thing," you say. Ah, that injustice was enough to arouse the
indignation of a world. But while we are so sensitive about injustice
as between man and man, how little sensitive we are about injustice
between man and God. If there ever was a fair and square purchase of
anything, then Christ purchased us. He paid for us, not in shekels,
not in ancient coins inscribed with effigies of Hercules, or Ægina's
tortoise, or lyre of Mitylene, but in two kinds of coin--one red, the
other glittering--blood and tears! If anything is purchased and paid
for, ought not the goods to be delivered? If you have bought property
and given the money, do you not want to come into possession of it?
"Yes," you say, "I will have it. I bought and paid for it." And you
will go to law for it, and you will denounce the man as a defrauder.
Ay, if need be, you will hurl him into jail. You will say: "I am bound
to get that property. I bought it. I paid for it!"

Now, transpose the case. Suppose Jesus Christ to be the wronged
purchaser on the one side, and the impenitent soul on the other,
trying to defraud Him of that which He bought at such an exorbitant
price, how do you feel about that injustice? How do you feel toward
that spiritual fraud, turpitude and perfidy? A man with an ardent
temperament rises and he says that such injustice as between man and
man is bad enough, but between man and God it is reprehensible and
intolerable, and he brings his fist down on the pew, and he says: "I
can stand this injustice no longer. After all this purchase, 'if any
man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha'!"

I go still further, and show you how suicidal it is for a man not to
love Christ. If a man gets in trouble, and he can not get out, we have
only one feeling toward him--sympathy and a desire to help him. If he
has failed for a vast amount of money, and can not pay more than ten
cents on a dollar--ay, if he can not pay anything--though his
creditors may come after him like a pack of hounds, we sympathize with
him. We go to his store, or house, and we express our condolence. But
suppose the day before that man failed, William E. Dodge had come into
his store and said: "My friend, I hear you are in trouble. I have come
to help you. If ten thousand dollars will see you through your
perplexity, I have a loan of that amount for you. Here is a check for
the amount of that loan." Suppose the man said: "With that ten
thousand dollars I could get through until next spring, and then
everything will be all right; but, Mr. Dodge, I don't want it; I won't
take it; I would rather fail than take it; I don't even thank you for
offering it." Your sympathy for that man would cease immediately. You
would say: "He had a fair offer; he might have got out; he wants to
fail; he refuses all help; now let him fail." There is no one in all
this house who would have any sympathy for that man.

But do not let us be too hasty. Christ hears of our spiritual
embarrassments, he finds that we are on the very verge of eternal
defalcation. He finds the law knocking at our door with this dun: "Pay
me what thou owest."

We do not know which way to turn. Pay? We can not pay a farthing of
all the millions of obligation. Well, Christ comes in and says: "Here
is My name; you can use My name. Your name would be worthless, but My
red handwriting on the back of this obligation will get you through
anywhere." Now suppose the soul says: "I know I am in debt; I can't
meet these obligations either in time or eternity; but, oh, Christ, I
want not Thy help; I ask not Thy rescue. Go away from me." You would
say: "That man, why, he deserves to die. He had the offer of help; he
would not take it. He is a free agent; he ought to have what he wants;
he chooses death rather than life. Ought you not give him freedom of
choice?" Though awhile ago there was only one ardent man who
understood the Apostle, now there are hundreds in the house who can
say, and do say within themselves: "After all this ingratitude, and
rejection, and obstinacy, 'if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ,
let him be Anathema Maranatha.'"

I go a step further, and say it is most cruel for a man not to love
Jesus. The meanest thing I could do for you would be needlessly to
hurt your feelings. Sharp words sometimes cut like a dagger. An unkind
look will sometimes rive like the lightning. An unkind deed may
overmaster a sensitive spirit, and if you have made up your mind that
you have done wrong to any one, it does not take you two minutes to
make up your mind to go and apologize. Now, Christ is a bundle of
delicacy and sensitiveness. How you have shocked His nerves! How you
have broken His heart!

Did you, my brother, ever measure the meaning of that one passage:
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock"? It never came to me as it did
this morning while I was thinking on this subject. "Behold, I stand at
the door and knock." Some January day, the thermometer five degrees
below zero, the wind and sleet beating mercilessly against you, you go
up the steps of a house where you have a very important errand. You
knock with one knuckle. No answer. You are very earnest, and you are
freezing. The next time you knock harder. After awhile with your fist
you beat against the door. You must get in, but the inmate is careless
or stubborn, and he does not want you in. Your errand is a failure.
You go away.

The Lord Jesus Christ comes up on the steps of your heart, and with
very sore hand he knocks hard at the door of your soul. He is standing
in the cold blasts of human suffering. He knocks. He says: "Let me in.
I have come a great way. I have come all the way from Nazareth, from
Bethlehem, from Golgotha. Let Me in. I am shivering and blue with the
cold. Let Me in. My feet are bare but for their covering of blood. My
head is uncovered but for a turban of brambles. By all these wounds of
foot, and head, and heart, I beg you to let Me in. Oh, I have been
here a great while, and the night is getting darker. I am faint with
hunger. I am dying to get in. Oh, lift the latch--shove back the
bolt! Won't you let Me in? Won't you? 'Behold, I stand at the door and
knock!'"

But after awhile, my brother, the scene will change. It will be
another door, but Christ will be on the other side of it. He will be
on the inside, and the rejected sinner will be on the outside, and the
sinner will come up and knock at the door, and say: "Let me in, let me
in. I have come a great way. I came all the way from earth. I am sick
and dying. Let me in. The merciless storm beats my unsheltered head.
The wolves of a great night are on my track. Let me in. With both
fists I beat against this door. Oh, let me in. Oh, Christ, let me in.
Oh, Holy Ghost, let me in. Oh, God, let me in. Oh, my glorified
kindred, let me in." No answer save the voice of Christ, who shall
say: "Sinner, when I stood at your door you would not let Me in, and
now you are standing at My door, and I can not let you in. The day of
your grace is past. Officer of the law, seize him." And while the
arrest is going on, all the myriads of heaven rise on gallery and
throne, and cry with loud voice, that makes the eternal city quake
from capstone to foundation, saying: "If any man love not the Lord
Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."

Sabbath audience in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, and all to whom these
words shall come on both sides the sea, notice here the tremendous
alternative: it is not whether you live in Pierrepont Street or
Carlton Avenue, walk Trafalgar Square or the "Canongate;" nor whether
your dress shall be black or brown; nor whether you shall be robust
or an invalid; nor whether you shall live on the banks of the Hudson,
the Shannon, the Seine, the Thames, the Tiber; but it is a question
whether you will love Christ or suffer banishment; whether you will
give yourselves to Him who owns you or fall under the millstone;
whether you will rise to glories that have no terminus or plunge to a
depth which has no bottom. I do not see how you can take the
ten-thousandth part of a second to decide it, when there are two
worlds fastened at opposite ends of a swivel, and the swivel turns on
one point, and that point is now, now. Is it not fair that you love
Him? Is it not right that you love Him? Is it not imperative that you
love Him? What is it that keeps you from rushing up and throwing the
arms of your affection about His neck?

My text pronounces Anathema Maranatha upon all those who refuse to
love Christ. Anathema--cut off. Cut off from light, from hope, from
peace, from heaven. Oh, sharp, keen, sword-like words! Cut off!
Everlastingly cut off! Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of
God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou
continue in His goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
Maranatha--that is the other word. "When he comes" is the meaning of
it.

Will He come? I see no signs of it. I looked into the sky as I rode
down to church. I saw no signs of the coming. No signal of God's
appearance. The earth stands solid on its foundation. No cry of
welcome or of woe. Will He come! He will. Maranatha! Hear it ye
mountains, and prepare to fall. Ye cities, and prepare to burn. Ye
righteous, and prepare to reign. Ye wicked, and prepare to die.
Maranatha! Maranatha!

But, oh, my brother, I am not so aroused by that coming as I am by a
previous coming, and that is the coming of our death hour, which will
fix everything for us. I can not help now, while preaching, asking
myself the question--Am I ready for that? If I am ready for the first
I will be ready for the next. Are you ready for the emergency? Shall I
tell you when your death hour will come? "Oh, no," says some one, "I
don't want to know. I would rather not know." Some one says: "I would
rather know, if you can tell me." I will tell you. It will be at the
most unexpected moment, when you are most busy, and when you think you
can be least spared. I can not exactly say whether it will be in the
noon, or at the sundown when people are coming home, or in the morning
when the world is waking up, or while the clock is striking twelve at
night. But I tell you what I think, that with some of you it will be
before next Saturday night.

A minister of the Gospel said to an audience: "Before next Sabbath
some of you will be gone." And a man said during the week: "I shall
watch now, and if no one dies in our congregation during this week I
shall go and tell the minister his falsehood." A man standing next to
him said: "Why, it may be yourself." "Oh, no," he replied; "I shall
live on to be an old man." That night he breathed his last.

Standing before some who shall be launched into the great eternity,
what are your equipments? About to jump, where will you land? Oh, the
subject is overwhelming to me; and when I say these things to you, I
say them to myself. "Lord, is it I? Is it I?" Some of us part to-night
never to meet again. If never before, I now here commit my soul into
the keeping of the Lord Jesus Christ. I throw my sinful heart upon His
infinite mercy. But some of you will not do that. You will go over to
the store to-morrow, and your comrades will say: "Where were you
yesterday?" You will say: "I heard Talmage preach, and I don't believe
what he preaches." And you will go on and die in your sins.

Feeling that you are bound unto death eternal I solemnly take leave of
you. Be careful of your health, for when your respiration gives out
all your good times will have ended. Be careful in walking near a
scaffold, for one falling brick or stone might usher you into the
great eternity for which you have no preparation. A few months, or
weeks, or days, or hours will pass on, and then you will see the last
light, and hear the last music, and have the last pleasant emotion,
and a destroyed eternity will rush upon you. Farewell, oh, doomed
spirit! As you shove off from hope, I wave you this last salutation.
Oh, it is hard to part forever and forever! I bid you one long, last,
bitter, eternal adieu!



CASTLE JESUS.

    "Who have fled for refuge."--HEB. vi: 18.


Paul is here speaking of the consolations of Christians. He styles
them these "who have fled for refuge."

Moses established six cities of refuge--three on the east side of the
river Jordan, and three on the west. When a man had killed any one
accidentally he fled to one of these cities. The roads leading to them
were kept perfectly good, so that when a man started for the refuge
nothing might impede him. Along the cross-roads, and wherever there
might be any mistake about the way, there were signs put up pointing
in the right way, with the word "Refuge." Having gained the limits of
one of these cities the man was safe, and the mothers of the priests
provided for him.

Some of us have seen our peril, and have fled to Christ, and feel that
we shall never be captured. We are among those "who have fled for
refuge." Christ is represented in the Bible as a Tower, a High Rock, a
Fortress, and a Shelter. If you have seen any of the ancient castles
of Europe, you know that they are surrounded by trenches, across which
there is a draw-bridge. If an enemy approach, the people, for defense,
would get into the castle, have the trenches filled with water, and
lift up the draw-bridge. Whether to a city of safety, or a tower,
Paul refers, I know not, and care not, for in any case he means
Christ, the safety of the soul.

But why talk of refuge? Who needs it, if the refuge spoken of be a
city or a castle, into which men fly for safety? It is all sunlight
here. No sound of war in our streets. We do not hear the rush of armed
men against the doors of our dwellings. We do not come with weapons to
church. Our lives are not at the mercy of an assassin. Why, then, talk
of refuge?

Alas! I stand before a company of imperiled men. No flock of sheep was
ever so threatened or endangered of a pack of wolves; no ship was ever
so beaten of a storm; no company of men were ever so environed of a
band of savages. A refuge you must have, or fall before an
all-devouring destruction. There are not so many serpents in Africa;
there are not so many hyenas in Asia; there are not so many panthers
in the forest, as there are transgressions attacking my soul. I will
take the best unregenerated man anywhere, and say to him, You are
utterly corrupt. If all the sins of your past life were marshaled in
single file, they would reach from here to hell. If you have escaped
all other sins, the fact that you have rejected the mission of the Son
of God is enough to condemn you forever, pushing you off into
bottomless darkness, struck by ten thousand hissing thunder-bolts of
Omnipotent wrath.

You are a sinner. The Bible says it, and your conscience affirms it.
Not a small sinner, or a moderate sinner, or a tolerable sinner, but a
great sinner, a protracted sinner, a vile sinner, an outrageous
sinner, a condemned sinner. As God, with His all-scrutinizing gaze,
looks upon you to-day, He can not find one sound spot in your soul.
Sin has put scales on your eyes, and deadened your ear with an awful
deafness, and palsied your right arm, and stunned your sensibilities,
and blasted you with an infinite blasting. The Bible, which you admit
to be true, affirms that you are diseased from the crown of your head
to the sole of your foot. You are unclean; you are a leper. Believe
not me, but believe God's Word, that over and over again announces, in
language that a fool might understand, the total and complete
depravity of the unchanged heart: "The heart is deceitful above all
things, and desperately wicked."

In addition to the sins of your life there are uncounted troubles in
pursuit of you. Bereavements, losses, disappointments are a flock of
vultures ever on the wing. Did you get your house built, and
furnished, and made comfortable any sooner than misfortune came in
without knocking, and sat beside you--a skeleton apparition? Have not
pains shot their poisoned arrows, and fevers kindled their fire in
your brain? Many of you, for years, have walked on burning marl. You
stepped out of one disaster into another. You may, like Job, have
cursed the day in which you were born. This world boils over with
trouble for you, and you are wondering where the next grave will gape,
and where the next storm will burst. Oh, ye pursued, sinning, dying,
troubled, exhausted souls, are you not ready now to hear me while I
tell you of Christ, the Refuge?

A soldier, during the war, heard of the sickness of his wife and
asked for a furlough. It was denied him, and he ran away. He was
caught, brought back, and sentenced to be shot as a deserter. The
officer took from his pocket a document that announced his death on
the following morning. As the document was read, the man flinched not
and showed no sorrow or anxiety. But the officer then took from his
pocket another document that contained the prisoner's pardon. Then he
broke down with deep emotion at the thought of the leniency that had
been extended. Though you may not appear moved while I tell you of the
law that thundered its condemnation, while I tell you of the pardon
and the peace of the Gospel I wonder if they will not overcome you.

Jesus is a safe refuge. Fort Hudson, Fort Pulaski, Fort Moultrie, Fort
Sumter, Gibraltar, Sebastopol were taken. But Jesus is a castle into
which the righteous runneth and is safe. No battering-ram can demolish
its wall. No sappers or miners can explode its ramparts, no storm-bolt
of perdition leap upon its towers. The weapons that guard this fort
are omnipotent. Hell shall unlimber its great guns as death only to
have them dismantled. In Christ our sins are pardoned, discomforted,
blotted out, forgiven. An ocean can not so easily drown a fly as the
ocean of God's forgiveness swallow up, utterly and forever, our
transgressions. He is able to save unto the uttermost.

You who have been so often overcome in a hand-to-hand fight with the
world, the flesh, and devil, try this fortress. Once here, you are
safe forever. Satan may charge up the steep, and shout amid the uproar
of the fight, Forward, to his battalions of darkness; but you will
stand in the might of the great God, your Redeemer, safe in the
refuge. The troubles of life, that once overwhelmed you, may come on
with their long wagon-trains laden with care and worryment; and you
may hear in their tramp the bereavements that once broke your heart;
but Christ is your friend, Christ your sympathizer, Christ your
reward. Safe in the refuge!

Death at last may lay the siege to your spirit, and the shadows of the
sepulcher may shake their horrors in the breeze, and the hoarse howl
of the night wind may be mingled with the cry of despair, yet you will
shout in triumph from the ramparts, and the pale horse shall be hurled
back on his haunches. Safe in the refuge! To this castle I fly. This
last fire shall but illumine its towers; and the rolling thunders of
the judgment will be the salvo of its victory.

Just after Queen Victoria had been crowned--she being only nineteen or
twenty years of age--Wellington handed her a death-warrant for her
signature. It was to take the life of a soldier in the army. She said
to Wellington: "Can there nothing good be said of this man?" He said:
"No; he is a bad soldier, and deserves to die." She took up the
death-warrant, and it trembled in her hand as she again asked: "Does
no one know anything good of this man?" Wellington said: "I have heard
that at his trial a man said that he had been a good son to his old
mother." "Then let his life be spared," said the queen, and she
ordered his sentence commuted.

Christ is on a throne of grace. Our case is brought before him. The
question is asked: "Is there any good about this man?" The law says:
"None." Justice says: "None." Our own conscience says: "None."
Nevertheless, Christ hands over our pardon, and asks us to take it.
Oh, the height and depth, the length and breadth of his mercy!

Again, Christ is a near refuge. When we are attacked, what advantage
is there in having a fortress on the other side of the mountain? Many
an army has had an intrenchment, but could not get to it before the
battle opened. Blessed be God, it is no long march to our castle. We
may get off, with all our troops, from the worst earthly defeat in
this stronghold. In a moment we may step from the battle into the
tower. I sing of a Saviour near.

During the late war the forts of the North were named after the
Northern generals, and the forts of the South were named after the
Southern generals. This fortress of our soul I shall call Castle
Jesus. I have seen men pursued of sins that chased them with feet of
lightning, and yet with one glad leap they bounded into the tower. I
have seen troubles, with more than the speed and terror of a cavalry
troop, dash after a retreating soul, yet were hurled back in defeat
from the bulwarks. Jesus near! A child's cry, a prisoner's prayer, a
sailor's death-shriek, a pauper's moan reaches him. No pilgrimages on
spikes. No journeying with a huge pack on your back. No kneeling in
penance in cold vestibule of mercy. But an open door! A compassionate
Saviour! A present salvation! A near refuge! Castle Jesus!

Oh, why do you not put out your arm and reach it? Why do you not fly
to it? Why be riddled, and shelled, and consumed under the rattling
bombardment of perdition, when one moment's faith would plant you in
the glorious refuge? I preach a Jesus here; a Jesus now; a fountain
close to your feet; a fiery pillar right over your head; bread already
broken for your hunger; a crown already gleaming for your brow. Hark
to the castle gates rattling back for your entrance! Hear you not the
welcome of those who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope
set before us?

Again, it is a universal refuge. A fortress is seldom large enough to
hold a whole army. I look out upon fourteen hundred millions of the
race; and then I look at this fortress, and I say that there is room
enough for all. If it had been possible, this salvation would have
been monopolized. Men would have said: "Let us have all this to
ourselves--no publicans, no plebeians, no lazzaroni, no converted
pickpockets. We will ride toward heaven on fierce chargers, our feet
in golden stirrups. Grace for lords, and dukes, and duchesses, and
counts. Let Napoleon and his marshals come in, but not the common
soldier that fought under him. Let the Girards and the Barings come
in, but not the stevedores that unloaded their cargoes, or the men who
kept their books." Heaven would have been a glorified Windsor Castle,
or Tuileries, or Vatican; and exclusive aristocrats would have
strutted through the golden streets to all eternity.

Thank God, there is mercy for the poor! The great Doctor John Mason
preached over a hundred times the same sermon; and the text was: "To
the poor the Gospel is preached." Lazarus went up, while Dives went
down; and there are candidates for Imperial splendors in the back
alley, and by the peat-fire of the Irish shanty. King Jesus set up His
throne in a manger, and made a resurrection day for the poor widow of
Nain, and sprung the gate of heaven wide open, so that all the
beggars, and thieves, and scoundrels of the universe may come in if
they will only repent. I can snatch the knife from the murderer's hand
while it is yet dripping with the blood of his victim, and tell him of
the grace that is sufficient to pardon his soul. Do you say that I
swing open the gate of heaven too far? I swing it open no wider than
Christ, when He says: "Whosoever will, let him come." Don't you want
to go in with such a rabble? Then you can stay out.

The whole world will yet come into this refuge. The windows of heaven
will be opened; God's trumpet of salvation will sound, and China will
come from its tea-fields and rice-harvests, and lift itself up into
the light. India will come forth, the chariots of salvation jostling
to pieces her Juggernauts. Freezing Greenland, and sweltering
Abyssinia, will, side by side, press into the kingdom; and transformed
Bornesian cannibal preach of the resurrection of the missionary he has
slain. The glory of Calvary will tinge the tip of the Pyrenees; and
Lebanon cedars shall clap their hands; and by one swing of the sickle
Christ shall harvest nations for the skies.

I sing a world redeemed. In the rush of the winds that set the forest
in motion, like giants wrestling on the hills, I see the tossing up of
the triumphal branches that shall wave all along the line of our King
as He comes to take empire. In the stormy diapason of the ocean's
organ, and the more gentle strains that in the calm come sounding up
from the crystal and jasper keys at the beach, I hear the prophecy:
"The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters
fill the sea."

The gospel morning will come like the natural morning. At first it
seems only like another hue of the night. Then a pallor strikes
through the sky, as though a company of ministering spirits, pale with
tedious watching through the night, had turned in their flight upward
to look back upon the earth. Then a faint glow of fire, as though on a
barren beach a wrecked mariner was kindling a flickering flame. Then
chariots and horses of fire racing up and down the heavens; then
perfect day: "Who is she that cometh forth as the morning?"

Come in, black Hottentot and snow-white Caucasian, come in, mitered
official and diseased beggar; let all the world come in. Room in
Castle Jesus! Sound it through all lands; sound it by all tongues. Let
sermons preach it, and bells chime it, and pencils sketch it, and
processions celebrate it, and bells ring it: Room in Castle Jesus!

Again, Christ is the only refuge. If you were very sick, and there was
only one medicine that would cure you, how anxious you would be to get
that medicine. If you were in a storm at sea, and you found that the
ship could not weather it, and there was only one harbor, how anxious
you would be to get into that harbor. Oh, sin-sick soul, Christ is the
only medicine; oh, storm-tossed soul, Christ is the only harbor. Need
I tell a cultured audience like this that there is no other name given
among men by which ye can be saved? That if you want the handcuffs
knocked from your wrists, and the hopples from your feet, and the icy
bands from your heart, there is just one Almighty arm in all the
universe to do everything? There are other fortresses to which you
might fly, and other ramparts behind which you might hide, but God
will cut to pieces, with the hail of His vengeance, all these refuges
of lies.

Some of you are foundering in terrible Euroclydon. Hark to the howling
of the gale, and the splintering of the spars, and the starting of the
timbers, and the breaking of the billow, clear across the hurricane
deck. Down she goes! Into the life-boat! Quick! One boat! One shore!
One oarsman! One salvation! You are polluted; there is but one well at
which you can wash clean. You are enslaved; there is but one
proclamation that can emancipate. You are blind; there is but one
salve that can kindle your vision. You are dead; there is but one
trumpet that can burst the grave.

I have seen men come near the refuge but not make entrance. They came
up, and fronted the gate, and looked in, but passed on, and passed
down; and they will curse their folly through all eternity, that they
despised the only refuge. Oh! forget everything else I have said, if
you will but remember that there is but one atonement, one sacrifice,
one justification, one faith, one hope, one Jesus, one refuge. There
is that old Christian. Many a scar on his face tells where trouble
lacerated him. He has fought with wild beasts at Ephesus. He has had
enough misfortune to shadow his countenance with perpetual despair.
Yet he is full of hope. Has he found any new elixir? "No," he says; "I
have found Jesus the refuge."

Christ is our only defense at the last. John Holland, in his
concluding moment, swept his hand over the Bible, and said: "Come, let
us gather a few flowers from this garden." As it was even-time he said
to his wife: "Have you lighted the candles?" "No," she said; "we have
not lighted the candles." "Then," said he, "it must be the brightness
of the face of Jesus that I see."

Ask that dying Christian woman the source of her comfort. Why that
supernatural glow on the curtains of the death-chamber; and the
tossing out of one hand, as if to wave the triumph, and the reaching
up of the other, as if to take a crown? Hosanna on the tongue. Glory
beaming from the forehead. Heaven in the eyes. Spirit departing. Wings
to bear it. Anthems to charm it. Open the gates to receive it.
Hallelujah! Speak, dying Christian--what light do you see? What sounds
do you hear? The thin lips part. The pale hand is lifted. She says:
"Jesus the refuge!" Let all in the death-chamber stop weeping now.
Celebrate the triumph. Take up a song. Clap your hands. Shout it.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

But this refuge will be of no worth to you unless you lay hold of it.
The time will come when you will wish that you had done so. It will
come soon. At an unexpected moment it will come. The castle bridge
will be drawn up and the fortress closed. When you see this
discomfiture, and look back, and look up at the storm gathering, and
the billowy darkness of death has rolled upon the sheeted flash of
the storm, you will discover the utter desolation of those who are
outside of the refuge.

What you propose to do in this matter you had better do right away. A
mistake this morning may never be corrected. Jesus, the Great Captain
of salvation, puts forth his wounded hand to-day to cheer you on the
race to heaven. If you despise it, the ghastliest vision that will
haunt the eternal darkness of your soul will be the gaping, bleeding
wounds of the dying Redeemer.

Jesus is to be crucified to-day. Think not of it as a day that is
past. He comes before you to-day weary and worn. Here is the cross,
and here is the victim. But there are no nails, and there are no
thorns, and there are no hammers. Who will furnish these? A man out
yonder says: "I will furnish with my sins the nails!" Now we have the
cross, and the victim, and the nails. But we have no thorns. Who will
furnish the thorns? A man in the audience says: "With my sins I will
furnish the thorns!" Now we have the cross, the victim, the nails, and
the thorns. But we have no hammers. Who will furnish the hammers? A
voice in the audience says: "My hard heart shall be the hammer!"
Everything is ready now. The crucifixion goes out! See Jesus dying!
"Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world."



STRIPPING THE SLAIN.

    "And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came
    to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons
    fallen in Mount Gilboa."--I. SAM. xxxi: 8.


Some of you were at South Mountain, or Shiloh, or Ball's Bluff, or
Gettysburg, and I ask you if there is any sadder sight than a
battle-field after the guns have stopped firing? I walked across the
field of Antietam just after the conflict. The scene was so sickening
I shall not describe it. Every valuable thing had been taken from the
bodies of the dead, for there are always vultures hovering over and
around about an army, and they pick up the watches, and the memorandum
books, and the letters, and the daguerreotypes, and the hats, and the
coats, applying them to their own uses. The dead make no resistance.
So there are always camp followers going on and after an army, as when
Scott went down into Mexico, as when Napoleon marched up toward
Moscow, as when Von Moltke went to Sedan. There is a similar scene in
my text.

Saul and his army had been horribly cut to pieces. Mount Gilboa was
ghastly with the dead. On the morrow the stragglers came on to the
field, and they lifted the latchet of the helmet from under the chin
of the dead, and they picked up the swords and bent them on their
knee to test the temper of the metal, and they opened the wallets and
counted the coin. Saul lay dead along the ground, eight or nine feet
in length, and I suppose the cowardly Philistines, to show their
bravery, leaped upon the trunk of his carcass, and jeered at the
fallen slain, and whistled through the mouth of the helmet. Before
night those cormorants had taken everything valuable from the field:
"And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip
the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in Mount
Gilboa."

Before I get through to-day I will show you that the same process is
going on all the world over, and every day, and that when men have
fallen, Satan and the world, so far from pitying them or helping them,
go to work remorselessly to take what little is left, thus stripping
the slain.

There are tens of thousands of young men every year coming from the
country to our great cities. They come with brave hearts and grand
expectations. They think they will be Rufus Choates in the law, or
Drapers in chemistry, or A.T. Stewarts in merchandise. The country
lads sit down in the village grocery, with their feet on the iron rod
around the red-hot stove, in the evening, talking over the prospects
of the young man who has gone off to the city. Two or three of them
think that perhaps he may get along very well and succeed, but the
most of them prophesy failure; for it is very hard to think that those
whom we knew in boyhood will ever make any stir in the world.

But our young man has a fine position in a dry-goods store. The month
is over. He gets his wages. He is not accustomed to have so much money
belonging to himself. He is a little excited, and does not know
exactly what to do with it, and he spends it in some places where he
ought not. Soon there come up new companions and acquaintances from
the bar-rooms and the saloons of the city. Soon that young man begins
to waver in the battle of temptation, and soon his soul goes down. In
a few months, or few years, he has fallen. He is morally dead. He is a
mere corpse of what he once was. The harpies of sin snuff up the taint
and come on the field. His garments gradually give out. He has pawned
his watch. His health is failing him. His credit perishes. He is too
poor to stay in the city, and he is too poor to pay his way home to
the country. Down! down! Why do the low fellows of the city now stick
to him so closely? Is it to help him back to a moral and spiritual
life? Oh, no! I will tell you why they stay; they are the Philistines
stripping the slain.

Do not look where I point, but yonder stands a man who once had a
beautiful home in this city. His house had elegant furniture, his
children were beautifully clad, his name was synonymous with honor and
usefulness; but evil habit knocked at his front door, knocked at his
back door, knocked at his parlor door, knocked at his bedroom door.
Where is the piano? Sold to pay the rent. Where is the hat-rack? Sold
to meet the butcher's bill. Where are the carpets? Sold to get bread.
Where is the wardrobe? Sold to get rum. Where are the daughters?
Working their fingers off in trying to keep the family together.
Worse and worse, until everything is gone. Who is that going up the
front steps of that house? That is a creditor, hoping to find some
chair or bed that has not been levied upon. Who are those two
gentlemen now going up the front steps? The one is a constable, the
other is the sheriff. Why do they go there? The unfortunate is morally
dead, socially dead, financially dead. Why do they go there? I will
tell you why the creditors, and the constables, and the sheriffs go
there. They are, some on their own account, and some on account of the
law, stripping the slain.

An ex-member of Congress, one of the most eloquent men that ever stood
in the House of Representatives, said in his last moments: "This is
the end. I am dying--dying on a borrowed bed, covered by a borrowed
sheet, in a house built by public charity. Bury me under that tree in
the middle of the field, where I shall not be crowded, for I have been
crowded all my life." Where were the jolly politicians and the
dissipating comrades who had been with him, laughing at his jokes,
applauding his eloquence, and plunging him into sin? They have left.
Why? His money is gone, his reputation is gone, his wit is gone, his
clothes are gone, everything is gone. Why should they stay any longer?
They have completed their work. They have stripped the slain.

There is another way, however, of doing that same work. Here is a man
who, through his sin, is prostrate. He acknowledges that he has done
wrong. Now is the time for you to go to that man and say: "Thousands
of people have been as far astray as you are, and got back." Now is
the time for you to go to that man and tell him of the omnipotent
grace of God, that is sufficient for any poor soul. Now is the time to
go to tell him how swearing John Bunyan, through the grace of God,
afterward came to the celestial city. Now is the time to go to that
man and tell him how profligate Newton came, through conversion, to be
a world-renowned preacher of righteousness. Now is the time to tell
that man that multitudes who have been pounded with all the flails of
sin and dragged through all the sewers of pollution at last have risen
to positive dominion of moral power.

You do not tell him that, do you? No. You say to him: "Loan you money?
No. You are down. You will have to go to the dogs. Lend you a
shilling? I would not lend you five cents to keep you from the
gallows. You are debauched! Get out of my sight, now! Down; you will
have to stay down!" And thus those bruised and battered men are
sometimes accosted by those who ought to lift them up. Thus the last
vestige of hope is taken from them. Thus those who ought to go and
lift and save them are guilty of stripping the slain.

The point I want to make is this: sin is hard, cruel, and merciless.
Instead of helping a man up it helps him down; and when, like Saul and
his comrades, you lie on the field, it will come and steal your sword
and helmet and shield, leaving you to the jackal and the crow.

But the world and Satan do not do all their work with the outcast and
abandoned. A respectable, impenitent man comes to die. He is flat on
his back. He could not get up if the house were on fire. Adroitest
medical skill and gentlest nursing have been a failure. He has come to
his last hour. What does Satan do for such a man? Why, he fetches up
all the inapt, disagreeable, and harrowing things in his life. He
says: "Do you remember those chances you had for heaven, and missed
them? Do you remember all those lapses in conduct? Do you remember all
those opprobrious words and thoughts and actions? Don't remember them,
eh? I'll make you remember them." And then he takes all the past and
empties it on that death-bed, as the mail-bags are emptied on the
post-office floor. The man is sick. He can not get away from them.

Then the man says to Satan: "You have deceived me. You told me that
all would be well. You said there would be no trouble at the last. You
told me if I did so and so, you would do so and so. Now you corner me,
and hedge me up, and submerge me in everything evil." "Ha! ha!" says
Satan, "I was only fooling you. It is mirth for me to see you suffer.
I have been for thirty years plotting to get you just where you are.
It is hard for you now--it will be worse for you after awhile. It
pleases me. Lie still, sir. Don't flinch or shudder. Come now, I will
tear off from you the last rag of expectation. I will rend away from
your soul the last hope. I will leave you bare for the beating of the
storm. It is my business to strip the slain."

While men are in robust health, and their digestion is good, and their
nerves are strong, they think their physical strength will get them
safely through the last exigency. They say it is only cowardly women
who are afraid at the last, and cry out for God. "Wait till I come to
die. I will show you. You won't hear me pray, nor call for a minister,
nor want a chapter read me from the Bible." But after the man has been
three weeks in a sick-room his nerves are not so steady, and his
worldly companions are not anywhere near to cheer him up, and he is
persuaded that he must quit life: his physical courage is all gone.

He jumps at the fall of a teaspoon in a saucer. He shivers at the idea
of going away. He says: "Wife, I don't think my infidelity is going to
take me through. For God's sake don't bring up the children to do as I
have done. If you feel like it, I wish you would read a verse or two
out of Fannie's Sabbath-school hymn-book or New Testament." But Satan
breaks in, and says: "You have always thought religion trash and a
lie; don't give up at the last. Besides that, you can not, in the hour
you have to live, get off on that track. Die as you lived. With my
great black wings I shut out that light. Die in darkness. I rend away
from you that last vestige of hope. It is my business to strip the
slain."

A man who had rejected Christianity and thought it all trash, came to
die. He was in the sweat of a great agony, and his wife said: "We had
better have some prayer." "Mary, not a breath of that," he said. "The
lightest word of prayer would roll back on me like rocks on a drowning
man. I have come to the hour of test. I had a chance, and I forfeited
it. I believed in a liar, and he has left me in the lurch. Mary, bring
me Tom Paine, that book that I swore by and lived by, and pitch it in
the fire, and let it burn and burn as I myself shall soon burn." And
then, with the foam on his lip and his hands tossing wildly in the
air, he cried out: "Blackness of darkness! Oh, my God, too late!" And
the spirits of darkness whistled up from the depth, and wheeled around
and around him, stripping the slain.

Sin is a luxury now; it is exhilaration now; it is victory now. But
after awhile it is collision; it is defeat; it is extermination; it is
jackalism; it is robbing the dead; it is stripping the slain. Give it
up to-day--give it up! Oh, how you have been cheated on, my brother,
from one thing to another! All these years you have been under an evil
mastery that you understood not. What have your companions done for
you? What have they done for your health? Nearly ruined it by
carousal. What have they done for your fortune? Almost scattered it by
spendthrift behavior. What have they done for your reputation? Almost
ruined it with good men. What have they done for your immortal soul?
Almost insured its overthrow.

You are hastening on toward the consummation of all that is sad.
To-day you stop and think, but it is only for a moment, and then you
will tramp on, and at the close of this service you will go out, and
the question will be: "How did you like the sermon?" And one man will
say: "I liked it very well," and another man will say: "I didn't like
it at all;" but neither of the answers will touch the tremendous fact
that, if impenitent, you are going at eighteen knots an hour toward
shipwreck! Yea, you are in a battle where you will fall; and while
your surviving relatives will take your remaining estate, and the
cemetery will take your body, the messengers of darkness will take
your soul, and come and go about you for the next ten million years,
stripping the slain.

Many are crying out: "I admit I am slain, I admit it!" On what
battle-field, my brothers? By what weapon? "Polluted imagination,"
says one man; "Intoxicating liquor," says another man; "My own hard
heart," says another man. Do you realize this? Then I come to tell you
that the omnipotent Christ is ready to walk across this battle-field,
and revive, and resuscitate, and resurrect your dead soul. Let Him
take your hand and rub away the numbness; your head, and bathe off the
aching; your heart, and stop its wild throb. He brought Lazarus to
life; He brought Jairus' daughter to life; He brought the young man of
Nain to life, and these are three proofs anyhow that he can bring you
to life.

When the Philistines came down on the field, they stepped between the
corpses, and they rolled over the dead, and they took away everything
that was valuable; and so it was with the people that followed after
our army at Chancellorsville, and at Pittsburg Landing, and at Stone
River, and at Atlanta, stripping the slain; but the Northern and
Southern women--God bless them!--came on the field with basins, and
pads, and towels, and lint, and cordials, and Christian encouragement;
and the poor fellows that lay there lifted up their arms and said:
"Oh, how good that does feel since you dressed it!" and others looked
up and said: "Oh, how you make me think of my mother!" and others
said: "Tell the folks at home I died thinking about them;" and another
looked up and said: "Miss, won't you sing me a verse of 'Home, Sweet
Home,' before I die?" And then the tattoo was sounded, and the hats
were off, and the service was read: "I am the resurrection and the
life;" and in honor of the departed the muskets were loaded, and the
command given: "Take aim--fire!" And there was a shingle set up at the
head of the grave, with the epitaph of "Lieutenant ---- in the
Fourteenth Massachusetts Regulars," or "Captain ---- in the Fifteenth
Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers." And so to-night, across this
great field of moral and spiritual battle, the angels of God come
walking among the slain, and there are voices of comfort, and voices
of hope, and voices of resurrection, and voices of heaven.

Christ is ready to give life to the dead. He will make the deaf ear to
hear, the blind eye to see, the pulseless heart to beat, and the damp
walls of your spiritual charnel-house will crash into ruin at His cry:
"Come forth!" I verily believe there are souls in this house who are
now dead in sin, who in half an hour will be alive forever. There was
a thrilling dream, a glorious dream--you may have heard of it. Ezekiel
closed his eyes, and he saw two mountains, and a valley between the
mountains. That valley looked as though there had been a great battle
there, and a whole army had been slain, and they had been unburied;
and the heat of the land, and the vultures coming there, soon the
bones were exposed to the sun, and they looked like thousands of
snow-drifts all through the valley. Frightful spectacle! The bleaching
skeletons of a host!

But Ezekiel still kept his eyes shut; and lo! there were four
currents of wind that struck the battle-field, and when those four
currents of wind met, the bones began to rattle; and the foot came to
the ankle, and the hand came to the wrist, and the jaws clashed
together, and the spinal column gathered up the ganglions and the
nervous fiber, and all the valley wriggled and writhed, and throbbed,
and rocked, and rose up. There, a man coming to life. There, a hundred
men. There, a thousand; and all falling into line, waiting for the
shout of their commander. Ten thousand bleached skeletons springing up
into ten thousand warriors, panting for the fray. I hope that instead
of being a dream it may be a prophecy of what we shall see here
to-day. Let this north wall be one of the mountains, and the south
wall be taken for another of the mountains, and let all the aisles and
the pews be the valley between, for there are thousands here to-day
without one pulsation of spiritual life.

I look off in one direction, and they are dead. I look off in another
direction, and they are dead. Who will bring them to life? Who shall
rouse them up? If I should halloo at the top of my voice I could not
wake them. Wait a moment! Listen! There is a rustling. There is a gale
from heaven. It comes from the north, and from the south, and from the
east, and from the west. It shuts us in. It blows upon the slain.
There a soul begins to move in spiritual life; there, ten souls;
there, a score of souls; there, a hundred souls. The nostrils
throbbing in divine respiration, the hands lifted as though to take
hold of heaven, the tongue moving as in prayer and adoration. Life!
immortal life coming into the slain. Ten men for God--fifty--a
hundred--a regiment--an army for God! Oh, that we might have such a
scene here to-day! In Ezekiel's words, and in almost a frenzy of
prayer, I cry: "Come from the four winds, O Breath! and breathe upon
the slain."

You will have to surrender your heart to-day to God. You can not take
the responsibility of fighting against the Spirit in this crisis which
will decide whether you are to go to heaven or to hell--to join the
hallelujahs of the saved, or the lamentations of the lost. You must
pray. You must repent. You must this day fling your sinful soul on the
pardoning mercy of God. You must! I see your resolution against God
giving way, your determination wavering. I break through the breach in
the wall and follow up the advantage gained, hoping to rout your last
opposition to Christ, and to make you "ground arms" at the feet of the
Divine Conqueror. Oh, you must! You must!

The moon does not ask the tides of the Atlantic Ocean to rise. It only
stoops down with two great hands of light, the one at the European
beach, and the other at the American beach, and then lifts the great
layer of molten silver. And God, it seems to me, is now going to lift
this audience to newness of life. Do you not feel the swellings of the
great oceanic tides of Divine mercy? My heart is in anguish to have
you saved. For this I pray, and preach, and long, glad to be called a
fool for Christ's sake, and your salvation.

Some one replies: "Dear me, I do wish I could have these matters
arranged with my God. I want to be saved. God knows I want to be
saved; but you stand there talking about this matter, and you don't
show me how." My dear brother, the work has all been done. Christ did
it with His own torn hand, and lacerated foot, and bleeding side. He
took your place, and died your death, if you will only believe
it--only accept Him as your substitute.

What an amazing pity that any man should go from this house unblessed,
when such a large blessing is offered him at less cost than you would
pay for a pin--"without money and without price." I have driven down
to-day with the Lord's ambulance to the battle-field where your soul
lies exposed to the darkness and the storm, and I want to lift you in,
and drive off with you toward heaven. Oh, Christians, by your prayers
help to lift these wounded souls into the ambulance! God forbid that
any should be left on the field, and that at last eternal sorrow, and
remorse, and despair should come up around their soul like the bandit
Philistines to the field of Gilboa, stripping the slain.



SOLD OUT.

    "Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed
    without money."--ISA. lii: 3.


The Jews had gone headlong into sin, and as a punishment they had been
carried captive to Babylon. They found that iniquity did not pay.
Cyrus seized Babylon, and felt so sorry for these poor captive Jews
that, without a dollar of compensation, he let them go home. So that,
literally, my text was fulfilled: "Ye have sold yourselves for nought;
and ye shall be redeemed without money."

There is enough Gospel in this text for fifty sermons; though I never
heard of its being preached on. There are persons in this house who
have, like the Jews of the text, sold out. You do not seem to belong
either to yourselves or to God. The title-deeds have been passed over
to "the world, the flesh, and the devil," but the purchaser has never
paid up. "Ye have sold yourselves for nought."

When a man passes himself over to the world he expects to get some
adequate compensation. He has heard the great things that the world
does for a man, and he believes it. He wants two hundred and fifty
thousand dollars. That will be horses, and houses, and a
summer-resort, and jolly companionship. To get it he parts with his
physical health by overwork. He parts with his conscience. He parts
with much domestic enjoyment. He parts with opportunities for literary
culture. He parts with his soul. And so he makes over his entire
nature to the world. He does it in four installments. He pays down the
first installment, and one fourth of his nature is gone. He pays down
the second installment, and one half of his nature is gone. He pays
down the third installment, and three quarters of his nature are gone;
and after many years have gone by he pays down the fourth installment,
and, lo! his entire nature is gone. Then he comes up to the world and
says: "Good-morning. I have delivered to you the goods. I have passed
over to you my body, my mind, and my soul, and I have come now to
collect the two hundred and fifty thousand dollars." "Two hundred and
fifty thousand dollars?" says the world. "What do you mean?" "Well,"
you say, "I come to collect the money you owe me, and I expect you now
to fulfill your part of the contract." "But," says the world, "_I have
failed. I am bankrupt._ I can not possibly pay that debt. I have not
for a long while expected to pay it." "Well," you then say, "give me
back the goods." "Oh, no," says the world, "they are all gone. I can
not give them back to you." And there you stand on the confines of
eternity, your spiritual character gone, staggering under the
consideration that "you have sold yourself for nought."

I tell you the world is a liar; it does not keep its promises. It is a
cheat, and it fleeces everything it can put its hands on. It is a
bogus world. It is a six-thousand-year-old swindle. Even if it pays
the two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for which you contracted,
it pays them in bonds that will not be worth anything in a little
while. Just as a man may pay down ten thousand dollars in hard cash
and get for it worthless scrip--so the world passes over to you the
two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in that shape which will not be
worth a farthing to you a thousandth part of a second after you are
dead. "Oh," you say, "it will help to bury me, anyhow." Oh, my
brother! you need not worry about that. The world will bury you soon
enough, from sanitary considerations. After you have been deceased for
three or four days you will compel the world to bury you.

Post-mortem emoluments are of no use to you. The treasures of this
world will not pass current in the future world; and if all the wealth
of the Bank of England were put in the pocket of your shroud, and you
in the midst of the Jordan of death were asked to pay three cents for
your ferriage, you could not do it. There comes a moment in your
existence beyond which all earthly values fail; and many a man has
wakened up in such a time to find that he has sold out for eternity,
and has nothing to show for it. I should as soon think of going to
Chatham Street to buy silk pocket-handkerchiefs with no cotton in
them, as to go to this world expecting to find any permanent
happiness. It has deceived and deluded every man that has ever put his
trust in it.

History tells us of one who resolved that he would have all his senses
gratified at one and the same time, and he expended thousands of
dollars on each sense. He entered a room, and there were the first
musicians of the land pleasing his ear, and there were fine pictures
fascinating his eye, and there were costly aromatics regaling his
nostril, and there were the richest meats, and wines, and fruits, and
confections pleasing the appetite, and there was a soft couch of
sinful indulgence on which he reclined; and the man declared afterward
that he would give ten times what he had given if he could have one
week of such enjoyment, even though he lost his soul by it. Ah! that
was the rub. He did lose his soul by it! Cyrus the Conqueror thought
for a little while that he was making a fine thing out of this world,
and yet before he came to his grave he wrote out this pitiful epitaph
for his monument: "I am Cyrus. I occupied the Persian Empire. I was
king over Asia. Begrudge me not this monument." But the world in after
years plowed up his sepulcher.

The world clapped its hands and stamped its feet in honor of Charles
Lamb; but what does he say? "I walk up and down, thinking I am happy,
but feeling I am not." Call the roll, and be quick about it. Samuel
Johnson, the learned! Happy? "No. I am afraid I shall some day get
crazy." William Hazlitt, the great essayist! Happy? "No. I have been
for two hours and a half going up and down Paternoster Row with a
volcano in my breast." Smollett, the witty author! Happy? "No. I am
sick of praise and blame, and I wish to God that I had such
circumstances around me that I could throw my pen into oblivion."
Buchanan, the world-renowned writer, exiled from his own country,
appealing to Henry VIII. for protection! Happy? "No. Over mountains
covered with snow, and through valleys flooded with rain, I come a
fugitive." Molière, the popular dramatic author! Happy? "No. That
wretch of an actor just now recited four of my lines without the
proper accent and gesture. To have the children of my brain so hung,
drawn, and quartered, tortures me like a condemned spirit."

I went to see a worldling die. As I went into the hall I saw its floor
was tessellated, and its wall was a picture-gallery. I found his
death-chamber adorned with tapestry until it seemed as if the clouds
of the setting sun had settled in the room. The man had given forty
years to the world--his wit, his time, his genius, his talent, his
soul. Did the world come in to stand by his death-bed, and clearing
off the vials of bitter medicine, put down any compensation? Oh, no!
The world does not like sick and dying people, and leaves them in the
lurch. It ruined this man, and then left him. He had a magnificent
funeral. All the ministers wore scarfs, and there were forty-three
carriages in a row; but the departed man appreciated not the
obsequies.

I want to persuade my audience that this world is a poor investment;
that it does not pay ninety per cent. of satisfaction, nor eighty per
cent., nor twenty per cent., nor two per cent., nor one; that it gives
no solace when a dead babe lies on your lap; that it gives no peace
when conscience rings its alarm; that it gives no explanation in the
day of dire trouble; and at the time of your decease it takes hold of
the pillow-case, and shakes out the feathers, and then jolts down in
the place thereof sighs, and groans, and execrations, and then makes
you put your head on it. Oh, ye who have tried this world, is it a
satisfactory portion? Would you advise your friends to make the
investment? No. "Ye have sold yourselves for nought." Your conscience
went. Your hope went. Your Bible went. Your heaven went. Your God
went. When a sheriff under a writ from the courts sells a man out, the
officer generally leaves a few chairs and a bed, and a few cups and
knives; but in this awful vendue in which you have been engaged the
auctioneer's mallet has come down upon body, mind, and soul: Going!
Gone! "Ye have sold yourselves for nought."

How could you do so? Did you think that your soul was a mere trinket
which for a few pennies you could buy in a toy shop? Did you think
that your soul, if once lost, might be found again if you went out
with torches and lanterns? Did you think that your soul was
short-lived, and that, panting, it would soon lie down for extinction?
Or had you no idea what your soul was worth? Did you ever put your
forefingers on its eternal pulses? Have you never felt the quiver of
its peerless wing? Have you not known that, after leaving the body,
the first step of your soul reaches to the stars, and the next step to
the furthest outposts of God's universe, and that it will not die
until the day when the everlasting Jehovah expires? Oh, my brother,
what possessed you that you should part with your soul so cheap? "Ye
have sold yourselves for nought."

But I have some good news to tell you. I want to engage in a
litigation for the recovery of that soul of yours. I want to show that
you have been cheated out of it. I want to prove, as I will, that you
were crazy on that subject, and that the world, under such
circumstances, has no right to take the title-deed from you; and if
you will join me I shall get a decree from the High Chancery Court of
Heaven reinstating you into the possession of your soul. "Oh," you
say, "I am afraid of lawsuits; they are so expensive, and I can not
pay the cost." Then have you forgotten the last half of my text? "Ye
have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without
money."

Money is good for a great many things, but it can not do anything in
this matter of the soul. You can not buy your way through. Dollars and
pounds sterling mean nothing at the gate of mercy. If you could buy
your salvation, heaven would be a great speculation, an extension of
Wall Street. Bad men would go up and buy out the place, and leave us
to shift for ourselves. But as money is not a lawful tender, what is?
I will answer: Blood! Whose? Are we to go through the slaughter? Oh,
no; it wants richer blood than ours. It wants a king's blood. It must
be poured from royal arteries. It must be a sinless torrent. But where
is the king? I see a great many thrones and a great many occupants,
yet none seem to be coming down to the rescue. But after awhile the
clock of night in Bethlehem strikes twelve, and the silver pendulum of
a star swings across the sky, and I see the King of Heaven rising up,
and He descends, and steps down from star to star, and from cloud to
cloud, lower and lower, until He touches the sheep-covered hills, and
then on to another hill, this last skull-covered, and there, at the
sharp stroke of persecution, a rill incarnadine trickles down, and we
who could not be redeemed by money are redeemed by precious and
imperial blood.

We have in this day professed Christians who are so rarefied and
etherealized that they do not want a religion of blood. What do you
want? You seem to want a religion of brains. The Bible says: "In the
blood is the life." No atonement without blood. Ought not the apostle
to know? What did he say? "Ye are redeemed not with corruptible
things, such as silver and gold, but by the precious blood of Christ."
You put your lancet into the arm of our holy religion and withdraw the
blood, and you leave it a mere corpse, fit only for the grave. Why did
God command the priests of old to strike the knife into the kid, and
the goat, and the pigeon, and the bullock, and the lamb? It was so
that when the blood rushed out from these animals on the floor of the
ancient tabernacle the people should be compelled to think of the
coming carnage of the Son of God. No blood, no atonement.

I think that God intended to impress us with the vividness of that
color. The green of the grass, the blue of the sky, would not have
startled and aroused us like this deep crimson. It is as if God had
said: "Now, sinner, wake up and see what the Saviour endured for you.
This is not water. This is not wine. It is blood. It is the blood of
my own Son. It is the blood of the Immaculate. It is the blood of
God." Without the shedding of blood is no remission. There has been
many a man who in courts of law has pleaded "not guilty," who
nevertheless has been condemned because there was blood found on his
hands, or blood found in his room; and what shall we do in the last
day if it be found that we have recrucified the Lord of Glory and have
never repented of it? You must believe in the blood or die. No
escape. Unless you let the sacrifice of Jesus go in your stead you
yourself must suffer. It is either Christ's blood or your blood.

"Oh," says some one, "the thought of blood sickens me." Good. God
intended it to sicken you with your sin. Do not act as though you had
nothing to do with that Calvarian massacre. You had. Your sins were
the implements of torture. Those implements were not made of steel,
and iron, and wood, so much as out of your sins. Guilty of this
homicide, and this regicide, and this deicide, confess your guilt
to-day. Ten thousand voices of heaven bring in the verdict against you
of guilty, guilty. Prepare to die, or believe in that blood. Stretch
yourself out for the sacrifice, or accept the Saviour's sacrifice. Do
not fling away your one chance.

It seems to me as if all heaven were trying to bid in your soul. The
first bid it makes is the tears of Christ at the tomb of Lazarus; but
that is not a high enough price. The next bid heaven makes is the
sweat of Gethsemane; but it is too cheap a price. The next bid heaven
makes seems to be the whipped back of Pilate's hall; but it is not a
high enough price. Can it be possible that heaven can not buy you in?
Heaven tries once more. It says: "I bid this time for that man's soul
the tortures of Christ's martyrdom, the blood on His temple, the blood
on His cheek, the blood on His chin, the blood on His hand, the blood
on His side, the blood on His knee, the blood on His foot--the blood
in drops, the blood in rills, the blood in pools coagulated beneath
the cross; the blood that wet the tips of the soldiers' spears, the
blood that plashed warm in the faces of His enemies." Glory to God,
that bid wins it! The highest price that was ever paid for anything
was paid for your soul. Nothing could buy it but blood! The estranged
property is bought back. Take it. "You have sold yourselves for
nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money." O atoning blood,
cleansing blood, life-giving blood, sanctifying blood, glorifying
blood of Jesus! Why not burst into tears at the thought that for thee
He shed it--for thee the hard-hearted, for thee the lost?

"No," says some one; "I will have nothing to do with it except that,
like the Jews, I put both my hands into that carnage and scoop up both
palms full, and throw it on my head and cry: 'His blood be on us and
on our children!'" Can you do such a shocking thing as that? Just rub
your handkerchief across your brow and look at it. It is the blood of
the Son of God whom you have despised and driven back all these years.
Oh, do not do that any longer! Come out frankly and boldly and
honestly, and tell Christ you are sorry. You can not afford to so
roughly treat Him upon whom everything depends.

I do not know how you will get away from this subject. You see that
you are sold out, and that Christ wants to buy you back. There are
three persons who come after you to-night: God the Father, God the
Son, and God the Holy Ghost. They unite their three omnipotences in
one movement for your salvation. You will not take up arms against the
Triune God, will you? Is there enough muscle in your arm for such a
combat? By the highest throne in heaven, and by the deepest chasm in
hell, I beg you look out. Unless you allow Christ to carry away your
sins, they will carry you away. Unless you allow Christ to lift you
up, they will drag you down. There is only one hope for you, and that
is the blood. Christ, the sin-offering, bearing your transgressions.
Christ, the surety, paying your debts. Christ, the divine Cyrus,
loosening your Babylonish captivity.

Would you not like to be free? Here is the price of your
liberation--not money, but blood. I tremble from head to foot, not
because I fear your presence, for I am used to that, but because I
fear that you will miss your chance for immortal rescue, and die. This
is the alternative divinely put: "He that believeth on the Son shall
have everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son shall not
see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." In the last day, if
you now reject Christ, every drop of that sacrificial blood, instead
of pleading for your release as it would have pleaded if you had
repented, will plead against you. It will seem to say: "They refused
the ransom; they chose to die; let them die; they must die. Down with
them to the weeping and the wailing. Depart! go away from me. You
would not have me, now I will not have you. Sold out for eternity."

O Lord God of the judgment day! avert that calamity! Let us see the
quick flash of the cimeter that slays the sin but saves the sinner.
Strike, omnipotent God, for the soul's deliverance! Beat, O eternal
sea! with all thy waves against the barren beach of that rocky soul,
and make it tremble. Oh! the oppressiveness of the hour, the minute,
the second, on which the soul's destiny quivers, and this is that
hour, that minute, that second!

I wonder what proportion of this audience will be saved? What
proportion will be lost? When the "Schiller" went down, out of three
hundred and eighty people only forty were saved. When the "Ville du
Havre" went down, out of three hundred and forty about fifty were
saved. Out of this audience to-day, how many will get to the shore of
heaven? It is no idle question for me to ask, for many of you I shall
never see again until the day when the books are open.

Some years ago there came down a fierce storm on the sea-coast, and a
vessel got in the breakers and was going to pieces. They threw up some
signal of distress, and the people on the shore saw them. They put out
in a life-boat. They came on, and they saw the poor sailors, almost
exhausted, clinging to a raft; and so afraid were the boatmen that the
men would give up before they got to them, they gave them three rounds
of cheers, and cried: "Hold on, there! Hold on! We'll save you!" After
awhile the boat came up. One man was saved by having the boat-hook put
in the collar of his coat; and some in one way, and some in another;
but they all got into the boat. "Now," says the captain, "for the
shore. Pull away now, pull!" The people on the land were afraid the
life-boat had gone down. They said: "How long the boat stays. Why, it
must have been swamped, and they have all perished together."

And there were men and women on the pier-heads and on the beach
wringing their hands; and while they waited and watched, they saw
something looming up through the mist, and it turned out to be the
life-boat. As soon as it came within speaking distance the people on
the shore cried out: "Did you save any of them? Did you save any of
them?" And as the boat swept through the boiling surf and came to the
pier-head, the captain waved his hand over the exhausted sailors that
lay flat on the bottom of the boat, and cried: "All saved! Thank God!
All saved!" So may it be to-day. The waves of your sin run high, the
storm is on you, the danger is appalling. Oh! shipwrecked soul, I have
come for you. I cheer you with this Gospel hope. God grant that within
the next ten minutes we may row with you into the harbor of God's
mercy. And when these Christian men gather around to see the result of
this service, and the glorified gathering on the pier-heads of heaven
to watch and to listen, may we be able to report all saved! Young and
old, good and bad! All saved! Saved from sin, and death, and hell.
Saved for time. Saved for eternity. "And so it came to pass that they
all escaped safe to land."



SUMMER TEMPTATIONS.

    "Come ye yourselves apart unto a desert place and rest
    awhile."--MARK vi: 31.


Here Christ advises His apostles to take a vacation. They have been
living an excited as well as a useful life, and He advises that they
get out into the country. When, six weeks ago, standing in this place,
I advocated, with all the energy I could command, the Saturday
afternoon holiday, I did not think the people would so soon get that
release. By divine fiat it has come, and I rejoice that more people
will have opportunity of recreation this summer than in any previous
summer. Others will have whole weeks and months of rest. The railway
trains are being laden with passengers and baggage on their way to the
mountains and the lakes and the sea-shore. Multitudes of our citizens
are packing their trunks for a restorative absence.

The city heats are pursuing the people with torch and fear of
sunstroke. The long silent halls of sumptuous hotels are all abuzz
with excited arrivals. The crystalline surface of Winnipiseogee is
shattered with the stroke of steamer, laden with excursionists. The
antlers of Adirondack deer rattle under the shot of city sportsmen.
The trout make fatal snaps at the hook of adroit sportsmen and toss
their spotted brilliance into the game-basket. Already the baton of
the orchestral leader taps the music-stand on the hotel green, and
American life puts on festal array, and the rumbling of the tenpin
alley, and the crack of the ivory balls on the green-baized billiard
tables, and the jolting of the bar-room goblets, and the explosive
uncorking of champagne bottles, and the whirl and the rustle of the
ball-room dance, and the clattering hoofs of the race-courses, attest
that the season for the great American watering-places is fairly
inaugurated. Music--flute and drum and cornet-à-piston and clapping
cymbals--will wake the echoes of the mountains.

Glad I am that fagged-out American life for the most part will have an
opportunity to rest, and that nerves racked and destroyed will find a
Bethesda. I believe in watering-places. Let not the commercial firm
begrudge the clerk, or the employer the journeyman, or the patient the
physician, or the church its pastor, a season of inoccupation. Luther
used to sport with his children; Edmund Burke used to caress his
favorite horse; Thomas Chalmers, in the dark hours of the church's
disruption, played kite for recreation--as I was told by his own
daughter--and the busy Christ said to the busy apostles: "Come ye
apart awhile into the desert and rest yourselves." And I have observed
that they who do not know how to rest do not know how to work.

But I have to declare this truth to-day, that some of our fashionable
watering-places are the temporal and eternal destruction of "a
multitude that no man can number," and amid the congratulations of
this season and the prospect of the departure of many of you for the
country I must utter a note of warning--plain, earnest, and
unmistakable.

I. The first temptation that is apt to hover in this direction is to
leave your piety all at home. You will send the dog and cat and canary
bird to be well cared for somewhere else; but the temptation will be
to leave your religion in the room with the blinds down and the door
bolted, and then you will come back in the autumn to find that it is
starved and suffocated, lying stretched on the rug stark dead. There
is no surplus of piety at the watering-places. I never knew any one to
grow very rapidly in grace at the Catskill Mountain House, or Sharon
Springs, or the Falls of Montmorency. It is generally the case that
the Sabbath is more of a carousal than any other day, and there are
Sunday walks and Sunday rides and Sunday excursions.

Elders and deacons and ministers of religion who are entirely
consistent at home, sometimes when the Sabbath dawns on them at
Niagara Falls or the White Mountains take the day to themselves. If
they go to the church, it is apt to be a sacred parade, and the
discourse, instead of being a plain talk about the soul, is apt to be
what is called _a crack sermon_--that is, some discourse picked out of
the effusions of the year as the one most adapted to excite
admiration; and in those churches, from the way the ladies hold their
fans, you know that they are not so much impressed with the heat as
with the picturesqueness of half-disclosed features. Four puny souls
stand in the organ-loft and squall a tune that nobody knows, and
worshipers, with two thousand dollars' worth of diamonds on the right
hand, drop a cent into the poor-box, and then the benediction is
pronounced and the farce is ended.

The toughest thing I ever tried to do was to be good at a
watering-place. The air is bewitched with "the world, the flesh, and
the devil." There are Christians who in three or four weeks in such a
place have had such terrible rents made in their Christian robe that
they had to keep darning it until Christmas to get it mended! The
health of a great many people makes an annual visit to some mineral
spring an absolute necessity; but, my dear people, take your Bible
along with you, and take an hour for secret prayer every day, though
you be surrounded by guffaw and saturnalia. Keep holy the Sabbath,
though they denounce you as a bigoted Puritan. Stand off from those
institutions which propose to imitate on this side the water the
iniquities of Baden-Baden. Let your moral and your immortal health
keep pace with your physical recuperation, and remember that all the
waters of Hathorne and sulphur and chalybeate springs can not do you
so much good as the mineral, healing, perennial flood that breaks
forth from the "Rock of Ages." This may be your last summer. If so,
make it a fit vestibule of heaven.

II. Another temptation around nearly all our watering-places is the
horse-racing business. We all admire the horse. There needs to be a
redistribution of coronets among the brute creation. For ages the lion
has been called the king of beasts. I knock off its coronet and put
the crown upon the horse, in every way nobler, whether in shape or
spirit or sagacity or intelligence or affection or usefulness. He is
semi-human, and knows how to reason on a small scale. The centaur of
olden times, part horse and part man, seems to be a suggestion of the
fact that the horse is something more than a beast.

Job sets forth his strength, his beauty, his majesty, the panting of
his nostril, the pawing of his hoof, and his enthusiasm for the
battle. What Rosa Bonheur did for the cattle, and what Landseer did
for the dog, Job, with mightier pencil, does for the horse.
Eighty-eight times does the Bible speak of him. He comes into every
kingly procession and into every great occasion and into every
triumph. It is very evident that Job and David and Isaiah and Ezekiel
and Jeremiah and John were fond of the horse. He came into much of
their imagery. A red horse--that meant war; a black horse--that meant
famine; a pale horse--that meant death; a white horse--that meant
victory.

As the Bible makes a favorite of the horse, the patriarch and the
prophet and the evangelist and the apostle, stroking his sleek hide,
and patting his rounded neck, and tenderly lifting his exquisitely
formed hoof, and listening with a thrill to the champ of his bit, so
all great natures in all ages have spoken of him in encomiastic terms.
Virgil in his Georgics almost seems to plagiarize from the description
of Job. The Duke of Wellington would not allow any one irreverently to
touch his old war-horse, Copenhagen, on whom he had ridden fifteen
hours without dismounting at Waterloo; and when old Copenhagen died,
his master ordered a military salute fired over his grave. John
Howard showed that he did not exhaust all his sympathies in pitying
the human race, for when sick he writes home: "Has my old chaise-horse
become sick or spoiled?"

But we do not think that the speed of the horse should be cultured at
the expense of human degradation. Horse-races, in olden times, were
under the ban of Christian people, and in our day the same institution
has come up under fictitious names, and it is called a "Summer
Meeting," almost suggestive of positive religious exercises. And it is
called an "Agricultural Fair," suggestive of everything that is
improving in the art of farming. But under these deceptive titles are
the same cheating and the same betting, the same drunkenness and the
same vagabondage and the same abominations that were to be found under
the old horse-racing system.

I never knew a man yet who could give himself to the pleasures of the
turf for a long reach of time, and not be battered in morals. They
hook up their spanking team, and put on their sporting-cap, and light
their cigar, and take the reins, and dash down the road to perdition.
The great day at Saratoga, and Long Branch, and Cape May, and nearly
all the other watering-places, is the day of the races. The hotels are
thronged, nearly every kind of equipage is taken up at an almost
fabulous price, and there are many respectable people mingling with
jockeys, and gamblers, and libertines, and foul-mouthed men and flashy
women. The bar-tender stirs up the brandy-smash. The bets run high.
The greenhorns, supposing all is fair, put in their money soon enough
to lose it. Three weeks before the race takes place the struggle is
decided, and the men in the secret know on which steed to bet their
money. The two men on the horses riding around long before arranged
who shall beat.

Leaning from the stand or from the carriage are men and women so
absorbed in the struggle of bone and muscle and mettle that they make
a grand harvest for the pickpockets, who carry off the pocket-books
and portemonnaies. Men looking on see only two horses with two riders
flying around the ring; but there is many a man on that stand whose
honor and domestic happiness and fortune--white mane, white foot,
white flank--are in the ring, racing with inebriety, and with fraud,
and with profanity, and with ruin--black neck, black foot, black
flank. Neck and neck they go in that moral Epsom.

Ah, my friends, have nothing to do with horse-racing dissipations this
summer. Long ago the English government got through looking to the
turf for the dragoon and light-cavalry horse. They found the turf
depreciates the stock, and it is yet worse for men. Thomas Hughes, the
member of parliament and the author, known all the world over, hearing
that a new turf enterprise was being started in this country, wrote a
letter, in which he said: "Heaven help you, then; for of all the
cankers of our old civilization there is nothing in this country
approaching in unblushing meanness, in rascality holding its head
high, to this belauded institution of the British turf." Another
famous sportsman writes: "How many fine domains have been shared among
these hosts of rapacious sharks during the last two hundred years; and
unless the system be altered, how many more are doomed to fall into
the same gulf!" The Duke of Hamilton, through his horse-racing
proclivities, in three years got through his entire fortune of
£70,000, and I will say that some of you are being undermined by it.
With the bull-fights of Spain and the bear-baitings of the pit may the
Lord God annihilate the infamous and accursed horse-racing of England
and America.

III. I go further, and speak of another temptation that hovers over
the watering-places; and this is the temptation to sacrifice physical
strength. The modern Bethesda was intended to recuperate the physical
health; and yet how many come from the watering-places, their health
absolutely destroyed! New York and Brooklyn idiots boasting of having
imbibed twenty glasses of Congress water before breakfast. Families
accustomed to going to bed at ten o'clock at night gossiping until one
or two o'clock in the morning. Dyspeptics, usually very cautious about
their health, mingling ice-creams, and lemons, and lobster-salads, and
cocoa-nuts, until the gastric juices lift up all their voices of
lamentation and protest. Delicate women and brainless young men
chassezing themselves into vertigo and catalepsy. Thousands of men and
women coming back from our watering-places in the autumn with the
foundations laid for ailments that will last them all their life long.
You know as well as I do that this is the simple truth.

In the summer you say to your good health: "Good-bye, I am going to
have a good time for a little while. I will be very glad to see you
again in the autumn." Then in the autumn, when you are hard at work in
your office, or store, or shop, or counting-room, Good Health will
come and say: "Good-bye, I am going." You say: "Where are you going?"
"Oh," says Good Health, "I am going to take a vacation!" It is a poor
rule that will not work both ways, and your good health will leave you
choleric and splenetic and exhausted. You coquetted with your good
health in the summer-time, and your good health is coquetting with you
in the winter-time. A fragment of Paul's charge to the jailer would be
an appropriate inscription for the hotel-register in every
watering-place: "Do thyself no harm."

IV. Another temptation hovering around the watering-place is to the
formation of hasty and life-long alliances. The watering-places are
responsible for more of the domestic infelicities of this country than
all the other things combined. Society is so artificial there that no
sure judgment of character can be formed. Those who form
companionships amid such circumstances go into a lottery where there
are twenty blanks to one prize. In the severe tug of life you want
more than glitter and splash. Life is not a ball-room where the music
decides the step, and bow and prance and graceful swing of long trail
can make up for strong common sense. You might as well go among the
gayly painted yachts of a summer regatta to find war vessels as to go
among the light spray of the summer watering-place to find character
that can stand the test of the great struggle of human life. Ah, in
the battle of life you want a stronger weapon than a lace fan or a
croquet mallet! The load of life is so heavy that in order to draw it,
you want a team stronger than one made up of a masculine grasshopper
and a feminine butterfly.

If there is any man in the community that excites my contempt, and
that ought to excite the contempt of every man and woman, it is the
soft-handed, soft-headed fop, who, perfumed until the air is actually
sick, spends his summer in taking killing attitudes, and waving
sentimental adieus, and talking infinitesimal nothings, and finding
his heaven in the set of a lavender kid-glove. Boots as tight as an
Inquisition, two hours of consummate skill exhibited in the tie of a
flaming cravat, his conversation made up of "Ah's" and "Oh's" and
"He-hee's." It would take five hundred of them stewed down to make a
teaspoonful of calves-foot jelly. There is only one counterpart to
such a man as that, and that is the frothy young woman at the
watering-place, her conversation made up of French moonshine; what she
has on her head only equaled by what she has on her back; useless ever
since she was born, and to be useless until she is dead: and what they
will do with her in the next world I do not know, except to set her
upon the banks of the River Life for eternity to look sweet! God
intends us to admire music and fair faces and graceful step, but amid
the heartlessness and the inflation and the fantastic influences of
our modern watering-places, beware how you make life-long covenants!

V. Another temptation that will hover over the watering-place is that
of baneful literature. Almost every one starting off for the summer
takes some reading matter. It is a book out of the library or off the
bookstand, or bought of the boy hawking books through the cars. I
really believe there is more pestiferous trash read among the
intelligent classes in July and August than in all the other ten
months of the year. Men and women who at home would not be satisfied
with a book that was not really sensible, I found sitting on
hotel-piazzas or under the trees reading books the index of which
would make them blush if they knew that you knew what the book was.

"Oh," they say, "you must have intellectual recreation!" Yes. There is
no need that you take along into a watering-place "Hamilton's
Metaphysics" or some thunderous discourse on the eternal decrees, or
"Faraday's Philosophy." There are many easy books that are good. You
might as well say: "I propose now to give a little rest to my
digestive organs; and, instead of eating heavy meat and vegetables, I
will for a little while take lighter food--a little strychnine and a
few grains of ratsbane." Literary poison in August is as bad as
literary poison in December. Mark that. Do not let the frogs and the
lice of a corrupt printing-press jump and crawl into your Saratoga
trunk or White Mountain valise.

Would it not be an awful thing for you to be struck with lightning
some day when you had in your hand one of these paper-covered
romances--the hero a Parisian _roué_, the heroine an unprincipled
flirt--chapters in the book that you would not read to your children
at the rate of $100 a line? Throw out all that stuff from your summer
baggage. Are there not good books that are easy to read--books of
entertaining travel, books of congenial history, books of pure fun,
books of poetry ringing with merry canto, books of fine engravings,
books that will rest the mind as well as purify the heart and elevate
the whole life? My hearers, there will not be an hour between this
and the day of your death when you can afford to read a book lacking
in moral principle.

VI. Another temptation hovering all around our watering-places is the
intoxicating beverage. I am told that it is becoming more and more
fashionable for woman to drink. I care not how well a woman may dress,
if she has taken enough of wine to flush her cheek and put glassiness
on her eyes, she is intoxicated. She may be handed into a $2500
carriage, and have diamonds enough to confound the Tiffanys--she is
intoxicated. She may be a graduate of Packer Institute, and the
daughter of some man in danger of being nominated for the
Presidency--she is drunk. You may have a larger vocabulary than I
have, and you may say in regard to her that she is "convivial," or she
is "merry," or she is "festive," or she is "exhilarated," but you can
not with all your garlands of verbiage cover up the plain fact that it
is an old-fashioned case of drunk.

Now, the watering-places are full of temptations to men and women to
tipple. At the close of the tenpin or billiard-game they tipple. At
the close of the cotillon they tipple. Seated on the piazza cooling
themselves off they tipple. The tinged glasses come around with bright
straws, and they tipple. First they take "light wines," as they call
them; but "light wines" are heavy enough to debase the appetite. There
is not a very long road between champagne at $5 a bottle and whiskey
at five cents a glass.

Satan has three or four grades down which he takes men to destruction.
One man he takes up, and through one spree pitches him into eternal
darkness. That is a rare case. Very seldom, indeed, can you find a man
who will be such a fool as that.

When a man goes down to destruction Satan brings him to a plane. It is
almost a level. The depression is so slight that you can hardly see
it. The man does not actually know that he is on the down grade, and
it tips only a little toward darkness--just a little. And the first
mile it is claret, and the second mile it is sherry, and the third
mile it is punch, and the fourth mile it is ale, and the fifth mile it
is porter, and the sixth mile it is brandy, and then it gets steeper
and steeper and steeper, and the man gets frightened and says, "Oh,
let me get off!" "No," says the conductor, "this is an express train,
and it does not stop until it gets to the Grand Central Depot at
Smashupton." Ah, "look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it
giveth its color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last
it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder." And if any young
man in my congregation should get astray this summer in this direction
it will not be because I have not given him fair warning.

My friends, whether you tarry at home--which will be quite as safe and
perhaps quite as comfortable--or go into the country, arm yourself
against temptation. The grace of God is the only safe shelter, whether
in town or country. There are watering-places accessible to all of us.
You can not open a book of the Bible without finding out some such
watering-place. Fountains open for sin and uncleanliness; wells of
salvation; streams from Lebanon; a flood struck out of the rock by
Moses; fountains in the wilderness discovered by Hagar; water to
drink and water to bathe in; the river of God, which is full of water;
water of which if a man drink he shall never thirst; wells of water in
the Valley of Baca; living fountains of water; a pure river of water
as clear as crystal from under the throne of God.

These are watering-places accessible to all of us. We do not have a
laborious packing up before we start--only the throwing away of our
transgressions. No expensive hotel bills to pay; it is "without money
and without price." No long and dirty travel before we get there; it
is only one step away. California in five minutes. I walked around and
saw ten fountains, all bubbling up, and they were all different. And
in five minutes I can get through this Bible _parterre_ and find you
fifty bright, sparkling fountains bubbling up into eternal life.

A chemist will go to one of these summer watering-places and take the
water and analyze it and tell you that it contains so much of iron,
and so much of soda, and so much of lime, and so much of magnesia. I
come to this Gospel well, this living fountain and analyze the water,
and I find that its ingredients are peace, pardon, forgiveness, hope,
comfort, life, heaven. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye" to this
watering-place!

Crowd around this Bethesda this morning! Oh, you sick, you lame, you
troubled, you dying--crowd around this Bethesda! Step in it! Oh, step
in it! The angel of the covenant this morning stirs the water. Why do
you not step in it? Some of you are too weak to take a step in that
direction. Then we take you up in the arms of our closing prayer and
plunge you clean under the wave, hoping that the cure may be as sudden
and as radical as with Captain Naaman, who, blotched and carbuncled,
stepped into the Jordan, and after the seventh dive came up, his skin
roseate-complexioned as the flesh of a little child.



THE BANISHED QUEEN.

    "Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal
    house which belonged to King Ahasuerus. On the seventh day
    when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded
    Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and
    Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of
    Ahasuerus the king, to bring Vashti the queen before the king
    with the crown royal, to show the people and the princes her
    beauty: for she was fair to look on. But the Queen Vashti
    refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains;
    therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in
    him."--ESTHER i: 9-12.


We stand amid the palaces of Shushan. The pinnacles are aflame with
the morning light. The columns rise festooned and wreathed, the wealth
of empires flashing from the grooves; the ceilings adorned with images
of bird and beast, and scenes of prowess and conquest. The walls are
hung with shields, and emblazoned until it seems that the whole round
of splendors is exhausted. Each arch is a mighty leaf of architectural
achievement. Golden stars shining down on glowing arabesque. Hangings
of embroidered work in which mingle the blueness of the sky, the
greenness of the grass, and the whiteness of the sea-foam. Tapestries
hung on silver rings, wedding together the pillars of marble.
Pavilions reaching out in every direction. These for repose, filled
with luxuriant couches, in which weary limbs sink until all fatigue is
submerged. Those for carousal, where kings drink down a kingdom at one
swallow.

Amazing spectacle!

Light of silver dripping down over stairs of ivory on shields of gold.
Floors of stained marble, sunset red and night black, and inlaid with
gleaming pearl.

In connection with this palace there is a garden, where the mighty men
of foreign lands are seated at a banquet. Under the spread of oak and
linden and acacia the tables are arranged. The breath of honeysuckle
and frankincense fills the air. Fountains leap up into the light, the
spray struck through with rainbows falling in crystalline baptism upon
flowering shrubs--then rolling down through channels of marble, and
widening out here and there into pools swirling with the finny tribes
of foreign aquariums, bordered with scarlet anemones, hypericums, and
many-colored ranunculi.

Meats of rarest bird and beast smoking up amid wreaths of aromatics.
The vases filled with apricots and almonds. The baskets piled up with
apricots and figs and oranges and pomegranates. Melons tastefully
twined with leaves of acacia. The bright waters of Eulæus filling the
urns and dropping outside the rim in flashing beads amid the
traceries. Wine from the royal vats of Ispahan and Shiraz, in bottles
of tinged shell, and lily-shaped cups of silver, and flagons and
tankards of solid gold. The music rises higher, and the revelry breaks
out into wilder transport, and the wine has flushed the cheek and
touched the brain, and louder than all other voices are the hiccough
of the inebriates, the gabble of fools, and the song of the drunkards.

In another part of the palace, Queen Vashti is entertaining the
princesses of Persia at a banquet. Drunken Ahasuerus says to his
servants, "You go out and fetch Vashti from, that banquet with the
women, and bring her to this banquet with the men, and let me display
her beauty." The servants immediately start to obey the king's
command; but there was a rule in Oriental society that no woman might
appear in public without having her face veiled. Yet here was a
mandate that no one dare dispute, demanding that Vashti come in
unveiled before the multitude. However, there was in Vashti's soul a
principle more regal than Ahasuerus, more brilliant than the gold of
Shushan, of more wealth than the realm of Persia, which commanded her
to disobey this order of the king; and so all the righteousness and
holiness and modesty of her nature rise up into one sublime refusal.
She says, "I will not go into the banquet unveiled." Ahasuerus was
infuriate; and Vashti, robbed of her position and her estate, is
driven forth in poverty and ruin to suffer the scorn of a nation, and
yet to receive the applause of after generations, who shall rise up to
admire this martyr to kingly insolence. Well, the last vestige of that
feast is gone; the last garland has faded; the last arch has fallen;
the last tankard has been destroyed; and Shushan is a ruin; but as
long as the world stands there will be multitudes of men and women,
familiar with the Bible, who will come into this picture-gallery of
God and admire the divine portrait of Vashti the queen, Vashti the
veiled, Vashti the sacrifice, Vashti the silent.

I. In the first place, I want you to look upon Vashti the queen. A
blue ribbon, rayed with white, drawn around her forehead, indicated
her queenly position. It was no small honor to be queen in such a
realm as that. Hark to the rustle of her robes! See the blaze of her
jewels! And yet, my friends, it is not necessary to have place and
regal robe in order to be queenly. When I see a woman with stout faith
in God, putting her foot upon all meanness and selfishness and godless
display, going right forward to serve Christ and the race by a grand
and a glorious service, I say: "That woman is a queen," and the ranks
of heaven look over the battlements upon the coronation; and whether
she comes up from the shanty on the commons or the mansion of the
fashionable square, I greet her with the shout, "All hail, Queen
Vashti!"

What glory was there on the brow of Mary of Scotland, or Elizabeth of
England, or Margaret of France, or Catherine of Russia, compared with
the worth of some of our Christian mothers, many of them gone into
glory?--or of that woman mentioned in the Scriptures, who put her all
into the Lord's treasury?--or of Jephtha's daughter, who made a
demonstration of unselfish patriotism?--or of Abigail, who rescued the
herds and flocks of her husband?--or of Ruth, who toiled under a
tropical sun for poor, old, helpless Naomi?--or of Florence
Nightingale, who went at midnight to stanch the battle wounds of the
Crimea?--or of Mrs. Adoniram Judson, who kindled the lights of
salvation amid the darkness of Burmah?--or of Mrs. Hemans, who poured
out her holy soul in words which will forever be associated with
hunter's horn, and captive's chain, and bridal hour, and lute's throb,
and curfew's knell at the dying day?--and scores and hundreds of
women, unknown on earth, who have given water to the thirsty, and
bread to the hungry, and medicine to the sick, and smiles to the
discouraged--their footsteps heard along dark lane and in government
hospital, and in almshouse corridor, and by prison gate? There may be
no royal robe--there may be no palatial surroundings. She does not
need them; for all charitable men will unite with the crackling lips
of fever-struck hospital and plague-blotched lazaretto in greeting her
as she passes: "Hail! Hail! Queen Vashti!"

II. Again, I want you to consider Vashti the veiled. Had she appeared
before Ahasuerus and his court on that day with her face uncovered she
would have shocked all the delicacies of Oriental society, and the
very men who in their intoxication demanded that she come, in their
sober moments would have despised her. As some flowers seem to thrive
best in the dark lane and in the shadow, and where the sun does not
seem to reach them, so God appoints to most womanly natures a retiring
and unobtrusive spirit.

God once in awhile does call an Isabella to a throne, or a Miriam to
strike the timbrel at the front of a host, or a Marie Antoinette to
quell a French mob, or a Deborah to stand at the front of an armed
battalion, crying out, "Up! Up! This is the day in which the Lord will
deliver Sisera into thy hands." And when the women are called to such
out-door work and to such heroic positions, God prepares them for it;
and they have iron in their soul, and lightnings in their eye, and
whirlwinds in their breath, and the borrowed strength of the Lord
Omnipotent in their right arm. They walk through furnaces as though
they were hedges of wild-flowers, and cross seas as though they were
shimmering sapphire; and all the harpies of hell down to their dungeon
at the stamp of womanly indignation.

But these are the exceptions. Generally, Dorcas would rather make a
garment for the poor boy; Rebecca would rather fill the trough for the
camels; Hannah would rather make a coat for Samuel; the Hebrew maid
would rather give a prescription for Naaman's leprosy; the woman of
Sarepta would rather gather a few sticks to cook a meal for famished
Elijah; Phebe would rather carry a letter for the inspired apostle;
Mother Lois would rather educate Timothy in the Scriptures. When I see
a woman going about her daily duty, with cheerful dignity presiding at
the table, with kind and gentle, but firm discipline presiding in the
nursery, going out into the world without any blast of trumpets,
following in the footsteps of Him who went about doing good--I say:
"This is Vashti with a veil on."

But when I see a woman of unblushing boldness, loud-voiced, with a
tongue of infinite clitter-clatter, with arrogant look, passing
through the streets with the step of a walking-beam, gayly arrayed in
a very hurricane of millinery, I cry out: "Vashti has lost her veil!"
When I see a woman struggling for political preferment--trying to
force her way on up to the ballot-box, amid the masculine demagogues
who stand, with swollen fists and bloodshot eyes and pestiferous
breath, to guard the polls--wanting to go through the loaferism and
the defilement of popular sovereigns, who crawl up from the saloons
greasy and foul and vermin-covered, to decide questions of justice and
order and civilization--when I see a woman, I say, who wants to press
through all that horrible scum to get to the ballot-box, I say: "Ah,
what a pity! Vashti has lost her veil!"

When I see a woman of comely features, and of adroitness of intellect,
and endowed with all that the schools can do for one, and of high
social position, yet moving in society with superciliousness and
_hauteur_, as though she would have people know their place, and with
an undefined combination of giggle and strut and rhodomontade, endowed
with allopathic quantities of talk, but only homeopathic
infinitesimals of sense, the terror of dry-goods clerks and railroad
conductors, discoverers of significant meanings in plain conversation,
prodigies of badinage and innuendo--I say: "Vashti has lost her veil."

III. Again, I want you this morning to consider Vashti the sacrifice.
Who is this that I see coming out of that palace gate of Shushan? It
seems to me that I have seen her before. She comes homeless,
houseless, friendless, trudging along with a broken heart. Who is she?
It is Vashti the sacrifice. Oh! what a change it was from regal
position to a wayfarer's crust! A little while ago, approved and
sought for; now, none so poor as to acknowledge her acquaintanceship.
Vashti the sacrifice!

Ah! you and I have seen it many a time. Here is a home empalaced with
beauty. All that refinement and books and wealth can do for that home
has been done; but Ahasuerus, the husband and the father, is taking
hold on paths of sin. He is gradually going down. After awhile he will
flounder and struggle like a wild beast in the hunter's net--further
away from God, further away from the right. Soon the bright apparel of
the children will turn to rags; soon the household song will become
the sobbing of a broken heart. The old story over again. Brutal
Centaurs breaking up the marriage feast of Lapithæ. The house full of
outrage and cruelty and abomination, while trudging forth from the
palace gate are Vashti and her children. There are homes represented
in this house this morning that are in danger of such breaking-up. Oh,
Ahasuerus! that you should stand in a home, by a dissipated life
destroying the peace and comfort of that home. God forbid that your
children should ever have to wring their hands, and have people point
their finger at them as they pass down the street, and say, "There
goes a drunkard's child." God forbid that the little feet should ever
have to trudge the path of poverty and wretchedness! God forbid that
any evil spirit born of the wine-cup or the brandy-glass should come
forth and uproot that garden, and with a lasting, blistering,
all-consuming curse, shut forever the palace gate against Vashti and
the children.

One night during the war I went to Hagerstown to look at the army, and
I stood on a hill-top and looked down upon them. I saw the camp-fires
all through the valleys and all over the hills. It was a weird
spectacle, those camp-fires, and I stood and watched them; and the
soldiers who were gathered around them were, no doubt, talking of
their homes, and of the long march they had taken, and of the battles
they were to fight; but after awhile I saw these camp-fires begin to
lower; and they continued to lower, until they were all gone out, and
the army slept. It was imposing when I saw the camp-fires; it was
imposing in the darkness when I thought of that great host asleep.
Well, God looks down from heaven, and He sees the fireside of
Christendom and the loved ones gathered around these firesides. These
are the camp-fires where we warm ourselves at the close of day, and
talk over the battles of life we have fought and the battles that are
yet to come. God grant that when at last these fires begin to go out,
and continue to lower until finally they are extinguished, and the
ashes of consumed hopes strew the hearth of the old homestead, it may
be because we have

    "Gone to sleep that last long sleep,
    From which none ever wake to weep."

Now we are an army on the march of life. Then we shall be an army
bivouacked in the tent of the grave.

IV. Once more: I want you to look at Vashti the silent. You do not
hear any outcry from this woman as she goes forth from the palace
gate. From the very dignity of her nature, you know there will be no
vociferation. Sometimes in life it is necessary to make a retort;
sometimes in life it is necessary to resist; but there are crises when
the most triumphant thing to do is to keep silence. The philosopher,
confident in his newly discovered principle, waited for the coming of
more intelligent generations, willing that men should laugh at the
lightning-rod and cotton-gin and steam-boat--waiting for long years
through the scoffing of philosophical schools, in grand and
magnificent silence.

Galileo, condemned by mathematicians and monks and cardinals,
caricatured everywhere, yet waiting and watching with his telescope to
see the coming up of stellar reenforcements, when the stars in their
courses would fight for the Copernican system; then sitting down in
complete blindness and deafness to wait for the coming on of the
generations who would build his monument and bow at his grave. The
reformer, execrated by his contemporaries, fastened in a pillory, the
slow fires of public contempt burning under him, ground under the
cylinders of the printing-press, yet calmly waiting for the day when
purity of soul and heroism of character will get the sanction of earth
and the plaudits of heaven.

Affliction enduring without any complaint the sharpness of the pang,
and the violence of the storm, and the heft of the chain, and the
darkness of the night--waiting until a Divine hand shall be put forth
to soothe the pang, and hush the storm, and release the captive. A
wife abused, persecuted, and a perpetual exile from every earthly
comfort--waiting, waiting, until the Lord shall gather up His dear
children in a heavenly home, and no poor Vashti will ever be thrust
out from the palace gate.

Jesus, in silence and answering not a word, drinking the gall, bearing
the cross, in prospect of the rapturous consummation when

    "Angels thronged their chariot wheel,
      And bore Him to His throne,
    Then swept their golden harps and sung,
      'The glorious work is done!'"

Oh, woman! does not this story of Vashti the queen, Vashti the veiled,
Vashti the sacrifice, Vashti the silent, move your soul? My sermon
converges into the one absorbing hope that none of you may be shut out
of the palace gate of heaven. You can endure the hardships, and the
privations, and the cruelties, and the misfortunes of this life if you
can only gain admission there. Through the blood of the everlasting
covenant you go through those gates, or never go at all. God forbid
that you should at last be banished from the society of angels, and
banished from the companionship of your glorified kindred, and
banished forever. Through the rich grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, may
you be enabled to imitate the example of Rachel, and Hannah, and
Abigail, and Deborah, and Mary, and Esther, and Vashti.



THE DAY WE LIVE IN.

    "Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a
    time as this?"--ESTHER iv. 14.


Esther the beautiful was the wife of Ahasuerus the abominable. The
time had come for her to present a petition to her infamous husband in
behalf of the Jewish nation, to which she had once belonged. She was
afraid to undertake the work, lest she should lose her own life; but
her uncle, Mordecai, who had brought her up, encouraged her with the
suggestion that probably she had been raised up of God for that
peculiar mission. "Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom
for such a time as this?" Esther had her God-appointed work; you and I
have ours. It is my business to tell you what style of men and women
you ought to be in order that you meet the demand of the age in which
God has cast your lot. If you have come expecting to hear abstractions
discussed, or dry technicalities of religion glorified, you have come
to the wrong church; but if you really would like to know what this
age has a right to expect of you as Christian men and women, then I am
ready in the Lord's name to look you in the face. When two armies have
rushed into battle the officers of either army do not want a
philosophical discussion about the chemical properties of human blood
or the nature of gunpowder; they want some one to man the batteries
and swab out the guns. And now, when all the forces of light and
darkness, of heaven and hell, have plunged into the fight, it is no
time to give ourselves to the definitions and formulas and
technicalities and conventionalities of religion.

What we want is practical, earnest, concentrated, enthusiastic, and
triumphant help.

I. In the first place, in order to meet the special demand of this
age, you need to be an unmistakably aggressive Christian. Of
half-and-half Christians we do not want any more. The Church of Jesus
Christ will be better without ten thousand of them. They are the chief
obstacle to the Church's advancement. I am speaking of another kind of
Christian. All the appliances for your becoming an earnest Christian
are at your hand, and there is a straight path for you into the broad
daylight of God's forgiveness. You may have come into this Tabernacle
the bondsmen of the world, and yet before you go out of these doors
you may become princes of the Lord God Almighty. You remember what
excitement there was in this country, years ago, when the Prince of
Wales came here--how the people rushed out by hundreds of thousands to
see him. Why? Because they expected that some day he would sit upon
the throne of England. But what was all that honor compared with the
honor to which God calls you--to be sons and daughters of the Lord
Almighty; yea, to be queens and kings unto God? "They shall reign with
Him forever and forever."

But, my friends, you need to be aggressive Christians, and not like
those persons who spend their lives in hugging their Christian graces
and wondering why they do not make any progress. How much robustness
of health would a man have if he hid himself in a dark closet? A great
deal of the piety of the day is too exclusive. It hides itself. It
needs more fresh air, more out-door exercise. There are many
Christians who are giving their entire life to self-examination. They
are feeling their pulses to see what is the condition of their
spiritual health. How long would a man have robust physical health if
he kept all the days and weeks and months and years of his life
feeling his pulse instead of going out into active, earnest, every-day
work?

I was once amid the wonderful, bewitching cactus growths of North
Carolina. I never was more bewildered with the beauty of flowers, and
yet when I would take up one of these cactuses and pull the leaves
apart, the beauty was all gone. You could hardly tell that it had ever
been a flower. And there are a great many Christian people in this day
just pulling apart their Christian experiences to see what there is in
them, and there is nothing left in them. This style of
self-examination is a damage instead of an advantage to their
Christian character. I remember when I was a boy I used to have a
small piece in the garden that I called my own, and I planted corn
there, and every few days I would pull it up to see how fast it was
growing. Now, there are a great many Christian people in this day
whose self-examination merely amounts to the pulling up of that which
they only yesterday or the day before planted.

O my friends! if you want to have a stalwart Christian character,
plant it right out of doors in the great field of Christian
usefulness, and though storms may come upon it, and though the hot sun
of trial may try to consume it, it will thrive until it becomes a
great tree, in which the fowls of heaven may have their habitation. I
have no patience with these flower-pot Christians. They keep
themselves under shelter, and all their Christian experience in a
small, exclusive circle, when they ought to plant it in the great
garden of the Lord, so that the whole atmosphere could be aromatic
with their Christian usefulness. What we want in the Church of God is
more brawn of piety.

The century plant is wonderfully suggestive and wonderfully beautiful,
but I never look at it without thinking of its parsimony. It lets
whole generations go by before it puts forth one blossom; so I have
really more heartfelt admiration when I see the dewy tears in the blue
eyes of the violets, for they come every spring. My Christian friends,
time is going by so rapidly that we can not afford to be idle.

A recent statistician says that human life now has an average of only
thirty-two years. From these thirty-two years you must subtract all
the time you take for sleep and the taking of food and recreation;
that will leave you about sixteen years. From those sixteen years you
must subtract all the time that you are necessarily engaged in the
earning of a livelihood; that will leave you about eight years. From
those eight years you must take all the days and weeks and months--all
the length of time that is passed in childhood and sickness, leaving
you about one year in which to work for God. Oh, my soul, wake up!
How darest thou sleep in harvest-time and with so few hours in which
to reap? So that I state it as a simple fact that all the time that
the vast majority of you will have for the exclusive service of God
will be less than one year!

"But," says some man, "I liberally support the Gospel, and the church
is open and the Gospel is preached: all the spiritual advantages are
spread before men, and if they want to be saved, let them come to be
saved; I have discharged all my responsibility." Ah! is that the
Master's spirit? Is there not an old Book somewhere that commands us
to go out into the highways and the hedges and compel the people to
come in? What would have become of you and me if Christ had not come
down off the hills of heaven, and if He had not come through the door
of the Bethlehem caravansary, and if He had not with the crushed hand
of the crucifixion knocked at the iron gate of the sepulcher of our
spiritual death, crying, "Lazarus, come forth"? Oh, my Christian
friends, this is no time for inertia, when all the forces of darkness
seem to be in full blast; when steam printing-presses are publishing
infidel tracts; when express railroad trains are carrying messengers
of sin; when fast clippers are laden with opium and rum; when the
night-air of our cities is polluted with the laughter that breaks up
from the ten thousand saloons of dissipation and abandonment; when the
fires of the second death already are kindled in the cheeks of some
who, only a little while ago, were incorrupt. Oh, never since the
curse fell upon the earth has there been a time when it was such an
unwise, such a cruel, such an awful thing for the Church to sleep!
The great audiences are not gathered in the Christian churches; the
great audiences are gathered in temples of sin--tears of unutterable
woe their baptism, the blood of crushed hearts the awful wine of their
sacrament, blasphemies their litany, and the groans of the lost world
the organ dirge of their worship.

II. Again, if you want to be qualified to meet the duties which this
age demands of you, you must on the one hand avoid reckless
iconoclasm, and on the other hand not stick too much to things because
they are old. The air is full of new plans, new projects, new theories
of government, new theologies, and I am amazed to see how so many
Christians want only novelty in order to recommend a thing to their
confidence; and so they vacillate and swing to and fro, and they are
useless, and they are unhappy. New plans--secular, ethical,
philosophical, religious, cisatlantic, transatlantic--long enough to
make a line reaching from the German universities to Great Salt Lake
City. Ah, my brother, do not take hold of a thing merely because it is
new. Try it by the realities of a Judgment Day.

But, on the other hand, do not adhere to any thing merely because it
is old. There is not a single enterprise of the Church or the world
but has sometimes been scoffed at. There was a time when men derided
even Bible societies; and when a few young men met near a hay-stack in
Massachusetts and organized the first missionary society ever
organized in this country, there went laughter and ridicule all around
the Christian Church. They said the undertaking was preposterous. And
so also the work of Jesus Christ was assailed. People cried out, "Who
ever heard of such theories of ethics and government? Who ever
noticed such a style of preaching as Jesus has?" Ezekiel had talked of
mysterious wings and wheels. Here came a man from Capernaum and
Gennesaret, and he drew his illustration from the lakes, from the
sand, from the ravine, from the lilies, from the corn-stalks. How the
Pharisees scoffed! How Herod derided! How Caiaphas hissed! And this
Jesus they plucked by the beard, and they spat in his face, and they
called him "this fellow!" All the great enterprises in and out of the
Church have at times been scoffed at, and there have been a great
multitude who have thought that the chariot of God's truth would fall
to pieces if it once got out of the old rut.

And so there are those who have no patience with anything like
improvement in church architecture, or with anything like good,
hearty, earnest church singing, and they deride any form of religious
discussion which goes down walking among every-day men rather than
that which makes an excursion on rhetorical stilts. Oh, that the
Church of God would wake up to an adaptability of work! We must admit
the simple fact that the churches of Jesus Christ in this day do not
reach the great masses. There are fifty thousand people in Edinburgh
who never hear the Gospel. There are one million people in London who
never hear the Gospel. There are at least three hundred thousand souls
in the city of Brooklyn who come not under the immediate ministrations
of Christ's truth; and the Church of God in this day, instead of being
a place full of living epistles, read and known of all men, is more
like a "dead-letter" post-office.

"But," say the people, "the world is going to be converted; you must
be patient; the kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdoms of
Christ," Never, unless the Church of Jesus Christ puts on more speed
and energy. Instead of the Church converting the world, the world is
converting the Church. Here is a great fortress. How shall it be
taken? An army comes and sits around about it, cuts off the supplies,
and says: "Now we will just wait until from exhaustion and starvation
they will have to give up." Weeks and months, and perhaps a year, pass
along, and finally the fortress surrenders through that starvation and
exhaustion. But, my friends, the fortresses of sin are never to be
taken in that way. If they are taken for God it will be by storm; you
will have to bring up the great siege guns of the Gospel to the very
wall and wheel the flying artillery into line, and when the armed
infantry of heaven shall confront the battlements you will have to
give the quick command, "Forward! Charge!"

Ah, my friends, there is work for you to do and for me to do in order
to this grand accomplishment! Here is my pulpit, and I preach in it.
Your pulpit is the bank. Your pulpit is the store. Your pulpit is the
editorial chair. Your pulpit is the anvil. Your pulpit is the house
scaffolding. Your pulpit is the mechanic's shop. I may stand in this
place and, through cowardice or through self-seeking, may keep back
the word I ought to utter; while you, with sleeve rolled up and brow
besweated with toil, may utter the word that will jar the foundations
of heaven with the shout of a great victory. Oh, that this morning
this whole audience might feel that the Lord Almighty was putting upon
them the hands of ordination. I tell you, every one, go forth and
preach this gospel. You have as much right to preach as I have, or as
any man has. Only find out the pulpit where God will have you preach,
and there preach.

Hedley Vicars was a wicked man in the English army. The grace of God
came to him. He became an earnest and eminent Christian. They scoffed
at him, and said: "You are a hypocrite; you are as bad as ever you
were." Still he kept his faith in Christ, and after awhile, finding
that they could not turn him aside by calling him a hypocrite, they
said to him: "Oh, you are nothing but a Methodist." That did not
disturb him. He went on performing his Christian duty until he had
formed all his troop into a Bible-class, and the whole encampment was
shaken with the presence of God. So Havelock went into the heathen
temple in India while the English army was there, and put a candle
into the hand of each of the heathen gods that stood around in the
heathen temple, and by the light of those candles, held up by the
idols, General Havelock preached righteousness, temperance, and
judgment to come. And who will say, on earth or in Heaven, that
Havelock had not the right to preach?

In the minister's house where I prepared for college, there was a man
who worked, by the name of Peter Croy. He could neither read nor
write, but he was a man of God. Often theologians would stop in the
house--grave theologians--and at family prayers Peter Croy would be
called upon to lead; and all those wise men sat around, wonder-struck
at his religious efficiency. When he prayed he reached up and seemed
to take hold of the very throne of the Almighty, and he talked with
God until the very heavens were bowed down into the sitting-room. Oh,
if I were dying I would rather have plain Peter Croy kneel by my
bedside and commend my immortal spirit to God than the greatest
archbishop, arrayed in costly canonicals. Go preach this Gospel. You
say you are not licensed. In the name of the Lord Almighty, this
morning, I license you. Go preach this Gospel--preach it in the
Sabbath-schools, in the prayer-meetings, in the highways, in the
hedges. Woe be unto you if you preach it not.

III. I remark, again, that in order to be qualified to meet your duty
in this particular age you want unbounded faith in the triumph of the
truth and the overthrow of wickedness. How dare the Christian Church
ever get discouraged? Have we not the Lord Almighty on our side? How
long did it take God to slay the hosts of Sennacherib or burn Sodom or
shake down Jericho? How long will it take God, when He once arises in
His strength, to overthrow all the forces of iniquity? Between this
time and that there may be long seasons of darkness--the
chariot-wheels of God's Gospel may seem to drag heavily; but here is
the promise, and yonder is the throne; and when Omniscience has lost
its eyesight, and Omnipotence falls back impotent, and Jehovah is
driven from His throne, then the Church of Jesus Christ can afford to
be despondent, but never until then. Despots may plan and armies may
march, and the congresses of the nations may seem to think they are
adjusting all the affairs of the world, but the mighty men of the
earth are only the dust of the chariot-wheels of God's providence.

I think that before the sun of this century shall set the last tyranny
will fall, and with a splendor of demonstration that shall be the
astonishment of the universe God will set forth the brightness and
pomp and glory and perpetuity of His eternal government. Out of the
starry flags and the emblazoned insignia of this world God will make a
path for His own triumph, and, returning from universal conquest, He
will sit down, the grandest, strongest, highest throne of earth His
footstool.

    "Then shall all nations' song ascend
    To Thee, our Ruler, Father, Friend,
    Till heaven's high arch resounds again
    With 'Peace on earth, good will to men.'"

I preach this sermon because I want to encourage all Christian workers
in every possible department. Hosts of the living God, march on! march
on! His Spirit will bless you. His shield will defend you. His sword
will strike for you. March on! march on! The despotism will fall, and
paganism will burn its idols, and Mohammedanism will give up its false
prophet, and Judaism will confess the true Messiah, and the great
walls of superstition will come down in thunder and wreck at the long,
loud blast of the Gospel trumpet. March on! march on! The besiegement
will soon be ended. Only a few more steps on the long way; only a few
more sturdy blows; only a few more battle cries, then God will put the
laurel upon your brow, and from the living fountains of heaven will
bathe off the sweat and the heat and the dust of the conflict. March
on! march on! For you the time for work will soon be passed, and amid
the outflashings of the judgment throne, and the trumpeting of
resurrection angels, and the upheaving of a world of graves, and the
hosanna and the groaning of the saved and the lost, we shall be
rewarded for our faithfulness or punished for our stupidity. Blessed
be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting, and let the
whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.



CAPITAL AND LABOR.

    "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so
    to them."--MATT. vii: 12.


The greatest war the world has ever seen is between capital and labor.
The strife is not like that which in history is called the Thirty
Years' War, for it is a war of centuries, it is a war of the five
continents, it is a war hemispheric. The middle classes in this
country, upon whom the nation has depended for holding the balance of
power and for acting as mediators between the two extremes, are
diminishing; and if things go on at the same ratio as they are now
going, it will not be very long before there will be no middle class
in this country, but all will be very rich or very poor, princes or
paupers, and the country will be given up to palaces and hovels.

The antagonistic forces are closing in upon each other. The
telegraphic operators' strikes, the railroad employés' strikes, the
Pennsylvania miners' strikes, the movements of the Boycotters and the
dynamiters are only skirmishes before a general engagement, or, if you
prefer it, escapes through the safety-valves of an imprisoned force
which promises the explosion of society. You may pooh-pooh it; you may
say that this trouble, like an angry child, will cry itself to sleep;
you may belittle it by calling it Fourierism, or Socialism, or St.
Simonism, or Nihilism, or Communism; but that will not hinder the fact
that it is the mightiest, the darkest, the most terrific threat of
this century. All attempts at pacification have been dead failures,
and monopoly is more arrogant, and the trades unions more bitter.
"Give us more wages," cry the employés. "You shall have less," say the
capitalists. "Compel us to do fewer hours of toil in a day." "You
shall toil more hours," say the others. "Then, under certain
conditions, we will not work at all," say these. "Then you shall
starve," say those, and the workmen gradually using up that which they
accumulated in better times, unless there be some radical change, we
shall have soon in this country three million hungry men and women.
Now, three million hungry people can not be kept quiet. All the
enactments of legislatures and all the constabularies of the cities,
and all the army and navy of the United States can not keep three
million hungry people quiet. What then? Will this war between capital
and labor be settled by human wisdom? Never. The brow of the one
becomes more rigid, the fist of the other more clinched.

But that which human wisdom can not achieve will be accomplished by
Christianity if it be given full sway. You have heard of medicines so
powerful that one drop would stop a disease and restore a patient; and
I have to tell you that one drop of my text properly administered will
stop all those woes of society and give convalescence and complete
health to all classes. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,
do ye even so to them."

I shall first show you this morning how this quarrel between monopoly
and hard work can not be stopped, and then I will show you how this
controversy will be settled.

Futile remedies. In the first place, there will come no pacification
to this trouble through an outcry against rich men merely because they
are rich. There is no member of a trades-union on earth that would not
be rich if he could be. Sometimes through a fortunate invention, or
through some accident of prosperity, a man who had nothing comes to
large estate, and we see him arrogant and supercilious, and taking
people by the throat just as other people took him by the throat.
There is something very mean about human nature when it comes to the
top. But it is no more a sin to be rich than it is a sin to be poor.
There are those who have gathered a great estate through fraud, and
then there are millionaires who have gathered their fortune through
foresight in regard to changes in the markets, and through brilliant
business faculty, and every dollar of their estate is as honest as the
dollar which the plumber gets for mending a pipe, or the mason gets
for building a wall. There are those who keep in poverty because of
their own fault. They might have been well-off, but they smoked or
chewed up their earnings, or they lived beyond their means, while
others on the same wages and on the same salaries went on to
competency. I know a man who is all the time complaining of his
poverty and crying out against rich men, while he himself keeps two
dogs, and chews and smokes, and is filled to the chin with whisky and
beer!

Micawber said to David Copperfield: "Copperfield, my boy, one pound
income, twenty shillings and sixpence expenses: result misery. But,
Copperfield, my boy, one pound income, expenses nineteen shillings and
sixpence; result, happiness." And there are vast multitudes of people
who are kept poor because they are the victims of their own
improvidence. It is no sin to be rich, and it is no sin to be poor. I
protest against this outcry which I hear against those who, through
economy and self-denial and assiduity, have come to large fortune.
This bombardment of commercial success will never stop this quarrel
between capital and labor.

Neither will the contest be settled by cynical and unsympathetic
treatment of the laboring classes. There are those who speak of them
as though they were only cattle or draught horses. Their nerves are
nothing, their domestic comfort is nothing, their happiness is
nothing. They have no more sympathy for them than a hound has for a
hare, or a hawk for a hen, or a tiger for a calf. When Jean Valjean,
the greatest hero of Victor Hugo's writings, after a life of suffering
and brave endurance, goes into incarceration and death, they clap the
book shut and say, "Good for him!" They stamp their feet with
indignation and say just the opposite of "Save the working-classes."
They have all their sympathies with Shylock, and not with Antonio and
Portia. They are plutocrats, and their feelings are infernal. They are
filled with irritation and irascibility on this subject. To stop this
awful imbroglio between capital and labor they will lift not so much
as the tip end of the little finger.

Neither will there be any pacification of this angry controversy
through violence. God never blessed murder.

The poorest use you can put a man to is to kill him. Blow up to-morrow
all the country-seats on the banks of the Hudson, and all the fine
houses on Madison Square, and Brooklyn Heights, and Bunker Hill, and
Rittenhouse Square, and Beacon Street, and all the bricks and timber
and stone will just fall back on the bare head of American labor. The
worst enemies of the working-classes in the United States and Ireland
are their demented coadjutors. Assassination--the assassination of
Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke in Phoenix Park, Dublin,
Ireland, in the attempt to avenge the wrongs of Ireland, only turned
away from that afflicted people millions of sympathizers. The recent
attempt to blow up the House of Commons, in London, had only this
effect: to throw out of employment tens of thousands of innocent Irish
people in England.

In this country the torch put to the factories that have discharged
hands for good or bad reason; obstructions on the rail-track in front
of midnight express trains because the offenders do not like the
president of the company; strikes on shipboard the hour they were
going to sail, or in printing-offices the hour the paper was to go to
press, or in mines the day the coal was to be delivered, or on house
scaffoldings so the builder fails in keeping his contract--all these
are only a hard blow on the head of American labor, and cripple its
arms, and lame its feet, and pierce its heart. Take the last great
strike in America--the telegraph operators' strike--and you have to
find that the operators lost four hundred thousand dollars' worth of
wages, and have had poorer wages ever since. Traps sprung suddenly
upon employers, and violence, never took one knot out of the knuckle
of toil, or put one farthing of wages into a callous palm. Barbarism
will never cure the wrongs of civilization. Mark that!

Frederick the Great admired some land near his palace at Potsdam, and
he resolved to get it. It was owned by a miller. He offered the miller
three times the value of the property. The miller would not take it,
because it was the old homestead, and he felt about as Naboth felt
about his vineyard when Ahab wanted it. Frederick the Great was a
rough and terrible man, and he ordered the miller into his presence;
and the king, with a stick, in his hand--a stick with which he
sometimes struck his officers of state--said to this miller: "Now, I
have offered you three times the value of that property, and if you
won't sell it I'll take it anyhow." The miller said, "Your majesty,
you won't." "Yes," said the king, "I will take it." "Then," said the
miller, "if your majesty does take it, I will sue you in the Chancery
Court." At that threat Frederick the Great yielded his infamous
demand. And the most imperious outrage against the working-classes
will yet cower before the law. Violence and contrary to the law will
never accomplish anything, but righteousness and according to law will
accomplish it.

Well, if this controversy between Capital and Labor can not be settled
by human wisdom, if to-day Capital and Labor stand with their thumbs
on each other's throat--as they do--it is time for us to look
somewhere else for relief, and it points from my text roseate and
jubilant, and puts one hand on the broadcloth shoulder of Capital, and
puts the other hand on the homespun-covered shoulder of Toil, and
says, with a voice that will grandly and gloriously settle this, and
settle everything, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do
ye even so to them." That is, the lady of the household will say: "I
must treat the maid in the kitchen just as I would like to be treated
if I were down-stairs, and it were my work to wash, and cook, and
sweep, and it were the duty of the maid in the kitchen to preside in
this parlor." The maid in the kitchen must say: "If my employer seems
to be more prosperous than I, that is no fault of hers; I shall not
treat her as an enemy. I will have the same industry and fidelity
down-stairs as I would expect from my subordinates, if I happened to
be the wife of a silk importer."

The owner of an iron mill, having taken a dose of my text before
leaving home in the morning, will go into his foundry, and, passing
into what is called the puddling-room, he will see a man there
stripped to the waist, and besweated and exhausted with the labor and
the toil, and he will say to him: "Why, it seems to be very hot in
here. You look very much exhausted. I hear your child is sick with
scarlet fever. If you want your wages a little earlier this week, so
as to pay the nurse and get the medicines, just come into my office
any time."

After awhile, crash goes the money market, and there is no more demand
for the articles manufactured in that iron mill, and the owner does
not know what to do. He says, "Shall I stop the mill, or shall I run
it on half time, or shall I cut down the men's wages?" He walks the
floor of his counting-room all day, hardly knowing what to do. Toward
evening he calls all the laborers together. They stand all around,
some with arms akimbo, some with folded arms, wondering what the boss
is going to do now. The manufacturer says: "Men, times are very hard;
I don't make twenty dollars where I used to make one hundred. Somehow,
there is no demand now for what we manufacture, or but very little
demand. You see I am at vast expense, and I have called you together
this afternoon to see what you would advise. I don't want to shut up
the mill, because that would force you out of work, and you have
always been very faithful, and I like you, and you seem to like me,
and the bairns must be looked after, and your wife will after awhile
want a new dress. I don't know what to do."

There is a dead halt for a minute or two, and then one of the workmen
steps out from the ranks of his fellows, and says: "Boss, you have
been very good to us, and when you prospered we prospered, and now you
are in a tight place and I am sorry, and we have got to sympathize
with you. I don't know how the others feel, but I propose that we take
off twenty per cent. from our wages, and that when the times get good
you will remember us and raise them again." The workman looks around
to his comrades, and says: "Boys, what do you say to this? all in
favor of my proposition will say ay." "Ay! ay! ay!" shout two hundred
voices.

But the mill-owner, getting in some new machinery, exposes himself
very much, and takes cold, and it settles into pneumonia, and he dies.
In the procession to the tomb are all the workmen, tears rolling down
their cheeks, and off upon the ground; but an hour before the
procession gets to the cemetery the wives and the children of those
workmen are at the grave waiting for the arrival of the funeral
pageant. The minister of religion may have delivered an eloquent
eulogium before they started from the house, but the most impressive
things are said that day by the working-classes standing around the
tomb.

That night in all the cabins of the working-people where they have
family prayers the widowhood and the orphanage in the mansion are
remembered. No glaring populations look over the iron fence of the
cemetery; but, hovering over the scene, the benediction of God and man
is coming for the fulfillment of the Christlike injunction,
"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to
them."

"Oh," says some man here, "that is all Utopian, that is apocryphal,
that is impossible." No. Yesterday, I cut out of a paper this: "One of
the pleasantest incidents recorded in a long time is reported from
Sheffield, England. The wages of the men in the iron works at
Sheffield are regulated by a board of arbitration, by whose decision
both masters and men are bound. For some time past the iron and steel
trade has been extremely unprofitable, and the employers can not,
without much loss, pay the wages fixed by the board, which neither
employers nor employed have the power to change. To avoid this
difficulty, the workmen in one of the largest steel works in Sheffield
hit upon a device as rare as it was generous. They offered to work for
their employers one week without any pay whatever. How much better
that plan is than a strike would be."

But you go with me and I will show you--not so far off as Sheffield,
England--factories, banking-houses, storehouses, and costly
enterprises where this Christ-like injunction of my text is fully
kept, and you could no more get the employer to practice an injustice
upon his men, or the men to conspire against the employer, than you
could get your right hand and your left hand, your right eye and your
left eye, your right ear and your left ear, into physiological
antagonism. Now, where is this to begin? In our homes, in our stores,
on our farms--not waiting for other people to do their duty. Is there
a divergence now between the parlor and the kitchen? Then there is
something wrong, either in the parlor or the kitchen, perhaps in both.
Are the clerks in your store irate against the firm? Then there is
something wrong, either behind the counter, or in the private office,
or perhaps in both.

The great want of the world to-day is the fulfillment of this
Christ-like injunction, that which He promulgated in His sermon
Olivetic. All the political economists under the arch or vault of the
heavens in convention for a thousand years can not settle this
controversy between monopoly and hard work, between capital and labor.
During the Revolutionary War there was a heavy piece of timber to be
lifted, perhaps for some fortress, and a corporal was overseeing the
work, and he was giving commands to some soldiers as they lifted:
"Heave away, there! yo heave!" Well, the timber was too heavy; they
could not get it up. There was a gentleman riding by on a horse, and
he stopped and said to this corporal, "Why don't you help them lift?
That timber is too heavy for them to lift." "No," he said, "I won't;
I am a corporal." The gentleman got off his horse and came up to the
place. "Now," he said to the soldiers, "all together--yo heave!" and
the timber went to its place. "Now," said the gentleman to the
corporal, "when you have a piece of timber too heavy for the men to
lift, and you want help, you send to your commander-in-chief." It was
Washington. Now, that is about all the Gospel I know--the Gospel of
giving somebody a lift, a lift out of darkness, a lift out of earth
into heaven. That is all the Gospel I know--the Gospel of helping
somebody else to lift.

"Oh," says some wiseacre, "talk as you will, the law of demand and
supply will regulate these things until the end of time." No, they
will not, unless God dies and the batteries of the Judgment Day are
spiked, and Pluto and Proserpine, king and queen of the infernal
regions, take full possession of this world. Do you know who Supply
and Demand are? They have gone into partnership, and they propose to
swindle this earth and are swindling it. You are drowning. Supply and
Demand stand on the shore, one on one side, the other on the other
side, of the life-boat, and they cry out to you, "Now, you pay us what
we ask you for getting you to shore, or go to the bottom!" If you can
borrow $5000 you can keep from failing in business. Supply and Demand
say, "Now, you pay us exorbitant usury, or you go into bankruptcy."
This robber firm of Supply and Demand say to you: "The crops are
short. We bought up all the wheat and it is in our bin. Now, you pay
our price or starve." That is your magnificent law of supply and
demand.

Supply and Demand own the largest mill on earth, and all the rivers
roll over their wheel, and into their hopper they put all the men,
women, and children they can shovel out of the centuries, and the
blood and the bones redden the valley while the mill grinds. That
diabolic law of supply and demand will yet have to stand aside, and
instead thereof will come the law of love, the law of cooperation, the
law of kindness, the law of sympathy, the law of Christ.

Have you no idea of the coming of such a time? Then you do not believe
the Bible. All the Bible is full of promises on this subject, and as
the ages roll on the time will come when men or fortune will be giving
larger sums to humanitarian and evangelistic purposes, and there will
be more James Lenoxes and Peter Coopers and William E. Dodges and
George Peabodys. As that time comes there will be more parks, more
picture-galleries, more gardens thrown open for the holiday people and
the working-classes.

I was reading only this morning in regard to a charge that had been
made in England against Lambeth Palace, that it was exclusive; and
that charge demonstrated the sublime fact that to the grounds of that
wealthy estate eight hundred poor families have free passes, and forty
croquet companies, and on the hall-day holidays four thousand poor
people recline on the grass, walk through the paths, and sit under the
trees. That is Gospel--Gospel on the wing, Gospel out-of-doors worth
just as much as in-doors. That time is going to come.

That is only a hint of what is going to be. The time is going to come
when, if you have anything in your house worth looking at--pictures,
pieces of sculpture--you are going to invite me to come and see it,
you are going to invite my friends to come and see it, and you will
say, "See what I have been blessed with. God has given me this, and so
far as enjoying it, it is yours also." That is Gospel.

In crossing the Alleghany Mountains, many years ago, the stage halted,
and Henry Clay dismounted from the stage, and went out on a rock at
the very verge of the cliff, and he stood there with his cloak wrapped
about him, and he seemed to be listening for something. Some one said
to him, "What are you listening for?" Standing there, on the top of
the mountain, he said: "I am listening to the tramp of the footsteps
of the coming millions of this continent." A sublime posture for an
American statesman! You and I to-day stand on the mountain-top of
privilege, and on the Rock of Ages, and we look off, and we hear
coming from the future the happy industries, and smiling populations,
and the consecrated fortunes, and the innumerable prosperities of the
closing nineteenth and the opening twentieth century.

While I speak this morning, there lies in state the dead author and
patriot of France, Victor Hugo. The ten thousand dollars in his will
he has given to the poor of the city are only a hint of the work he
has done for all nations and for all times. I wonder not that they
allow eleven days to pass between his death and his burial, his body
meantime kept under triumphal arch, for the world can hardly afford to
let go this man who for more than eight decades has by his
unparalleled genius blessed it. His name shall be a terror to all
despots, and an encouragement to all the struggling. He has made the
world's burden lighter, and its darkness less dense, and its chain
less galling, and its thrones of iniquity less secure. Farewell,
patriot, genius of the century, Victor Hugo! But he was not the
overtowering friend of mankind.

The greatest friend of capitalist and toiler, and the one who will yet
bring them together in complete accord, was born one Christmas night
while the curtains of heaven swung, stirred by the wings angelic.
Owner of all things--all the continents, all worlds, and all the
islands of light. Capitalist of immensity, crossing over to our
condition. Coming into our world, not by gate of palace, but by door
of barn. Spending His first night amid the shepherds. Gathering after
around Him the fishermen to be His chief attendants. With adze, and
saw, and chisel, and ax, and in a carpenter-shop showing himself
brother with the tradesmen. Owner of all things, and yet on a hillock
back of Jerusalem one day resigning everything for others, keeping not
so much as a shekel to pay for His obsequies, by charity buried in the
suburbs of a city that had cast Him out. Before the cross of such a
capitalist, and such a carpenter, all men can afford to shake hands
and worship. Here is the every man's Christ. None so high, but He was
higher. None so poor, but He was poorer. At His feet the hostile
extremes will yet renounce their animosities, and countenances which
have glowered with the prejudices and revenge of centuries shall
brighten with the smile of heaven as He commands: "Whatsoever ye would
that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."



DESPOTISM OF THE NEEDLE.

    "So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are
    done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were
    oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their
    oppressors there was power; but they had no
    comforter."--ECCLES. iv: 1.


Very long ago the needle was busy. It was considered honorable for
women to toil in olden time. Alexander the Great stood in his palace
showing garments made by his own mother. The finest tapestries at
Bayeux were made by the queen of William the Conqueror. Augustus, the
Emperor, would not wear any garments except those that were fashioned
by some member of his royal family. So let the toiler everywhere be
respected!

The needle has slain more than the sword. When the sewing-machine was
invented some thought that invention would alleviate woman's toil and
put an end to the despotism of the needle. But no; while the
sewing-machine has been a great blessing to well-to-do families in
many cases, it has added to the stab of the needle the crush of the
wheel; and multitudes of women, notwithstanding the re-enforcement of
the sewing-machines, can only make, work hard as they will, between
two dollars and three dollars per week.

The greatest blessing that could have happened to our first parents
was being turned out of Eden after they had done wrong. Adam and Eve,
in their perfect state, might have got along without work, or only
such slight employment as a perfect garden with no weeds in it
demanded. But as soon as they had sinned, the best thing for them was
to be turned out where they would have to work. We know what a
withering thing it is for a man to have nothing to do. Old Ashbel
Green, at fourscore years, when asked why he kept on working, said: "I
do so to keep out of mischief." We see that a man who has a large
amount of money to start with has no chance. Of the thousand
prosperous and honorable men that you know, nine hundred and
ninety-nine had to work vigorously at the beginning. But I am now to
tell you that industry is just as important for a woman's safety and
happiness. The most unhappy women in our communities to-day are those
who have no engagements to call them up in the morning; who, once
having risen and breakfasted, lounge through the dull forenoon in
slippers down at the heel and with disheveled hair, reading Ouida's
last novel, and who, having dragged through a wretched forenoon and
taken their afternoon sleep, and having passed an hour and a half at
their toilet, pick up their card-case and go out to make calls, and
who pass their evenings waiting for somebody to come in and break up
the monotony. Arabella Stuart never was imprisoned in so dark a
dungeon as that.

There is no happiness in an idle woman. It may be with hand, it may be
with brain, it may be with foot; but work she must, or be wretched
forever. The little girls of our families must be started with that
idea.

The curse of American society is that our young women are taught that
the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, tenth,
fiftieth, thousandth thing in their life is to get somebody to take
care of them. Instead of that, the first lesson should be how under
God they may take care of themselves. The simple fact is that a
majority of them do have to take care of themselves, and that, too,
after having, through the false notions of their parents, wasted the
years in which they ought to have learned how successfully to maintain
themselves. We now and here declare the inhumanity, cruelty, and
outrage of that father and mother who pass their daughters into
womanhood, having given them no facility for earning their livelihood.
Madame de Staël said: "It is not these writings that I am proud of,
but the fact that I have facility in ten occupations, in any one of
which I could make a livelihood." You say you have a fortune to leave
them. Oh, man and woman, have you not learned that like vultures, like
hawks, like eagles, riches have wings and fly away? Though you should
be successful in leaving a competency behind you, the trickery of
executors may swamp it in a night? or some officials in our churches
may get up a mining company and induce your orphans to put their money
into a hole in Colorado, and if by the most skillful machinery the
sunken money can not be brought up again, prove to them, that it was
eternally decreed that that was the way they were to lose it, and that
it went in the most orthodox and heavenly style. Oh, the damnable
schemes that professed Christians will engage in until God puts His
fingers into the collar of the hypocrite's robe and strips it clear
down to the bottom! You have no right, because you are well off, to
conclude that your children are going to be as well off. A man died
leaving a large fortune. His son fell dead in a Philadelphia
grog-shop. His old comrades came in and said as they bent over his
corpse: "What is the matter with you, Boggsey?" The surgeon standing
over him said: "Hush ye! He is dead!" "Oh, he is dead," they said.
"Come, boys; let us go and take a drink in memory of poor Boggsey!"
Have you nothing better than money to leave your children? If you have
not, but send your daughters into the world with empty brain and
unskilled hand, you are guilty of assassination, homicide, regicide,
infanticide.

There are women toiling in our cities for two and three dollars per
week who were the daughters of merchant princes. These suffering ones
now would be glad to have the crumbs that once fell from their
fathers' table. That worn-out, broken shoe that she wears is the
lineal descendant of the twelve-dollar gaiters in which her mother
walked; and that torn and faded calico had ancestry of magnificent
brocade that swept Broadway clean without any expense to the street
commissioners. Though you live in an elegant residence and fare
sumptuously every day, let your daughters feel it is a disgrace to
them not to know how to work. I denounce the idea prevalent in society
that, though our young women may embroider slippers and crochet and
make mats for lamps to stand on without disgrace, the idea of doing
anything for a livelihood is dishonorable. It is a shame for a young
woman belonging to a large family to be inefficient when the father
toils his life away for her support. It is a shame for a daughter to
be idle while her mother toils at the wash-tub. It is as honorable to
sweep the house, make beds or trim hats as it is to twist a
watch-chain.

As far as I can understand, the line of respectability lies between
that which is useful and that which is useless. If women do that which
is of no value, their work is honorable. If they do practical work, it
is dishonorable. That our young women may escape the censure of doing
dishonorable work, I shall particularize. You may knit a tidy for the
back of an arm-chair, but by no means make the money wherewith to buy
the chair. You may with a delicate brush beautify a mantel ornament,
but die rather than earn enough to buy a marble mantel. You may learn
artistic music until you can squall Italian, but never sing
"Ortonville" or "Old Hundred." Do nothing practical if you would in
the eyes of refined society preserve your respectability. I scout
these fine notions. I tell you a woman, no more than a man, has a
right to occupy a place in this world unless she pays a rent for it.

In the course of a life-time you consume whole harvests and droves of
cattle, and every day you live, breathe forty hogsheads of good, pure
air. You must by some kind of usefulness pay for all this. Our race
was the last thing created--the birds and fishes on the fourth day,
the cattle and lizards on the fifth day, and man on the sixth day. If
geologists are right, the earth was a million of years in the
possession of the insects, beasts, and birds before our race came upon
it. In one sense we were innovators. The cattle, the lizards, and the
hawks had pre-emption right. The question is not what we are to do
with the lizards and summer insects, but what the lizards and summer
insects are to do with us. If we want a place in this world, we must
earn it. The partridge makes its own nest before it occupies it. The
lark by its morning song earns its breakfast before it eats it, and
the Bible gives an intimation that the first duty of an idler is to
starve when it says: "If he will not work, neither shall he eat."
Idleness ruins the health; and very soon nature says: "This man has
refused to pay his rent, out with him!" Society is to be reconstructed
on the subject of woman's toil. A vast majority of those who would
have woman industrious shut her up to a few kinds of work. My judgment
in this matter is that a woman has a right to do anything that she can
do well. There should be no department of merchandise, mechanism, art,
or science barred against her. If Miss Hosmer has genius for
sculpture, give her a chisel. If Rosa Bonheur has a fondness for
delineating animals, let her make "The Horse Fair." If Miss Mitchell
will study astronomy, let her mount the starry ladder. If Lydia will
be a merchant, let her sell purple. If Lucretia Mott will preach the
Gospel, let her thrill with her womanly eloquence the Quaker
meeting-house.

It is said, If woman is given such opportunities she will occupy
places that might be taken by men. I say, If she have more skill and
adaptedness for any position than a man has, let her have it! She has
as much right to her bread, to her apparel, and to her home, as men
have. But it is said that her nature is so delicate that she is
unfitted for exhausting toil. I ask in the name of all past history
what toil on earth is more severe, exhausting, and tremendous than
that toil of the needle to which for ages she has been subjected? The
battering-ram, the sword, the carbine, the battle-ax, have made no
such havoc as the needle. I would that these living sepulchers in
which women have for ages been buried might be opened, and that some
resurrection trumpet might bring up these living corpses to the fresh
air and sunlight.

Go with me and I will show you a woman who by hardest toil supports
her children, her drunken husband, her old father and mother, pays her
house rent, always has wholesome food on her table, and when she can
get some neighbor on the Sabbath to come in and take care of her
family, appears in church with hat and cloak that are far from
indicating the toil to which she is subjected. Such a woman as that
has body and soul enough to fit her for any position. She could stand
beside the majority of your salesmen and dispose of more goods. She
could go into your wheelwright shops and beat one half of your workmen
at making carriages. We talk about woman as though we had resigned to
her all the light work, and ourselves had shouldered the heavier. But
the day of judgment, which will reveal the sufferings of the stake and
Inquisition, will marshal before the throne of God and the hierarchs
of heaven the martyrs of wash-tub and needle. Now, I say if there be
any preference in occupation, let women have it. God knows her trials
are the severest. By her acuter sensitiveness to misfortune, by her
hour of anguish, I demand that no one hedge up her pathway to a
livelihood. Oh! the meanness, the despicability of men who begrudge a
woman the right to work anywhere in any honorable calling!

I go still further and say that woman should have equal compensation
with men. By what principle of justice is it that women in many of our
cities get only two thirds as much pay as men, and in many cases only
half? Here is the gigantic injustice--that for work equally well, if
not better, done, woman receives far less compensation than man. Start
with the National Government. Women clerks in Washington get nine
hundred dollars for doing that for which men receive eighteen hundred
dollars. The wheel of oppression is rolling over the necks of
thousands of women who are at this moment in despair about what they
are to do. Many of the largest mercantile establishments of our cities
are accessory to these abominations, and from their large
establishments there are scores of souls being pitched off into death,
and their employers know it. Is there a God? Will there be a judgment?
I tell you, if God rises up to redress woman's wrongs, many of our
large establishments will be swallowed up quicker than a South
American earthquake ever took down a city. God will catch these
oppressors between the two millstones of his wrath and grind them to
powder.

Why is it that a female principal in a school gets only eight hundred
and twenty-five dollars for doing work for which a male principal gets
sixteen hundred and fifty dollars? I hear from all this land the wail
of womanhood. Man has nothing to answer to that wail but flatteries.
He says she is an angel. She is not. She knows she is not. She is a
human being who gets hungry when she has no food, and cold when she
has no fire. Give her no more flatteries; give her justice! There are
sixty-five thousand sewing-girls in New York and Brooklyn. Across the
sunlight comes their death groan. It is not such a cry as comes from
those who are suddenly hurled out of life, but a slow, grinding,
horrible wasting-away. Gather them before you and look into their
faces, pinched, ghastly, hunger-struck! Look at their fingers,
needle-pricked and blood-tipped! See that premature stoop in the
shoulders! Hear that dry, hacking, merciless cough! At a large meeting
of these women held in a hall in Philadelphia, grand speeches were
delivered, but a needle-woman took the stand, threw aside her faded
shawl, and with her shriveled arm hurled a very thunder-bolt of
eloquence, speaking out the horrors of her own experience.

Stand at the corner of a street in New York at six or seven o'clock in
the morning as the women go to work. Many of them had no breakfast
except the crumbs that were left over from the night before, or the
crumbs they chew on their way through the street. Here they come! The
working-girls of New York and Brooklyn. These engaged in head work,
these in flower-making, in millinery, in paper-box making; but, most
overworked of all and least compensated, the sewing-women. Why do they
not take the city cars on their way up? They can not afford the five
cents. If, concluding to deny herself something else, she gets into
the car, give her a seat. You want to see how Latimer and Ridley
appeared in the fire. Look at that woman and behold a more horrible
martyrdom, a hotter fire, a more agonizing death. Ask that woman how
much she gets for her work, and she will tell you six cents for making
coarse shirts and find her own thread.

Years ago, one Sabbath night in the vestibule of this church, after
service, a woman fell in convulsions. The doctor said she needed
medicine not so much as something to eat. As she began to revive, in
her delirium she said, gaspingly: "Eight cents! Eight cents! Eight
cents! I wish I could get it done, I am so tired. I wish I could get
some sleep, but I must get it done. Eight cents! Eight cents! Eight
cents!" We found afterward that she was making garments for eight
cents apiece, and that she could make but three of them in a day. Hear
it! Three times eight are twenty-four. Hear it, men and women who have
comfortable homes! Some of the worst villains of our cities are the
employers of these women. They beat them down to the last penny and
try to cheat them out of that. The woman must deposit a dollar or two
before she gets the garments to work on. When the work is done it is
sharply inspected, the most insignificant flaws picked out, and the
wages refused and sometimes the dollar deposited not given back. The
Women's Protective Union reports a case where one of the poor souls,
finding a place where she could get more wages, resolved to change
employers, and went to get her pay for work done. The employer says:
"I hear you are going to leave me?" "Yes," she said, "and I have come
to get what you owe me." He made no answer. She said: "Are you not
going to pay me?" "Yes," he said, "I will pay you," and he kicked her
down-stairs.

Oh, that Women's Protective Union, 19 Clinton Place, New York! The
blessings of Heaven be on it for the merciful and divine work it is
doing in the defense of toiling womanhood! What tragedies of suffering
are presented to them day by day! A paragraph from their report: "'Can
you make Mr. Jones pay me? He owes me for three weeks at $2.50 a week,
and I can't get anything, and my child is very sick!' The speaker, a
young woman lately widowed, burst into a flood of tears as she spoke.
She was bidden to come again the next afternoon and repeat her story
to the attorney at his usual weekly hearing of frauds and impositions.
Means were found by which Mr. Jones was induced to pay the $7.50."

Another paragraph from their report: "A fortnight had passed, when she
modestly hinted a desire to know how much her services were worth.
'Oh, my dear,' he replied, 'you are getting to be one of the most
valuable hands in the trade; you will always get the very best price.
Ten dollars a week you will be able to earn very easily.' And the
girl's fingers flew on with her work at a marvelous rate. The picture
of $10 a week had almost turned her head. A few nights later, while
crossing the ferry, she overheard the name of her employer in the
conversation of girls who stood near: 'What, John Snipes? Why, he
don't pay! Look out for him every time. He'll keep you on trial, as he
calls it, for weeks, and then he'll let you go, and get some other
fool!' And thus Jane Smith gained her warning against the swindler.
But the Union held him in the toils of the law until he paid the worth
of each of those days of 'trial.'"

Another paragraph: "Her mortification may be imagined when told that
one of the two five-dollar bills which she had just received for her
work was counterfeit. But her mortification was swallowed up in
indignation when her employer denied having paid her the money, and
insultingly asked her to prove it. When the Protective Union had
placed this matter in the courts, the judge said: 'You will pay
Eleanor the amount of her claim, $5.83, and also the costs of the
court.'"

How are these evils to be eradicated? Some say: "Give woman the
ballot." What effect such ballot might have on other questions I am
not here to discuss; but what would be the effect of female suffrage
on women's wages? I do not believe that woman will ever get justice by
woman's ballot. Indeed, women oppress women as much as men do. Do not
women, as much as men, beat down to the lowest figure the woman who
sews for them? Are not women as sharp as men on washer-women and
milliners and mantua-makers? If a woman asks a dollar for her work,
does not her female employer ask her if she will not take ninety
cents? You say, "Only ten cents difference." But that is sometimes the
difference between heaven and hell. Women often have less
commiseration for women than men. If a woman steps aside from the path
of rectitude, man may forgive--woman never! Woman will never get
justice done her from woman's ballot. Neither will she get it from
man's ballot. How then? God will rise up for her. God has more
resources than we know of. The flaming sword that hung at Eden's gate
when woman was driven out will cleave with its terrible edge her
oppressors.

But there is something for women to do. Let young people prepare to
excel in spheres of work, and they will be able after awhile to get
larger wages. Unskilled and incompetent labor must take what is given:
skilled and competent labor will eventually make its own standard.
Admitting that the law of supply and demand regulates these things, I
contend that the demand for skilled labor is very great and the supply
very small. Start with the idea that work is honorable, and that you
can do some one thing better than anybody else. Resolve that, God
helping, you will take care of yourself. If you are after awhile
called into another relation you will all the better be qualified for
it by your spirit of self-reliance, or if you are called to stay as
you are, you can be happy and self-supporting.

Poets are fond of talking about man as an oak and woman the vine that
climbs it; but I have seen many a tree fall that not only went down
itself, but took all the vines with it. I can tell you of something
stronger than an oak for an ivy to climb on, and that is the throne of
the great Jehovah. Single or affianced, that woman is strong who leans
on God and does her best. Many of you will go single-handed through
life, and you will have to choose between two characters. Young woman,
I am sure you will turn your back upon the useless, giggling,
irresponsible nonentity which society ignominiously acknowledges to be
a woman, and ask God to make you an humble, active, earnest Christian.
What will become of that womanly disciple of the world? She is more
thoughtful of the attitude she strikes upon the carpet than how she
will look in the judgment; more worried about her freckles than her
sins; more interested in her apparel than in her redemption. The
dying actress whose life had been vicious said: "The scene
closes--draw the curtain." Generally the tragedy comes first and the
farce afterward; but in her life it was first the farce of a useless
life and then the tragedy of a wretched eternity.

Compare the life and death of such a one with that of some Christian
aunt that was once a blessing to your household. I do not know that
she was ever asked to give her hand in marriage. She lived single,
that, untrammeled, she might be everybody's blessing. Whenever the
sick were to be visited or the poor to be provided with bread she went
with a blessing. She could pray or sing "Rock of Ages" for any sick
pauper who asked her. As she got older there were many days when she
was a little sharp, but for the most part auntie was a sunbeam--just
the one for Christmas Eve. She knew better than any one else how to
fix things. Her every prayer, as God heard it, was full of everybody
who had trouble. The brightest things in all the house dropped from
her fingers. She had peculiar notions, but the grandest notion she
ever had was to make you happy. She dressed well--auntie always
dressed well; but her highest adornment was that of a meek and quiet
spirit, which, in the sight of God, is of great price. When she died
you all gathered lovingly about her; and as you carried her out to
rest, the Sunday-school class almost covered the coffin with
japonicas; and the poor people stood at the end of the alley, with
their aprons to their eyes, sobbing bitterly, and the man of the world
said, with Solomon: "Her price was above rubies;" and Jesus, as unto
the maiden in Judea, commanded, "I say unto thee, Arise!"



TOBACCO AND OPIUM.

    "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding
    seed."--GEN. i: 11.


The two first born of our earth were the grass-blade and the herb.
They preceded the brute creation and the human family--the grass for
the animal creation, the herb for human service. The cattle came and
took possession of their inheritance, the grass-blade; man came and
took possession of his inheritance, the herb. We have the herb for
food as in case of hunger, for narcotic as in case of insomnia, for
anodyne as in case of paroxysm, for stimulant as when the pulses flag
under the weight of disease. The caterer comes and takes the herb and
presents it in all styles of delicacy. The physician comes and takes
the herb and compounds it for physical recuperation. Millions of
people come and take the herb for ruinous physical and intellectual
delectation. The herb, which was divinely created, and for good
purposes, has often been degraded for bad results. There is a useful
and a baneful employment of the herbaceous kingdom.

There sprung up in Yucatan of this continent an herb that has
bewitched the world. In the fifteenth century it crossed the Atlantic
Ocean and captured Spain. Afterward it captured Portugal. Then the
French embassadors took it to Paris, and it captured the French
Empire. Then Walter Raleigh took it to London, and it captured Great
Britain. Nicotiana, ascribed to that genus by the botanists, but we
all know it is the exhilarating, elevating, emparadising,
nerve-shattering, dyspepsia-breeding, health-destroying tobacco. I
shall not in my remarks be offensively personal, because you all use
it, or nearly all! I know by experience how it soothes and roseates
the world, and kindles sociality, and I also know some of its baleful
results. I was its slave, and by the grace of God I have become its
conqueror. Tens of thousands of people have been asking the question
during the past two months, asking it with great pathos and great
earnestness: "Does the use of tobacco produce cancerous and other
troubles?" I shall not answer the question in regard to any particular
case, but shall deal with the subject in a more general way.

You say to me, "Did God not create tobacco?" Yes. You say to me, "Is
not God good?" Yes. Well, then, you say, "If God is good and he
created tobacco, He must have created it for some good purpose." Yes,
your logic is complete. But God created the common sense at the same
time, by which we are to know how to use a poison and how not to use
it. God created that just as He created henbane and nux vomica and
copperas and belladonna and all other poisons, whether directly
created by Himself or extracted by man.

That it is a poison no man of common sense will deny. A case was
reported where a little child lay upon its mother's lap and one drop
fell from a pipe to the child's lip, and it went into convulsions and
into death. But you say, "Haven't people lived on in complete use of
it to old age?" Oh, yes; just as I have seen inebriates seventy years
old. In Boston, years ago, there was a meeting in which there were
several centenarians, and they were giving their experience, and one
centenarian said that he had lived over a hundred years, and that he
ascribed it to the fact that he had refrained from the use of
intoxicating liquors. Right after him another centenarian said he had
lived over a hundred years, and he ascribed it to the fact that for
the last fifty years he had hardly seen a sober moment. It is an
amazing thing how many outrages men may commit upon their physical
system and yet live on. In the case of the man of the jug he lived on
because his body was pickled. In the case of the man of the pipe, he
lived on because his body turned into smoked liver!

But are there no truths to be uttered in regard to this great evil?
What is the advice to be given to the multitude of young people who
hear me this day? What is the advice you are going to give to your
children?

First of all, we must advise them to abstain from the use of tobacco
because all the medical fraternity of the United States and Great
Britain agree in ascribing to this habit terrific unhealth. The men
whose life-time work is the study of the science of health say so, and
shall I set up my opinion against theirs? Dr. Agnew, Dr. Olcott, Dr.
Barnes, Dr. Rush, Dr. Mott, Dr. Harvey, Dr. Hosack--all the doctors,
allopathic, homeopathic, hydropathic, eclectic, denounce the habit as
a matter of unhealth. A distinguished physician declared he considered
the use of tobacco caused seventy different styles of disease, and he
says: "Of all the cases of cancer in the mouth that have come under my
observation, almost in every case it has been ascribed to tobacco."

The united testimony of all physicians is that it depresses the
nervous system, that it takes away twenty-five per cent. of the
physical vigor of this generation, and that it goes on as the years
multiply and, damaging this generation with accumulated curse, it
strikes other centuries. And if it is so deleterious to the body, how
much more destructive to the mind. An eminent physician, who was the
superintendent of the insane asylum at Northampton, Massachusetts,
says: "Fully one half the patients we get in our asylum have lost
their intellect through the use of tobacco." If it is such a bad thing
to injure the body, what a bad thing, what a worse thing it is to
injure the mind, and any man of common sense knows that tobacco
attacks the nervous system, and everybody knows that the nervous
system attacks the mind.

Besides that, all reformers will tell you that the use of tobacco
creates an unnatural thirst, and it is the cause of drunkenness in
America to-day more than anything else. In all cases where you find
men taking strong drink you find they use tobacco. There are men who
use tobacco who do not take strong drink, but all who use strong drink
use tobacco, and that shows beyond controversy there is an affinity
between the two products. There are reformers here to-day who will
testify to you it is impossible for a man to reform from taking strong
drink until he quits tobacco. In many of the cases where men have been
reformed from strong drink and have gone back to their cups, they
have testified that they first touched tobacco and then they
surrendered to intoxicants.

I say in the presence of this assemblage to-day, in which there are
many physicians--and they know that what I say is true on the
subject--that the pathway to the drunkard's grave and the drunkard's
hell is strewn thick with tobacco-leaves. What has been the testimony
on this subject? Is this a mere statement of a preacher whose business
it is to talk morals, or is the testimony of the world just as
emphatic? What did Benjamin Franklin say? "I never saw a well man in
the exercise of common sense who would say that tobacco did him any
good." What did Thomas Jefferson say? Certainly he is good authority.
He says in regard to the culture of tobacco, "It is a culture
productive of infinite wretchdness." What did Horace Greeley say of
it? "It is a profane stench." What did Daniel Webster say of it? "If
those men must smoke, let them take the horse-shed!" One reason why
the habit goes on from destruction to destruction is that so many
ministers of the gospel take it. They smoke themselves into
bronchitis, and then the dear people have to send them to Europe to
get them restored from exhausting religious services! They smoke until
the nervous system is shattered. They smoke themselves to death. I
could mention the names of five distinguished clergymen who died of
cancer of the mouth, and the doctor said, in every case, it was the
result of tobacco. The tombstone of many a minister of religion has
been covered all over with handsome eulogy, when, if the true epitaph
had been written, it would have said: "Here lies a man killed by too
much cavendish!" They smoke until the world is blue, and their
theology is blue, and everything is blue. How can a man stand in the
pulpit and preach on the subject of temperance when he is indulging
such a habit as that? I have seen a cuspadore in a pulpit into which
the holy man dropped his cud before he got up to read about "blessed
are the pure in heart," and to read about the rolling of sin as a
sweet morsel under the tongue, and to read about the unclean animals
in Leviticus that chewed the cud.

About sixty-five years ago a student at Andover Theological Seminary
graduated into the ministry. He had an eloquence and a magnetism which
sent him to the front. Nothing could stand before him. But in a few
months he was put in an insane asylum, and the physician said tobacco
was the cause of the disaster. It was the custom in those days to give
a portion of tobacco to every patient in the asylum. Nearly twenty
years passed along, and that man was walking the floor of his cell in
the asylum, when his reason returned, and he saw the situation, and he
took the tobacco from his mouth and threw it against the iron gate of
the place in which he was confined, and he said: "What brought me
here? What keeps me here? Tobacco! tobacco! God forgive me, God help
me, and I will never use it again." He was fully restored to reason,
came forth, preached the Gospel of Christ for some ten years, and then
went into everlasting blessedness.

There are ministers of religion now in this country who are dying by
inches, and they do not know what is the matter with them. They are
being killed by tobacco. They are despoiling their influence through
tobacco. They are malodorous with tobacco. I could give one paragraph
of history, and that would be my own experience. It took ten cigars to
make one sermon, and I got very nervous, and I awakened one day to see
what an outrage I was committing upon my health by the use of tobacco.
I was about to change settlement, and a generous tobacconist of
Philadelphia told me if I would come to Philadelphia and be his pastor
he would give me all the cigars I wanted for nothing all the rest of
my life. I halted. I said to myself, "If I smoke more than I ought to
now in these war times, and when my salary is small, what would I do
if I had gratuitous and unlimited supply?" Then and there, twenty-four
years ago, I quit once and forever. It made a new man of me. Much of
the time the world looked blue before that, because I was looking
through tobacco smoke. Ever since the world has been full of sunshine,
and though I have done as much work as any one of my age, God has
blessed me, it seems to me, with the best health that a man ever had.

I say that no minister of religion can afford to smoke. Put in my hand
all the money expended by Christian men in Brooklyn for tobacco, and I
will support three orphan asylums as well and as grandly as the three
great orphan asylums already established. Put into my hand the money
spent by the Christians of America for tobacco, and I will clothe,
shelter, and feed all the suffering poor of the continent. The
American Church gives a million dollars a year for the salvation of
the heathen, and American Christians smoke five million dollars' worth
of tobacco.

I stand here to-day in the presence of a vast multitude of young
people who are forming their habits. Between seventeen and twenty-five
years of age a great many young men get on them habits in the use of
tobacco that they never get over. Let me say to all my young friends,
you can not afford to smoke, you can not afford to chew. You either
take very good tobacco, or you take very cheap tobacco. If it is
cheap, I will tell you why it is cheap. It is made of burdock, and
lampblack, and sawdust, and colt's-foot, and plantain leaves, and
fuller's earth, and salt, and alum, and lime, and a little tobacco,
and you can not afford to put such a mess as that in your mouth. But
if you use expensive tobacco, do you not think it would be better for
you to take that amount of money which you are now expending for this
herb, and which you will expend during the course of your life if you
keep the habit up, and with it buy a splendid farm and make the
afternoon and the evening of your life comfortable?

There are young men whose life is going out inch by inch from
cigarettes. Now, do you not think it would be well for you to listen
to the testimony of a merchant of New York, who said this: "In early
life I smoked six cigars a day at six and a half cents each. They
averaged that. I thought to myself one day, I'll just put aside all I
consume in cigars and all I would consume if I keep on in the habit,
and I'll see what it will come to by compound interest." And he gives
this tremendous statistic: "Last July completed thirty-nine years
since, by the grace of God, I was emancipated from the filthy habit,
and the saving amounted to the enormous sum of $29,102.03 by compound
interest. We lived in the city, but the children, who had learned
something of the enjoyment of country life from their annual visits to
their grandparents, longed for a home among the green fields. I found
a very pleasant place in the country for sale. The cigar money came
into requisition, and I found it amounted to a sufficient sum to
purchase the place, and it is mine. Now, boys, you take your choice.
Smoking without a home, or a home without smoking." This is common
sense as well as religion.

I must say a word to my friends who smoke the best tobacco, and who
could stop at any time. What is your Christian influence in this
respect? What is your influence upon young men? Do you not think it
would be better for you to exercise a little self-denial! People
wondered why George Briggs, Governor of Massachusetts, wore a cravat
but no collar. "Oh," they said, "it is an absurd eccentricity." This
was the history of the cravat without any collar: For many years
before he had been talking with an inebriate, trying to persuade him
to give up the habit of drinking and he said to the inebriate, "Your
habit is entirely unnecessary." "Ah!" replied the inebriate, "we do a
great many things that are not necessary. It isn't necessary that you
should have that collar." "Well," said Mr. Briggs, "I'll never wear a
collar again if you will stop drinking." "Agreed," said the other.
They joined hands in a pledge that they kept for twenty years--kept
until death. That is magnificent. That is Gospel, practical Gospel,
worthy of George Briggs, worthy of you. Self-denial for others.
Subtraction from our advantage that there may be an addition to
somebody else's advantage.

But what I have said has been chiefly appropriate for men. Now my
subject widens and shall be appropriate for both sexes. In all ages of
the world there has been a search for some herb or flower that would
stimulate lethargy and compose grief. Among the ancient Greeks and
Egyptians they found something they called nepenthe, and the Theban
women knew how to compound it. If a person should chew a few of those
leaves his grief would be immediately whelmed with hilarity. Nepenthe
passed out from the consideration of the world and then came hasheesh,
which is from the Indian hemp. It is manufactured from the flowers at
the top. The workman with leathern apparel walks through the field and
the exudation of the plants adheres to the leathern garments, and then
the man comes out and scrapes off this exudation, and it is mixed with
aromatics and becomes an intoxicant that has brutalized whole nations.
Its first effect is sight, spectacle glorious and grand beyond all
description, but afterward it pulls down body, mind, and soul into
anguish.

I knew one of the most brilliant men of our time. His appearance in a
newspaper column, or a book, or a magazine was an enchantment. In the
course of a half hour he could produce more wit and more valuable
information than any man I ever heard talk. But he chewed hasheesh. He
first took it out of curiosity to see whether the power said to be
attached really existed. He took it. He got under the power of it. He
tried to break loose. He put his hand in the cockatrice's den to see
whether it would bite, and he found out to his own undoing. His
friends gathered around and tried to save him, but he could not be
saved. The father, a minister of the Gospel, prayed with him and
counseled him, and out of a comparatively small salary employed the
first medical advice of New York, Philadelphia, Edinburgh, Paris,
London, and Berlin, for he was his only son. No help came. First his
body gave way in pangs and convulsions of suffering. Then his mind
gave way and he became a raving maniac. Then his soul went out
blaspheming God into a starless eternity. He died at thirty years of
age. Behold the work of accursed hasheesh.

But I must put my emphasis upon the use of opium. It is made from the
white poppy. It is not a new discovery. Three hundred years before
Christ we read of it; but it was not until the seventh century that it
took up its march of death, and, passing out of the curative and the
medicinal, through smoking and mastication it has become the curse of
nations. In 1861 there were imported into this country one hundred and
seven thousand pounds of opium. In 1880, nineteen years after, there
were imported five hundred and thirty thousand pounds of opium. In
1876 there were in this country two hundred and twenty-five thousand
opium-consumers. Now, it is estimated there are in the United States
to-day six hundred thousand victims of opium. It is appalling.

We do not know why some families do not get on. There is something
mysterious about them. The opium habit is so stealthy, it is so
deceitful, and it is so deathful, you can cure a hundred men of
strong drink where you can cure one opium-eater.

I have knelt down in this very church by those who were elegant in
apparel, and elegant in appearance, and from the depths of their souls
and from the depths of my soul, we cried out for God's rescue. Somehow
it did not come. In many a household only the physician and pastor
know it--the physician called in for physical relief, the pastor
called in for spiritual relief, and they both fail. The physician
confesses his defeat, the minister of religion confesses his defeat,
for somehow God does not seem to hear a prayer offered for an
opium-eater. His grace is infinite, and I have been told there are
cases of reformation. I never saw one. I say this not to wound the
feelings of any who may feel this awful grip, but to utter a potent
warning that you stand back from that gate of hell. Oh, man, oh,
woman, tampering with this great evil, have you fallen back on this as
a permanent resource because of some physical distress or mental
anguish? Better stop. The ecstasies do not pay for the horrors. The
Paradise is followed too soon by the Pandemonium. Morphia, a blessing
of God for the relief of sudden pang and of acute dementia,
misappropriated and never intended for permanent use.

It is not merely the barbaric fanatics that are taken down by it. Did
you ever read De Quincey's "Confessions of an Opium-Eater?" He says
that during the first ten years the habit handed to him all the keys
of Paradise, but it would take something as mighty as De Quincey's pen
to describe the consequent horrors. There is nothing that I have ever
read about the tortures of the damned that seemed more horrible than
those which De Quincey says he suffered. Samuel Taylor Coleridge first
conquered the world with his exquisite pen, and then was conquered by
opium. The most brilliant, the most eloquent lawyer of the nineteenth
century went down under its power, and there is a vast multitude of
men and women--but more women than men--who are going into the dungeon
of that awful incarceration.

The worst thing about it is, it takes advantage of one's weakness. De
Quincey says: "I got to be an opium-eater on account of my
rheumatism." Coleridge says: "I got to be an opium-eater on account of
my sleeplessness." For what are you taking it? For God's sake do not
take it long. The wealthiest, the grandest families going down under
its power. Twenty-five thousand victims of opium in Chicago.
Twenty-five thousand victims of opium in St. Louis, and, according to
that average, seventy-five thousand victims of opium in New York and
Brooklyn.

The clerk of a drug store says: "I can tell them when they come in;
there is something about their complexion, something about their
manner, something about the look of their eyes that shows they are
victims." Some in the struggle to get away from it try chloral. Whole
tons of chloral manufactured in Germany every year. Baron Liebig says
he knows one chemist in Germany who manufactures a half ton of chloral
every week. Beware of hydrate of chloral. It is coming on with mighty
tread to curse these cities. But I am chiefly under this head speaking
of the morphine. The devil of morphia is going to be in this country,
in my opinion, mightier than the devil of alcohol. By the power of the
Christian pulpit, by the power of the Christianized printing-press, by
the power of the Lord God Almighty, all these evils are going to be
extirpated--all, all, and you have a work in regard to that, and I
have a work. But what we do we had better do right away. The clock
ticks now, and we hear it; after awhile the clock will tick and we
will not hear it.

I sat at a country fireside, and I saw the fire kindle and blaze, and
go out. I sat long enough at that fireside to get a good many
practical reflections, and I said: "That is like human life, that fire
on the hearth." We put on the fagots and they blaze up, and out, and
on, and the whole room is filled with the light, gay of sparkle, gay
of flash, gay of crackle. Emblem of boyhood. Now the fire intensifies.
Now the flame reddens into coals. Now the heat is becoming more and
more intense, and the more it is stirred the redder is the coal. Now
with one sweep of flame it cleaves the way, and all the hearth glows
with the intensity. Emblem of full manhood. Now the coals begin to
whiten. Now the heat lessens. Now the flickering shadows die along the
wall. Now the fagots fall apart. Now the household hover over the
expiring embers. Now the last breath of smoke is lost in the chimney.
The fire is out. Shovel up the white remains. Ashes! Ashes!



WHY ARE SATAN AND SIN PERMITTED?

    "Wherefore do the wicked live?"--JOB xxi: 7,


Poor Job! With tusks and horns and hoofs and stings, all the
misfortunes of life seemed to come upon him at once. Bankruptcy,
bereavement, scandalization, and eruptive disease so irritating that
he had to re-enforce his ten finger-nails with pieces of earthenware
to scratch himself withal. His wife took the diagnosis of his
complaints and prescribed profanity. She thought he would feel better
if between the paroxysms of grief and pain he would swear a little.
For each boil a plaster of objurgation.

Probably no man was ever more tempted to take the bad advice than
when, at last, Job's three exasperating friends came in, Eliphaz,
Zophar, and Bildad, practically saying to him, "You old sinner, serves
you right; you are a hypocrite; what a sight you are! God has sent
these chastisements for your wickedness."

The disfigured invalid, putting down the pieces of broken saucer with
which he had been rubbing his arms, with swollen eyelids looks up and
says to his garrulous friends in substance, "The most wicked people
sometimes have the best health and are the most prospered," and then
in that connection hurls the question which every man and woman has
asked in some juncture of affairs, "Wherefore do the wicked live?"

They build up fortunes that overshadow the earth. They confound all
the life-insurance tables on the subject of longevity, dying
octogenarians, perhaps nonagenarians, possibly centenarians. Ahab in
the palace, Naboth in the cabinet. Unclean Herod on the throne,
consecrated Paul twisting ropes for tent-making. Manasseh, the worst
of all the kings of Juda, living longer than any of them. While the
general rule is the wicked do not live out half their days, there are
exceptions where they live on to great age and in a Paradise of beauty
and luxuriance, and die with a whole college of physicians expending
its skill in trying further prolongation of life, and have a funeral
with casket under mountain of calla-lilies, the finest equipages of
the city jingling and flashing into line, the poor, angle-worm of the
dust carried out to its hole in the ground with the pomp that might
make a spirit from some other world suppose that the Archangel Michael
was dead.

Go up among the finest residences of the city, and on some of the
door-plates you will find the names of those mightiest for commercial
and social iniquity. They are the vampires of society--they are the
gorgons of the century. Some of these men have each wheel of their
carriage a juggernaut wet with the blood of those sacrificed to their
avarice. Some of them are like Caligula, who wished that all the
people had only one neck that he might strike it off at one blow. Oh,
the slain, the slain! A long procession of usurers and libertines and
infamous quacks and legal charlatans and world-grabbing monsters. What
apostleship of despoliation! Demons incarnate. Hundreds of men
concentering all their energies of body, mind, and soul in one
prolonged, ever-intensifying, and unrelenting effort to scald and
scarify and blast and consume the world. I do not blame you for asking
me the quivering, throbbing, burning, resounding, appalling question
of my text, "Wherefore do the wicked live?"

In the first place, they live to demonstrate beyond all controversy
the long-suffering patience of God. You sometimes say, under some
great affront, "I will not stand it;" but perhaps you are compelled to
stand it. God, with all the batteries of omnipotence loaded with
thunderbolts, stands it century after century. I have no doubt
sometimes an angel comes to Him and suggests, "Now is the time to
strike." "No," says God; "wait a year, wait twenty years, wait a
century, wait five centuries." What God does is not so wonderful as
what He does not do. He has the reserve corps with which He could
strike Mormonism and Mohammedanism and Paganism from the earth in a
day. He could take all the fraud in New York on the west side of
Broadway and hurl it into the Hudson, and all the fraud on the east
side of Broadway and hurl it into the East River in an hour. He
understands the combination lock of every dishonest money-safe, and
could blow it up quicker than by any earthly explosive. Written all
over the earth, written all over history are the words, "Divine
forbearance, divine leniency, divine long-suffering."

I wonder that God did not burn this world up two thousand years ago,
scattering its ashes into immensity, its aerolites dropping into
other worlds to be kept in their museums as specimens of a defunct
planet. People sometimes talk of God as though He were hasty in His
judgments and as though He snapped men up quick. Oh, no! He waited one
hundred and twenty years for the people to get into the ark, and
warned them all the time--one hundred and twenty years, then the flood
came. The Anchor Line gives only a month's announcement of the sailing
of the "Circassia," the White Star Line gives only a month's
announcement of the sailing of the "Britannic," the Cunard Line gives
only a month's announcement of the sailing of the "Oregon;" but of the
sailing of that ship that Noah commanded God gave one hundred and
twenty years' announcement and warning. Patience antediluvian,
patience postdiluvian, patience in times Adamic, Abrahamic, Mosaic,
Davidic, Pauline, Lutheran, Whitefieldian. Patience with men and
nations. Patience with barbarisms and civilizations. Six thousand
years of patience! Overtopping attribute of God, all of whose
attributes are immeasurable. Why do the wicked live? That their
overthrow may be the more impressive and climacteric. They must pile
up their mischief until all the community shall see it, until the
nation shall see it, until all the world shall see it. The higher it
goes up the harder it will come down and the grander will be the
divine vindication.

God will not allow sin to sneak out of the world. God will not allow
it merely to resign and quit. This shall not be a case that goes by
default because no one appears against it. God will arraign it,
handcuff it, try it, bring against it the verdict of all the good, and
then gibbet it so high up that if one half of the gibbet stood on
Mount Washington and the other on the Himalaya, it would not be any
more conspicuous.

About fifteen years ago we had in this country a most illustrious
instance of how God lets a man go on in iniquity, so that at the close
of the career his overthrow may be the more impressive, full of
warning and climacteric. First, an honest chairmaker, then an
alderman, then a member of congress, then a supervisor of a city, then
school commissioner, then state senator, then commissioner of public
works--on and up, stealing thousands of dollars here and thousands of
dollars there, until the malfeasance in office overtopped anything the
world had ever seen--making the new Court House in New York a monument
of municipal crime, and rushing the debt of the city from thirty-six
million dollars to ninety-seven millions. Now, he is at the top of
millionairedom.

Country-seat terraced and arbored and parterred clear to the water's
brink. Horses enough to stock a king's equerry. Grooms and postilions
in full rig. Wine cellars enough to make a whole legislature drunk.
New York finances and New York politics in his vest pocket. He winked,
and men in high place fell. He lifted his little finger, and
ignoramuses took important office. He whispered, and in Albany and
Washington they said it thundered. Wider and mightier and more baleful
his influence, until it seemed as if Pandemonium was to be adjourned
to this world, and in the Satanic realm there was to be a change of
administration, and Apollyon, who had held dominion so long, should
have a successful competitor.

To bring all to a climax, a wedding came in the house of that man.
Diamonds as large as hickory nuts. A pin of sixty diamonds
representing sheaves of wheat. Musicians in a semicircle, half-hidden
by a great harp of flowers. Ships of flowers. Forty silver sets, one
of them with two hundred and forty pieces. One wedding-dress that cost
five thousand dollars. A famous libertine, who owned several Long
Island Sound steamboats, and not long before he was shot for his
crimes, sent as a wedding present to that house a frosted silver
iceberg, with representations of arctic bears walking on
icicle-handles and ascending the spoons. Was there ever such a
convocation of pictures, bronzes, of bric-à-brac, of grandeurs, social
grandeurs? The highest wave of New York splendor rolled into that
house and recoiled perhaps never again to rise so high. But just at
that time, when all earthly and infernal observation was concentered
on that man, eternal justice, impersonated by that wonder of the
American bar, Charles O'Connor, got on the track of the offender.
First arraignment, then sentence to twelve years' imprisonment under
twelve indictments, then penitentiary on Blackwell's Island, then a
lawsuit against him for six million dollars, then incarceration in
Ludlow Street jail, then escape to foreign land, to be brought back
under the stout grip of the constabulary, then dying of broken heart
in a prison cell. God allowed him to go on in iniquity until all the
world saw as never before that "the way of the transgressor is hard,"
and that dishonesty will not declare permanent dividends, and that you
had better be an honest chairmaker with a day's wages at a time than
a brilliant commissioner of public works, all your pockets crammed
with plunder.

What a brilliant figure in history is William the Conqueror, the
intimidator of France, of Anjou, of Brittany, victor at Hastings,
snatching the crown of England and setting it on his own brow,
destroying homesteads that he might have a larger game forest, making
a Doomsday Book by which he could keep the whole land under despotic
espionage, proclaiming war in revenge for a joke uttered in regard to
his obesity. Harvest fields and vineyards going down under the cavalry
hoof. Nations horror-struck. But one day while at the apex of all
observation he is riding out and the horse put his hoof on a hot
cinder, throwing the king so violently against the pommel of the
saddle that he dies, his son hastening to England to get the crown
before the breath has left his father's body.

The imperial corpse drawn by a cart, most of the attendants leaving it
in the street because of a fire alarm that they might go off and see
the conflagration. And just as they are going to put his body down in
the church which he had built, a man stepping up and saying, "Bishop,
the man you praise is a robber. This church stands on my father's
homestead. The property on which this church is built is mine. I
reclaim my right. In the name of Almighty God I forbid you to bury the
king here, or to cover him with my glebe." "Go up," said the ambition
of William the Conqueror. "Go up by conquest, go up by throne, go up
in the sight of all nations, go up by cruelties." But one day God
said, "Come down, come down by the way of a miserable death, come down
by the way of an ignominious obsequies, come down in the sight of all
nations, come clear down, come down forever." And you and I see the
same thing on a smaller scale many and many a time--illustrations of
the fact that God lets the wicked live that He may make their
overthrow the more climacteric.

What is true in regard to sin is true in regard to its author, Satan,
called Abaddon, called the Prince of the Power of the Air, called the
serpent, called the dragon. It seems to me any intelligent man must
admit that there is a commander-in-chief of all evil.

The Persians called him Ahriman, the Hindus called him Siva. He was
represented on canvas as a mythological combination of Thor and
Cerberus and Pan and Vulcan and other horrible addenda. I do not care
what you call him, that monster of evil is abroad, and his one work is
destruction. John Milton almost glorified him by witchery of
description, but he is the concentration of all meanness and of all
despicability. My little child, seven years of age, said to her mother
one day, "Why don't God kill the devil at once, and have done with
it?" In less terse phrase we have all asked the same question. The
Bible says he is to be imprisoned and he is to be chained down. Why
not heave the old miscreant into his dungeon now? Does it not seem as
if his volume of infamy were complete? Does it not seem as if the last
fifty years would make an appropriate peroration? No; God will let him
go on to the top of all bad endeavor, and then when all the earth and
all constellations and galaxies and all the universe are watching, God
will hurl him down with a violence and ghastliness enough to persuade
five hundred eternities that a rebellion against God must perish. God
will not do it by piecemeal, God will not do it by small skirmish. He
will wait until all the troops are massed, and then some day when in
defiant and confident mood, at the head of his army, this Goliath of
hell stalks forth, our champion, the son of David, will strike him
down, not with smooth stones from the brook, but with fragments from
the Rock of Ages. But it will not be done until this giant of evil and
his holy antagonist come out within full sight of the two great
armies. The tragedy is only postponed to make the overthrow more
impressive and climacteric. Do not fret. If God can afford to wait you
can afford to wait. God's clock of destiny strikes only once in a
thousand years. Do not try to measure events by the second-hand on
your little time-piece. Sin and Satan go on only that their overthrow
may at last be the more terrific, the more impressive, the more
resounding, the more climacteric.

Why do the wicked live? In order that they may build up fortresses for
righteousness to capture. Have you not noticed that God harnesses men,
bad men, and accomplishes good through them? Witness Cyrus, witness
Nebuchadnezzar, witness the fact that the Bastile of oppression was
pried open by the bayonets of a bad man. Recently there came to me the
fact that a college had been built at the Far West for infidel
purposes. There was to be no nonsense of chapel prayers, no Bible
reading there. All the professors there were pronounced infidels. The
college was opened, and the work went on, but, of course, failed. Not
long ago a Presbyterian minister was in a bank in that village on
purposes of business, and he heard in an adjoining room the board of
trustees of that college discussing what they had better do with the
institution, as it did not get on successfully, and one of the
trustees proposed that it be handed over to the Presbyterians,
prefacing the word Presbyterians with a very unhappy expletive. The
resolutions were passed, and that fortress of infidelity has become a
fortress of old-fashioned, orthodox religion, the only religion that
will be worth a snap of your finger when you come to die or appear in
the Day of Judgment. The devil built the college. Righteousness
captured it.

In some city there goes up a great club-house--the architecture, the
furniture, all the equipment a bedazzlement of wealth. That particular
club-house is designed to make gambling and dissipation respectable.

Do not fret. That splendid building will after a while be a free
library, or it will be a hospital, or it will be a gallery of pure
art. Again and again observatories have been built by infidelity, and
the first thing you know they go into the hand of Christian science.
God said in the Bible that He would put a hook in Sennacherib's nose
and pull him down by a way he knew not. And God has a hook to-day in
the nose of every Sennacherib of infidelity and sin, and will drag him
about as He will. Marble halls deserted to sinful amusements will yet
be dedicated for religious assemblage. All these castles of sin are to
be captured for God as we go forth with the battle-shout that Oliver
Cromwell rang out at the head of his troops as he rode in on the field
of Naseby: "Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered!" After a
great fire in London, amid the ruins there was nothing left but an
arch with the name of the architect upon it; and, my friends, whatever
else goes down, God stays up.

Why do the wicked live? That some of them may be monuments of mercy.

So it was with John Newton, so it was with Augustine, perhaps so it
was with you. Chieftains of sin to become chieftains of grace. Paul,
the apostle, made out of Saul, the persecutor. Baxter, the flaming
evangel, made out of Baxter, the blasphemer. Whole squadrons, with
streamers of Emmanuel floating from the masthead, though once they
were launched from the dry-docks of diabolism. God lets these wicked
men live that He may make jewels out of them for coronets, that He may
make tongues of fire out of them for Pentecosts, that He may make
warriors out of them for Armageddons, that he may make conquerors out
of them for the day when they shall ride at the head of the
white-horse host in the grand review of the resurrection.

Why do the wicked live? To make it plain beyond all controversy that
there is another place of adjustment. So many of the bad up, so many
of the good down. It seems to me that no man can look abroad without
saying--no man of common sense, religious or irreligious, can look
abroad without saying, "There must be some place where brilliant
scoundrelism shall be arrested, where innocence shall get out from
under the heel of despotism." Common fairness as well as eternal
justice demands it.

We adjourn to the great assizes, the stupendous injustices of this
life. They are not righted here. There must be some place where they
will be righted. God can not afford to omit the judgment day or the
reconstruction of conditions. For you can not make me believe that
that man stuffed with all abomination, having devoured widows' houses
and digested them, looking with basilisk or tigerish eyes upon his
fellows, no music so sweet to him as the sound of breaking hearts, is,
at death, to get out of the landau at the front door of the sepulcher
and pass right on through to the back door of the sepulcher, and find
a celestial turnout waiting for him, so that he can drive tandem right
up primrosed hills, one glory riding as lackey ahead, and another
glory riding as postilion behind, while that poor woman who supported
her invalid husband and her helpless children by taking in washing and
ironing, often putting her hand to her side where the cancerous
trouble had already begun, and dropping dead late on Saturday night
while she was preparing the garments for the Sabbath day, coming afoot
to the front door of the sepulcher, shall pass through to the back
door of the sepulcher and find nothing waiting, no one to welcome, no
one to tell her the way to the King's gate. I will not believe it.
Solomon was confounded in his day by what he represents as princes
afoot and beggars a-horseback, but I tell you there must be a place
and a time when the right foot will get into the stirrup. To
demonstrate beyond all controversy that there is another place for
adjustment, God lets the wicked live.

Why do the wicked live? For the same reason that He lets us live--to
have time for repentance.

Where would you and I have been if sin had been followed by immediate
catastrophe? While the foot of Christ is fleet as that of a roebuck
when He comes to save, it does seem as if he were hoppled with great
languors and infinite lethargies when He comes to punish. Oh, I
celebrate God's slowness, God's retardation, God's putting off the
retribution! Do you not think, my brother, it would be a great deal
better for us to exchange our impatient hypercriticism of Providence
because this man, by watering of stock, makes a million dollars in one
day, and another man rides on in one bloated iniquity year after
year--would it not be better for us to exchange that impatient
hypercriticism for gratitude everlasting that God let us who were
wicked live, though we deserved nothing but capsize and demolition?
Oh, I celebrate God's slowness! The slower the rail-train comes the
better, if the drawbridge is off.

How long have you, my brother, lived unforgiven? Fifteen, twenty,
forty, sixty years? Lived through great awakenings, lived through
domestic sorrow, lived through commercial calamity, lived through
providential crises that startled nations, and you are living yet,
strangers to God, and with no hope for a great future into which you
may be precipitated. Oh, would it not be better for us to get our
nature through the Grace of Christ revolutionized and transfigured?
For I want you to know that God sometimes changes His gait, and
instead of the deliberate tread He is the swift witness, and sometimes
the enemies of God are suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy.

Make God your ally. What an offer that is! Do not fight against Him.
Do not contend against your best interests. Yield this morning to the
best impulse of your heart, and that is toward Christ and heaven. Do
not fight the Lord that made you and offers to redeem you.

Philip of France went out with his army, with bows and arrows, to
fight King Edward III. of England; but just as they got into the
critical moment of the battle, a shower of rain came and relaxed the
bow-strings so that they were of no effect, and Philip and his army
were worsted. And all your weaponry against God will be as nothing
when he rains upon you discomfiture from the heavens. Do not fight the
Lord any longer. Change allegiance. Take down the old flag of sin, run
up the new flag of grace. It does not take the Lord Jesus Christ the
thousandth part of a second to convert you if you will only surrender,
be willing to be saved. The American Congress was in anxiety during
the Revolutionary War while awaiting to hear news from the conflict
between Washington and Cornwallis, and the anxiety became intense and
almost unbearable as the days went by. When the news came at last that
Cornwallis had surrendered and the war was practically over, so great
was the excitement that the doorkeeper of the House of Congress
dropped dead from joyful excitement. And if this long war between your
soul and God should come to an end this morning by your entire
surrender, the war forever over, the news would very soon reach the
heavens, and nothing but the supernatural health of your loved ones
before the throne would keep them from being prostrated with overjoy
at the cessation of all spiritual hostilities.


THE END.





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