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´╗┐Title: Sowing and Reaping
Author: Moody, Dwight Lyman, 1837-1899
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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SOWING AND REAPING


BY


D. L. MOODY.


_'Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.'_

Gal. vi: 7.


Chicago: New York: Toronto

Fleming H. Revell Company

Publishers of Evangelical Literature



_Copyright 1896 by_

_Fleming H. Revell Company._



CONTENTS


Chap.


I. Sowing and Reaping

II. Be Not Deceived: God Is Not Mocked

III. When a Man Sows, He Expects to Reap

IV. A Man Reaps the Same Kind as He Sows

V. A Man Reaps More than He Sows

VI. Ignorance of the Seed Makes No Difference

VII. Forgiveness and Retribution

VIII. Warning



SOWING AND REAPING



SOWING AND REAPING.


CHAPTER I.


"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of
the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of
the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians vi: 7, 8.

I think this passage contains truths that no infidel or sceptic will
dare to deny. There are some passages in the Word of God that need
no other proof than that which we can easily find in our daily
experience. This is one of them. If the Bible were to be blotted out
of existence, the words I have quoted would be abundantly verified
by what is constantly happening around us. We have only to take up
the daily papers to see them being fulfilled before our eyes.

I remember giving out this text once when a man stood right up in
the audience and said:

"I don't believe it."

I said, "My friend, that doesn't change the fact. Truth is truth
whether you believe it or not, and a lie is a lie whether you
believe it or not."

He didn't want to believe it. When the meeting broke up, an officer
was at the door to arrest him. He was tried and sent to the
penitentiary for twelve months for stealing. I really believe that
when he got into his cell, he believed that he had to reap what he
sowed.

We might as well try to blot the sun out of the heavens as to blot
this truth out of the Word of God. It is heaven's eternal decree.
The law has been enforced for six thousand years. Did not God make
Adam reap even before he left Eden? Had not Cain to reap outside of
Eden? A king on the throne, like David, or a priest behind the
altar, like Eli; priest and prophet, preacher and hearer, every man
must reap what he sows. I believed it ten years ago, but I believe
it a hundred times more to-day.

My text applies to the individual, whether he be saint or sinner or
hypocrite who thinks he is a saint; it applies to the family; it
applies to society; it applies to nations. I say the law that the
result of actions must be reaped is _as true for nations as for
individuals;_ indeed, some one has said that as nations have no
future existence, the present world is the only place to punish them
as nations. See how God has dealt with them. See if they have not
reaped what they sowed. Take Amalek: "Remember what Amalek did unto
thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; how he met
thee, by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were
feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared
not God." What was to be the result of this attack? Was it to go
unpunished? God ordained that Amalek should reap as they sowed, and
the nation was all but wiped out of existence under King Saul.

What has become of the monarchies and empires of the world? What
brought ruin on Babylon? Her king and people would not obey God, and
ruin came upon them. What has become of Greece and all her power?
She once ruled the world. What has become of Rome and all her
greatness? When their cup of iniquity was full, it was dashed to the
ground. What has become of the Jews? They rejected salvation,
persecuted God's messengers, and crucified their Redeemer; and we
find that eleven hundred thousand of them perished at one time. Look
at the history of this country. With an open Bible, our forefathers
planted slavery; but judgment came at last. There was not a family
North or South that had not to mourn over some one taken from them.
Take the case of France. It is said that a century ago men were
spending millions every year in France in the publication and
distribution of infidel literature. What has been the harvest? Has
France not reaped? Mark the result: "The Bible was suppressed. God
was denied. Hell broke loose. Half the children born in Paris were
bastards. More than a million of persons were beheaded, shot,
drowned, outraged, and done to death between September, 1792, and
December, 1795. Since that time France has had thirteen revolutions
in eighty years; and in the republic there has been an overturn on
an average once in nine months. One-third of the births in Paris are
illegitimate; ten thousand new-born infants have been fished out at
the outlet of the city sewers in a single year; the native
population of France is decreasing; the percentage of suicides is
greater in Paris than in any city in Christendom; and since the
French Revolution there have been enough French men and women
slaughtered in the streets of Paris in the various insurrections, to
average more than two thousand five hundred each year!"

The principle was not new in Scripture or in history when Paul
enunciated it in his letter to the Galatians. Paul clothes it in
language derived from the farm, but in other dress the Law of Sowing
and Reaping may be seen in the Law of Cause and Effect, the Law of
Retribution or Retaliation, the Law of Compensation. It is not to my
purpose to enter now into a philosophical discussion of the law as
it appears under any of these names. We see that it exists. It is
beyond reasonable dispute. Whatever else sceptics may carp at and
criticise in the Bible, they must acknowledge the truth of this. It
does not depend upon revelation for its support; philosophers are
agreed upon it as much as they are agreed upon any thing.


The Supremacy of Law.

The objection may be made, however, that while its application may
be admitted in the physical world, it is not so certain in the
spiritual sphere. It is just here that modern research steps in. The
laws of the spiritual world have been largely identified as the same
laws that exist in the natural world. Indeed, it is claimed that the
spiritual existed first, that the natural came after, and that when
God proceeded to frame the universe, He went upon lines already laid
down. In short, that God projected the higher laws downward, so that
the natural world became "an incarnation, a visible representation,
a working model of the supernatural." "In the spiritual world the
same wheels work--without the iron."

Our whole life is thus bounded and governed by laws ordained and
established by God, and that a man reaps what he sows is a law that
can be easily observed and verified, whether we regard sowing to the
flesh or sowing to the Spirit. The evil harvest of sin and the good
harvest of righteousness are as sure to follow the sowing as the
harvest of wheat and barley. "Life is not _casual_, but _causal_."

We shall see, as we proceed, that _the working of the law is evident
in the earliest periods of Bible history_. Job's three friends
reasoned that he must be a great sinner, because they took it for
granted that the calamities that overtook him must be the results of
his wickedness. "Remember, I pray thee," said one of them, "who ever
perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? Even
as I have seen, they that plough iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap
the same."

In the book of Proverbs we find it written: "The wicked worketh a
deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure
reward." And again: "He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity."

In Isaiah we find these words: "Say ye to the righteous that it
shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of their
doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the
reward of his hands shall be given him."

Hosea prophesied regarding Israel: "They have sown the wind, and
they shall reap the whirlwind." "Sow to yourselves in righteousness,"
he advised them, "reap in mercy."


Teaching from Analogy.

The Bible is full of analogies drawn from nature. When Christ was on
earth, it was His favorite mode of teaching to convey heavenly
truths in earthly dress. "Truths came forth from His lips," wrote
one, "not stated simply on authority, but based on the analogy of
the universe. His human mind, in perfect harmony with the Divine
mind with which it was united, discerned the connection of things,
and read the eternal will in the simplest laws of nature. For
instance, if it were a question whether God would give His Spirit to
them that asked, it was not replied to by a truth revealed on His
_authority:_ the answer was derived from facts lying open to all
men's observation. 'Behold the fowls of the air'; 'behold the lilies
of the field'--learn from them the answer to your question. A
principle was there. God supplies the wants He has created. He feeds
the ravens--He clothes the lilies--He will feed with His Spirit the
craving spirits of His children."

This is the style of teaching that Paul adopts in the text. He takes
the simple process of sowing and reaping, a process familiar to all,
and reads in it a deeply spiritual and moral meaning. It is as if he
said that every man as he journeys through life is scattering seed
at every step. The seed consists of his thoughts, his words, his
actions. They pass from him, and by and by (it may be sooner or
later), they spring up and bear fruit, and the reaping time comes.


Life a Seed-Time.

The analogy contains some solemn lessons. Life is to be regarded as
a seed-time. Every one has his field to sow, to cultivate, and
finally, to reap. By our habits, by our intercourse with friends and
companions, by exposing ourselves to good or bad influences, we are
cultivating the seed for the coming harvest. We cannot see the seed
as it grows and develops, but time will reveal it.

Just as the full-grown harvest is potentially contained in the seed,
so the full results of sin or holiness are potentially contained in
the sinful or holy deed. "When lust hath conceived, it bringeth
forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

Just as we cannot reap a good harvest unless we have sown good seed,
so we cannot reap eternal life unless we have sown to the Spirit.
Weeds are easy to grow. They grow without the planting. And sin
springs up naturally in the human heart. Ever since our first
parents broke away from God, the human heart has of itself been
thoroughly vile, and all its fruits have been evil. "The heart of
the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Do you doubt it?
If you do, ask yourself what would become of a child if it was left
to itself--no training, no guidance, no education. In spite of all
that is done for children, the evil too often gets the upper hand.
The good seed must be planted and cared for, often with toil and
trouble: but the harvest will be sure.

Do we desire the love of our fellows in our seasons of trial? Then
we must love them when they need its cheering influence most. Do we
long for sympathy in our sorrow and pain? Then we shall have it if
we have also wept with those who weep. Are we hoping to reap eternal
life? Then we must not sow to the flesh, or we shall reap
corruption, but to the Spirit, then the promise is that we shall
reap its immortal fruits.

Dr. Chalmers has drawn attention to _the difference between the act
of sowing and the act of reaping_. "Let it be observed," he says,
"that the act of indulging in the desires of the flesh is one thing
and the act of providing for the indulgence of them is another. When
a man, on the impulse of sudden provocation, wreaks his resentful
feelings upon the neighbor who has offended him, he is not at that
time preparing for the indulgence of a carnal feeling, but actually
indulging it. He is not at that time sowing, but reaping (such as it
is) a harvest of gratification. This distinction may serve to assist
our judgment in estimating the ungodliness of certain characters.
The rambling voluptuary who is carried along by every impulse, and
all whose powers of mental discipline are so enfeebled that he has
become the slave of every propensity, lives in the perpetual harvest
of criminal gratification. A daughter whose sole delight is in her
rapid transitions from one scene of expensive brilliancy to another,
who dissipates every care and fills every hour among the frivolities
and fascinations of her volatile society,--she leads a life than
which nothing can be imagined more opposite to a life of preparation
for the coming judgment or the coming eternity. Yet she _reaps_
rather than _sows_. It lies with another to gather the money which
purchaseth all things, and with her to taste the fruits of the
purchase. _It is the father who sows_. It is he who sits in busy and
brooding anxiety over his speculations, wrinkled, perhaps, by care,
and sobered by years into an utter distaste for the splendors and
insignificancies of fashionable life." The father sows, and he reaps
in his daughter's life.


"Painting for Eternity."

A famous painter was well known for the careful manner in which he
went about his work. When some one asked him why he took such pains,
he replied:

"Because I am painting for eternity."

It is a solemn thing to think that _the future will be the harvest
of the present_--that my condition in my dying hour may depend upon
my actions to-day! Belief in a future life and in a coming judgment
magnifies the importance of the present. Eternal issues depend upon
it. The opportunity for sowing will not last forever; it is slipping
through our fingers moment by moment; and the future can only reveal
the harvest of the seed sown now.

A sculptor once showed a visitor his studio. It was full of statues
of gods. One was very curious. The face was concealed by being
covered with hair, and there were wings on each foot.

"What is his name?" said the visitor.

"Opportunity," was the reply.

"Why is his face hidden?"

"Because men seldom know him when he comes to them."

"Why has he wings on his feet?"

"Because he is soon gone, and once gone can never be overtaken."

It becomes us, then, to make the most of the opportunities God has
given us. It depends a good deal on ourselves what our future shall
be. We can sow for a good harvest, or we can do like the Sioux
Indians, who once, when the United States Commissioner of Indian
Affairs sent them a supply of grain for sowing, ate it up. Men are
constantly sacrificing their eternal future to the passing enjoyment
of the present moment; they fail or neglect to recognize the
dependence of the future upon the present.


Nothing Trifling.

From this we may learn that there is no such thing as a trifle on
earth. When we realize that every thought and word and act has an
eternal influence, and will come back to us in the same way as the
seed returns in the harvest, we must perceive their responsibility,
however trifling they may seem. We are apt to overlook the results
that hinge on small things. The law of gravitation was suggested by
the fall of an apple. It is said that some years ago a Harvard
professor brought some gypsy-moths to this country in the hope that
they could with advantage be crossed with silkworms. The moths
accidentally got away, and multiplied so enormously that the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts has had to spend hundreds of thousands
of dollars trying to exterminate them.

When H. M. Stanley was pressing his way through the forests of
Darkest Africa, the most formidable foes that he encountered, those
that caused most loss of life to his caravan and came the nearest to
entirely defeating his expedition, were the little Wambutti dwarfs.
So annoying were they that very slow progress could be made through
their dwelling places.

These little men had only little bows and little arrows that looked
like children's playthings, but upon these tiny arrows there was a
small drop of poison which would kill an elephant or a man as
quickly and as surely as a Winchester rifle. Their defense was by
means of poison and traps. They would steal through the darkness of
the forest and, waiting in ambush, let fly their deadly arrows
before they could be discovered. They dug ditches and carefully
covered them over with leaves. They fixed spikes in the ground and
tipped them with the most deadly poison, and then covered them. Into
these ditches and on these spikes man and beast would fall or step
to their death.

A lady once writing to a young man in the navy who was almost a
stranger, thought "Shall I close this as anybody would, or shall I
say a word for my Master?" and, lifting up her heart for a moment,
she wrote, telling him that his constant change of scene and place
was an apt illustration of the word, "_Here we have no continuing
city_," and asked if he could say: "I seek one to come." Tremblingly
she folded it and sent it off.

Back came the answer. "Thank you so much for those kind words! I am
an orphan, and no one has spoken to me like that since my mother
died, long years ago." The arrow shot at venture hit home, and the
young man shortly after rejoiced in the fulness of the blessing of
the gospel of peace.

An obscure man preached one Sunday to a few persons in a Methodist
chapel in the South of England. A boy of fifteen years of age was in
the audience, driven into the chapel by a snowstorm. The man took as
his text the words, "Look unto me and be ye saved," and as he
stumbled along as best he could, the light of heaven flashed into
that boy's heart. He went out of the chapel saved, and soon became
known as C. H. Spurgeon, the boy-preacher.

The parsonage at Epworth, England, caught fire one night, and all
the inmates were rescued except one son. The boy came to a window,
and was brought safely to the ground by two farm-hands, one standing
on the shoulder of the other. The boy was John Wesley. If you would
realize the responsibility of that incident, if you would measure
the consequences of that rescue, ask the millions of Methodists who
look back to John Wesley as the founder of their denomination.



BE NOT DECEIVED; GOD IS NOT MOCKED.


"_Let no man deceive you_."--Eph. v: 6.

"_As one man mocketh another, do ye so mock Him?_"--Job xiii: 9.


CHAPTER II.


Be Not Deceived: God Is Not Mocked.


We have all lived long enough to know what it is to be deceived. We
have been deceived by our friends, by our enemies, our neighbors,
our relatives. Ungodly companions have deceived us. At every turn of
life we have been imposed upon in one way or another.

False teachers have crossed our path, and under pretence of doing us
good, have poisoned our mind with error. They have held out hopes to
us that have proved false; apples of Sodom, fair without, but full
of ashes within. They have told us that there is no God, no future
life, no judgment to come; or they have said that all men will be
saved, that there is ample time to repent, that we may be saved by
doing the best we can.

Sin has deceived us. Every sinner is under a delusion. Sin meets him
smilingly, and holds out to him pleasures and delights that are not
pure and lasting.

During our meetings in Boston a young man came into the Tabernacle.
He looked around, and he thought to himself the people that came
there were great fools--those who had business, and comfortable
homes, and good clothes. He had nothing in the world--he was a
tramp, and went in there to keep himself warm. But to think that
people who had homes would come and spend their time in listening to
such stuff as I preached was more than he could understand.

One night after he had been coming there for two weeks, I happened
to point right down where he was sitting, and I said, "Young man, be
not deceived!" God used that as an arrow. He began to think about
himself. His mind went back to the time when he had a good situation
in Boston; when he was a young man getting a good salary; when he
was in good society, and had a great many friends.

Then he looked at his present condition. His friends were all gone,
his clothes were gone, his money was gone; and there he was, an
outcast in that city. He said to himself, "I have been deceived,"
and that very hour God waked him. He wanted to get friends to pray
for him; but as he was not able to buy a piece of paper, or pay for
a postage stamp, he got an old piece of soiled paper, stood up in
the street, and wrote a request to be read in the Tabernacle, that
if God would save a poor, lost man like him, he wanted to be saved.
That prayer was answered. As in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, his
friends gathered around him again, and the Lord restored him to
position and to society. His eyes were opened to see how he had been
deceived.


Satan.

How many men all over the world are being deceived by the god of
this world! It has been asserted that during the late Franco-German
war, German drummers and trumpeters used to give the French beats
and calls in order to deceive their enemies. The command to "halt,"
or "cease firing," was often given by the Germans, it has been said,
and the French soldiers were thus placed in positions where they
could be shot down like cattle.

Satan is the arch-enemy of our souls, and he has often blinded our
reason and deceived our conscience by his falsehoods. He has often
come as an angel of light, concealing his hideousness under a
borrowed cloak. He says to a young man: "Sow your wild oats. Time
enough to be religious when you grow old." The young man yields
himself to a life of extravagance and excess, under the false hope
that he will obtain solid satisfaction; and it is well if he awakens
to the deception before his appetites become tyrants, dragging him
down into depths of want and woe. Satan promises great things to his
victims in the indulgence of their lusts, but they never realize the
promises. The promised pleasure turns out to be pain, the promised
heaven a hell.

Beware lest Satan deceive you as he deceived Eve in the beginning.
"There is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of
his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it."


Our Heart.

But we have been deceived by our own heart most of all. Who has not
proved the truth of the Scripture: "The heart is deceitful above all
things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" How many times we
have said that we never would do a certain thing again, and then
have done it within twenty-four hours! A man may think he has
fathomed its depths, but he finds there are further depths he has
not reached. What gross self-deception is due to it! "He that
trusteth in his own heart is a fool," said Solomon. Luther once said
he feared his own heart more than the Pope and all the cardinals.

Many a weeping wife has come to me about her husband, saying: "He is
good at heart." The truth is--that is the worst spot in him. If the
heart was good, all else would be right. Out of the heart are the
issues of life. Christ said: "From within, out of the heart of men,
proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts,
covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye,
blasphemy, pride, foolishness." That is Christ's own statement
regarding the unregenerate heart.

Some years ago a remarkable picture was exhibited in London. As you
looked at it from a distance, you seemed to see a monk engaged in
prayer, his hands clasped, his head bowed. As you came nearer,
however, and examined the painting more closely, you saw that in
reality he was squeezing a lemon into a punchbowl!

What a picture that is of the human heart! Superficially examined,
it is thought to be the seat of all that is good and noble and
pleasing in a man; whereas in reality, until regenerated by the Holy
Ghost, it is the seat of all corruption. "This is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world, and men _loved darkness rather
than light_."

A Jewish rabbi once asked his scholars what was the best thing a man
could have in order to keep him in the straight path. One said _a
good disposition;_ another, _a good companion;_ another said
_wisdom_ was the best thing he could desire. At last a scholar
replied that he thought _a good heart_ was best of all.

"True," said the rabbi, "you have comprehended all that the others
have said. For he that hath a good heart will be of a good
disposition, and a good companion, and a wise man. Let every one,
therefore, cultivate a sincerity and uprightness of heart at all
times, and it will save him an abundance of sorrow." We need to make
the prayer of David--"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a
right spirit within me!"


God Is Not Mocked.

Bear in mind, the God of the Bible has never deceived anyone, and
never can, and never will; that is the difference between the God of
the Bible and the god of this world. He beholds the ways of men; He
looks into their hearts; He knows their secret ways; they need not
tell Him or try to conceal anything from Him.

However successfully we may deceive or be deceived by ourselves or
others, we cannot deceive Him. Adam and Eve tried it in Eden when
they hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah amongst the trees
of the garden. Saul tried it when he spared the best of the sheep
and oxen of the Amalekites under the pretence of sacrificing them to
God. Ananias and Sapphira tried it when they kept back part of the
price of the land they sold. "Why hath Satan filled thine heart to
lie unto (deceive) the Holy Ghost? * * * Thou hast not lied unto
men, but unto God."

Men try it every day. They have got it into their heads that God can
be mocked. Because they can deceive their pastor, and their
employer, and their friends, they think they can deceive God. They
put on false appearances, they use empty words, they perform unreal
service, they make idle excuses, they indulge in all kinds of
hypocrisy. But it is of no avail. God cannot be imposed upon. He
sees the corruption inside the whited sepulchre.


Warning to Christians.

It is worth noticing that this warning was given by Paul to
Christian men--converts in the Galatian church. After all, a man is
not all the time deceived about the grosser sins. The drunkard
realizes in his sober moments what must be the end of a course of
intemperance. Loss of self-respect and of the esteem of friends, the
marks he soon begins to bear in his body--unsteady hands and
discolored features--these things are the quick harvest of
drunkenness, and may easily be detected as they ripen. The
licentious man, also, reaps the early fruit of his sin in diseases
of the body, which are often effective warnings against continuing
in such a dangerous path. But with "respectable" sins it is
different. A man may be sowing for years, and not even realize it
himself.

You remember that in the parable of the sower some seeds fell among
thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked them. Our Master,
expounding this parable, said: "He that received seed among the
thorns is he that heareth the word: but _the care of this world and
the deceitfulness of riches_ choke the word, and he becometh
unfruitful." Who would have expected this result of the world or of
riches? But it has been said that Christ never spoke of riches
except in words of warning. We are not apt to regard them in that
light to-day. Men are trampling each other down in the pursuit of
wealth. "Be not deceived." He who sets his heart upon money is
sowing to the flesh, and shall of the flesh reap corruption.
"Adversity hath slain her thousands, but prosperity her tens of
thousands."

"What is the value of this estate?" said a gentleman to another, as
they passed a fine mansion surrounded by fair and fertile fields.

"I don't know what it is valued at; I know what it cost its late
possessor."

"How much?"

"His soul."

An English clergyman was called to the death-bed of a wealthy
parishioner. Kneeling beside the dying man the pastor asked him to
take his hand as he prayed for his upholding in that solemn hour,
but he declined to give it. After the end had come, and they turned
down the coverlet, the rigid hands were found holding the safe-key
in their death-grip. Heart and hand, to the last, clinging to his
possessions, but he could not take them with him.

A man may be proud, and his very sin reckoned a virtue. Hear what
the Word of God says: "Haughtiness of eyes and a proud heart is
sin"; "every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the
Lord."

These are the mistakes men make. They are leading respectable lives,
and they think that all is well. They do not recognize the taint of
corruption upon many of the most cherished objects of their hearts.
Christian professors, most of all, need to beware lest they are
being deceived.


Neglect.

How watchful men should be of their thoughts, their practices, their
feelings! The reason of deception is, for the most part, neglect.
Men do not stop to examine themselves, to lay their hearts and minds
bare as in the sight of God, and judge themselves by His most holy
will. A man need not shoot himself in order to commit suicide: he
need only neglect the proper means of sustenance, and he will soon
die. Where an enemy is strong and aggressive, an army is doomed to
sure defeat and capture unless a sharp look-out is kept, every man
wide awake at his post of duty.

It has been noticed that there are more accidents in Switzerland in
fine seasons than in stormy ones. People are apt to undertake
expeditions that they would not take under less favorable
conditions, and they are less careful in their conduct. And so it is
that moral and spiritual disaster usually overtakes men when they
are off their guard, careless against temptation. They become proud
and self-reliant in seasons of prosperity, whereas adversity drives
them to the living God for guidance and comfort.

Dr. Johnson once said that it is more from carelessness regarding
the truth than from intentional lying that there is so much
falsehood in the world.

Hence the necessity of continual watchfulness. The Persians had an
annual festival when they slew all the serpents and venomous
creatures they could find; but they allowed them to swarm as fast
and freely as ever until the festival came round once more. It was
poor policy. Sins, like serpents, breed quickly, and need to be
constantly watched.

And we ought to watch on every side. Many a man has fallen at the
very point where he thought he was safest. The meekness of Moses has
passed into a proverb. Yet he lost the Promised Land, because he
allowed the children of Israel to provoke him, and "he spake
unadvisedly with his lips." Peter was the most zealous and defiant
of the disciples, bold and outspoken; yet he degenerated for a short
time into a lying, swearing, sneaking coward, afraid of a maid.

There is an old fable that a doe that had but one eye used to graze
near the sea; and in order to be safe, she kept her blind eye toward
the water, from which side she expected no danger, while with the
good eye she watched the country. Some men, perceiving this, took a
boat and came upon her from the sea and shot her. With her dying
breath, she said:

"Oh! hard fate! that I should receive my death-wound from that side
whence I expected no harm, and be safe in the part where I looked
for most danger."

Let danger and need drive you closer to God. He never slumbers or
sleeps, and in His keeping you will be safe. Seize hold of Him in
prayer. "Watch and pray."


Christianity Not Responsible.

Christianity is not responsible for the deception that exists among
its professing disciples. The illustration has been used before that
you might just as reasonably hold the Cunard company responsible for
the suicide of a passenger who jumps overboard one of their vessels
at sea. Had the person remained on the vessel, he would have been
safe; and had the disciple remained true to his principles, he would
never have turned out a hypocrite. Was anybody ever more severe in
denouncing hypocrisy than Christ? Do you want to know the reason
why, every now and then, the church is scandalized by the exposure
of some leading church member or Sabbath school superintendent? It
is not his Christianity, but his lack of it. Some secret sin has
been eating at the heart of the tree, and in a critical moment it is
blown down and its rottenness revealed.


The Deception Can Not Last Forever.

It is impossible for the deception to last forever. Lincoln had a
saying that you may be able to deceive all the people some of the
time, and some of the people all of the time, but you will not be
able to deceive all the people all of the time. Death will uncover
the deception, if it has not been detected sooner; and the
unfortunate victim will stand, undeceived, in the presence of a God
who cannot be mocked.



WHEN A MAN SOWS, HE EXPECTS TO REAP.


"_Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the
earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and
latter rain_."--James v: 7.


CHAPTER III.


When a Man Sows, He Expects to Reap.


Notice these four things about sowing and reaping: A man expects to
reap when he sows; he expects to reap the same kind of seed that he
sows; he expects to reap more; and ignorance of the kind of seed
makes no difference.

First: _When a man sows, he expects to reap_.

If a farmer went on sowing, spring after spring, and never reaping
in the autumn, you would say he was a fit subject for the lunatic
asylum. No; he is always looking forward to the time when he will
reap the reward of his toil. He never expects that the seed he has
sown will be lost.

A young man serves a long apprenticeship to some trade or
profession; but he expects by and by to reap the fruit of all those
years of patient industry. Ask an engineer why he works so hard for
five, six, or seven years in the endeavor to learn his profession.
He replies that he is looking forward to the reaping time, when his
fortune and reputation will be made. The lawyer studies long and
hard; but he, too, anticipates the time when his clients will be
numerous, and he will be repaid for his toil. A great many medical
students have a hard time trying to support themselves while they
are at college. As soon as they get their diploma and become doctors
they expect that the reaping time is coming; that is what they have
been working for.

Some harvests ripen almost immediately, but as a rule we find it
true in the natural world that _there is delay_ before the seed
comes to maturity. It is growing all the time, however; first the
little green shoot breaking through the soil, then the blade, then
the ear, then the full corn in the ear. The farmer is not
disappointed because all his crops do not spring up in a night like
mushrooms. He looks forward with patience, knowing that the reaping
time will come in due season.

So with the harvest of our actions. Few men, if any, would indulge
in sin unless they expected pleasure out of it. A drunkard does not
drink for the mere sake of drinking, but in the hope of present
enjoyment. A thief does not steal for the mere sake of stealing, but
for the sake of gain. And similarly with the good man. He does not
make sacrifices merely for the sake of sacrifice, but because
thereby he hopes and expects to do good, and help others. All these
things are means to ends: there is always expectation of a harvest.


The Certainty of the Reaping.

The text bids us look forward to the certainty of the reaping:
"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

We know what it is to have a failure of the crops, but in the
spiritual world no such failure is possible. Wet soil may rot the
seed, or frost may nip the early buds, or the weather may prove too
wet or too dry to bring the crops to maturity, but none of these
things occur to prevent the harvest of one's actions. The Bible
tells us that God will render to every man according to his deeds.
"To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and
honor and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are
contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,
indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of
man that doeth evil." How careful we should be of our actions in all
departments of our being, physical, moral, intellectual! The deeds
we do, the words we speak, the thoughts we harbor, are all recorded,
and shall meet their just reward, for God is no respecter of
persons.

And it must not be overlooked that _the harvest comes as a necessary
consequence of the sowing_. It has been said that God is not a sort
of a moral despot, as He is so frequently regarded. He does not sit
on a throne, attaching penalties to particular actions as they come
up for judgment. He has laid down certain laws, of which the law of
sowing and reaping is one, and punishment is the natural outcome of
sin. There is no escape. It must be borne; and though others may
have to reap _with_ you, no one can reap _for_ you.

The text teaches, further, that _the harvest is one or other of two
kinds_. There are two, and only two, directions in which the law
leads: Sowing to the flesh, and a harvest of corruption--sowing to
the Spirit, and a harvest of everlasting life.


Sowing to the Flesh.

"Sowing to the flesh" does not mean simply taking due care of the
body. The body was made in the image of God, and the body of a
believer is a temple of the Holy Ghost, and we may be sure that due
care for the image is well-pleasing to God. The expression refers
rather to pandering to the lusts of the body, pampering it,
providing gratification for its unlawful desires at the expense of
the higher part of a man, indulging the animal propensities which in
their excess are sinful. "Sowing to the flesh" is scattering the
seeds of selfishness, which always must yield a harvest of
corruption.

"When we were in the flesh, the motions of sins did work in our
members to bring forth fruit unto death." And what does Paul say are
the works of the flesh? "Adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations,
wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness,
revellings, and such like."

I was at the Paris exhibition in 1867, and I noticed there a little
oil painting, only about a foot square, and the face was the most
hideous I have ever seen. On the paper attached to the painting were
the words "Sowing the tares," and the face looked more like a
demon's than a man's. As he sowed these tares, up came serpents and
reptiles, and they were crawling up on his body, and all around were
woods with wolves and animals prowling in them. I have seen that
picture many times since. Ah! the reaping time is coming. If you sow
to the flesh you must reap the flesh. If you sow to the wind you
must reap the whirlwind.

And yet it must not be thought that indulgence in the grosser vices
is the only way of sowing to the flesh. Every desire, every action
that has not God for its end and object is seed sown to the flesh.
If a man is sowing for a harvest of money or ambition, he is sowing
to the flesh, and will reap corruption, just as surely as the liar
and adulterer. No matter how "polite" and "refined" and
"respectable" the seed may be, no matter how closely it resembles
the good seed, its true nature will out, the blight of corruption
will be upon it.

How foolish are the strivings of men in view of this judgment! Many
a man will sacrifice time, health--even his character--for money.
What does he gain? Corruption; something that is not eternal, that
has not the qualities of "everlasting life." John said, "The world
passeth away, and the lust thereof." Peter said, "All flesh is as
grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass
withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away." None of these
fleshly things have their roots in the eternal. You may even outlive
them in your own short life.


No Bridge Between.

Now, men make this mistake--they sow to the flesh, and they think
they will reap the harvest of the spirit; and on the other hand,
they sow to the spirit and are disappointed when they do not reap a
temporal harvest.

A teacher had been relating to his class the parable of the rich man
and Lazarus, and he asked:

"Now, which would you rather be, boys, the rich man or Lazarus?"

One boy answered, "I would rather be the rich man while I live, and
Lazarus when I die."

That cannot be: it is flesh and corruption, or, Spirit and
everlasting life. There is no bridge from one to the other.

"Seed which is sown for a spiritual harvest has no tendency whatever
to procure temporal well-being. Christ declared, 'Blessed are the
pure in heart; for they shall see God; blessed are they that hunger
and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled' (with
righteousness); 'blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be
comforted.' You observe the beatific vision of the Almighty--fulness
of righteousness--divine comfort. There is nothing earthly here, it
is spiritual results for spiritual labor. It is not said that the
pure in heart shall be made rich; or that they who hunger and thirst
after righteousness shall be filled with bread, or that they who
mourn shall rise in life, and obtain distinction. Each department
has its own appropriate harvest, reserved exclusively to its own
method of sowing.

"Everything reaps its own harvest, every act has its own reward. And
before you covet the enjoyment which another possesses, you must
first calculate the cost at which it was procured.

"For instance, the religious tradesman complains that his honesty is
a hindrance to his success; that the tide of custom pours into the
doors of his less scrupulous neighbor in the same street, while he
himself waits for hours idle. My brother, do you think that God is
going to reward honor, integrity, high-mindedness, with this world's
coin? Do you fancy that He will pay spiritual excellence with plenty
of custom? Now consider the price that man has paid for his success.
Perhaps mental degradation and inward dishonor. His advertisements
are all deceptive, his treatment of his workmen tyrannical, his
cheap prices made possible by inferior articles. Sow that man's
seed, and you will reap that man's harvest. Cheat, lie, be
unscrupulous in your assertions, and custom will come to you. But if
the price be too high, let him have his harvest, and you take yours
--a clear conscience, a pure mind, rectitude within and without. Will
you part with that for his harvest?"


Sowing to the Spirit.

"Sowing to the Spirit" implies self-denial, resistance of evil,
obedience to the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, living in the
Spirit, guidance by the Spirit. We sow to the Spirit when we use our
abilities and means to advance Spiritual things; when we support and
encourage those who are extending the influence of the Spirit. We
sow to the Spirit when we crucify the flesh and all its lusts, when
we yield ourselves to Him as we once yielded ourselves to the flesh.
A Jewish rabbi once said: "There are in every man two impulses, good
and evil. He who offers God his evil impulses offers the best
sacrifice."

The fruit of such sowing is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."

In this world the harvest is growth of character, deeper respect,
increasing usefulness to others; in the next world, acceptance with
God, everlasting life.

Among the last recorded words of Henry Lloyd Garrison in his public
speeches in England were these "I began my advocacy of the anti
-slavery cause in the Northern States of America, in the midst of
brickbats and rotten eggs; and I ended it on the soil of South
Carolina almost literally buried beneath the wreaths of flowers
which were heaped upon me by her liberated bondmen."

A young man was employed by a large commission firm in New York City
during the late civil war, to negotiate with a certain party for a
lot of damaged beans. The beans were purchased, delivered, and
spread out upon the upper floor of the building occupied by the
firm.

Men were employed to turn them over and over, and to sprinkle them
with a solution of soda, so as to improve their appearance and
render them more salable. A large lot of the first quality of beans
was then purchased; some of the good beans were first put into
barrels, then the barrels were nearly filled with the poor ones;
after this the good ones were again put on the top and the barrels
headed up for sale.

The employer marked the barrels, "Beans--A 1." The clerk seeing
this, said: "Do you think, sir, that it is right to mark those beans
A 1?"

The employer retorted sharply: "Are you head of the firm?"

The clerk said no more. The barreling and heading went on. When all
was ready, the beans (many hundreds of barrels) were put on the
market for sale. Specimens of the best quality were shown in the
office to buyers.

At length a shrewd purchaser came in (no man is so sharp in business
but he will often meet his equal), examined the samples in the
office, inquired the price, and then wished to see the stock in
bulk. The clerk was ordered to go with the buyer to the upper loft
and show him the stock. An open barrel was shown apparently of the
same quality of the sample. The buyer then said to the clerk:

"Young man, the samples of beans shown me are of the first quality,
and it is impossible to purchase beans anywhere in the market for
the price at which you offer them; there is something wrong here.
Tell me, are these beans the same quality throughout the entire
barrel as they appear on the top?"

The clerk now found himself in a strange position. He thought,
"Shall I lie for my employer, as he undoubtedly means I shall; or
shall I tell the truth, come what will?" He decided for the truth,
and said:

"No, sir, they are not."

"Then," said the customer. "I do not want them"; and he left.

The clerk enterers the office. The employer said to him: "Did you
sell that man those beans?"

He said, "No, sir."

"Why not?"

"Well, sir, the man asked me if those beans were of the same quality
through the entire barrel as they appeared on the top. I told him
they were not. He then said: 'I do not want them,' and left."

"Go to the cashier," said the employer, "and get your wages; we want
you no longer."

He received his pay and left the office, rejoicing that he had not
lied for the purposes of abetting a sordid avariciousness, and
benefiting an unprincipled employer.

Three weeks after this the firm sent after the young clerk,
entreated him to come back again into their employ, and offered him
three hundred dollars salary more per year than they had ever before
given him.

And thus was his honesty and truthfulness rewarded. The firm knew
and felt that the man was right, although apparently they had lost
largely by his honesty. They wished to have him again in their
employ, because they knew that they could trust him, and never
suffer through fraud and deception. They knew that their financial
interests would be safe in his custody. They respected and honored
that young man.


The Lesson of Patience.

Let us learn the lesson of patience. "Behold the husbandman waiteth
for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it,
until he receive the early and latter rain." Delay does not mean
denial. Too often one generation sows and another has to reap. God
is a jealous God, "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the
children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate
Him."

In the early years of Israel's existence as a separate people, God
commanded them to give the land of Canaan rest every seventh year.

"Six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits
thereof: but the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still;
that the poor of thy people may eat, and what they leave the beasts
of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy
vineyard, and with thy olive yard." From the anointing of Saul to be
king this law was not observed. After four hundred and ninety years
God gave the nation into captivity for seventy years. During this
period the land had rest; seventy sabbath years to compensate for
the sabbath years of which it had been deprived. Those Israelites
sowed the bitter seed of disobedience, and their descendants had to
reap the harvest in exile and captivity.

A leading surgeon performed a critical operation before his class
one day. The operation was successful, as far as his part was
concerned. But he turned to the class and said: "Six years ago a
wise way of living might have prevented this disease. Two years ago
a safe and simple operation might have cured it. We have done our
best to-day as the case now stands, but Nature will have her word to
say. She does not always repeal her capital sentences." Next day the
patient died, reaping the fruit of his excesses.

Paul says: "Let us not be weary in well-doing; in due season we
shall reap if we faint not."

In a recent chat with an interviewer, Mr. Edison quite unconsciously
preached a most powerful sermon on perseverance and patience.

He described his repeated efforts to make the phonograph reproduce
the aspirated sound, and added: "From eighteen to twenty hours a day
for the last seven months I have worked on this single word
'specia.' I said into the phonograph, 'specia, specia, specia,' but
the instrument responded, 'pecia, pecia, pecia.' It was enough to
drive one mad! But I held firm, and I have succeeded."

An insurance case was brought to Daniel Webster when he was a young
lawyer in Portsmouth. Only a small amount was involved, and a
twenty-dollar fee was all that was promised. He saw that to do his
client full justice, a journey to Boston would be desirable, in
order to consult the law library. He would be out of pocket by the
expedition, and for the time he would receive no adequate
compensation. But he determined to do his best, cost what it might.
He accordingly went to Boston and looked up the authorities, and
gained the case.

Years after, Webster, who had meanwhile become famous, was passing
through New York. An important insurance case was to be tried that
day, and one of the counsel had suddenly been taken ill. Money was
no object, and Webster was begged to name his terms and conduct the
case.

"I told them," said Mr. Webster, "that it was preposterous to expect
me to prepare a legal argument at a few hours notice. They insisted,
however, that I should look at the papers; and this I finally
consented to do. It was my old twenty-dollar case over again; and as
I never forget anything, I had all the authorities at my fingers'
ends. The court knew that I had no time to prepare, and were
astonished at the range of my acquirements. So you see, I was
handsomely repaid both in fame and money for that journey to Boston;
and the moral is that good work is rewarded in the end."

Two men were digging in California for gold. They worked a good deal
and got nothing. At last one of them threw down his tools and said:

"I will leave here before we starve"; and he left.

The next day his comrade's patience was rewarded by finding a nugget
that supported him until he made a fortune.

"Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,
therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do
evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be
prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that
fear God, which fear before Him; but it shall not be well with the
wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow;
because he feareth not before God."

The idea that because a person does a thing in the dark it will
never be brought to light, is fatal--God says it _shall_ be brought
to light. It is folly for a man who has covered his sins to think
there shall be no resurrection of them and no final adjudication.
Look at the sons of Jacob. They sold Joseph and deceived their
father. Twenty long years rolled away, and away down to Egypt their
sin followed them; for they said: "We are guilty of the blood of our
brother." The reaping time had come at last, for those ten boys who
sold their brother.

I was once preaching in Chicago, and a woman who was nearly out of
her mind came to me. You know there are some people who mock at
religions meetings, and say that religion drives people mad. It is
_sin_ that drives people mad. It is the want of Christ that sinks
people into despair. This was the woman's story: She had a family of
children. One of her neighbors had died, and her husband had brought
home a little child. She said, "I don't want the child," but her
husband said, "You must take it and look after it." She said she had
enough to do with her own, and she told her husband to take that
child away. But he would not. She confessed that she tried to starve
the child; but it lingered on. One night it cried all night; I
suppose it wanted food. At last she took the clothes and threw them
over the child, and smothered it. No one saw her; no one knew
anything about it. The child was buried. Years had passed away; and
she said, "I hear the voice of that child day and night. It has
driven me nearly mad." No one saw the act; but God had seen it, and
this retribution followed it. History is full of these things. You
need not go to the Bible to find it out.



A MAN EXPECTS TO REAP THE SAME KIND AS HE SOWS.


"_Herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit . .
. after his kind_."--Gen. i: 12.

"_Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?_"--Matt. vii:
16.

"_For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through
the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live_."
--Romans viii: 13.


CHAPTER IV.


A Man Expects to Reap the Same Kind as He Sows.


If I should tell you that I sowed ten acres of wheat last year and
that watermelons came up, or that I sowed cucumbers and gathered
turnips, you wouldn't believe it. It is a fixed law that you reap
the same kind of seed you sow. Plant wheat and you reap wheat, plant
an acorn and there comes up an oak, plant a little elm and in time
you have a big elm.

One day, the master of Lukman, an Eastern fabulist, said to him, "Go
into such a field, and sow barley." Lukman sowed oats instead. At
the time of harvest his master went to the place, and, seeing the
green oats springing up, asked him:

"Did I not tell you to sow barley here? Why, then, have you sown
oats?"

He answered, "I sowed oats in the hope that barley would grow up."

His master said, "What foolish idea is this? Have you ever heard of
the like?"

Lukman replied, "You yourself are constantly sowing in the field of
the world the seeds of evil, and yet expect to reap in the
resurrection day the fruits of virtue. Therefore I thought, also, I
might get barley by sowing oats."

The master was abashed at the reply and set Lukman free.

Like produces like in vegetation, and like produces like in labor.
If a man has learnt the trade of a carpenter, he does not expect to
excel as a watchmaker. If he has toiled hard to acquire a knowledge
of the law, he does not expect to practice medicine for a
livelihood. Men expect to reap in the same line as they have
learned.

This law is just as true in God's kingdom as in man's kingdom; just
as true in the spiritual world as in the natural world. If I sow
tares, I am going to reap tares; if I sow a lie, I am going to reap
lies; if I sow adultery. I am going to reap adulterers; if I sow
whisky, I am going to reap drunkards. You cannot blot this law out,
it is in force. No other truth in the Bible is more solemn.

Suppose that a neighbor, whom I don't want to see, comes to my house
and I tell my son to tell him, if he asks for me, that I am out of
town. He goes to the door and lies to my neighbor; it will not be
six months before that boy will lie to me; I will reap that lie.

A man said to me some time ago, "Why is it that we can not get
honest clerks now?"

I replied, "I don't know, but perhaps I can imagine a reason. When
merchants teach clerks to say that goods are all wool when they are
half cotton, and to adulterate groceries and say they are pure, when
they grind up white marble and put it into pulverized sugar, and the
clerk knows it, you will not have honest clerks."

As long as merchants teach their clerks to lie and to misrepresent,
to put a French or an English tag on domestic goods and sell them
for imported goods, so long they will have dishonest clerks.
Dishonest merchants make dishonest clerks. I am not talking fiction,
I am talking truth. It is not poetry, but solemn prose that a man
must reap the same kind of seed that he sows.

This is a tremendous argument against selling liquor. Leaving out
the temperance and religious aspects of the question, no man on
earth can afford to sell strong drink. If I sell liquor to your son
and make a drunkard of him, some man will sell liquor to my son and
make a drunkard of him. Every man who sells liquor has a drunken son
or a drunken brother or some drunken relative. Where are the sons of
liquor dealers? To whom are their daughters married? Look around and
see if you can find a man who has been in that business twenty years
who has not a skeleton in his own family.

I threw that challenge down once, and a man said to me the next day,
"I wasn't at your meeting last night, but I understand you made the
astounding statement that no man had been in the liquor business
twenty years who hadn't the curse in his own family."

"Yes," I said, "I did."

"It isn't true," he said, "and I want you to take it back. My father
was a rumseller, and I am a rumseller, and the curse has never come
into my father's family or into mine."

I said, "What! two generations selling that infernal stuff, and the
curse has never come into the family! I will investigate it, and if
I find I am wrong I will make the retraction just as publicly as I
did the statement."

There were two prominent citizens of the town in the room, on whose
faces I noticed a peculiar expression as the man was talking. After
he left, one of them said:

"Do you know, Mr. Moody, that man's own brother was a drunkard and
committed suicide a few weeks ago and left a widow with seven
children; they are under his roof now! He was a terrible drunkard
himself until the shock of his brother's suicide cured him."

I don't know how you can account for it unless he thought his
brother wasn't a relative. Perhaps he was a sort of a Cainite,
saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?"

When I was a pastor of a church in Chicago we were trying to get
hold of the working-men. They used to say:

"Come down to the factory at dinner-time and we will give you a
chance to speak."

I would ask them, "Why won't you come to the church?"

"Oh," they would say, "you have it all your own way there, and we
can't answer back; but come to the factory and we will put a few
questions to you."

So I went down, and they made it pretty hot for me sometimes. One of
the favorite characters that they brought up was Jacob. Many a time
I have had men say, "You think Jacob was a saint, don't you? He was
a big rascal." Many have said they thought Jacob wasn't as good as
Esau. Notice this fact. You read in the Bible, "I will punish Jacob
according to his doings." This law of retribution runs through his
Life; although he was a friend of God, a kinsman of Abraham, and was
third in the line of the covenant, yet God made Jacob reap the same
kind of seed he sowed. Some one has said that "Jacob's misfortunes
were uniformly calculated to bring back to his recollection the
picture as well as the punishment of his faults."

When Isaac in his old age wanted some venison, and sent Esau out to
get it, Jacob slipped out and took a kid from his father's flock,
and Rebekah, his mother, cooked it; he brought it to his old blind
father and said he was Esau. The old man recognized his voice, but
he had very cunningly put the skin of the kid on his hands and neck;
so that the old man felt him and said;

"The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau."

By this lie he got his brother's birthright blessing, but he paid
ten thousand times more for it than it was worth. "Who steals my
purse steals trash." A man who steals my pocketbook is the chief
sufferer, not I. When Jacob had grown to be an old man, he lived in
continual suspicion that his sons were deceiving him. The sin of
deceiving his own father bore fruit.

Jacob was the great loser in this transaction. When Esau returned he
had to flee for his life. Then God met him at Bethel. "And behold,
the Lord stood above it and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy
father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee
will I give it, and to thy seed: and thy seed shall be as the dust
of the earth: and thou shalt spread abroad to the west and to the
east and to the north and to the south, and in thee and in thy seed
shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

"And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places
whither thou goest, and will bring thee again unto this land, for I
will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to
thee of."

Men will read that far in the life of Jacob and say, "I don't want
anything more to do with a God who will deal in grace with a man who
had done so mean a thing." My friend, hold on. Follow him to
Padanaram. He was there twenty years, and during that time his wages
were changed ten times. He worked seven years for the lovely Rachel,
and then had another woman put upon him. Jacob had by deception
obtained the blessing of the first-born son, but Laban sarcastically
reminded him, "It must not be so done in my country to give the
younger before the first-born." He found that Laban could drive as
sharp a bargain as he. Wherever you find a sharp, shrewd man, you
will always find that he draws just such men around him, and that he
who cheats will himself be cheated. "Birds of a feather flock
together"; blasphemers get together, and sharp, shrewd men get
together. Jacob found in Laban just such a man as himself. It was
"diamond cut diamond."

Look a little further. Jacob had twelve sons, but he loved Joseph
and Benjamin more than the others because they were the sons of his
beloved Rachel. He was partial to Joseph, and had a coat made of
many colors for him. Partiality will raise the old Adam in any
family.

One morning Joseph, in the innocence of his heart, tells a dream in
which his father and all his brothers had bowed down to him. Then
his brothers began to plan to get him out of the way, and when his
father sent him to find them when they were tending the flocks, they
said:

"Now we have him; let us slay him and cast him into a pit, and say
that some beast has devoured him."

Later they sold him, and took his coat of many colors and dipped it
in the blood of a kid, and, taking it to their father, said: "This
have we found; know now whether it be thy son's coat or no." And he
knew it and said, "It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured
him."

Now notice: Jacob deceived his father with the skin of a kid, and
his sons deceived him with the blood of a kid. Jacob lied to his
father, and his sons lied to him. The lie came home. Every lie is
bound to come back to you. You cannot dig a grave so deep but that
it will have a resurrection. Tramp, tramp, your sins will all come
back.

"Be sure your sin will find you out." You may think you are very
shrewd and far-sighted, and can plan and cover up, but it is the
decree of high heaven that no sin shall be covered; God will uncover
it. You cannot deceive the Almighty. Jacob found that out. He had to
reap what he sowed.

Again, look at David. A man said to me some years ago:

"Don't you think David fell as low as Saul?"

Yes, he fell lower, because God had lifted him higher. The
difference is that when Saul fell there was no sign of repentance,
but when David fell, a wail went up from his broken heart; there was
true repentance. No man in all the Scripture record rose so high and
fell so low as David. God took him from the sheepfold and placed him
on the throne. He gave him riches and lands in abundance. He was on
a pinnacle of glory, and was loved and honored among men. But one
day, you remember, David was walking upon the roof of the king's
house, and he saw Bathsheba, and lusted after her, and committed the
awful sin of adultery; and then, to cover up that sin, he made
Bathsheba's husband drunk, and had him murdered. The decree came: "I
will raise up evil in thy family and the sword shall never leave thy
house." Amnon, David's son, commits adultery with David's own
daughter. Absalom makes a feast for Amnon and has him murdered. Not
long after he comes with an army to drive David, his father, from
the throne, and publicly commits adultery with David's concubines on
the roof of the king's house; if God had not been overruling, he
would have killed his father.

David sowed adultery and reaped it in his own family. He sowed
murder and reaped it in his own family. I believe that what brought
the bitter wail from that father's heart when he said, "Oh, my son
Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee," was
the fact that these were the wages of his own sin. From the time he
fell into that sin with Uriah's wife until he went down to his
grave, it was one billow after another rolling over him.

If God did not spare David, do you think He will spare us if we fall
into sin and do not confess and turn from our sins? If ever a man
had an opportunity to cover his sins, David had. No judge or jury
dared to pronounce judgment against him. The thing was done in the
dark, but his sin found him out. Nathan was sent across his path,
and, young man, Nathan will appear to you some day. Some messenger
will smite you in the way if you do not repent and turn from your
sins. My friend, why not call on God now as David did when he came
to himself? make the same prayer--how thankful we should be that we
have the prayer! why not make it on your knees now?


David's Prayer for Forgiveness.

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness:
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my
transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy
sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be
clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive
me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden
part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be
whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast
broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within
me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit
from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy
free Spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be
converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation;
and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it; thou
delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken
spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not
despise."


Examples From History.

But you say you don't believe in the Bible. Then look at history,
and see if this law is not true. Maxentine built a false bridge to
drown Constantine, but was drowned himself. Bajazet was carried
about by Tamerlane in an iron cage which he intended for Tamerlane.
Maximinus put out the eyes of thousands of Christians; soon after a
fearful disease of the eyes broke out among his people, of which he
himself died in great agony. Valens caused about eighty Christians
to be sent to sea in a ship and burnt alive: he was defeated by the
Goths and fled to a cottage, where he was burnt alive.

Alexander VI. was poisoned by wine he had prepared for another.
Henry III. of France was stabbed in the same chamber where he had
helped to contrive the cruel massacre of French Protestants. Marie
Antoinette, riding to Notre Dame Cathedral for her bridal, bade the
soldiers command all beggars, cripples, and ragged people to leave
the line of the procession. She could not endure the sight of these
miserable ones. Soon after, bound in the executioner's cart, she was
riding toward the place of execution amidst crowds who gazed on her
with hearts as cold as ice and hard as granite. When Foulon was
asked how the starving populace was to live, he said: "Let them eat
grass." Afterward, the mob, maddened with rage, caught him in the
streets of Paris, hung him, stuck his head upon a pike and filled
his mouth with grass.



A MAN REAPS MORE THAN HE SOWS.


"_But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a
hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold_."--Matt. xiii: 8.


CHAPTER V.


A Man Reaps More Than He Sows.


If I sow a bushel, I expect to reap ten or twenty bushels. I can sow
in one day what will take ten men to reap. The Spaniards have this
proverb: "Sow a thought and reap an act. Sow an act, and reap a
habit. Sow a habit, and reap a character. Sow a character and reap a
destiny." _And it takes a longer time to reap than to sow_. I have
heard of a certain kind of bean that reproduces itself a thousand
fold. One thistle-down which blew from the deck of a vessel is said
to have covered with thistles the entire surface of a South Sea
island. The oak springs from an acorn, the mighty Mississippi from a
little spring.

One glass of whisky may lead to a drunkard's death. One lie may ruin
a man's career. One error in youth may follow a man all through
life. Some one has said that many a Christian spends half his time
trying to keep down the sprouts of seed sown in his young days.
Unless it is held in check, the desire to "have a drink" will become
a consuming thirst; the desire to "play a game of cards" an
irresistible gambler's passion.

Abraham gave up his only son at God's bidding, and as the fruit of
that act of obedience God gave him seed as numerous as the stars of
the heaven and as the sands upon the seashore.

Jacob told one lie, and his ten sons came back with his lie
multiplied tenfold. For twenty years Jacob mourned for Joseph,
supposing that he was dead. I have no doubt that night after night
he wept for Joseph, and in his dreams saw the boy torn to pieces,
and heard his cries for help. It took him a long time to reap the
harvest.

Israel murmured against God because of the report of the land of
Canaan brought back by the spies. Had they not to reap a multiplied
harvest? Listen: "After the number of the days in which ye searched
the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your
iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of
promise."

When I made the remark in a meeting once that a man had to reap more
than he sowed, a man in front of me dropped his head and sobbed
aloud. After the meeting, a friend stepped up to him and said:

"What is your trouble?"

Pointing to me he said, "Every word that man has been saying is
true. Four years ago I was the confidential clerk of a firm in this
city. I have reason to believe that if I had continued as I began, I
should have been in the firm now. But one night in a saloon under
the influence of drink I committed a crime, and I was sent to the
penitentiary, where I repented in sackcloth and ashes. To-day I came
back for the first time, and went to the old house, and they ordered
me out. I went to other business-houses I was acquainted with, and
received the same treatment. I met men on the street whom I once
knew, who had held inferior places to me, and I lifted my hat, but
no one returned the bow."

The man wrung his hands in agony and said, "It is all true, it takes
a longer time to reap than to sow."

Do you not believe it? Ask your neighbor who has drank up his
character and reputation and home, and has brought a blight on his
family. It takes a long time to build up a character, but you can
blast it in a single hour.

A man died in the Columbus penitentiary some years ago who had spent
over thirty years in his cell. He was one of the millionaires of
Ohio. Fifty years ago when they were trying to get a trunk road from
Chicago to New York, they wanted to lay the line through his farm
near Cleveland. He did not want his farm divided by the railroad, so
the case went into court, where commissioners were appointed to pay
the damages and to allow the road to be built. One dark night after
the tracks were laid, a train was thrown off the track, and several
were killed. This man was suspected, was tried and found guilty, and
was sent to the penitentiary for life. The farm was soon cut up into
city lots, and the man became a millionaire, but he got no benefit
from it. Before he died, the chaplain told me that he became a child
of God. It may not have taken him more than an hour to lay the
obstruction on the railroad, but he was over thirty years reaping
the result of that one act!

In the history of France we read that a certain king wanted some new
instrument to torture his prisoners with. One of his favorites
suggested that he should build a cage, not long enough to lie down
in, and not high enough to stand up in. The king accepted the
suggestion; but the first one put into the cage was the very man who
suggested it, and he was kept in it for fourteen years. It did not
take him more than a few minutes, perhaps, to suggest that cruel
device; but he was fourteen long years reaping the fruit of what he
had sown.

If a man could do his reaping alone, it would not be so hard; but it
is terrible when he has to make that godly father, and that mother
who loves him, or that wife and family, reap along with him. Does
not the drunkard make his wife and children reap a bitter harvest?
Does not the gambler make his relatives reap? Does not the harlot
make her parents reap agony and shame? What a bitter enemy is sin!
May God help each one of us to turn from it at once!

Whenever I hear a young man talking in a flippant way about sowing
his wild oats, I don't laugh. I feel more like crying, because I
know he is going to make his gray-haired mother reap in tears; he is
going to make his wife reap in shame; he is going to make his old
father and his innocent children reap with him. Only ten or fifteen
or twenty years will pass before he will have to reap his wild oats;
no man has ever sowed them without having to reap them. Sow the wind
and you reap the whirlwind.

We cannot control our influence. If I plant thistles in my field,
the wind will take the thistle-down when it is ready, and blow it
away beyond the fence; and my neighbors will have to reap with me.
So my example may be copied by my children or my neighbors, and my
actions reproduced indefinitely through them, whether for good or
evil. How many have gone to ruin because of the sins of such men as
Jacob and David and Lot!


Nothing But Leaves.

   Nothing but leaves! The Spirit grieves
        O'er years of wasted life!
   O'er sins indulged while conscience slept,
   O'er vows and promises unkept,
        And reap from years of strife--
   Nothing but leaves! Nothing but leaves!

   Nothing but leaves! No gathered sheaves
        Of life's fair ripening grain;
   We sow our seeds; lo! tares and weeds--
   Words, _idle_ words, for earnest deeds--
        Then reap, with toil and pain,
   Nothing but leaves! Nothing but leaves!

   Nothing but leaves! Sad memory weaves
        No veil to hide the past;
   And as we trace our weary way,
   And count each lost and misspent day,
        We sadly find at last--
   Nothing but leaves! Nothing but leaves!

   Ah, who shall thus the Master meet,
        And bring but withered leaves?
   Ah, who shall, at the Saviour's feet,
   Before the awful judgment-seat,
        Lay down, for golden sheaves,
   Nothing but leaves! Nothing but leaves?

   --L. E. Ackerman.



IGNORANCE OF THE SEED MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.


"_Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that
are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they
that have done good; unto the resurrection of life; and they that
have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation_."--John v: 28,
29.


CHAPTER VI.


Ignorance of the Seed Makes no Difference.


Now, notice again: Ignorance of the kind of seed makes no
difference. If I think I am sowing good seed and it happens to be
bad, I shall have a bad harvest; therefore, it becomes me to see
what kind of seed I am sowing.

Suppose I meet a man who is sowing seed, and say: "Hello, stranger,
what are you sowing?"

"Seed."

"What kind of seed?"

"I don't know."

"Don't you know whether it is good or bad?"

"No, I can't tell; but it is seed, that is all I want to know, and I
am sowing it."

You would say that he was a first-class lunatic, wouldn't you? But
he wouldn't be half so mad as the man who goes on sowing for time
and eternity, and never asks himself what he is sowing or what the
harvest will be.

Father, what seed are you sowing in your family? Are you setting
your children a good or a bad example? Do you spend your time at the
saloon or the club, until you have become almost a stranger to them?
or are you training them for God and righteousness?

The story is told that a man once said he would not talk to his son
about religion; the boy should make his own choice when he grew up,
unprejudiced by him. The boy broke his arm, and when the doctor was
setting it, he cursed and swore the whole time.

"Ah," said the doctor, "you were afraid to prejudice the boy in the
right way, but the devil had no such prejudice. He has led your son
the other way." The idea that a father is to let his children run
wild! Nature alone never brings forth anything but weeds.

One of Coleridge's friends once objected to prejudicing the minds of
the young by selecting the things they should be taught. The
philosopher-poet invited him to take a look at his garden, and took
him to where a luxuriant growth of ugly and infragrant weeds spread
themselves over beds and walks alike.

"You don't call that a garden!" said his friend.

"What!" said Coleridge, "would you have me prejudice the ground in
favor of roses and lilies?"

Have you never noticed the same thing about the mind and the heart?
Let a child be idle, and Satan will soon lead him into mischief. He
must be looked after. Those things that will help to develop
character must be selected for him, and hurtful things must be kept
out, just as industriously as the farmer cultivates the useful
products of the soil, but wages continual war on weeds and all
unwholesome growths.

A murderer was to suffer the penalty of his crime. Speaking of his
reckless career, he said:

"How could it be otherwise, when I had such bad training? I was
taught these things from my youth. When only four years old my
mother poured whisky down my throat to see how I would act."

On the morning of his execution, the wretched mother bade good-bye
to the son whom her influence had helped to that shameful end.

A father started for his office early one morning, after a light
fall of snow. Turning, he saw his two year-old boy endeavoring to
put his tiny feet in his own great footprints. The little fellow
shouted: "Go on, I'se comin', papa, I'se comin' right in ure
tracks."

He caught the boy in his arms and carried him to his mother, and
started again for his office.

His habit had been to stop on the way at a saloon for a glass of
liquor. As he stood upon the threshold that morning he seemed to
hear a sweet voice say: "Go on, I'se comin', papa, I'se comin' right
in ure tracks."

He stopped, he hesitated, he looked the future squarely in the face.

"I cannot afford to make any tracks I would be ashamed or sorry to
have my boy walk in," he said decidedly, and turned away.

Father, mother, neighbor, are your tracks true? Are they straight?
Can you turn to any walking behind you and say: "Follow me as I
follow Christ?" Are you leading the little ones safe to the Great
Shepherd?

_The best time to sow the good seed_ is before Satan has scattered
the tares. God has given numerous warnings and instructions to do
it. "Seek ye _first_ the Kingdom of God and his righteousness."
"Train up a child in the way he should go." "Provoke not your
children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition
of the Lord." If a farmer neglects to plant in the spring-time, he
can never recover the lost opportunity: no more can you, if you
neglect yours. Youth is a seed-time, and if it is allowed to pass
without good seed being sowed, weeds will spring up and choke the
soil. It will take bitter toil to uproot them.

An old divine said that when a good farmer sees a weed in his field
he has it pulled up. If it is taken early enough, the blank is soon
filled in, and the crop waves over the whole field. But if allowed
to run too late, the bald patch remains. It would have been better
if the weed had never been allowed to get root.

Young man, are you letting some secret sin get the mastery over you,
binding you hand and foot? It is growing. Every sin grows. When I
was speaking to five thousand children in Glasgow some years ago, I
took a spool of thread and said to one of the largest boys:

"Do you believe I can bind you with that thread?"

He laughed at the idea. I wound the thread around him a few times,
and he broke it with a single jerk. Then I wound the thread around
and around, and by and by I said:

"Now get free if you can."

He couldn't move hand or foot. If you are slave to some vile habit,
you must either slay that habit or it will slay you.

My friend, _what kind of seed are you sowing?_ Let your mind sweep
over your record for the past year. Have you been living a double
life? Have you been making a profession without possessing what you
profess? If there is anything you detest it is hypocrisy. Do you
tell me God doesn't detest it also? If it is a right eye that
offends, make up your mind that you will pluck it out; or if it is a
right hand or a right foot, cut it off. Whatever the sin is, make up
your mind that you will gain the victory over it without further
delay.

What kind of seed are you sowing, my friend, good seed or bad seed?
There will be a harvest, and you are bound to reap, whether you want
to or not. Tell me, how do you spend your spare time? Telling vile
stories, polluting the minds of others, while your own mind is also
polluted? Do you read any literature that makes your thoughts
impure? How do you spend the Sabbath? Boating, fishing, hunting, or
on excursions? Do you think ministers are old fogies--that the Bible
belongs to the dark ages? Tell me bow you treat your parents, and I
will tell you how your children will treat you. A man was making
preparations to send his old father to the poorhouse, when his
little child came up and said:

"Papa, when you are old shall I have to take you to the poorhouse?"

Do you never write home to your parents? They clothed you and
educated you, and now do you spend your nights in gambling? You say
to your godless companions that your father crammed religion down
your throat when you were a boy. I have a great contempt for a man
who says that of his father or mother. They may have made a mistake;
but it was of the head, not of the heart. If a telegram was sent to
them that you were down with smallpox, they would take the first
train to come to you. They would willingly take the disease into
their own bodies and die for you. If you scoff and sneer at your
father and mother you will have a hard harvest; you will reap in
agony. It is only a question of time. There is a saying--

   "The mills of God grind slowly,
   But they grind exceeding small."

The Lord Jesus said, "With what measure ye mete, it shall be
measured to you again."

A man told me when I was last in London that England had the
advantage of America in one respect. I asked how. He said:

"We have more respect for our laws in England than you do in
America. You don't hang half your murderers, but all our murderers
are hanged if they can be proved guilty."

I said: "Neither country hangs its worst murderers. If my son wants
to murder me, I would rather have him kill me outright than to take
five years to do it. A young man who goes home late night after
night, and when his mother remonstrates, curses her gray hairs, and
kills her by inches, is the worst sort of a murderer."

That is being done all over the country. You may not be guilty of a
sin as black and as foul as this, but I tell you, every sin grows,
and if you have sin in your heart you cannot tell where it will land
you. Nothing separates a son from his mother or a man from his wife
like sin. The grace of God binds men together, but sin tears them
apart and separates them.

Come, my friend, what kind of seed are you sowing? What will the
harvest be? Will it be a black harvest, or are you going to have a
joyful harvest? If you think that, when you have sown tares, wheat
will come up, you are greatly mistaken. If you think you can give a
loose rein to your passions and lusts, and yet have eternal life,
you are being deceived. For God says, "He that soweth to his flesh
shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit
shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."


Choose Carefully.

I beg of you to _choose carefully your path_. The farmer is careful
in the choice of seed. He does not want bad seed or inferior seed,
because he knows that such will give a poor crop. He looks for the
best seed he can buy. If you choose to sow to the flesh, you will
have a corrupted harvest. If you commit a sinful deed, it may land
you into a dishonored grave.

Choice is a solemn thing. You can make this moment a turning-point
in your life. Once during the conquest of Peru, Pizzaro's followers
threatened to desert him. They gathered on the shore to embark for
home. Drawing his sword, he traced a line with it in the sand from
east to west. Then turning toward the south he said:

"Friends and comrades, on that side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the
drenching storm, and death; on this side, ease and pleasure. There
lies Peru with all its riches; here Panama and its poverty. Choose
each man as becomes a brave Castilian. For my part, I go south."

So saying, he stepped across the line, and one after another his
comrades followed him, and the destiny of South America was decided.

Napoleon was once offered a position as officer in the Turkish
artillery. He declined it; but had he chosen to accept it, the
history of Europe would have been different.

On your choice in spiritual things depends your eternity. On the one
side there is Christ; on the other, the world. Between them you must
choose. Do not wish to grow both wheat and tares. Oh, choose Christ!
Let there be no half-heartedness. Give Him your whole heart. He died
to redeem you from the curse of sin, and He lives to save you from
the power of sin.

"No man can serve two masters." You can not belong to two kingdoms
at once. Lord Brougham grew to be so fond of Cannes that he sought
to be naturalized as a Frenchman, but found it was impossible to be
both a peer of England and a citizen of a French town; he must
renounce the one to become the other.

Now this is where _the will_ comes in It is easy to follow other
people's lead, to swim with the tide; but it requires character,
moral back-bone, to stand against the current of popular opinion and
practice. During the late war a deserter came into the Federal lines
before Pittsburg. He was asked:

"What did you go into secession for?"

His answer was: "Because they all did."

That reason will account for many a man's action. He will act
according to the saying: "While you are in Rome, do as the Romans
do," neglecting to investigate and determine whether or not the
Romans do right. If they do wrong, a man should stand against a
whole nation, if need be, like another Daniel.

Almighty God set two sides before the children of Israel, and I set
them now before you. Remember, as you choose, that your eternity is
in the balance.

"See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and
evil; in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to
walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes,
and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply; and the Lord
thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess
it.

But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt
be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them: I denounce
unto you this day that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not
prolong your days upon the land whither thou passest over Jordan to
go to possess it.

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have
set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore
CHOOSE LIFE that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest
love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that
thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life and the length of
thy days."



FORGIVENESS AND RETRIBUTION.


"_Thou renderest to every man according to his work_."--Psalms lxii:
12.

"_For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that
every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that
he hath done, whether it be good or bad_."--II Cor. v: 10.


CHAPTER VII.


Forgiveness and Retribution.


I can imagine some one saying, "I attend church, and have heard that
if we confess our sin, God will forgive us; now I hear that I must
reap the same kind of seed that I have sown. How can I harmonize the
doctrine of forgiveness with the doctrine of retribution? 'All we
like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own
way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.' And yet
you say that I must reap what I have sown."

Suppose I send my hired man to sow wheat. When it grows up, there
are thistles mixed with the wheat. There wasn't a thistle a year
ago. I say to my man:

"Do you know anything about the thistles in the field?"

He says: "Yes, I do; you sent me to sow that wheat, and I was angry
and mixed some thistles with the wheat. But you promised me that if
I ever did wrong and confessed it, you would forgive me; now I hold
you to that promise, and expect you to forgive me."

"Yes," I say, "you are quite right; I forgive you for sowing the
thistles; but I will tell you what you must do--you must reap the
thistles along with the wheat when harvest time comes."

Many a Christian man is reaping thistles with his wheat. Twenty
years ago you sowed thistles with the wheat and are reaping them
now. Perhaps it was an obscene story, the memory of which keeps
coming back to distress you, even at the most solemn moments.
Perhaps some hasty word or deed that you have never been able to
recall.

I heard John B. Gough say that he would rather cut off his hand than
have committed a certain sin. He didn't say what it was, but I have
always supposed it was the way he treated his mother. He was a
wretched, drunken sot in the gutter when his mother died; the poor
woman couldn't stand it, and died of a broken heart. God had
forgiven him, but he never forgave himself. A great many have done
things that they will never forgive themselves for to their dying
day. "At this moment," said one, "from many a harlot's dishonored
grave there arises a mute appeal for righteous retribution. From
many a drunkard's miserable home, from heartbroken wife, from
starving children, there rings up a terrible appeal into the ears of
God."

I believe that God forgives sin fully and freely for Christ's sake;
but He allows certain penalties to remain. If a man has wasted years
in riotous living, he can never hope to live them over again. If he
has violated his conscience, the scars will remain through life. If
he has soiled his reputation, the effect of it can never be washed
away. If he shatters his body through indulgence and vice, he must
suffer until death. As Talmage says, "The grace of God gives a new
heart, but not a new body."

"John," said a father to his son, "I wish you would get me the
hammer."

"Yes, sir."

"Now a nail and a piece of pine board."

"Here they are, sir."

"Will you drive the nail into the board?"

It was done.

"Please pull it out again."

"That's easy, sir."

"Now, John," and the father's voice dropped to a lower key, "pull
out the nail hole."

Every wrong act leaves a scar. Even if the board be a living tree
the scar remains.

For our worst sins there is plenteous redemption. My sin may become
white as snow, and pass away altogether, in so far as it has power
to disturb or sadden my relation to God. Yet our least sins leave in
our lives, in our characters, in our memories, in our consciences,
sometimes in our weakness, often in our worldly position, in our
reputation, in our success, in our health, in a thousand ways leave
their traces and consequences. God will not put out His little
finger to remove these, but lets them stop.

Let no man fancy that the Gospel which proclaims forgiveness can be
vulgarized into a mere proclamation of impunity. Not so. It was to
_Christian men_ that Paul said, 'Be not deceived, God is not mocked:
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' God loves us too
well not to punish His children when they sin, and He loves us too
well to annihilate (were it possible) the _secondary_ consequences
of our transgressions. The two sides of the truth must be
recognized--that the deeper and (as we call them) the _primary_
penalties of our evil, which are separation from God and the painful
consciousness of guilt, are swept away; and also that other results
are allowed to remain, which, being allowed, may be blessed and
salutary for the transgressors.

MacLaren says, "If you waste your youth, no repentance will send the
shadow back upon the dial, or recover the ground lost by idleness,
or restore the constitution shattered by dissipation, or give back
the resources wasted upon vice, or bring back the fleeting
opportunities. The wounds can all be healed, for the Good Physician,
blessed be His name! has lancets and bandages, and balm and anodynes
for the deadliest; but scars remain even when the gash is closed."

God forgave Moses and Aaron for their sins, but both suffered the
penalty. Neither one was permitted to enter the promised land. Jacob
became a "prince of God" at the ford of Jabbok, but to the end of
his days he carried in his body the mark of the struggle. Paul's
thorn in the flesh was not removed, even after most earnest and
repeated prayer. It lost its sting, however, and became a means of
grace.

Perhaps that is one reason why God does not remove these penalties
of sin. He may intend them to be used as tokens of His chastening.
"Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth." And if the temporal
consequences were completely removed we would be liable to fall back
again into sin. The penalty is a continual reminder of our weakness,
and of the need of caution and dependence upon God.

One night in Chicago at the close of a meeting in the Y. M. C. A.
rooms, a young man sprang to his feet and said: "Mr. Moody, would
you let me speak a few words?"

I said, "Certainly."

Then for about five minutes he pleaded with those men to break from
sin. He said:

"If you have anyone who takes any interest in your spiritual
welfare, treat them kindly, for they are the best friends you have.
I was an only child, and my mother and father took great interest in
me. Every morning at the family altar father used to pray for me,
and every night he would commend me to God. I was wild and reckless
and didn't like the restraint of home. When my father died my mother
took up the family worship. Many a time she came to me and said, Oh,
my boy, if you would stay to family worship I should be the happiest
mother on earth; but when I pray, you don't even stay in the house.
Sometimes I would go in at midnight from a night of dissipation and
hear my mother praying for me. Sometimes in the small hours of
morning I heard her voice pleading for me. At last I felt that I
must either become a Christian or leave home, and one day I gathered
a few things together and stole away from home without letting my
mother know.

"Some time after I heard indirectly that my mother was ill. Ah, I
thought, it is my conduct that is making her ill! My first impulse
was to go home and cheer her last days; but the thought came that if
I did I should have to become a Christian. My proud heart revolted
and I said: 'No, I will not become a Christian.'"

Months rolled by, and at last he heard again that his mother was
worse. Then he thought:

"If my mother should not live I would never forgive myself."

That thought took him home. He reached the old village about dark,
and started on foot for the home, which was about a mile and a half
distant. On the way he passed the graveyard, and thought he would go
to his father's grave to see if there was a newly-made grave beside
it. As he drew near the spot, his heart began to beat faster, and
when he came near enough, the light of the moon shone on a newly
-made grave. With a great deal of emotion he said:

"Young men, for the first time in my life this question came over
me--who is going to pray for my lost soul now? Father is gone, and
mother is gone, and they are the only two who ever cared for me. If
I could have called my mother back that night and heard her breathe
my name in prayer, I would have given the world if it had been mine
to give. I spent all that night by her grave, and God for Christ's
sake heard my mother's prayers, and I became a child ot God. But I
never forgave myself for the way I treated my mother, and never
will."

   Where is my wandering boy to-night--
      The boy of my tenderest care,
   The boy that was once my joy and light.
      The child of my love and prayer?

   Once he was pure as morning dew,
      As he knelt at his mother's knee;
   No face was so bright, no heart more true,
      And none was so sweet as he.

   O, could I see you now, my boy,
      As fair as in olden time,
   When prattle and smile made home a joy,
      And life was a merry chime.

   Go for my wandering boy to-night,
      Go, search for him where you will;
   But bring him to me with all his blight,
      And tell him I love him still.

My dear friends, God may forgive you, but the consequences of your
sin are going to be bitter even if you are forgiven.

A few years ago I was preaching in Chicago on that text, "Arise, go
up to Bethel and dwell there." After the meeting a man asked to see
me alone. I went into a private room. The perspiration stood in
beads on his forehead. I said:

"What is it?"

He replied: "I am a fugitive from justice. I am in exile, in
disguise. The government of my state has offered a reward for me. I
have been hidden here for months. They tell me there is no hell, but
it seems as though I have been in hell for months."

He had been a business man, and having, as he thought, plenty of
money, he forged some bonds, thinking that he could give his check
any time and call them in, but he got beyond his depth and fell.

He said, "I have been here for six months. I have a wife and three
children, but I cannot write to them or hear from them." The poor
man was in terrible mental agony.

I said, "Why don't you go back and give yourself up and face the
law, and ask God to forgive you?"

He said, "I would take the first train to-morrow and give myself up,
except for one thing. I have a wife and three children; how can I
bring the disgrace upon them?"

I, too, have a wife and three children, and when he said that, the
thing looked very different.

Ah! if we could do our own reaping, it would not be so bitter, but
when we make our little children or the wife of our bosom, or our
old gray-haired mother, or our old father reap with us, isn't the
reaping pretty bitter? I don't fear any pestilence or any disease as
much as I fear sin. If God will only keep sin out of thy family, I
will praise Him in time and in eternity. The worst enemy that ever
crossed a man's path is sin.

If a man comes to me for advice I always try to put myself in the
place of the one to whom I am talking, and then to give the best
advice I can. I said to this man,

"I don't know what to say, but it is safe to pray."

After I had prayed, I urged him to pray; but he said:

"If I do, it means the penitentiary."

I asked him to come the next day at twelve. He met me at the
appointed hour, and said:

"It is all settled; if I ever meet the God of Bethel I must go
through the prison to meet Him, and God helping me, I will give
myself up. I am going back, and I should like to have you keep quiet
until I give myself over into the hands of the law; then you may
hold me up as a warning. Little did I think when I started out in
life that I was coming to this! Little did I think when I married a
girl from one of the first families in the state that I should bring
such disgrace on her."

At four o'clock that afternoon he went back to Missouri. He reached
home a little past midnight, and spent a week with his family. In a
letter he said that he didn't dare let his children know he was
there, lest they should tell the neighbor's children. At night he
would creep out and look at his children, but he couldn't take them
in his arms or kiss them. Oh, there is the result of sin! Would to
God we could every one of us just turn from sin to-day!

One day, when this man was in hiding, he heard his little boy say:

"Mamma, doesn't papa love us any more?"

"Yes," his mother replied. "Why do you ask?" "Why," the little
fellow said, "he has been gone so long and he never writes us any
letters and never comes to see us."

The last night he came out from hiding and took a long look at those
innocent, sleeping children; then he took his wife and kissed her
again and again, and leaving that once happy home he gave himself up
to the sheriff. The next morning he pleaded guilty, and was sent to
the penitentiary for nineteen years. I believe that God had forgiven
him, but he couldn't forgive himself, and he had to reap what he
sowed. I pleaded with the governor for mercy, and the man was
pardoned.

Some time ago I was telling this story, and some one doubted it, but
the governor who pardoned him happened to be in the meeting, and
rose and said, "I pardoned that man myself." The governor pardoned
him, and he lived a few years, but from the time he committed that
sin he had to reap. Oh, reader, I plead with you, overcome your
besetting sin, whatever it is.


Future Punishment.

I can imagine some one saying, "I am glad Mr. Moody hasn't tried to
scare us about the future state. I agree with him that we shall
receive all our reward and punishment in this life."

If you think I believe that, you are greatly mistaken. One sentence
from the lips of the Son of God in regard to the future state has
forever settled it in my mind. "_If ye die in your sins, where I am,
there ye cannot go_." If a man has not given up his drunkenness, his
profanity, his licentiousness, his covetousness, heaven would be
hell to him. Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. What
would a man do in heaven who cannot bear to be in the society of the
pure and holy down here?

It is not true that all reward and punishment is reaped in this
life. Look how many crimes are committed, and the perpetrators are
never caught. It often happens that the worst criminal uses his
experience to escape detection, while a more innocent hand is
captured. A man ruins a girl. Does he always reap punishment here?
No. He holds his head as high as ever in society, while the
unfortunate victim of his lust, who, perhaps, was innocently
beguiled into sin by him, becomes an outcast. His punishment,
however is, at the latest, only adjourned to another world.


Eternity!

   Oh, the clanging bells of Time!
      Night and day they never cease;
   We are wearied with their chime,
      For they do not bring us peace.
   And we hush our breath to hear,
      And we strain our eyes to see
   If thy shores are drawing near--
         Eternity! Eternity!

   Oh, the clanging bells of Time!
      How their changes rise and fall,
   But in undertone sublime,
      Sounding clearly through them all,
   Is a voice that must be heard,
      As our moments onward flee,
   And it speaketh aye one word--
         Eternity! Eternity!

   Oh, the clanging bells of Time!
      To their voices loud and low,
   In a long, unresting line
      We are marching to and fro;
   And we yearn for sight or sound,
      Of the life that is to be,
   For thy breath doth wrap us round--
         Eternity! Eternity!

   Oh, the clanging bells of Time!
      Soon their notes will all be dumb,
   And in joy and peace sublime
      We shall feel the silence come;
   And our souls their thirst will slake,
      And our eyes the King will see,
   When thy glorious morn shall break--
         Eternity! Eternity!

   --Ellen M. H. Gates



WARNING.


"_Take heed that no man deceive you_."--Matt. xxiv: 4.

"_Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, warning every
man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every
man perfect in Christ Jesus_."--Col. i: 27, 28.


CHAPTER VIII.


WARNING.


To give a warning is a sign of love. Who warns like a mother, and
who loves like a mother? Your mother, perhaps, is gone, and your
father is gone. Let me take the place of those who have departed,
and lift up a warning voice. With Paul I would say: "I write not
these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you."

A pilot guiding a steamer down the Cumberland saw a light,
apparently from a small craft, in the middle of the narrow channel.
His impulse was to disregard the signal and run down the boat. As he
came near, a voice shouted: "Keep off, keep off."

In great anger he cursed what he supposed to be a boatman in his
way. On arriving at his next landing he learned that a huge rock had
fallen from the mountain into the bed of the stream, and that a
signal was placed there to warn the coming boats of the unknown
danger. Alas! many regard God's warnings in the same way, and are
angry with any who tell them of the rocks in their course. They will
understand better at the end.

The children of Israel had no truer friend than Moses. They never
went astray but he warned them; and trouble never came upon them
except when his warnings were unheeded. Elijah was the best friend
Ahab had.

I wish I could warn as Jesus Christ did. As he went up Mount Olivet,
His heart seemed to be greatly moved and He cried, "Oh, Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which
are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children
together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and
ye would not!" Did He not warn?

If a friend of mine were about to invest in a worthless silver-mine,
do you think I would be true to him if I did not caution him against
it? And do I show less love for him because I warn him against
actions that will bring a harvest of misery and despair?

"Whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning;
if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his
own head; he heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning;
his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall
deliver his soul."

Be sure that the seed you are sowing is good seed. Sow to the flesh,
and a good harvest will be impossible. Good seed and bad seed cannot
both succeed if allowed to grow together. One prospers at the
expense of the other; and the likelihood is that the bad will get
the upper hand. Weeds always seem to grow and spread more rapidly
than good seed.

The longer they live, the firmer hold the weeds are gaining. Delay
is dangerous. In the year 1691, a proclamation was sent through the
Highlands of Scotland, that every one who had been guilty of
rebellion against the constituted government would be pardoned, if,
before the last day of the year, he laid down his arms and promised
to cease his rebellion. Many did so; but one chief named Maclan put
off submission from week to week, always intending to submit before
it was too late. But when, at last, he started to accept pardon, he
was hindered by a great storm and did not arrive until the time had
expired. The day of pardon had passed and the day of vengeance had
come; Maclan and his men were put to death.

Hence, it is wise to exterminate the weeds at once. And beware of
remaining longer in sin. The deeper you sink, the more bitter will
be your restoration. Why continue to sear you conscience, and sow
the seeds of keener remorse? No matter how painful it may be, break
with sin at once. Severe operations are often necessary, for the
skilful surgeon knows that the disease cannot be cured by surface
applications. The farmer takes his hoe and his spade and his axe,
and he cuts away the obnoxious growths, and burns the roots out of
the ground with fire.

If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee:
for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish,
and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy
right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is
profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not
that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Remember that the tares and the wheat will be separated at the
judgment day, if not before. Sowing to the flesh and sowing to the
spirit inevitably lead in diverging paths. The axe will be laid at
the root of the trees, and every tree that bringeth not forth good
fruit will be hewn down and cast into the fire. The threshing-floor
will be thoroughly purged, and the wheat will be gathered into the
garner, while the chaff will be burned with unquenchable fire.

Beware of your habits. A recent writer has said: "Could the young
but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of
habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the
plastic state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and
never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice
leaves its never so little scar. The drunken Rip Van Winkle, in
Jefferson's play, excuses himself for every fresh dereliction by
saying, '_I won't count this time_.' Well, he may not count it, and
a kind heaven may not count it, but it is being counted none the
less. Down among his nerve cells and fibres the molecules are
counting it, registering and storing it up, to be used against him
when the next temptation comes. Nothing we ever do is, in strict
scientific literalness, wiped out. Of course, this has its good side
as well as its bad one. As we become permanent drunkards by so many
separate drinks, so we become saints in the moral sphere, and
authorities and experts in the practical and scientific spheres, by
so many separate acts and hours of work."

Beware of temptations. "Lead us not into temptation," our Lord
taught us to pray: and again he said, "Watch and pray, lest ye enter
into temptation." We are weak and sinful by nature, and it is a good
deal better for us to pray for deliverance rather than for strength
to resist when temptation has overtaken us. Prevention is better
than cure. Hidden under the soil may be seeds of passion and
wickedness that only wait for a favorable opportunity to shoot up.

Young men pretend that it is necessary to see both sides of life.
What foolishness! I am not called upon to put my hand in the fire to
see if it will burn.

A steamboat was stranded on the Mississippi river, and the captain
could not get her off. Eventually a hard-looking fellow came on
board and said:

"Captain, I understand you want a pilot to take you out of this
difficulty?"

The captain said, "Are you a pilot?"

"Well, they call me one."

"Do you know where the snags and sand-bars are?"

"No sir,"

"Well, how do you expect to take me out of here if you don't know
where the snags and sand-bars are?"

"I know where they ain't!" was the reply.

Begin to sow the good seed while the children are young, and thus
prevent the weeds getting a start. Satan does not wait till they
grow up, and no more should we.

There are many fishing nets so constructed as to allow none but full
grown fish to be caught, the immature escaping. Satan has none such.
He catches the weakest and youngest.

"We must care for our boys or the devil will," said a young Sabbath
School teacher.

"The devil will care for them anyway," answered the old
superintendent: "The devil will not neglect them even though we do."

It is a master-piece of the devil to make us believe that children
can not understand religion. Would Christ have made a child the
standard of faith if He had known that it was not capable of
understanding His words? It is far easier for children to love and
trust than for grown-up persons, and so we should set Christ before
them as the supreme object of their choice.

Do not neglect opportunities. Napoleon used to say: "There is a
crisis in every battle--ten or fifteen minutes--on which the issue
of the battle depends. To gain this is victory; to lose it is
defeat."

Beware of sin. Its wages are Death, and (as has been said) the wages
have never been reduced. It deceives men as to the satisfaction to
be found in it, the excuses to be made for it, and the certainty of
the punishment that must follow. If it was not deceitful, it would
never be delightful. It comes in innocent guise, and saps the life
blood, depriving one of the moral capacity to do good. Canon
Wilberforce walking in the Isle of Skye, saw a magnificent eagle
soaring upward. He halted and watched its flight. Soon he observed
something was wrong. It began to fall, and presently lay dead at his
feet. Eager to know the reason of its death, he examined it and
found no trace of gunshot wound; but he saw in its talons a small
weazel, which, in its flight, drawn near its body, had sucked the
life blood from the eagle's-breast. Such is the end of every one who
persistently clings to sin.

Do not be deceived by the attractiveness of this world. It will
cheat you and destroy you. "The Redoubtable" was the name of a
French ship that Lord Nelson spared twice from destruction; and it
was from the rigging of that very ship that the fatal ball that
killed him was fired. The devil administers many a sin in honey; but
there is poison mixed with it. The truest pleasures spring from the
good seed of righteousness--none else are profitable.

Beware of ignorance and indifference. You cannot afford to neglect
your soul. There is too much at stake. I never knew an idle man to
be converted. Until he wakes up and realizes his lost and hopeless
condition, God Almighty will not reach down and take him by the
hand. A ship was once in great danger at sea, and all but one man
were on their knees. They called to him to come and join them in
prayer, but he replied:

"Not I; it's your business to look after the ship. I'm only a
passenger."

Remember that mere knowledge is not enough. Many a man knows the
gospel precepts and promises by heart who is not touched by saving
grace. Knowledge is often useless or positively harmful, and what we
want is to know God's will and observe it. Even good resolutions are
not enough. No doubt they are helpful in their way, but the Bible
does not lead us to believe that they can save a man. It does not
say: "As many as _resolved to receive_ Him, to them gave He power to
become the sons of God, even to them that _resolve to believe_ on
His name"; it says: "As many as _received_ Him * * * _believe_ on
His name."

Be watchful! There is constant need to be on guard lest we fall into
sin. "Set a double guard upon that point to-night," was the command
of a prudent officer when an attack was expected. At the best there
will be some tares among the wheat. We, all of us, carry around with
us material that Satan can work on. Paul said:

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good
thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which
is good I find not. For the good that I would, I do not: but the
evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it
is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a
law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I
delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another
law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing
me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O
wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this
death?"

Blessed be God, he could add: "I thank God through Jesus Christ our
Lord."

The issue that God has placed before us is clear-cut: "He that
believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth
not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on
him." There is no middle course--"he that believeth"--"he that
believeth not." He leaves us to choose, and the responsibility rests
upon ourselves.

It may cost you many a sacrifice, and wrench many a heart-string to
choose aright, but I plead with you to take the decisive step now.
The salvation of your soul outweighs all other considerations. Will
you imperil your eternity for the sake of some present gain or
pleasure? Bow your head and say: "Heavenly Father, I now choose to
come unto Thee as a poor, suppliant sinner. I believe on Thy Son,
whom Thou didst send to be my Savior; and trusting in the merits of
His blood, which was shed as a propitiation for my sins, I rest in
the assurance of sins forgiven."

There is hope for the vilest sinner. Wherever weeds grow, there is
the possibility of good seed growing. The greater your need, the
more welcome will you be to Jesus. The proud and the self-confident
He knoweth afar off, but the faintest whisper of the contrite sinner
commands His attention.

Our Lord gave us a simple test to help us in our choice. He said,
"Every tree is known by its fruit. A good tree bringeth not forth
corrupt fruit, neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
Many of us have not the time or ability to unravel intricate
arguments, or grasp profound doctrines. Certain phases of truth are
often inaccessible to the ordinary mind. But the test Christ gave is
short and practical, and within the reach of any one of us.

"Have you ever heard the gospel?" asked a missionary of a Chinaman,
whom he had not seen in his mission before.

"No," he replied, "but I have seen it. I know a man who used to be
the terror of his neighborhood. He was a bad opium smoker and
dangerous as a wild beast; but he became wholly changed. He is now
gentle and good and has left off opium."

Apply this test to infidelity. What are its fruits? Crime follows in
its track. Society becomes disorganized. Chastity, honesty and the
other virtues are undermined. The whole life is blighted.

The following brief extract from a letter written in an english
prison, is a tremendous arraignment of that system of belief which
does not acknowledge God:

"I am one of thirteen infidels. Where are my friends? Four have been
hanged. One became a Christian. Six have been sentenced to various
terms of imprisonment, and one is now confined in a cell just over
my head, sentenced to imprisonment for life."

With all reverence we may apply this text to our Lord Himself. We
have His own authority for it. On one occasion when the jews
cavilled at His actions, He said: "The works which the Father hath
given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me,
that the Father hath sent me." On another occasion they gathered
round Him and asked, "How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If
thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered: "I told you,
and ye believed not. The works that I do in my Father's name, they
bear witness of me. * * * If I do not the works of my Father,
believe me not. But if I do, though you believe not me, believe the
works: that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I
in Him." Well might the ruler Nicodemus say, "Rabbi, we know that
thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles
that thou doest, except God be with him." And Peter: "Ye men of
Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God
among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in
the midst of you, as ye yourselves know."

What are the fruits of extravagance, of pride, of covetousness? And
on the other hand, of prayer, of fearing God and doing His
commandments? What are the fruits of heathenism? Look at Africa and
China and India and the islands of the seas with their gods of wood
and stone. What must be the intelligence and moral sense of people
who will worship such things?

Even the best of non-Christian religions must always prove a
failure. It cannot be denied that many of the highest virtues are
enjoined in the writings of heathen philosophers. How could it be
otherwise? Morality is universal as humanity, and it is only to be
expected that here and there some thinker should pierce beyond the
average and read deeper into the foundation-truths of ethics. This
fact only proves, in my mind, the intimate connection between the
human and the divine. Christianity never claimed to introduce a
brand-new system of morality.

Referring to another matter, Christ said: "Think not that I am come
to destroy the law and the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but
to fulfill." And so the fulness and perfection of His own system
could not fail to embrace many principles that had already appeared
in heathen morality. But in the hands of our Savior they became
broader and brighter and fuller of power and meaning.

Will these non-Christian religions bear the test? Stoicism was
perhaps the noblest of the Greek philosophies, but it rapidly
developed into utter cynicism, and culminated in the asserted
impossibility of attaining to virtue. Epicureanism started out
fairly well, but its founder was not dead before it earned for
itself the opprobrious epithet that it was a doctrine worthy only of
swine. Look at Buddhism, with its filthy ceremonies and cruel
tortures. All these systems exhibit a conflict between theory and
practice. They failed in their object, because they approached the
difficulty on the wrong side. They trimmed away at the branch, not
recognizing that the tree was rotten at heart.

Christianity alone will stand the test of raising man out of the
pit. And how does it propose to do it? Not by minimizing the danger
and need. It says: "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart
faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no
soundness in it; but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores." It
demands as _the first necessity_ a new birth, regeneration by the
Holy Spirit. "Ye must be born again." It does not place
sanctification before justification, but having first imparted life
from above, it throws around the redeemed sinner the love of Christ
and the fellowship and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

A converted Chinaman once said: "I was down in a deep pit, half sunk
in the mire, crying for some one to help me out. As I looked up I
saw a venerable, grayhaired man looking down at me.

"'My son,' he said, 'this is a dreadful place.'

'Yes,' I answered, 'I fell into it; can't you help me out?'

'My son,' was his reply, 'I am Confucius. If you had read my books
and followed what they taught, you would never have been here.'

'Yes, father,' I said, 'but can't you help me out?'

As I looked he was gone. Soon I saw another form approaching, and
another man bent over me, this time with closed eyes and folded
arms. He seemed to be looking to some far-off place.

'My son,' Buddha said, 'just close your eyes and fold your arms, and
forget all about yourself. Get into a state of rest. Don't think
about anything that can disturb. Get so still that nothing can move
you. Then, my child, you will be in such delicious rest as I am.'

'Yes, father,' I answered, 'I will when I am above ground. Can't you
help me out?' But Buddha, too, was gone.

I was just beginning to sink into despair when I saw another figure
above me, different from the others. There were marks of suffering
on His face. I cried out to Him:

'O, Father! can you help me?'

'My child,' He said, 'what is the matter?'

Before I could answer Him, He was down in the mire by my side. He
folded His arms about me and lifted me up; then He fed me and rested
me. When I was well He did not say: Now, don't do that again, but He
said: 'We will walk on together now'; and we have been walking
together until this day."

This was a poor Chinaman's way of telling of the compassionate love
and help of the Lord Jesus.

I was reading, some time ago, of a young man who had just come out
of a saloon, and had mounted his horse. As a certain deacon passed
on his way to church, he followed and said,

"Deacon, can you tell me how far it is to hell?"

The deacon's heart was pained to think that a young man like that
should talk so lightly; he passed on and said nothing. When he came
round the corner to the church, he found that the horse had thrown
that young man, and he was dead. So you may be nearer the Judgment
than you think.

When I was in Switzerland many years ago, I learned some solemn
lessons about the suddenness with which death may overtake us. I saw
several places where land-slides had occurred, completely destroying
whole villages; or where avalanches had swept down the mountain
sides, leaving destruction in their wake. A terrible calamity
happened in the year 1806 to a village, called Goldau, situated in a
fertile valley at the foot of the Rossberg mountain. The season had
been unusually wet, and this had made the crops all the more
abundant.

Early one morning a young peasant, passing the cottage of an old man
whom he knew, saw him sitting at the door in the full rays of the
sun.

"Good morning, neighbor," said he; "we are likely to have a fine
day."

"Time we should have a fine day," growled the old man; "it has been
wet enough lately."

"Have you heard the report?" said the other. "Those who were up the
earliest this morning declare they saw the top of old Rossberg
move."

"Indeed! like enough," said the old man. "Mark my words, and I have
often said it before; I shan't live to see it, but those who are now
young will not live to be as old as I am before the top of yonder
mountain lies at its foot."

"I hope it will not be in my day," said the young man; and he passed
on, little thinking how near the prediction was to a fulfilment, and
that the ripening fields of corn and the abundant clusters of
luscious grapes would never be gathered; but so it was.

The springs of water in the mountain had been overcharged by the
excessive rains, and these, in forcing their way to the surface and
toward the valley below, had loosened the masses of rounded rock
which had been cemented together by a kind of clay, of which
material the upper part of the mountain was formed. These huge
masses at length gave way and fell headlong into the valley, burying
the entire village and about eight hundred of its inhabitants
beneath their weight.

But what became of the old man? Alas! he did not escape. He believed
the mountain would fall, but he did not think the fall was so near.
He was sitting in his cottage, composedly smoking his pipe, when the
young man came hastily back, and crying out:

"_The mountain is falling!_"

The old man composedly rose from his seat, looked out at his door,
and saying:

"I shall have time to fill my pipe again," went back into his house.

The young man was saved. The old man perished before he had left his
cottage, it and its owner were crushed, and swept to the bottom of
the valley.

I was in the north of England, in 1881, when a fearful storm swept
over that part of the country. A friend of mine, who was a minister
at Eyemouth, had a great many of the fishermen of the place in his
congregation. It had been very stormy weather, and the fishermen had
been detained in the harbor for a week. One day, however, the sun
shone out in a clear blue sky; it seemed as if the storm had passed
away, and the boats started out for the fishing-ground. Forty-one
boats left the harbor that day. Before they started, the harbor
-master hoisted the storm signal, and warned them of the coming
tempest. He begged of them not to go; but they disregarded his
warning, and away they went. They saw no sign of the coming storm.
In a few hours, however, it swept down on that coast, and very few
of those fishermen returned. There were five or six men in each
boat, and nearly all were lost in that dreadful gale. In the church
of which my friend was pastor, I believe there were three male
members left.

Those men were ushered into eternity because they did not give heed
to the warning. I lift up the storm-signal now, and warn you to
escape from the coming judgment!

There was a man living near one of the great trunk roads a number of
years ago, who one night saw that a landside had obstructed the
track. He saw by the clock that he hadn't time to reach the
telegraph office to stop the night express, so he caught up a
lantern and started up the track, thinking he might be in time to
stop the train. As he ran he fell and put out his light. He hadn't
another match, and he could hear the train coming in the distance.
He didn't know what to do. As a last resort he stood on the bank,
and the moment the train come abreast of him he hurled the lantern
with all his might at the engineer. The engineer saw that something
must be wrong, took the warning, whistled down the brakes, and
stopped the train within a few yards of the obstruction.

I throw the broken lantern at your feet now! I beg you to take
warning, make a clear work of sin, cost what it may. Take warning!
You must either give up sin, or give up the hope of heaven. Put
yourself in the way of being blessed. Make up your mind now that by
the grace of God you will obtain the mastery.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his
thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy
upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."





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