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Moody's First Sermon on Grace.
I remember preaching one night in winter--one of the coldest winters we had--the winter after the Chicago fire. I had been studying up grace, and it was the first time I had spoken of it, and I was just full of it. I started out of the house, I remember, and the first man I met I asked him if he knew anything about the grace of God, and I tried to preach to him. This man thought I was crazy. I ran on and met another, and finally got up to the meeting. That night I thought I was speaking to a lot of people who felt as I did about grace, and when I got through I asked anyone who would like to hear about grace--who had any interest in it, to stay. I expected some would have stayed, but what was my mortification to see the whole audience rise up and go away. They hadn't any interest in grace; they didn't want to learn anything about grace. I put my coat and hat on and was going out of the hall, when I saw a poor fellow at the back of the furnace crying. "I want to hear about the grace of God," said he. "You're the man I want, then," said I. "Yes," the poor fellow said, "you said in your sermon that it was free, and I want you to tell me something about it." Well, I got to talking to him, and he told me a pitiful story. He had drank away twenty thousand dollars, his home had been broken up, and his wife and children had left him. I spoke to him, and it was not long before we were down together praying. That night I got him a night's lodging in the Bethel, and next day we got him on his feet, and when I went to Europe he was one of the most earnest workers we had. He was just a partaker of grace--believed that the peace of God was sufficient for him, and he took God at his word and he was a saved man.
Dr. Arnott's Dog "Rover."
I remember when Dr. Arnott, who has gone to God, was delivering a sermon, he used this illustration. The sermon and text have all gone, but that illustration is fresh upon my mind to-night and brings home the truth. He said: "You have been sometimes out at dinner with a friend, and you have seen the faithful household dog standing watching every mouthful his master takes. All the crumbs that fall on the floor he picks up, and seems eager for them, but when his master takes a plate of beef and puts it on the floor and says, 'Rover, here's something for you,' he comes up and smells of it, looks at his master, and goes away to a corner of the room. He was willing to eat the crumbs, but he wouldn't touch the roast beef--thought it was too good for him." That is the way with a good many Christians. They are willing to eat the crumbs, but not willing to take all God wants. Come boldly to the throne of grace and get the help we need; there is an abundance for every man, woman and child in the assemblage.
Young Moody Penniless in Boston is Warned by his Sister to "Beware of Pickpockets."
I remember when I was a boy and went to Boston, I went to the postoffice two or three times a day to see if there was a letter for me. I knew there was not, as there was but one mail a day. I had not had any employment and was very homesick, and so went constantly to the postoffice, thinking perhaps when the mail did come in my letter had been mislaid. At last, however, I got a letter. It was from my youngest sister, the first letter she ever wrote to me. I opened it with a light heart thinking there was some good news from home, but the burden of the whole letter was that she had heard there were pickpockets in Boston, and warned me to take care of them. I thought I had better get some money in hand first, and then I might take care of pickpockets. And so you must take care to remember salvation is a gift. You don't work for salvation; but work day and night after you have got it. Get it first before you do anything, but don't try to get it yourself. Look at what Paul says in Ephesians: "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God"--it is the gift of God--"Not of works, lest any man should boast." There is one thing we know: We have all got to get into heaven the same way. We cannot work our way there; we have to take our salvation from God.
A Heavy Draw on Alexander the Great.
There is a story told of Alexander the Great. A general in his army was a great favorite with him, and he told him to draw anything from his treasury that he wanted. Well, he presented a bill to the treasurer, and the treasurer wouldn't honor it. It was for such an enormous amount that the treasurer was astonished. The General went rushing to the Emperor and told him, and he called the treasurer and said, "Didn't I tell you to honor the draft of the General." "But," replied the treasurer, "do you understand its amount?" "Never mind what it is," replied the Emperor, "he honors me and my kingdom by making a great draft." And so we honor God by asking for grace in abundance. I tell you, my friends, it is a pity there are so many half-starved, mean Christians around when God says, "Come and get all you want."
A Long Ladder Tumbles to the Ground.
I remember hearing of a man who dreamt that he built a ladder from earth to heaven, and when he did a good deed up went his ladder a few feet. When he did a very good deed his ladder went higher, and when he gave away large sums of money to the poor up it went further still. By and by it went out of sight, and years rolled on, and it went up, he thought, past the clouds, clear into heaven. When he died he thought he would step off his ladder into heaven, but he heard a voice roll out from paradise, "He that climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber." and down he came, ladder and all, and he awoke. He said if he wanted to get salvation he must get it another way than by good deeds, and he took the other way.
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