"I Have Intellectual Difficulties."
There is another voice coming down from the gallery yonder: "I have intellectual difficulties; I cannot believe." A man came to me sometime ago and said, "I cannot." "Cannot what?" I asked. "Well," said he, "I cannot believe." "Who?" "Well," he repeated, "I cannot believe." "Who?" I asked. "Well—I— can't—believe—myself." "Well, you don't want to." [Laughter.] Make yourself out false every time, but believe in the truth of Christ. If a man says to me, "Mr. Moody, you have lied to me; you have dealt falsely with me," it may be so, but no man on the face of the earth can say that God ever dealt unfairly, or that He lied to him. If God says a thing it is true. We don't ask you to believe in any man on the face of the earth, but we ask you to believe in Jesus Christ, who never lied—who never deceived any one. If a man says he cannot believe Him, he says what is untrue.
, I Am Not All Right.
I had to notice during the war, when enlisting was going on, sometimes a man would come up with a nice silk hat on, patentleather boots, nice kid gloves, and a fine suit of clothes, which, probably, cost him $100; perhaps the next man-who came along would be a hod-carrier, dressed in the poorest kind of clothes. Both had to strip alike and put on the regimental uniform. So when you come and say you ain't fit, haven't got good clothes, haven't got righteousness enough, remember that He will furnish you with the uniform of Heaven, and you will be set down at the marriage feast of the Lamb. I don't care how black and vile your heart may be, only accept the invitation of Jesus Christ and He will make you fit to sit down with the rest at that feast.
"I won't accept this invitation because of those hypocrites in the churches." My friend, y6u will find very few there if you get to heaven. There won't be a hypocrite in the next world, and if you don't want to be associated with hypocrites in the next world, you will take this invitation. Why, you will find hypocrites everywhere. One of the apostles was himself the very prince of hypocrites, but he didn't get to heaven. You will find plenty of hypocrites in the church. They have been there for the last one thousand eight hundred years, and will probably remain there. But what is that to you? This is an individual matter between you and your God.
'• I Can't Feel."
"I can't feel," says one. That is the very last excuse. When a man comes with that excuse he is getting pretty near the Lord. We are having a body of men in England giving a new translation of the Scriptures. I think we should get them to put in a passage relating to feeling. With some people it is feel, feel, feel all the time. What kind of feeling have you got? Have you got a desire to be saved, have you got a desire to be present at the marriage supper? Suppose a gentleman asked me to dinner, I say, "I will see how I feel." "Sick?" he might ask. "No; it depends on how I feel." That is not the question—it is whether I will accept the invitation or not. The question with us is, will we accept salvation—will you believe? There is not a word about feelings in the Scriptures. When you come to your end, and you know that in a few days you will be in the presence of the Judge of all the earth, you will remember this excuse about feelings. You will be saying, "I went up to the Tabernacle, I remember, and I felt very good, and before the meeting was over I felt very bad, and I didn't feel I had the right kind of feeling to accept the invitation." Satan will then say, "I made you feel so." Suppose you build your hopes and fix yourself upon the Rock of Ages, the devil cannot come to you. Stand upon the Word of God and the waves of unbelief cannot touch you, the waves of persecution cannot assail you; the devil and all the fiends of hell cannot approach you if you only build your hopes upon God's Word. Say, I will trust Him, though He slay me—I will take God at His word.
I Am Not "One of the Elect."
I can imagine some men saying, "Mr. Moody has not touched my case at all. That is not the reason why I won't accept Christ. I don't know as I am one of the elect." How often I am met with this excuse—how often do I hear it in the inquiry room! How many men fold their arms and say, "If I am one of the elect I will be saved, and if I ain't I won't. No use of your bothering about it." Why don't some of those merchants say, "If God is going to make me a successful merchant in Chicago I will be one whether I like it or not, and if he isn't I won't." If you are sick, and a doctor prescribes for you, don't take the medicine, throw it out the door, it don't matter, for if God has decreed you are going to die, you will: if he hasn't, you will get better. If you use that argument you may as well not walk home from this tabernacle. If God has said you'll get home, you'll get home—you'll fly through the air; if you have been elected to go home. I have an idea that the Lord Jesus saw how men were going to stumble over this doctrine, so after He had been thirty or forty years in heaven, He came down and spoke to John. One Lord's day in Patmos, He said to him, "Write these things to the churches." John kept on writing. His pen flew very fast. And then the Lord, when it was nearly finished, said, "John, before you close the book, put in this: 'The Spirit and the Bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come.' But there will be some that are deaf, and they cannot hear, so add, 'Let him that is athirst, Come;' and in case there should be any that do not thirst, put it still broader, ' Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.'" What more can you have than that? And the Book is sealed, as it were, with that. It is the last invitation in the Bible. "Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." You are thirsty. You want water. I hold out this glass to you, and say, "Take it." You say, "If I am decreed to have it, I am not going to put myself to the trouble of taking it." Well, you will never get it. And if you are ever to have salvation, you must reach out the hand and take it. "I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord."
Why did he not take his Wife along?
Take the excuses. There wasn't one that wasn't a lie. The devil made them all; and if the sinner hadn't one already the devil was there at his elbow to suggest one, about the truth of the Bible, or something of that sort. One of the excuses mentioned was that the man invited had bought a piece of ground, and had to look at it. Real estate and corner lots are keeping a good many men out of God's kingdom. It was a lie to say that he had to go and see it then, for he ought to have looked at it before he bought it. Then the next man said he'd bought some oxen, apd must prove them. That was another lie; for if he hadn't proved them before he bought them he ought to have done so, and could have done it after supper just as well as before it. But the third man's excuse was the most ridiculous of them all. "I have married a wife and therefore cannot come." Why did he not take his wife along with him? Who likes to go to a feast better than a young bride? He might have asked her to go too; and if she were not willing, then let her stay at home. The fact was, he did not want to go.
A Good Excuse.
If you have got a good excuse don't give it up for anything I have said; don't give it up for anything your mother may have said; don't give it up for anything your friend may have said. Take it up to the bar of God and state it to Him; but if you have not got a good excuse—an excuse that will stand in eternity—let ii go to-night, and flee co the arms of a loving Saviour.
Excused at Last.
It is a very solemn thought that God will excuse you if you want to be excused. He does not wish to do it, but He will do it. "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel." Look at the Jewish nation. They wanted to be excused from, the feast. They despised the grace of God and trampled it under foot, and look at them to-day! Yes, it is easy enough to say, "I pray Thee have me excused," but by and by God may take you at your word, and say, "Yes, I will excuse you. And in that lost world, while others who have accepted the invitation sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb, amid shouts and hallelujahs in heaven, you will be crying in the company of the lost, "The harvest is past; the summer is ended, and I am not saved."
Suppose we should write out here to-night this excuse, how would it sound? To the King of Heaven:— While sitting in the
Tabernacle in the City of Chicago, January , 187 J, I received
a very pressing invitation from one of your servants to be present at the marriage supper of your only-begotten Son. I Pray Thee Have Me Excused." Would you sign that, young man? Would you, mother? Would you come up to the reporters' table, take up a pen and put your name down to such an excuse? You would say, "Let my right hand forget its cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I sign that."
Just let me write out another answer: "To the King of
Heaven:— Wfiile sitting in the Tabernacle, January , 1S77, I
received a pressing invitation from one of your messengers to be present at the marriage supper of your only-begotten Son. I hasten to reply: By The Grace Of God I Will Be Present." Who will sign that? Is there one who will put his name to it? Is there no one who will say, "By the grace of God I will accept the invitation now"?
—There is not an excuse but is a lie.
—God's service a hard one! How will that sound in the judgment?
—It is easy enough to excuse yourself to hell, but you cannot excuse yourself to heaven.
—When a man prepares a feast, men rush in, but when God prepares one they all begin to make excuses, and don't want to go
—My friends, to accept this invitation is more important than anything else in this world. There is nothing in the world that is so important as the question of accepting the invitation.
—If everybody could understand everything the Bible said it wouldn't be God's book; if Christians, if theologians, had studied it for forty, fifty, sixty years, and then only began to understand it, how could a man expect to understand it by one reading?
—If God were to take men at their word about these excuses, and swept every one into his grave who had an excuse, there would be a very small congregation in the Tabernacle next Sunday; there would be little business in Chicago, and in a few weeks the grass would be growing on these busy streets.