Moody in a California Sunday School.
I remember when I went to California just to try and get a few souls saved on the Pacific coast, I went into a school there and asked, "Have you got some one who can write a plain hand?" "Yes." Well, we got up the blackboard, and the lesson upon it proved to be the very text we have to-night." "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." And I said, "Suppose we write upon that board some of the earthly treasures? And we will begin with 'gold.'" The teacher readily put down gold, and they all comprehended it, for all had run to that country in the hope of finding it. "Well, we will put down 'houses' next, and then 'land.' Next we will put down 'fast horses.'" They all understood what fast horses were—they knew a good deal more about fast horses than they knew about the kingdom of God. Some of them, I think, actually made fast horses serve as Gods. "Next we will put down 'tobacco.'" The teacher seemed to shrink at this. "Put it down," said I, "many a man thinks more of tobacco than he does of God. Well, then, we will put down 'rum.'" He objected to this—didn't like to put it down at all. "Down with it. Many a man will sell his reputation, will sell his home, his wife, his children, everything he has, for rum. It is the God of some men. Many here in Chicago will sell their present and then eternal welfare for it. Put it down," and down it went. "Now," said I, "suppose we put down some of the heavenly treasures. Put down ' Jesus' to head the list, then 'heaven,' then 'River of Life,' then 'Crown of Glory,' and went on till the column was filled, and then just drew a line and showed the heavenly and the earthly things in contrast. My friends, they could not stand comparison. If a man just does that, he cannot but see the superiority of the heavenly over the earthly treasures. Well, it turn
ed out that the teacher was not a Christian. He had gone to California on the usual hunt—gold; and when he saw the two columns placed side by side, the excellence of the one over the other was irresistible, and he was the first soul God gave me on that Pacific coast. He accepted Christ, and that man came to the station when I was coming away and blessed me for coming to that place.
Mothers are Looking Down from Heaven.
I remember in the Exposition building in Dublin, while I was speaking about Heaven, I said something to the effect that at this moment a mother is looking down from Heaven expecting the salvation of her daughter here to-night, and I pointed down to a young lady in the audience. Next morning I received this letter:
''On Wednesday, when you were speaking of heaven, you said, 'It may be this moment there is a mother looking down from heaven expecting the salvation of her child who is here.' You were apparently looking at the very spot where my child was sitting. My heart said, 'That is my child. That is her mother.' Tears sprang to my eyes. I bowed my head and 'prayed, 'Lord, direct that word to my darling child's heart; Lord save my child.' I was then anxious till the close of the meeting, when I went to her. She was bathed in tears. She rose, put her arms around me, and kissed me. When walking down to you she told me it was that same remark—about the mother looking down from heaven—that found the way home to her, and asked me, "Papa, what can I do for Jesus?'"
The Rich Man Poor.
I heard of a farmer who, when a friend of mine called upon him to give something for the Christian Commission, promptly drew a check for ten thousand dollars. He wanted the agent to have dinner with him, and after they had dined the farmer took the man out on the verandah and pointed to the rich lands sweeping far away, laden with rich products. "Look over these lands,"
said the farmer, "They are all mine." He took him to the pasture and showed the agent the choice stock, the fine horses he had, and then pointed to a little town, and then to a large hall where he lived; he drew himself up, and his face lit up with pride as he said, "They are all mine. I came here when a poor boy and I have earned all that you see." When he got through, my friend asked him, "Well, what have you got up yonder?" "Where?" replied the farmer, who evidently knew where my friend meant. "What have you got in heaven?" "Well," said the farmer, "I haven't anything there." "What!" replied my friend, "you, a man of your discretion, wisdom, business ability, have made no provision for your future?" He hadn't, and in a few weeks he died—a rich man here and a beggar in eternity. A man may be wise in the eyes of the world to*pursue this course, but he is a fool in the sight of God. Wealth to most men proves nothing more or less than a great rock upon which their eternity is wrecked.
The Dying Boy.
But I have another anecdote to tell. It was Ralph Wallace who told me of this one. A certain gentleman was a member of the Presbyterian Church. His little boy was sick. When he went home his wife was weeping, and she said, "Our boy is dying; he has had a change for the worse. I wish you would go in and see him." The father went into the room and placed his hand upon the brow of his dying boy, and could feel that the cold, damp sweat was gathering there; that the cold, icy hand of death was feeling for the chords of life. "Do you know, my boy, that you are dying?" asked the father. "Am I? Is this death? Do you really think I am dying?" "Yes, my son, your end on earth is near." "And will I be with Jesus to-night, father?" "Yes, you will be with the Saviour." "Father, don't you weep, for when I get there I will go right straight to Jesus and tell Him that you have been trying all my life to lead me to Him." God has given me two little children, and ever since I can remember I have directed them to Christ, and I would rather they carried this message to Jesus—that I had tried all my life to lead them to Him—than have all the crowns of the earth; and I would rathei lead them to Jesus than give them the wealth of the world. If you have got a child go and point the way. I challenge any man to speak of heaven without speaking of children. "For of such is the kingdom of heaven."
A Sad and Singular Story.
When I was a young boy—before I was a Christian—I was in a field one day with a man who was hoeing. He was weeping, and he told me a strange story, which I have never forgotten. When he left home his mother gave him this text: "Seek first the kingdom of God." But he paid no heed to it. He said when he got settled in life, %.nd his ambition to get money was gratified, it would be time enough then to seek the kingdom of God. He went from one village to another and got nothing to do. When Sunday came he went into a village church, and what was his great surprise to hear the minister give out the text, "Seek first the kingdom of God." He said the text went down to the bottom of his heart. He thought that it was but his mother's prayer following him, and that some one must have written to that minister about him. He felt very uncomfortable, and when the meeting was over he could not get that sermon out of his mind. He went away from that town, and at the end of a week went into another church and he heard the minister give out the same text, "Seek first the kingdom of God." He felt sure this time that it was the prayers of his mother, but he said calmly and deliberately, "No, I will first get wealthy." He said he went on and did not go into a church for a few months, but the first place of worship he went into he heard a third minister preaching a sermon from the same text. He tried to drown—to stifle his feelings; tried to get the sermon out of his mind, and resolved that he would keep away from church altogether, and for a few years did keep out of God's house. "My mother died," he said, "and the text kept coming up in my mind, and I said I will try and become a Christian." The Eears rolled down his cheeks as he said, "I could not; no sermon ever touches me; my heart is as hard as that stone," pointing to one in the field. I couldn't understand what it was all about— it was fresh to me then. I went to Boston and got converted, and the first thought that came to me was about this man. When I
got back I asked my mother, "Is Mr. L living in such a
place?" "Didn't I write to you about him?" she asked. "They have taken him to an insane asylum, and to every one who goes there he points with his finger up there and tells him to "seek first the Kingdom of God." There was that man with his eyes dull wjth the loss of reason, but the text had sunk into his soul—it had burned down deep. Oh, may the Spirit of God burn the text into your hearts to-night. When I got home again my mother told me he was in her house, and I went to see him. I found him in a rocking chair, with that vacant, idiotic look upon him. Whenever he saw me he pointed at me and said: "Young man, seek first the kingdom of God." Reason was gone, but the text was there. Last month when I was laying my brother down in his grave I could not help thinking of that poor man who was lying so near him, and wishing that the prayer of his mother had been heard, and that he had found the kingdom of God.
The Eleventh Commandment.
There are a great many people who forget that there are eleven commandments. They think there are only ten. The eleventh commandment is: "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." How many of us remember—ah! how many people in Chicago forget the words of the Lord now in his wonderful sermon on the mount: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal." How few of our people pay any heed to these words. That's why there are so many broken hearts among us; that's why so many men and women are disappointed and going through the streets with shattered hopes; it's because they have not been laying up treasures in heaven.
"It's Better Higher Up."
Not long ago there lived an old bed-ridden saint, and a Christian lady who visited her found her always very cheerful. This visitor had a lady friend of wealth who constantly looked on the dark side of things, and was always cast down although she was a professed Christian. She thought it would do this lady good to see the bed-ridden saint, so she took her down to the house. She lived up in the garret, five stories up, and when they had got to the first story the lady drew up her dress and said, "How dark and filthy it is!" "It's better higher up," said her friend. They got to the next story, and it was no better; the lady complained again, but her friend replied, "It's better higher up." At the third floor it seemed still worse, and the lady kept complaining, but her friend kept saying, "It's better higher up." At last they got to the fifth story, and when they went into the sick-room, there was a nice carpet on the floor, there were flowering plants in the window, and little birds singing. And there they found this bedridden saint—one of those saints whom God is polishing for his own temple—just beaming with joy. The lady said to her, "It must be very hard for you to lie here." She smiled, and said, "It's better higher up." Yes! And if things go against us, my friends, let us remember that "it's better higher up."
Calling the Roll of Heaven.
A soldier, wounded during our last war, lay dying in his cot. Suddenly the deathlike stillness of the room was broken by the cry, "Here! Here!" which burst from the lips of the dying man. Friends rushed to the spot and asked what he wanted. "Hark," he said, "they are calling the roll of heaven, and I am answering to my name." In a few moments once more he whispered, "Here!" and passed into the presence of the King.
—The way to heaven is straight as an arrow.
—Heaven is just as much a place as Chicago. It is a destination.