Sad Ending of a Life that Might have been Otherwise.
I remember a few years ago I felt very anxious for a man who was present at a meeting like this. At the close of the meeting I asked all to rise, and he rose among the others. I took him aside and said, "Now you are going to become a Christian —you will come out for the Lord now?" He said he was wanting to very much. The man was trembling from head to foot, and I thought surely he was going to accept Him. I spoke to him in his hesitating condition, and found out what was standing between him and Christ. He was afraid of his companions. Nearly every day and night news came to me that some of these employers and clerks make light of these meetings, and make fun of all who attend them, and so many give the same reason that this man did. I said to him: "If heaven is what we are led to believe it is, I would be willing to accept it and bear their fun." I talked with him, but he wouldn't accept it. He went off, but for weeks he came every night, and went away as he came, without accepting it. One day I received a message to come and see him. He was sick, and I went to his chamber. He wanted to know if there was hope for him in the eleventh hour? I spoke to him, and gave him every hope I could. Day after day I visited him, and, contrary to all expectation, I saw him gradually recovering. When he got pretty well he was sitting on the front porch, and I sat down by him and said: "You will be going now to confess Christ; you'll be going to take your stand for him now?" "Well," said he, "Mr. Moody, I promised God on my sick bed that I would; but I will wait a little. I am going over to Michigan, where I am going to buy a farm and settle down, and then I'll become a Christian." "If God cannot make you a Christian here he cannot do it there," I replied. I tried to get him to make an unconditional surrender, but he wouldn't; he would put it off till the next spring. "Why," I said, "you may net live till next spring." "Don't you see I am getting quite well?" "But are you willing to take the risk till next spring?" "Oh, yes, I'll take it; Mr. Moody, you needn't trouble yourself any more about my soul; I'll risk it; you can just attend to your business, and I will to mine, and if I lose my soul, no one will be to blame but myself—certainly not you, for you've done all you could." I went away from that house then with a heavy heart.
I well remember the day of the week, Thursday, about noon, just one week from that very day, when his wife sent for me. When I went to their home I found her in great trouble, and learned that he had had a relapse. I asked if he had expressed a desire to see me. She said "No; he is always saying ' there is no hope,' and I cannot bear to have him die in that condition." I went into the room. He did not speak to me, but I went around to the foot of the bed and looked in his face and said, "Won't you speak to me?" and at last he fixed that terrible deathly look upon me and said, "Mr. Moody, you need not talk to me any more. It is too late; there is no hope for me now. Go talk to my wife and children; pray for them; but my heart is as hard as the iron in that stove there. When I was sick He came to the door of my heart, and I promised to serve Him, but I broke that promise, and now I must die without Him." I got down to pray. "You needn't pray for me," he said. I prayed, but it seemed as if my prayer went no higher than my head. He lingered till that night, repeating, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved." There he lay in agony, every few minutes this lamentation breaking from him. Just as the sun was going down behind those Western prairies, his wife leaned over him, and in an almost inaudible voice, he whispered, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved," and he died. He had lived a Christless life, he died a Christless death, he was wrapped in a Christless shroud, and he was buried in a Christless grave. Oh, how dark and sad! Dear friends, the harvest is passing; the summer will soon be ended; won't you let Him redeem you?
By the Wayside.
I went down past the corner of Clark and Lake streets one day, and, fulfilling my vow, on seeing a man leaning up against a lamp-post, I went up to him and said: "Are you a Christian?" He damned me and cursed me, and told me to mind my own business. He knew me, but I didn't know him. He said to a friend of his that afternoon that he had never been so insulted in his life, and told him to say to me that I was damning the cause I pretended to represent. Well, the friend came and delivered his message. "May be I am doing more hurt than good," I said; "maybe I'm mistaken, and God hasn't shown me the right way." That was the time I was sleeping and living in the Young Men's Christian Association rooms, where I was then President, Secretary, janitor, and everything else. Well one night, after midnight I heard a knock at the door. And there on the step leading into the street stood this stranger I had made so mad at the lamp-post, and said he wanted to talk to me about his soul's salvation. He said: "Do you remember the man you met about three months ago at the lamp-post, and how he cursed you? I have had no peace since that night; I couldn't sleep. Oh, tell me what to do to be saved." And we just fell down on our knees, and prayed, and that day he went to the noon prayer meeting and openly confessed the Saviour, and soon after went to the war a Christian man. I do not know but he died on some Southern battle-field or in a hospital, but I expect to see him in the kingdom of God.
Sowing the Tares.
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 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 What Moody Saw in the Chamber of Horror.
When I was in London I went into a wax work there— Tassands—and I went into the chamber of Horror. There were wax figures of all kinds of murderers in that room. There was Booth who killed Lincoln, and many of that class: but there was one figure I got interested in, who killed his wife because he loved another woman, and the law didn't find him out. He married this woman and had a family of seven children. And twenty years passed away. Then his conscience began to trouble him. He had no rest; he would hear his murdered wife pleading continually for her life. His friends began to think that that he was going out of his mind: he became haggard and his conscience haunted him till, at last he went to the officers of the law and told them that he was guilty of ^murder. He wanted to die, life was so much of an agony to him. His conscience turned against him. My friends if you have done wrong, may your conscience be woke up, and may you testify against yourself. It is a great deal better to judge our own acts and confess them, than go through this world with the curse upon you.
Reaping the Whirlwind.
I remember in the north of England a prominent citizen told a sad case that happened there in the city of Newcastle-on-Tyne. It was about a young boy. He was very young. He was an only child. The father and mother thought everything of him and did all they could for him. But he fell into bad ways. He took up with evil characters, and finally got to running with thieves. He didn't let his parents know about it. By and by the gang he was with broke into the house, and he with them. Yes, he-had to do it all. They stopped outside of the building, while he crept in and started to rob the till. He was caught in the act, taken into court, tried, convicted, and sent to the penitentiary for ten years. He worked on and on in the convict's cell, till at last his term was out. And at once he started for home. And when he came back to the town he started down the street where his father and mother used to live. He went to the house and rapped. A stranger came to the door and stared him in the face. "No, there's no such person lives here, and where your parents are I don't know," was the only welcome he received. Then he turned through the gate, and went down the street, asking even the children that he met about his folks, where they were living, and if they were well. But everybody looked blank. Ten years rolled by and though that seemed perhaps a short time, how many changes had taken place! There where he was born and brought up he was now an alien, and unknown even in the old haunts. But at last he found a couple of townsmen that remembered his father and mother, but they told him the old house had been deserted long years ago, that he had been gone but a few months before his father was confined to his house, and very soon after died broken-hearted, and that his mother had gone out of her mind. He went to the mad-house where his mother was, and went up to her and said, "Mother, mother, don't you know me? I am your son." But she raved and slapped him on the face and shrieked, "You,re not my son," and then raved again and tore her hair. He left the asylum more dead than alive, so completely broken-hearted that he died in a few months. Yes the fruit was long growing, but at the last it ripened to the harvest like a whirlwind.
Madness and Death.
I was coming along north Clark street one evening when a man shot past me like an arrow. But he had seen me, and turned and seized me by the arm. Saying eagerly, "Can I be saved to-night. The devil is coming to take me to hell at 1 o'clock tonight." "My friend, you are mistaken." I thought the man was sick. But he persisted that the devil had come and laid his hand upon him, and told him he might have till 1 o'clock, and said he: "Won't you go up to my room and sit with me." I got some men up to his room to see to him. At 1 o'clock the devils came into that room, and all the men in that room could not hold him. He was reaping what he had sown. When the Angel of Death came and laid his cold hand on him, oh how he cried for mercy.