CHRISTIANS NOT TO FAINT.
•' And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6: 9.
When I was talking about the qualifications of Christian workers, the first week or two I was here, I meant to have spoken of Perseverance; but-I failed to do so. I want this morning to call your attention to that necessary qualification, if we are going to be successful in the vineyard of the Lord. I think that a great many fail because they don't persevere. It is not the man or the woman who is ready and willing to work for a few weeks, and if they don't suoceed, give it up; but it is those who work right on, day and night, who shall reap. There is the promise, "We shall reap if we faint not." And I have yet to find the first man, or first woman, who has been to work for God, and has kept right on and persevered, that has not been successful. It may take weeks, months and years; but God has promised. There is his Word, "We shall reap if we faint not."
Some people tell us, we don't work enough. I haven't but little hope of any spasmodic effort, where men and women are just roused up to work for a few weeks; and if that is all these Tabernacle meetings do, they will be a perfect failure. There are a good many things said against special meetings, revival meetings, and there is a good deal of truth about what some people say; and that is, if people are only aroused up for a few weeks or months to go to work, why the thing is almost a failure. What we want is to persevere, and remember that we have got the Word of the Lord that, "We shall reap, if we faint not." Faith is an act of the mind; but works is an outward sign of the faith. You cannot have true faith without having works, any more than you can have fire without heat. If a man tells me he has faith in Jesus Christ, and hasn't any impulse to work for God, I doubt his word. I wouldn't give much for his faith; because, if a man has really true faith in Christ and believes the word of the Lord Jesus Christ, he cannot help but work. If a man says he is converted, and doesn't work for his fellowmen, I doubt his conversion. He may make many professions; but if he hasn't time to go out into the vineyard and work for God, it is a true sign he hasn't been born of God.
For fifteen years I was Superintendent of a Sabbath-school in a
mission district in Chicago; and you that have been engaged in that
work know how very discouraging it is, »•'—. you have the parents
pulling against you seven days in the week, and yc« have the children only one hour in the week. It is toiling all night and catching nothing, very often. But I noticed that the teachers who got dis couraged and gave up their classes, and went to one school after another, never succeeded; but those that held on day after day, week after week, and month after month, have always been successful and blessed.
When I was in Chicago the last time, there was a young man who used to have a class in the school I was connected with, and he had been toiling months and years without having much results, as far as conversions were concerned. Last spring he took his boys out into the country and camped out for a week or two; and out of the fifty scholars, there were but ten that were not Christians; and when 1 was there last season he was one of the ushers at our meetings, and every once in a while there would be a request for prayers for that class. The class began to grow; members began to be converted, and they went out after others; and when we left Chicago, they had gone up to 180, and there were over 80 in that class working for the Savior! "We shall reap if we faint not." There was the teacher being blessed; he was persevering. If we will only take this as our motto and hold on, and if we don't see any fruit the next day or the next month, let us not be discouraged; but if we hold right on to the promise, we can reach the hardest heart in Boston.
I remember, fifteen or sixteen years ago, when I first commenced to work for the Lord, a man from Boston was in Chicago, and asked me to look after a certain man who had two boys and two girls, whom he would not allow to attend Sunday-school. I found the man lived in a drinking saloon, and he was behind the bar when I went in; and after telling him what I wanted, he said he would rather have his sons drunkards and his daughters harlots than to become Christians. The second time I went, he ordered me out; and I thought I would try him the third time. It looked pretty dark and discouraging to have a man talking that bitter. I went back the third time, and happened to catch him in a little better humor; and he agreed to read the New Testament if I would read Paine's Age of Reason; but he had the best of the bargain. One Saturday, I was urging him to go to church; and he agreed to invite some of his friends to his saloon to hear me preach, if I would promise to let him and his friends also talk. I agreed to his proposal, and took a little boy with me whom God had taught to pray; but he was not in the •aloon when I got there. His wife told me where he was; and I found they had met in one of the neighbor's parlors, the saloon being too small, and there were atheists, deists, and infidels of all sorts. It was arranged that the infidels should have forty-five minutes and I was to close in fifteen minutes. The moment I went in they began to attack me and ask questions; but I would not answer
them and held them to the arrangement that I was to talk for fifteen minutes, when they were through. The result was, none of them could agree. Some said there was such a man as Christ, and others said there was not; and before the forty-five minutes were up I thought they would get to blows. When the time was up I said, "We always open our meetings with prayer. Let us pray." After I got through praying, that little boy began to pray; I wish you could hear him pray. He prayed God to have mercy upon those men who had been talking against his beloved Son. His voice sounded more like the voice of an angel than a human voice. After he got through praying, I got up to speak; there were not many dry eyes in the house, some went out of one door and some out of another. The old man I had been after for months came up to me and said, "Youcan have my children at the Sunday-school;" and next Sunday they were there. After they had been there a few months, one day I was leading the noon prayer meeting, and the oldest boy came up to the platform and asked the people to pray for his father, for he wanted to become a Christian. God heard their
Crayers and answered them; and in all my acquaintance, J didn't now a man in Chicago more hopeless than that man. I believe if we will lay ourselves out to reach these men, there is not a man in all Boston but that can be reached. I didn't care who and what he is, if we only go after them in the name of the Master. They may curse us at first; but it will not be long before they will pray for us and bless us, and we shall win their hard hearts to the Savior. "We shall reap if we faint not." I don't have a wiriner friend in Chicago than that old man; he was true to me until he passed away. And there isn't an infidel in this city we cannot reach, if we are true and faithful. Of course they abuse me for what I say; I never speak about the conversions of infidels but I receive fifteen or twenty letters telling me it is a falsehood, that there are no infidels converted. But I thank God he keeps converting them. Infidelity don't satisfy them, and what they want is Christ to satisfy them; and so let us hold right on to this text, that "We shall reap if we faint not."
When 1 was in London, in 1872, I got acquainted with one of the most remarkable men I ever met. He was a young man, brought up in the best of society, as the world calls it, his father was one of the knights and moved in what the world calls "the upper circles;" and this young man was intimately acquainted with the royal family. But when he was converted, although a young man of great wealth, he went down into the Seven Dials, which is the same as going down into the North End of Boston, and getting into the darkest lane and the darkest corner there. He would go into these streets at midnight, and at two or three o'clock in the morning, and find boys that had no homes and were sleeping on the sidewalks, and on barrels, and on stairs, and wherever he could find them, and give them shelter; and he hired a place at his own expense and gave them a supper, and slept with them, leaving his beautiful mansion and palace. And seven nights in the week, after he was converted, you might see that young man going down into the very borders of hell; and right along, for eight or nine years, he has been every night in the week among those abandoned people, trying to lift them up. In 1872, he had eighty-five boys in Canada that had been converted; and he was corresponding with them, and all of them were doing well. When I went to London the last time, it was my privilege to go to his house. He had been married, and his wife told me he gives five nights out of the week to that work down in the Seven Dials; he has now put up a building which cost in the neighborhood of from $50,000 to $75,000; and he not only spends his money, but his time. There are a great many people willing to help the Lord in a patronizing way, and give their money to other men to do the work, but this man was willing to work right among them; and I don't know of a man in all my acquaintance that has been so blessed as that young man. I tell this to encourage some of you.
You need not be rich in order to work for God. I know of a young lady who was converted a few years ago, and the first thing she said was, " What can I do?" I told her that the first thing I did was to get hold of some ragged boys and induce them to attend the Sunday-school. Three months after that she had twenty-six little boys, that she had picked up in the streets, and was trying to teach them the way to the kingdom of God; and she has been wonderfully blessed since.
Let the young converts find some work to do. Go into the vineyard and you will be wonderfully blessed. It says in John 15th, 4th and 5th: "Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing." Now we find that there are some Christians that are fruitful; and then there are those that he has to prune, and that makes them more faithful. But these that abide in grace, they bring forth much fruit; the pruning is not necessary. There are three kinds of Christians: those who bring forth fruit; those who are more fruitful; and those who bring forth much fruit, and the latter just abide in grace. He is their life, their peace, their everything. They are not going into the world after their comfort; but they just go to Christ, and in that way they get strength and power to serve him. If we want to be fruitful and bring forth a hundred-fold, let us aim to be fruit-bearing Christians.
There was a man came into the inquiry-room last week; and after he had seemingly accepted Christ, I asked him what first impressed him, and he said that some lady handed him a card about the character
of the meeting, and he took out of his pocket-book a little card, of which was printed, "Gospel meetings, conducted by Messrs. Moody and Sankey." And'on it were a few passages of Scripture, one on which was, "A certain man had two sons;" and the man said he was that son that had wandered away. I knew we hadn't had those cards printed; and I made inquiry and found that a Christian young man, a printer, had printed fifteen-thousand of them at his own expense, and circulated them at the meetings. I wish we had fifteenthousand just such workers in Boston as that. Cannot we stir up your young men to do something? Blessed privilege! As I said before, Boston people are grand people to listen; I never had better people in my life. It is a most remarkable audience, to see people come out in a stormy morning like this. I think this is one of the most extraordinary assemblies we hare ever bad. You are good for hearers; I wish we could get you to be doers of the word. In James it says: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seems to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
If we are going to have pure religion, we have got to be something besides hearers of the Word of God: we have got to be doers. And if I can only say something this morning, to stir up these thousands of Christians here to go out and commence this very day to be doers of the word as well as hearers, don't you see how the influence of this meeting would spread all through Boston, and how many hundreds would feel its influence before night, and how many would be won to Christ. Instead of having an inquiry-meeting in Mr. Gordon's ohurch, we would have an inquiry meeting in every house in Boston. I don't know of anything which impressed me so in England as to see the people come to the meetings with their Bibles; ana they used to see if the services were according to the Word of God; and they were growing in grace all the time. And instead of, when the meetings were over, trying to get out, and even before the benediction is pronounced, as they do here, they were all ready for work; and instead of rushing out, they would stay to the second meeting and work for the Lord. I know of some workers in Boston already, who have got a list as long as my arm of men and women they have led to God in the past few months since we have been laboring here; and if they keep on while we are here, when we leave there will be a great army led to Christ by them. And instead of having a few of these people, we should have thousands of them. Blessed privilege, to lead a soul out of darkness into light! I wish I had time to read some other verses which I would like to call your attention to, about working in the vineyard; but as ten o'clock has struck, I will close.