HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN.
••A» Mn»"» lifted up the serpent In the wlklernens, even to mnet the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal lifre." Jora I: 14, IS.
You who were here last night remember that I was speaking upon the text in the 3d chapter of John, "Ye must be born again." Now, I want to call your attention to-night to the little word "must" in the lame chapter. The Son of Man must be lifted up. I now come to the remedy, for when it was time to close last evening, I had not an opportunity to take up the subject. I want, on the present occasion, to take up the matter where I left off; I don't know but some went »way disappointed by hearing the statement that they must be born igain. They must have said, "I do wish he had not left off so soon; I wish he had gone on and told me how I must be born again." God helping me, I will try .to tell it to you to-night, and I would ask, while I try to do this, that Christians would lift up to God their hearts in prayer, that the way be made so plain that every one may oome into the kingdom of God.
Let us see how God is able to save unto the utmost. I want you to read the 14th and loth verses of that chapter: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." "That whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." Let me tell those who are unsaved within these walla to-night what God has done for you. He has done everything that he could do towards your salvation. You need not wait for God to do anything more. In one place he asks the question what more could he do. He sent his prophets and they killed them; and then he sent his beloved Son and they murdered him. And at last he has sent the Holy Ghost, to convince us of sin and how we are to be saved. We are all sinners; and every man and woman knows in their hearts that they are sinners. Now we come here to-night to tell you the remedy for sin, and to tell you how you are to be saved from sin. Jesus came into the world to save that which was lost; for thou knowest there is no name given unto men whereby they can be saved but through the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. And again, "He shall be called Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." No sinner need die if he but put his trust in Christ. There is no salvation in anything else, or any other name. All their word was that Christ died for our sake. Take the 3d chapter of Acts, and you mar 193 13 .
read from there on through all the chapters; and there is hardly one but speaks of Christ's death and Christ crucified; of Christ dying for thee, or rising again for thee, of ascending into heaven for thee, and of coming again for thee. That is the gospel of Paul and of Peter; that is the gospel that Stephen preached when they condemned him to death. Paul preached that at Antioch, Corinth and Ephesus. Yes, Christ crucified—that is the remedy for sin. We hear a great many men murmur because God permitted sin to come into the world. They say it is a great mystery. Well, I say, too, it is a great mystery. You may recollect how it also was a mystery to Horataus Bonar. He said that, although it was a great mystery how sin came into the world, it was a greater mystery how God came here to bear the brunt of it himself. We could speak all the time about the origin of sin; how it came into the world, but that is not goin<* to help us. If I see a man tumble into the river and going to drown, it would do no good for me to sit down and bow my head, and indulge in deep thought and reasoning how he came to get in there. The great question would then be, how he was to be got out. Just look over your own life. You can prove that you are a sinner and have need of repentance; or if you cannot do it to your own satifaction, there are some of your neighbors, no doubt, who can do it for you.
And right here oomes in the remedy for sin. In the 3d chapter of John, we are told how men are to be saved—namely, by him who was lifted up on the cross. Just as Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever that believeth on him. should not perish, but have everlasting life. And here some men complain, and say that it is very unreasonable that they should be held responsible for the sin of a man six thousand years ago. It was not long ago that a man wastalking to me about the injustice of being condemned on account of a man having sinned six thousand years ago. If there is a man here to-night who is going to answer in that way, I tell him it is not going to do him any good. If you are lost, it will not be on account of Adam's sin. "Well," some say, "that is a strange statement for you to make, Mr. Moody." Well, I dare say you do think it strange. I wonder what some of the theologians think of it who are present here to-night. What do some of the ministers on this platform say to it? I would like to know. Yet, let me say it again: It will not be on the account of Adam's sin that you will be lost, if you are lost. "Why, Mr Moody, that is a paradox; how do you explain that?"
Well, let me illustrate it, then, and perhaps you will be able to understand it. Suppose I am dying with consumption, which T inherited from my father or mother. I did not get it by any fault of my own, by any neglect of my health; I inherited it, let us suppose. Well, I go to my physician, and to the best physicians; and they all give me up. They say I am incurable; I must die; I have not
thirty days to live. Well, a friend happens to come along, and looks at me and says, "Moody, you have got the consumption." "I know it very well; I don't want any one to tell me that." "But," he says, "there is a remedy—a remedy, I tell you. Let me have your* attention. I want to call your attention to it. I tell you there is a remedy." ^ "But, sir, I don't believe it; I have tried the leading physicians in this country and in Europe, and they tell me there is no hope." "But you know me, Moody; you have known me for years." "Yes, sir." "Do you think, then, I would tell you a falsehood?" "No." "Well, ten years ago I was as far gone. I was given up by the physioians to die, but I took this medicine and it cured me. I am perfectly well. Look at me." "I say that it is a very strange oase." "Yes, it may be strange; but it is a faot. That medicine cured me. Take this medicine, and it will cure you. Although it has cost me a great deal, it shall not cost you anything." Although the salvation of Jesus Christ is as free as the air, it cost God the richest jewel of heaven. He had to give his only Son; give all he had. He had only one Son, and he gave him. Do not make light of it, then, I beg of you." "Well," I say, "I would like to believe you, but this is contrary to my reason." Hearing this, my friend gpes away and brings another friend to me; and he testifies to the same thing. He again goes away when I do not yet believe, and brings in another friend, and another, and another, and another; and they all testify to the same thing. They say they were as bad as inyself; that they took the same medicine that has been offered to me, and it cured them. He then hands me the medicine. I dash it to the ground; I do not believe in its saving power; I die. The reason is, then, that I spurned the remedy. So it will not be because Adam fell, but that you spurn the remedy offered to you to save you. You will have darkness rather than light. How, then, shall ye escape if re neglect so great salvation? There is no hope for you if you neglect the remedy. It does no good to look at the wound. If we are in the camp and are bitten by the fiery serpents, it will do no good to look at the wound. Looking at a wound will never save any one. What we must do is to look at the remedy, to look away to him who hath power to save you from your sin.
Behold the camp of the Israelites; look at the scene that is pictured to your eyes. Look at New York city to-day. Both there in that past age, and right here in the present age, all, all are dying, because they neglect the remedy that is offered. Fathers and mothers are bearing away their children. In that arid desert is many a short and little grave; many a child has been bitten by the fiery serpents. Over yonder, they are just burying a mother; a loved mother is about to be laid away. All the family, weeping, gather round the beloved form. You hear the mournful cries, you see the bitter tears. The father is being borne away to his last resting-place. There is
wailing going up, all over the camp. Tears are being shed for thonsands who have passed away, and thousands more are dying; and the plague is raging from one end of the camp to the other. I see in one tent an Israelitish mother bending over the form of a beloved boy just coming into the bloom of life, just budding into manhood. She is wiping away the sweat of death, that is gathering upon his brow. Yet a little while, and his eyes are glazed, and life is ebbing fast away. Now a little while, and the boy is going. His eyes are closing in death, and her heart-strings are crushed and bleeding. All at once she hears a shout in the camp. It is a great shout about them. What does it mean? She goes to the door of the tent. "What is the excitement in the camp?" she asks those passing by; and some one says, "Why, my good woman, haven't you heard the good news that has come into the camp?" "No," says the woman. "Good news? what is it?" "Why, haven't you heard about it? God has provided a remedy." "What, for the bitten Israelites? Why, tell me what is the remedy?" "Why, God has instructed Moses to make a brazen serpent and put it on a pole in the middle of the camp, that all who look upon it shall not die; and the shout that you hear is the shout of the people when they see the serpent lifted up." But the mother goes back into the tent, and she says: "My boy, I have got good news to tell you. You have not got to die. My boy, my boy, I have come with good tidings: you can live." He is already getting stupefied; he is so weak he cannot walk to the door of the tent. She puts her strong arras under him and lifts him up. "Look yonder; it is right there under the hill." But the boy don't see it; he says: "I don't see it. Where is it, mother?" And she says: "Keep looking, and you will see it." At last he catches a glimpse of the glistening serpent, and he is well. That is the young convert. Some men say, "Oh, we don't believe in sudden conversions." How long did it take to cure that boy? How long did it take to cure those serpent-bitten Israelites? It was just a look, and they were well. That is a young convert. I see him now calling on all those that were with him to praise God.
He sees another young man bitten as he was, and he runs up to him and tells him, "You have not got to die." Oh, no," the young man says, "that is not possible. There is not a physician in Israel can cure me." He doesn't know that he has not got to die. trVVhy, haven't you heard the news? God has provided a remedy." "What remedy?" "Why, God has told Moses to lift up a brazen serpent, and all that look to that serpent shall not die." I can just see the young man. He is what you call an intellectual young man. He says to the young convert: "You don't think I am going to believe anything like that? If the physicians in Israel can't cure me, you don't think that an old brass serpent on a pole is going to cure me?" "Why, sir; I was as bad asyourself." "You don't say Bo?"
"Yes, I da" u That is the most astonishing thing I ever heard," •ays the young man; "I wish you would explain the philosophy of it." "I can't. I only know that I looked at that serpent, and I was cured; that did it. I just looked; that is all. My mother told me the reports that were being heard through the camp, and I just believed what my mother said, and I am perfectly well." "Well, I don't believe you were bitten as badly as I have been." The young man pulls up his sleeve. "Look there! There is where I was bitten, and I tell you I was worse than you are." "Well, if I understood the philosophy of it I would look and get well." "Let your philosophy go; look and live." "But, sir, you ask me to do an unreasonable thing. If God said just take the brass and rub it in the bite, there might be something in the brass that would cure the bite. Young man, explain the philosophy of it." I see some people just before me that have talked that way since I have been here. But the young man calls in another and takes him into the tent and says: "Just tell him how the Lord saved you;" and he tells the same story, and he calls in others, and they all say just the same thing. And so it is with the religion of Jesus Christ. One and another tells the same story; and by and by all God's people tell in one way how they are saved—by Jesus of Nazareth; no other name; no other way. If all nations could talk one language, they would only tell one story—only name one name, one remedy. The young man says it is a very strange thing. "If the Lord had told Moses to go and get some herbs and some plants and roots and boil them and take the medicine, there is something in that. It is so contrary to my nature to do such a thing as to look at the serpent, that I can't do it." "You can do it." At last, the mother has been off out in the camp, and she says: "My boy, I have got just the best news in the world for you. I went out in the camp, and I saw hundreds very far gone; and they are all perfectly well now." The young man says: "I would like to get well; it is a very painful thought to die. I want to go into the promised land, and it is terrible to die here in this wilderness; but the fact is, I don't understand it. It don't appeal to my reason. I can't believe that I can get well in a moment;" and the young man dies in his own unbelief.
Whose fault? Whose fault is it of the unbelief here? Whose fault is it? God provided a remedy for this bitten Israelite—"Look and live." And there is eternal life for every poor bitten Israelite here. Look, and you can be saved, my friends, this very night. God has provided a remedy, and it is offered to all. The trouble is, a great many people are looking at the pole. Don't look at the pole; that don't do any good; that is the church. You need not look at the church. The church is all right, but the church can't save you. Look beyond the pole. Look at the crucified One; look at Calvary.
Bear in mind, sinner, that he died for all. Look in time, sinner; and be you saved, if there is none else. If Christ opened the way, it is the way. What other name is there given whereby we can be saved? We don't want to look at Moses. Moses is all right in his place; but Moses can't save you. You need not look to the-ie ministers. They are just God's chosen instruments to hold up the serpent, to hold up the remedy, to hold up Christ. And Bo, my friends, take your eye* off from men. Take your eyes off from the church, but lift them up to Jesus, who took away the sins of the world; and there will be life from this hour. Thank God, we don't need an education to know how to look. That little girl who can't read, that little boy four years old who can't read, can look. That little boy, when the father is coming home, the mother says, "Look! look I look!" and the little child learns to look long before he is a year old; and that is the way to be saved. It is, "Look at the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world;" and there is life to-night, and this moment, for every man that is willing to look. Not look at the church, not look at yourselves, but look at Christ. Some people say: "There is a man; what faith he has got; I wish I had his faith." You might as well say, "I wish I had his eyes." You don't need his faith. What you need is his Christ. You need not be wishing for his eyes; you have got eyes of your own.
Some men say, " I wish I knew just how to be saved." Just take God at his word, and trust his Son this very night, and this very hour, and this very moment. He will save you, if you will trust him. I imagine I hear some one saying: '• I don't feel the bite as much as I wish I could. I know I'm a sinner and all that, but I don't feel the bite enough. How much do yoa want to feel it? How much does God want you to feel it? When I was in Belfast I knew a doctor who had a friend, a leading surgeon there; and he told me that the surgeon's custom was, before performing an operation, to say to the patient, "Take a good look at the wound, and then fix your eyes on me, and don't take them off till I get through." I thought at the time that was a good illustration. Sinner, take a good look at the wound to-night; and then fix your eye on Christ, and don't take it off. It is better to look at the remedy than at the wound. See what a poor wretched sinnner you are; and then look at the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. He died for the ungodly and the sinner. Say, "I'll take him;" and may God help you to lift your eye to the Man on Calvary; and as the Israel ites looked upon the serpent and were healed, so you may look and live to-night.
After the battles of Pittsburgh Landing and Murfreesboro, I -was in a hospital at Murfreesboro. And one night, after midnight, I Wm woke up and told that there was a man in one of the wards who wanted to see me. 1 went to him and he called me "chaplain"—I
wasn't a chaplain,—and he said he wanted me to help him die. And I said, I'd take you right up in my arms and carry you into the kingdom of God, if I could; but I can't do it; I can't help you to die." And he said, "Who can?" I said, "The Lord Jesus Christ can. He came for that purpose." He shook his head and said: "He can't aare me; I have sinned all my life." And 1 said, "But he came to save sinners." I thought of his mother in the North; and I knew that she was anxious that he should die right, and I thought I'd stay with him. I prayed two or three times, and repeated all the promises I could; and I knew that in a few hours he would be gone. I said I wanted to read him a conversation that Christ had with a man who was anxious about his soul. I turned to the 3d chapter of John. His eyes were riveted on me; and when I came to the 14th and 15th verses, my text to-night; he caught up the words. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." He stopped me and said, "Is that there?" I said "Yes," and he asked me to read it again, and I did so. He leaned his elbows on the cot and clasped his hands together and said, " That's good; won't you read it again?" I read it the third time, and then went on with the rest of the chapter. When I finished, his eyes were closed, his hands were folded, and there was a smile on his face. Oh, how it was lit up! What a change had come over it! I saw his lips quivering, and I leaned over him and heard, in a faint whisper, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." He opened his eyes and said: "Thai's enough; don't read any more." He lingered a few hours, and then pillowed his head on those two verses, and then went up in one of Christ's chariots and took his seat in the kingdom of God. You may spurn God's remedy and perish; but I tell you God don't want you to perish. He says: "As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?" May God help you all to look unto him and be saved!