"And a man shall be as a hiding-place."—Isaiah 19: t,
Instant salvation !—In other words, How can every soul in this building be saved to-night? Now, if there are any that go out of this hall that are not saved, there will be but one reason tor it. It will be because they do not want to be saved.. There is salvation for every soul that wants it. That is what the Scripture teaches. If the Bible teaches any one thing, it teaches us that a man can be saved if he -wants to. I want to.ask: Do you want to be saved? have you come to-night for that purpose? Or have you just come here to see the audience? or have you come here to sing? or out of idle curiosity? or because you have not anywhere else to go this evening? Ask yourself what has brought you here to-night: and if you can answer it by saying, "I want to be saved to-night above everything else," then I have a message for you: And, God helping me, I will try to make it so plain that you can all understand it
The first illustration I want to call your attention to is the ark. Now I have no doubt but you all understand that story as well as I do. Perhaps there is not a child here but understands all about that ark; how Noah built it, and how it was finished. And God invited Noah to come in: "Come thou and all thy house into the ark." There was one moment Noah was outside of that ark, the next moment he was in. There is instant salvation. One moment he was exposed to the judgment that was coming upon the earth ; the next moment be was in the ark. He had only to cross over the threshold and go in. When God called him in, he had not to build the ark; that was already done. And if God calls you, my friends, the ark is already finished. One hundred and twenty years before, God had told Noah to build the ark; now it was done, and he was called in. God has provided an ark. We read in the 32nd chapter of Isaiah, at the 2nd verse: "And a man shall be as a hiding-place." The Lord Jesus Christ is the refuge for every poor sinner; and the moment the sinner steps out into Christ, that moment he is saved. I remember, when at Manchester, at one of our inquiry-meetings, while I was talking, a man came up. I thought when I first looked at him he was skeptical, and had come to criticise the meeting, and see what was going on. At last I noticed tears trickling down his cheeks. I asked him if he was interested. He said, "Yes; I want to be saved." I said, "Thank God for that." I turned my attention to that man, and I used one illustration. He said, "I want to feel I am saved." I said: "God does not tell you to feel, you do not want to make a god of your feelings. It is not your feeling that is going to save you." "But," said he, "if a man is saved, won't he know it." "Yes, if he conies into the ark." I asked him if it was Noah's feeling that saved him, or the ark. He said: "I understand it now. I have to go on board the train to-night. I see it, I see it." He shook my hand and we parted. Some tune after, I was coming out of the Free Trade Hall, and this man touched me on the shoulder and asked me if I remembered the illustration of the ark. He said he had peace ever since. He said, "It was the ark that saved me." He was one of the best workers we had in Manchester. Just trust the ark. Don't trust in anything you can do. •
Salvation is outside of yourself: may the Lord open your eyes to see it. Your sins may keep you out of Heaven; but they cannot keep you from Christ, because Christ will take them out of the way. The ark was built for sinners. If you were not a sinner, you would not need to come in. Death is the penalty of sin; and if a man could live in the world without committing sin, without transgressing the law, he would not die. That man never lived, except the Lord Jesus Christ; and he took upon him our sins and died for us. Your sins may keep you out of heaven; but they cannot keep you from Christ, if you want to come. Take the illustration we had this afternoon about Lot. There was one minute Lot was in Sodom; another minute, and he had crossed over the line and went out of Sodom. God said: "Make haste, escape for thy life. Flee to yon mountain." It was Lot's going out of Sodom that saved him: that was instant salvation. One moment he was in Sodom; the next moment he had gone out. He saved his life by obeying God. It was the going out of Sodom that saved him. We want to escape for our lives; we want to escape out of Sodom.
The cry that comes from Jehovah now is: "Escape to Mount Calvary, and get under the shelter of the cross; and you are safe for time and eternity." Read the 13th verse of the 12th chapter of Exodus. "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." There was one moment when there was no blood on the door-post. It was the blood that sheltered them that memorable night, when death came and smote the first-born in Egypt. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." It was not anything they could say or do that would save them, except to be sheltered behind the blood. There was a moment when the blood was not on the door; and there was another moment when they took up the hyssop and sprinkled it on the door. One second it was not there; another second, and it was there. That blood is the countersign. Do not go on with the delusion that your prayers and cries for mercy in the dying hour are going to be the key to open heaven.
Some people say: "God is a God of mercy; I know he will be merciful and let me in." He wifi, if you have washed in the blood of the Lamb; if you have turned to Christ and been born again. Some say, when they leave this world they will knock at the door of mercy, and mercy will let them in. You need not call for mercy then. Mercy has been offered for eighteen hundred years. Mercy w here. You must meet mercy here, doing office work. If you find grace and Christ here, you will find an entrance into heaven. I met a man who had a dream. He dreamed he was taken by the angels to the gates of that City which is of pure gold; and they would not let him in. He represented that he had been a Sabbath-school superintendent; but they did not know him. Then he represented now much good he had done in the world; but they did not know him. Another man came and said he had been an elder in the church; they did not know him. Another came and spoke of his good works; they did not know him. At last came one crying, "Blood! blood! blood!" and the gates flew wide open and he entered in. The man awoke, and thought that if he entered that city he must be washed in the blood of the Lamb. The Wood must be the token. There is nothing to prevent you from accepting this precious blood this very night and hour.
Some people say, "You must strive to enter in." Yes; but who ii the striving with? Is it with the gate-keeper? Is it that God has the gate locked and barred, and says you cannot come in until yon have prayed so long and wrestled so long? Does not the Scriptare say the gate is open, and God say, "Come in, come in, come in"? Was it not the turning point in the life of the prodigal son when he laid, "I will arise and go to my father"? Were not his father's arms open and readjr to receive him? Did you ever hear of a poor sinner coming to Chnst that he did not receive him with joy and gladness? Do not think the way is hard. God has made it so easy that a wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot err therein.
God told Joshua, in the Promised Land, to make six cities of refuge—three on each side of Jordan—and set them on hills where they could be seen. The gates were to be kept open day and night. The chief men and magistrates were to keep the way clear; every stumbling-block was to be taken up out of the way; the bridges were to be kept in repair. He was to put up sign posts, upon which were to be written in letters of red, "Cities of Refuge;" and a hand was to be painted upon them, which was to point to these cities of refuge, Bo that any one who could not read could see the hand and escape for his life. The law was that if one man killed another accidentally, the next relative of the man killed should avenge his kinsman; and the only hope for that man was to get into one of these cities of refuge. They were placed on each side of Jordan, so that there should be no obstacle in the way to prevent a fugitive from reaching them. Suppose I am in the woods, and my axe slips out of my hand and kills the man working with me. I know his brother will be on my track, if he finds me out; so I start and run as fast as I can for the city of refuge. I soon hear the footsteps of that brother coming after me. I leap over the bridges. I do not stop to loiter by the way. If any man comes along and asks me a question, I do not stop to talk. There is no time to discuss which is the best denomination. I want to save my life. The avenger is behind me; he has a doubleedged sword bearing down upon me. I say, Tf I can only get through that gate I will save my life. Away I go. A watchman standing on the 'walls of the city sees me coming. The news spreads through the city, "There is a poor fugitive coming." The inhabitants stand on the walls; they see the avenger; he is bearing down upon me. They cry: "Run, run for your life, run." At last I go leaping through the gates of that city. One moment outside, the next moment in. He may come now with his double-edged sword; but he cannot touch me. One momEnt he was ready to hew me down; the next I was safe. I am saved. It is not my feelings that save me. I an inside the walls!
Did you ever stop to think that death is on your track? Did you ever stop to think how near he may be to you? Many a man who has been within these walls since we have been here has already gone; and in an audience of ten thousand, it is not out of the way to think that some one of us will be gone a week hence. A young man from one of the hotels here came to hear my lecture on the prophet Daniel. On Wednesday night he was talking about the lecture; on Thursday morning he was found dead in his bed. We shall see him no more. I hope he was in the City of Refuge. If he was, he was safe for time and for eternity. Death is on your track and mine. If we are in the City of Refuge we are safe. God has provided a City of Refuge for every one; that is, Christ himself. You may find
shelter in that cleft rock, and be safe for time and eternity. Oh, may
God open your eyes and show you the importance of escaping for your life! You are not to think, because you feel this or feel that you will be saved. You must obey God. You shall not perish if You obey God, and do what he tells you to do.
Here is another illustration. A few years ago we had slavery in this country, and the black men were all the time looking towards the north star. They were trying to get their liberty, especially those in the Border States. If they crossed the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, they were not saved; for we had a fugitive slave law, under which their masters could take them again into slavery. They looked farther on. They knew there was a flag no slave could lire under; that when they were under that flag they were free. They kept traveling toward Canada. They knew if they could get under the Union Jack that flag would protect them. No power under Heaven could take them back. As long as we are on the devil's territory he has a claim upon us, and he will take us captive; he will make us do as he wants us to do. Look at this poor slave; he has come up from Missouri. He has crossed the Mississippi river, and he must get through Michigan. He gets into the state, and there is a rumor that his old master is after him; so he goes with all his speed towards Canada. He says, "If I can only get over the line I will be a free man." The man is escaping, running for his freedom. The master and his men are on fleet horses, pursuing after him. Away they go over the hedges and down through the valleys. Away he goes, panting, running as fast as he can go. At last he sees the Union Jack, and he says, "There is my home, if I can only cross the line." See him running. He gets within a rod of the line; but he is a slave yet. His master can take him into bondage again. Now if he can make those fifteen feet he will be a free man. At last begets over the line; and he is free now, forever. That is instant salvation. What you want is to cross the line to-night. Just come under the flag of heaven, and you are free—no more slavery. You cannot be under the flag of heaven and serve the devil at the same time.
Young man, make up your mind that by the grace of God you will cross that line to-night. Are you not willing to be saved now? The moment you make up your mind you will seek the Kingdom of God with all your heart, you will find it.
I was walking down the streets of York one day when I was preaching in England, and I saw a red-coat; and, wishing to hear from him how the soldiers were enlisted in that country, I said to him: "You see, I am a foreigner, and I want to ask you how it is you enlist." I was after an illustration. "Well," he said, "I will tell you. I went to the recruiting office and said, ' I want to enlist m her Majesty's service; I want to become a soldier.' The officer put a shilling in my hand. The moment I had that I was a soldier." People say, "How U it you are a sinner to-night, and before you go to sleep you are saved?" It is because you have received the English shilling. That man was his own master, but he said, " I want to enlist in Queen Victoria's service;" and the moment he received that shilling he was no longer his own. By receiving it he became a soldier. I could not have a better illustration than that. Have you got tired of the service of sin and the devil? Do you want to change masters? Do you want to enlist in my Master's cause? If you do, receive him and enlist in his cause, and you are his for time and eternity. Is there any one here now who will receive him? Will you say, in the depth of your heart, "By the grace of God we will receive nim." Is there one here who will receive him? Is there one solitary one here in this vast assembly who will take him? [A voice, "Yes, I will."] Is there another? Thank God for that! [Another, "I will."] I remember asking that question in Manchester, and a man burst into tears and said, "I want to." I said, " You must make up your mind you will." In a few minutes he cried out, "I will." 1 said "Is there another?" A little voice came down from the third gallery. It sounded like the voice of an angel, and in her childish manner she said, "I will." Is there not some little child here to-night who will receive Jesus? He wants you. Don't you want to take him? "Will you receive him to-night? Will you be followers of the Lamb to-night? Will you take the gift to-night? If it is a gift, it is instantaneous. [A lady rose and said, "I will."] I do not see why you should not receive him here to-night.
I do not know any better illustration of receiving Christ than matrimony. Jeremiah, in speaking of backsliders, says: "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I am married unto you." Christ represents himself as the bridegroom and the Church as the bride. The apostle Paul writes, "What the husband is to the wife Christ is to the Church." In Revelation we read: "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb." We cannot have a better illustration. Here is a lady to whom a man has offered himself in marriage; she must receive or reject the offer. I want to get a bride for my Master. I want to see if some one here will be a spouse. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." To them that received him. Cannot you receive him to-night? Is there not some one here who- wants to become a spouse to Christ to-night? he wants you. Is it not a wonderful thing that the Prince of Glory should come from heaven and offer himself tq poor sinners like us? Will not you have him in your heart? Young man, will not you have him? Oh, I would to God every soul in this building out of Christ would receive him now! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." You have not to wait another moment. "Ah," says one, "I imagine I have to work for him." Your works will go for nought. "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." Another verse says: "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
When the Ville de Havre was sinking they took out all the passengers, and then tried to save the vessel, but it was doomed to go down. At last they gave up the work as hopeless. Another boat came along-side, and the officers and crew were urged to leave the sinking ship, and get into this vessel. They did, and were all brought ashore. This world is a wrecked vessel; every moment it is sinking. Up comes a life-boat. The captain shouts, "Moody, jump into the life-boat." I jump. One moment I am here; the next moment I am in the life-boat. It is the life-boat that saves me.
Christ is the life-boat; he comes to every perishing soul. He says: "Trust me; I will carry you in my arms to the kingdom of God." Cannot you trust him to-night, sinner? That is the question. Pause a moment, and think what you will do. Will you be saved to-night; or will you spurn this offer of mercy? I like to have people stop aod think. The question is: What are you going to do? Will you be saved? Young lady, what are you going to do to-night with Christ? Young man, what will you do with him? He is the lifeboat for you and me. Shall this blessed Week of Prayer close, and leave you out of the ark? What a week it has been. Perhaps mote prayer has been offered in America this week, than in any other week in the history of the country. Many hearts have gone up in prayer for your salvation. Are you going to let this meeting close, and leave you without hope? What are you going to do? I do not know what more I can say; I do not know as I can make it any plainer. Perhaps I had better stop here. Will you not have him to-night? Will you not trust him to-night for salvation? Just think.
While the voice of man is hushed, pause and see if you will not hear the voice of God speaking to you; if you will not hear the still, small voice of Jesus calling you to himself. Hark 1 What does he say: "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am
I my burden is light." Hear the blessed words of Jesus to-night, aod may they sink down deep into your soul. May they prevent you going out of this hall to-night unsaved. Do not you realize that God is in this meeting to-night? Do not you feel that you are in the atmosphere of prayer?
Jesus is in our assembly to-night; and now while he is here, while be is calling you to himself, will you not come to the ark? "Behold I stand at the door and knock." Does a heart throb? That is Christ knocking. "I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Will you let him in to-night, dear friends? Will you unlock the door of your heart? Pull back those rusty bolts and say, "Welcome, thrice welcome into this heart." May God help you this night to be wise for eternity, and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. Bow your heads in silent prayer, and ask the Lord what he will have you to do.