LOVE AND SYMPATHY.
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." I. Corintulihs 18: 1.
I want to follow up the subject we have had during the past week in the noon prayer-meeting. We have had for our subject " Prayer;" and in these meetings, a good many of you will remember, we have had the subject " Work." Now we want to put the two together, "Pray and work." That is really about all there is to it. It is to pray and to Work. I am in hopes we will be ready next Sabbath to go to work with individuals. I am in hopes there will be thousands of Christians that will just be trying to lead some soul to Christ. Now there are two qualifications which we need in order to be successful fishermen of men, in order to be successful in winning souls to Christ. Some of you will remember I have taken the subjects, "Courage and Enthusiasm." I want to take two others, "Love and Sympathy." I want to call your attention to the 13th chapter of Corinthians, where it says that, "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal;" and if we even give our bodies to be burned tndyet if we haven't real love in our hearts, our work will go for naught I want to call your attention to a passage in Titus, in the 2d chapter of Titus, two verses: "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men may be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity and in patience."
If love don't prompt all work, all work is for naught. If a man in the church ain't sound in his faith, we draw our ecclesiastical sword and cut his head right off; but he may not be sound in love, yet we do nothing in his case. The great want in our churches is the want of love in them. If we had more love we would do better, for love begets love; and then, too, hate begets hate. You often hear a man «y that such and such a man is the meanest man in town. Now the otter man may have had no ill-feeling toward the speaker; but if be hears of the remark he begins to think badly of the one who abused bun and soon learns to hate him. Now, if a man should hear that another man loves him and has spoken well of him, his love will grow too. Christ tells all men, "By this shall all men know—have fore one to another." This love will be the badge of the Christian, the badge by which to tell who they are,—like the badges the ushers wear here. Without love, we are not really converted to the Church of God. When we are truly converted, we love all things and all men better than ever before. The morning I was converted, I went out doors, and I fell in love with the bright sun shining over the earth; I never loved the sun before. And when I heard the birds singing their sweet songs, I fell in love with the birds, like the Scotch lassie who stood on the hills of her native land, breathing the sweet air, and when asked why she did it, said, "I love the Scotch air." If the church was filled with love, it could do so much more.
I am tired of the word duty; tired of hearing duty, duty, duty. Men go to church because it is their duty. They go to prayer-meeting because it is their duty. You can never reach a man's heart if you talk to him because it is your duty. Suppose I told my wife I loved her because it was my duty—what would she say? Once every year I go up to Connecticut to visit my aged mother. Suppose, when I go next time, I tell her that I knew she was old and that she was living on borrowed time; that I knew she had always done a great deal for me, and that I came to see her every year because it was my duty. Don't you think she would say, "Well, then, my son, you needn't take the trouble to come again?" Let us strike for a higher plane. God loved the world when it was full of sinners and those who broke his law. If he did so, can't we do it, and love our fellowmen? If the Savior could die for the world, can't we work for it? The churches would soon be filled if outsiders could find that people in them loved them when they came; if the elders and deacons were glad to see them, and were ready to take them by the hand and welcome them. Such things would draw sinners. Actions like these speak louder than words. We do not want to talk of love and not snow it in our deeds; we want something more than tongue love.
If our heart goes out towards them and we love them, they will be drawn toward us, and we will win them to Christ. We must win them to us first, and then we can win them to Christ. The last time I heard Dr. Araott speak—he died soon afterward—he used a homely illustration. Said he: "Those of you who were brought up on a farm will understand it. When you have to wean a calf, you have to teach it how to drink. You take a bucket of milk, and then you put your fingers in the calf's mouth; and when he has got a good hold, you pull his nose right down into the milk. Then you slip your fingers out, and then the calf is drinking before he knows anything about it. So," said he, "you must get the people to love you, and then turn them over to Christ." We must be more lovely ourselves, and show the people that we love them. In our city, a few years ago, there was a httle boy who went to one of the mission Sundayschools. His father moved to another part of the city, 'about five miles away; and every Sunday that boy came past thirty or forty Sunday-schools to the one he attended. And one Sunday a lady, who was out collecting scholars for a Sunday-school, met him and
asked him why he went so far, past so many schools. "There are plenty of others," said she, "just as good." He said, "They may be as good, but they are not so good for me." "Why not?" she asked. "Because they love a fellow over there," he answered. Ah! love won him. "Because they love a fellow over therel" How easy it is to reach people through love! Sunday-school teachers should win the affections of their scholars, if they wish to lead them to Christ.
Those who are successful in winning the affections of men are successful in leading them to Christ.
In London, in 1872, one Sunday morning a minister said to me: "I want you to notice that family there in one of the front seats, and when we go home I want to tell you their story." When we got home I asked him for the story, and he said, "All that family were won by a smile." "Why," said I, "how's that?" "Well," said he, "as I was walking down a street one day I saw a child at a window; it smiled, and I smiled, and we bowed. So it was the second time; I bowf'd, she bowed. It was not long before there was another child, and I had got in a habit of looking and bowing; and pretty soon the group grew, and at last, as I went by, a lady was with them. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to bow to her, but I knew tie children expected it; and so 1 bowed to them all. And the mother saw I was a minister, because I carried a Bible every Sunday morning. So the children followed me the next Sunday and found I was a minister. And they thought I was the greatest preacher, and their parents must hear me. A minister who is kind to a child and gives him a pat on the head, why the children will think he is the greatest preacher in the world. Kindness goes a great way. And to make a long story short, the father and mother and five children were converted; and they are going to join our church next Sunday." Won to Christ by a smile! vVe must get the wrinkles out of our brows, and we must have smiling faces. The world is after the best thing; and we must show them that we have got something better than they have got. I thought last night how I wished I knew the young men better. I have got something better than infidelity. We must convince them of this, or those that live out of Christ will stumble over us into the last world. Men are after the best thing everywhere; and we must show the world that we have got the best thing, before we win the world. If a man is after a horse, he wants to get the best horse he can for the money. If a lady goes shopping, she wants to get the best ribbon she can for the money. If a man wanta a coat, he wants to get the best coat he can for the money. This is tie law the world around. If we show men that religion is better than anything else, we shall win the world; but we Cannot do it if we are ooid and lukewarm, and under the lashings of conscience all the time.
We won't win the world to Christ if we are cold and lukewarm-, but if the love of God beats in warm pulsations in our hearts, and we •how them we are full of love and sympathy for them, how easy it will be to win souls to Christ! I like to see in a Christian's face the light that comes down from the celestial hills of glory. To love those that abuse them—that is what the Master did; and if we have his Spirit, we will certainly love those that don't love us. I don't think there is a man in New York whose heart is so hard but that love will break it. A friend of mine, who had a larpe Sabbathschool, had a theory never to turn a boy out of Sabbath-school on account of bad conduct. "I considered," said he, that those boys who behave badly in Sunday-school, had not had the advantages of a good bringing up, and for that very reason ought not to be turned out. I found out," said he, "that it was one thing to have a theory and another thing to put it in practice." For he had a boy come into his Sunday-school that nearly upset all his practice. He put him under one teacher; and nothing could be done with him; he put him under another teacher, and nothing could be done with him; he put him under another teacher, and nothing could be done with him. And he made up his mind to expel him from the school, and do it publicly; and let all the school know that the boy was expelled. But there came a lady teacher to him who said, " I wish you would let me have that boy." "But," said he, "he is such a bad boy; he uses such vulgar language. All those men can't do anything with him; and I think, I am sure, you can't." The lady said; "I am not doing much for Christ, and it may be that I can win him." But she was a lady of refined society, and he thought, "Surely, she won't be willing to have
Eatience with that boy." He gave her the boy, and, he said, for a sw Sundays he behaved very well; but one Sunday he behaved badly, and she corrected him, and he up and spat in her face. She quietly took her handkerchief and wiped her face. I don't know what his name was, but we will call him Johnny. "Johnny," she Bays, "I wish you would go home with me. 1 want to talk with you." "Well, I won't," he said; "I won't be seen on the street with you; and what's more, I ain't never coming to this Sunday-school any more." "Well,"she says, "If you won't walk home with me, let me walk home with you. No, he said, he wouldn't be seen on the street with her; and he was not coming to that dirty old Sundayschool any more. She knew if she was going to reach that boy she must do it then; and she thought she would try. She thought she would just bear on that curiosity chord. Sometimes, when you can't reach people in any other way, you can do it by exciting their curiosity. She said to hita: "If you will come to my house, next Tuesday morning, I shan't be there, but if you will go there and ring the front door bell, and tell the servant there is a little bundle on the bureau for you, she will give it to you." The little fellow said he wouldn't come. She thought he might change his mind. He thought it over, and he thought he would just like to know what there was in that bundle. And he went up to the house Tuesday morning, and the bundle was handed to him; and there was a little vest in it, and a little necktie that she had made with her own hands; and a kind note, stating that ever since he had been in her class she had been praying for him every morning and every evening, and she told him how she loved him and oared for him. The next morning he was there, bright and early, before she was up. The servant came up and told her that that boy was in the drawing-room, and wanted to see her. She went down and found the little fellow sitting on the sofa, weeping. She spoke to him kindly, and said, "What is the trouble?* And he says, "Oh, teacher, I have had no peace since I got that note from you." And she got down and prayed with him, "And," said the superintendent, "there is not a better boy in the school. Love conquered him."
The greatest inidcl can be reached by love; the greatest drunkard can be reached by love. Infidelity don t know anything about love. The religion of Jesus Christ is a religion of love. If we would be successful workers in his vineyard, it is the love of Christ that must bind us together. A few years ago I was in a town down in our state, the guest of a family that had a little boy about thirteen years old, who did not bear the family name, yet was treated like the rest. Every night when he retired, the lady of the house kissed him, and treated him in every respect like all the other children. I said to the lady of the house, "I don't understand it." I think he was the finest-looking boy I have ever seen. I said to her, "I don't understand it." She says: "I want to tell you about that boy. That boy is the son of a missionary. His father and mother were missionaries in India; but they found they had got to bring their children back to this country to educate them. So they gave up their mission field and came back to educate their children, and to'find some missionary work to do in this country. But they were not prospered here as they had been in India, and the father said, "I will go back to India;" and the mother said: "If God has called you to go I am sure it will be my duty to go, and my privilege to go, and I will go with you." The father said: "You have never been separated from the children, »nd it wdl be hard for you to be separated from them; perhaps yon had better stay and take care of them," But after praying they decided to leave their children to be educated, and they left for India. This lady heard of it and sent a letter to the parents, in which she stated if they left one child at her house she would treat it like one of her own children. She said the mother came and spent a few days at her house, and being satisfied that her-boy would receive proper care, consented to leave him. And the night before she was to leave him, the missionary lady said to the Western lady: "I want
to leave my boy to-morrow morning without a tear;" said she, "I may never see him again." But she didn't want him to think she •was weeping for anything she was doing for the master. The lady said to herself, "She woirt leave that boy without a tear." But the next day, when the carriage drove up to the door, the lady went up stairs and said she heard the mother in prayer, crying: "O God, give me strength for this hour. Help me to go away from my boy without a tear." When she came down there was a smile upon her face. She hugged him and she kissed him, but she smiled as she did it. She gave up all her five or six children without shedding a tear, went back to India, and in about a year there came a voice, "Come up hither." Do you think she would be a stranger in the Lord's world? Don't you think she won't be known there, a mother that loved her God more than her children? When I think of that, it seems as if I didn't know much about making a sacrifice for my Master. Oh, that we might know more about the love of Christ!
The next thing I want to speak of is sympathy.* We have got to get into sympathy with people if we are going to do them good. This world wants sympathy about as much as anything. There are so many we could reach if we could sympathize with them. If we stand upon a higher plane, we won't succeed. The Son of God passed by the mansions and went down in a manger that he might sympathize with the lowly. If we want to reach people, we have got to put ourselves in the places of these people, if we are going to succeed. People say, "How are the masses going to be reached?" Why, get into sympathy with them. If a man knows you are in sympathy with him, his heart, however hard it may be, will be broken. A gentleman one day came to my office for the purpose of getting me interested in a young man who had just got out of the penitentiary. "He says,* said the gentleman, "he don't want to go to the office; but I want your permission to bring him in and introduce him." I said, "Bring him in." The gentleman brought him in and introduced him; and I took him by the hand, and told him I was glad to see him. I invited him up to my house, and when I took him into my family I introduced him as my friend. When my little daughter came into the room I said, "Emma, this is papa's friend." And she went up and kissed him, and the man sobbed aloud. After the child left the room I said, "What is the matter?" "O sir," he said, ."I have not had a kiss for years. The last kiss I had was from ray mother, and she was dying. I thought I would never love another one again." His heart was broken. Just that little kindness showed I was in sympathy with him. Another young man, just out of the penitentiary, came to me, and after I had talked with him for some time, he didn't seem to think I was in Sympathy with him. I offered him a little money, "No," he said, "I don't want your money." "What do you want?" "I want some one to have confidence in me." I got down and prayed with him; and in my prayer I called him a brother, and he shed tears the moment I called him a. brother. So if we are going to reach men we must make them believe we are their brothers. 1 will tell you how to get there. You must put yourself in their places. I tell you, if we only put ourtelves in their places, we can succeed in bringing souls to Christ. Oh, when we sec- a poor drunkard, let us bear in mind that we might have been in the same place under the same circumstances. Oh, may Gnil give us love and sympathy, so that we can reach the masses, and that many may be reached in this way; and we will see men coming to Christ by thousands. I believe, in my soul, we are going to see the greatest work in New York we have ever soen in this world. Let every one of us that love the Lord Jesus Christ make np our minds that, by the grace of God, we will try to help some toul to Christ; and the Lord will make us wise in leading souls *o him, if that is our prayer.