"For there is no difference." Romans 8: 22
I want to call your attention to a clause in that chapter I have just read, a part of the 22d verse: "For there is no difference." Now that is one of the verses, one of the portions of Scripture,' that the natural man don't like. I have had many a quarrel with meu on this verse; because we are just apt to think we are a little better than our friends and our neighbors, and men don't like to believe there is no difference. It is one of the greatest lessons a man has to learn—that he is a sinner. If you don't believe that you are sick, you won't call in a physician. It is just because the natural man don't like this text, I have taken it to-night. I have found out long ago that the lessons we don't like are the best medicine for us. I can imagine there is some one here who says: "I don't believe that statement that there is no difference." I can imagine there is some one here who says: "Isn't it better for a man to be a sober man than it is to be a drunkard? Isn't it better for a man to be honest than it is for a man to be dishonest?'' Yes, we will admit all that; but that don't apply when it comes to the great question of salvation. If a man has not been saved from his sin, he must perish like the rest of the world. Now, if a man wants to find out what he is, let him turn to the 3d chapter of Romans. He can read his life there. If you want to read your own biography, you need not write it yourself. Turn to the 3d chapter of Romans, and it is til there, written by a man who knows a good deal more about us than we do about ourselves. Christ was the only one that ever trod this earth that saw everything in the heart of man. We read that ho didn't commit himself because he knew their hearts. The heart is deceitful. W^ho can know it? It is deceitful above all things and it is desperately wicked. Now, Satan either tries to make men believe that they are good enough without salvation, or if he can't make them believe that, he tries to tell them that they are Bo bad God won't have anything to do with them. .
The law isn't to save men, but the law is brought in just to show man that he is lost and ruined under the law. These people that are trying to save themselves by the law are making the worst mistake of their lives. Some people say, If they try to do right, they think that is all that is required of them. They say, "I try to keep the law." Well, did you ever know a man keep the law, except the Son of God himself? The law was never given to save men by. "And what was the law then given for?" It was given to show man hia lost and ruined condition. It was given to measure men by their fruits. Before God saves a man, he first stops his mouth. I meet some people in the inquiry-room who talk a good deal. When I meet those people, I say to myself, "They are very far from the kingdom of God." A perfect God couldn't give an imperfect standard; a perfect God sees that the law is pure and good; but we are not good if we don't come up to the standard. Now, if a man should come into New York city and advertise that he could take a photograph of people's hearts, and give a perfect likeness, do you think Be would get a customer in New York? If we go to have a photograph taken, we brush ourselves up and have it taken sitting, and standing, and sitting in this position, and sitting in that position, and standing in this position, and standing in that position; and if the artist natters us and makes us look better than we do, we send it around to our friends, and we say, "Yes, that is a good likeness." Suppose the artist could get a photograph of the heart of the true man, do you think he would get many customers? A good many of you would say: "I would n't Tike to have the wife of my bosom see my heart. I wouldn't like to have her read my secret thoughts." The heart of man is a fountain of corruption, vileness and pollution; and there is no hope for a man being saved until he finds out he is bad.
And so the law is a looking-glass, just to show a man how foul he is in the sight of God. A little while before the Chicago fire, I went home one afternoon to my family, and I thought I would take them out riding. My little boy, about two years old, clapped his hands, and wanted to know if I wouldn't take him up to Lincoln Park to see the bears. I said that I would, and I went out. I hadn't been one a great while, when the little fellow wanted his mother to wash
him up; and then he wanted to go out and play. Well, he got playing in the dirt, and he got all covered with dirt; and when I drove up he wanted to get into the carriage. I said: "No, Willie, you are not ready; I must take you in and get you washed." The little fellow said, "Oh, papa, I'se ready." I told him he wasn't ready, he was all over dirt. "But, papa, mamma washed me, I'se clean." I could not make him believe that his face was all dirty. He could not
. believe it; his mamma washed him, and he was clean. So I took him up, and let the little fellow see himself in the looking-glass in the carriage. He saw the dirt, and it stopped his mouth. I held him up to the looking-glass, so that he saw the dirt; but I did not take the looking-glass to wash his face with. That is what people do. The law was not given to save man. It was given to show him his lost and ruined condition. It wasn't given to save men—the Son of God came to do that work; but the law is the schoolmaster that came to show us what to do when we are saved. Stop all this idle doing, and just come to the fountain that has just been opened in the house of David for sin and uncleanliness. I can imagine some of you may say: "I am sure I am not as bad as some people. I am not a publican. I never got drunk in my life. I don't like to have Mr. Jaoody say I am as bad as other people." I don't know but pharisaism is as bad as drunkenness, and I find you can just sum up the whole human race into about two heads—the publican and the pharisee. Yonder is an orchard, and in that orchard there are two apple trees—miserable, sour, bitter. Stop, one of them is bare; they we worthless. Why are they good for nothing? Well, one tree has got five hundred apples, and the other has got five. There is no difference. The fact is, the tree is bad. One man may have more fruit than another, but the fruit is bad—from the old Adam stock. God didn't look for good fruit from Adam's stock. Make the fountain good, and the stream will be good. Make men's hearts good and their lives •will be good. You might as well tell a man to jump over the moon as to be moral, if he hasn't got God in his heart. The way to improve the soul of a man is to strike at the root of the tree; and if the heart is right, and in sympathy with God, there will be no trouble about the life. You need not be cultivating a crab-apple tree—that is what some people do.
Now, in the law it is written that a man that breaks the least of the law is guilty of all. Some people say, "I have not broken the ten commandments." They seem to think that the ten commandments are ten different laws. But a man who breaks the least of the commandments has broken all; and if you have broken one of the commandments, you have broken the law of God. Some people think that if they only fail in one commandment, they are not so bad; but if a man is guilty of breaking one, he breaks all. And where can we find one man who does not break more than one commandment? How many people here in New York worship idols? Measure your heart by the law of God, my friends, and you'll find yourself guilty. The reason why people sin so much is because they don't believe they do sin. Unbelief is the root of all evil. Adam sinned through unbelief, and we must get out of the pit at the same place he fell in. He fell by unbelief, and we must believe to be laved. You go to a prison, and you will find there a good many criminals; one is there for one offense and one for another, but they are all criminals. So here to-night; some of us are guilty of one offense and some of another, but we are all sinners.
A few years ago we had a law in our city requiring all the policemen to be of a certain height, five feet and ten inches, I think it was; and of good moral character, and to be well recommended. One day as I was going down the street with a friend, I saw a crowd of men standing m front of the commissioner's office, waiting to be examined. Now, suppose my friend had gone with me into the commissioner's office, and we had presented certificates of good moral character, coming from persons high in place. When I came to present my recommendations, the commissioner would have said, "Well, Mr. Moody, before we look at your papers, we will proceed to measure you;" and lo, I am found to be but about five feet high! So I am rejected. And my friend might say, "Oh, well, I am taller than you are, so I need have no fear on that score;" but when they eome to measure him, he is found to be just one-tenth of an inch too short, and they throw him out too; My father once told me that in England the archers used to shoot at a ring, and if any archer failed to snoot all his arrows through the ring, he was called a sinner. Now, suppose I should take ten arrows and try to send them through a ring at the other side of the building, and should only get one through, I should be called a sinner. And suppose Brother Taylor should take as many arrows and send nine through, one after the other, and just miss the ring with the last one, wliy he would be a sinner too, just like me.
My friends, have any of you missed the mark? I see a man down there in the audience bow his head. There is hope of your being saved if you feel you have sinned. And who of us have not failed, in many ways? We are all failures, and every man since Adam has been a failure. Many persons wish they could have been created perfect, like Adam, but there is no man who would not have fallen like Adam, if he had been put in Adam's place. Put one thousand children into this building, and give them all sorts of playthings, but tell them that there is one thing in the room that they must not look at; leave them alone for half an hour, and they would all be looking at that one thing.
Man is a stupendous failure. God on Mount Horeb shouted the law to man, and man said; "Oh, yes, Lord, we'll keep the law; we'll not break this thy command." And the very first commandment was, "Thou shalt not have other gods." Then Moses and Joshua go to have an interview with God; and the people whom they had left behind at once began to say, " Make us a god." And the golden calf was made, and they worshiped it. When Moses and Joshua returned from Horeb, they heard a great shout. Hal do you hear that shout? Is it the shout of victory, of those who are rejoicing in
conquest? No, it is the shout of the idolater. They all worship the
folden calf. It was an idolatrous shout that the prophets heard, 'he worship of the golden calf! You find it in New York. One man says, Give me more money; another, Give me a seat in Congress; another, Give me a bottle of rum. Ah, it's easy to condemn the Israelites; it is easy to smile; but beware that you are not guilty of the same sin. Man was a failure under the judges, failure under the prophets; and now, for two thousand years, under grace, he has been a most stupendous failure. Walk the streets, and see how quickly he goes to ruin. How many are hastening down to the dark caves of sin! Man in his best day, under the most favorable circumstances, is nothing but a failure.
Imagine Noah stopping work on the Ark, and going on a preaching tour. He tells the people of the flood; he warns them of their danger; he exhorts them to repent. All are to perish, the wise, the rich, the great—all, all fire to perish when God comes to judge. They mock at him. They tell him: "You'd better go baok to your old ark; do you think we will believe that the rich, the priests, the great, the powerful, are going to perish as you say?" They would mock, and would not believe. I can hear over the waves, that proved the warning true, this one text, "All have sinned and come snort of the glory of God." Take the people of Sodom. Do you believe they would believe the warning voice. "No," they would say; "Sodom to be destroyed? Nonsense; it was never more prosperous." They would not believe; and didn't they all perish alike? I tell you there is no difference when God comes. It was my sad lot to be in Chicago when that great fire swept through the city, and I have often thought it was almost a glimpse of the judgment day. All were on a level then. There was the house of the millionaire, and near it the house of the poor man. The rich man turned his back on his gilded palace, and the poor man went with him. There was no difference. We are all on one platform; let no mocking words escape! Flee for your lives! Flee! Flee! There is a mountain we can all escape to—it s Calvary. You can escape thus, any night. Some may say I paint too dark a picture. For two nights I have tried to tell you of the gospel; perhaps I have made a mistake. Christ kept the law. He was the lamb, pure and spotless. He never broke the law; therefore he can die for the sins of man. The law cuts all down, as a scythe cuts down the grass. All go down before its sweep. Right here comes in the gospel—the Son of God came to seek and to save that which was lost. The grace of God brings grace down to men. Substitution. If you take that out of the Bible, you can take the Bible along with you, if you wish to. The same story runs all through the book. The scarlet thread is unbroken from Genesis to Revelation. Christ died for us, that's the end of the law. I always loved that hymn sometimes sung by brother San key:
"Free from the law. O! happy condition." He was bruised for us, and through him are we saved. Napoleon Bonaparte once sent out a draft. A man was drafted who didn't want to go. A friend volunteered to go in his place; he went into the army and was killed. A second draft was made, and by some accident the same man was drafted again; but he said to the officer: "You can't take me, I'm dead. I died on such a battlefield." "Why, man, you are crazy," said the officer. "You are not dead; here you are alive and well before me." "No, sir," said the man; "I am dead. The law has no claim on me; look at the roll." They looked, and found another name written against his. They insisted; he carried his case before the Kin j »•!-< >r, who said that he was right; his friend had died for him. Christ died for me. The wages of sin is death—Christ has received this payment. It is the height of folly to bear this burden, when wecan so easily step out from under it.
In Brooklyn, I saw a young man go by without any arms. My friend pointed him out, and told me his story. When the war broke out, he felt it to be his duty to go to the front. He was engaged to be married, and while in the army letters passed frequently between him and his intended wife. After the battle of the Wilderness, the young lady looked anxiously for the accustomed letter. At last one oaine, in a strange hand. She opened it with trembling fingers, and read these words: "We have fought a terrible battle. I have been wounded so awfully that I shall never be able to support you more. A friend writes this for me. I love you more tenderly than ever, but I release you from your promise. I will not ask you to join your life with the maimed life of mine." That letter was never answered: the next train that left, the young lady was on it. She went to the hospital. She found out the number of his cot, and she went down the aisle, between the long rows of wounded men. At last she saw the number; she threw her arms around his neck and said: "I'll not desert you. I'll take care of you." He did not resist her love. They were married; and there is no happier couple than this one. You're dependent on another. Christ says: "I'll take care of you. I'll take you to this bosom of mine." That young man could have spurned her love; he could, but didn't. Surely you can be saved, if you will accept salvation of him. Oh, that the grace of God may reach your heart to-night, by which you may be brought out from under the curse of the law.