SEEK THE LORD.
"Seek the the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he to near." 501 6.
You will find my text this evening in the 55th chapter of Isaiah, in the 6th verse: "Seek ye the Lord while maybe found, and call ye upon him while he is near." You that have been here for the last two nights will remember that I have been speaking from the text: "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." 1 have been talking about God—as to how God is seeking for the sinner. To-night, I want to turn the question and talk of man's state. Under this text we have got to-night, man is told to seek the Lord. "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, and call ye upon him while he is near." Now, 1 have learned this during the past few years, in dealing with men; that there isn't much hope of being saved until they seek the Lord with all their heait. One reason that men do not find the Lord is, that they don't seek for him with all their heart. Very often you meet people who say, "Well, I don't know as I have any objections to be saved." Well, I don't know as I ever knew of any one that found Christ that had that spirit. You have got to have something beyond that. I said to a man, some time ago, that I could tell him the day he was going to be converted. I said to him: "I can tell you when you will be converted, although I ain't a prophet, and although I don't pretend to be a prophet." "Well," said he, "I would like to have you tell me that; for I would like to know, myself." "Well," I said, "you shall find him when you seek for him, and search for him with all your heart." In the 29th chapter of Jeremiah, and the 13th verse, it says: "And ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." I wish men would seek for Christ as they seek for wealth. I wish men would seek for Christ as they seek for position in this world. Man prepares his feast, and there ia a great rush to see who will get there first. God prepares his feast, and the excuses come in: "I pray thee have me excused." Supposing I should state that last night a man came into this place and lost a very valuable present; something he valued a great deal more than the value of the present, because it was the gift of his dying mother. Suppose he should send up a note to me, saying: "Mr. Moody, I lost, last night, a very valuable diamond; and I am willing to give anyone that can find that diamond, $20,000." I am sure there would be a great search. How many do you suppose would be seeking for that diamond? I would not give much for my sermon to-night. A man might say: "I am poor; and if I could find that diamond, wouldn't that take me out of poverty and out of want?" You wouldn't wait until I got through my sermon; but you would be looking down at jour feet, and under the benches. My friend, isn't the salvation of rour soul worth more than all the diamonds that the world has seen? Isn't it worth more than the whole world itself, and isn't it the best thing you can do to-night to seek the Lord? Not only that, but it is a command to seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near. It is just as much a command for you to seek the Lord as it is that you sha'n't swear. It is just as much a command, as it is that you sha'n't steal. It is a command. There are a great many commandments. Some people have got an idea that there are only ten commandments in the Bible. There are thousands of them, and this is one of them. It is the voice of the Lord himself. Seek him, with all your heart. Now just see how men seek for wealth. When the California fever—the gold fever—broke out, men left their wives, and left their children, and left their parents, and their homes and luxury, and went out to the Pacific coast, and alept out in the open air, and under tents, and endured want. What for? That they might get wealth. They could not make too great a sacrifice to get wealth; and when I was out there in business, I was amazed when news came that gold was found one hundred miles away. They would pack up, men, women and children, and away they would go. A whole town would move, just to seek wealth. Then they went out to Australia, in the time of the gold fever in that country. They were willing to make almost any sacrifice. Look and see these politicians work. Let one of them be nominated alderman, or for some position under the government, and how they will seek your vote. They will come around to your house early in the morning, just to seek your vote. They don't sleep at night; they are willing to do everything they can do to accomplish their purpose.
•Let us go and learn a lesson from that. If there is no reality in
this gift of God, if it is all a myth, then let us dismiss it. If it is
true, and we can find the Lord by seeking him, let us seek him. A
man will go around this world for his health; he will cross oceans
and climb steep mountains just to get his health. Thanks be to God
that you haven't got to go around the world to get salvation; you
haven't got to go out of this building to find salvation. "Ye shall
find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Now there
isn't anything a man values as he does his life. You take a man on
• wrecked vessel; that vessel is going down, that man may be worth
a million, and the only way he oan save his life is to grive up that
million—he would do it as quick as a flash. Now the gift of God is eternal life; it is life without end. Christ says, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" Now is it true that a man cau be saved here to-night? I would like to ask this audience a question. Is it true that a man can find tho Lord here to-night? Now won't you just stop and think a moment? Dr. Paxton, do you believe the Lord can be found here to-night? Do you believe it, Mr. Jesup? Do you, Mr. Dodge? [Mr. Dodge—I do.] Now, my friend, do you believe it? Young man, do you believe that the Lord can be found here to-night? If he can be found, why not seek for him, and why not look? This cold, bleak night may be the night of your salvation. If it is true that the Lord is worth more than the whole world, and he can be found by seeking, why not seek for him?—not with half a heart, but with all your heart.
I read a number of years ago of a vessel that was wrecked. The life-boats were not enough to take all the passengers. A man, who swimming in the water, swam up to one of the life-boats that were full, and seized it with his hand. They tried to prevent him, but the man was terribly in earnest about saving his life; and one of the men in the boat just drew a sword and cut off his hand. But the man didn't give up; he reached out the other hand. He was terribly in earnest; he wanted to save his life. But the man in the boat took the sword and out off his other hand. But the man did not give up. He swam up to the boat and seized it with his teeth. Some of them said, "Let us not cut his head off;" and they drew him in. That man was terribly in earnest; and my friends, if you want to get into the kingdom of God, you will seek your soul's salvation to-nijrht. Be in earnest once as for your life, and seek the kingdom of God with all your heart; and you shall find it to-night. It will be the night of your salvation. It is a good time to seek the Lord while the Spirit of God is abroad in the community. I contend that this is a proof that the Lord can be found here to-night, because I don't believe there has been a night but that some have found him. Last night a brother came to my private room, and called me and said, "I want to introduce you to some one;" and there stood a wife, her face lit up with joy. She wanted to tell me that her husband was converted. She said: "I have been praying for him these twenty years, and he has found the Lord to-night." "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near."
How many men were there that were converted in the great revival of '57 and '58: and yet some people cry out against revivals. They had rather be converted at any time than during a revival. It was not long after the revival of '57 and '58 that the nation was deluged with blood, and half a million of men laid down their lives. Wasn't it the best thing they could have done, to seek the Lord then? It was my privilege to be in the army at that time. I was by their cots, and I saw them die. I never saw a man all through
the war that regretted that he became a Christian. The best thing they could do was to call upon the Lord. It was a great calamity, and came right home to the heart of the natien. We are just now, I am afraid, going to have some of this sad work. I believe that we are even now on the eve of just such work. I believe that judgments are going to happen upon this nation again. Grace always precedes judgments. A great revival is in progress all over the country. So there was in Jerusalem a day of grace; but the opportunity was spurned. Jerusalem and the country took no heed to their ways, and soon Titns appeared with a great army and besieged it, and more than 1,100,000 people perished. Those men rejected the gospel and the Word of God. So at the present day men won't call upon Christ when he may be found, or seek him when he is near. All along in the history of the church it is remarked that before some great calamity has fallen upon the earth there has been a great day of grace, offering salvation to those who will accept it. Before God has punished people, he holds out before them a chance to repent and to escape his wrath.
And now we hear Jesus calling to repentance throughout all the land. It is time, my friends, to be up and doing. Save yourselves; and then plead with your friends, and bring them to Jesus. Tell them the glad tidings, and bring them into the fold of the Good Shepherd. If we are faithful now and watch for souls, we shall see in eyery town and city thousands who will accept Christ. It is time for us to go out and say to our friends and relatives: "Come in; the Lord is coming, the Lord is at work. Jesus of Nazareth is passing through the city. Let us call upon him while he may be found; let us implore him to save us while he is near." The very text implies that the time is come when the world should throw off its sloth and wake to repentance. The text implies that God is near and pleads with his people, that the time and the Son of God are near now. Isn't it true that he is here to-night? Isn't it true that he is seeking for you •when you seek for him? Seek, then, the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near. Mr. Sankey sung to-night about those virgins. We read that five sought to gain admission too late. There was a time that they might have called upon the Lord; there was a time when, had they nought, they would have found him. But they slumbered and slept, until it was too late. Then they cried, but the door was shut—the day of grace was over. And so it may be the same to you. The day of grace may be drawing to a close with you, too. It may be that I am speaking to many here for the last time. This may be the last year they may have on earth. Thf prophecy may be true in regard to you and me, "This year thou shalt die." Is it or isn't; it a time to seek the kingdom of God—to seek his face while Christ is calling upon us to repent, while the Spirit of God is moving upon our hearts? Isn't it the very best time to seek the Lord while he may be found? Those antediluvian people called upon Noah to open the door of the ark and take them; but it was too late. God will shut the door against you, too. You will soon be without hope. Undoubtedly these men, women and children called upon God to save them on that terrible day; but the day of grace was over for them. The day of wrath then had come, and the day of judgment had fallen upon them. Oh, who shall stand on the day of wrath? When the Lord shall shake the earth, what shall then save the souls of men? The day of graoe is here. Save yourselves. Wash yourselves in his precious blood and be redeemed. Oh, this very night, this very hour, let there be a cry for salvation. In the 10th chapter of Romans it is written, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." I heard of a man away off in the mining district, who had wandered from his house and got lost. In that region the ground is full of holes, and some pretty deep ones too. But it was night, and he could not make his way along. Had he undertaken to move on, there were the holes before him; and every step might precipitate him into a cavern. He did not know what to do, and he could not stir a step. At last he commenced to cry out, "Helpl help! help!" and his cry was heard. They came with lanterns, and brought him safely out from his danger. The depths of sin are surrounding you; the next step may land you into darkness and death. Old man, do you hear? Young lady, do not laugh at it. Don't make ligiit of this warning voice. "Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near."
Let me warn you against the next verse. A great many people put the 7th verse ahead of the 6th. "Let the wicked forsake nis way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts." If we would be saved call upon God first, and then God will give you help; and by his power you can then turn away from sin and from your evil thoughts, and will get pardon. But you haven't power to give up your evil courses until you call upon God, and until he gives you strength. After you have called upon the Lord, you must receive him when he comes; you must make room for him. He is gone to make room for you, and you must make room for him. I once found a man in the inquiry room who was puzzled to know how there would be room for the saved in heaven. I tell you, my friends, as I told him, you needn't borrow trouble on that account. If he finds he will not have room for you, or me, or for any of his chosen people in the heaven that he now has, he will make another. Can he not make another heaven by a word? Can he not make another place of happiness as easy as he made the present one? The Lord God of heaven can make plenty of room for you. You must not give that as an excuse. The Lord can make all the room he wants. Now, my friends, let me ask you this question. In all candor, why don't you Kttle the question now? Will the Son of God have more power than he has to-night? Will he be more ready to use it for your salvation at any other time than he is to-night? Hasn't he said that all power is given unto him, both in heaven and on earth? Has he not the power to save every one here? Is he not able to save, even unto the uttermost? Hasn't he the power and hasn't he the will? Hasn't he said: "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Oh, turn ye, turn ye, why should ye die, oh, house of Israel?" If you turn now and call upon him, he will forgive you your sins. He will forgive every one all his sins, no matter how many they are. He will save you, if you truly repent, and write your name in the Book of Life. But you must call upon him with the heart.
As Spurgeon remarks, the Bible does not say that you must have new heads, or that you must seek him with your head; but it says you must have new hearts, and must seek him with your heart. If it meant head, it would have said so. Seek ye the Lord, therefore, with your hearts; and Christ will enter into your hearts, and not into your heads. Give Christ your whole heart, and he will enter into it. If your heart is all right, your head will be also; for out of the heart proceeds all evil. Let that reservoir of sin be broken up and emptied, and all the rest of you will come around right. Is there one here to-night who will not cry out, "God be merciful to me, a sinner"? "Lord, have mercy upon me"? Why not call upon bom? Why not seek the Lord now? Why not make up your mind that you will not leave the room until the great question of eternity is settled? If it is true what these gentlemen have said here tonight, when I asked them the question, that the Lord could be found, why don't you find him? Why should you let the night pass without seeking him? It is commanded, "Seek the Lord while he may be found." Don't put it off until it is too late. Don't neglect salvation. Some people say, "Why, what have I done?" I tell you, if you have done nothing but neglect salvation, you will go to death and ruin. Look at the man in the river in his boat; he is not rowing; he is making no effort; but he has his hands folded, and is letting his boat drift down the stream toward the rapids. The current is taking him on, without any help from him; he will soon go over the rapids into the jaws of death. All he has to do is to sit still and be lost. Yes, I tell you if you don't actually do any sin, yet if you neglect Christ and neglect salvation as a gift from God, you must perish. I am told that there were two men seen above the falls of Niagara. They were drinking champagne and carousing. They had no thought of danger; they formed no perception of the end that was awaiting them. They sang and they drank. But by and by a -warning voice came to their ears. They looked at the friend on shore, but paid no attention. They even mocked him; they lifted up the bottle, drank to him, and shook the bottle at him. Some one further on, seeing their danger, also undertook to warn them; but they treated his voice with laughter and derision. There are some here to-night that act just the same way. You come here and laugh, and make light of the solemn services, and ridicule the Word of God. These men mocked the danger also. They drifted a little further on, when a third voice was lifted up to give them notice of the approaching rapids. But the men still mocked on; and the current still took them on every second nearer to the great and fatal plunge. But they soon saw the water going over the falls, and in wild desperation seized the oars. They battled against the current with all their strength. Too late! too late! They had neglected it too long, and with a wild cry they were forever engulfed. What a picture! And yet hundreds and thousands have died just the same way.
By and by will come the piercing cry, "It's too late!" To-night I plead with you to neglect it no longer. Some of you here may hear the appeal for the last time. Oh, may the Holy Spirit open your eyes to-night! While we were in Europe, a man came into one of the meetings in the coal region; and when the audience was dismissed, he was seen to remain, standing against a "post. One of the elders approached him, and asked him why he remained. He said he had made up his mind not to leave that church until he found the kingdom of God. The elder remained with him for a long time, and at last the miner made a surrender. The next day he went into the coal-pit, and before night the mine fell in and buried him. He was taken from the ruins just before life became extinct, and was heard to say: "It is a good thing I settled it last night." Wasn't it a jjood thing? Young lady, what say you? Young man, what do you think? When Mr. Sankey and I were in the North of England, I was preaching one evening, and before me sat a lady who was a skeptic. When I had finished, I asked all who were anxious to remain. Nearly all remained, herself among the number. I asked her if she was a Christian: and she said she was not, nor did she care to be. I prayed for her there. On inquiry, I learned that she was a lady of <_rood social position, but very worldly. She continued to attend the meetings, and in a week after I saw her in tears. After the sermon I went to her, and asked her if she was of the same mind as before. She replied that Christ had come to her, and she was happy. Last autumn I had a note from her husband, saying she was dead, that her love for her Master had continually increased. When I read that note, I felt paid for crossing the Atlantic. She worked sweetly after her conversion, and was the means of winning many of her fashionable friends to Christ. Oh, may you seek the Lord while ho> may be found, and may you call upon him while you may.