Faith without works is dead."
I want to speak this morning about work. You know that was the key-note of the meeting when we first commenced here; and we want to have it the key-note of our message as we leave. Faith is an act of the mind, and work is the outward sign of faith. If a man has true faith in Christ, he cannot help working for Christ. You cannot have fire without heat; no more can you have faith without works. "Faith without works," the apostle tells us, "is dead." It is dead, and the quicker buried the better; get it out of the way. The moment that fails in work, that moment it dies. "Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works." If a man has faith in Christ he cannot help working; it is second nature to him. Those men who are trying to serve Christ without works, are having a pretty hard time of it. They neither enjoy the world nor the church, and have a great deal of contempt for themselves. Now when a man gets outside of himself and goes to work for others, he is trebly blessed; he has floods of love, and peace, and joy the whole of the time. People may get to heaven without works perhaps; but as Job says, it will be "l>y the skin of their teeth." It'll not be an abundant entrance that will be administered unto them. And what they did do, if not with a right motive, will be swept away in that hour when God comes and tries men's faith.
Faithful Christians are those heeding Christ's words in the gospel according to John, 15th chapter and 4th and 5th verses: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I un the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing." There, in that chapter, it says in the 2nd verse: "And every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." So it is abiding in Christ that bringeth forth much fruit. I think you will find in all the churches those who bring forth scarcely anything; I was going to say nothing. I don't know how you can call them Christians. Again, there are others who bring forth, some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred; and it is those Christians that abide in Christ that bring forth an hundred fold: they can't help it. When a branch abideth in the vine, it pro duces good frui* You have a good apple-tree, and it can't helj bearing apples; can't help bringing forth good fruit. So every Christian is to a—de continually in Christ; not through four or five weeks, when there are special services, but through the threeliundred and sixty-five days in the year. These special meetings here are about drawing to a close; and some here this morning are perhaps asking, what is going to become of us, what are we going to do? Some perhaps tremble lest they shall go back to their old lukewarmness. Now my friends, if you are going to truly work for Christ, you must carry this revival spirit in your bosom throughout the 365 days, throughout all the year. If a man cannot be used of God, what does he want to live for? It is the privilege of every child of God to be revived all the time. That is what we want to do. Why, in the primitive days, there were added daily to the Lord, such as should be saved. If we abide in the Lord, there will be just such results now. The trouble lies in our going away from the Lord, so that the Lord cannot use us, and we cannot bring forth fruit How are we to abide in Christ? Study the Word of God. It is the only book that tells about Christ. The Bible is God's word; and if you want to know about Christ, study in its pages about his life, his character, his acts. Find out who he is, and what he is. The man that is abiding with Christ would rather be with him than with the world; he would far rather be an hour with the Wore! of God, than a year in worldly society.
Look at the 3d chapter of the 3d epistle to Timothy, 15th, 16th, and 17th verses: "And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Just listen: "That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." And with this let me read those words from th« 1st chapter of James, 22d verse: "But be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." If we had as many doers of the Word as we have hearers, in Chicago, what a mighty work could be done. You have been pretty good, yes, very good hearers; but I have a pretty serious charge to bring against nine out of every ten of you. You have come here, but when the benediction was through, you have just got on your hats, and gathered up your shawls, and got out as quick as you could. You haven't liked to talk to inquirers. Some of you are Christians of thirty or forty years standing. You have listened to sermons all these years, and gone Sunday after Sunday, to the regular services of the sanctuary; but what have you been personally doing? That's the question? Oh, be not only hearers, but doers; that is just the working spirit we want in Chicago now. We have had eleven weeks of these special meetings, and many of you have listened remarkably well. For eleven weeks, you've been listening; and now's the time for action. Now's the time to be doers of the Word; you've been hearers long enough. Let every one put a shoulder to the work, and push it on. These past three months have been spent in getting the army ready and equipped; now let it move ahead. Let all take up and carry on the work. Let Christians wake up and go to work. More conversions may be made in the next three months than in the last three, if you Christians will do your duty.
I have heard some say, " Yes, but I haven't got the ability." God will strengthen you, my friends. God is with you, and all you have to do is to ask of him, wisdom, power, and strength. The God of all power and might is at your side, if you call on him. Don't you see, if each one of you does but a little, how much you will accomplish? Mr. Spurgeon said to some discouraged students, as they were going out to preach: "Well, just go ahead, there's a good many of you; you go into the churches, and you find a great many Christians there; and when all are gathered together, there's a great deal of strength." And then he illustrated by telling about Moses and the frogs: "I'll bring great frogs on you," said Moses to Pharaoh. "Frogs, what do I care for frogs!" "But," said Moses, "there's a good many of them;" and the old king found it out. They swarmed into his bedchamber, jumped into the kneading trough, sprawled out upon the throne, so he could not sit down; they got onto the royal table, into the royal lap—frogs, frogs, frogs, everywhere; he couldn't step without " squashing" one. Yes, there were a good many of them; and there are a good many Christians. Let them just take a look at the frogs of Egypt; let them just go into every room and corner and attic in Chicago, and bring them the blessed Gospel. Don't you see how much, if you are only united, may be done in the next three months? Oh, be ye doers, and not hearers only. "If any be a hearer of the Word," says James, "And not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way and straightway forgetteth what manner of man h« was. But whosoever looketh into the perfect law of liberty andcontinueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."
Now what we want, my friends, is to get to work. A great many people are called pillars of the church, because they pay their pew rents. They never go out to Wednesday night meetings; you new think of seeing them there. They will get out every fine Sunday morning; but no one expects they will turn out on Sunday night But they say they've "the root of the matter in them." Suppose you have a flower garden, and take a friend out to see the flowers; but there isn't one to be seen. Will you say, "Well, it's just all full of roots." You might say so just as properly as the fruitless Christian. The root of the matter is down there, sure enough; but there's never anything crops out. These "do-less" Christians, these drones, doing nothing, are too numerous; there's too many of these "pillars" in the church. We want workers; we want these men to oome out, and then help bring others out. The time is coming when, if people will not come and hear the gospel, the churches must go to them. Let workers go and seek them out, and hold cottage prayermeetings at their houses, and talk with them about Christ and heaven. Be ye doers.
A great many people would be workers, but they are afraid of being called "odd. They want just Christianity enough to make them respectable, but enough of the world to keep them from being considered odd or peculiar. The result is, they're wretched people in the world. They have no spiritual power. They never take t class in the Sunday-school; or, if they do, there are no conversions in it. They forget those words in Titus, 2d chapter, 14th verse, "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Now, I am a poor sailor; I never go on the sea but I get sick; yet I think I would be willing to sail around the whole world to find an entire church—minister, deacons, stewards, all the church offii-ers and members—a "peculiar" people of this sort. I would finds church that would make the world tremble. I don't believe the world ever saw a church all of the members "peculiar." You find in every age, when God wants any work done, he always brings out a peculiar man. I suppose Elijah was the most peculiar man, perhaps, that ever lived. He was the oddest genius that people ever hit upon. Daniel was the most peculiar man in all Babylon. The courtiers of Nebuchadnezzar undoubtedly called him puritanical and a bigot. Yes, in the midst of idolaters, this old Hebrew was a praying man; but how God blessed him. Moses was the most peculiar man in Egypt; but how God blessed him. Always the men and women most used of God have been peculiar; and Christian workers must be peculiar. But that is just what many don't want; they're afraid people will say they are peculiar. Now let me say, no man or woman is lit to work for God until they become peculiar in this Bible sense,—until they give up sinful, worldly pleasures, and separate themselves, to live and work for God. Then see how God will bless them. God grant that all may become chosen vessels, and meet for the Master's use.
Then in Titus, 3d chapter, 1st verse: "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, and to be ready for every good work." "Ready for all good works;" if all heeded this, what could not be done! How many times I have been down at these meetings, night after night, and have spoken to Christian people who have been here,—some of them professing his name for forty years,—and asked them to speak to some poor inquirer's soul; but the answers come: "O Mr. Moody, don't ask me! don't you ask me." They've been in the church these long years, and can't say a word to dyinsj souls! Shame on the Christianity of the Nineteenth century! May God have mercy on each one of us, and forgive us our shortcomings! These people want to have you talk about their souls, and tell them the way of life. If it is not a good work to talk to a soul burdened with sin, what is a good work? What have these church members been about, all these years? What have they been doing, that they are not ready now, after fifteen, thirty and forty years of professedly Christian life, to talk with anxious souls? When will you be ready? O my friends, will you not get ready at once? What power is there in the greatest army in the world, if it don't know how to use its weapons? An army of five hundred real soldiers could rout them and send them all flying. What each child of God wants is, to get ready. If there is one Christian in this place, this morning, that has not had the joy of bringing a soul to God, I would not go out of this Tabernacle until I had gone into one of the inquiry-rooms, and asked some Christian brother or sister: "Won't you pray for my unprofitable life, my barren life, my life so fruitless, with nothing to show but leaves." O friends, is it not our highest privilege and joy, as well as duty, to bring souls to Jesus? Let us go to work! Let us bring convert* to the Savior! Let us bring all men to Christ!
Will you look at the 8th verse of the same chapter: "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works." Now, you know the charge is sometimes made that evangelical Christians preach salvation by faith alone; that we are justified by faith, and as soon as we believe we are saved. Now, that it not the entire New Testament teaching. To be sure, we are saved by faith; but it is only by a faith that manifests itself in good works. If we believe otherwise, we are staking our faith on some creed,
some church, some particular minister, and not on Christ, who aaid, even at twelve years of age, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business." The life of Jesus was one succession of good works; and if we would follow his example, we cannot help working.
"Be careful to maintain good works." I suppose that means you are to carefully maintain the church. Let me sny to all, maintain the church. Let me say this especially to all young converts. I have heard that of these some say they can be Christians and not unite with the church; and I was told, last night, that one of them said I didn't belong to the church. That is a mistake. I tried, as soon as I was converted, to enter the church; but at first they would not let me; some doubted whether I was converted. But I have been in the bosom of the church ever since, and have never seen the day or the hour that I would be out of it. I believe it is the dearest institution on earth; that there is no institution to be compared with it. It was the church that Christ died for, because he loved it to dearly.
If a man is born of God, he should take shelter in the church, that it may be to him a nursing mother. To do so, ought to be held not only the duty, which it is, but a glorious privilege. I bave no sympathy with those people who stay out of the church and simply throw stones at it, and proclaim what it ought to be. If we can make it better, let us go in. Don't expect the Church of God upon earth to be without failings. If the church is cold, go in and warm it up. Let us each do what we can to make it better. And then the Sunday-school—let us make that better. Go out on the street* and get those children, and teach them the words of life; that is the way to maintain good works. Bible societies should be maintained; Bible reading should be maintained. Whatever the good work is, carefully maintain it. If you have wealth, send that money around; use the Lord's money for the Lord. J hope to see the day when men will seek investments for the Lord, as they now seek them out for themselves. If a man has a few thousand dollars to invest for himself, how he seeks out the best investment! On this verv ground why should not Christian men seek out investments for the Lord? I don't believe any other investments will bring in better dividends. Yes, I hope the time is coming more and more, when rich men will "carefully maintain good works. And to all I say, see that e%-erythin<r that is good is maintained; cheer these young converts; do not be complaining; be just as careful—every one of you, new converts and all—be just as careful to "maintain good works" as to accept Christ.
Now, look at the 2d Epistle to the Thessalonians, 2d chapter and 17th verse: "Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work." Now what we want is to get "stablished," to have a settled plan or method of doing good works. I have been a superintendent of Sabbath-schools for some years, and noticed this: that teachers who swung around from place to place, who took in Dr. Kittredge's church, then the First Methodist and then this and then tnati have always proved failures. Now, I like these men that take hold of classes and don't give them up, and who are in their regular pew every Sunday, and are not drawn away by some eloquent preacher—some preacher from abroad, who happens to be filling a South-side or a North-side pulpit. Fifty-two Sundays in the year they are there; you know where to find them, they're right there at the accustomed post of duty. All the while, their influence increases. Bu+ these teachers, and others that are all the time running here and there, never accomplish much.
A good many people are like a bundle of shavings; a spark falls, and quickly the shavings are all gone, and there's left scarcely any ashes even. My friends, ten thousand such Christians are not worth, one that makes constancy his motto. We don't want any revival Christians—got enough of them; don't want any Sunday Christians —got enough of them. "What's wanted are these men "stablished" in good works, these men that hold on. A man that does one thing is a terrible man. The man who tries a hundred things fails at everything. If it is the Sunday-school, if God calls me there, I will stand by my post. If God calls me to lead a cottage prayer-meeting or read the Bible, I must win success there—I must hold on; and it won't be long before God will bring me success, for God has promised it: "You shall reap, if you faint not." God will try you; you will have some things to discourage you; but you must hold on.
Next, please look at the 17th verse of the 3d chapter of Colossians: "Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the father by him." Don't work, as your highest motive, to advance the Centenary Methodist church; don't work for the Third Presbyterian church, nor for the First Congregational church. If a man goes to work to exclusively build up the Congregational, the Presbyterian, the Baptist, or the Episcopal church; to build up exclusively any of the denominations, he is on the wrong path. It is not in the name of the church, but in the name of the Lord Jesus, that we are to do all things. If we do and suffer for him, God will bless us. When we come to God and ask a blessing for Christ's sake, don't you see what a power we've secured? For Christ's sakel Jesus as our advocate! In Detroit, at an international convention of the Young Men's Christian Association, Judge Olds was present as a delegate from Columbus. One evening, lie was telling about the mighty power that Christians summon to their aid in this petition "for Christ's sake!" "In Jesus' name!" and he told a story that made a great impression on me. When the war came on, he said, his only son left for the army; and he became suddenly interested in soldiers. Every soldier that passed by brought his son to remembrance; he could see his son in him. He went to work for soldiers. When a sick soldier came there to Columbus one day, so weak he couldn't walk, the Judge took him in a carriage and got him into the Soldiers' Home. Soon he became president of the Soldiers' Home in Columbus, and used to go down every day and spent hours in looking after those soldiers, and seeing that they had every comfort. He spent on them a great deal of time, and a great deal of money. One day he said to his wife: "I'm giving too much time to these soldiers; I've got to stop it. There's an important case coming on in/sourt, and I've got to attend to my own business." He said he went down to the office that morning, resolved in future to let the soldiers alone. He went to his desk, and then to writing. Pretty soon the door opened, and he saw a soldier hobble .slowly in. Ho started at the sight of him. The man was fumbling at something in his breast, and pretty soon he got out an old soiled paper. The father saw it was his own son's writing.
"dear Father,—This young man belongs to my company. He has lost his leg and his health in defense of his country, and he is going home to hii mother to die. If he calls on you, treat him kindly,
"Fob Charlie's Sake."
"For Charlie's sake." The moment he saw that, a pang went to his heart. He got up for a carriage, lifted the maimed soldier in, drove home, put him into Charlie's room, sent for the family physician, kept him in the family and treated him like his own son. When the young soldier got well enough to go to the train to go home to his mother, he took him to the railway station, put him in the nicest, most comfortable place in the carriage, and sent him on his way home to his mother. "I did it," said the old judge, "for Charley's sake." Now, whatsoever you do, my friends, do it for the Lord Jesus' sake. Do and ask everything in his name, in the name of him "who loved us and gave himself for us."
And then again, lastly, be united. It is the greatest force of all to be of "one mind and one spirit." The boast of infidels has been, "Christianity has been all divided up." "Be," I beseech you, "of one mind and one spirit." If jealousy comes in among you, you cannot do great things. If one minister is used more than others, let us praise God for that; let us thank him that he has given divers gifts to men, all contributing to the glory of his name. This work, then, won't stop, but will go on. How many battles in the last war were lost just through jealousy in the officers? When I was in the South, they told me that they lost many and many a battle because jealousy got in among the generals. Just so, many battles are lost to God's people. All must be willing to do anything, that God's work may go on. When Grant's army lav in front of Richmond, after the battle of the Wilderness, when he was first repulsed, be called his four leading commanders, one dark night, to consult with him. All advised him to retreat. The next morning early, an orderly came dashing to the four commanders, bringing word to advance in solid column without delay. That attack defeated the Southern column; and what did it was the steady, irresistible advance in solid column. So let the advance be made in the army of Jesus. Be not hearers of the Word any longer, but doers. Let every one do what he can to carry on this work; gird on your armor for the fight. I am told that during Napoleon's great wars, medals were struck off with a scene of battle on one side, and on the other, the simple words, "I was there;" and after Napoleon had died, and years had gone by, those old veterans would bring out their medals, and, talking about the battle, or the prowess of the great general, they would proudly tell how they were in the thickest of the fight—"I was there." Oh, my friends, rush forward to the thickest of the fight; and by-and-by it will be your boast, "I was there, I had a hand in that fight." And by-and-by—still keeping up the warfare, even in your gray hairs and tottering age—shall some one say of you: "He was a true soldier of the cross, and fell from the walls of Zion with the trump of God in his hand, and a shout of victory on his lips." May that be the end of every child of God here, in this Tabernacle, in this city. May we die—not in the wilderness—may we die with the trump of God in our hands, and with shouts of viotory on our lips!