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Chapter XXX

CHAPTER XXX.

THEIR ROCK IS NOT OUR ROCK.

For their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. Deut. xxxii. 31.

This was Moses' farewell address. He was about to leave the children of Israel in the wilderness. He had led them up to the borders of the Promised Land. For forty long years he had been leading them in that wilderness, and now, as they were about to go over, Moses takes his farewell; and among the good things he said, for he said a great many very wise and very good things on that memorable occasion, this is one: "For their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges." There was not a man on the face of the earth at that time that knew as much about the world, and as much about God, as Moses. Therefore he was a good judge. He had tasted of the pleasures of the world. In the forty years that he was in Egypt he probably sampled everything of that day. He tasted of the world, of its pleasures. He knew all about it . He was brought up in the palace of a king, a prince. Egypt then ruled the world, as it were. He had been forty years in Horeb, where he had heard the voice of God; where he had been taught by God; and for forty years he had been serving God. You might say he was God's right hand man, leading those bondmen up out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage, into the land of liberty; and this is his dying address— you might say, his farewell address. This is the dying testimony of one that could speak with authority, and one that could speak intelligently. He knew what he was saying, "Their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges."

Now, to-night I want to take up the atheist, the deist, the pantheist, and the infidel; and I want to show, if I can, and I think it is not a very difficult thing to show, that their way is not as our way.

I know there is a good deal of dispute now about the definition of these words. So, to avoid any trouble, instead of going to the Bible I went to Webster's dictionary, and I have got the meaning. I suppose you will give in, most of you, that Webster is wiser than yourselves. There are a few men that are a little wiser than Webster, for infidelity is generally very conceited. One of the worst things about infidelity is the conceit. You seldom meet an infidel that is not wiser in his own estimation than the God who created him, and he wants to teach God instead of letting God teach him. But to those that are willing to bow to Webster we will refer these definitions of these words.

An atheist is "one who disbelieves or denies the existence of God.'' I am thankful to say that they are very scarce. You meet them now and then. I am sorry to say that you will occasionally meet a young man that will tell you that he is an atheist. He believes there is no God; he believes that there is no hereafter; that when he dies, that is the end —that ends all.

I don't know of anything that is darker; I don't know of anything that is colder, bleaker, than that doctrine; for, of course, an atheist has feelings like the rest of us. If he is a father, he has love for his children. Here is a boy that has gone astray; he has been taken captive by Satan; he has become a victim to strong drink, we will say, and strong drink has got the mastery; and you can see that boy as he is going down to a drunkard's grave. He says to that father that believes there is no God, and no hereafter, "Father, is there no deliverance for me? Is there no way that I can become a free man?" "Yes," says the atheist, "assert your manhood. Resolve that you will never drink any more.'' "Ah, but, father, I have done that a thousand times, and I can't keep those resolutions. The tempter is too strong for me. My appetite is stronger than my will power, father? Is there no God that created me that can help me?" "No, my son, no; nothing outside yourself." "And if I die in this condition, what is going to become of me?" "Oh, that will be the last of you." "And shall we never meet again in the universe of God?" "No, never." Pretty dark, isn't it? And the atheist sees that boy go down to a drunkard's grave. There is no arm to deliver, no eye to pity. There is no help.

Look again. He has got a beautiful little child. It has lived long enotigh to twine itself around that father's heart, and the cold, icy hand of death is feeling for the chords of life, and that little flower is going to be plucked. You can see that little child wasting away upon a bed of pain and sickness. The child calls the father to its bedside and says, "Father, is there no hereafter?" "No, my child." "Shall we never meet again?" "No, my child." "When I die, is that the last of me?" "Yes, my child." Pretty dark, isn't it? That atheist goes and lays away that child without one ray of hope— without one star to relieve the midnight darkness and gloom.

A prominent infidel of this country stood at the grave of a member of his family. He is an orator —an eloquent man; and he said he committed him back to the winds and the waves and the elements; it was the last they would ever see of him. Pretty dark, isn't it?

And yet there are some men that want to go over to atheism. They want to believe that there is no God. I can not for the life of me see where you get any comfort in it. I turn away from it, and I say from the very depths of my heart, "Their rock is not as our rock." I thank God I have got a better foundation than that; I thank God I have got a better hope than that. If my boy is led astray, I can preach to him Jesus Christ, and I can tell him that God Almighty has got power to deliver him from sin, and from its mighty power; and if God should take my child from me, I can say to that dear child, "I will meet you on the glorious morning of the resurrection. It won't be long. We may be separated for a little while, but the night will soon pass, and the great morning of the world will dawn upon us." Yes, "their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges."

But I must pass on. That is the definition of an atheist—one that believes there is no God. I want

to say if there were many atheists in this country we would have a great many more suicides than we have. These men that have got tired of life, if they thought that death ended all, they would quickly put themselves out of the way, and you could not blame them for it. But I think there is something down in man's heart that tells him there is a hereafter; that there is not only a God, but there is a judgment to come.

Now a deist. A deist is one that believes in one God only. He denies Christ and revelation. Deism is not much better, I think, than atheism, for I never yet knew a deist that knew anything about his God. He believes there is a God, and that is all you can get out of him.

Deists live on their doubts. They live on what they do not believe—on negatives. You meet a deist and he would tell you, "I don't believe this, and I don't believe that, and that," and he is all the time telling you what he don't believe. You seldom, if ever, find a deist who will tell you what he does believe, because he knows nothing about his God. If a man denies revelation, how is he to know anything about God? How are we to know our God if we are only deists, and just close that book, and not believe in the book? Is he a God of mercy? We know nothing about it. Is he a God of truth, and equity, and justice? We know nothing about it. How are we to know anything about God, if we cast away the Bible, and say we don't believe in revelation; that we don't believe that Jesus Christ came down here to declare His Father, and believe that that book is not written by inspiration, and doubt that blessed word of God? I would like to have a deist come forward and declare to us his God—and tell us who and what he is.

The Pantheist. Let us see what Webster's definition of a pantheist is. He believes that the universe is God. He believes that God is in the wind, God is in the water, God is in the trees, and all the God we know anything about is the god we see about us. A pantheist will say, "Why, yes, I believe in God. You are God and I am God. We are all Gods.'' That is their idea—that God is in everything. I strike that board and strike the pantheist's god, because that is as much a god as the god he knows. I stamp upon the floor, and I stamp the pantheist's god. That is all he knows. God is in everything; God is everywhere; God is nowhere: that is the summing up of pantheism. Now, you will find a great many of these pantheists that will tell you they believe more in God than we do, because they believe God is in everything all around.

But when you ask a deist or a pantheist if his God answers prayer, he will tell you no. "Does he hear the cry of distress?" "No." "Does he hear the cry of the humble?" He will tell you that the Lord of the universe and the God of the universe has just made this world, and has wound it up as a clock, and it is going to run; that His laws are fixed; that you need not pray; you can't change God's mind; that he never answers prayer. If your child has gone astray, you can't pray to Him, because He has no mercy. There is no mercy but in the wind, and you may as well go out and pray to the thunder, to a storm, or a shower, to the moon, the sun, the stars, because God is everything and everywhere, and yet is nowhere, They don't believe in the personality of God. You may just take pantheism, deism and atheism, put them all together, and there is not much difference. I would as soon be the one as the other, because they are in midnight darkness and gloom. They know nothing about the God of love and the God of the Bible.

But now we come, perhaps, to the most difficult class, because I think that there are a great many infidels, and don't like that name. I suppose that saying they were infidels has offended quite a number of Cleveland people. They stand up and deny it. But when you come to put the question right to them according to Webster's definition of infidelity, they are nothing but infidels. Now, an infidel is one that does not believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures.

I am sorry to say that we have got to-day a good many infidels. The first step towards atheism is infidelity. The first step towards pantheism is infidelity. The first step towards deism is infidelity.

The moment you can break down that word in one place and make out that it is not true, then, of course, the whole word goes. Now, you ask an infidel if he really believes in the Bible, and he says, "Well, I believe part of it. I believe all that corresponds with my reason, but I don't believe anything supernatural. I don't believe anything I can't reason out."

Now, if a man takes that ground he might as well throw away the whole Bible and go over to atheism at one leap. He need not be weeks and months going, because that is where it is going to bring him. If you take out of that book all that is supernatural, you might as well take out the whole of it. From beginning to end it is a supernatural book. Look into Genesis. You ask an infidel if he believes in the flood. No, sir; not he. Then throw out Genesis; because, if the man who wrote Genesis put in one lie, why is not the whole of it a lie? If he did he must have known it was a fraud when he wrote it, so that condemns Genesis. You ask a man if he believes the story of the Red Sea—about bringing the children of Israel through the Red Sea. Not he. That is contrary to reason, contrary to man's intellect. Out goes Exodus. That throws out the decalogue—throws out the commandments. It all goes together. If the man who wrote Exodus told a lie in the beginning of Exodus and that the children never went through the Red Sea, then away goes the whole book.

Then take up Leviticus. It is said in Leviticus if we will do so and so He will come down and walk with us, would be among his people, and the shout of the king is heard in the camp. "Do you believe that?" "No, sir," the infidel says, "I don't believe anything of that kind." Out goes Leviticus. Throw it all out.

Do you believe God told Moses to make a brazen serpent, and that all the bitten Israelites that looked upon it shall live? The skeptic turns up his nose and says with a good deal of contempt, "No, you don't think I am fool enough to believe that?" Out goes the whole book of Numbers; throw it out because if the man that wrote that book, put that lie in, the whole of it is a lie. You just prove that I tell a wilful lie here to-night and my whole sermon is gone. You go into court and testify to a lie and let it be proven that you have told a wilful lie, (and untrue in one thing untrue in all),out goes your testimony. The jury won't take it. Now, if the man that wrote the book of Numbers put down that lie—if he never did make a brazen serpent for the children of Israel, then the whole book of Numbers is gone. Throw it out. Then we come to Deuteronomy. Do you believe Moses went up into the mountain and his natural force was not abated, his eye had not grown dim, and he died there and God buried him; God kissed away his soul, as some one has said? The infidel says, "I don't believe one word of it; that is supernatural; that is against reason. Then throw out the whole book of Deuteronomy. There goes the first five books of Moses.

Then go into Joshua. "Do you believe Joshua took Jericho by going around Jericho blowing rams' horns?" "Don't believe a word of it." Tear it to pieces. Throw it away. Out it goes. If the writer of that book would tell a lie like that at the beginning of the book he lied all through it—why not? That is what an infidel is—one who does not believe in supernatural things.

"Do you believe that Samson took the jaw-bone of an ass and slew a thousand men?" "No, I don't believe it." Out goes the book. Because from the beginning of Judges to the end it is all supernatural.

"Do you believe God called Samuel when he was a little boy—that God called him?" "Why, no," says the infidel, *" I don't believe any thing that is contrary to my reason. I don't believe any thing supernatural." Out goes the two books of Samuel.

"Do you believe that David went out and met Goliath and slew him?" "No, I don't believe it." Out goes the two books of Kings. And so I can go on through the whole Bible. Take out the supernatural in it and you have to throw away the whole Bible. You can't touch Jesus Christ from His birth until He went up into glory, but what He was supernatural. The work that is going on now is supernatural. Things are happening every day that are supernatural. Every man that is born of the Holy Ghost, born of God—it is supernatural. Yet an infidel will stand right up and tell you to-day that he will not believe a thing in that book that don't correspond to his reason; therefore the infidels are just tearing the Bible all to pieces. That is where we are drifting to. "Their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges."

Now, I would like to ask the infidels what earthly motive could the early Christians have had in writing that book? What motive could Jesus Christ have had in coming down here and living such a life as he led? Some of you accuse us of working for gain. You say that we are after your money and that we don't care anything about your soul. You cannot accuse our Master of that, can you? He didn't carry off much money, did He? His cradle was a borrowed one. The only time that He rode into Jerusalem, that we have recorded, He rode in on a colt, the foal of an ass. It would be a strange sight to see him coming into Cleveland in that way. You would not own Him. And He did not own this beast. It was a borrowed beast. It was a borrowed guest chamber in which he instituted his supper. It was a borrowed grave in which they laid Him. He that was rich became poor for our sakes. What motive could He have had in coming down here if He had not been true and real—if he had been an imposter, a hypocrite, coming down here and teaching us a falsehood? If Jesus Christ was not God manifest in the flesh, he was the greatest imposter that ever came into this world, and every Christian throughout Christendom to-day, is guilty of idolatry, of breaking the first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other god before Me." He comes and says unto the world, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest." Elijah never said that; Moses never said that; no man that ever trod this earth dared to have said it; and if Jesus Christ had not been divine as well as human, it would have been blasphemy, and the Jews ought to have put him to death. They had a right by the Jewish law to put Him to death. He an impostor! He a deceiver! He a fraud! Away with such doctrine! And yet people will stand right up here in this community and tell you it is all a fiction about his conception by the Holy Ghost, and at the same time they will stand right up and say they are Christians. They don't like that word infidel. They say that they are no infidels. But, ah, my friends, if we break down the testimony of Jesus Christ, and make him out a fraud and deceiver, it all goes.

Now, when people tell me that that book is not to be relied upon, I tell them that I will throw it away when they will bring me a better one. I am ready to throw it away to-night if you will bring me a better one. But where is there any book to be compared with it? Bring it on will you? When you bring on a better man than Jesus Christ I will follow him. But don't ask me to follow these skeptics and infidels down here who are trying to tear down the works of Jesus Christ when they have no better to leave in their place.

Now Jesus Christ was without spot or blemish. You can find no fault with Him or in Him. We don't want to follow any one else until we can find a better man. If these men that are scoffing and sneering at Christ will bring on a better man we will follow him. If they will bring on a better book we will take it. But until they do, let us cling to the Bible, and defend it and stand by it, and let us stand by Jesus Christ and let us defend Him.

Infidelity takes everything away from us and gives us nothing in return. When Lord Chesterfield went to Paris he was invited out to dine with Voltaire, the leading infidel of that day. Lord Chesterfield was a Christian man. A lady at the table, when they were at dinner, said: "Lord Chesterfield, I am told that you have in your English Parliament five or six hundred of the leading men of thought in the nation.'' Well, he said he believed that was so. She said, "then why is it that those wise men tolerate Christianity?" Well, he said he supposed because they could not get anything better to take its place.

Do you ever stop to think what you would put in the place of Christianity? It is easy enough to tear down, or at least try to tear down. There are some people that spend all their lives in trying to tear down things that are good, but they give us nothing in the place of them. Now the trouble with infidelity is it gives us nothing in the place of what we have got . The Bible holds out a hope to man. It holds out something that is beyond this life, and gives him hope. Infidelity gives him no hope. It tears down all the hope he has got. He has got nothing to build on. If this book fails, what have we got? Now, just think a moment. Take the Bible away from us, and what have got? I would like to say to the people here to-night, if you step into a church —for I am sorry to say some of these infidels have got into the pulpit—if you step into a church and hear a man talking about Jesus Christ not being divine, if you take my advice, you will get out of that church as quick as you can get out. But you say, "My father and mother belong to that church." Suppose they do. You get out, as Lot got out of Sodom. Make haste. You think a man who would sell you poison and kill your children is a horrid man; but I tell you a man who would plant infidelity in the mind of my child is worse than a man who gives it poison—to have their young minds poisoned and infidelity taught them under the garb of Christ and Christianity; and yet there are some men who profess to be friends of that book who are all the time trying to tear it to pieces, and make out that it is not written by inspiration—that it is not from God, and that it cannot speak with authority.

Now, to show that their rock is not as our rock, our enemies themselves being judges, I want to tell you a thing that happened some time ago. I was in the room with a man, and he said he wanted to have a talk with me, "but," he says, "I wish you would let that man go out." "O!" I said, "he is here to take care of the things." We had some of our things in the cloak-room back of the platform, and he was there so that no thief should come in and steal what we had. And this man said, "I would like to have him go out." "Well," I said, "he belongs here. I will ask him to go out if you insist upon it, but," says I, "I will talk at this end of the room." "Well," he said, "I would like to have him go out." I spoke to the man and asked him to leave the room, and he hadn't more than got out before he opened his lips, and such a tirade against Christianity! I said to him, "My friend, why did you want that man to go out?" "Well,'' he said, "I thought it might hurt him." I said, "If it is good for you why is it not good for him?" Well, he said he did not like to have his children know his views. He said his wife was a Christian and he wanted his children brought up differently. "Their rock is not as our rock, our enemies themselves being judges." I want my children to believe as I believe. I want them to be taught to live and fear and honor God. If these infidels think infidelity is good for them, why is it they don't want it taught to their children, why is it, that so many infidels want their children to be taught the Lord s prayer?

Very often when I have been in an infidel's house he has wanted his wife and children to leave the room, and then he has gone on and talked his infidelity. "Their rock is not as our rock, our enemies themselves being judges." That proves it.

A man ordered his servant out of his dining room, and after his servant went out he began to talk his atheism to a Christian man that was there. The Christian man said to him. "Why did you order out your servant?" "Well," said he, "I'm afraid if he held my views he might cut my throat some time, for my money"

You laugh at it, but if there is no God, why not? If there is no hereafter, why not? If this country is as bad as it is with all the religion we have, what would it be without it? Let this country go over to infidelity, what would become of the nation? It was not a great many years ago that, in a convention at Lyons, France, they voted that the Bible was a fiction, that it was not true, and that there was no God; that there was no hereafter; that death was an eteral sleep; and it was not very long before blood flowed very freely in France. And you let atheism, and pantheism, and deism, and infidelity go stalking through this land, and life and property won't be safe. You know it very well.

Lord Lyttleton and Gilbert West were going to expose the fraud of Christianity. One was going to take up the resurrection and expose that. The other was going to take up Saul's conversion and expose that. And they went about it—went to studying up those two facts. The result was they were both converted. The testimony was perfectly overwhelming. If a man will look at the testimony, I can't see for the life of me how he can doubt these are facts. What did Paul have to gain by his conversion? Would you call such a man as Paul a fraud? What did he give up for the gospel's sake? Reputation, position, standing—every thing he had.

What did he get in return? Hunger, persecution, prison, stocks, stripes, and death. He died the death of a common criminal. He died at Rome as a poor and miserable outcast in the sight of the world. What earthly motive could he have had, if these things are not true? Why, we have all the proof that any man could ask for, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He was seen ten different times, and was here among us forty days, and then He was seen by the holiest and best men on earth at that time ascend and go up into heaven. They went and looked into the sepulcher and found it was empty. There was no doubt about His body coming out of the grave. Some men say they believe in Christianity, but they don't believe Christ's body came up. Do you think they could have stolen that body and palmed that fraud off on the world for these eighteen hundred years? Do you think those keen Jews of Jerusalem would never have found out the fraud and deception? Away with such a delusion. Christ rose; He burst asunder the bands of death. He has come out of the sepulcher and passed into the heavens and taken His seat at the right hand of God. We don't worship a dead Savior. Our Christ lives. He is on the throne to-night. Let us look up: for the time of our redemption is nigh. Let us gird up our loins afresh. Let us buckle on the whole armor and fight for Christ. Let us hold to the faith. Let us not be influenced by the infidelity around us, but let it drive us to the Bible. Let us cling to this good old book. It will be darker than midnight ere long if we let our confidence go in that book. I saw an account some time ago of an infidel who was dying. So many infidels recant when they die. Did you ever hear of a Christian recanting? I never did. Did you ever hear of a Christian dying that was sorry that he had served the Lord Jesus Christ? I never did. I have heard of a good many that regretted that they had not served Him a good deal better than they had; that they had not lived more like Him. The infidel friends of this infidel gathered around him. They

were afraid he was going to recant, and if he did the Christians would make capital out of it. They gathered around him and said, "Hold on, hold on to your principles; don't give up now." The poor dying man said, "What have I got to hold on to?" You answer the question, will you? What has an infidel got to hold on to?

Some time ago I was drawing a contrast between the end of that talented man, Lord Byron, and Paul. Byron died at the early age of thirty-six. The time allotted to man is three score years and ten.

A fast life—a life of dissipation carried him off early. These are about the last lines he penned:

My days are in the yellow leaf.
The flower and the fruit of life are gone;

The worm, the canker, and the grave
Are mine alone."

That is all he had at the close of life. But look at Paul's farewell. He writes to Timothy: "I have fought the good fight. I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." There is a good deal of difference between the death of a skeptic and an infidel, and the death of the righteous. "Their rock is not as our rock, they themselves being judges." How often you have heard men say, "I wish I could believe as you do.'' What do they want to believe as we do for, if they are satisfied with their rock? "I wish I had your hope." What do you want our hope for if you are satisfied with your rock? "Oh, I wish I had the assurance you have.'' What do you want our assurance for if you are satisfied with your rock? The fact is, "their rock is not as our rock, our enemies being judges." We will bring them in as witnesses and let them testify. Let us, my friends, hold on to the Word of God. When these skeptics and infidels talk against the book, let us love it all the more. Let it drive us to the Word.

Let us say we will give up life rather than that book. We will hold on to that, let it cost us what it will. The world may call us fanatics and fools, and all that, but they cannot give us any worse name than they gave the Master. They called him Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils, and we can afford to be called fools for Christ's sake for a little while, and by and by we will be called home, and, if we will hold right on, the end will be glorious.

A soldier, during the war, got up in one of our meetings in Chicago. He had just come from the battle of Perryville. He said his brother came home one day and said he had enlisted. He went down to the recruiting office and put his name next to his brother's; there was no name between them; he said they had never been separated one day in their lives, and he said he did not mean to have his brother go into the army without him. He said they went into the army, and they went into a good many battles together. The terrible battle of Perryville came on. About 10 o'clock in the morning his brother was mortally wounded. A minie ball passed through his lungs. He fell by his side, put his knapsack under the head of his dying brother, pillowed his head and made him as comfortable as he could, bent over and kissed him, and started away. The dying man says, "Charlie, come back here. Let me kiss you upon your lips." He came back, and his brother kissed him on the lips and

said, "There, take that home to my dear mother, - and tell her that I died praying for her." And he said as he turned away, and his brother was wallowing in his blood, and the battle was raging all around him, he heard him say, "This is glorious." He turned around and went back, and said, "My brother, what is glorious?" "Oh," he said, "it is glorious to die looking up. I see Christ in heaven."

It is glorious to die looking up. But if we die looking up, we have got to live looking up. We have got to live trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, in this dark day of infidelity, when it is coming up all around, let us hold onto the glorious old Bible, and to the blessed teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ