My subject is that we have just been singing about, "Grace." It is one of those Bible words we hear so often and know so little about. You hear a great many people talking about their not being worthy to come to Christ; they would like to come, but they are not worthy, they are not good enough.
That is a sign they know nothing about grace at all. Grace means unmerited mercy, undeserved favor. Just because man don't deserve it, God deals in grace with him. And when we see it in that light we will get done trying to establish our own righteousness and our own good deeds, and take Christ as God would have us.
Now there is not any part of the Bible in which you will not find God shining out in grace; or, in other words, He wants to deal with all men in grace. He don't delight in judgment. He delights in mercy. That is one of his attributes. He is anxious to deal in mercy with every man, woman and child on the face of the earth. But the trouble is, men are running away from the God of grace, they don't want grace, won't have it, won't take it as a gift.
In proof of this you will find that away back in Eden, the first thing after the fall of man, God dealing in grace with Adam. You find, as you read the account of his fall, of his transgression, that there is not any sign at all Df repentance. When God came to deal with Adam there is not any sign of Adam asking for pardon. If he asked for pardon it has not been put on record. There is no confession; there is no contrition; there is no prayer for mercy; and yet we find the God of all grace dealing with Adam there in Eden in love—in grace. He had mercy upon him. If He had dealt in judgment without grace, He would have hurled him out of Eden, or He would have let Eden be his resting place. He would have perished right there in Eden. But we find God dealt in grace with Adam. He pitied him, and He had mercy upon him.
You will find that, all through the Old Testament, grace here and there shines out; but we don't see it in its fulness until Christ came. He was the embodiment of grace and truth.
In the first chapter of John's gospel and the fourteenth verse it says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
Again, in the fifth chapter of Romans and the fifteenth verse, we read, "But not as of the offense, so also is the free gift." Emphasize that little word free. It is a free gift. "For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."
Now, grace came by Jesus Christ and hath abounded unto many. As we lost life in the first Adam, we get life in the second Adam. We lost everything, you might say, in the first Adam, but we get it all back, and more, too, in the second Adam. He came full of grace to have mercy on man and to save. We cannot get the grace of God except through His Son. That is the channel that the gifts of God flow through. If a man thinks he is going to get by Christ and going right to the Father and have God deal in mercy with him he is deceiving himself. Christ is the anointed one, the sent one. God sent Him to deal in grace with men; and if you want the God of all grace to meet you and bless you, you must meet Him at the foot of the cross; you must meet Him in Christ.
When the nations around Egypt went down into Egypt to get corn, the king of Egypt sent them to Joseph. He put every thing in Joseph's hands. So the King of heaven has put every thing in Christ's hands; and if you want mercy you must go to Christ, because He delights in mercy; and there is not a man or woman on the face of the earth who really want mercy that cannot find it in Him. He is the God of all grace; that is what Peter says. Men talk about grace, but the fact is we don't know much about grace. If I went to a bank and had a pretty good reputation for having money, if I was worth consderable, and I could get another man that was worth a little more to endorse my note, I might get, perhaps, five hundred dollars for a little while, but I would have to give a note, and perhaps have to secure that note, and it would read, "Thirty.days after date, or sixty days after date, I promise to pay." Then they give what they call three days grace, and they make you pay interest for those three days; and if you are short a dollar they will sell every thing you have to get that from you. Men call that grace. They don't know anything about grace at all. If they had grace they would give you not only the principal, but the interest and all. That is what grace is. I think the reason men know so little about grace is that they are measuring God by their own rule. Now, we love a man as long as he is worthy of our love. When he is not we cast him off. Not so with the God of all grace. Nothing will give him greater pleasure than to deal in mercy—to deal in grace.
Paul is called the apostle of grace. If you look at his fourteen epistles carefully, you will find that every one of them winds up with a prayer for grace.
Now, I want to call your attention to a scene that occurred in the life of Christ. See how grace just flowed out. There was a woman came to him who had a daughter who was greviously tormented at home. Perhaps some of you have children that are possessed of bad spirits, possessed of a demon, children that are just breaking your hearts and bringing ruin upon your home and bitterness into your life. Well, this woman had a child that was grievously tormented, and she started off to Christ. He was coming to the coast of Tyre and Sidon, and she came out to that coast. She was not an Israelite. He had come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel..
God sent him first to the Jews. But grace would flow out. The apostles tried to keep it back, but it would flow out. He came in the borders of that country, and this woman had faith, and she came and cried to the Lord to help her, and she kept crying. The Lord knew all about her, but He wanted to teach those Jews around Him a lesson. He wanted to teach them the lesson of grace. The most difficult thing Christ had to do when He was down here was to teach those Jews grace. The men that were around Him, even those twelve apostles, could not understand about this grace. They were all the time going around establishing their own righteousness. "We are of the seed of Jacob; we are the descendants of Moses and Abraham." They thought they were better than the nations around them. They called the nations around them Gentile dogs, but they were the seed of Abraham. He was trying to teach them grace. They could not understand it. This woman comes to the coast of Tyre and Sidon and begins to cry for help. The disciples tried to send her away. She was terribly in earnest, and she kept praying right there in the streets. She was hungering for something. I hope some one has come up to this Tabernacle to day hungering for something. You will get it if you are hungering and thirsting for it. She was terribly in earnest. She wanted the Lord to bless her. She put herself right in the place of that child. At last one of the twelve—perhaps it was Peter; he was generally the spokesman of the twelve—says: "Lord, send her away; she is bothering us." Ah! Peter did not know the heart of the Savior. He had a -blessing in His heart for that woman. But the woman kept on crying. At last He thought He would try her, and He says: "It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs." Now, if she had been like some women in Cleveland she would have probably said, '' What! you call me a dog, do you? I won't take anything from you. I know lots of women who are meaner than I am; and worse than T am. There's a woman lives down on the same street I live, and she belongs to the seed of Abraham, and she is a good deal meaner than I am." How mad she would have got! But see what she did: "Yes, Lord; but the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from his Master's table." Ah, it pleased the Master wonderfully. He did not send her away. "Oh, woman, great is thy faith. Be it unto thee as thou wilt." That is a blank check for her to fill out. The whole treasury of heaven was open to her, and she could walk in and take what she wanted. She did not come with any work. She did not come with any tears. She just came for mercy. And that beautiful prayer—some people tell us they can't pray; but this is one of the most beautiful prayers on record. "Lord,"—she called him Lord; He was divine; He was not mere man— "Lord, help me." Three golden links bound her right to the God of all grace. You tell me you can't pray! Why, that little child there can make that prayer, "Lord, help me." That is all she said, and that is all she wanted. She wanted help. She had come for that, and she got it. If you come to-day to meet the God of all grace and want help, He is ready to help you. He delights to help. He likes to give gifts to the sons of men. He says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." He has gifts, and He wants to give every one of us some to-day, if we will receive them. He is full of grace. ,It don't grieve Him to have us come too often. It don't grieve Him to have us ask too great things. The only way we can displease God is not to come often enough; and when we do come not to ask for enough. This woman came for a blessing, and she got it. She went right home and found that child perfectly whole.
In the seventh chapter of Luke you will find another case where grace seems to come out. A certain centurion's servant was sick, and when the centurion heard of Jesus, he sent the elders of the Jews to ask Him to come and heal his servant. And the Jews came and said, "Lord, there is a centurion whose servant is very ill, and he wants to have you come and heal him; and we want to have you come at once, because he is worthy?" Now, mark this: The Jews put it on the ground of his worthiness. What had he done to make him worthy? Why, he had built a synagogue. They thought Christ ought to stop His work and turn aside at once and go and heal that man's servant, because he was worthy. They put it on the ground of works—because he had built a synagogue. Do you know, I believe that is the mischief with many of our churches. I believe that is the trouble with a good many people. They think God is under obligations to them. They think God owes them something. They think because they have built a synagogue, or helped build some church, or endowed some college, that God ought to deal in grace with them and ought to have mercy upon them. Now, it is "to him that worketh not, but believeth." Now, Christ starts to go to that centurion's house as if He was going to deal with him in that way—as if He was going to put it on the ground of works. But before He gets to his house, the man sent friends to Him, saying, "Lord, don't trouble yourself; I am not worthy that you should come into my house; neither thought I myself worthy to ask you; so I sent these Jews." He thought other people better than himself. And I tell you when a man gets there, he gets in a position where God can deal in grace with him; he is pretty near the kingdom of heaven. But the trouble with us Americans is, we think we are a little better than other people. We just reverse God's order, and we think that other people are a little lower down, and a little worse than we are. But this centurion thought he was not worthy to come and ask Christ to heal his servant. He sent men to Him saying, "Now, you speak the word, and it will be done." That pleased Christ. He turned around and said to those Jews, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." Here was a centurion. He did not belong to the tribe of Abraham; but among the Jews He had not found a men that had such faith. The Lord said the word, and the servant was healed right then and there. He dealt in grace with him. So when you and I are in such a position that God can deal in grace with us, that very moment God deals in grace with us. Well, when is it? When we are just nothing, and are willing to let God have mercy upon us, then He will have mercy, not before.
Now, if you will turn to Ephesians you will find that He deals in grace without works. You hear people talk about trying to do better. They think they can do something that will commend them to God, and that God will have mercy upon them. Instead of giving up all works and letting God save them in His own way, they are trying to work their way to God, and that is the reason that they do not come. I believe to-day that works is one of the great obstacles in the way. Men are trying to put their good works in the place of a Savior. In the second chapter of Ephesians, second verse, we read, "That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Jesus Christ. For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Through grace are you saved. Now mark the words. There is one lady that is not listening. She has gone to sleep. I wish, friends, if you see any one asleep you would just hunch them with your elbow and wake them. You may save a soul in that way. "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not by yourselves! It is the gift of God; not of works; lest any man should boast."
There will be one thing we will miss when we get to heaven, and that is boasting. We hear enough of that down here. I am sure I don't want to hear any more. You cannot go into any of these cities hardly but what you find a lot of self-made men boasting of what they have done—started poor and got rich, and have done this and this. It is, I I— boasting. I am sure there would be a good deal of boasting in heaven, if men could get there by their works. But you cannot get there in that way. If you get there, you have to get there by the sovereign grace of God. Salvation is a gift. You must take it as a gift. If a man could get to heaven by works, he would carry boasting into heaven with him. Suppose a man could work his way up to heaven, what is he going to do when he gets there? He could not join the chorus around the throne singing the song of redemption. He would have to have a little harp and get off in a corner by himself.
Then in the eleventh chapter of Romans and sixth verse Paul says, "And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace.'' He is there bringing out the point. He says, if men are saved by works there is no grace about it at all.
Paul says in the fourth chapter of Romans and fifth verse, "It is to him that worketh not, but believeth.'' We get salvation by faith and not by works. Not but that salvation is worth working for. It is worth climbing mountains, crossing rivers, swimming streams, crossing deserts and lakes and going round the world on our hands and knees for. It is worth it, no doubt about it, but you can't get in that way, you can't get it by works. "It is to him that worketh not but believeth." If I employed a man to work for me all day and I gave him two dollars for the day's work, and he goes home and his wife says to him, "John, where did you get that two dollars?" and he said, "I worked and earned it," there would be no grace about it at all. But suppose he is sick and could not work, or suppose I did not have any work for him and he was in distress, and I gave him two dollars. He goes home and his wife says, "John, where did you get that money?" and he says, "Why, it is a gift; Mr. Moody gave it to me."
Now, if you ever get salvation you have to take it as a gift. You cannot buy it, and you cannot get it by your good works.
Suppose I should say to this audience, if anybody wants this Bible he can have it, and a man steps up, I reach out the Bible, he takes it, puts it under his arm and starts off home. He gets home, and his wife says, "John, where did you get that Bible?" And he says, "Why, Mr. Moody gave it to me." That would be a gift. But suppose I should say I will give the Bible to any one that wants it, and a man comes up and says, "Mr. Moody, I don't just like your terms. I don't like to be under obligations to you,'' and that is about the way with sinners; they do not like to be under obligations to God. So this man says, "I would like to take it, but not on your terms. I will give you twenty-five cents for the Bible.'' I know it is worth a good deal more than that; but suppose I take the twenty-five cents and the man goes home with the Bible under his arm, 'and his wife says, "John, were did you get that Bible?" He says, "I bought it." It is no gift at all. He bought it.
Now, don't you see that it is a gift? All through the Bible it is called a gift. If it is a gift it must be without works—it must be without money. It would be no gift at all if you paid for it—if you paid a farthing. It is a gift from God. But you can spurn the gift. You can trample it under your feet. You can say, "I will not have grace." Then you must have judgment. If any man will not have grace he must have judgment. If a man will not have mercy he must have punishment. Is not that the teaching of the Scriptures? God says, "I delight in mercy; I want to give you the gift of eternal life." "The wages of sin is death." Man has got to take his wages whether he wants to or not. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.''
Now, the question comes, To whom does He offer this gift?—to the righteous? He offers it to the world. He offers it to sinners; and if a man can prove that he is a sinner I can prove that he has got a Savior. If man can prove he was born into this world I can prove that God has provided a Savior for him. "God gave Him up," says Paul, "freely for us all." I like these texts that have these sweeping assertions that take us all in. "God gave him up for us all.'' Christ did not die for Paul any more than He did for the rest of us. He tasted death for us all. "That is what I believe," says a man down there, "and every man will be saved." Yes, every man that will lay hold of the cross will be saved. "If ye die in your sins, where I am ye cannot come." If a man goes on sinning, violating the law of God, trampling it under his feet, and will not take the yoke of God upon him down here, do you think he is going into the kingdom of God? Do you think he will have any taste for heaven?
In the second chapter of Titus, eleventh and twelfth verses, Paul says, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.'' I can imagine a man says: "Do you think that is really true?" "Yes." "What! does that mean drunkards?" "Yes, every drunkard in Cleveland." "What! do you mean all these harlots that are walking the streets to-night?" "Every harlot. The grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to every man." "What! do you mean gamblers?" "Yes, every gambler." "And these murderers down here in prison, and some that haven't been caught?" "Yes; every murderer. The grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men." If men are lost, it is because they spurn God's gift. They spurned His offer of mercy. It is not that God don't offer it. It is as free as the air we breathe.
I remember preaching upon the grace of God once in Chicago, to a fashionable congregation, and I was just hungering for some souls. I was anxious that the grace of God might find some one there, and while I was preaching I was looking around tp see if I could see any one that was anxious to be saved. At the close of the meeting I said, "If there is any one here that wants to be saved, I will be glad to stay and talk with him.'' It was one of the coldest nights of the winter, and they all got up and went out, and my heart sank within me. I looked all around and did not see any one wait. I got my overcoat, and was the last one to leave, as I supposed; but as I got to the door, I saw a man behind the furnace. He was crying as if his heart would break. I sat down by his side and I said, "What is the trouble?" He said, "Well, you said something to-night that broke my heart." "What is it?" "You said that the grace of God was for the likes of me." I said, "That is good; I am glad it has reached you." He thought he could not be saved. But it was for the likes of him. I talked with him, and found out what his trouble was. He was just one of those poor unfortunate men that liquor had got the mastery of, and, although it was one of the coldest nights, he had no coat on. He drank that up. He said that within the past six months he had drank up twenty thousand dollars. "And now," said.he, "my wife has left me, and my children, and my own father and mother have cast me off, and I expected to die here in the gutter one of these nights. I expected this was my last night.'' He
said, "I didn't come in to hear you; I came in to get warm, but my heart is broken. Do you think the grace of God can save me—a poor, miserable, vile wretch like me?" I said, "Yes."
It was refreshing to preach the gospel of the Son of God to that poor man. I prayed with him, and after I prayed with him, he didn't ask me for any money, but I took him to a place where he was provided for for that night, and the next morning I had a friend go to the pawnbroker's to get his coat—got his coat upon him, and in a little while he came out a decided Christian; and when Mr. Sankey and myself went to Europe, I don't know a brighter light in all the Western States than that young man. The grace of God found him. The grace of God saved him, and the grace of God has kept him.
That is what the grace of God is for. There is not a man, woman or child in Cleveland so far gone, but the grace of God can save him. What we want is, as Christians, to be up and publishing the tidings — proclaiming the glorious gospel of Christ. It is a gospel of glad tidings. My friends, make haste. Take the torch of salvation and carry it down into the dark lanes, and dark alleys, and dark homes, and light them up with the glorious gospel of the Son of God. Jesus is mighty to save. "His name shall be called Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins." He is a mighty Savior, but the world don't know it. The world has been deceived by the devil—has been blinded by the god of this world. What we want is to tell them that Christ is able to save, and that He is ready to save.
There is a story told of William Dorset, that
Yorkshire farmer. He was preaching one night in London, and he made the remark that there was not a man in all London so far gone but that the grace of God could save him. That is a very strong assertion, for there are some pretty hard cases in London, a city of four million inhabitants. You go into the east of London and see that awful pool of iniquity—the stream of death and misery flows right on. But he made that statement, that there was not a man or woman in all London so far gone but that the grace of God could save them. It fastened in a young lady's mind. She went home that night, and the next morning she went to see the Yorkshire farmer. She said, "I heard you preach last night, and I heard you say that there was not a man so far gone in all London but that the grace of God could save*him." She said, "Did you really mean it?" "Why," he said, "certainly I meant it." "And do you think that there is not a man in all London but that can be saved if he will be?" "Why, certainly," said Mr. Dorset, "not a man." "Well," she said, "I am a missionary and I work down in the East End of London, and I have found a man there who says that there is no hope for him. He is dying, and I can't make him believe that there is any hope for him. I wish you would go and see him." The man of God said he would be glad to go. She took him down one of those narrow streets until they came to an old filthy building. She said, "I think, perhaps, you can manage him better alone." It was a five-story building. He went up stairs to the upper story and found a young man lying there upon some straw; there was no bed. Ah! the way of the transgressor is hard! He had got clear down into great poverty and want, and there he was sick and dying. Mr. Dorset bent over him, whispered into his ear and called him friend. The young man looked up at him astonished. "You are mistaken, sir, in the person. You have got in the wrong place." "How is that?" asked Mr. Dorset. "Well, sir, I have no friend; I am friendless." He said, "You have a friend." Then he told him of the sinner's friend. He told him how Christ loved him. The young man shook his head, "Christ don't love me." "Why not?" "I have sinned against Him all my life." "I don't care if you have. He loves you still and He wants to save you." And he preached Christ to him there. He told him of the glorious grace of God. He told him that God could save him, and he read to him out of the Bible. The light of the gospel began to dawn upon that darkened mind, and the first sign of a new life was, his heart went out toward those whom he had injured, and he said, "If I could only know that my father would forgive me I could die in this' garret happy.'' He asked him where his father lived. He said, "In the West End of London." Mr. Dorset said, "I will go up and see him and will ask him if he will not forgive you." The young man shook his head. "I don't want you to do that. Why, sir, my father has disowned me. He has disinherited me. My father has had my name taken off the family record. He does not own me any more as his boy. I am as dead, sir, to him. If you go and talk to him about me he will get angry and order you out of the house, and you have been so kind to me I don't want your feelings hurt." Mr. Dorset went up to the West End of London to a most beautiful place and rang the bell. A servant dressed in livery came to the door. Mr. Dorset inquired if his master was in, and was told that he was. He was taken into the drawing-room, and while he was waiting there for the man of the house to come down, he looked around him. There was not a thing that heart could desire that had not been laid out on that beautiful home. By and by the man came into the room. Mr. Dorset got up and went across the room to shake hands with him. He said, "You have a son, sir, by the name of Joseph, have you not?" The father's hand fell by his side. His countenance changed. Mr. Dorset saw that he had made him very angry. He said in a great rage, "No, sir. And if you have come here to talk to me about that worthless vagabond I want you to leave my house. I don't allow any one to mention his name in my presence. He has been dead to me for years, and if you have been to him you have been deceived. He cannot be relied upon." He turned on his heel to go out of the room, to leave him. Mr. Dorset said, *'Well, he is your boy yet. He won't be long." The father turned again; "Is my Joseph sick" "Yes, your boy is at the point of death, sir. He is dying. I have not come here to ask you to take him home, or to ask you to give him anything, sir; I will see that he has a decent burial. All I want is to have you tell me that you forgive him, and let him die in peace.'' The great heart of the father was broken, and he said, "Forgive him? Oh, I would have forgiven him long ago if I had known he wanted it. Forgive him! Certainly. Can you take me to him?" The man of God said he would take him to him, and they got into a carriage and were soon on their way; and when the father reached that garret he could hardly recognize his boy, all mangled and bruised by the fall of sin. The first thing the boy said to his father was, "Father, can you forgive me? Will you forgive me?" "Oh, Joseph, I would have forgiven you long ago if I had known you wanted it.'' He met him in grace right there. The father said, "Let my servant take you in the carriage and take you home. I cannot let you die in this fearful place." "No, father, I am not well enough to be moved. I shall die soon, but I can die happy now that I know you have forgiven me; for I believe that God, for Christ's sake has forgiven me." And in a little while, with his head on the bosom of his father, Joseph breathed his last, and passed back to his God.
Yes, my friends, that father was willing to forgive him when he knew that the boy wanted grace. Now God knows all your hearts, and if you want grace to-day the God of all grace will meet you. He will meet you in mercy. He will meet you in pity. He will bless you to-day. He wants to bless you. Sin ruins, sin casts down, but the grace of God lifts up. O, may the grace of God lift you up to-day out of the pit and place your feet on the Rock of Ages.