God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.—Romans v. 8.
T KNOW of no truth in the whole Bible that ought to come home to us with such power and tenderness as that of the Love of God. There is no truth in the Bible that Satan would so much like to blot out. For more than six thousand years he has been trying to persuade men that God does not love them. He succeeded in making our first parents believe this lie; and too often he succeeds with their children.
The idea that God does not love us often comes from false teaching. Mothers make a mistake in teaching children that God does not love them when they do wrong, but only when they do right. That is not taught in Scripture. You do not teach your children that when they do wrong you hate them. Their wrongdoing does not change your love to hate; if it did, you would change your love a great many times. Because your child is fretful, or has committed some act of disobedience, you do not cast him out as though he did not belong to you! No! he is still your child; and you love him. And if men have gone astray from God it does not follow that He hates them. It is the sin that He hates.
October 2d. Trust in Him at all times ye people.—Psalm lxii. 8. ■"THERE are a good many who trust God when they see all is light and clear before them, but not in the dark. They will trust when everything is fair and bright—no opposition, no persecution or bitterness, but all smooth sailing. Well, that is walking by sight, and not by faith. We are to trust in the Lord at all times. The Lord will not have one who cannot be tried. If you are starting out in the Lord's work, you are going to be tempted. St. Augustine said that God has had one Son without sin, but no son without trial.
All these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shah hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.—Deuteronomy xxviii. 2.
r^vO you know every man who was blessed while Christ was on earth, was blessed in the act of obedience?
Ten lepers came to Him, and He said, "Go and show yourselves to the priest." They might have said, "What good is that going to do us? It was the priest that sent us away from our families." But they said nothing; and it came to pass, that, as they went, they were healed. Do you want to get rid of the leprosy of sin? Obey God. You say you don't feel like it. Did you always feel like going to school when you were a boy? Supposing a man only went to business when he felt like it; he would fail in a few weeks.
Jesus said to another man," Go to the Pool of Siloam and wash," and as he washed, he received his sight. He was blessed in the act of obedience.
The prophet said to Naaman, " Go and dip seven times in Jordan," and while he was dipping he was healed. Simple obedience.
October 4th. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.—2 Corinthians v. 13.
TN my opinion no one is fit for God's service until he is willing to be considered mad by the world. They said Paul was mad. I wish we had many more who were bitten with the same kind of madness. As some one has said: "If we are mad, we have a good Keeper on the way and a good Asylum at the end of the road."
October 5th. And as they came down from the mountain, He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.—Mark ix. 9.
TT is a singular fact that John, the only one of * the four evangelists that was with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, is the only one who does not give an account of it. Perhaps the scene was so solemn, so impressive, and so holy that he could not bring himself to write of it. Peter, who was also present, barely mentioned it in his writings that have come down to us. His only reference to the scene is in his second epistle, written many years afterward, when he was an old man:
"We were eyewitnesses of His majesty; for He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice, which came from heaven, we heard when we were with Him in the holy mount."
October 6th. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life. —John v. 40.
""THE battle is fought on that one word of the will; the door hangs on that one hinge of the will. Will you obey? That is the question! Will you obey the voice of God and do as He commands you? No man can obey for you any more than he can eat and drink for you. You must eat and drink for yourself, and you must obey God for yourself.
October 7th. Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him.—Psalm xci. 14.
V\7E all have some weak point in our character. When we would go forward, it drags us back, and when we would rise up into higher spheres of usefulness and the atmosphere of heaven, something drags us down. Now I have no sympathy with the idea that God puts us behind the blood and saves us, and then leaves us in Egypt to be under the old taskmaster. I believe God brings us out of Egypt into the promised land, and that it is the privilege of every child of God to be delivered from every foe, from every besetting sin.
If there is some sin that is getting the mastery over you, you certainly cannot be useful. You certainly cannot bring forth fruit to the honor and glory of God until you get self-control.
October 8th. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation.—Isaiah xii. 2.
l^ON'T be watching your feelings. There is not one verse from Genesis to Revelation about being saved by feeling. When the devil sees a poor soul in agony in the waves of sin, and getting close to the Rock of Ages, he just holds out the plank of " feeling" to him, and says,
"There, get on that; you feel more comfortable now, don't you?"
And while the man is getting his breath again, out goes the plank from under him, and he is worse off than ever. Accept no refuge but the Rock,—the Everlasting Strength.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be My son.—Revelation xxi. 7.
A FTER the Chicago fire I met a man who
"Moody, I hear you lost everything in the Chicago fire."
"Well," I said, u you understood it wrong; I didn't."
He said, " How much have you left?" "I can't tell you; I have got a good deal more left than I lost."
"You can't tell how much you have?" "No."
"I didn't know that you were ever that rich. What do you mean?"
"I mean just what I say. I got my old Bible out of the fire; that is about the only thing. One promise came to me that illuminated the city a great deal more than the fire did. 'He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be My son.'"
You ask me how much I am worth. I don't know. You may go and find out how much the Vanderbilts are worth, and the Astors, and Rothschilds, but you can't find out how much a child of God is worth. Why? Because he is a joint-heir with Jesus Christ.
Why are you going around with your head down, talking about your poverty? The weakest, poorest child of God is richer than a Vanderbilt, because he has eternal riches. The stuff that burned up in Chicago was like the dust in the balance. Joint-heir with Jesus Christ! That is what the eighth of Romans teaches us.
He must increase, but I must decrease.—John iii. 30.
TF we preached down ourselves and exalted * Christ, the world would soon be reached. The world is perishing to-day for the want of Christ. The church could do without our theories and pet views, but not without Christ; and when her ministers get behind the cross, so that Christ is held up, the people will come flocking to hear the gospel.
Selfishness is one of the greatest hindrances to the cause of Christ. Every one wants the chief seat in the synagogue. One prides himself that he is pastor of this church, and another of that. Would to God we could get all this out of the way, and say, " He must increase, but I must decrease." We cannot do it, however, except we get down at the foot of the cross. Human nature likes to be lifted up; the grace of God alone can humble us.
October nth. Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.— Matthew iii. 8.
A FRIEND had come to Christ and wished to consecrate himself and his wealth to God. He had formerly had transactions with the government, and had taken advantage of them. This thing came up when he was converted, and his conscience troubled him. He said,
"I want to consecrate my wealth, but it seems as if God will not take it."
He had a terrible struggle; his conscience kept rising up and smiting him. At last he drew a check for fifteen hundred dollars and sent it to the United States Treasury. He told me he received such a blessing when he had done it!
That was bringing forth " fruits meet for repentance." I believe a great many men are crying to God for light, and they are not getting it because they are not honest with themselves.
I will show him My salvation.—Psalm xci. 16. T BELIEVE we don't learn the fringe of the
subject of salvation down here. When our Master was on earth, He said He had many more things to say, but He could not reveal them to His disciples because they were not ready to receive them. But when we go yonder, where these mortal bodies have put on immortality, when our spiritual faculties are loosed from the thralldom of the flesh, I believe we shall be able to take more in. God will lead us from glory to glory, and show us the fullness of our salvation. Don't you think Moses knew more at the Mount of Transfiguration than he did at Pisgah? Didn't Christ talk with him then about the death He was to accomplish at Jerusalem? He couldn't have received this truth before, any more than the disciples, but when he had received his glorified body, Christ could show him everything.
Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.—Ephesians vi. 23.
FMSOBEDIENCE and disrespect for parents are often the first steps in the downward track. Many a criminal has testified that these are the points where he first went astray. I have lived over sixty years, and I have learned one thing if I have learned nothing else—that no man or woman who dishonors father or mother ever prospers, in the long run.
October 14th. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. —Luke xxii. 31, 32.
""THERE is no one beyond the reach of the tempter. Keep that in mind. Life may run smoothly for a while, but the testing time is coming.
Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie . . . ?—Acts v. 3.
u JV/IR. MOODY," you say, "how can I check myself? how can I overcome the habit of lying and gossip?" A lady once said to me that she had got so into the habit of exaggerating that her friends said they could never understand her.
The cure is simple, but not very pleasant. Treat it as a sin, and confess it to God and the person whom you have wronged. As soon as you catch yourself lying, go straight to that person and confess you have lied. Let your confession be as wide as your transgression. If you have slandered or lied about any one in public, let your confession be public. Many a person says some mean, false thing about another in the presence of others, and then tries to patch it up by going to that person alone. This is not making adequate confession. I need not go to God with confession until I have made it right with that person, if it is in my power to do so; He will not hear me.
October 16th. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.—Psalm xci. 1.
""THE psalm might have been written by Moses after some terrible calamity had come upon the children of Israel. It might have been after that terrible night of death in Egypt, when the firstborn from the palace to the hovel were slain; or after that terrible plague of fiery serpents in the wilderness, when the people were full of fear and in a nervous state. Perhaps Moses called Aaron and Miriam, and Joshua and Caleb, and a few others into his tent and read this psalm to them first. How sweet it must have sounded, and how strange!
I can imagine Moses asking, " Do you think that will help them? Will that quiet them?" and they all thought that it would. And then, (it may be), on one of those hilltops of Sinai, at twilight, this psalm was read. How it must have soothed them, how it must have helped them, how it must have strengthened them!
October 17th. Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.—2 Peter iii. 18.
A LTHOUGH you may be born again, it will require time to become a full-grown Christian. Justification is instantaneous, but sanctification is a life-work. We are to grow in wisdom. We are to add grace to grace. A tree may be perfect in its first year of growth, but it has not attained its maturity. So with the Christian: he may be a true child of God, but not a matured Christian.
October 18th. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judeea, and all the region around about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.—Matthew iii. 5, 6.
TTIINK of the whole population going out into the wilderness to hear this wonderful open-air preacher, to be "baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins!" John was a preacher of repentance. Perhaps no one ever rang out the word "Repent!" like John the Baptist. Day after day, as he came out of the desert and stood on the banks of that famous river, you could hear his voice, " Repent! for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." We can almost now hear the echoes of his voice as they floated up and down the Jordan.
Many wonderful scenes had been witnessed at that stream. Naaman had washed away his leprosy there. Elijah and Elisha had crossed it dryshod. Joshua had led through its channel the mighty host of the redeemed on their journey from Egypt into the promised land. But it had never seen anything like this: men, women, and children, mothers with babes in their arms, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, publicans and soldiers, flocked from Judea, Samaria and Galilee, to hear this lonely wilderness prophet.
My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.—Philippians iv. 19. T OOK at these words carefully. It does not say He will supply our wants. There are many things we want that God has not promised to give. It is our need, and all our need.
My children often want many things they do not get; but I supply all they need, if it is in my power to do it. I do not supply all their wants by any means. And so, though God may withhold from us many things that we desire, He will supply all our need. There can come upon us no trouble or trial in this life, but God has grace enough to carry us right through it, if we will only go to Him and get it. But we must ask for it day by day. "As thy days, so shall thy strength be."
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.—Isaiah lv. 1.
T PITY those people who are all the time * looking to see what they will have to give up. God wants to bestow His marvellous grace on His people; and there is not a soul who has believed on Jesus, for whom God has not abundance of grace in store.
What would you say of a man dying of thirst on the banks of a beautiful river, with the stream flowing past his feet? You would think he was mad! The river of God's grace flows on without ceasing; why should we not partake of it, and go on our way rejoicing?
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.—Luke ii. 13, 14.
T HAVE read that on the shores of the 1 Adriatic sea the wives of fishermen, whose husbands have gone far out upon the deep, are in the habit of going down to the seashore at night and singing the first verse of some beautiful hymn. After they have sung it they listen until they hear brought on the wind across the sea the second verse sung by their brave husbands—and both are happy. Perhaps, if we would listen, we too might hear on this storm-tossed world of ours, some sound, some whisper, borne from afar to tell us there is a heaven which is our home; and when we sing our hymns upon the shores of the earth, perhaps we may hear their sweet echoes breaking in music upon the sands of time, and cheering the hearts of those who are pilgrims and strangers along the way.
October 22d. Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.—James ii. 10.
""THE ten commandments are not ten different * laws; they are one law. If I am being held up in the air by a chain with ten links and I break one of them, down I come, just as surely as if I break the whole ten. If I am forbidden to go out of an enclosure, it makes no difference at what point I break through the fence. "Whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." "The golden chain of obedience is broken if one link is missing."
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.—Proverbs xi. 30.
T F we have known Jesus Christ for years, and have not been able to introduce an anxious soul to Him, there has been something wrong somewhere. If we were full of grace, we should be ready for any call that comes to us. Paul said, when he had that famous interview with Christ on the way to Damascus, " Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" Isaiah said, "Here am I, send me." No man can tell what he can do until he moves forward. If we do that in the name of God, instead of there being a few scores or hundreds converted, there will be thousands flocking into the Kingdom of God. Remember that we honor God when we ask for great things. It is a humiliating thing to think that we are satisfied with very small results.
Be clothed with humility.—1 Peter v. 5.
COME years ago I saw what is called a sensitive plant. I happened to breathe on it, and suddenly it drooped its head; I touched it, and it withered away. Humility is as sensitive as that; it cannot safely be brought out on exhibition. A man who is flattering himself that he is humble and is walking close to the Master, is self-deceived. Humility consists not in thinking meanly of ourselves, but in not thinking of ourselves at all. Moses wist not that his face shone. If humility speaks of itself, it is gone.
0 Lord, I beseech thee, let now Thine ear be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant, and to the prayer of Thy servants, who desire to fear Thy name: and prosper, 1 pray thee, Thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.—Nehemiah i. 11.
\17HEN Nehemiah began to pray I have no idea that he thought he himself was to be the instrument in God's hand of building the walls of Jerusalem. But when a man gets into sympathy and harmony with God, then God prepares him for the work He has for him. No doubt he thought the Persian king might send one of his great warriors and accomplish the work with a great army of men; but after he had been praying for months, it may be, the thought flashed into his mind:
"Why should not I go to Jerusalem myself and build those walls?"
Prayer for the work will soon arouse your own sympathy and effort.
And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.—1 Corinthians xii. 9.
T FIND that many Christians are in trouble about the future; they think they will not have grace enough to die by. It is much more important that we should have grace enough to live by. It seems to me that death is of very little importance in the meantime. When the dying hour comes there will be dying grace; but you do not require dying grace to live by. If I am going to live for fifteen or twenty years, what do I want with dying grace? I am far more anxious about having grace enough for my present work.
I have sometimes been asked if I had grace enough to enable me to go to the stake and die as a martyr. No; what do I want with martyrs' grace? I do not like suffering; but if God should call on me to die a martyr's death, He would give me martyrs' grace. If I have to pass through some great affliction, I know God will give me grace when the time comes; but I do not want it till it comes.
October 27th. In the last day, that great day of the feast, jfesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.—John vii. 37.
T_T OW this world is thirsting for something *■ * that will satisfy! What fills the places of amusement, the dance houses, the music halls, and the theatres, night after night? Men and women are thirsting for something they have not got. The moment a man turns his back upon God, he begins to thirst; and that thirst will never be quenched until he returns to "the fountain of living waters." As the prophet Jeremiah tells us, we have forsaken the fountain of living waters, and hewn out for ourselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. There is a thirst this world can never quench: the more we drink of its pleasures, the thirstier we become. We cry out for more and more, and we are all the while being dragged down lower and lower. But there is a fountain opened to the House of David for sin and for uncleanness. Let us press up to it, and drink and live.
October 28th. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.—John iii. 3.
TF the words of this text are true they embody one of the most solemn questions. We can afford to be deceived about many things rather than about this one thing. Christ makes it very plain. He says, " Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God"—much less inherit it.
This doctrine of the new birth is therefore the foundation of all our hopes for the world to come. It is really the A B C of the Christian religion. My experience has been this—that if a man is unsound on this doctrine he will be unsound on almost every other fundamental doctrine in the Bible. A true understanding of this subject will help a man to solve a thousand difficulties that he may meet with in the Word of God. Things that before seemed very dark and mysterious will become very plain.
October 29th. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors,- and their works do follow them.— Revelation xiv. 13.
""THINK of Paul up yonder. People are going * up every day and every hour, men and women who have been brought to Christ through his writings. He set streams in motion that have (lowed on for more than a thousand years. I can imagine men going up to him and saying, "Paul, I thank you for writing that letter to the Ephesians; I found Christ in that." "Paul, I thank you for writing that epistle to the Corinthians." "Paul, I found Christ in that epistle to the Philippians." "I thank you, Paul, for that epistle to the Galatians; I found Christ in that."
When Paul was put in prison he did not fold his hands and sit down in idleness! No, he began to write; and his epistles have come down through the ages and brought thousands on thousands to a knowledge of Christ crucified.
And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.—Genesis iii. 8.
A RULE I have had for years is to treat the
**■ Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. It is not a creed, a mere empty doctrine, but it is Christ Himself we have. The moment we receive Christ we should receive Him as a friend. When I go away from home I bid my wife and children good-bye, I bid my friends and acquaintances good-bye; but I never heard of a poor backslider going down on his knees and saying:
u I have been near You for ten years. Your service has become tedious and monotonous. I have come to bid You farewell. Good-bye, Lord Jesus Christ!"
I never heard of one doing this. I will tell you how they go away; they just run away.
And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum, and the Three Taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.—Acts xxviii. 15.
IF you are not able to go and invite the people to hear the gospel, you can give a word of cheer to others, and wish them Godspeed.
Many a time when I have come down from the pulpit, some old man, trembling on the very verge of another world, living perhaps on borrowed time, has caught hold of my hand, and in a quavering voice said, "God bless you!"
How the words have cheered and helped me! You can speak a word of encouragement to younger friends, if you are too feeble to work yourselves.