Text.— Bring him unto Me. Mark ix. 19.
We find in this chapter that Christ had taken Peter, James and John, and had been up in the Mount of Transfiguration, and the first thing that met His eye as He came down from that holy mount was a great multitude gathered around His disciples and rejoicing—the enemies of Christ rejoicing over the defeat of the disciples; and when He made inquiry to find out what had caused the discussion, one of the multitude spoke up and said, "I have brought my son to Thy disciples that they might cast out an unclean spirit, and they could not doit." They had no faith.
Now it strikes me that that is the condition of the church in this country at the present time. We have not got power to cast out these devils. I believe men are possessed of devils now as much as they were in the days of Christ. I think this rum devil is about as great a devil as they had in the days of Christ. And you will f/nd a good many possessed of the rum devil. And then this infidel devil is as bad as it was in the days of Christ. These unbelieving devils are possessing men, and what we want is power to cast them out; and what we want, it seems to me, is to learn this lesson: that if we have failed it is not God's fault, but it is our own fault; and we want to just get by these obstacles and get right to the Master Himself.
Turn to Kings and you will find that in the days of Elisha he saw that Shunammite woman coming, and he says to his servant, "Go and ask her if it is well with the child and well with the husband." And she said it was well. Elisha could not understand it. But she came and threw herself right at his feet, and it was revealed unto Elisha what the trouble was. The child was dead; but that woman had faith and believed that he should rise again. There is faith for you! So he said to his servant, "Take thy staff, and go and lay it upon the child." And they tried to send the woman away; but she said, "As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee!" She had got beyond the staff and beyond the servant, and got right to the Master himself, and it was well that she did, because the old staff did not raise the dead child. It needed Elisha himself, and that woman was very wise. And what we want is to learn a lesson from the Shunammite woman; but if the disciples can't cast out those devils, what we want is to lift our eyes higher up; to lift our eyes to the One sitting upon the throne, who is unchangeable, the same yesterday, to-day and forever. Christ has got power; and if the church will only have faith we will see signs and wonders in this city. The Lord is wonderful to save, my friends; He delights to save. But there is one thing that He wants among His people, and that is faith. Faith can do most anything with Jesus Christ. When He was down here faith could lead Him around anywhere and could get him to do almost anything. And what we want in the church to-day is faith to believe that the Son of God has power to bless.
When these disciples failed, I can imagine they reasoned something like this, "Why, it is a pretty hard case." One of the disciples says, "I have asked him how long he had been troubled with this deaf and dumb spirit, and the father said he was born so, and it is pretty discouraging. If he could only hear us, why, then there would be some hope. If he could only speak and tell us how he feels, there would be some hope. He can't hear and he can't speak. It is a pretty hopeless case." But see what the Master said when He came down from that mount: "Bring him unto Me." And I tell you if the Master tells us to bring our friends and those whom we are anxious should be saved to Him, let us obey His command. Let us bring them in the arms of our faith and lay them right at His feet. But there is one thing I want to call your attention to. That father got the "if" in the wrong place. He says, Lord, if Thou canst do anything, and the Lord just corrected him and put the "if" in the right place. "If thou canst believe, all things are possible;" you don't want to put any ifs in if you are going to bring souls to Christ. Don't put in "if Thou canst do anything." The leper we read about in the fifth chapter of Luke got the "if" in the right place. He says, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean." That pleased the Master. He said, "I will; be thou clean." With a word he cleansed him. But this father got the "if" in the wrong place—"If Thou canst help us, we want help." See how quick he could help him when he brought him to the Master. As he came the devil tripped him up on the way, as he has done a great many times since. When a man sets his face to come to Christ, the devil trips him up—throws him down. But bear in mind, devils, and disease and death are to obey the voice of the Son of God. He spoke and that unclean spirit came out of him; and not only that, He told him to come back no more. I tell you, if the Lord sent him away he will never come back. Some people are afraid if men are converted they won't hold out. But when the Lord casts out those devils, and gives them instructions never to come back, they will hold out. What the Lord does, holds through eternity itself. What man does is very short and transitory, but when God works He works thoroughly. He gave to that devil instructions never to come back again, and he had to obey. There was one thing that the devils had to do when Christ was here—and He is here now in Spirit—and that was, they had to obey Him.
You turn to the 5th chapter of Mark, and you will find there the Son of God had power over devils, over disease and death. In the fifth chapter of Mark you will find three incurable diseases. If they had them now-a-days, they would have them in some incurable hospital. There are hospitals now being erected in some parts of this country, and there are a good many in Europe, for the incurable.
But there were no incurables when Christ was here. He was a match for every case they brought to Him. Here, in this fifth chapter of Mark, we read of a man who was possessed of devils; he had legions of them. No man could bind him. No man could tame him; for they had often bound him with fetters and chains, but the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces. They had clothed him, but he would tear the clothes from him, and they could not keep a rag on his back; there he was—a maniac. But when Christ met him, with a word He cast out those unclean spirits; with a word He restored him back to his family. He said to him: "Go home and tell your friends what great things the Lord has done for you.'' And he went back and began to publish the great things the Lord had done for him, and all men marveled. I tell you there will be some marveling in this city when God begins to work. That is what makes men marvel. What we want is to pray God Almighty to come and work in this city, and cast out these unclean spirits. And we read a little further in the fifth chapter of Mark, of a woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years. She had suffered many things of many physicians; grew worse all the while. When men are running to earthly physicians they grow worse all the time. When men are trying to patch up their old Adamnature—trying to make themselves better, they are growing worse all the time. When men are trying to save themselves and work out their own salvation without the help of God—trying to work out this great question, they are all the time making themselves worse. Why, this woman tried many physicians. Perhaps she had been down to Damascus and tried the leading physicians there, or had been up to Jerusalem and tried the leading physicians there, and if they had the physicians of the old school and new school, she tried both schools, but kept getting worse. If they had patent medicines she would be trying every kind of patent medicine; but they did not help her—all the while growing worse. But one day Jesus happened to be coming in that part of the country. I can see her getting down her garments, and the children trying to persuade her not to go: "Mother, we hope you are not going to run after that physician. You have tried so many, and we hope you are not going to waste your strength by running after that physician." I can see her put on her garments. I don't know what they wore in those days, but if she had a shawl, it was an old shawl. The doctors had got all her money in the twelve years. She got down her old faded bonnet and away she went. She is in the crowd, elbowing her way, pushing her way toward the great prophet. When she gets near enough to touch Him, able bodied men push her back, saying to her, "Don't you know there are other people here who want to get near Him as well as yourself.'' She did not care what they said. She wished that she might get near enough to touch Him. There was faith for you. She had faith to believe that if she could just touch the hem of His garment, she would be made whole. I tell you when faith was near the Son of God He knew all about it . And again she elbows her way through that crowd, and pushes her way up to Him, and, when near enough, at last reaches out her thin, pale arm—nothing but skin and bone. You can see that hand, that bony finger; and at last she just touches the hem of His garment, and lo! in a minute, she is made well. Some one has said there was more medicine in His garments than in all the apothecary shops in Palestine. The moment she touched his garment she was healed. That is faith. Some people say, "Oh, well, some men have become so debased, so debauced, are such drunkards, that it has become a disease with them." Suppose it has become a disease, God is able to heal. That woman had a disease for twelve years. But a touch and the work was done; and he turned and said, "Who touched Me?" and they said, "That is a queer question." Why, look at the crowd that has been thronging for hours. Look at the hands that touched Him. They could not tell the difference between the touch of the crowd and the touch of faith. Some of the people came and looked all around, just as some people have come here; they will be casting around and they will go out as empty as they came in. But there may be some one that is seeking a blessing, and he will say, "Oh, that I may touch Him to-night, that I may get the power; that I may be healed."
And I tell you if faith is here, He will be here. That is what He wanted to bring out before those people. He knew that faith had touched Him, and virtue had gone forth.
He knew who the woman was, but He wanted to get her confession. And she fell at His feet and told it all to Him; she had tried other physicians, but the moment she tried the true physician she was healed.
Then that other case in the third chapter of Mark. That was more hopeless than the other two, because the child was dead. There was no use sending for any physician; th^e child was too far gone. But the moment Christ got in that chamber and met death face to face, death fled before Him. He had power to raise the dead.
And so there are some people here in Cleveland who will say, "There is no use talking to that person. He is flead to everything that is pure. He is dead to everything that is righteous and holy.'' But, my dear friends, our Savior is a quickener. And what we want is faith to believe that our Father and Master can raise these dead souls if we bring them unto Him.
Now, if you have got a son who has wandered far away, and you have become discouraged, and said that there is no use laboring for his salvation, my dear friend, bear in mind, it is very dishonoring to God. Instead of looking at these obstacles—looking at the human heart so hard and thinking it cannot be reached—let us lift our eyes to Him who sits upon the throne, and remember that just as He left the earth, He told us that all power is given to Him in heaven and on earth; and if He has got such mighty power, can't He save? Is there a man so far gone in all Cleveland that Christ cannot save him? Is there a woman so low, and so degraded, and so depraved that Jesus Christ cannot save her? Away with the doctrine! My dear friends, He can. He can save unto the uttermost. Let us hear the voice of the Master coming from the throne to-night. "Bring him unto Me." "Bring her unto Me." Let us take them in the arms of our faith to the Son of God, and have faith to believe that He has power to cast out, to heal, to cleanse, to make whole, and to raise even the dead to life.
Now, it seems to me, as He said that to that father, that we might justly apply this to parents. I will venture to say that half of this audience here tonight are parents. Fathers and mothers, let me ask you a question. Are you not anxious for that child that God has given you, or for those children? May I not speak to some father here to-night who has got a wayward boy? Perhaps this hour while you are here in this gospel meeting, that boy is down yonder in some brothel, or some gambling den, or some drinking saloon. His feet are hastening on down to death and ruin. Don't you want that boy reached? Let us have faith to believe that God can save our children. I do not believe God wants our children lost. I believe that we can be co-workers with Him. It is a great privilege, and it is a great opportunity we have of a united effort—fathers and mothers coming together to bring their children to the Lord Jesus Christ. And I believe that if fathers and mothers, during the next thirty days make up their minds, God helping them, that they will bring about this one result, that they will bring salvation to their family, that they will ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come into their homes and save every member of their family, God will not disappoint them. And I believe that if we hear His voice tonight saying, bring him or bring her unto Me, and obey that command, and we bring our children to the Lord Jesus Christ, He will bless them.
I remember a few years ago hearing of a mother who was dying with consumption, that had seven children, and when the hour came for her to leave this earth, she asked the father to bring the children to her bedside, and the husband brought the children in one by one. The oldest one was brought in first, and the mother placed her hand upon its head and gave that child a mother's dying blessing. Then the next one was brought in and she did the same, and gave it a message. At last a little infant was brought in, and she took her little child and hugged it and kissed it, and they saw that the excitement was becoming too great for her, and they took the little child away from her, and as they did it she looked up into her husband's face and says, "Icharge you to bring all these children home with you." And so the Captain of your salvation and mine charges us to bring our children home with us. The promises are not only to us, but to our children; and what He wants is to have you and I have faith to believe that He is ready and willing to do it, and that He will honor our faith. We have got to work as well as have faith. We must first have faith. We must first have faith to believe that God will do it, and then we must work for their salvation; we must use every means in our power to bring them to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. Let us not only bring them to God and prayer around our family altars, and in our closets, and in these public meetings; but, my friends, let us talk with them; let us try in every way we can to bring them to the Son of God.
And then let me say another thing. Let us have faith to believe that they can come early to Christ. I believe that there is many a father and mother that is skeptical on this point. They have got the idea that their children ought to grow up to manhood and womanhood before they can be brought to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ.
Many of them have got the idea that they must have the seed of death sown in their hearts; that they must have some of these tares sown in their hearts before they can have the seed of the kingdom; that they have got to see some of the world, and they have got to be tempted and led, you might say, into bondage, into sin, before they can be saved. I believe that is one of the delusions of the evil one. I believe it is the privilege of every father and mother to bring their children to Christ so early that they cannot tell when they came. It is a privilege for us to take them in the earlier days of childhood, when they can just lisp the name of papa and mamma, and teach them to lisp the name of Jesus Christ, and teach them in their earlier childhood to love Him and to serve Him.
I remember, many years ago, I was urging this in the State of Michigan, an old man jumped up at the close of the meeting and said, "I want to indorse all that young man has said. Sixteen years ago I was in a heathen country. My wife died and left me with three little children. The first Sabbath after her death, my oldest little girl—Nellie, ten years old—came to me and says: 'Papa, can I take the children into the bed-room and pray for them as mother -used to do on the Sabbath?'" Let me say to you my friends, there is the power of example. If I should be called away and leave my children in this cold, unfriendly world at an early age, I would rather have them come to my grave and be able to say I was more anxious for their eternal welfare than for their earthly prosperity. Well, this old man said, when the children came out from the chamber where they had been praying, he noticed that they all had been weeping, and he called to his little girl and said, "Nellie, what have you been weeping about?" "Why," she says ''we could not help but weep. I made the prayer that mother taught me to make, and (naming her little brother) he made the prayer mother taught him; but little Susie didn't use to pray. Mother thought she was too little to pray, and when we prayed, little Susie made a prayer and we could not help but weep." "What did she say?" "She put her little hands together and says, 'Oh, God you have come and taken away my dear mamma. I have no mamma to pray for me. Won't you please make me just as good as my mamma was for Jesus' sake. Amen.'" That child before she was four years old gave evidence of being a child of God. Fathers, do you suppose your children can come that early?
Mothers, have you got faith to believe that you can bring your children that early to the Son of God? He will say to-night, as He did when on earth, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." And in this month, which I hope will be a harvest time, let us bring our children to the Son of God. Let us labor for their salvation. Father, mother, hear the voice of the Son of God to-night saying, "Bring them unto Me." He will not cast them out. He will bless them.
And let me say to you, Sabbath-school teachers, this a grand time for you to work. I never have known a Sunday-school teacher in these special efforts which we have made in cities, who has laid herself or himself out to bring his class to Christ— I have scarcely ever known it to fail. This is a grand opportunity now for you to go and bring the children in your classes to Him. Perhaps you will say they are too young to be converted. They are wild, it may be. They are thoughtless. They are careless. They are indifferent. O, let us not be looking at them, but let us look above and remember that the power is yonder, and Christ is the power. You cannot tell what may be the result of bringing your Sunday-school class to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I remember being in a place a few years ago, and I was the guest of a friend, and in his house there was a young lady that had a Sunday-school class in the afternoon, and I happened to have a meeting the first afternoon I was there, and I noticed that teacher in my meeting, and when I got home I said, "How was it you were at the meeting this afternoon; I thought you had a Sunday-school class?" "Well, so I have, Mr. Moody, but," she says, "I only have five little boys, and as I thought it would not do much harm I left them to-day." Whenever you hear a Sunday-school teacher talking that way you may believe that he does not understand the worth of a soul. Five little boys! Why, dear teacher, do you know that in that class there may be a Luther? In that little tow-headed German boy there may slumber a reformation. There may come power upon him that he may go out and be a blessing to the world. You can't tell when you call a little boy to Christ what he may become. He may be a Whitefield, or a Wesley, or a Knox, or a Bunyan. Eternity alone can tell what is to be done when we bring a soul to Christ.
Now, Sabbath-school teachers, this is a golden opportunity. Let us work together; let us pray together, and not rest at night until we see those we are responsible for brought to Christ. Let us labor to bring them to the Lord Jesus Christ, and if we labor faithfully, He will not disappoint us.
I remember the inspiration that I got for this work the very first soul that I led to Christ. I can remember what a new life was awakened in me, and I trust I have not been the same man from that day to this, and I hope there will be a great many workers in this city of Cleveland that will be roused to go out and work for souls. It is the highest privilege on earth. There is nothing like it to be a worker with God; to be instrumental in bringing souls to Christ.
I want to tell you just a little incident that roused me. I was a nominal Christian for a number of years; but, my friends, I would rather die than go back to that kind of life—having a name to live, and no power, no life, and not able to say there is one who has been led to Christ by my influence—to be a professed disciple of Jesus Christ, and not be able to say there is one solitary soul that has been led to Christ by my influence. How does that professed Christian live on year after year, when he had such a glorious privilege to work for Christ and win souls for Him? And I believe to-day what we want is to get the laity aroused. What we want is to get the pulpit and the pew united, until Christianity becomes a living power on the face of. the earth. I do not fear your infidelity. I do not fear your false isms cropping upon the earth half as much as I do these cold formalisms coming into the church of God. Let me tell you what awakened me. I had a large Sunday-school in Chicago, and I was satisfied with having large numbers interested. We were sowing seed, and I said it was going to spring up sometime,
but I did not know when. There are a great many people who are all the time sowing seed. What would you say of a farmer that was always sowing seed and never harvested? You want to sow with one hand and reap with the other, and if we look for an immediate harvest we shall have it.
I was just in that condition. I was sowing and sowing. I had a hall over a meat market, and over in a corner I had a class of wild, thoughtless, frivolous young misses. I had more trouble with that class than with all the other classes of the school; but I had, I thought, the best teacher in the school in that class. He was there every Sunday, and held their attention pretty well. But one Sunday he was absent, and before I could get around to his house to find out what was the matter, he came down to my store. He was pale. He took a seat upon a box, and he said, "I have been bleeding again at my lungs, and have got to give up business. The doctor tells me I can't live much longer, and I have closed up my business, and am going home to my mother in the East to die." Then he began to weep. "Well," I says to him, "you are not afraid to die?" "No,'' he says; '' Mr. Moody that does not trouble me, but my Sunday-school class; I will meet them on the day of judgment; not one of them is converted. If I had been faithful, some of them might have been saved; but now I am called away from them. I never shall meet them again in this world. What will I say when I meet the Judge?" The poor man's heart was broken. I said: "Suppose we go and see them." He said when he had strength he did not go, and now he had lost his strength and could not go. I said, "I will take you in a carriage.'' I took that man out in a carriage; we went from house to house. He was so weak he reeled on the sidewalk. When he. got in the house, he would say to Margaret, to Mary or to Jane, calling them by their first name, "I have come to talk to you about coming to Christ;" and then would plead with them as a dying man. When his strength gave way I took him home, and the next day we started out .again, and at the end of ten days the last one was converted. We had a meeting at his house, and it was at that meeting that I caught a new inspiration. It was at that meeting that God gave me to see the worth of a soul. I do not know that I ever spent such a night before that time. The whole class was gathered into the fold. That teacher got down on his knees and prayed that the Lord might give His angels charge over them. When we got through, one of the young converts began to pray, and another and another prayed for their teacher—that they might be kept faithful, and that the Lord might be with him in his sickness; and we bid him good-bye, after singing "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in christian love.'' It was a joyful meeting with all its sadness. The next night he was to leave our city about sundown. I went to the station to bid him good-bye, and without speaking to anybody about it or expecting it, I found at the depot before the train started the whole class was there. Standing on the platform, the class gathered around him. It was the most beautiful sight ever I saw. They sang, "We meet to part again, but when we meet on Canaan's shore there will be no parting." And as the train started, with his pale finger he pointed to heaven, until the wheels rolled him out of the city; but, my friends, his influence lives in Chicago to-day. Let us work and bring our children to Christ and our influence will be felt hundreds of years hence. What we do for God is forever. It is eternal and everlasting. So let us be up and about our Master's work. Let us hunt up and bring some soul to Christ. Now, my friends, do you believe that you can be instrumental in God's hands in leading one soul to Christ during the next thirty days? I do not believe there is a man or woman in this house but may be instrumental in leading some one soul to Christ if he tries. Hear the voice of the Master-to-night—"Bring him unto Me." Let us pray.