I want this audience to-night, while I am speaking, to pray. I would like to ask you friends that are not Christians to pray. I would like to give you a little prayer, and I would like to ask you to make it all the time I am speaking: "Lord, if these things are so, show them to me." I don't want you to believe one solitary word I say that is not from God. If it is not true, I don't want you to believe it. But if it is, you certainly ought to be honest enough to want to know it. That is perfectly fair. No skeptic, no infidel, no deist, no atheist really can object to making that prayer; but if there is an atheist here, let him make this prayer: "If there be a God, let Him show these things to me, if they are true." Let us be willing to-night to let the God that created us teach us.
Now, the text I want to call your attention to is in the seventh chapter of Genesis, the first verse. It is a truth that a great many of you, perhaps, don't believe. A great many people have the idea that no such thing ever took place. But if you make that prayer we will find out. "If it is true, Lord, show it to me. Reveal it to me."
"And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark." That word "com«" occurs all through the Bible. It begins in the first book of the Bible and runs clear through Revelation. The prophets took it up and their cry was, "Come, come,"
When that blessed Master came, He took up that same cry, "Come unto Me all ye that labor." When the apostles commenced to work after Christ left the earth, they kept ringing out that word "Come." We find it in the last chapter of Revelation.
The first time it occurs in the Bible is in this text I have to-night. God Almighty was the preacher, and He was calling Noah in out of the coming storm, out of the coming judgment that was coming upon the earth. One hundred and twenty years before that Noah had received the most awful communication that ever came from heaven to earth. God told him that He was going to destroy the earth on account of sin. Sin sprang into this world full grown. The first man born of woman was a murderer. I suppose that we, at this age, know nothing about the sins of the antediluvians. Men had time then to carry out their plans, and their iniquities, and their sins. They lived a thousand years, nearly. I don't know what would happen now if men should live so long in sin. It says in the sixth chapter of Genesis and the fifth verse, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.'' The wickedness of earth had come up to God. God purposed that He would destroy the earth. But He gave them one hundred and twenty long years' grace—one hundred and twenty long years to repent; and if they had repented like Nineveh, God might have spared the Old World, and might have spared those antediluvians. But I can imagine they talked very much as men talk now, and when Noah brought them that message they mocked him; they laughed at the idea; they scoffed at the idea. "God going to destroy this world! You don't suppose we are fools enough to believe that, do you? God going to destroy His own world! God going against the law of nature! Why, it is against our reason! It is against our intellect! We don't see any reason for it. God going to destroy the world? Away with such a God as that! We won't have anything to do with a God of judgment—a God who is going to judge this world on account of sin."
Then there was another class of people, undoubtedly, that were atheists, that took the ground that the world came by chance, that there was no God, and that Noah was a fanatic. Some of them, perhaps, went so far as to think he was out of his mind. If they had had insane hospitals in those days they would have tried to get him into one of them. '' Poor, deceived, deluded man! God going to destroy the world! God going to drown all in it—our great men, our mighty men, our kings, our princes, our rulers, our governors, and our wise men! Away with such a doctrine! We don't believe it."
Noah and his family stood alone on that dark day. There was not a man to stand with him, and God told him to build an ark, and the God of heaven was the architect. He told him how to build it, and I will venture to say that every dollar's worth of material that went into that ark came out of Noah's property. He could not get a man to help him. When you built this church you got every man you could to help you build it. But there was not a man that would help Noah build that ark. He had to pay the expenses alone. They laughed at the idea They mocked at the idea. They ridiculed the idea Why, the strongest thing against you, Noah, is that no one believes with you; the great men and all the leading minds of the present day differ with you. They don't believe there is going to be a flood— that there is going to be a deluge and a judgment; there are no signs in the heavens. The astronomers look up in the heavens and they say, "We see no sign of a coming storm or a coming judgment. It is all a delusion, God is not going to destroy the world. I don't believe it. And then we have a majority with us. They all go with us, and you stand alone." But the old man toiled on. Day after day you can see him there at that ark. He must have known when he received the commission to build the ark, how much sport they would make of it —how he would become the butt of ridicule, how he would become the song of the drunkard and how he would become the laughing stock of that day. If they had the theaters in those days I have not any doubt but that they would have Noah's Ark on the stage and make all manner of sport of it. Lecturers went up and down the country warning these antediluvians against fanaticism, and to be careful about being carried away with that delusion. If they had newspapers in those days once in a while there would have been a reporter coming around to see how he was getting along, and he would write up an article on "Noah's Delusion," or "Noah's Ark." If they had the telegraph in those days every once in a while there would have been a telegraphic dispatch sent around the world about Noah's Ark and about the deluded man spending all his money and all his time upon that ark. And then there was that gray-haired old man and his family, his three sons and their wives, only eight in all, and yet he is building an ark large enough to accommodate hundreds and thousands! Deluded man! Gone clean mad! Some one has suggested the idea that Noah must have been deaf or he could not have withstood the scoffs and the jeers of that day. But if he was he had an ear to hear God. He communed with God, and when God spoke to him, he could hear and he obeyed. Well, a hundred years passes away. There is no sign of a coming storm, and these men are increasing in their infidelity and in their unbelief. They go on, scoffing and mocking and ridiculing. And the men that helped Noah, his carpenters there whom he hired, undoubtedly if they went into a saloon and began to drink or play cards, men would make fun of them. "Ah, you are helping that old lunatic there to make the ark." But I can imagine they would say, "Noah's money is as good as any. We don't believe in his old ark; we don't believe in the delusion, but we are after his money, that is all."
There are a good many men to-day that talk in the same way about the ark that God has provided. The day of scoffing is not passed. The day of mocking, and the day of ridicule is not passed. Many a man is kept out of the kingdom of God because he cannot stand the ridicule of some scoffing, sneering, contemptible wretch, who would trample his.mother's prayers, and feelings, and her Bible, and all of her precepts under his feet, and mock at the idea of his mother's God.
Time passes on. The hundred and twenty years have expired. The merriment increases. Noah has got his ark done. All the contracts are closed. During the past hundred and twenty years many a time has he stopped the work, perhaps, on the ark and gone out and warned his countrymen. He told them of the coming judgment. But they mocked the old man. They didn't believe him. But now the ark is finished. I don't know what time of the year it was finished; perhaps it was in the spring. In that spring Noah did not plant anything.
"Now, surely, he will come to want. Every year he has planted; like others he has provided for the future, but now he has not planted anything. He is preparing to go into that ark. He says that this is the last year. The world is going to be destroyed. What an absurdity." When we talk now about God's burning up this world men scoff at the idea, "God destroy the world! He is not going to do anything of the kind. The world is improving, growing better all the while. What is God going to destroy the world for if the world is growing better, and if men are getting on so well, accumulating wealth and great fortunes. Away with such a delusion! God is not going to burn up the world. There is no God "of judgment. God is not going to judge the world for sin. To be sure, they put His Son to death. But then he just winked at that . He is not going to hold them responsible for that . It is all a delusion.'' That is the talk of the world to-day. That is the cry.
I can imagine when the last year expired—the one hundred and twenty years were up, and the day of grace was closing, those men just increased in their scoffing and their infidelity.
Noah at last moves into the ark. That was just the climax of the whole thing. A most absurd thing. Why didn't he wait until the storm began? There was time enough to move; then to build an ark on dry land, as if the storm was going to get up there; and if it did, do you think that thing would float? They made all manner of sport of it, and ridiculed it. Visitors came to look at it. You can see them looking around; going up into the different sories of it. If they saw Noah around, they would say, "That's him, that's him there!" They would just point the finger of scorn at him, "deluded man!" The business men of that day undoubtedly said that ark was not worth as much when Noah got it done as the nails they put into it. If it was put up at auction it would not bring any more than what it was worth for kindling wood. It was not good for a house to live in, and you could not make a barn of it. Yet that man had put all his wealth, probably, in that ark. For years he had gathered up all he had and put it in that ark. The world looked upon it with scorn and contempt, but God called him in, "Come, thou and all thy house, into the ark." And, thank God, his children went in with him. Noah lived so that his children had confidence in his piety. I have great admiration for Noah. If a man could live in that dark day, with those scoffers and unbelievers all about him, and command his children so that they followed him, he must have lived right at home. He must have been a true man, and he must have walked with God Almighty. And after they had gone in, God gave the earth seven days more of grace. He added seven days to the hundred and twenty years. Undoubtedly he gave them that time to repent. If they had repented then they might have been saved. But they did not repent. They mocked at the idea, and they said to Noah when he told them that he had built that ark so large that he might preserve his seed upon the earth, the fowls of the air, and animal creation, they mocked at the idea. "How are you going to get the wild fowls and beasts of the desert into that ark? How are you going to get the wild animals from their caves and dens into that ark?" And they went on mocking at the idea. It was a most absurd idea.
I can imagine that the first thing that alarmed and aroused them was one morning to their surprise they saw the heavens black with the fowls of the air, coming from the corners of the earth, two by two, mated by God, and as they came to that ark, Noah took them in. And the animals came in from their dens and caves, from the corners of the earth, and they came up to the ark, two by two. The lion and the lamb passed in side by side, and as they looked down at the earth, they could see little insects creeping up towards that ark two by two, as if pushed up by some unseen hand, and they cried out, "Merciful God, what does this mean?" They are alarmed now. That was the first thing, probably, that woke them up. Would to God they had repented then, and cried for mercy. But undoubtedly their wise men said, "We don't exactly understand it, but there is no danger. Our astronomers tell us there is no sign in the heavens; the old sun shines as it did two thousand years ago, and the stars shine at night as bright as ever; the lambs are skipping on the hill sides as usual, the cattle are grazing on a thousand hills; business was never more prosperous. The world never looked more promising. There is no sign of a coming storm. We don't understand this strange thing; we admit we can't understand it, but then there is no sign; be quiet." If some one was alarmed they would say, "He is weakminded." That is what young men say of their mothers now; that they are weak-minded women, deluded, carried away. Religion may be a good thing for women and weak-minded people. O, may God forgive the young man that speaks of his mother in that way.
It may be the next thing that took place God shut the door. Noah did not shut it. The Almighty shut the door. The last year had come, the last month, the last week, the last day, the last hour, the last minuute had come. When God shut the door. the day of grace was over; the day of mercy was ended. When once the master of the house is risen up and shut the door, there is no hope. You may cry for mercy then, but it is too late. A man said that when he died he would go to heaven and he would knock and ask for Mercy, and Mercy would let him in. A man said you need not ask for Mercy there; for Mercy has not been at home for eighteeen hundred years. Mercy is abroad in the earth. It is too late to ask for mercy." This is the day of mercy. This is the day of grace. This is the acceptable time of the Lord. This is the day the door is wide open. God says, "Come in." God calls you in out of the coming storm and out of the coming judgment.
I can imagine some of you say, "Moody, you don't believe there was such a thing as a flood, and God shut that door?" I believe it just as much as I believe that Jesus Christ came into this world. Listen to what the Son of God has to say: "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage, until the flood came and took them all away." It came suddenly. Jesus Christ believed in the flood. But when once the Master of the house had risen up and shut the door, it was too late.
Men say, "lean repent any time." Do not deceive yourself. There is such a thing as a man sinning away the day of grace. There is such a thing as a man going on rejecting and rejecting the Spirit of God until the last hour and the last moment has come, and it is too late.
Those antediluvians found it was too late. The door was shut. I don't know when the storm broke upon them. It might have been in the night. And what a night it was! Did this world ever witness such a night as that?
I can imagine as the sun went down, little did they think it was the last time they were to look upon it, as it shone upon that ark and the door was closed. The day of grace was ended. The day of mercy was over, and there was no hope. Their doom was sealed. The door that shut Noah and his family in shut them out. That night, perhaps at midnight, they could hear in the distance the thunder. The sound grew louder and louder, until the stoim broke upon them. Perhaps the scoffers and the triflers in those days began to mock and say, "Well, now Noah will say this is his flood. Noah, now in the ark, will begin to rejoice and say this is what he was telling us about.'' But by-and-by their mocking was all gone. There could not be a scoffer found. And do you know there is a time coming when there cannot be a scoffer found on the face of the earth? There is a time coming when these men that are mocking at the Gospel of Jesus Christ will bow the knee to the Lord Jesus. They will cry— we have the prayer^on record—"They will call upon the mountains and the rocks and the hills to cover them from the wrath of the Lamb.'' Their cry for mercy will be too late.