Dwight L. Moody (1837 - 1899)|
A man came to me the other day and said:
"I like your preaching. You don't preach hell, and I suppose you don't
believe in one." Now I don't want any one to rise up in the Judgment and
say that I was not a faithful preacher of the Word of God. It is my duty
to preach God's Word just as He gives it to me; I have no right to pick
out a text here and there, and say, "I don't believe that." If I throw
out one text I must throw out all, for in the same Bible I read of
rewards and punishments, Heaven and hell.
No one ever drew such a picture of hell as the Son of God. No one could
do it, for He alone knew what the future would be. He didn't keep back
this doctrine of retribution, but preached it out plainly; preached it,
too, with pure love, just as a mother would warn her son of the end of
his course of sin.
The Spirit of God tells us that we shall carry our memory with us into
the other world. There are many things we would like to forget. I have
heard Mr. Cough say he would give his right hand if he could forget how
badly he had treated his mother. I believe the worm that dieth not is
our memory. We say now that we forget, and we think we do; but the time
is coming when we shall remember, and cannot forget. We talk about the
recording angel keeping record of our life. God makes us keep our own
We won't need any one to condemn us at the bar of God; it will be our
own conscience that will come up as a witness against us. God won't
condemn us at his bar; we shall condemn ourselves. Memory is God's
officer, and when He shall touch these secret springs and say, "Son,
daughter, remember" - then tramp, tramp, tramp will come before us, in a
long procession, all the sins we have ever committed.
I have been twice in the jaws of death. Once I was drowning, and was
about to sink, when I was rescued. In the twinkling of an eye every
thing I had said, done, or thought of flashed across my mind. I do not
understand how every thing in a man's life can be crowded into his
recollection in an instant of time, but it all flashed through my mind
at once. Another time I was caught in the Clark street bridge, and
thought I was dying. Then memory seemed to bring all my life back to me
again. It is just so that all things we think we have forgotten will
come back by and by. It is only a question of time. We shall hear the
words, "Son, remember" - and it is a good deal better to remember our
sins now, and be saved from them, than to put off repentance till it is
too late to do any good.
The scientific men say that every thought comes back again, sooner or
later. I heard of a servant girl whose master used to read Hebrew in her
hearing, and some time afterward, when she was sick of a fever, she
would talk Hebrew by the hour.
Do you think Cain has forgotten the face of his murdered brother, whom
he killed six thousand years ago? Do you think Judas has forgotten that
kiss with which he betrayed his Master, or the look that Master gave him
as he said, "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" Do you think
these antediluvians have forgotten the Ark, and the flood that came and
swept them all away?
My friends, it is a good thing to be warned in time. Satan told Eve that
she should not surely die; and there are many men and women now who
think that all souls will at last be saved in spite of all their sins.
Do you suppose those antediluvians who perished in Noah's day - those
men too vile and sinful for the world - do you think God swept those men
right into Heaven, and left Noah, the only righteous man, to struggle
through the deluge? Do you think when the judgment came upon Sodom that
those wicked men were taken right into the presence of God, and the only
righteous man was left behind to suffer?
There will be no tender, loving Jesus coming and offering you salvation
there - no loving wife or mother to pray for you there. Many in that
lost world would give millions, if they had them, if they had their
mothers to pray them out of that place, but it will be too late. They
have been neglecting salvation until the time has come when God say,
"Cut them down; the day of mercy is ended."
You laugh at the Bible; but how many there are in that lost world today
who would give countless treasures if they had the blessed Bible there!
You may make sport of Ministers, but bear in mind there will be no
preaching of the Gospel there. Here they are God's messengers to you -
loving friends that look after your soul. You may have some friends
praying for your salvation today; but remember, you will not have one in
that lost world. There will be no one to come and put his band on your
shoulder and weep over you there and invite you to come to Christ.
There are some people who ridicule these revival meetings, but remember,
there will be no revivals in hell.
There was a man in an insane asylum who used to say over to himself in a
voice of horror, "If I only had." He had been in charge of a railway
drawbridge, and had received orders to keep it closed until the passage
of an extra express train; but a friend came along with a vessel, and
persuaded him to open the bridge just for him, and while it was open the
train came thundering along, and leaped into destruction. Many were
killed, and the poor bridge tender went mad over the result of his own
neglect of duty. "If I only had!"
A good man was one day passing a saloon as a young man was coming out,
and thinking to make sport of him he called out, "Deacon, how far is it
to hell?" The deacon gave no answer, but after riding a few rods he
turned to look after the scoffer, and found that his horse had thrown
him to the ground and broken his neck. I tell you, my friends, I would
sooner give that right hand than to trifle with eternal things.
Tonight you may be saved. We are trying to win you to Christ, and if you
go down from this building to hell you will remember the meetings we had
here. You will remember how these Ministers looked, how the people
looked, and how it has seemed sometimes as if we were in the very
presence of God himself. In that lost world you won't hear that
beautiful hymn, "Jesus of Nazareth Passeth By." He will have passed by.
There will be no Jesus passing that way. There will be no sweet songs of
Zion there. No little children either to pray for their impenitent
fathers and mothers.
It is now a day of Grace and a day of Mercy. God is calling the world to
Himself. He says, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but
that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye, for why
will ye die?"
O, if you neglect this salvation, how shall you escape? What hope is
there? May your memories be wide awake today, and may you remember that
Christ stands right here! He is in this assembly, offering salvation to
every soul. He is not willing that any should perish, but turn to him
When I was at the Paris Exhibition in 1867 I noticed there a little oil
painting, only about a foot square, and the face was the most hideous I
had ever seen. It was said to be about seven hundred years old. On the
paper attached to the painting were the words, "Sowing the tares." The
face looked more like a demon's than a man's, and as he sowed these
tares, up came serpents and reptiles. They were crawling up on his body;
and all around were woods with wolves and animals prowling in them. I
have seen that picture many times since. Ah! The reaping time is coming.
If you sow to the flesh you must reap corruption. If you sow to the wind
you must reap the whirlwind. God wants you to come to him and receive
salvation as a gift. You can decide your destiny today if you will.
Heaven and hell are set before this audience, and you are called upon to
choose. Which will you have? If you will take Christ He will receive you
to his arms; if you reject him He will reject you.
Now, my friends, will Christ ever be more willing to save you than He is
now? Will He ever have more power than He has now? Why not make up your
mind to be saved while mercy is offered to you?
I remember a few years ago, while the Spirit of God was working in my
Church, I closed the meeting one night by asking any that would like to
become Christians to rise, and to my great joy, a man arose who had been
anxious for some time. I went up to him and took him by the hand and
shook it, and said, "I am glad to see you get up. You are coming out for
the Lord now in earnest, are you not?"
"Yes," said he, "I think so. That is, there is only one thing in my
"What's that?" said 1.
"Well," said he, "I lack moral courage. I confess to you that if such a
man [naming a friend of his] had been here tonight I should not have
risen. He would laugh at me if he knew of this, and I don't believe I
have the courage to tell him."
"But," said I, "You have got to come out boldly for the Lord if you come
out at all."
While I talked with him he was trembling from head to foot, and I
believe the Spirit was striving earnestly with him. He came back the
next night, and the next, and the next; the Spirit of God strove with
him for weeks; it seemed as if he came to the very threshold of Heaven,
and was almost stepping over into the blessed world. I never could find
out any reason for his hesitation, except that he feared his old
companions would laugh at him.
At last the Spirit of God seemed to leave him; conviction was gone. Six
months from that time I got a message from him that he was sick and
wanted to see me. I went to him in great haste. He was very sick, and
thought he was dying. He asked me if there was any hope. Yes, I told
him, God had sent Christ to save him; and I prayed with him.
Contrary to all expectations he recovered. One day I went down to see
him. It was a bright, beautiful day, and he was sitting out in front of
"You are coming out for God now, aren't you? You will be well enough
soon to come back to our meetings again."
"Mr. Moody," said he, "I have made up my mind to become a Christian. My
mind is fully made up to that, but I won't be one just now. I am going
to Michigan to buy a farm and settle down, and then I will become a
"But you don't know yet that you will get well."
"O," said he, "I shall be perfectly well in a few days. I have got a new
lease of life."
I pleaded with him, and tried every way to get him to take his stand. At
last he said, "Mr. Moody, I can't be a Christian in Chicago. When I get
away from Chicago, and get to Michigan, away from my friends and
acquaintances who laugh at me, I will be ready to go to Christ."
"If God has not Grace enough to save you in Chicago, he has not in
Michigan" I answered.
At last he got a little irritated and said, "Mr. Moody, I'll take the
risk," and so I left him.
I well remember the day of the week, Thursday, about noon, just one week
from that very day, when I was sent for by his wife to come in great
haste. I hurried there at once. His poor wife met me at the door, and I
asked her what was the matter.
"My husband," she said, "has had a relapse; I have just had a council of
physicians here, and they have all given him up to die."
"Does he want to see me?" I asked.
"Then why did you send for me?"
"I cannot bear to see him die in this terrible siate of mind."
"What does he say?" I asked.
"He says his damnation is sealed, and he will be in hell in a little
I went in, and he at once fixed his eyes upon me. I called him by name,
but he was silent. I went around to the foot of the bed, and looked in
his face and said, "Won't you speak to me?", and at last he fixed that
terrible deathly look upon me and said:
"Mr. Moody, you need not talk to me any more. It is too late. You can
talk to my wife and children; pray for them; but my heart is as hard as
the iron in that stove there. My damnation is sealed, and I shall be in
hell in a little while."
I tried to tell him of Jesus' love and God's forgiveness, but he said,
"Mr. Moody, I tell you there is no hope for me." And as I fell on my
knees, he said, "You need not pray for me. My wife will soon be left a
widow and my children will be fatherless; they need your prayers, but
you need not pray for me."
I tried to pray, but it seemed as if my prayers didn't go higher than my
head, and as if Heaven above me was like brass. The next day, his wife
told me, he lingered until the sun went down, and from noon until he
died all he was heard to say was, "The harvest is past, the summer is
ended, and I am not saved." After lingering along for an hour he would
say again those awful words, and just as he was expiring his wife
noticed his lips quiver, and that he was trying to say something, and as
she bent over him she heard him mutter, "The harvest is past, the summer
is ended, and I am not saved." He lived a Christless life, he died a
Christless death - we wrapped him in a Christless shroud, and bore him
away to a Christless grave.
Are there some here that are almost persuaded to be Christians? Take my
advice and don't let any thing keep you away. Fly to the arms of Jesus
this hour. You can be saved if you will.
(Mr. Moody closed by reading the following piece of poetry, which, he
said, had affected him deeply):
I sat alone with my conscience,
In a place where time was o'er.
And we talked of my former living,
In the land of the evermore.
And I felt I should have to answer,
The question it put to me.
And to face the answer and question,
Throughout an eternity.
The ghosts of forgotten actions,
Came floating before my sight.
And things that I thought had perished,
Were alive with a terrible might.
And the vision of life's dark record,
Was an awful thing to face.
Alone with my conscience sitting,
In that solemnly silent place.
And I thought of a far away warning,
Of a sorrow that was to be mine.
In a land that then was the future,
But now is the present time.
And I thought of my former thinking,
Of the Judgment day to be.
But sitting alone with my conscience,
Seemed Judgment enough for me.
And I wondered if there was a future,
To this land beyond the grave.
But no one gave me an answer,
And no one came to save.
Then I felt that the future was present,
And the present would never go by.
For it was but the thought of a future,
Become an eternity.
Then I woke from my timely dreaming,
And the vision passed away.
And I knew the far away warning,
Was a warning of yesterday.
And I pray that I may not forget it,
In this land before the grave.
That I may not cry in the future,
And no one come to save.
I have learned a solemn lesson,
Which I ought to have known before.
And which though I learned it dreaming,
I hope to forget no more.
So I sit alone with my conscience,
In the place where the years increase.
And I try to fathom the future,
In the land where time will cease.
And I know of the future judgment,
How dreadful soe'er it be.
That to sit alone with my conscience,
Will be Judgment enough for me.