The Reward of the Faithful # 2
I may relate a little experience. In Philadelphia, at one of our meetings, a drunken man rose up. Till that time I had no faith that a drunken man could be converted. When anyone approached he was generally taken out. This man got up and shouted, "I want to be prayed for." The friends who were with him tried to draw him away, but he shouted only louder, and for three times he repeated his request. His call was attended to, and he was converted. God has power to convert a man even if he is drunk.
I have still another lesson. I met a man in New York who was an earnest worker, and I asked him to tell me his experiences. He said he had been a drunkard for over twenty years. His parents had forsaken him, and his wife had cast him off and married someone else. He went into a lawyer's office in Poughkeepsie, mad with drink. This lawyer proved a good Samaritan, and reasoned with him and told him he could be saved. The man scouted the idea. He said, "I must be pretty low when my father and mother, my wife and kindred cast me off, and there is no hope for me here or hereafter." But this good Samaritan showed him how it was possible to secure salvation; got him on his feet, and guided his face toward Zion. And this man said to me: "I have hot drank a glass of liquor since." He is now leader of a young men's meeting in New York. I asked him to come up last Saturday night to Northfield, my native town, where there are a good many drunkards, thinking he might encourage them to seek salvation, he came, and brought a young man with him. They held a meeting, and it seemed as if the power of God rested upon that meeting when these two men went on telling what God had done for them - how He had destroyed the works of the devil in their hearts, and brought peace and unalloyed happiness to their souls. These grog shops here are the works of the devil - they are ruining men's souls every hour. Let us fight against them, and let our prayers go up in our battle, "Lord, manifest Thy power in Chicago this coming month." It may seem a very difficult thing for us, but it is a very easy thing for God to convert rum sellers.
A young man in New York got up and thrilled the meeting with his experience. "I want to tell you," he said, "That nine months ago a Christian came up to my house and said he, wanted to me to become a Christian. He talked to me kindly and encouragingly, pointing out the error of my ways, and I became converted. I had been a hard drinker, but since that time I have not touched a drop of liquor. If any one had asked who the most hopeless man in that town was they would have pointed to me." Today this young man is the superintendent of a Sabbath school. Eleven years ago, when I went to Boston, I had a cousin who wanted a little of my experience. I gave him all the help I could, and he became a Christian. He did not know how near death was to him. He wrote to his brother and said: "I am very anxious to get your soul to Jesus." The letter somehow went to another city, and lay from the 28th of February to the 28th of March - just one month. He saw it was in his brother's handwriting, and tore it open and read the above words. It struck a chord in his heart, and was the means of converting him. And this was the Christian who led this drunken young man to Christ.
This young man had a neighbor who had drank for forty years, and he went to that neighbor and told him what God had done for him, and the result was another conversion.
I tell you these things to encourage you to believe that the drunkards and saloon keepers can be saved. There is work for you to do, and by and by the harvest shall be gathered, and what a scene will be on the shore when we hear the Master on the throne shout, "Well done! Well done!"
Let me say a word to you, mothers. We depend a good deal upon you. It seems to me that there is not a father and mother in all Chicago who should not be in sympathy with this work. You have daughters and sons, and if work is done now they will be able to steer clear of many temptations and will be able to lead better lives here. It seems to me selfishness if they sit down inactive and say, "There is no use in this. We are safe ourselves, what is the use of troubling?" If the mothers and fathers of the whole community would unite their prayers and send up appeals to God to manifest His power, in answer to them there would be mighty work.
I remember in Philadelphia we wanted to see certain results, and we called a meeting of mothers. There were from five to eight thousand mothers present, and each of them had a particular burden upon her heart. There was a mother who had a wayward daughter, another a reckless son, another a bad husband. We spoke to them confidently, and we bared our hearts to one another. They prayed for aid from the Lord,and that grace might be shown to these sons and daughters and husbands, and the result was that our inquiry rooms soon filled with anxious inquirers.
Let me tell you about a mother in Philadelphia. She had two wayward sons. They were wild, dissipated youths. They were to meet on a certain night and join in dissipation. The rendezvous was at the corner of Market and Thirteenth streets, where our meetings were held. One of the young men entered the large meeting, and when it was over went to the young men's meeting near at hand, and was quickened, and there prayed that the Lord might save him. His mother had gone to the meeting that night, and arriving too late, found the door closed. When that young man went home he found his mother praying for him, and the two mingled their prayers together. While they were praying together the other brother came from the other meeting, and brought tidings of being converted, and at the next meeting the three got up and told their experiences, and I never heard an audience so thrilled before or since.
Another incident. A wayward boy in London, whose mother was very anxious for his salvation,said to her, "I am not going to be bothered with your prayers any longer. I will go to America and be rid of them." "But, my boy," she said, "God is on the sea, and in America, and He hears my prayers for you." Well, he came to this country, and as they led into the port of New York some of the sailors told him that Moody and Sankey were holding meeting in the Hippodrome. The moment he landed he started for our place of meeting, and there he found Christ. He became a most earnest worker, and he wrote to his mother and told her that her prayers had been answered; that he had been saved, and that he had found his mother's God.
Mothers and fathers, lift up your hearts in prayer, that there may be hundreds of thousands saved in this city [and around the world].
When we were preaching in Dundee, Scotland, a mother came up with her two sons, 16 and 17 years old. She said to me, "Will you talk to my boys?" I asked her if she would talk to the inquirers, and told her there were more inquirers than workers. She said she was not a good enough Christian - was not prepared enough. I told her I could not talk to her then. Next night she came to me and asked me again, and the following night she repeated her request. Five hundred miles she journeyed to get God's blessing for her boys. Would to God we had more mothers like her. She came to London, and the first night I was there, I saw her in the Agricultural Hall. She was accompanied by only one of her boys - the other had died. Towards the close of the meetings I received this letter from her:
"Dear Mr. Moody: For months I have never considered the day's work ended unless you and your work had been specially prayed for. Now it appears before us more and more. What in our little measure we have found has no doubt been the happy experience of many others in London, my husband and I have sought as our greatest privilege to take unconverted friends one by one to the Agricultural Hall and I thank God that, with a single exception, those brought under the preaching from your lips have accepted Christ as their Saviour, and are rejoicing in His love."
That lady was a lady of wealth and position. She lived a little way out of London; gave up her beautiful home and took lodgings near the Agricultural Hall, so as to be useful in the inquiry room. When we went down to the Opera House she was there; when we went down to the east end there she was again,and when I left London she had the names of 150 who had accepted Christ from her. Some said that our work in London was a failure. Ask her if the work was a failure, and she will tell you. If we had a thousand such mothers in Chicago we would lift it. God and bring your friends here to the meetings.
Think of the privilege, my friends, of saving a soul, if we are going to work for good we must be up and about it. Men can say, "I have not the time." Take it. Ten minutes every day for Christ will give you good wages. Some of you say, "I wish I was young, how I would rush into the battle." Well, if you cannot be a fighter, you can pray and lead on the others. Draw near, old age, and cheer on the others, and take them by the hand and encourage them. If you cannot work yourself, give them cheers to nerve them on in their glorious work. May the blessing of God fail upon us this afternoon, and let every man and woman be up and doing.
~D. L. Moody~