More vignettes from The Way Home, Dwight L. Moody (1904) who pulls back the mist of time and writes of events important to his generation, a time very different from the duldroms of the 21st century. Moody writes...From Christ's Boundless Compassion
"I can imagine some one saying, 'I would like very much to become a Christian, and I should like to know how I can come to Him, and be saved.' Come to Him as a personal friend. For years I have made this a rule. Christ is just as habitually near, as personally present to me as any other person living; and when I have any troubles, trials and afflictions, I go to Him with them. When I want counsel I go to Him, just as if I could talk face to face with Him. Twenty years ago God met me and took me to His heart, and I would sooner give up my life tonight than give up Christ, or that I should leave Him, or that He should leave me, and that I should have no one to bear my burdens, or tell my sorrows to. He is worth more than all the world beside. And tonight He will have compassion upon you as He had upon me. I tried for weeks to find a way to Him, and I just went and laid my burden upon Him, and then He revealed Himself to me, and I have ever since found Him a true and sympathizing friend, just the friend you need. Go right straight to Him! You need not go to this man or that man, to this church or that church. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life," said Jesus.
There is no name so dear to Americans as that of Abraham Lincoln. Do you want to know the reason why? I will tell you. He was a man of compassion. He was very gentle, and was noted for his heart of sympathy for the down-trodden and the poor. No one went to him with a tale of sympathy but he had compassion on them, no matter how far down they were in the scale of society. He always took an interest in the poor.
There was a time in our history when we thought he had too much compassion. Many of our soldiers did not understand army discipline, and a great many were not true to the army regulations. They intended to be, but they did not understand them. Many men consequently went wrong, and they were court-martialed and condemned to be shot; but Abraham Lincoln would always pardon them. At length the nation rose up against him, and said that he was too merciful, and ultimately they got him to give out that if a man was court-martialed he must be shot, that there would be no more reprieves.
A few weeks after this, news came that a young soldier had been sleeping at his post. He was court-martialed, and condemned to be shot. The boy wrote to his mother, "I do not want you to think I do not love my country, but it came about in this way: My comrade was sick, and I went out on picket for him. The next night he ought to have come, but being still sick I went out for him again, and without intending it I fell asleep. I did not intend to be disloyal."
It was a very touching letter. The mother and father said there was no chance for him, there were to be no more reprieves. But there was a little girl in that home, and she knew that Abraham Lincoln had a little boy, and how he loved that boy; and she thought if Abraham Lincoln knew how her father and mother loved her brother he would never allow him to be shot. So she took the train to go and plead for her brother.
When she got to the president's mansion, the difficulty arose how was she to get past the sentinel. She told him her story, and the tears ran down his cheeks, and he let her pass. But the next trouble was how to get past the secretary and the other officials. However, she succeeded in getting, unobstructed, into Lincoln's private room, and there were the senators and ministers busy with state affairs.
The president saw the child, and called her to him and said, "My child, what can I do for you?" She told him her story. The big tears rolled down his cheeks. He was a father, and his heart was full; he could not stand it. He treated the girl with kindness, reprieved the boy, gave him thirty days furlough, and sent him home to see his mother. His heart was full of compassion.
Let me tell you, Christ's heart is more full of compassion than any man's. You are condemned to die for your sins; but if you go to Him He will say, "Loose him, and let him go." He will rebuke Satan. Go to Him as that little girl went to the president, and tell Him all. Keep nothing from Him, and He will say, "Go in peace."
"The reason I like the Gospel is, that it has taken out of my path the worst enemies I ever had... death, sin and judgment.
My mind rolls back twenty years, before I was converted, and I think how dark it used to seem at times as I thought of the future. There was death - what a terrible enemy it seemed! I was brought up in a little village in New England. It was the custom there when a person was buried to toll out the age of the person at the funeral. I used to count the strokes of the bell. Death never entered that village, and tore away one of the inhabitants, but I always used to count the tolling of the bell. Sometimes it would be away up between seventy and eighty, beyond the life allotted to man, when man seemed living on borrowed time. Sometimes it would be clear down in the teens, and death would take away one of my own age. It use to make a solemn impression on me. I used to be a great coward.
When it comes to death, some men say, "I do not fear it." I feared it, and I felt terribly afraid when I thought of the cold hand of death feeling for the cords of life, and being launched into eternity, to an unknown world. I used to have terrible thoughts of God; but they are all gone now. Death has lost its sting, and as I go through the world I can shout, when the bell is tolling, "O death, where is thy sting?"
And I hear a voice come rolling down from Calvary, "Buried in the heart of the Son of God." He robbed death of its sting; He took the sting of death into His own heart. If you take a wasp, and just take the sting out of that wasp, you will not be afraid of it any more than you would of a little fly. Christ received the wages on Calvary, and therefore there is no condemnation for you. All that death can get now is this old Adam. I do not care how quickly I get rid of it. I will get a better body, a resurrected body, a glorified body, a body much better than this. Yes, my friends, "to die" says the apostle, "is gain." If a man is in Christ, let death come!
I hear a voice coming up from the grave. It is the shout of the Conqueror, of Him who has been down and measured the depth of it, of my Lord and Savior; "Because I live, ye shall live also!" Yes, the grave has lost its victory. The grave has no terror to the man or woman who is in Christ Jesus. The Gospel takes that enemy out of the way.
Out in our western country, in the autumn, when men go hunting, and there has not been any raid for months, sometimes the prairie grass catches fire, and there comes up a strong wind, and the flames just roll along twenty feet high over that western desert at the rate of thirty or forty miles an hour, consuming man and beast.
When the hunters see it coming, what do they do? They know they cannot run as fast as the fire can run. Not the fleetest horse can escape from that fire.
They just take a match and light the grass around them, and let the flames sweep on, and then they get into the burnt district and stand safe. They hear the flames roar as they come along, they see death coming towards them, but they do not fear, they do not tremble, because the fire has swept over the place where they are, and there is no danger. There is nothing for the fire to burn.
There is one mountain peak that the wrath of God has swept over - mount Calvary; and the fire spent its fury upon the Son of God. Take your stand there by the cross, and you will be safe for time and eternity. Escape for your life! Flee to yon mountain, and you will be saved this very minute. Oh, may God bring you to Calvary under the shadow of the cross tonight! Then let death and the grave come. We will shout, "Glory to God in the highest." We will laugh at death, and glory in the grave, knowing that we are safe, sheltered by the precious blood of the Lamb. There is no condemnation to him that is in Christ Jesus.
From The Way Home, Dwight L. Moody ©1904, The MOODY COLPORTAGE LIBRARY
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