Delivered by the Great Preacher,
Sam P. Jones
“For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12).
SERMON ONE THE CHRISTIAN LIGHT. 7
SERMON TWO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. 31
SERMON THREE THE VIRTUE OF HONESTY. 37
SERMON FOUR FIGHTING THE DEVIL. 55
SERMON FIVE BE NOT WEARY IN WELL-DOING. 71
SERMON SIX EVERY-DAY RELIGION. 90
SERMON SEVEN WALKING WITH CHRIST. 103
SERMON EIGHT HOW TO LEAD A CHRISTIAN LIFE. 127
SERMON TEN WE NEED A CONSECRATION. 156
SERMON ELEVEN CONSCIENCE-RECORD-GOD. 161
SERMON TWELVE PREPARE FOR THE LIFE TO COME. 176
SERMON THIRTEEN DO NOT DELAY REPENTANCE. 196
SERMON FOURTEEN PURSUE NOT EVIL. 217
SERMON FIFTEEN IT PAYS TO BE RIGHTEOUS. 235
SERMON SIXTEEN MEN PAY DEARLY FOR ETERNAL DAMNATION 256
SERMON SEVENTEEN ALL THINGS WORKING TOGETHER FOR GOOD 277
SERMON EIGHTEEN LECTURING CHURCH-MEMBERS. 293
SERMON NINETEEN FOR MEN ONLY. 300
In presenting to the public this volume of Sam Jones’ sermons we feel that we are presenting the most remarkable and effective evangelical literature of the age; words that have had the effect of converting thousands to the Religion of Christ and of redeeming thousands more from drunkard’s graves. The powerful truths in this book are often illustrated with keen sarcasm, irony and ridicule, the happiest anecdote, wit and humor; yet the powerful truths of the gospel are never lost sight of. We retain in this volume, in addition to the words of the evangelist, the results of his final appeals to the audience to give their souls to Christ, and it is hoped that in this permanent form the book will be the means of doing great good.
Sam Jones, as he is commonly called, was born in Chambers County, Ala., Oct. 16, 1847. He was brought up, where he resides, in Cartersville, Bartow County, Georgia. His relatives have been church-members for many years; four of his uncles were ministers of the gospel. Sam’s father was a lawyer, and gave him the best possible education. His mother was, likewise, very religious.
Samuel began legal practice with brilliant prospects. He became quite dissipated. His father’s death-bed exhortation caused him to reform.
Soon after, he married Miss Laura McElwain, of Eminence, Ky., who cheers him yet.
He became a traveling preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, in October, 1872. He was successful in his work. Gradually, he became a traveling evangelist. He met with extraordinary encouragement, and worked in several Southern states. He attracted the attention of Rev. T. De Witt Talmage, who employed him in a grand revival at the Brooklyn Tabernacle.
Then, after holding meetings, which attracted widespread attention, in several Southern cities, Mr. Jones attacked Satan at St. Louis. Thence his work branched out. Mr. Jones often uses slang and other uncouth language to attract attention. He is one of the most sensational preachers in the world, yet his meetings produce intense interest and an immense harvest a converts, most of who “stick.” Withal, he is endorsed by leading orthodox ministers wherever he goes.
SAM W. SMALL
One of the curiosities of humanity is the history of Sam Small, the converted journalist. “Moody and Sankey” are no more inseparable than the “Two Sams.” Mr. Jones’ co-laborer in the Lord’s work was born in Knoxville, Tenn., about 1842. He lived in Georgia and New Orleans in youth. He graduated at a Virginia college, and became a lawyer. Obeying natural impulse, he changed into a journalist.
After working on several papers, and marrying a Congressman’s daughter, Mr. Small accepted a place on the staff of the Atlanta Constitution, and became official stenographer of the Atlanta Superior Court. His writings, as “Old Si,” in the Negro dialect, gave him a national reputation as a humorist.
After occupying various government clerical positions, and working at the journalistic treadmill, he came to the pivotal point of his life.
He took his children, a valise, a clean shirt, and a bottle of whisky, and went to Cartersville, to see and hear Sam Jones. He became converted, and abjured whisky and journalism forever.
Sam Small is a gilt-edged, morocco-covered edition of Sam Jones. They promise to do a grand and ever increasing work. Mr. Small has more polish than Mr. Jones, and is a better speaker. Since Dec. 13, 1884, Mr. Small has done what he could for the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom, and has a brilliant future before him.
THE CHEERFUL CHRISTIAN
The 4th verse of the 37th Psalm —
“Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desire of thy heart.”
The Lord loves the cheerful singer, the cheerful prayer, and all who take a cheerful spirit in their work. I can’t conceive where this notion that everyone who works for the Lord must be sad, originated. It must be some relic of heathenism or paganism. It is a blessing to any church to have a bright, joyous, cheerful congregation. I like to see my children happy, and when I see them sad and hang their Leads I know that there is something wrong. Suppose you had a servant at home who always wore a discontented look, and whenever you told her to do anything, she did it very reluctantly. Do you think you would keep her long? Well, I guess not. You would ask your husband to discharge her before her week was up. You would much rather do your own work.
The Lord watches us how we go about his work. If we go along sadly and discontentedly and are very reluctant in executing his labors, he will call the angel and say: “Just erase his name from the list of my servants. I will do the work myself.” Some of us profess to be servants of the Lord, but work for the devil, and come around at the end of the week and want the Lord to pay for our services. I like the servant who goes about his work with a smile and says: “I am glad I have this to do.”
When I hear a preacher talking way down in his throat in that sad and solemn voice, I want to get my hat and get out as soon as I can. If Congress should say Sam Jones could never preach another sermon in this country, I would take the first steamer for some other place. I like to preach.
THE FEAR OF DEATH AS A MORAL STIMULUS
I asked a sister this morning that if she had the choice of removing any one thing, what it would be, and she answered, “Death.” If death were to be removed, religion would amount to nothing. If everyone in St. Louis knew that they were not going to die for the next hundred years, I would have to close up shop.
The people would say, “Good-by, Jones, religion and Hell. We’ve got a snap on this thing for the next ninety-five years, and we’ve got no use for you.” Then, just before the hundred years had expired and they knew they were going to die, they would come around again and want to get religion. Death is the only thing that makes religion. Serious meetings are not recognized by God, and they are beneath the devil’s contempt Do you know what the matter is? Why, nine-tenths of the members were off playing euchre or some other game.
Mr. Jones asked Rev. W. V. Tudor, who occupied a seat on the platform, about how many of his congregation played cards. Mr. Tudor replied that he didn’t know of any.
“Well,” said the revivalist, “then you’ve got the best church in the world. Now, all who are present that don’t play cards please stand up.” About one fourth of the congregation arose.
“There’s proof for you,” continued Mr. Jones, turning to Mr. Tudor. “Well,” responded the latter, “there are none of the members of my church among them.”
SERMON ONE THE CHRISTIAN LIGHT
We invite your attention — your prayerful attention — to the 16th verse of the 5th chapter of the gospel by Matthew:
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”
I will read the two preceding verses:
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill can not be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”
This is the 15th verse:
“Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick.”
I have frequently gone into a community, and while there, I have kicked the bushel off a great many men’s lights, and they would fall out with me and say I put their light out. And I didn’t. Their light had gone out over ten years before, when they went and turned that bushel down over it. It went out the minute they turned that bushel over it.
Sometimes it is the bushel of neglect. Sometimes it is the bushel of willful transgression. Sometimes it is the bushel of avarice. And there are a thousand bushels that will be furnished you at any time you want one to turn down over your light. And at any moment, if you put a bushel over your light — if your light was burning and you have taken and turned a bushel and put over it — you will find your light is out. And don’t be foolish enough to think that the man that removed the bushel put your light out. It was the bushel turned down over it that put the light out.
“Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that it may give light unto all that are in the house.”
Now the text:
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which it in Heaven.”
THE EARNESTNESS OF LIFE
Joseph Cook, the Boston Monday lecturer, said on one occasion, “Gentlemen, this universe up to the edge of the tomb is no joke.” And if in this world the realities of the world, the pleasures and enjoyments and friendships and associations of this world up to the edge of the tomb are no joke, then we may rest assured that there is no joke in the tomb and no jokes beyond the tomb. And it is well enough for us, amid the rush and cracking on of life to stop now and then and listen. There are some voices that may be heard if we would listen. God speaks occasionally. I know the roar of commerce and the rush of trade and the whistle of the engine and the click of the telegraph have well nigh drowned out the voice of God, but amid all life’s confusions, on our pilgrimage to the grave, we ought to stop now and then and bend our ears and listen to that voice that never misled a human step, nor ever misdirected a human heart — that still small voice that breaks the silence from above and hushes the noises of earth, and makes me see who I am and what I am and whither I am bending. And in this verse this morning there is a message for every one of us.
I got this verse from the memorable sermon of our Saviour. This was a wonderful sermon. I have often thought when I get to Heaven I would hunt up some intelligent man who heard this sermon. I would go to him and I would ask him to describe the manner of its delivery, its effect upon the audience, and I would have him give me a description of the face of the Son of God as he uttered these words. We little preachers think we are doing well if we announce a text and play for a few minutes each on our “firstly” and “secondly” and “thirdly,” but do you know that in this one sermon the Lord Jesus Christ announces and discusses 120 different propositions.
Oh, what a preacher he was! I have sometimes thought if he had had a different audience he would have preached quite a different sermon; a man walking among men and preaching among men and to men. I often think of the sermon and of the discourse on homiletics delivered by the black sexton of the First Methodist Church in Memphis. He has been sexton of that church for thirty years and more. He is a pious, consistent, good man. The preachers on one occasion, during a revival meeting there, were discussing the mode of preaching, and what was the most efficient means.
THE SEXTON’S IDEA OF PREACHING
This old black man jumped up, and, said he, “Brethren, I have seen for years that mode of preaching. Our pastor don’t put the fodder down low enough. I went to see our preacher in his study a few mornings ago and he had six books open before him. I said to him, ‘Brother, if you get one sermon out of six books, you are going to put that fodder up where I can’t reach, and where a great many others can’t reach,’ and,” said he, “Before God, I have gone into church hungry many a Sunday morning, and left hungry, and,” said he, “Thank God, we have got a preacher now that just puts the fodder down on the ground and everything can reach it.” And that’s a fact.
Everything can reach a thing when it is on the ground, and as far as I am concerned, I believe it is the Christly way to find a common level and stand on that level to preach to the masses. And if you see me drop down at all while I am here, you may know that I am seeking a level, and that’s all the meaning there is in it at all. If you see my style don’t exactly suit you, and the grammar, and rhetoric and logic is a little butchered, I am just endeavoring to adapt my style to my crowd; don’t forget that, and I’ll find your level before I leave you.
And I want to say before I proceed farther, I will relieve your minds this far: I shall not ask the Centenary Church in St Louis for a certificate of good behavior while I am here. I am not going to ask you for a certificate of any sort or a recommendation to Cincinnati, the place to which we next go. In the first place, I don’t think I need a certificate from you at all, and in the second place, I don’t know whether your certificate would be worth anything, anyhow. So I will relieve your minds that far. And we say to you in love and kindness, we don’t want anybody to endorse us, but want every Christian in St. Louis to cooperate with us. You all do the co-operating and God will do the endorsing, and then we will be elected by a large majority. And further, we say: If anything suggests a smile or laughter you can laugh or smile. If anything suggests a tear, there is nothing prettier in the house of God than a the tear that wouldn’t stain an angel’s cheek running down your face. But understand: There is just as much religion in laughing as in crying. Don’t forget that.
AN EXPLODED NOTION
This old idea that when God’s children come together they must be solemn and serious — that’s something that is as big a mistake as the preacher made when he told those sinners in St. Louis that God was mad with every one of them, and was just waiting to catch them in a close place, and was going for them when he got them in a tight fix.
Both those mistakes are as big lies as were ever perpetrated upon the face of this earth. Neither one is true. If you feel like laughing, you laugh. If you feel like crying, you cry. But don’t think either one is pious. It is not. One of my children laughs a good deal — laughs a great deal; another one cries. I don’t think either is pious — I don’t that. And if you feel more like laughing than crying, you laugh.
As far as solemn looks are concerned, if I had been stealing something, or robbed a widow, or been drunk during the past week, when I came into church on Sunday morning, I would look solemn, because I would know that was the time to look solemn; but if you have been behaving yourself and acting right, you just wear a smile as broad as you please when you come into the presence of God. That is the kind of smile for God’s children to wear when they have done right. That is the way my children do. When they have been doing well and doing right, they are full of smiles and pleasantry. But just be certain that one of them has been doing wrong, and he comes up mighty solemn, and it is a time to be mighty solemn, too.
Whenever you know that you have been doing right you can wear a smile in church. But if you have not, you want to be mighty solemn, and I want you to be.
Our Saviour, as I said, was not only a wonderful preacher, but a pre-eminently practical one. He had something to say to everyone, and this message comes to us this morning:
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”
Did you ever see such a string of pearls as this text — such a monosyllabic utterance?
“Let — your — light — so — shine — before — men — that — they — may — see — your — good — works — and — glorify — your — Father — which — is — in — Heaven.”
Now, let us take, perhaps, the most important word in this text, and let us analyze it Let us take the word “light”
THE ANALYSIS OF LIGHT
Light. We know very little what it is as a principle unless we analyze it. What is light in the sense in which it is used here? We will say, in order that we may be practical, that light, in the sense in which it is used in this text, is a trinity in unity.
- Its principle is faith in God.
- Its essence is love to God.
- Its development is obedience to God.
Now, the plain English of the text is to tell us: “Let your faith and love and good works so shine, so appear, that others may see them, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” “Let your faith,” first. And now, let us be consistent with ourselves and consistent with the truth. If “light” is this trinity in unity — faith, love and obedience — then what is the contrast? Darkness. What is that? It is unbelief, enmity, disobedience.
Now, these are unmixable. You can’t mix either of the ingredients of the one with those of the other. I must leave faith and love and obedience on the one hand, if I have light I shall have the other elements if, instead of light, I have darkness.
Now, faith! Faith! Oh, how omnipotent faith is! Faith brings God to me and brings God to my help, and if God be with me and all the world against me, I am in the infinite majority. God is on my side. I believe. I believe.
Now, there are people in this country that we call fanatics — enthusiasts. Now, I say, if this book is true, and I believe this book, am I a fanatic? If this book is true and I believe this book, am I an enthusiast? If this book is true, and I believe it, am I mad? Now, you have read a great many strange things that I have done and said, and a great many things that I never did and never said (smiling at the reporters), and if you had to be hanged to-morrow you couldn’t pick out the things I had said or had not I am not sorry that anything has been said about me at all. The devil does a great deal of advertising for me and does it free. If I had to pay for all the advertising I have got it would break me in three minutes, and he does it gratis.
WHO IS CRAZY?
But take it for granted that all that has been said, and all that has been reported as having been done and said, is true — am I crazy? Am I crazy? If this book is true, and I believe it, I want to be so crazy that I cannot keep my mouth shut a single moment. If this book is true, and I believe it, I want to be so crazy that I will work for God and souls just like I was hired by the day to work my way to Heaven. If this book is true, I am not crazy, but Brother Tudor has about 300 or 400 members of this church that are so crazy that they won’t pray and won’t open their mouths for God; that are so crazy that they won’t do anything.
Ah me! The most deadly fanaticism that ever overshadowed the soul is that which makes a man lock his arms, fold his arms and walk right along down into the fire without quivering a nerve or jerking a muscle. That is the sort of fanaticism that says: “Keep cool. Don’t get excited.” That is the sort of fanaticism that breeds stagnation, and Stagnation is the last station this side of Damnation. You can’t go beyond Stagnation without going on to Damnation.
And I read a few days ago where an eminent preacher stood up in his pulpit on Sunday morning before a vast congregation, one that packed every pew, and preached against religious sensationalism, and there hadn’t been a drunk or anything which made a stir in his church for twenty years. He preached right square against religious sensations and religious fanaticism and there hadn’t been a drunk in his church for twenty years. That is like a poor old fellow pushing up his tombstone lid and sticking his head out and telling all the balance of the tombstones: “Be quiet! Don’t kick up any row! Keep perfectly still.” And then he drops his top slab back and lies down in his grave all right and says: “I’ll never die until I’m dead.”
THE COMPULSION TO SPEAK
I never will be quiet as long as I have a tongue to talk and lungs to breathe. God help me to believe this book and know this book is true, and then I will let the world judge whether I am crazy or not. I believe, and I tell you when a man believes that book, he is going to do some mighty strange things in this world. I tell you when Paul believed, and when Luther believed, and when John Wesley believed, and when Melanchthon believed, and when George Whitfield believed, and when Spurgeon believed, and when Talmage believed, and when Moody believed, you don’t know how things moved round and stirred up, as they said of Paul, “no small stir.” Do you recollect how, over at Ephesus, he had them stirred up, burning their books on a great bonfire, and causing the mayor and police to send and stop the crowd right there? And if Paul was to preach in St. Louis to-day, he would be telegraphed all over America as the greatest religious fanatic that ever made a crack in this country. I rather like that title, religious fanatic. It is no reflection on me, but is death to the balance of you; do you see? It is a contrast that brings the thing out, you see.
FAITH! I BELIEVE! I BELIEVE!
The man that says “I believe,” and feels it in his blood and bones, that man is omnipotent.
“I believe.” The apostles talk about the “certainty of these things,” the “infallible signs,” the “one word of prophesy.”
– It was “I believe” that made Paul cry out, “this one thing I do.”
– It was “I believe,” that made Paul say, “neither count I my life dear unto me. I count all things but loss.” – It was “I believe” that made Paul say, “I lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset me.”
I throw them aside. If my coat is in the way, off with it. If my hat, off with it. If my shoes, off with them. I will run my way to God, bare-headed, coatless, and shoeless, so I will make my race in safety to my God and peace. And, brother, when a man gets in earnest he believes, and when a man believes, he gets in earnest, somehow or other.
When Mr. Moody came back from across the water after the greatest revival in Europe; he was met in New York by an American delegation. They said: “Mr. Moody, we greet you. We glorify God in behalf of these things over in Europe, but, Mr. Moody, you can’t do that over here.”
Mr. Moody looked at these Christian men and said: “If God Almighty will take the infidelity out of the heart of the church in America, we will bring all America to Christ” And he announced a truth as broad as the depravity of America. “If God Almighty will take the infidelity out of the heart of the Church in America, we can bring all America to Christ” Who cares about Bob Ingersoll’s infidelity, or who cares about anybody else’s infidelity? The difference between the men is that that man in church believes everything, and won’t do anything, while Bob Ingersoll is a sort of theoretical infidel, that gets $1,500 a night for being one, and you back here, like a fool, are one for nothing and board yourself. That’s all there is about it.
Let your light so shine.
That is, let your faith so appear. “I believe.” Well, I might stop here and say something on faith, and we will, perhaps, on another occasion. Faith is the principle on which omnipotence slumbers.
- By faith the world was created.
- By faith all things are. – By faith we are saved.
- By faith we are efficient.
Faith. “I believe.” “I believe.” While I have faith there is also this other element and principle of love. Love to God and love to man. If a man believes in his cause and believes he is right, the next thing is universal love; love for God and love for man.
THE QUESTION OF CHARACTER
And we will say another thing. There are two kinds of love.
There is love of that which is groveling and low and sensual, and there is love of that which is ennobling, inspiring, true and beautiful. Now, what a man loves and what he hates determines his character. If you will tell me what you love and what you hate, I will tell you what you are and who you are. The difference between the devil, the enemy of all men, and the Lord Jesus Christ, the friend of all men, the great difference that is manifested to us as living souls, is in what each loves and what each hates. God loves righteousness and hates sin. The devil hates righteousness and loves sin. What I love and what I hate will determine what I am now and what I will be forever.
Now, if I love God there is but one test. Our Saviour don’t say, “Ye shall talk faith and live in sin.” He said, as you and I know, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” There is nothing in the book about feeling. We are not running on feeling. The book don’t say “whosoever feels,” but “whosoever will;” not “whosoever feeleth,” but “whosoever believeth.” Recollect that. It doesn’t say “whosoever feeleth,” but “whosoever doeth.”
There is a great deal of nonsense in this nineteenth century right along on that point. The religion that is here referred to is “principle,” don’t you see? And I never stop to ask whether I have got any feeling or not. If I have got any feeling at all this morning I don’t know where it is. I couldn’t locate it to save my life, but I have before me the undying eternal uncompromising reality of God and the right. And the man that does right when he doesn’t feel like it deserves credit more than the fellow that feels like it. Don’t you see?
THE GREATEST CONQUEROR
Right! Love! Oh, Love divine, diffuse thy power and presence with us. The omnipotent principle of the world is love. When Alexander the Great wanted to conquer this world he mustered his forces and blood flowed like a river, and poor Alexander when he died was a conquered wretch. When Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to conquer this world he mustered his forces and all Europe was drenched in blood, and Napoleon died a defeated wretch on the island of St. Helena. But when Jesus Christ wanted to conquer the earth he looked at it and loved it and walked upon Calvary and laid down and died for it, and Christ has well nigh conquered this world. Napoleon said: “Alexander, Charlemagne and I founded our kingdoms on force, and they have crumbled under our feet; “but Jesus Christ founded his kingdom on love, and to-day millions of men would die for him.”
Love! One fellow said to me once, “Brother Jones, my great trouble is I can’t love my neighbor as myself. I have tried my best and I can’t do it” I told him, “Well, I don’t have any trouble with that.”
He says, “How did you manage to do it?”
I said, “I got a good square look at myself sixteen years ago, and I have thought more of every man I met since than I do of myself. I am getting along first rate, and if you get an honest, square and sincere look at yourself in the mirror of love, you won’t be at all mashed on yourself after that. That’s the truth about it. That cured me.”
LOVE VS. CONSCIENCE
Love! If we love ourselves and love humanity, well do something for humanity. Love. Why conscience will make a man come along by that poor wounded creature and make us pick him up and put him on our beast and take him to the inn and pay a night’s lodging for the poor wounded fellow. Conscience will make us do that, but love will make us pick him up and carry him to the inn and pay his night’s lodging, and leave enough of money to pay his bill until he is well, and tell the innkeeper to write us a note, and if there is anything lacking we’ll give it all.
Conscience whips a fellow up a great deal in this life, but love beats him, and love is an inspiration to him, and love don’t say, “How little can I get off with?” but, “How much can I do?” Love! Love! Love! Love is the wheels under a fellow on which he rolls. The difference between a locomotive and a stationary engine is, one has got wheels under it and the other has not. The difference between that engine out here in the piney woods of Georgia sawing lumber and that mighty engine that drove us here yesterday, sometimes at the rate of fifty miles an hour, is, one has wheels under it and the other has not. The man who has love, who is prompted by the love which is omnipotent, has wheels under him and he rolls grandly along. Love! Love!
Most of us, though, are dropping back hurriedly on the old song:
Of all the folks I ever saw, I love myself the best.
There’s a good deal in that — practically, I mean.
THE VICE OF SELFISHNESS
I am sorry for any man in this world that has a great big two hundred pounds avoirdupois case of selfishness to take care of. I’d rather try to run a miracle than try to run a great, big, concentrated lump of selfishness. “I want the best house in town; I want the best seat in church, and I want the best of everything; it is myself and my wife and my son John, and us four and no more.”
It is, “God has just put us in the world, and we want everything in it. It is nominative I, possessive mine and objective me. I don’t know that I ever had any grammar beyond that.”
I have heard many an old fellow get up in a class-meeting and talk, and he would confess a thousand things, but I have never heard of a man getting up in meeting anywhere and confessing that he was selfish or avaricious. Did you? I never have yet. That is a sort of a disease a fellow does not know he’s got until it kills him. That’s the truth of it Selfish! Love is perfectly unselfish. Faith in God and in the right and a love for humanity, and then it has developed his obedience to God.
Obedience! I speak of faith. Just now there is a great deal of this sort of faith around in the world — going around with the mouth open and both hands up this way. “O, Lord, give me something! Give me something! Give me something!” “Well, what do you want?” “Don’t know; just want something!” And just about sense — religious sense — enough to keep out of the asylum.
“Just want something!” Look a here! The Bible represents God as my father and me as his child. I am a father. I have my loved ones at my home that look up to me and lean upon me, but, as God is my judge, if every time my children came around me they were everlastingly begging and whining for something, I’d never want to see them again as long as I lived , and none of you ever went within a mile of the Almighty in your life without: “Give me something!”
A BEGGING SORT OF RELIGION
That’s mighty straight doctrine. That — and some of you know it — just knocks your cake to dough, don’t it? Why, sir, if you break up that idea (turning to Dr. Tudor), you’ll ruin half of your number, brother, out there, for that’s all there is among them, the “give-me-something” sort. “Give me something.” “What do you want?” “I don’t know — something.” More grace, I reckon.
How a follow feels when he wants for more grace. You are in grace up to your chin every day, and what you want is to use the grace you have already got.
Well, I want to pray this prayer once: “Lord God! Give me a clean heart and a right spirit and an upright life. God, give me the things I need.” And when I pray that prayer once, then that is enough. And then I will tell you what sort of faith I want after that. It is the faith of the missioner; it is the faith of consecration; it is the faith of meditation; that is the sort. In Lexington, Ky., in the High-bridge camp meeting in Kentucky, after preaching three or four days, we had a talking meeting.
THE KENTUCKY PASTOR’S REGRET
One morning the pastor of the Lexington church stood up in the talking meeting, and said:
“Brethren, I feel like I ought to be in sackcloth and ashes. I am ashamed of myself” — a grand man he was, too; a true man. Said he, “I will tell you, when I look back twenty years ago or more, I see how my love for the Southern Confederacy and for the Southern cause marched me out in the ranks of Gen. Lee in Virginia, and my love for the Southern Confederacy, and my consecration and my loyalty to the Southern Confederacy, marched me many a day barefooted; I slept out many a night in the snow and mud, and I had many a day without anything to eat; I bared this breast to ten thousand bullets, and all for the Confederacy; and I have been a minister for twenty years and I have never marched barefooted for God. I have never slept out a night for God. I have never gone hungry a single meal; and today I renew my allegiance to God, and I mean to march for him or to die for him, or to bear the load for him!” Oh, Lord Jesus Christ! Give us that sort of religion!
Dr. Tudor. — Amen.
Brother Jones. — This nasty sort of “Give me something!” I despise it I have got a contempt for you, and God Almighty has, too, in my candid judgment.
PRAYING FOR DAILY BREAD
I tell you the sort of faith I like. Here is a fellow praying for bread; got a hoe in his hand hoeing around that stalk of corn. Has that fellow got any faith? Yes, sir.
By faith he sees an ear of corn that long (indicating) on that stalk. Pray “give me this day my daily bread” at the end of a hoe-handle with a good sized hoe on it. That is a good prayer. This way we’ve got of doing all our praying with our tongues — that is the biggest mistake you ever did make. Every Wednesday night for sixteen years there have been meetings here praying, “Lord, give me something.” Now, what have you got? You’ve got a city — you have got a city that is absolutely steeped in guilt and iniquity, and they’ve got the churches in this city backed up in a corner like a lot of little children with a snake out on the floor, afraid to move.
That is the way you are with your churches here in this town. You are afraid the devil will jump on you and clean you out. While I am here in St. Louis, God Almighty helping me, I’ll give this old town an airing before I leave her. You need not doubt that. St. Louis as a city doesn’t care what Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians or anybody else thinks. Now, ain’t that so?” We’ll drink our beer on Sunday and desecrate the Sabbath, and ran our lewd houses and stick them right up by the side of your church, and we’ll debauch and damn this town, and we dare you Christian churches or church members to open your mouth!” Ain’t that so? Well, they have got one little man here now they can’t fight. You can put that down. Now, all the decent people ought to be out of town during the airing, but it’s going to be odoriferous. You can put that down.
RELIGION WITH A BACKBONE
Obedience! A faith that works by love and that obeys the law of God Almighty. Obey God! That is what we want. I’d rather be right and I’d rather do right than to be king. That is the way to talk it! If the Lord God frowns upon me, what are the smiles of this world, and the fawnings of this world, and the wealth of this world if God’s frown blights the whole and lights upon all earthly things?
Vanity of vanity! And all is vexation of spirit! But let the cannon boom and the musket rattle, and let the earth frown and the earth fight, good Lord, let thy smile rest upon me and show thy face and all is bright. Good Lord, give us a strong, sinewy, muscular religion! This little, effeminate, weak, sentimental, sickly, singing and begging sort!
My Lord God, give us a religion with vim and muscle and backbone and power and bravery! A great many people think that Christianity is just a little hot-bed of effeminacy — fellows crying “Peace! Peace! Peace!”
God says first pure and then peaceable; and if you cannot have peace only at the expense of purity, you better be in a war. Going about crying “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace, and hell with all its guns turned loose upon us, and our children falling by the thousands and going to destruction, and we wringing our hands and saying, “Lord, send us peace!” And they don’t believe in anything but “peace.” You pusillanimous wretch, you, you ain’t fit to live.
LANGUAGE FOR THE OCCASION
I use sometimes strong words, but I will tell you, you may know I am trying to reach the case. Don’t you get excited now, and think things are going to pieces. I tell you that you may save your feelings and your condignity for other occasions. I am just touching along in high places this morning. I haven’t got anywhere yet Obedience! Obedience! Obedience is better than sacrifice.
I will tell you another thing: more and more this world is reaching to attain every day. It does not ask what church a man belongs to. It asks, “Are you honest? Do you tell the truth? Do you love your religion?” They don’t ask what sort of a profession he has made, but they ask now, “Has he a good character?” I like that! That is coming down to facts. Obedience! An obedience that marches out to the front, and marches with the battle cry of “Victory or death!” An obedience that dares to go, and dares to suffer, and dares to do. That is what we want. Now, let your faith and love and obedience so shine among men — so shine. Ah, me! How this world gropes in darkness to-day! And I will tell you how the Church reminds me in its movement through the world to-day of one of these night freight trains — did you ever see one? — out on the road, the headlight gathering the rays of the lamp and pitching them all in front of the train, and they get a little light blue or red lamp on the rear car, and leave all in the rear in darkness.
The Church does just about the same thing. They put a headlight to throw light ahead and leave a little black light for sinners to travel by. Every Church is looking out for themselves, and every light they get they throw it on their own pathway, and away back in the rear of the Church they get a little lantern, and leave the world groping in darkness. Oh, God, help us to undo those things; and, if we have to grope in darkness, God help us to throw what light we have back on this benighted world. Light! Light!
AN EXPRESSIVE “SO”
“Let your light so shine.”
Frequently, when our Saviour was talking, when he was speaking, did he seem to ransack our language for an adjective or a descriptive for what he wanted to say? He found nothing of the kind to suit, and he would throw off an adverb like this “so.” When he wanted to tell us how God loved the world, he threw all this descriptive aside, and said “God so loved the world,” and when he wanted to tell us to let our light shine he said “Let your lights so shine” that those behind you may see their way to God.
I saw this illustrated one dark night at a church in Georgia. After service we walked out and the darkness could almost be felt, so dense it was, and a gentleman directly came out of the church with one of those large reflecting lanterns, and when he turned the lantern in front of him everybody in front could see, just like it was daylight, and everybody in the rear was in darkness, and when he turned his lantern around everybody in the rear could see perfectly, and every one in front was groping in darkness.
When he turned his lantern that way he let his light so shine that those in front could see their way, and when he turned his lantern this way he let his light so shine that those in the rear could see their way. And God says to the Church, “Gather all the rays of the world and reflect it back on this benighted world and show them the way to God.” That is what we want!
PLACES WHERE LIGHTS WILL NOT BURN
“Let your light so shine . . . No man lighteth a candle and putteth it under a bushel, but on a candlestick.”
There are some places where physical light won’t reflect at all. I recollect once my father had two Irishmen to dig a well, and they got it about fifty or sixty feet deep, and he paid them upon a Saturday, and, like most of the Paddies then — the well-digging Paddies — they went on a spree, and they were on a spree away into the week, and when they came back they asked my mother for a candle, and I said, “Well, Paddy is not sober enough yet, he wants a candle to dig the well with.” He went up to the well and he got a rope and tied the candle to the end of the rope, and he let it down into the well, and it got down deeper and deeper, and the light flickered and it went out, and Paddy said, “Mike, it is dangerous to go down there, there is gas in the well,” and they got some pine tops and tied them together and let them up and down, and the light burned freely to the bottom, and he said, “It’s all right, now.”
I tell you to keep your lamps trimmed. There are some places in this world where your light won’t burn, and I’ll tell you the best thing in the world is to get your preacher and your Bible, and put them down ahead of you, and see how they will look down there. You try your light in the ballroom, for instance. Go into a ballroom with your Christian light. It will go out. It won’t burn there. See that Methodist dodging into a bar-room with his light. I don’t care how bright it was burning when you went in; it is out when you come out. Red liquor and Christianity won’t stay in the same hide at the same time. Go into a theater, and come back, and look at your light. That is it.
A QUESTION OF SENSE AND RESPONSIBILITY
Oh, my! When I was pastor, whenever I saw anything that was putting the light out in my church, or damaging the spirituality of my church, I turned all the guns of heaven loose, and if Dr. Tudor has dancing, theater-going, godless members, it is his own fault, and God will hold him responsible for it. I would not have that sort of cattle in my church forty-eight hours That is a Scriptural term, cattle is; don’t forget that God says some of you ain’t as good as cattle. God says: “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib.” But you won’t consider. You ain’t got sense enough to keep away from a bar-room or a theater. God tells you you ought to swap places with the ox and eat a little hay. Let your light so shine. I tell you, brother, sister, the next time you start to the ballroom, you put your preacher in there, and get him a partner, and see how he will look in there dancing. Put the Lord Jesus Christ by you in a theater, and see how he looks at certain things said in that theater; and there are Methodists in this house, and members in all the churches, that patronize those places, and if they were to go into your parlor the next day, and say the things they heard there the night before, you would kick them over your front gate — wouldn’t you?
Somehow or another, the fool Methodist thinks he ain’t doing any harm if he is paying for it. If he pays seventy-five cents to go in, there is no harm, but if a fellow was to come to his house and say that for nothing, he would kick him out.
A MORTGAGED NOSE
“Let your light so shine before men.”
And there are women in St. Louis that will go and hear things in the theater whose tendencies are the most vulgar of the vulgar, and she will be tickled all over, and she will come to the church, and she will have her poor little nerves all shocked to pieces at something Sam Jones says, and she will turn up her nose at me, and I can always tell when the devil has got a mortgage on a woman’s nose. It is always turning up. And he is going to foreclose it some of these days, too, sister, and he will get the gal when he gets the nose.
I am glad to see that there is some response out of you all. I can tolerate anything but a dead church. You all can laugh, and that shows you are not dead, to say the least I want to get your hide loosened up. Sometimes the currycomb is worth more than the corn in a hide-bound church, to loosen them up, and to let them go. Dr. Tudor — Amen.
Brother Jones. — Brother Tudor says, “Amen.” He knows what he is talking about. Take an old hide-bound ox out in Texas in March, and you can catch hold of his hide upon his back, and you can pull, and it will make him hop like a monkey, and he will not grow until you loosen him up. We need loosening up. I am glad to see you got some response in you. I like folks that have got some laugh in them. There is nothing to be done with a dead crowd.
AN ACTIVE SPIRIT!
Oh, my! How we lack that in this city! I’ll tell you. Pull hard, one heart with another, catching fire. See those jets along the streets — those lamps. The lamp lighter goes from one of them to another, and then to another, and on and on, until at last ray meets ray and light meets light and the whole city is lighted up. Brother, let us get our hearts on fire and let it leap heart to heart and home to home, until the whole city is afire with the love of the Spirit of God. We said this light is an active principle; it will put us to work. A few hours ago this world was asleep; it was dark. Oh, how the world sleeps when it is dark. Darkness is the emblem of inactivity, sleepiness and death; light is the active principle. Now, a few hours ago the oxen were lying down peaceably and asleep, the birds perched on the limbs of the trees and all humanity asleep. Now God wants to wake up this world and put it in motion.
What will he do? Go over there on the hillside and strike that old ox on the head? And will he come over here and shake the boughs to wake up those birds? And will he go to my front door and knock to wake me up? No, sir! When God wants to wake this world up, he just lets the sun peep over the hills and now we see the birds singing, and the oxen feeding and humanity going on in a driving roar and rush. And when God shall turn the light of his spirit loose upon us in this town, you will see activity and all things moving up. Its darkness and death that surrounds us.
That is the trouble.
A DEVELOPING PRINCIPLE
“Let your light so shine.”
An active principle to put us to work, and it is not only an active principle, but it is a developing principle. Oh, my! When light and labor bear in upon the right together, how there is development, development, growth, growth.
And I will tell you another thing: It is grow or die.
There is no alternative but that. It is grow or die, and the only way I can grow is to work. It is work or die! How many Christian people in this community, if you were to get them to write out the history of their lives, of all they have done for Christ in ten years, members of your church, perhaps, would be ashamed to write it, and in disgust would drop down on their knees. “What have I done?”
Work — the developing principle. A great many in this world say, “Well, what can I do? What can I do!”
Well, brothers, some time ago at Chattanooga, I was going out on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and I walked around the great engine that was going to pull us out in a few minutes, and as I did so I saw the engineer jump off his engine with one of those long-necked oil cans in his hand to oil the machinery, first one part and then another. I saw him oil the driving wheel, the piston rod, the rock-around and the steam chest. I saw him going from one piece of machinery to the other, and I thought this way: “Well, if I was any part of that grand engine, I’d like to be the driving wheel; there is the secret of the great speed. If I could not be the driving wheel, I’d like to be the truck and roll ahead of all the rest; and if I could not be that, I’d like to be the steam chest, where the power is located,” and I noticed every part of that machinery got oil out of the same can, whether it be the big piece or little; and I want to tell you to-day out of God’s great reservoir of grace, whether you be a big worker or a little worker, you get oil out of the same can, and I want the spirit of consecration to possess your church, Brother Tudor. Dr. Tudor — Amen!
THE NECESSITY FOR FUEL
Brother Jones — In Georgia we got a little Methodist minister. He ain’t any bigger than I am. There is only one trouble with him, that he is parsimonious; he is very stingy. With that exception he is a grand man. He is worth $20,000, and we can’t get but $1,500 a year out of him for God and religion, but with the exception of that one thing of stinginess, he is a grand man. He is worth $20,000, and he won’t give but $1,500 every year for the cause of God. You have got one Methodist in St. Louis — you may have a thousand — but you have got one Methodist in St. Louis that is an honor to God and a blessing to this city. I say you may have a thousand, but I say you have got one. I heard of him before I got here. I heard of him afar off.
Well, we had a talking meeting in Trinity Church — I started on an engine, the different parts of the engine, the great engineering of the church, its various machinery— and one fellow got up. Said he, “Brethren, I’d like to be the boiler of the great engine, where the power is generated.”
Another said, “I’d like to be the cow catcher, the fender, and keep the way clear.”
Another said he would like to be the headlight and throw his rays ahead, and another said he would like to be the whistle and sound the praise of God all over the country, and another said he would like to be the cab to protect the engineer. And so on they went, and directly this little Methodist got up. Said he, “Brethren, I am perfectly willing to be the old, black coal they pitch into the furnace to burn up and carry us on to glory.”
If we had some of that sort that are willing to be the old, black coal which shall burn out and generate heat. We decrease, but God increases. Oh, God! If necessary to pull this train to Heaven, let me be the coal and let me be consumed to save the city, whether we are consumed or not.
VERY MUCH IN EARNEST
Brethren, I have been just as serious in this service as you would permit me. You got about what you came for, and you will always get that. Going to church is like going shopping. A sister goes into this magnificent dry goods store; there is $200,000 worth of goods in it, but she buys her paper of pins and goes out That’s all she came for — just a paper of pins. And you know it is a good deal that way about going to church: we get what we come for. You all know that. I have said just what you have expected me to say — that is all. That is all I aimed to do — to give you what you came for.
I always throw a few bones without any meat on, and in as large a crowd as this there are always some dogs that want a few bones. I throw them a few bones on purpose for them to gnaw and growl at. They will growl, you know, and when you hear any one growl let him alone, you know it is a dog , and just let him growl.
That is my doctrine. And if you see one fellow running and hollering, you know that is a hit dog. Let him alone, for if he is not hit, what is he hollering for? That is the point with me, and we just go on our way. Some of you would not preach like I do; you have got your ways and methods, but I tell you I am willing to swap fishing tackle with any fellow whose string of fish is bigger than mine, but I want to see the string of fish before I swap tackle with him.
One preacher told me he got down on his knees one evening and prayed to Heaven, to God Almighty, to straighten out Brother Jones and to change him in a few things, and that he would be a good preacher if that could be done. He prayed until about sundown and got off his knees, and the Lord seemed to say to him, “Well, I heard you praying for Jones, and if I was to take all those things away from him he would be no more account than you are.”
He said it liked to scare him to death, and he has never prayed on that line since.
TRADING FISHING TACKLE
And when any of you all have a bigger string of fish behind your fishing tackle, I will trade with any fellow, but until you find more fish I will not trade. You come in and help me and God will bless the work and we’ll all rejoice together and bring our fish home together. May the Lord encourage you to-day to do great things. Something tells me we will take in thousands of souls during these meetings. You may say, “Well, it don’t look like there can be anything done.” Well, brother, that old ram’s horn was a peculiar thing to tear down a wall with, wasn’t it? But, sir, it did it. And that is what we can hope to do. We’ll do it. Let us take these things and let us not think what part and lot we have got in these, and talk about others. If you are against me, talk the more. I’d as soon you would throw mud at me as to praise me. I don’t want anyone to do that.
Just say as much against me as for me, and if you hear any one downtown bark, let him bark. So come back this afternoon. At 2:30 Brother Small will preach, and to-night, the Lord willing, I will preach again, and three times straight along every day — at 10:30, 2:30 and 7:30. I am very much in earnest.
MUST HAVE COOPERATION
I have no time to throw away. If you want me and are willing to work, I am your man, God helping me; but tomorrow morning, if you are not here at 10:30 o’clock, I will not be here tomorrow night There is a train goes away, you know, in the evening just before the meeting.
If you ain’t here to-morrow morning at 10:30 o’clock, and you meet anybody to-morrow evening, and they ask you was you here, and you say no, and they ask you why, don’t you tell ‘em no lie. You tell ‘em because you didn’t want to come. Because I can take a thousand one hundred dollar bills every morning and fill this church up and give every fellow a hundred dollars that will come. That will fill up every seat here, and every street for a mile around, if they’ll get a hundred dollars. If you come for one hundred dollars you ought to come for the salvation of souls. I am in earnest. Trust in God, give him all the glory; want to see a gracious meeting here, believe me, we will. The sooner we take hold the better. The time is short, and may God Almighty inspire us to great faith and great works. We will receive the benediction.
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