Dwight Lyman Moody.

The gospel awakening. Comprising the sermons and addresses, prayer meeting talks and Bible readings, of the great revival meetings, conducted by Moody and Sankey, in the cities of Philadelphia, New York, Chicag and Boston, with the proceedings of the Christian conventions of ministers and laymen. online

. (page 13 of 91)
Online LibraryDwight Lyman MoodyThe gospel awakening. Comprising the sermons and addresses, prayer meeting talks and Bible readings, of the great revival meetings, conducted by Moody and Sankey, in the cities of Philadelphia, New York, Chicag and Boston, with the proceedings of the Christian conventions of ministers and laymen. → online text (page 13 of 91)
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is in this meeting to-night? Do not you feel that you are in the
atmosphere of prayer?

Jesus is in our assembly to-night; and now while he is here, while
he is calling you to himself, will you not come to the ark? " Behold



110 THE PRODIGAL SON.

I stand at the door and knock." Does a heart throb? That is Christ
knocking. " I stand at the door and knock ; if any man hear my
voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with
him, and he with me." Will you let him in to-night, dear friends?
Will you unlock the door of your heart? Pull back those rusty
bolts and say, " Welcome, thrice welcome into this heart." May
God help you this night to be wise for eternity, and receive Jesus
Ohrist as your Savior" Bow your heads in silent prayer, and ask
the Lord what he will have you to do.



THE PRODIGAL SON.

" I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto Mm, Father, I have sinned against
heaven, and before thee." Luke 15: 18.

We have for our subject to-night "The Prodigal Son." Perhaps
there is not any portion of Scripture that this audience is so familiar
with as this fifteenth chapter of Luke. These boys down here in
the audience can tell the story as well as I can. All the Sabbath-
school children know this chapter as well as I do. In the second
verse we are told why Christ described this beautiful picture. The
Pharisees and scribes were murmuring, and they said, "This man
receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." They told the truth for
once. An angel from heaven could not have told the truth plainer
than they did when they said, " This man receiveth sinners, and eat-
eth with them." That is what he came into the world for. And
while they were complaining, he went on and gave us three parables:
the parable of the lost sheep; the lost piece of money; and the lost
son.

This young man, the prodigal son, started wrong — that was the
trouble with him. He was like hundreds and thousands of young
men in our cities to-day, who have got a false idea of life: and when
a man has a false idea of life, it is very hard for his father or mother
or any of his friends to do anything with him. I do not know where
his mother was. Perhaps he had sent her to the grave with a broken
heart. The Lord did not speak of his mother; if she had been liv-
ing, he would have referred to her. The father is to be censured;
we cannot help but blame the father. When the son said, " Father,
divide, and give me my portion," the father should have said: "You
show a bad spirit. I will let you go without your portion." A great



THE niODIGAL SON. Ill

many fathers make that mistake now. I do not think the father
could have done a greater unkindness to the boy than to give him
his goods and money, and let him go. It showed a contemptible
spirit in the boy when he came to his father and said, "Divide: give
me my portion and let me go." He wanted to go away from his
father's prayers and influence, and get into a foreign land, where he
could go on as he pleased, where he could run riot and plunge into
all kinds of sin, and where there was no restraint. And that indul-
gent father gratified his wish, and divided his goods with him. And
not many days after he went around to his old companions and bade
them all good-bye, and went ofi" to a foreign country, perhaps to
Egypt. While he was there his family must have heard from him,
because the eldest brother said: "This brother hath spent all with
harlots, and thou hast killed for him the fatted calf."

Undoubtedly, the first time they heard from him they heard bad
news. I can see him going away very proud: you might as well
talk to an iron post as to talk to him now. He is full of conceit and
false ideas. He is going to get on without his father or any help from
his friends; he will have no trouble, in his own mind. But the very
fil'st thing we hear of him is, he is in bad company. I never knew
a young man who treated his father unkindly but would go right off
into bad company. He got into that far country, and now we hear
of him going on in all kinds of vice. Undoubtedly, if they had the-
atres in those days, and I do not doubt but they had, he would be in
the theatre every night in the week. We would find him in the bil-
liard hall and the drinking saloon. We do find him in the ways of
those whose feet take hold on hell. He was a popular young man;
he had plenty of money, and his money was popular. He was a
grand companion for the young men in that far country; they liked
his society. I do not know how long he had been there; but I do
not suppose it was more than five years, and perhaps not more than
three years. It does not take long for a young man to go to ruin
when he gets in among thieves and harlots: that is about the quick-
est way down to hell. At last his money is gone, and now his friends
begin to drop off, one after another. He is not quite so popular as
he was when he had plenty of money. He is getting a little shabby;
his clothes are not so good as they were. He had a good wardrobe;
but now he goes to the pawn-shop, and he pawns his overcoat. I
have seen a good many such young men in Philadelphia. I think
his overcoat is gone for strong drink; and one thing after another
soon goes. He might have had some gift which his mother gave him
when she was dying, and at last that goes; and yet he does not come
to himself.

The very first thing he did do that I like to commend was, that he
joined himself to a citizen of that country to find some work to do.
That is the noblest thing he did. There is some hope for a man when



112 THE PRODIGAL SON.

he is willing to go to work. I have more hope for the gambler, the
harlot, the drunkard, and for any class of people, than I have for a
lazy man. I never knew a lazy man to be converted yet. The pro-
digal started to get some work to do, even if it was to feed swine.
That is the lowest occupation a Jew could be engaged in. He joined
himself to a citizen of that country and fed swine; and he would have
eaten the husks if he could have got them. No man gave him even
husks. This wealthy man's son, who was brought up amid good in-
fluences and surroundings, is now living in that foreign countr3dike
a man who had never seen a decent home.

Now, just for a moment think what that man lost in all these
years. He lost his home; he had no home. His friends, when he
had money, might have invited him around to their homes; but it is no
liome for him. There was no loving home. There is not a prodigal
upon the face of the earth but has lost his home. You may live in a
gilded palace; but if God is not there, it is no home. If your con-
science is lashing you, it is no home. He lost his food; his father's
table did not go to that country. He would have fed on the husks
that the swine did eat; but no one gave unto him. This world can-
not satisfy the soul. Then he lost his testi'rnony. I can imagine some
of the young men of that country saw him among the swine,
feeding them and taking the place of a shepherd's dog among them;
and they said: "Look at that poor wretched young man, with no
shoes on his feet, and with such shabby garments." They looked at
him and called him a beggar, and pointed the finger of scorn at him.
He said: "You need not call me a beggar; my father is a wealthy
man." They said, "Your father a wealthy man?" "Yes." "You
look like a wealthy man's son." There was not a man believed him,
when he said he was a wealthy man's son. His testimony was gone;
no one would believe him. So when a man goes in the service of
the devil, he sinks lower and lower; and it is not long before every
one loses confidence in him. One sin leads on to another. His tes-
timony is gone. But there is one thing he did not lose, and if there
is a poor backslider here to-night, there is one thing you have not
lost. That young man never lost his father's love. I can imagine
one of his father's neighbors has met him in that place, and says to
him: "My boy, I have just come from your home; your father wants
you to go home." I can imagine the young man said: "Did my father
speak of me? I thought he had forgotten me." "Why," says the
man, "he don't think of anything else; he thinks of you day and
night. Do you think he has forgotten you? No, never. He cannot
forget you; he loves you too well for that." He didn't yet come to
himself; there he is.

But one day, I can see him, he gets a-thinking. It is a good thing
to stop and think. I wish we could get some of the men in Phila-
delphia to think where they are, and what is going to be the end of



THE PKODKiAL SON. 113

it. He begins to think that over those blue hills there is a home;
and there is a father in that home, who loves him still. As the
Scripture puts it, "He came to himself." It is a grand thing to see
a man coming to himself. When he began to come to himself, then
it was there was hope for him. It teaches us clearly that all these
years he had been out of his mind. Very likely he thought Chris-
tians were out of their minds. There is not a drunkard, harlot, thief,
or gambler, but thinks Christians are mad; and they call us fanatics.
But Solomon says: "Madness is in their heart while they live, and
after that they go to the dead."

The prodigal, perhaps, sends word: "I have spent all my money.
I wish you would send me some money." The father says: " I will
not give him any more money; for, if I do, he will go on with his
riotous living." Some men think God does not love them, because
he does not answer their prayers while they are living in sin. The
father loved the boy too well to send him any money. There was a
mother came to me, not long ago, with a prodigal boy; and she
wanted me to talk and pray with him. I said: ''You have come to
the wrong person; why don't you take him to Christ?" She said
she had. I found this boy was the son of a wealthy father; and he
had been brought up to do nothing, and he had had all the money he
wanted. I said: "This boy has the false idea that all he has got to
do is, to write to his father for money." I said: "You make a great
mistake. Do you think the prodigal son would have come home if
his father had given him all the money he wanted? He never would
have come home if he had not got to the end of his rope."

When he came to himself, he said: "I will perish here. I will
arise and go to my father." And that was the turning point in that
young man's life. There is always hope for a man when he begins
to think. I wish you would bear in mind that, if you are willing to
own your sin, and own that you have wandered from God, God is
willing to receive you. The very moment you are willing to come,
that moment God is willing and ready to receive you. He delights
in forgiveness. I do not care how vile you have been, if you are
willing to come back, God is willing and ready to receive you. The
turning point was when he came to himself, and said: " How many
hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and
I perish with hunger. I will arise and go to my father, and say unto
him, ' Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee.' " I can
imagine the angels hovering over him as he said this; and an angel
wings his way to heaven and says, "Ring the bells of heaven!"
" There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth." He rises
like a man; his mind is made up. He has his heart set upon one
thing, "I am going home." It did not take long, after he had made
up his mind, to go; he had not many friends to go and bid good-bya
They had got all he had in that country, and now there was no one
8



114 THE PKODIGAL SON.

there to love and pity him ; there was no one there to care for him. But
he knew there was one soHtary man that would love him, if any one
would on earth; and that man was his father. There is a God in
heaven who will love you and pity you, and have mercy on you, if
you will come to him. There may be a hiss go up. The Pharisees
may look down with contempt upon you; they may pass you on the
street and not speak to you; but there is a God who takes care of
you, and who is willing to blot out your sin, if you are willing to
come to him. The blessed Master brought out this parable to teach
the lesson of the Father's love.

There was a young man went off to California, and he left a kind,
praying father. He went to the Pacific coast; and the first letter
to his father brought the tidings that he was in bad company. The
next letter told he had gone on from bad to worse; and every time
he heard from that dear boy he heard how he was going on in sin.
At last one of the neighbors was going out to Ca,lifornia, and the
father said to him: " When you get there hunt up my boy, and tell
him one thing — that his father loves him still. Tell him my love is
unchanged. Tell him I never loved him more than I do at the pres-
ent time; and if he will come home, I will forgive him all." The
man, when he got to California, had hard work to find the boy; but
one night, past midnight, he found him in one of the lowest dens in
California. He got him out, and he said to him; "1 have news
from home for you. I have come from New England, and just be-
fore I left I met your father; and he told me, if I found you, to tell
you that he loved you as much as ever, and he wants you to come
home." The young prodigal said: "Did my father tell you to tell
me he loved me still? I do not understand that." " But," says the
man, " it is true." That broke the man's heart, and he started back
to his father. I bring the message to you that God loves you still.
I say to every sinner in Philadelphia, I do not care how vile you
are in the sight of your fellowmen, I want to tell you upon the
authority of God's word, that the Lord Jesus loves you, and loves
you still.

I see this prodigal son: he starts for home, and he has a hard jour-
ney of it; he is almost starved. There has been a famine in that
land; perhaps the famine struck that land to bring that man back to
his father's house. Many a trouble comes upon us to bring us to
God. He is coming along over the highway, and night comes
on; he sleeps. Day after day he travels on. He has no fears of
thieves troubling him, for he had squandered all in that foreign land.
As he crosses the line that brings him into his native country, his
heart must have beat quicker and quicker. This thought might have
come to him : " Perhaps my father is dead, and then no one will love
me. It may be my father will not receive and forgive me." He
might have thought that, as bis father had refused to give him money,



TUE PRODIGAL SON. 115

ho would not receive him. Still he comes on. I see him coming in
sight of that old homestead. Perhaps some of you understand his
feelings. Perhaps some of you have been away for years, and then,
when you came back to the old homestead, the tears would come
trickling down your cheeks as you remembered the first morning
when you left home/ When a young man leaves home, the thought
will come across him that he may never return. This boy has been
away for years. He is coming home; he sees the playground. He
is sick of that foreign country; he is sick of that devil's own coun-
try; it has not satisfied him. I never saw a man who lived for the
world satisfied yet. He has this thought: "I wonder if my father
will let me come in. I will ask him to let me get in among the ser-
vants."

I can see the old man; he is up there on the flag-roof of the house.
It is in the cool of the day; the sun is sinking down behind those Pal-
estine hills. He is looking in the direction his boy went away years
ago. How his heart has ached for him; how he has loved him. I
can see the old man as he looks, and as he sees that boy coming
back. He cannot recognize him by his dress; but love is keen to
detect its object, and he can see it is his darling boy. He comes
down those stairs, and he sweeps out past the servants, as if the
spirit of youth had come back upon him. You can see his gray hairs,
as he flies through the air and leaps over the highway. He runs and
leaps for joy. The boy begins to speak, but the father will not hear
him. He takes the boy's hand and says: "Bring out the best robe
and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand. Bring out shoes and
put on his feet, and kill the fatted calf ; and let us eat and be merry."
I see the old man weeping tears of joy. In that home there is glad-
ness. The boy is eating that sumptuous meal; he has not had as
good a meal for many a year. It seems almost too good to be true.
Picture the scene. While he is there he begins to weep; and the old
man, who is weeping for joy, looks over to him and says, "What
are you weeping for." The boy says: " Well, father, I was thinking
it would be an awful thing if I should leave you again, and go into
a foreign country." But if you sit down at God's feast, you will not
want to go back into the devil's country again.

Oh, m}^ friends, to-night come home. God wants you; his heart
is aching for you. I do not care what your past life has been. This
night, upon the authority of God's Word, I proclaim salvation to
every sinner. " This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them."
Every sinner has a false idea of God; he thinks God is not ready and
willing to forgive him. He says it is not justice. But God wants
to deal in mercy. If the old man had dealt in justice, he would
have barred the door and said to his son, "You cannot come in my
my house." That is not what fathers are doing. Their doors are
not barred against their own children. Their doors are wide open,



116 THE TRODIGAL SON".

and they bid you come home. There is no father in Philadelphia
who has as much love in his heart as God has for you. You may be
black as hell; yet God stands ready and willing to receive you to
his bosom, and to forgive you freely.

Two weeks ago last Sunday, there was a poor, fallen woman came
to this meeting; and I would to God we had more come in. I would
like to see every fallen woman come to Jesus. I would like to
preach to those twenty thousand fallen women there are in this city;
I would like to tell them how Jesus would forgive them. The ser-
mon did not touch this woman until I got to that part where I said,
There was no sinner so vile but Jesus would receive that one ; and
it went like an arrow to her soul. She came to the inquiry-room,
and made up her mind never to go back. In the course of forty-
eight hours, she found her way to the feet of Jesus, and her heart
went out with others. She thought of another; and thanks be to
God, she is here to-night. There were two Christian ladies left this
city this morning to see the mother; and when they came to her
house, she was not going to let them in. She was sick, and did not
want to receive any callers; but the thought cam.e to her that per-
haps they were bringing good news from her husband. When these
two angels of light came in, they said they came to talk about her
daughter Mary. The woman said: "My daughter; have you
brought news of my child? Where is she? Oh, how my heart has
ached for fifteen long years. Why did you not bring her with you ?"
They said, " We did not know as you would receive her." She
said: "Oh, how my heart has been aching. Won't you bring her
back to-morrow morning?" If the mother will receive that child, do
you tell me God will not receive her? There is not a poor sinner
here to-night God will not receive.

William Dawson, the celebrated Yorkshire farmer, once said that
there was no man so far gone in London that Christ would not re-
ceive him. A young lady called on him and said: "I heard you say,
there was no man so far gone in London that Christ would not re-
ceive him. Did you mean it?" " Yes," he said. "Well," she says,
"I found a man who said he was so bad that the Lord would not
have anything to do with him. Will you go and see him?" He
said, "I will be glad to go." She took him to a brick building, in a
narrow street: and he was in the fifth story. She said, "You had bet-
ter go in alone." He went in and found a young man lying in the
garret, on an old straw bed. He found he was very sick; and he
whispered in his ear some kind words, and wanted to call his friends.
The dying man said, "You are mistaken in the person." "Why
so?" said Mr. Dawson. "I have no friends on earth," said the dying
man. It is hard indeed, for a man to serve the devil, and como
down to no friends. "Well," said he, "you have a friend in Christ;"
and he told him how Jesus loved and pitied him, and would



THE PRODIGAL SOX. Ill

save him. He read different portions of Scripture, and prayed
with the man. After praying with him a long time, the light
of the gospel began to break into his dark soul, and his heart
went out towards those whom he had injured. He said, " If
my father would only forgive me I could die happy." "Who
is your father?" He told him, and Mr. Dawson said, "I will
go and see him." "No," the sick man said; "he has cast me off."
But William Dawson knew he would receive him, so he got his
father's address and said, "I will go." He came to the v/est end of
London, and rang the bell of the house where the father lived, A
servant in livery came to the door, and Mr. Dawson asked if his
master was in. The servant showed him in, and told him to wait a
few minutes; presently the merchant came in. Mr. Dawson said to
him, " You have a son by the name of Joseph." The merchant said:
"No, sir; if you come to talk to me about that worthless vagabond,
you shall leave the house; I have disinherited him." Mr. Dawson
said: "He will not be your boy by night; but he will be as long as
he lives." The man said, "Is my boy sick?" "Yes, he is dying.
I do not ask you to help bury him, I will attend to that, but he wants
you to forgive him, and then he will die in peace." The tears trick-
led down the father's cheeks. Said he: "Does Joseph want me to
forgive him? I V70uld have forgiven him long ago if I had known
that." In a few minutes he was in a carriage, and they went to the
house where the boy was; and as they ascended the filthy stairs, he
said: "Did you find my boy here? I would have taken him to my
heart if I had known this." The boy cried, when his father came in:
"Can you forgive me all my past sins?" The father came over to
the boy and bent over him, and kissed him, and said: "I would have
forgiven you long ago." And he said, "Let my servant put you in
my carriage." The dying man said: "I am too sick; I can die
happy now. I think God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven me." The
prodigal told the father of the Savior's love; and then, his head lying
upon his father's bosom, he breathed his last, and rose to heaven.

If thy father or mother forsake you, the Lord Jesus Christ will not.
Oh, may you press into the kingdom of heaven to-night, and while
Mr. Sankey sings, " Oh, prodigal son, come home," I hope every
one will come home. Oh, may hundreds come home while this is
sung. Let us bow our heads while he sings it.



CHRIST THE DELIVERER.

" Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thua
eaith the Lord: Even the captives of the liiiiihty shall be taken away, and the prey of the
terrible shall be delivered: lor I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I
will save thy children."— Isaiah 49: 24, 25.

You find in these verses what Christ came to do. He did not
come to preach elegant sermons: He came to the world to proclaim
liberty to the captive. Every soul in this building is either under
the power of the prince of this world and doing his bidding, or he is
brought out of this old kingdom and is brought into the kingdom of
the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are only two classes in this world. You must be either for
the Lord or against him. There may be some persons here who are
not Christians, who are saying to themselves, " I am not under the
power of Satan. I will do as I please. Satan has no power over
me; I do as I please." If there is an unconverted person here who
has that idea, I can tell him it is a false one. You cannot hold a
more false impression than that. I can prove to you that it is false.
Have you not some sins that trouble you? and have you not said,
" I will try and break off that sin?" and have you not tried and tried,
and failed every time? And could not you, if you were honest to-
night, v.-rite " failure " over every attempt you have made to reform
yourself? Satan binds us — every one of us. If we have not been lib-
erated by Christ, we are still under his power. Every one of us has
some besetting sin; and Satan knows our weak point and holds us:
and we have not the power to liberate ourselves. We cannot give



Online LibraryDwight Lyman MoodyThe gospel awakening. Comprising the sermons and addresses, prayer meeting talks and Bible readings, of the great revival meetings, conducted by Moody and Sankey, in the cities of Philadelphia, New York, Chicag and Boston, with the proceedings of the Christian conventions of ministers and laymen. → online text (page 13 of 91)