« PreviousContinue »
try; but these evils chiefly congregate in our great cities. On every street crime prowls, and drunkenness staggers, and shame winks, and pauperism thrusts out its hand asking for alms. Here, want is most squalid and hunger is most lean. A Christian man, going along a street in New York, saw a poor lad, and he stopped and said: "My boy, do you know how to read and write?" The boy made no answer. The man asked the question twice and thrice. "Canyou read and write?" and then the boy answered, with a tear plashing on the back of his hand. He said in defiance: "No, sir; I can't read nor write, neither. God, sir, don't want me to read and write. Didn't he take away my father so long ago I never remember to have seen him? and havn't I had to go along the streets to get something to fetch home to eat for the folks? and didn't I, as soon as I could carry a basket, have to go out and pick up cinders, and never have no schooling, sir? God don't want me to read, sir. I can't read, nor write neither." Oh, these poor wanderers? They have no chance. Born in degradation, as they get up from their hands and knees to walk, they take their first step on the road to despair. Let us go forth in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue them. Let us ministers not be afraid of soiling our black clothes while we go down on that mission. While we are tying an elaborate knot in our cravat, or while we are in the study rounding off some period rhetorically, we might be saving a soul from death, and hiding a multitude of sins. 0 Christian laymen, go out on this work. If you are not willing to go forth yourself, then give of your means; and if you are too lazy to go, and if you are too stingy to help, then get out of the way, and hide yourself in the dens and caves of the earth, lest, when Christ's chariot comes along, the horses' hoofs trample you into the mire. Beware lest the thousands of the destitute of your city, in the last great day, rise up and curse your stupidity and your neglect. Down to work! Lift thorn up! One cold winter's day, as a Christian man was going along the Battery in New York, he saw a little girl seated at the gate, shivering in the cold. He said to her: "My child, what do you sit there for, this cold day?" "Oh," she replied, "I am waiting—I am waiting for somebody to come and take care of me." "Why?" said the man, "what makes you think anybody will come and take care of you?" "Oh,"she said, my mother died last week, and I was crying very much, and she said: 'Don't cry, my dear; though I am gone and your father is gone, the Lord will send somebody to take care of you.' My mother never told a lie; she said some one would come and take care of me, and I am waiting for them to come." 0 yes, they are waiting for you. Men who have money, men who have influence, men of churches, men of great hearts, gather them in, gather them in. It is not the will of your Heavenly, Father that one of these little ones should perish.
Lastly, the street impresses me with the fact that all the people are looking forward. I see expectancy written on almost every face I meet between here and Fulton ferry, or walking the whole length of Broadway. Where you find a thousand people walking straight on, you only find one man stopping and looking back. The fact is, God made us all to look ahead, because we are immortal. In this tramp of the multitude on the streets, I- hear the tramp of a great host, marching and marching for eternity. Beyond the office, the store, the shop, the street, there is a world, populous and tremendous. Through God's grace, may you reach that blessed place. A great throng fills those boulevards and the streets are arush with the chariots of conquerors. The inhabitants go up and down, but they never weep and they never toil. A river flows through that city, with rounded and luxurious banks, and trees of life laden with everlasting fruitage bend their branches to dip the crystal. No plumed hearse rattles over that pavement, for they are never sick. With immortal health glowing in every vein they know not how to die. Those towers of strength, those palaces of beauty, gleam in the light of a sun that never sets. Oh, heaven, beautiful heaven! Heaven, where our friends are. They take no census in that city, for it is inhabited by "a multitude which no man can number." Eank above rank. Host above host. Gallery above gallery, sweeping all around the heavens. Thousands of thousands. Millions of millions. Quadrillions of quadrillions. Quintillions of quintillions. Blessed are they who enter in through the gate into that city. Oh! start for it this morning. Through the blood of the great sacrifice of the Son of God,take up your march for heaven. The spirit and the bride say come, and whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life "freely." Join this great throng who this morning, for the first time, espouse their faith in Christ. All the doors of invitation are open. "And I saw twelve gates and they were twelve pearls."
HEKOES IN COMMON LIFE.
Historians are not slow to acknowledge the merits oi great military chieftains. We have the full-length portraits of the Cromwells, the Washingtons, the Napoleons, and the Wellingtons of the world. History is not written in black ink, but with red ink of human blood. The gods of human ambition do not drink from bowls made out of silver, or gold, or precious stones, but out of the bleached skulls of the fallen. But I am now to unroll before you a scroll of heroes that the world has never acknowledged; those who faced no guns, blew no bugleblast, conquered no cities, chained.no captives to their chariot-wheels, and yet, in the great day of eternity, will stand higher than those whose names startled the nations; and seraph, and rapt spirit, and archangel will tell their deeds to a listening universe. I mean the heroes of common, every-day life.
In this roll, in the first place, I find all the heroes of the sick room. When Satan had failed to overcome Job, he said to God, "Put forth thy hand and touch his bones and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face." Satan had found out what we have all found out, that sickness is the greatest test of one's character. A man who can stand that can stand anything. To be shut in a room as fast as though it were a bastile. To be so nervous you cannot endure the tap of a child's foot. To have luxuriant fruit, which tempts the appetite of the robust and healthy, excite our loathing and disgust when it first appears on the platter. To have the rapier of pain strike through the side, or across the temples, like a razor, or to put the foot into a vice, or throw the whole body into a blaze of fever. Yet there have been men and women, but more women than men, who have cheerfully endured this hardness. Through years of exhausting rheumatisms and excruciating neuralgias they have gone, and through bodily distresses that rasped the nerves, and tore the muscles, and paled the cheeks, and stooped the shoulders. By the dim light of the sick room taper they saw on their wall the picture of that land where the inhabitants are never sick. Through the dead silence of the night they heard the chorus of the angels. The cancer ate away her life from week to week and day to day, and she became weaker and weaker, and every "good night" was feebler than the "good night" before—yet never sad. The children looked up into her face and saw suffering transformed into a heavenly smile. Those who suffered on the battle-field, amid shot and shell, were not so much heroes and heroines as those who in the field hospital and in the asylum had fevers which no ice could cool and no surgery could cure. No shout of comrade to cheer them, but numbness, and. aching, and homesickness—yet willing to suffer, confident in God, hopeful of heaven. Heroes of rheumatism. Heroes of neuralgia. Heroes of spinal complaint. Heroes of sick headache. Heroes of lifelong invalidism. Heroes and heroines. They shall reign for ever and for ever.