Lost and Found
A great many people tell you, "I will become a Christian when Christ comes and seeks me."
I was talking to a gray-haired man in my native town not long ago who, when I spoke to him about his soul, suggested that he would become a Christian when the Lord Jesus Christ came to him. He was waiting till Christ hunted him personally. And there is a class like him in every community.
What more would you like Him to do for you than what He has done already? What would you like God to do more for us? He sent to us the prophets, and we murdered them. He sent His Son from Heaven to be a sacrifice for us. He sent us the Holy Ghost, who is in the world to give us peace and happiness.
Would you like Him to send His Son again to earth to suffer for your sins? My dear friends, what more are you waiting for? He has been looking for you and hunting for you from your cradle. I will tell you how He seeks.
There was never a sermon which you have listened to but in it the Lord was seeking for you. Some of you might have been asleep while the preaching was going on, but He was seeking you while you slept. Have not some of you heard a sermon in which your conscience was troubled? You went away, but you came back again. The Spirit of God came upon you again and again, and you were troubled. Haven't you passed through that experience? That was the Son of God seeking for your soul.
You might have had a tract presented to you. You might have turned it off. It might have been headed with our same text. That was the Son of God seeking for your soul. He has used a four-page tract-sometimes just one page-to seek to convert a man.
He is seeking through the Bible. I contend that a man can find in every page of this Book that He is seeking him through His blessed Word. This is what the Bible is for-to seek out the lost.
He seeks through His works; He seeks through these ministers, through this building. What is this building for? That you may come and lay your sins right in this tabernacle-here where Christ is seeking for your souls. Do you think the Devil put it into the heads of those businessmen, in those times of great commercial depression, to put this building up?
It has not been put up to catch your money-no collection has been taken. It is not your money we are after: it is your soul.
Do you believe it was Satan who put it into the hearts of those ministers to preach the Word night after night? Was that the Devil's work? No. It is the Son of Man seeking for your souls. This building, these crowds ought to act as warnings to every man and woman walking these streets.
Another way He seeks you: In the silent midnight hour you have been troubled; you could not sleep. Your mind has been at work. The Son of Man has come into that bedroom. You have felt Him knocking at the door of your heart, and you knew it was to save you. Many of you have passed through that experience. In that hour, the Son of God has sought you.
Many of you, in the sickroom of the loved mother (or loved wife or dear child), have felt the knock at your heart. You have been summoned from your room in the stillness of the night and have been told your loved one has passed away. You recollect an incident like this in your life. At that moment your heart has told you, you ought to be a Christian. That was the Son of Man seeking you.
At the grave of some lost one too you have heard a voice whispering, "Consecrate yourself to Him." That was the Son of God seeking you. Many must have experienced this. There has not been a day that He has not sought for you, and He still seeks for you.
Forget for a moment the preacher, forget for a moment all your surroundings, and pause to ask yourself, "Has not the Son of Man sought for my soul?"
I will stress again that He seeks for you. Has not the Son of Man been abroad in this community?
Go to Farwell Hall and see the crowds who go there every day; look at the multitudes who nightly assemble here. They don't all come to hear Mr. Sankey sing nor to hear me preach, for there are many far better singers and preachers. It is the Spirit of God who brings them.
Many of you, while in church listening to the preaching, got mad at something said in the sermon, and you have gone out. That was the Son of Man seeking your soul.
While in Philadelphia a man with his wife came to our meetings. When he left the service, he wouldn't speak to his wife. She thought it was very strange but said nothing and went to bed thinking that in the morning he would be all right.
At breakfast, however, he would not speak a word. Well, she thought this strange, but she was sure he would have gotten over whatever was wrong with him by dinner.
The dinner hour arrived, and it passed without his saying a word.
At supper not a word escaped him, and he would not go with her to the meeting. Every day for a whole week the same thing went on.
But at the end of the week he could not stand it any longer, and he said to his wife, "Why did you write Mr. Moody and tell him all about me?"
"I never wrote to Mr. Moody in my life," said the wife.
"You did," he answered.
"You're mistaken. Why do you think that?"
"Well, then, I wronged you; but when I saw Mr. Moody picking me out among all those people and telling all about me, I was sure you must have written him."
It was the Son of Man seeking for him, my friends. And I hope there will be one here tonight who will feel that I am talking personally to him. May you feel that you are lost and that the Lord is seeking for you. When you feel this, it is an invitation for you to be saved.
When I was taking my family south last summer, I heard of a man who would not go to church but would go to a theater. He was a hard case-a drinking, swearing, gambling man. He heard that a minister was going to preach in a theater, so he went. When he heard the preacher, the man was convinced that he was preaching at him. He went out swearing and stamping. He told all the people outside that he had been insulted by the minister and intended to wait for him and give him a good licking.
When the minister came out, he was seized by the collar. The man greeted him by saying, "Sir, you have insulted me!"
"I don't know you, sir," said the minister.
"Why," replied the man, "you have picked me out among all those people and told them all about me."
It was the Spirit of God seeking him, and the result was that the Spirit got hold of him. Lately I heard he was going all through the South telling the people what God had done for him.
And, my friends, if you believe that anything I am saying applies to you personally, if you feel in your heart that you are a great sinner, it is the Son of God after you, seeking for your lost soul.
One word in this text I wish you to observe-the word "lost." I wish you could realize its meaning. If it were really understood, there would be no dry eye in this assembly, and one wail would go up from this hall to Heaven.
You pity men who have lost wealth; you pity men who suffered loss in the Chicago fire; you pity men who, once wealthy, are now almost starving. Such things naturally excite our sympathy. But what is all this loss of wealth to the loss of the soul?
You pity men who once occupied a great position in the world and who are now reduced to beggary. But what is the loss of position in comparison to the loss of the soul?
If a man loses wealth, character, reputation, he may gain it again; but oh, if he loses his soul, he can never regain it.
You pity those who have lost their children. You have, perhaps, been called to a funeral where the father and mother laid away their little child. You pity them; it is a terrible loss. But what is that loss in comparison to the loss of the soul? A little child born and taken into the loving bosom of Jesus is far better off than to have been reared and run the risk of losing his soul.
I was in an infirmary not long since where a mother brought a little child in. She said, "Doctor, my little child's eyes have not been opened for several days, and I would like you to do something for them."
The doctor got some ointment and put it first on one, then on the other, and pulled them open. "Your child is blind," said the doctor. "He will never be able to see."
At first the mother couldn't take it in, but after a little she cast an appealing look upon that physician, and in a voice full of emotion, said, "Doctor, you don't mean to say that my child will never see again?"
"Your child has lost his sight, and he will never see again," replied the doctor.
That mother gave a scream and drew that child to her bosom. "O my darling child," sobbed the woman, "are you never to see the mother who gave you birth? never to see the world again?"
I could not keep back the tears when I saw the terrible agony of that woman when she realized the misfortune that had come upon her child.
A terrible calamity, to grope in total darkness through the world, never to look upon the bright sky, the green fields; never to see the faces of loved ones; but what was it in comparison to the loss of a soul? I would rather have my eyes plucked out of my head and go down to my grave in total blindness than lose my soul.
In my native town one afternoon a man went out to see to his stock. Seven o'clock came, and he did not return; eight o'clock came, and there was no sign of him; nine o'clock came, and still he did not come.
It was a dark night. The news spread through the streets that the man must have been killed. When the news was flashed, people did not fold their arms and say they would wait till daylight to seek for him. The old and the young men saddled their horses instantly, lighted their torches and went forth into the darkness to find the lost one.
They found him in the pasture, dead. They brought him into the little village. I never saw a community so excited and so grieved.
But what was that-the cutting from a man's life of say twenty years-to the loss of a soul?
A drunkard may go on through life in his mad career and go down to the grave, and no one will weep for him. His life is one long day of misery. None care for him while living, and none notice his ending.
Christ came to save that soul. He stooped from the throne of Glory to the manger to bring that lost soul back again.
Oh, that you could realize what a lost soul is! He wants you to take the title of lost sinner: 'He came to seek and to save that which was lost.' And if a man will only know he is a sinner and cry from the depths of his heart, the Lord will come right to where he is.
Mr. Needham told me this afternoon of a little incident that happened to him and his wife while in Massachusetts. While at Essex, in that state, someone told him that if they went up to a point on a mountain they would get a view of the country for twenty miles around.
They went up to the rock and came down. They started for home. They got out of their path, but they treated this lightly, thought it was a good joke, and went on laughing. I suppose if anyone had come and warned them of danger, they would not have heeded the warning. But they went on. Six o'clock came, and at last darkness settled down upon them. Here they were in the wilderness. They found they had lost their road altogether.
For some time they groped their way through the woods, the darkness growing deeper and deeper. They found themselves more and more bewildered. At last Mr. Needham got to the top of a tree and shouted, "Lost! Lost!" His cry of distress reached the villagers, and they came with their lanterns and torches to rescue them.
Oh, that some poor soul will feel that he has wandered out of the true pathway and will cry, "Lost! Lost!" The Lord Jesus will hear you and come right down to where you sit. He is looking for you. And if there is one here who has gotten into the wilderness, let Jesus hear your cry, and He will find you. He came to this earth expressly to rescue you.
Is there a poor drunkard here tonight who wants to come? Christ can save a drunkard just as easily as I can turn my hand. He can turn that cup of liquor from you as easily as you turn to it now.
Is there a poor libertine here tonight who wants to curb his evil passions? Christ can save you. Oh, may the Son of Man find some poor victim here tonight! There will be joy in Heaven over that poor wanderer who shall come home!
While in an eastern town at the time of the loss of the Atlantic on the banks of Newfoundland, a businessman in the town was reported lost aboard the ship. His store was closed, and all his friends mourned him as among those who went down on that vessel. But a telegram was received from him by his partner with the word "Saved." That partner was filled with joy. The store was opened, and the telegram was framed. Go into that store today, and you will see that little bit of paper hanging on the wall with the word "Saved" on it.
Let the good news go over the wires to Heaven tonight from you-"Saved"-and there will be joy in Heaven.
You can be saved-the Son of Man wants to save you. He wants to save every soul within these walls-everyone willing to be saved.
There was among those who came to our meetings in New York a man who came every night but never seemed to get any light, never seemed to come any nearer God. I almost got tired of speaking with him.
But one night when some young men were giving their experiences, he got up. I wondered why, because the very last time I spoke to him he seemed more hopeless than ever. He got up and told how he had become a Christian. He said one day he was walking down Broadway and the street was crowded with people and carriages and horses. This thought came to him: If I only gave my consent, the Lord would save me. He said he gave it at once and he was accepted. (He was one of the most hopeless cases in the city.)
Give your consent and let the Lord save you in His own way. Give your consent, and He will meet you. Just say, "O Lord, I consent to be saved; will You save me?"
There is a very good story told of Rowland Hill and Lady Ann Erskine. You have seen it, perhaps, in print.
While he was preaching in a park in London to a large assemblage, she was passing in her carriage. She asked her footman when she saw Rowland Hill in the midst of the people: "Who is that man?"
"That is Rowland Hill, my lady."
She had heard a good deal about the man and thought she would like to see him, so she directed her coachman to drive near the platform. When the carriage came near, Rowland Hill saw the insignia of nobility and asked who that noble lady was. Upon being told, he said, "Stop, my friends, I have something to sell."
The idea of the preacher's becoming suddenly an auctioneer made the people wonder; but in the midst of a dead silence he said:
I have more than a title to sell; I have more than the crown of Europe to sell-it is the soul of Lady Ann Erskine. Is there anyone here who bids for it? Yes, I hear a bid. Satan, Satan, what will you give?
"I will give pleasure, honor, riches-yea, I will give the whole world for her soul."
Do you hear another bid? Is there any other one? Do I hear another bid? Ah, I thought so; I hear another bid. The Lord Jesus Christ, what will You give for this soul?
"I will give peace, joy, comfort that the world knows not of-yea, I will give eternal life."
Lady Ann Erskine, you have heard the two bidders for your soul. Which will you accept?
She ordered the door of her carriage to be opened. Then she came weeping from it and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ.
He, the great and mighty Saviour, is a bidder for your soul tonight. He offers you riches and comfort, joy and peace here and eternal life hereafter, while Satan offers you what he cannot give.
Poor lost soul, which will you have? Christ will ransom your soul if you put your burden upon Him.
Twenty-nine years ago I made up my mind that Jesus would have my soul, and I have never regretted the step. And no man has ever felt sorry for coming to Him.
When we accept Him, we will want to be like Him. Your sins may rise up as a mountain, but the Son of Man can purge you of them and take you right into the palaces of Heaven if you will only allow Him to save you.
A lady had a little child who was dying. She went into the room, and the child asked her, "What are those clouds and mountains that I see so dark?"
"Why, Eddy," said his mother, "there are no clouds or mountains; you must be mistaken."
"Oh yes, I see great mountains and dark clouds, and I want you to take me in your arms and carry me over the mountains."
"Ah," said the mother, "you must pray to Jesus: He will carry you safely."
The sainted mother, the praying wife may come to your bedside and wipe the damp sweat from your brow, but they cannot carry you over the Jordan when the hour comes.
This mother said to her little boy, "I am afraid unbelief is coming upon you, my child; so let us pray that the Lord will be with you in your dying moments."
The two prayed. But the boy turned to her and said, "Don't you hear the angels, Mother, over the mountains, calling for me, and I cannot go?"
"My dear boy, pray to Jesus, and He will come; He only can take you."
And the boy closed his eyes and prayed. When he opened them, a heavenly smile overspread his face as he said, "Jesus has come to carry me over the mountains!"
Dear sinners, Jesus is ready and willing to carry you over the mountains of sin and over your mountains of unbelief. Give yourselves to Him; only grant your consent. It lies with your own will, and if you accept His offer, from the clouds of your transgressions you shall be lifted into the Heaven of joy and peace that the world knows not of.
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