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Turning to another, he said: "Leap into yonder
saw him dashed to pieces at the bottom. Then turning
A fearful storm was raging, when the cry was heard, "Man overboard!" A human form was seen manfully breasting the furious elements in the direction of the shore; but the raging waves bore the struggler rapidly outward, and, ere the boats could be lowered, a fearful space separated the victim from help. Above the shriek of the storm and roar of the waters rose his rending cry. It was an agonizing moment. With bated breath and blanched cheek, every eye was strained to the struggling man. Manfully did the brave rowers strain every nerve in that race of mercy; but all their efforts 'were in vain. One wild shriek of despair, and the victim went down. A piercing cry, "Save him, save him!" rang through the hushed crowd; and into their midst darted an agitated man, throwing his arms wildly in the air, shouting, "A thousand pounds for the man
who saves his life!" but his starting eye rested only on the spot where the waves rolled remorselessly over the perished. He whose strong cry broke the stillness of the crowd was Captain of the ship from whence the drowned man fell, and was his brother. This is the feeling we want to have in the various ranks of those bearing commission under the great Captain of our salvation. "Save him! he is my brother."
The fact is, men do not believe in Christianity because they think we are not in earnest about it. In this same Epistle to the Ephesians the Apostle says we are to be "living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men. I never knew a time when Christian people were ready to go forth and put in the sickle, but there was a great harvest. Wherever you put in the sickle you will find the fields white. The trouble is there are so few to reap.
God wants men and women; that is something far better than institutions. If a man or a woman be really in earnest, they will not wait to be put on some committee. If I saw a man fall into the river, and he was in danger of drowning, I would not wait until I was placed on some committee before I tried to save him. Many people say they cannot work because they have not been formally appointed. They say: "It is not my parish." I asked a person one day, during our last visit to London, if he would go and work in the inquiry room. The reply was: "I do not belong to this part of London." Let us look on the whole world as our
If God puts any one
parish, as a great harvest field. within our influence, let us tell them of Christ and heaven. The world may rise up and say that we are
mad. In my opinion no one is fit for God's service `until he is willing to be considered mad by the world. They said Paul was mad. I wish we had many more who were bitten with the same kind of madness. As some one has said: "If we are mad, we have a good Keeper on the way and a good Asylum at the end of the road."
One great trouble is that people come to special revival meetings, and for two or three weeks, perhaps, they will keep up the fire, but by and by it dies out. They are like a bundle of shavings with kerosene on the top-they blaze away for a little, but soon there is nothing left. We want to keep it all the time, morning, noon and night. I heard of a well once that was said to be very good, except that it had two faults. It would freeze up in the winter, and it would dry up in the summer. A most extraordinary well, but I am afraid there are many wells like it. There are many people who are good at certain times; as some one has expressed it, they seem to be good "in spots." What we want is to be red hot all the time. Do not wait till some one hunts you up. People talk about striking while the iron is hot. I believe it was Cromwell who said that he would rather strike the iron and make it hot. So let us keep at our post, and we will soon grow warm in the Lord's work.
Let me say a few words specially to Sabbath-school teachers. Let me urge upon you not to be satisfied with merely pointing the children away to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are so many teachers who go on sowing the seed, and who think they will reap the harvest by and by; but they do not look for the harvest
now. I began to work in that way, and it was years before I saw any conversions. I believe God's method is that we should sow with one hand and reap with the other. The two should go on side by side. The idea that children must grow into manhood and womanhood before they can be brought to Jesus Christ is a false one. They can be led to Christ now in the days of their youth, and they can be kept, so that they may become useful members of society, and be a blessing to their parents, to the Church of God, and to the world. If they are allowed to grow up to manhood and womanhood before they are led to Christ, many of them will be dragged into the dens of vice; and instead of being a blessing they will be a curse to society.
What is the trouble throughout Christendom to-day, in connection with the Sabbath-school? It is that so many when they grow up to the age of sixteen or so, drop through the Sabbath-school net, and that is the last we see of them. There are many young men now in our prisons who have been Sabbath scholars. The cause of that is, that so few teachers believe the children can be converted when they are young. They do not labor to bring them to a knowledge of Christ, but are content to go on sowing the seed. Let a teacher resolve that, God helping him, he will not rest until he sees his whole class brought into the kingdom of God; if he thus resolves he will see signs and wonders inside of thirty days.
I well remember how I got waked up on this point. I had a large Sunday-school with a thousand children. I was very much pleased with the numbers. If they only kept up or exceeded that number I was delighted;
if the attendance fell below a thousand I was very much troubled. I was all the time aiming simply at numbers. There was one class held in a corner of the large hall. It was made up of young women, and it was more trouble than any other in the school. There was but one man who could ever manage it and keep it in order. If he could manage to keep the class quiet I thought it was about as much as we could hope for. The idea of any of them being converted never entered my mind.
One Sabbath this teacher was missing, and it was with difficulty that his substitute could keep order in the class. During the week the teacher came to my place of business. I noticed that he looked very pale, and I asked what was the trouble. "I have been bleeding at the lungs," he said, "and the docter tells me I cannot live. I must give up my class and go back to my widowed mother in New York State." He fully believed he was going home to die. As he spoke to me his chin quivered, and the tears began to flow. I noticed this and said: "You are not afraid of death, are you?" "Oh, no, I am not afraid to die, but I will meet God, and not one of my Sabbath-school scholars is converted. What shall I say?" Ah, how different things looked when he felt he was going to render an account of his stewardship.
I was speechless. It was something new to me to hear any one speak in that way. I said: "Suppose we go and see the scholars and tell them about Christ." "I am very weak," he said, "too weak to walk." I said I would take him in a carriage. We took a carriage and went round to the residence of every scholar.