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of God if it wasn't for pride! He was too proud to go to the prophet. But pride, if you will allow me the expression, got a knock on the head on this occasion. It was a terrible thing for him to think of obeying, going down to the Jordan and dipping seven times. He had got better rivers in Damascus, in his own wisdom, and says, “Can I not wash there, and be clean ?" He was angry, but when he got over it he listened to his servants. I would rather see people angry than see them go to sleep. I would rather see a man get as angry as possible at anything that I may say than send him to sleep. When a man's asleep there's no chance of reaching him, but if he is angry we may get at him. It is a good thing for a man to get angry sometimes, for when he cools off he generally listens to reason. So his servant came to him and said "Suppose He had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it!" Probably had he told him to take cod liver oil for ten years he would have done it. If he had told him that he wanted as much money as Naaman had brought up, that would have been all right. But the idea of literally doing nothing-just to go down to Jordan and wash himself—it was so far below his calculations, that he thought he was being imposed upon. It is so in our days. How many people expect to get salvation by some sudden shock, some great event happening to them, or some sudden flash of light to break upon them. Some think that God's plan of salvation requires months to find out. They go on stumbling over its simplicity. And so his servant said: "If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? hadn't you just better go down and wash in Jordan ?" Perhaps he said: "If I go down to Jordan and am not cured, what will my enemies say when I go back to Damascus ?" But he was influenced by the servant, and he went. That was one good thing in Naaman's character—he was influenced by an humble messenger. A good many people won't accept a messenger, because he is not refined and cultured and educated. My friends, never mind who brings the message. It is the message you want, not the messenger. If a boy was to bring me a telegraphic message with good news, I wouldn't notice the boy, wouldn't look to see whether he was white or black. It would be the message I would want. And so it was with Naaman. It was a little Hebrew girl who first told him to come to Samaria, and now he was told to wash by his servant. So he goes down and dips into the waters. The first time he rose he said: "I'd just like to see how much my leprosy has gone." And he looks, but not a bit has left him. "Well, I'm not going to get rid of my leprosy in this way: this is absurd." 'Well," said the servant, "do just as the man of God tells you; obey him."
And this is just what we are told to do in the Scriptures, to obey Him. The first thing we have to learn is obedience. Disobedience was the pit Adam fell into, and we have to get out of it by obedience. Well, he goes into the water a second time. If some Chicago Christians had been there, they would have asked, sneeringly, "Well, how do you feel now ?" He didn't see that he was any better, and down he went a third time; but when he looked at himself, he had just as much leprosy as ever. Down he goes a fourth, fifth and sixth time. He looks at himself, but not a speck of it is removed. "I told you this," he says to his servant; "look here; I'm just the same as ever." But," says the servant, "you must just do what the man of God tells you to do-go down seven times." He takes the seventh plunge, and comes out. He looks at himself, and behold his flesh is as that of a little child. He says to his servant: "Why, I never felt as good as I do to-day. I feel letter than if I had won a great battle. Look! I'm cleansed. Oh, what a great day this is for me! The leprosy has gone." The waters to him had been as death and judgment, and he had come out resurrected -his flesh as that of a little child. I suppose he got into his chariot, and away he went to the man of God. He had lost his temper, he had lost his pride, and he had lost his leprosy. That is the way now. If a man will only lose his pride, he will soon see his leprosy disappear-the leprosy will go away with his pride. I believe the greatest enemies of men in this world are unbelief and pride. I believe hundreds and thousands in Chicago would press into the kingdom of God if it were not for their pride. He goes back to the man of God, and takes his silver and gold. He offers him money. "I don't want your money,' replies the prophet. If he had taken money, it would have spoiled the beautiful story. Naaman had to take back everything he brought from Damascus but his leprosy. The only thing that the sinner has that God wants is his sins, and if you let him take them to-night He will. Get rid of your leprosy; He will take it. Never mind your feelings. No soul in this audience will go down to the dark caverns if he is willing to obey God. And now the question comes to you all to-night, Will you obey Him? You haven't got to go a thousand miles away and dip into a Jordan, but just believe where you sitbelieve on the Lord Jesus Christ. "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Is there anything to hinder you from obeying God now? He will give you power to accept Him. Do you believe He would offer you salvation without giving you the power to obey Him? Don't go from this hall with any such delusion, my friends. Don't go home from this Tabernacle with this leprosy, thinking that you
cannot get rid of it. If sin is better to you, then, of course, hold on to it-if leprosy is worth more to you than to be purified, then keep it. Naaman could have gone back with his leprosy, if he hadn't met that prophet and gone down to Jordan. If you go out of the Tabernacle to-night without accepting him, you go out as a sinner, and if death comes, as it may, suddenly upon you, there is no assurance in the Bible that you can pass through the pearly gates. There is no leprosy there; you must leave it here. If a leper was to get into the kingdom of heaven, all heaven would be affected by him. There is a fountain opened in the house of David for the lepers. This night you can be saved if you will. The door is open-on the hinge; the battle is fought on this fact, if you will-not because you can't.
Oh, but you say, "I've tried." Naaman might have said, "I have tried " too. Probably he had tried all the physicians in his country, but Naaman couldn't be cured. He couldn't cure himself. When Christ said to that man who had a withered hand hanging at his side, "Stretch out thy hand," he might have said, "I've tried to stretch it out for twenty years, and I can't do it." But when the command was given him, the power came also. All that was wanted was the will of the man. My friends, if you don't accept the Gospel and obey it, and you go down to death, there is not a ray of hope that you will escape the punishment held out in the Bible. There is not a word in the Bible to lead you to believe that you will escape condemnation if you go down to the grave with that leprosy. Do you think, I ask again, that He will ask you to repent and accept eternal life without giving you the power? The moment you obey, that moment the blessing comes. Who will accept Him to-night? I wish I could believe for you all, but I cannot. I would have you all come into the kingdom of God to-night. One of two things you have got to do either accept the remedy He offers you, and be saved, or spurn the remedy, as Naaman was going to do, and go home with your sins. May God open your eyes to see the necessity of being saved by this great remedy. Let us pray
LET us work for the Saviour now,
Nor wait for the morrow's dawn;
And death's gloomy night come on.
For God and his kingdom here;
Nor shrinks when the danger's near,
'How to Study the Bible.”
NE thing I have noticed in studying the Word of God, and that is, when a man is filled with the Spirit, he deals largely with the Word of God; whereas, the man who is filled with his own ideas, refers rarely to the Word of God. He gets along without it, and you seldom see it mentioned in his discourses. A great many use it only as a text book. They get their text from the Bible, and go on without any further allusion to it; they ignore it; but when a man is filled with the Word, as Stephen was, he cannot help speaking Scripture. You will find that Moses was contantly repeating the commandments; you will find too, that Joshua, when he came across Jordan with his people, there they stood, and the law of the Lord God was read to them, and you will find all through Scripture the man of God dealing much with His Word. Why, you will find Christ constantly referring to them, and saying: "Thus saith the Scriptures." Now, as old Dr. Bonner, of Glasgow, said, "the Lord didn't tell Joshua how to use the sword, but He told him how to meditate upon the Lord day and night, and then he would have good success." When we find a man meditating on the word of God, my friends, that man is full of boldness and is successful. And the reason why we have so little success in our teaching, is because we know so little of the Word of God. You must know it, and have it in your heart. A great many have it in their head and not in their heart. If we have the Spirit of God in our heart, then we have something to work upon. He does not use us because He is not in us. Know, as we come to this word to-day as Mr. Sankey has been singing:
No word He hath spoken
Let us take this thought in John x., 35, "and the Scripture cannot be broken." There is a great deal of infidelity around, and it has crept into many of the churches, too. These doubters take up the Bible and wonder if they can believe it all-if it is true from back to back, and a good many things in it they believe are not true. I have a good deal of admiration for that colored man who was approached by some infidel-some sceptical man and who told him; "Why, the Bible is not true; all
scientific men tell us that now; its only a bundle of fables." "Bible ain't true?" replied the colored man; "Why, I was a blasphemer an' a drinker, an' dat book jest made me stop swearin', drinkin', lyin', an' blasphemin', an' you say 'tain't true." My friends, the black man had the best of the argument. Do you think if the Bible was a bad book it would make men good? Do you think if it was a false book it would make men good? And so let us take our stand on the colored man's platform and be convinced that it is true. When we take it into our hands, let us know that it is the Word of God and try to understand it. Many of the passages appear to us difficult to understand, but if we could understand it clearly from back to back at first, it would be as a human book, but the very fact that we cannot understand it all at once, is the highest proof that it is the Word
Now, another thought is, that a great many people read it, but they read it as a task. They say, "Well, I've read it through, I know all that's in it," and lay it aside. How many people prefer the morning paper in order to get News. They prefer it, but it is a false idea. This Bible is the only newspaper. It tells you all that has taken place for the last 6,000 years, and it tells you all the news of the future. Why, 1,700 years before Christ, the people were told in it of the coming of Christ. They knew He was coming. The daily papers could not tell us of this. They may be written by learned men, brilliant editorial writers, but they couldn't have told this. If you want news, study the Bible-the blessed old Bible, and you will find it has all the news of the world.
Now we come to the question, How to study it? A great many read it as I used to read it just to ease my conscience. I had a rule before I was converted to read two chapters a day. If I didn't do it before I retired, I used to jump out of bed and read them, but if you had asked me fifteen minutes after what I had read, I could not have told you. Now this is the trouble with many-they read with the head and not with the heart. A man may read his Bible, but when he has closed it you may ask him what chapter he read last, and he cannot tell you. He sometimes puts a mark in it to tell him; without the mark he don't know, his reading has been so careless. It is to keep him from reading it again. Just as I used to do when hoeing corn. I used to put up a stick in the furrow to mark the place where I had hoed last. A good many people are just like this. They pick up a chapter here, and there is no connection in their reading, and consequently don't know anything about the word of God. If we want to understand it we've got to study it-read it on our knees, asking the Holy Ghost to give us the understand