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Behold

WANT to call your attention to-night to this little word

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'Behold." "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity." I want to speak to you for a few minutes about this one word, and e you cannot forget a simple text with only one word in it. The first thing a man has to learn in coming for salvation is that he has fallen in the sight of God; to know that none are pure in His sight. You have to learn that you are born bad, before you can even approach Him. "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity." Now, a man needn't live a great number of years before he finds that out. Whenever he comes to God, he will discover this. Every one who has ever taken a prominent place in the Bible has found this out. They might have thought themselves good enough before they came to God, but the moment they came to Him, they discovered that they were shapen in iniquity. I suppose Isaiah thought he was as good as most men in his day, and perhaps he was a good deal better than most men, but when he saw the Lord he cried: "Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips." When he saw the Lord, he saw his own deformity, and he fell in the dust before the Lord. And that is the proper place for a sinner. As I have said before, until men realize their uncleanness they talk of their own righteousness, but the moment they catch a sight of Him, their mouth is stopped. If we hear a man talking about himself, we may be sure that he has not seen God. Look at that man, Daniel. Not a thing can be found against him, but see when he came within sight of God, he found that his comeliness turned to corruption. And look at Job, One would have thought he was all right. He was good to the poor, liberal to all charities-not a better man within a thousand miles. If they wanted to get $1,000 to endow a university, $1,000 to build a synagogue, if they wanted to have $1,000 for any charitable object, why he was the man. Why, you would have liked to get him into your Presbyterian, or Methodist, or Baptist Churches; if you wanted a chairman of a benevolent society, you couldn't have found a better man. Yet look at him when God came near him. It is altogether different when He comes within our sight. It is one thing to hear Him and another thing to see Him. We have heard Him with his ears, but now he

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saw Him with his eyes, and then he was silent. You couldn't get another word from him. Before he saw Him he could argue and talk about Him to his friends-could argue as well as they could; but the moment Job saw Him he was silent. When he said, "Gird up thy loins like a man.' From that time he put no more questions to Him. He had got a lesson. No man can come into His kingdom tell he knows he is vile, till he sees Him. He must come down to that. That is God's alphabet. Many men want to begin at z, and don't wan't to begin at a, b. A man must commence at the beginning and learn there is not one thing good in the flesh. It is corrupt. As Paul said, "There is nothing good in it.” We have Adam's flesh, and it is bad. God has said so. He cannot find anything good in it, and if He cannot, let us give up trying to find good spots in it. It is guilty, it is corrupt, it is false, it is at enmity with God. There is evil in it all through.

My friends, if you have learned the lesson, I have good tidings for you. You best know if you have. There is good tidings for you. The voice comes down from heaven: "Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour." That is the best news that ever came down from heaven-the best news that ever fell on the ears of man. Of course, if a man does not believe, he is ruined, he cannot appreciate the news; but to the man who knows he is ruined, this is the best tidings that can come to him. The gospel tells you plainly that you are lost, but let me tell every one in this hall to-night that I bring you good news. It is the gospel of peace, it is a gospel of glad tidings, it is a gospel of joy, it is a gospel of reconciliation. And all a man has got to do is to believe this gospel and be saved. A great many people have got a false idea from the preaching of the gospel. Some think when we preach the gospel it means condemnation. They shout as did those men in the tombs, when he came to them: "Have ye come to torment us before our time ?" So, men, don't believe we bring goodness.

When I was in Glasgow I heard a story of old Dr. Arnott. He heard of a poor woman in great distress. She was poor, and her landlord was after her for the rent. He put some money in his pocket and started for her house. When he reached it he knocked at the door, but got no answer. He knocked again, but none came. He waited and waited and knocked, but could not get any one to come, and left. A day or two afterward he met the woman on the street, and said: "I heard you were in distress, and could not pay your rent. I came to the door the other day, but I found no one in your house." The woman threw up both her hands. "Why, I thought it was the landlord; I had the door locked and bolted." She thought it was

the landlord after her rent. And people think when Jesus Christ comes to them, He comes to demand something. "Why," said a young man, "I would like to become a Christian, but I would have to give up so much." Why, that is a ridiculous idea. When you receive Christ, you receive everything. You are in the position of a beggar. You give up your rags and put on a brand new suit. You give up nothing and receive everything. The idea of a man being so deceived! Do you think the Lord Jesus Christ comes to you to torment you? Ask those men who have received Him, if this be so. Ask those who have been deceived for forty or fifty years by Satan, and who have accepted Him. They will tell you they have enjoyed more peace and happiness in the last few days than they have in all those years put together. I heard a Christian saying that he had enjoyed more happiness the first day he accepted Christ than he did in all the previous years of his life. Now, my friends, God don't want to take anything from you. He wants to give you everything that is good for your happiness. Now, I have two little children, and I wouldn't like to give them anything but what would be good for them. So the God of heaven wants to keep nothing from us but that which will ruin us. The Son of God has come into the world to bless us. Look at that Sermon on the Mount. It is filled with the word blessed, blessed, blessed. I think it occurs nine times. His heart was full of blessings for the people. He had to get it out before he gave His sermon. Don't believe He came to make you miserable. That is one of the devil's lies. Don't believe He has come to torment you. I heard some time ago of a little book upon a passage of Scripture-I didn't know there was such a passage-which occurred in the history of David and Mephibosheth. You know, one day Jonathan and David were together, and Jonathan said: “David, I want you to make a vow." I suppose it had been revealed to Jonathan that he was to take his place. Instead of his heart being filled with jealousy he loved him as a brother. "Now, I want you to make a vow that when you get my father's throne, if any of my father's house are alive, that you will show them kindness." "Why, yes, Jonathan," replies David, "I will; I would do it for your sake alone." Well, time went on. You know how Saul persecuted David, and drove him into the cave of Adullam; and if he could have caught him you know how he would have slain him. News came to him that the Israelites were routed and that Saul and Jonathan were slain, and David came up to Hebron and reigned for seven and a-half years, and came after this up to Jerusalem. I can see him in his palace in the height of his power, and the recollection of the old vow he made to Jonathan suddenly comes upon him. His conscience

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tells him he has made a vow to his old friend Jonathan which he has not kept. I can see him order in one of his servants. “Do you know if there are any of Saul's house alive?" "Well, I don't know, but there is an old servant of Saul's, Ziba." David orders him in, and asks: Are any of Saul's house alive, because if there is I want to show kindness to them." I can imagine the expression of his face. The idea of David showing kindness to any of Saul's house-to Saul, who wanted to slay him, and who persecuted him. "Well, yes," the servant answers, "there is a son of Jonathan living." "What!" he cries, "a son of my old friend Jonathan: where is he?" "He was at Lo-debar, the last I heard of him." Now, you may have been a great traveller, and yet you have never heard of Lo-debar. You may have been all around the world and still you have not heard of Lo-debar. You may work in the post-office and you have never heard of Lo-debar-never saw a letter directed to that place. Still that is the place where everyone of Adam's sons have been. Every one has been in Lo-debar. Every backslider is there. When David heard where he was, he sent down to bring up Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth. See that chariot sweeping through the town. "Why, the king's chariot is here," the people say. What does it mean ?" We are told that this poor prince was lame, and I can see the poor lame prince as he comes out to meet the servant. What is it ?" he inquires. "King David has sent for you," the servant replies. I can see the prince trembling from head to foot when he hears this. He thinks King David wants to slay him; he thinks he is just going to cut off his head. That's the way with sinners. They think that God stands behind them with a double-whetted sword ready to annihilate them. The servant says: "I want you to come down and see the king." replies the prince, "I tell you that means death to me." Just as a good many sinners in Chicago think. "But," continues the servant, "he has sent me, and wants you to come;" and he gets him into the carriage and on to the highway, through the streets and unto the palace of the king. As soon as he enters he is brought into the presence of the king. The king looks upon him and sees upon his brow the image of Jonathan, and says to Mephibosheth, "I will show thee kindness for thy father's sake, and I will restore unto thee all Saul's possessions, and thou shalt sit at the King's table." He restores to the lame prince the inheritance he lost, and then gives him a place at the king's table. That is the gospel. God wants you to come up from Lo-debar to Jerusalem and take your inheritance. The moment you come from your Lo-debar to the city of peace that moment you will learn the glad tidings.

"But,"

Now, there is another "behold." We find it here in the first chapter of John, and I want to call your attention to it. "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." Now, every sin which you have committed can be forgottenevery sin which has been committed during the past eighteen hundred years can be forgiven by Him. Now look at His lifelook at Him from the manger to Calvary, and see if you can find any flaw in Him. You hear people talking about the imperfections of Christians, and making this an excuse for not accepting Him. They point to some of them, and say they have done this and that; but, my friends, it is impossible to find a perfect Christian. They will not be perfect till they arrive in the kingdom of the Master and they are washed in the blood of the Lamb. Lift your eyes from off these puny Christians-from off these human ministers, and look to Christ. He is the Saviour of the world. He came from the throne to this earth: He came from the very bosom of the father. God gave Him up freely for us, and all we have to do is to accept Him as our Saviour. Look at Him at Gethsemane, sweating as it were great drops of blood: look at Him on the Cross, crucified between two thieves; hear that piercing cry, "Father, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do ;" and as you look into that face, as you look into those wounds on His feet or His hands, will you say, He has not the power to save you? Will you say He has not the power to redeem you? Look into His face. Can you say the Lamb of God will not take away your sins ? All you have to do is to accept Him, and they are all forgiven. A great many people want to bring their faith, their works, their good deeds to Him for salvation. Bring your sins and He will bear them away into the wilderness of forgetfulness, and you will never see them again.

There is another "behold," and a very important one: It is a "behold" of Paul: "Behold, now is the accepted time." Now some people may listen to this carelessly. "Why, we have heard that from childhood up. 'Now is the accepted time.' We don't like that forced upon us, as if this was the only time to be saved." Suppose I say, "Behold, ten years hence will be the accepted time," wouldn't you think I had gone mad. You would say, 66 I might die before that time." You know that it is now. You cannot roll back the wheel of time. Every hour that passes is gone forever. You cannot look forward ten years. You may be in eternity then. You cannot say the future is yours. The only time we have is now. "Behold, now is the accepted time," and salvation is offered you to-night, and God wants you to take it. How many have been swept into eternity since we began to hold our meetings in the Tabernacle.

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