Christ says, “I did not come to destroy men’s lives. I came to save them.” And it seems to me to be the greatest madness that the world doesn’t receive Christ. That we should have to coax and to entreat men to receive Christ, isn’t it a mystery? Suppose, while I am preaching, a messenger should come in and bring a letter that brought good tidings to that mother. Don’t you suppose she would be glad to receive it? Suppose it told her that her boy that has been gone for ten years has returned? He ran away ten years ago, and the messenger comes in and states that he that ran away has got home. Don’t you think that mother’s face would light up, so I could see it in her countenance? And so, when I preach the gospel, I can’t help but see those that believe. The joy lights up their faces. Look at our churches, how the people throng to them to hear the gospel. Let a man preach about something else than the gospel, and see if the people would throng to them. There is a void in everyone’s heart, and that will never be filled until they receive the gospel of Christ.
Now, I want to tell you why I like the gospel; for I don’t believe God calls on us to believe the gospel without giving us good reason; and I don’t believe he would call it good news unless he gave us a reason. It has taken out of my path four of the most bitter enemies I had. The 15th chapter of Corinthians tells us that the last enemy that shall be destroyed shall be death. I see by the badges of mourning among you that many of you have lost loved ones. Many of you know what it is to have death come to your door, when some loved child has been taken from your bosom. Now, I don’t know but some of you will say, “If a person is afraid of death, he is a coward.” I don’t believe there is a man or woman that ever lived who is not afraid of death, unless they knew that Jesus Christ would overcome death. Before I knew the Son of God as my Savior, death was a terrible enemy to me. Now, up in that little New England village where I came from, it was the custom to toll out the bell whenever anyone died, and to toll one stroke for every year. Sometimes they would toll out seventy strokes for a man of seventy, or forty strokes for a man of forty. I used to think when they died at seventy, and sometimes at eighty, well, that is a good ways off. But sometimes it would be a child at my age; and then it used to be very solemn. Sometimes I could not bear to sleep in a room alone. Death used to trouble me; but thanks to God, it doesn’t trouble me now. If he should send his messenger, and the messenger should come up here on this platform and say to me, “Mr. Moody, your hour is come; I have got to take you away,” it would be joyful news for me; for though I should be absent from the body, I should be present with the Lord. Through the world I can shout, “O death, where is thy sting. And I hear the voice, I hear the voice—buried in the bosom of the Son of God.” That is what Calvary means. “The wages of sin is death,” but he took the wages himself. That is the gospel of the Son of God, and there is no fear for them who believe in Christ Jesus. There was Paul; he had got virtually over death. Let death come—”O death, where is thy sting?” Sometimes I used to go into a grave-yard when someone was about to lie down in that narrow house; and when the sexton would shovel and throw dirt in on the coffin, it would be like a death-knell to my soul. I would hear him say, “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.” Now I can measure its depths. I can shout as Paul did; I can say, “O death, where is thy sting?” But this soul of man shall go into the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Oh, the grave is lost in victory. It is lost in Christ.
Away out on the frontier of our country, out on the prairies where men sometimes go to hunt, or for other purposes, the grass in the dry season sometimes catches fire. You will see the flames uprise twenty or thirty feet high; and you will see those flames rolling over the western desert, faster than any fleet horse can run. Now what do the men do? They know it is sure death, unless they can make some escape. They would try to run away, perhaps, if they had fleet horses. But they can’t; that fire goes faster than the fleetest horse can run. What do they do? Why, they just take a match and they light the grass from it; and away it burns, and then they get into that burnt district. The fire comes on: and there they stand perfectly secure. There they stand perfectly secure—nothing to fear. Why? Because the fire has burned all there is to burn. Take your stand there on Mount Calvary. The gospel of Jesus Christ is to “Whosoever will come.” I thank God that I can come to this city of New York with a gospel that is free to all. It is free to the most abandoned. Still, it may be there are some wives that have got discouraged and disheartened. I can tell you the joyful news that your husband and sons have not gone so far but that the grace of God can save them. The Son of God came to raise up the most abandoned. I noticed, on my way down this morning, not less than four or five tramps. They looked weary and tired; I suppose they had slept on the sidewalk last night. I thought I would like to have time just to stop and tell them about the Son of God, and how Christ loved them. The gospel of the Son of God is to tell us how he loves us. He takes our feet out of the pit, and he puts our feet on to the Rock of Ages. And that, my dear friends, is what Christ wants to do; and don’t think that there isn’t someone in your homes but that he wants to save. Tell them there is none too abandoned, none so young, none so fallen, but that God can save them.
~ This is from “The Gospel I” in The Gospel Awakening