3:17, I read, "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark
them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample." In 1 Thess.
1:6, 7. "And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord,
having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the
Holy Ghost: so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in
Macedonia and Achaia." In 1 Cor. 11:1, "Be ye followers of me,
even as I also am of Christ." And in Phil. 4:9, "Those things
which ye have both learned , and received, and heard, and seen
in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."
These four texts introduce the subject that I feel the Lord
will be pleased to have me present to you. I realize the
solemnity of the occasion and my responsibility before God.
Never in my entire ministry have I felt more utterly helpless,
more dependent upon God. I desire that God will get glory by
the presentation of his truth, and that when this service is
ended, we shall all be enlightened, helped, and benefited.
Place and Mission of the Church...
We're saved, not merely to escape hell and gain heaven, but
to fill the place and perform the work that God has assigned
us. Many people have no higher ideas, and it seems that their
comprehension of a Christian life and experience reaches no
farther, than simply that God has saved them that they may
escape the punishment and the damnation of hell, and to be so
unspeakably happy as at last to gain and enjoy the bliss of
heaven through an endless eternity. It's true that, when we're
saved from sin, we're saved from hell; we're saved from that
punishment that really was due us and that we justly merited
because of our rebellion against the law of God. I'm glad to
say that every one who's a possessor of salvation is not only
saved from his past life of sin, not only saved from what
might have happened in the future of his life here should he
have continued in sin, but, thank God, saved from the
punishment of an uinending hell. Salvation comprehends that,
and, moreover, it grants us heaven and all its glory. But
there's more in it than this. We have a mission to fulfil. I
pray God to lay the responsibility of that mission upon our
hearts and to help us to fulfil it, realizing that we're
traveling to the judgment and are soon to meet a just God,
who'll require of us that which is committed into our charge.
What, then, is our mission?
Exhibiting the Character of Christ...
When saved, we're to exhibit his holiness, purity, and
righteousness before the eyes of all with whom we come in
contact. That's what we're here for. Jesus Christ isn't here
in person, but his church represents him in the world, and is
intended to be a medium through which he can disseminate light
and truth and salvation to the darkened hearts of men and
women. When people behold our lives, they should see Jesus.
That's what Paul meant when he said, "For me to live is
Christ; and to die is gain." There needs to be less of self
and more of the Christ-life. More "Christ within" and more
Christ "put on." "Christ in you the hope of glory." We need to
be filled with the spirit, love, and power of Jesus Christ
every day we live. Thus we shall scatter smiles and sunshine
all along life's pathway.
Attracting Men to Christ...
O brothers and sisters, are we living so that we may
attract men to Christ? Jesus said, "Let your light so shine
before men that they may see your good works and glorify your
Father which is in heaven." What a responsible position! and
yet, that's our place in the world. As people see the life of
Christ demonstrated in us, they'll be won to him. They'll see
the Christ life in us, and it'll make them hungry to attain to
the higher and better life. There's as much difference between
the life of the holy and pure and those who live in sin as
there is between heaven and hell.
Some people, when they get saved, remark, "I wish people
wouldn't watch me so closely." Well, that's what we're saved
for. When we get saved and step out before the world, we're
like the man who goes to the fair with his products and puts
them on exhibition. He doesn't take the poorest products, but
puts on exhibition the very best. And if his potatoes take the
premium, people say to each other, "Let's get some of those,"
and ask such questions as, "What variety is this?" "How many
did you raise to the acre?" They want some for seed. The
manufacturer who takes his sewing-machine or his reaper or
whatever the product of his factory may be, puts on exhibition
the very best he has. The machine that does the best work and
takes first premium will attract people's attention. Wives
will say to their husbands, "Did you notice such and such a
machine? It took the premium. Say, when we get a machine,
let's get that kind." We're like the sewing-machine or reaper
on exhibition. God has put us before the world on exhibition.
People come and look. They have a right to examine our lives
and to scrutinize them very closely, very minutely. The Bible
says that we're a gazing-stock. As people look at us, they see
Jesus. They see something better than this old world of sin
offers, and so they say, "If ever I get religion, I want his
kind." Oh say, there's a reality in this. I pray God to help
us as individuals and as the collective body of the church in
the world to feel more keenly this responsible position in
which God has placed us. Let's do our very best, by the help
and grace of God, to exhibit publicly that pure life of
Christ, so that men may be attracted to him. "Ye are the
epistle of Christ, known and read of all men."
People, generally speaking, don't read their Bibles. Go to
the homes of the people, and you'll find a thousand newspapers
to one Bible. While riding on the cars, how many people have
you seen reading their Bibles? People read the papers, but not
the Bible. Don't misunderstand me, I don't discourage reading
newspapers. But if people read the Bible half as much as they
do the papers, they'd be better acquainted with it. To worldly
people, the Bible's a dry book. They're not interested in it.
But there's one thing they do read, and that's our life.
That's one thing everybody reads. Says one, "I thought I lived
to myself." No man lives to himself. The eyes of the world are
turned upon us. We're a gazing-stock, "a spectacle unto the
world, and to angels, and to men." We're to step out before
the world, so that when they read our life, they read the
Bible---the Word of God. If they'll not read the written Word,
they'll read it in us. They can read the living epistle, the
life of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Bible before their
very eyes. And the people expect to do that.
In the sectarian realm of dead, formal worship, men can do
many things that are wrong, and people think nothing about it.
Sectarians can get angry, fight, lie, swear, and quarrel at
home with their wives, and so forth, and little attention is
given to it. They can chew, smoke, and live like the world,
and nothing is thought about it. But let one of God's saints
deviate one iota from the plain path of divine truth, and it
creates a general stir. People will say, "Did you hear what
John Jones did?" Why do they expect so much more of us?
Becasue we profess a higher life. Oh that God will make us
feel the responsibility of living a Christian life!
Demonstrate before the world the life and character of Jesus,
so that as they see our life, they'll read the Bible just as
it is. I wonder how many of us have been converted and led to
Christ as the result of the godly life of others?
Adorning the Doctrine of Christ...
I heard the present truth a good many years before I fully
accepted and embraced it. There were a few folks in our
community that did embrace it. Their lives were such that they
convinced me there was something in it. When the preacher came
around to preach it, what made it beautiful to me was to see
men that lived it out before my eyes---the very truth
preached. They confirmed the truth; they beautified the gospel
to me. As a result of their lives, my heart was won to Christ.
I remember that when I was a young man, I said, "If ever I get
religion, I want their kind." I carried that conviction in my
heart until I got ready to surrender myself to God.
Paul, says, "Adorn the doctrine of God our Savior." We
sometimes sing, "Are you adorning the doctrine?" Do you know
what that means? Do you know what's comprehended in that Bible
truth? How do we do that? By our experience and life. To the
general class of men in the world, there's very little in the
Bible, of interest. You can hardly attract their attention to
it, for their minds are filled with so many other things. Do
you know what will make the truth of that book beautiful and
attractive? Our having the experience it teaches, and living
the truth of it right out before them.
In a series of meetings held in Nebraska (by Brother Speck,
I believe) two men came to the altar, one kneeling at one end
of the bench and the other at the farther end. Both confessed
that they had a very humiliating duty to perform. Finally each
promised to do all that God required, and they were both
gloriously canverted. The next morning one hunted up a stolen
ax and started for his neighbor's house. When he was about
half way, be met his neighbor with a log-chain. They exchanged
greetings, both praising God that they'd found Christ. Then
the one began, in shame, to confess that he'd stolen his
neighbor's ax, and the other confessed that he'd stolen his
neighbor's long-chain. They asked each other's forgiveness,
exchanged goods in the middle of the road, and each took his
own tool home. Don't you think that when those brethren
afterwards met in meeting, they had confidence in each other?
That's adorning the doctrine of restitution.
About twenty years ago, while I was conducting a series of
meetings in Indiana Co., Pa., an old gray-haired man came to
the altar. It seemed he couldn't find God. As we talked to
him, he finally said, "Wife and I raised a big family of
children, and in our old days we got to quarreling and
fighting, and as a result, separated. She has one farm and I
have another." They'd lived apart for about time years. I
said, "I'll tell you...you need to go and get reconciled with
your wife." "No , sir," he replied, "She was to blame. Mean
woman, I couldn't live with her." I said, "The idea of you and
that woman living together and raising up a family of
children, and now in your old days separating. You go and be
reconciled to that wife of yours." Finally he said he would.
The next night the house was filled with people, and the altar
was filled with seekers. As we pressed the invitation, I saw
an old man coming down the aisle and an old lady following
after him. They knelt down side by side at the altar. It was
this man and his wife. Soon they were both weeping, each
crying out, "I'm to blame!" "I'm to blame!" "O God, forgive!"
As they confessed their sins, God gloriously saved them. It
was a happy reconciliation, and they lived together a number
of years after that. Many happy seasons did my wife and I
spend in their home. Their home was truly a happy one. They
both died in the faith. That's what beautifies the doctrine.
There's some claiming salvation, who, when you cross them,
are like a cat when you brush its hair the wrong way; they're
ready for a fight. O there's nothing like that in us when we
get real salvation and grow up 'n mature spiritually. There's
peace. That old nature, the flesh, is overcome by divine
strength. There's no room for jealousy, envy, evil surmising,
hatred, pride, and retaliation. The love of God is shed abroud
in our heart. We'll love our worst enemies with a sweet tender
affection. We'll be able to manifest it in our looks and in
our tone of voice. There's some who can look daggers at you.
True mature Christians will look as sweet...and their tone of
voice can be as calm under pressure as at any other time.
That's adorning the doctrine.
Right Example As To Unity...
When we preach and profess unity, let's show it in our
lives. Let's stand for the unity of the Bible. Let's stand
against division of every kind and live in the bonds of peace,
so that, with the primitive church, we'll all be of one heart
and soul, and present to the world a blood-washed army of
soldiers of the cross. Adorn the doctrine of unity. The
apostles "were all of one accord in one place," and "the
multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one
soul." That blessed demonstration of unity in the primitive
church convinced the world and also resulted in the
manifestation of the power of God. God help us to demonstrate
it before the world. Stand for the unity that belongs to the
church universally. That doesn't mean that the saints of one
or two states should get together, nor that two or three or a
dozen preachers should have a little unity of their own. It
means that we're to be in unity with the body entire. You'll
find me with the body entire. I'm a member of that, as well as
of the assembly where I live. "By this shall all men know that
ye are my disciples, if you have love one for another."
The Importance of Right Living...
"Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and
heard, and seen in me, do." "Be ye followers of me, even as I
also am of Christ." The duty of every man and woman in the
church is to live right. I want to impress upon you the
importance of right living: first, in the home; secondly, in
the church; and thirdly, before the world at large. I want you
to listen attentively. Don't receive this merely as the word
of man, but as the word of God. I'm only God's messenger and a
very unworthy messenger at that.
In The Home...
The Apostle Paul said, "Show piety at home." The first
place to demonstrate that we're a Christian is in our home.
People who don't live right at home are not fit to profess
abroad. Many people come to camp-meeting and when the rich
blessings fall, wonder why they don't get thier share? Their
troubles at home hinder.
Husbands should be examples to their wives, and wives shoud
be examples to their husbands. We, of course, have human
weaknesses and difficulties to overcome; but when it comes to
the main principles in life, we can live right. We can command
the confidence and the respect of our wife or our husband.
Sometimes a husband will say to the preachers that have come
into his neighborhood, "I wish you brethren would go to my
home and talk to my wife. I should be so much rejoiced if
she'd get saved. Will you go home with me?" The ministers
comply with his request. The next morning one of them says to
the wife, "Would you not like to be a Christian? Have you been
attending our meetings?" She answers, "I've attended some of
them." "How does the truth impress you?" "All right." "Then,
why don't you come alng with your husband an serve the Lord
together?" "My husband! she exclaims, "You get him right, and
I'll feel more like it." "What's the matter with him?" "If you
were around some morning at six o'clock, you'd know how mean
he is." There are some wives of the same kind. They ask the
preacher to go home and talk to their husbands. Ah! in many a
case the husband has no confidence in his wife's profession.
She's a contentious woman. It's not that way when we get
saved. God wants men and women to live right at home---the
husband to live so before his wife that he'll command he
conficence, and the wife to live likewise before her husband.
Are you forbearing? The Bible says to forbear one another
in love. Perhaps you and your wife aren't exactly of like
disposition. Have you learned to forbear? Let me give a bit of
advice to young married people; it'll do the older ones good,
too. Study each other's natural dispositions and make-up,
then, forbear one another in love. If you're both positive in
your make-up, what do you do? Do you get tried over each other
and contend for your own way? You'll have trouble between you
if you get too positive. I'm positive and have a positive
wife. Two positives must learn some things. We've learned to
forbear and to submit to each other. That's the way for you to
do it. If you don't, there'll be trouble. "Forbear one another
That's a good thing to do in the church. We're not all of
the same temperament. There are brethren whose temperaments
are such that they simply flow together. Do you remember
Peter, Janes, and John? There was something about these three
that caused Jesus to select them to go with him to the
mountain and other places where the other nine weren't
permitted to go. Did the others get jealous and quarrel over
this? There's no record of such actions. If there's somebody
in the church that's not of the same temperament as you,
forbear in love and don't bring division and lack of
confidence. There's something here to be learned. Two brethren
work together; one is slow and particular, the other fast and
not very particular. They'll inevitable have trials over each
other. They must forbear in love. Once when I intended to hold
a meeting at a certain place, I sent the tabernacle ahead. The
brother I sent it to was one of those easy-going fellows. When
I arrived, he had nothing ready for the meeting. I said to
him, "You must get something ready for the meeting tonight;
get the seats, etc." He said, "A-l-l r-i-g-h-t"; but it was
hard to get him to stir. What I have to do, I do with all my
might. If ever a man was a trial to me, he was. The devil
suggested that if he had salvation he'd not be so slow.
Forbearance and Submission...
The Bible tells us to forbear one another in love; to
suffer long and be kind. Some people can suffer a long time,
but the thing is...to be kind. In the church and in the home,
people need to forbear one another; to be long-suffering,
kind, and submissive. Suppose you make a mistake. Are you
willing to correct it? Some men are too proud and stubborn to
ask their wives' forgiveness. They think that would be below
the dignity of their position. They say by their action, if
not in words, "My wife belongs down at my feet." If she'd
belonged at your feet, God would've taken the bone out of the
foot. God was wise when he made the woman. He took a rib out
of the side, and she belongs right at man's side. Wife, you
don't belong at the head, either. The bone wasn't taken from
the skull. You belong at his side. That's where every one
belongs---side-by-side. Every man should love his wife and
give her a place at his side. Correct your mistakes.
Do you memember that time when it didn't go as smoothly as
it might, over some little thing that occurred. It was at a
time when you became a little careless in prayer. That night,
about two or three o'clock, you and your wife were suddenly
awakened by the cries of your little child. It was near death.
You had to get hold of God or the child would die. Do you
remember that when you knelt by the bedside of the child,
everything was dark around you; you couldn't pray through it?
The Spirit of God began to point you to those harsh words.
Then what? If you did the right thing, this's what you did:
You said, "Do you remember, dear, that little misunderstanding
we had the other day? I spoke too sharply. Will you please
forgive me?" By that time she got her arms around you and
said, "I wasn't as submissive as I should have been. Lord,
help us to be more humble and submissive." Then the mists and
clouds disappeared, faith took hold, and the child was healed
instantly. Say, that's the way to live; only it's better not
to wait until the child has to be strickin. Live close enough
to God that you can make your mistakes right, at once. If such
things don't occasionally occur in your life, one of two
things is true for you: either you're living to a higher
standard than most people, or you're living so far away from
God that your conscience can't talk to you. Holy men and women
will frequently have occasion to submit one to another. Be
"tender-hearted; forgiving one another, even as God for
Christ's sake hath forgiven you." This wasn't written to
sinners, but to saints.
Some people are more of a nervous temperament than others.
Some have trials on one line, and some on another; but God
help us to correct every mistake, to profit by the past, and
to do better in the future. I don't lower the standard...in
preaching this way. Respect and honor each other. Love one
another. Your honeymoon can continue when you grow old and
gray. Some people's honeymoon lasts only a few months, but
mine's going on yet. Live right in the home, be an example; be
submissive; live to please each other. In a little while this
journey of life will be over, and you'll have to look into
each other's face for the last time. One of you will follow
the other to the grave. The casket will be lowerer, and you'll
cast your bunches of flowers upon it and strew them on the
grave. My Lord, help us! It'd be a good deal better to strew
the flowers of kindness in this life.
Parents, set the right example before your children. The
greatest revival needed today is the revival at home, around
the family fireside. This's where it needs to begin. If you
want a revival in your community, start it at home. Begin to
bring your dear ones to Christ. My God, help us to feel this
responsibility! What an awful thing it'll be to look into the
faces of our own dear children and know that they died without
Christ! Some of these days you'll see some of your loved ones
carried to the grave. It'll be too late, then. We ought to
spend time while they're living, and do what we can to bring
them to Jesus. Sometimes children think that we're harsh, when
we hold them in check; but, I pray God to put it on our hearts
to use every effort in our power to restrain them from going
into the ways of sin, and to help to love so before them that
they'll be won to Jesus. Mothers, let me say something for you
encouragement. Sometimes mothers spend a whole lifetime
toiling from early morn till late at night to raise a large
family. They never get away from their cares and work. But in
that busy home, the mother lives a Christian life. Often she
feels discouraged, seeing no fruit from her prayers. Her
children go out in sin. But the mother lives a Christian life
before them. Maybe she passes into eternity without seeing the
fruit of her faithful life. Years afterwards a wayward son
gets into trouble. The first thing that comes to him is the
prayers of a Christian mother, and he gives his heart to God.
The daughter likewise. God calls them into the gospel field;
and as they labor, many are saved and some are called to the
ministry. Thus the influence spreads wider and wider until
thousands are won to the truth. This all had its beginning in
the quiet home of a sainted mother. That mother who lived and
died without seeing the result of her godly life will reap
golden sheaves in the great eternity. God help us to live
right, at home! Our conduct will reproduce itself in the live
of our offspring. Then train up a child in the way he should
I wish that I could dwell on this subject, but I must pass
on to the consideration of our being---
Examples To The Church...
First, the ministry. The ministers should be examples to
the flock. A preacher should by example, lead his congregation
to a higher life. He should be humble. A preacher that rules
with a rod of iron, won't be loved by his congregation; but he
that's humble and gives his life as a sacrifice, going to the
homes of the brethren and in tears laboring for their welfare,
will endear himself to them, will win their confidence and
respect. Like priest, like people. Fellow minister, your
congregation will be very much like you. Paul said to Timothy,
"Be thou an example to the believers in word, in conversation,
in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Says one, "I wish
my congregation would be more liberal." Be more liberal
yourself. Brother Cole said to the congregation at Chicago,
when the work first started there, "Brethren, I'm willing to
lose my reward in heaven on the line of giving, by tellng what
I give, if I can thereby stir you up to do something."
God wants us to be an example in holy living. A preacher
that's all the time out of harmony with God, and his flock, is
no example. "The things that ye hear and see in me, do."
That's the way to live. Every preacher should be able to say
to his congregation, "Follow me as I follow Christ." "Well,
says one, "I shouldn't think people would pattern after me."
Yes, people follow in one another's ways. It's the easiest
thing in the world to pattern after one another. There's no
use to deny it; it's a fact. We do pattern after each other
more or less, and it seems unavoidable. Hence the importance
of setting a right example. Just to give you an idea. Some,
instead of addressing the Deity in reverential terms, as
"thou," "thee," and thine," address him in every-day terms, as
"you," your," and yours." Someone set if forth as bringing God
down closer to us. Do you know it wan't long until that spread
all over the states? Of course, to use the common pronouns
isn't a sin in prayer, but to me, they don't sound just
proper. It's so easy to follow in each other's ways. God help
us to set the right example.
Not only ought ministers to be examples, but each believer
ought to be an example to his brethren and sisters. We should
be a pattern to one another in prayer. If every brother in the
church prayed as much in secret as you do, would the church be
noted for spending much time in secret prayer? If everybody
prayed as much in public and in family worship as you do,
would your congregation be a praying congregation? Think of
We shoud be an example also in spirituality. If all the
brethren in your assembly were as spiritual as you are, would
you have a spiritual assembly? If everybody took hold as much
in the public services as you do, in testimony and devotion,
would your meetings be spiritual and lively? If everybody were
as instant as you are, in testimony meeting, would it be more
lively? I tell you, the man that's spiritual, comes into an
assembly full of glory and life, and his influence is felt.
When a man who's not spiritual comes into contact with a
spiritual people, he'll feel it. It'll stir his heart...to get
the same experience. Says one, "Our meetings are dead." Do you
know why they're dead? There's a dead meeting in the
graveyard, also, and the reason is, there's dead people there.
It takes dead people to have dead meetings. If you want a good
Holy Ghost meeting, get filled with the Holy Ghost yourself.
The very condition you're in will make your meetings. Are you
an example in spirituality?
Are you an example in liberality? Says one, "Don't touch
that. Preach anything else, but don't preach that. That's like
Babylon." If it hurts you, you're like Babylon. It doesn't
offend when people are spiritual. Spirituality is conducive to
liberality, and liberality is conducive to spirituality. Are
you an example in liberality? If everybody gave as much as you
do, how much would the missionaries get? Would our
missionaries get along well and have plenty, or would they go
on half rations? How is it? If everybody had given just as
much as you have in the last year, how would the financial end
of the work prosper? If everybody had given the same amount as
you have during this meeting, would the expenses of the
camp-meeting be met? If everybody gave as much as you do for
the support of your home pastor, who preaches to you the word
of God, would his family have plenty to eat? If everybody went
over to the pastor's home just as often as you do with a sack
of flour, a ham of meat, a basket of groceries, a dollar bill,
a sack of feed, or a load of hay, how would your pastor fare?
If he were no more faithful in preaching to you the word of
God than you are in supplying his temporal needs, how many
sermons would you hear? Let me talk to you preachers. If
everybody had given as much to the cause as you have during
the past year, how much would the cause of Christ spread in
the earth? I find the more liberal I am toward the cause of
Christ, (and I give all my time besides), the more God helps
me. He'll do it for you. Are you an example? If not, I pray
God to stir you up. Could you say to the brethren and sisters,
"Follow me as I follow Christ"?
Examples to the World...
We're "a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men."
On the stage, persons are expected to perform their part of
the drama in a way to attract man. We're a public theater. God
help us to live before men that they can see Christ in us.
Let's practise what we profess, so that when they see in us
the life of Jesus and the doctrine of the gospel demonstrated,
they'll be won to Christ. That's what I desire to do. The
greatest desire of my life and heart this afternoon is to be a
good minister of Jesus Christ. Life's too short, eternity too
long, to spend our days in any other way.
The importance of right living will be fully realized when
the shadows of death are gathering about us; when the sun of
life is setting, and the scenes of earth are fading from our
view; when the realities of eternity are breaking upon us.
Yes, right living will bring consolation and sweet assurance
in the hour of death. Death won't be a cold, sullen stream,
whose turbulent waters will splash at our feet. No; it'll be
but the "valley of a shadow," through which Christ will lead
us to bright realms beyond. I look up the shining pathway of
my Christian life, and this afternoon I can see clear through
to the end. I see a beautiful gateway with a wreath of flowers
around it and angels singing on the other side and waiting to
carry my spirit into the paradise of God. There's nothing like
living a Christian life. In the great day of judgment, when
with the millions of the ages assembled before the tribunal
bar of God, right living in this world will give us boldness
to stand. [ The End