Open-air Meeting





for the reading of the law of Moses in the hearing of the people. A

pulpit of wood, large enough to hold Ezra the Scribe and thirteen

others, was built. The people wept when they heard the words of the

law, but Nehemiah said:



"Mourn not, nor weep. Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet,

and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this

day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the

Lord is your strength."



He did not forget the poor. Reading the Bible and remembering the

poor--a combination of faith and works--will always bring joy.



Nehemiah then began to govern the city, and correct the abuses he

found existing. He gathered about fifty priests and scribes together

and made them sign and seal a written covenant. There were five

things in that covenant I want to call attention to.



First, they were not to give their daughters to the heathen.



They had been violating the law of God, and had been marrying their

daughters to the ungodly. God had forbidden them to intermarry with

the heathen nations in the land of Canaan; "for they will turn away

thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will

the anger of the Lord be kindled against you and destroy thee

suddenly." I have known many a man who has lost his power by being

identified with the ungodly. If you want to have the blessing of God

rest upon you, you must be very careful about your alliances. The

Jews always got into trouble when they married with the nations

round about. The houses of Ahab and of Solomon lost their kingdom by

that sin. That was the cause of the overthrow of David's kingdom.

Families who marry for wealth, and marry the godly to the ungodly,

always bring distress into the family.



Then he made them sign a covenant that they would keep the

Sabbath, that they would not buy upon the Sabbath.



Think of a man going from a heathen court where they had no Sabbath,

a man brought up in that atmosphere, coming up to Jerusalem and

enforcing the law of Moses! It is recorded that they brought up

fish, and he would not let them into the city on the Sabbath, and

the fish spoiled. After they had tried that a few times, they gave

it up. If you will take your stand for God, even if you stand alone,

it will not be very long before you will get other men to stand with

you. God stood with this man, and he carried everything before him.



I don't believe we shall have the right atmosphere in this country

until we can get men who have backbone enough to stand up against

the thing they believe is wrong. If it is a custom rooted and

grounded for a hundred years, never mind; you take your stand

against it if you believe it is wrong. If you have gatherings, and

it is fashionable to have wine and champagne, and you are a

teetotaler; if they ask you anywhere and you know that they are to

have drink, tell them you are not going. A man said to me some years

ago:



"Mr. Moody, now that I am converted, must I give up the world?"



I said: "No, you haven't got to give up the world. If you give a

good ringing testimony for the Son of God, the world will give you

up pretty quick; they won't want you around."



They were going to have a great celebration at the opening of a

saloon and billiard hall in Chicago, in the northern part of the

city, where I lived. It was to be a gateway to death and to hell,

one of the worst places in Chicago. As a joke they sent me an

invitation to go to the opening. I took the invitation and went down

and saw the two men who had the saloon, and I said:



"Is that a genuine invitation?"



They said it was.



"Thank you," I said, "I will be around; if there is anything here I

don't like I may have something to say about it."



They said: "You are not going to preach?"



"I may."



"We don't want you. We won't let you in."



"How are you going to keep me out?" I asked; "there is the

invitation."



"We will put a policeman at the door."



"What is the policeman going to do with that invitation?"



"We won't let you in."



"Well," I said, "I will be there."



I gave them a good scare, and then I said, "I will compromise the

matter; if you two men will get down here and let me pray with you,

I will let you off."



I got those two rumsellers down on their knees, one on one side of

me, and the other on the other side, and I prayed God to save their

souls and smite their business. One of them had a Christian mother,

and he seemed to have some conscience left. After I had prayed, I

said:



"How can you do this business? How can you throw this place open to

ruin young men of Chicago?"



Within three months the whole thing smashed up, and one of them was

converted some time after. I have never been invited to a saloon

since.



You won't have to give up the world, not by a good deal. If you go

to reunions, and there is drinking, get up and go away. Don't you be

party to it. That is the kind of men we want. When you find anything

that is ruining your fellow men, fight it to its bitter end.



Nehemiah said, "We will not have desecration of the Sabbath." Not

sell the Sunday paper? Not buy a Sunday paper? How many read the

Sunday newspapers?



I suppose that if you had Nehemiah as mayor of New York, he would

stop that sort of thing. Here we have boys who are kept away from

the Sunday school to sell papers on the streets--trains running in

order that the papers can be distributed. I don't believe a man is

in a fit state to hear a sermon whose mind is full of such trash as

the Sunday newspaper is filled with. Men break the Sabbath and

wonder why it is they have not spiritual power. The trouble nowadays

is that it doesn't mean anything to some people to be a Christian.

What we must have is a higher type of Christianity in this country.

We must have a Christianity that has in it the principle of self

-denial. We must deny ourselves. If we want power, we must be

separate.



The next thing they were to do--(and bear in mind this was a thing

they had to sign)--was to give their land rest.



For four hundred and ninety years they had not let their land rest,

so God took them away to Babylon for seventy years, and let the land

rest. A man that works seven days in the week right along is cut off

about five or ten years earlier. You cannot rob God. Why is it that

so many railroad superintendents and physicians die early? It is

because they work seven days in the week. So Nehemiah made them

covenant to keep the law of Moses. If the nations of the earth had

kept that law, the truth would have gone to the four corners of the

earth before this time.



Then he made them sign a covenant that they would not charge

usury.



They were just grinding the poor down. I believe that the reason we

are in such a wretched state in this country to-day is on account of

crowding the poor, and getting such a large amount of money for

usury. People evade the law, and pay the interest, and then they

give a few hundred dollars to negotiate the loan. There is a great

amount of usury, and see where we are to-day! See what a wretched

state of things we are having, not only in this country, but all

over the world!



The fifth thing he made them do was to bring their first fruits to

the sons of Levi.



They were to give God a tenth, the first and best. As long as Israel

did that they prospered, and when they turned away from that law

they did not prosper. You can look through history and look around

you and see the same thing to-day. As long as men keep God's law and

respect God's testimony, they are going to prosper, but when they

turn aside, like Samson, they lose their strength; they have no

power.



If you take these five things and carry them out, you will have

prosperity. Let us all do it personally. If it was good for those

men it is good for us. The moment we begin to rob God of time or

talents then darkness and misery and wretchedness will come.





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