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Last Sunday nfU;r tho long-meter dox
ology and appropriate hymns had been
Bung by tho congregation, in tho Acad
fiiiy of Music, and pray or had been
feied, Doctor Tulmiitfu preached on
"Narrow Escape." taking as his text
Job xix., 20. "I am escaped with the
skin of my teeth," Following is his eer
inon iu full ;
Job had it hurd. What with boils and
bereavements and bankruptcy, and a
fool of a wife, lie wished he was dead;
and I do not blame him. IIi: flesh was
gone, and his bones were dry. His
teeth was wasted away until nothing but
the enamel seemed left. He cries out,
"I am escaped with the skin of my
teeth." There has been some differ
ence of opinion about this passage. St.
Jerome and Schultens, and Drs. Good
and Toole and Barnes, have all tried
their forceps on Job's teeth. You deny
my interpretation and say : " What did
Job know about the enamel of the
teeth? " He knew every thing about it
Dental surgery is almost as old as the
earth. The mummies of Egypt, tlious
ands of years old, are found to-clay with
gold filling in their teeth. Ovid and
Horace and Solomon and Moses wrote
about these important factors of the body.
To other provoking complaints, Job, I
think, haB added an exasperating tooth
ache, and putting his hand against the
inflamed face, he says: "I am escaped
with the skin of my teeth."
A very narrow escape, you sav. for
Job's body and soul ; but there are thou-
Bands of men who make just as narrow
escape for their soul. There was a time
when the partition between them and
iuin was no thicker than a tooth's en
amel; but as Job finally escaped, so
have they. Thank God I thank God I
raui expresses the same idea by a
different figure when he says that some
people are " saved as by fire." A vessel
at sea is in flames. You go to the stern
of the vessel. The boats have shoved
off. The flames advance; you can en
dure the heat no longer on your face
You slide down on the side of the vessel
and hold on with your fingers, until the
forked tongue of the fire begins to lick
the back of your hand, and you feel that
you must fall, when one of the lifeboats
comes back and the passengers say they
think they have room for one more. The
boat swings under you, you drop into it,
you are saved So some men are pur
sued by temptation until they are par
tially consumed, but, after all, get off,
u saved as by fire." But I like the fig
ure of Job a little better than that of
Paul, because the pulpit has not worn it
out; and I want to show you, if God will
help, that some men make narrow escape
for their souls and are saved as " with
the skin of their teeth."
It is as easy for some people to look to
the cross as for you to look to this pulpit.
Alud, gentle, tractaole, loving, you ex
pect them to become christians. You
go over to the store and say, " Grandon
joined the church yesterday," Your
business comrades say, "That is just
what might have been expected ; he al
ways -was of that turn of mind." In
youth, this person whom I describe was
always good. He never broke things.
lie never laughed when it was improper
to laugh. At seven, he could sit an hour
in church, perfectly quiet, looking neither
to- the right hand nor to the left, but
straight into the eyes of the minister, as
though he understood the whole discus
sion about the eternal decrees. He never
upset tilings nor lost them. He floated
into the kingdom of God so gradually
that it is uncertain just when the matter
Here is another one, who started in
life with an uncontrollable spirit. He
kept the nursery in an uproar. His
mother found him walking on the edge
of the house-ioof to see if he could bal
ance himself. There was no horse that
he dared not ride no tree he could not
limb. His boyhood was a series of pre
dicaments; his manhood was reckless;
his mid-life very wayward. But now he
is converted, and you go over to the store
and say, " Arkwright joined the church
yesterday." Your friends say, "It is
not possible L You must be joking." You
say: "No; I tell you the truth. He
joined the church." Then they reply,
"There is hope for any of us if old Ark
wright has become a christian 1" In
other words, we will admit that it is more
difficult for some men to accept the gos-
pel than for others.
I may be preaching to some who have
cut loose from churches and Bibles and
Sundays, and who nave come in here
with no intention of becoming christians
themselves, but just to see what is going
on ; and yet you may find yourself escap
ing, before you leave this house, as " with
the skin of yo"r teeth." I do not expect
to wasta this hour. I have seen boats go
off from Cape May or Long Branch and
ilnm their nets, and after awhile come
" 1 '
ashore pulling their nets without bavin
caught a single fish. It was not a good
i!av. or thev had jH't the liiiht kind of
net. But we expect no such excursion
to-day. The water is full of fish, the
wind is m the right direction, the gospel
net is strong. Oh, thou who didst help
Simon and Andrew to fish, show us to
day how to cast the not on the right side
of the ship.
Some of you, in coming to God, will
have to run against sceptical notions. It
is useless for people to eay sharp and
cutting things to those who reject the
christian religion. I can not say such
things. By what process of temptation
or trial or betrayal you have come to
your present state I know not. There
are two gates to your nature the gate of
the head and the gate of the heart. The
gate of your head is locked with bolts
and bars that an archangel could not
break, but. the gate of your heart swings
easily on its hinges. If I assault your
body with weapons you would meet me
with weapons, and it would be sword
stroke for sword-stroke and wound for
wound and blood for blood ; but if 1 come
and knock at the door of your house you
open it and give me the best seat in your
parlor. If I should come at you now
with an argument you would answer me
with an argument ; if with narcasm you
would answer me with sarcasm ; blow
for blow, stroke for stroke ; but when I
come aim Knock at tho door of your
heart you eay : Come in, my brother,
and tell mo all yon know about Christ
Listen to two or three questions : Are
you as happy as you used to be when
you believed in the truth of the christian
Would you like to have your
children travel on in the road in which
you are now traveling? You had a rela
tive who professed to be a christian, and
was thoroughly consistent, living and
dying in the faith of the gospel. Would
you not like to live the same quiet life,
and die the same peaceful death? I have
a letter, sent me by one who has rejected
the christian religion. It says: ' I am
old enough to know that the joys and
pleasures of life are evanescent, and to
realize the fact that it must be comforta
ble in old age to believe in Eomething
relative to the future, and to have a faith
in some system that proposes to save. I
am free to confess that I would be hap
pier if I could exercise the simple and
beautiful faith that is possessed by many
whom I know. I am not willingly out
of the church of out of tho faith. My
state of uncertainty is one of unrest
Sometimes I doubt my immortality, and
look upon the death-bed as the closing
scene, after which theie is nothing
What shall I do that I have not done? '
Ah 1 scepticism is a dark and doleful
land. Let me say that tins JJiule is
either true or false. If it be false, we
are as well off as you ; if it is true, then
which of us is safer?
Let me also ask whether your trouble
has not been that, you confounded chris-
tiananity with the inconsistent character
of some who profess it? You are a law
yer. Ia your profession there are mean
and dishonest men. Is that anything
against the law? You are a doctor.
There are unskilled and comtemptible
men iu your profession. Is that any
tlnng against medicine ? You are a mer
chant. There are thieves and defrauders
in your business, is that any thing
against merchandise. Behold, then, the
unfairness of charging upon Christianity
the wickedness of its disciples. We ad
mit some of the charges against those
who profess religion Some of the most
;igantic swindles of the present day have
been carried on by members of the
church. There are men standing in the
front rank in the churches who would
not be trusted for $5 without good collat
eral security. They leave their business
dishonesties in the vestibule of the
church as they go in and sit at the com'
munion. Having concluded the sacra
ment, they get up, wipe the wine from
their lips, go out, and take up their sins
where they left off. To serve the devil
is their regular work; to serve God, a
sort of play-spell. With a Sunday sponge
they expect to wipe off from their busi-
ness slate all the past week's inconsis
tencies. You have no more right to take
such a man's life as a specimen of lelig-
1011 than you have to take the twisted
irons and split timbers that lie on the
beach at Coney Island as a specimen of
an American ship. It is time that we
draw a line between religion and the
frailties of those who profess it.
Do you not feel that the Bible, take it
all in all, is about the best book that the
world has ever seen. Do you know any
book that has as much in it? Do you
not think, upon the whole, that its influ
ence has been beneficent? I come to
you with both hands extended toward
you. In one hand I have the Bible and
in the other I have nothing. This Bible
in one hand I will surrender forever just
as soon as in my other hand you can put
a book that is better. To-day I invite
you back into the good, old-fashioned
religion of your fathers to the God
whom they worshiped, to the Biblo they
read, to the promises on which they
leaned, to the crosd on which Ihey hung
their Vernal expectations. You have
not been happy a day since you swung
off; you will not bo happy a minute until
you swing back.
Again: There may bo some of you
who in the attempt after a christian life
have to run against powerful passions
and appetites. Perhaps it is a disposi
tion to anger that you have to contend
against, and perhaps, while in a serious
mood, yon hear of something tliat makes
you feel that you must swear or die. I
know a christian man who was once so
exasperated that he said to a mean cus
tomer, "I can not swear at you myself
for I am a member of the church ; but if
you will go down stairs my partner will
swear at you." All your good resolu
tions heretofore heve been torn to tatters
by explosion of temper. Now there is no
harm in getting mad if you only get mad
at sin.. You need to bridle and saddle
those hot-breathed passions, and with
them ride down injustice and wrong.
There are a thousand things in the
world that we ought to he mad at. There
is no harm in getting red-hot if you only
bring to the forge that which needs ham
mering. A man who has no power of
righteous indignation is an imbecile. But
be sure it is a righteous indignation, and
not a pctulancy that blurs and unravels
and depletes the soul.
J here is a large class of persons in
mid-life who have still in them appetites
that were aroused in early manhood, at
a time when they prided themselves on
being a "little fast," " high livers.'
free and easy, " hail-fellows well
met." They are now paying, ia com'
pound interest, for troubles they col
lected twenty years ago. Some of you
are trying to escape, and you will yet
very narrowly, as with the skin of your
teeth." uod and your own soul only
know what the struggle is. Omnipotent
grace has pulled out many a soul that
was deeper in the mire than vou are.
Ihey line the beach of Heaven the mul
titude whom God has rescued from the
thrall of suicidal habits. If you this day
turn your back on the wrong and stirt
anew, God will help you. Oh the weak'
uess oi human heipi juen win sympa
thize for a while, and then turn you off.
If you ask for their pardon, they wiil
give it, and say they will try you agrain :
Out, tailing away again under the power
oi temptation, they cast you on lorever.
ot temptation, they cast you oil forever,
But God forgives seventy times seven;
VPfl. fiAVPn hiinrlrurl timjj van thnmvVt I
tins be tho ten-thousandth time, he is
more earnest, more sympathetic, more
helpful, this last time than when you
took your nrst misstep.
If, with all the influences favorable for
a right life meu make so many mistakes,
how much harder it is when, for instance.
some appetite thrusts its iron grapple into
the roots of the tongue, and pulls a man
down with hands ot destruction! If. un
der such circumstances he breaks away,
there will be no sport in the undertaking,
no holiday enjoyment, but a struggle in
which the wrestlers move from side to
side, and bend and twist, and watch for
an opportunity to get m a heavier stroke,
until with one filial effort, in which the
muscies are distended, and the veins
stand out, and the blood starts, the
swarthy habit falls under the knee of the
victor escaped at last as " with the 6kin
of his teeth.
This world is a poor portion for your
uui, on, ousmess main An eastern
i . i. i ... r ... .. , . -
King had graven on his tomb two fingers.
represented as sounding upon each other
with a nap, and under them the motto.
"All is not worth that." Apicius Coelius
hanged himself because his steward in
formed him that he had only 80,000
sterling left. All of this world's riches
make but a small inheritance for a soul.
uouespierre attempted to win the ap
plause of the world, but when he was;
dying a woman came rushing through the
crowd crying to him, Murderer of my
I . 1. . . ! - . . 1 . , .
Kindred, descend to hell, covered with
the curses of every mother in France! "
Many who have expected the plaudits of
the world have died under its Anathema
Oh, find your peace m God. Make one
strong pull for Heaven. No half way
work will do it. there sometimes tomes
a time on ship-board when every thing
must be sacrificed to save the passengers,
The cargo is nothing, the rigging nothing.
Ihe captain puts the trumpet to his hps
and shouts, "Cut away the mast"
Some of you have been tossed and driven.
and you have in your effort to keep tho
world well nigh lost your soul. Until vou
have decLM this matter, let every thing
else go. Overboard with all those other
anxieties and burdens! You will have
to drop the sails ot your pride and cut
away the mast. With one earnest cry
for help, put your cause into the hand of
llim who helped rani out of the breakers
of Melita, and who, above the shrill blast
' tno wrathiest tempest that every black
ened the sky or shook the ocean, can hear
the faintest imploration for mercy.
I shall go home to-day feeling that some
of you who have considered voui ense as
hopeless, w ill take heart again, and that
with a Dlood-red earnestness, such as you
have never experienced before, you will
start for the good land of the gospel at
last to look back, saying: " What a great
risk I ran Almost lost but saved I Just
got through and no more 1 Escaped by
the skin of my teeth "
Yesterday my belovod friend James B,
Beck, Senator of the United States, drop
ped dead in the Washington depot. One
of the most magnificent souls I ever knew.
At times rivaling in eloquence Demos
thenes. The foe of all wrong, the terror
of all political corruption, and the friend
of God. How I enjoyed his hospitalities
in Kentucky when he took me and showed
me all the classic spots around beautiful
Lexington, and talked of things pertain
ing to our beloved country. Oh, some
times we public men get worldly, and
perhaps do not attend to our religious
duties as we might, but still you know
the Bible is true, and the only hope for
this world is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I was brought up under Henry Duncan,
of Roth well, Scotland, and felt the power
of his ministry and have felt it all the
Ca in den A drertlse-we ts.
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