Message Delivered at Leicester, Sunday Morning, January 12th, 1919
"Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer. Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law, and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him."
This was the returned answer at the crucial time in the life of an individual and nation. Such conditions do not make characters, but they reveal characters which God has made. The characters of which we read in the Bible were not made in a moment of time, they were not produced by a simple testimony, they were not the production of a second's work of the Holy Ghost, but they were the work of Divinity that continued and tested and tried, and then in the crucial hour they were revealed to the world. So I am glad that we have this message to read this morning.
I am glad to find these diamonds and jewels dug out of the stone quarry in Leicester. These are the days when children must be raised up to Abraham from the stones. It has to be stone-quarry work. Some things will last for four years and some will last for eight years, but God's eternal truth will last for ever. It is well that we should spend our time and our thought for something that will last for ever. When the Holy Ghost came to my heart He showed me something that was not of man, but of God. It has increased until it is bigger than the earth, it is bigger than any writing of history, it is bigger than anything that man or brains has produced in the centuries that have past, and it stands out in this hour of uncertainty and tragedy as the only thing for humanity. There is no energy wasted if you continue to seek until you get something from heaven that will satisfy your soul.
You can see how definite the message was which Esther sent to Mordecai. "I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to law; and if I perish, I perish." That is the crowning sentence, and it is the expression of sacrifice on which Christianity has lived and always will live. Emblems and banners may be unfurled, and brains may last for a century, but this never fails.
Now I do not know when you will touch this, but you will never amount to anything until you do. It matters not about riches, poverty, circumstances, tests, and trials, everything is settled when it reaches this foundation Nothing is so effective and nothing is so lasting. If all the people who have sung, "Where He leads me I will follow," had kept their covenant with God, the things which have been taking place these past years would have been impossible. So many are satisfied with the intellectual and theoretical, but that is not the foundation. There has never been a thing that hell could produce, there has never been a jail or prison, or a famine so long that could overthrow the child of God that has remained on this foundation. I am not speaking these things hastily, they are for our meditation all the rest of our lives.
Those who have gone this way have gone in single file. You cannot go in numbers, you cannot go in families, some of your relations will never know God, and some of your worst enemies will spell their names like yours. If ever you know the secrets of the Holy Ghost and spend eternity in heaven you have to go through alone. Your foes will be those of your own household. Oh, those nagging, gnawing things, that withering pressure of hell that has taken people out of the will of God. You can bear things for a few minutes, but that constant, nagging, and gnawing, it will wither anybody who does not have something supernatural in their souls.
The foundation of Christianity has never been seen by the natural eye. It was taken out of the heart of God and buried in the heart of man until fires cannot burn it, and winds cannot blow it away, persecution cannot touch it, and the devil cannot find it. You can see it is not the emotional, and it is not the doctrinal, it is not the intellectual conception of the Bible truths. There are people who have the theory and the doctrine, but their lives are withering to this lost world.
I came a stranger to this country a few years ago. I saw it had everything. I heard addresses and saw sights, and I said, there is only one thing that ought to be mentioned in this country, and that is the supernatural. I have been to this country several times since then, but I have never seen a more supernatural work than this. It is what my heart has been longing for, since the time I stood on London Bridge alone. This is the thing. I see it, I saw it coming. There is no competition, brains cannot produce what the heart desires, education has never satisfied the heart of a peasant and never will. I say again, in the great strain and the great pressure, you must have something supernatural in your soul. What is this world dying for now? It is dying for something that nobody understands, and nobody can explain. It is dying for that which can never come from the head of man, but it comes from the heart of God.
After a few short years of service there is years of work ahead of me. The Holy Ghost showed me some things at the plow handle, and people said it would not work, and I could not preach, and people would not pay me for preaching, but the Holy Ghost told me I could do it. I give God all the glory. There is such a consciousness of utter dependence upon Divinity after the Holy Ghost comes to abide. God can produce characters that will stun and stagger brains and everything else for time and eternity.
Now you can have your sins forgiven in a second and you can put your all on the altar and receive the Holy Ghost in a moment of time, but do not stop there. Thousands have stopped with the knowledge of the forgiveness of sins and with the Consciousness of the Holy Ghost coming into their hearts, but you go on until you come to this place of sacrifice. Do not wait to see how many are going with you, but get to the place where you are separated from everything, and the silken cords that are tied around your soul have all been cut, where the Holy Ghost can speak to you alone. Many times I think I see a little of what the Holy Ghost wants to do with some people, and I think it will take years for it to be accomplished. But what are years? What is time? What does it matter if you are in the will of God? Let Him mold a character that will be able to stand every test. You cannot go in two by two. Husbands must be separated from their wives, parents from their children, by the Holy Ghost. Every individual ought to have a personal communication with God, and no friend, no affection, no circumstance should ever cross that threshold. If you think more of your husband, your wife, your brother, or sister, you will have to go with them. You cannot be His disciple. This is a place that very few ever reach. I say it prayerfully. The profession of Holiness is no more than a pastime with many people, and they talk of trying it. There is no "try" about this.
Esther asked them all to pray, but when she came to the crucial hour, she did not take a person to Shushan, she did not ask those who had prayed with her to go, but she went alone. The greatest tests of your life are when you are alone, and the greatest triumphs of your life are when you are alone. I like to be in meetings, I would like to have been in the Convention, but what is that? It is gone, but the secrets of the Holy Ghost come by revelation, and no crowd is necessary for that revelation, no special music is required in order for the Holy Ghost to reveal His secrets to your heart. No relations are recognized, you can get to a place where your relatives are no relation to you, but the Holy Ghost more than makes up for the lack. When I hear people say they wish this and they wish the other, I know there is something that they have not touched. You will never go far until you go alone.
Look at Gethsemane; Jesus only picked three of His disciples to go with Him: Peter, the messenger of Pentecost; John, the beloved disciple, and James. When He came up to the crucial point, He left them, and went a little further. Jacob was singled out, and you can go all through the Bible and find characters that were singled out from the rest of the people. That is the trouble today, people are not willing to be singled out. There are so many people that, when they are alone they are so lonesome, and they must have letters and they must have flattery, they must have something. Let the Holy Ghost single you out and make you a center, and you can stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
They came to Jesus one day, and told Him that His mother and brethren had come to see Him. What a number of people would have run. I saw some of the wounded soldiers returning the other day, and some of them were met by their mothers. What a sight it was! But Jesus said, "Who is my mother? He that doeth the will of my Father, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." He clipped the sacred cord of relationship and cut Himself off from everything. There are people today that the Holy Ghost would have taken a long way from where they are, if they had cut those cords. I know some people who think a great deal of their home, but they will never make their home in heaven.
"If I perish, I perish." When a person comes into the realm of the supernatural everything else sinks into oblivion. There is a kingdom at stake, there are those people who are helpless, the word has gone forth and they are to be killed. But the person who knows God will do extreme things, they will not be extremists, but they will do extreme things. There will be times in your life when you will do things that will cause you to wonder. If you consulted your friends you would not do them, and if you consulted good common sense you would not do them. Some people have so much good common sense that they need to have some uncommon sense. Some of the common sense has become nonsense.
I want you to notice that Esther did not stop with asking people to pray for her. When you have prayed and fasted, and others have prayed with you, then go and do the thing that has to be done. "If I perish, I perish." "If I perish, do not weep for me; this thing is worth my life, and I am prepared to give it." I say, beloved, that is where Christianity has stood, and staggered this world. Every sacrifice of Christianity for the last twenty centuries has been voluntary, the martyrs who have died, did not have to die. The people who were burned at the stake at Oxford and other places did not have to die, but they gave their lives willingly. All that is done for Christianity today must be done by voluntary service. Begging people to take a meeting and to give a testimony is all nonsense. Tell people they must do a thing? God never did that.
Christianity will stand in England, it will stand in America, it will stand in all places of the earth, it will burn at the stake, but it will live for ever. I plead with you this morning, let those cords which have been tied around you be clipped, let friends be turned to foes, let the future be just as dark as midnight, let the heavens be brass and the earth bars of iron, but do not miss the thought of God for your life. I want to give this testimony. The Holy Ghost is more to me in a minute today, than He used to be in twelve months. He is doing more in an hour than He used to do in a year. This is worth more than all the world, and the sweat drops of the Son of God ought to drop from the brow of everyone of His followers as long as time lasts. It is not a question of what others are going td do, it is not a question whether anyone else sees it, and it is not a question of what others say, but what are you going to do? People are going to extremes on every other line, the war was a war of extremity. There was death in the ocean, death in the sky, and death everywhere. Everything was extreme, and I tell you, beloved, if we are going to produce in this country and other countries what God wants, we must step over the tender feelings of a friend and be a target for earth and hell. God wants to single out men and women who will dare to do and dare to die. If you do not see anything in this thing, then take down the sign; if you do not mean to pay the price, then shut your mouth. But if you do, live and die for God and Holiness. Nothing will stand before it. Esther made up her mind that it was the sacrifice of her life, and she was prepared to give it. If that is produced which God desires, somebody must give their life for it, somebody must go alone with the Holy Ghost. I want you to see it is your privilege.
I was much impressed the other day as I thought of a man and his daughter who came to our home. The daughter had been saved in a Camp Meeting a few months previous. The father had been blind for forty years, but he wanted to come to our farewell meeting. They came and they sang that night and blessed the audience wonderfully. They went to the home where he was being entertained. We left very early next morning, but about ten o'clock they went to his door and called him, but he did not answer. They thought he was tired and weary, so they let him rest. After a while they went again, and there was no answer, so they thought possibly he was ill. They opened the door and went in. He was kneeling by his bed. They spoke to him, but there was no answer. They said, "Did you rest well last night? " But he never spoke. They took him to his home, and three days later he died. The daughter became a missionary and went to Jamaica. She was there about seven years, I think, then she came back. She was ready to go again, and then the war broke out and she could not sail. To make the story short, she fell ill and died. A few weeks after I made my way to that city. I did not know the cemetery, and I had no information. I went to a policeman, and he said, "Were they rich?" and I said "No." Then he told me I should possibly find them in a certain cemetery. I went to the authorities and they took me into a room where there were books and books. They found the name, first of the father, and then of the daughter. They said there would be some difficulty about finding the graves, because they were buried in a cemetery of four-hundred acres. I took a car and went to that beautiful cemetery and told the people in the office the object of my visit. They said they would have been pleased to send someone with me, but they had no one they could send. I told them I believed that the Lord would answer prayer, and I started out into that cemetery of four-hundred acres. I walked and walked and I believed I would find it. I read my Bible and then I looked and away down there I saw their names. I knelt and thanked God for answered prayer.
They went to the altar and received the Holy Ghost, and they went right through with God and died in victory. I thanked God that He had brought me into touch with those two lives, and that He could take a blind man and fill him with the Holy Ghost and then take him to heaven in victory. That is the thing that counts. It is practical, personal, and supernatural. I just plead with you today that you would let the Holy Ghost single you out. Abandon yourself entirely to Him and let Him have His own way in your life.
Beloved, the possibilities of this meeting this morning will be talked over through all eternity, and you will never cease to praise God for the victories gained. After the whole earth is burnt up and the stars have ceased to shine, this foundation will be the same; hell cannot move it.
The world cannot understand it, but God has said it, and it is true. You can have victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil.
I am glad to give this message this morning and that I can say from the depths of my heart that I have preached nothing that I have not practiced, I have said nothing that I do not know experimentally. It will work on any continent, at any time, under any conditions, it will work under any pressure, and it will work under trials.