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but he came, nevertheless. He came, indeed, with a
the door, I will come in.”
It has ever been thus, my brethren. Whatever acquaintance any of us may have with Jesus, the acquaintance began on his side: by him are the first overtures invariably made.-Let me give you some proofs of this.
1. The written Gospel is a proof of it. When the Son of God offered himself up on the Cross, as an atoning Sacrifice for human sins, a deed was done which filled the heavenly hosts with astonishment. Angels desired to look into" it.'
And surely man, the most interested party, might be expected to pay a most inquisitive and anxious attention. But-no such thing! Christ was “ to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness.” 2 Had not some means been adopted for perpetuating the story, it would by this time have been forgotten. Christ therefore sent forth his written Gospel :
66 these things were written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ.” 3 So long as that book is in your hand, he “ stands at the door and knocks," asking admission into your hearts.
2. The Christian Ministry is another proof.- Few, in those days, could read-some, even among us, cannot read the written Gospel. Yet neither by them, nor by us, would any remedy have been sought for this defect. Here again, Christ furnishes the remedy. From the beginning he chose certain Ministers, to preach his Gospel—to proclaim the glad tidings. They have a twofold message: for their commission is, first,“ Cry 1 i Peter i. 12.
1 Cor. i. 23. 3 John xx. 31.
aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins;"1 secondly, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God." ? It is added—“He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me.”3 Therefore it is “as though God did beseech you,” when “ we pray you in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled to God."* Invisibly-yet reallyhe is at this moment standing at your door, an unbidden, unsought Guest.
3. The Strivings of his Spirit are another instance of this.-In the two former cases, his approach can more easily be avoided. But what think you of those burning thoughts that sometimes come mind ; thoughts of Heaven, with an anxious wish that you were sure of going there-thoughts of Hell, with a guilty foreboding that it may become your portion — thoughts of Repentance, with a solemn conviction that you are lost without it—thoughts of Pardon, with doubts whether it be within reach, after all the evil that you have done ? Whence these thoughts? Did you seek for them ? Did you take pains to encourage them? Nay, have you not resisted them, as so many unwelcome intruders ? Now I tell you, that all such thoughts are the voice of an unseen friend, the Spirit of Christ. By them, he is probably just now knocking at your door. Before you expected or desired it, he is speaking to your conscience. This indeed is no proof that you will certainly become religious - much less, that you are already such ; but it is full proof that Christ is the first Mover in the work of your salvation, if ever you be saved. Before you knock at mercy's gate, he asks admittance into
heart. 1 Isa. Iviii. 1. 2 Is. xl.l. 3 Luke x. 16.
4 2 Cor. v. 20.
And how often bas he done this! And in how many ways does he vary the knocking! Sometimes it is the stroke of affliction-sometimes, a worldly disappointment-sometimes, a startling transgression into which he suffers you to fall: at other times, it is some special providential mercy, some unexpected deliverance, some gracious drawing of the heart towards himself as the Fountain of bliss. Manifold are the ways in which he strikes in with his Word, his Minister, his Spirit: but in all, he comes unsought; a self-invited friend and Saviour. Oh that you had the wisdom to observe his presence, and admit him to your inmost souls !-For there is a second point clearly proved by my text, namely
II. THAT CONSENT ALONE IS REQUIRED, ON OUR PART, TO GIVE US A FULL PARTICIPATION IN HIS FRIENDSHIP. “ If any man hear
voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”-Observe here
1. The Consent which is required.
We must “ hear the voice” of Christ. Many hear the knocking, who never, alas! perceive His voice. Such is his goodness, that none of us are left without the outward call. You all have the written Word—the speaking Minister—the striving Spirit. You have mercies too, and chastisements. But few discover Christ in all these things. They say with the Philistines —“ It was a chance that happened to us !” l-Ah ! brethren, what can the means of grace avail you, without an attentive use of them ?And when the Visitor is Christ too! Say not that you are weary of his knocking—that you have other sounds to regard. It is your Creator, your Redeemer,
1 1 Samuel vi. 9.
your Lord, who knocks! Rather shut your ear to every other voice; be deaf to all the proposals, pleasures, and pretences of this false and wicked world, that you may give your whole undivided attention to the meek and lowly Jesus. Whoever else speaks, listen to Him: say—“Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.”
We must also“ open the door.” This is the turning point in that consent which he requires. Many know, well enough, that it is Christ who knocks : but instead of admitting him, they stand parleying, and hesitating, till at last he goes away in high displeaAnd I can tell
reason of this hesitation. They do not like his company- for he comes to humble, as well as to save them. They do not value his blessings—for they think they have no need of them. They have also traitors in the house, who must be turned out, if Christ be admitted ; lusts, follies, prejudices –in short, " the flesh ” with all its sinful “ affections." 2 But will you on this account resolve not to consent ? not to open your heart to Christ? Remember ! all these are your enemies, as much — nay more than they are his. And he does not impose on you the task of expelling them : he: comes to do it for
from your sins”3-to make you his servant, his friend, his child ; for all which, he asks only a willing heart. Whosoever thou mayest be; whatever the amount of thy past iniquities; it is thy Saviour who saith it—" IF ANY MAN hear my voice and open the door, I will come in.”-Observe now,
2. The Friendship which is offered.
“ I will come in to him, and will sup with him.”A vast condescension, truly, for the Lord of hosts, “ the Prince of the kings of the earth,” to visit a sinful
11 Sam. iji. 9. ? Gal. v. 24. 3 Matt. i. 21.
outcast, and to accept of such entertainment as he may be able to provide ! Who, that knows his own vileness, can refrain from crying out—" And will God in very deed dwell with man upon the earth ?" But what is it that he thus deigns to accept ? A broken heart—a sorrowful sighing-a contrite prayera trembling reliance-a breath of praise : “ for in these things,” saith he, “ I delight.” Well—these we can set before him ; and, worthless as they are, he will accept them. Yet what is this but “ raising up the poor out of the dust, and lifting up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory?”l-Again,
“ He” shall sup “ with me.” It is a supper of that kind, at which the Guest furnishes the most valuable part of the banquet.-Christ, then, brings with him Pardon, Peace, Purity, Gladness, Joy. His own flesh is the meat ; his own blood is the drink : in short, He is himself the feast. Giving himself, he can give nothing more ; and more we cannot need. In the benefits of his salvation, and the comforts of intercourse with him, we have every thing that poor guilty sinners can possibly require.
Have you, dear brethren, closed with this unsolicited offer of friendship, on the part of your Almighty Redeemer ? Tremble at that word Almighty, if you have not : for though you may shut out his love, yet “ his hand will find out those that hate him.”_ But does your proud heart relent? Hasten, then, to open to the Visitor, who has waited so long at your door. “ Kiss the Son, lest he be angry.3 “ Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.
1 Sam. ii. 8.
2 Psalm xxi. 8.
3 Psalm ii. 12.
4 Job xxii. 21.