Sermon 681. Eyes Opened
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, MARCH 18, 1866,
BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water." Genesis 21:19.
"And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him." Luke 24:31.
The Fall of man was most disastrous in its results to our entire being. "In the day that you eat thereof you shall surelydie," was no idle threat, for Adam did die the moment that he transgressed the command-he died the great spiritual death bywhich all his spiritual powers became then andevermore, until God should restore them, absolutely dead. I said all the spiritual powers, and if I divide them after theanalogy of the senses of the body, my meaning will be still more clear.
Through the Fall the spiritual taste of man became perverted so that he puts bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. He choosesthe poison of Hell and loathes the bread of Heaven. He licks the dust of the serpent and rejects the food of angels. The spiritualhearing became grievously injured, forman naturally no longer hears God's Word but stops his ears at his Maker's voice. Let the Gospel minister charm ever sowisely, yet the unconverted soul, like the deaf adder, hears not the charmer's voice. The spiritual feeling by virtue of ourdepravity is fearfully deadened. Thatwhich would once have filled the man with alarm and terror no longer excites emotion.
Even the spiritual smell with which man should discern between that which is pure and holy and that which is unsavory to themost High has become defiled. Now man's spiritual nostrils, while unrenewed, derive no enjoyment from the sweet savor whichis in Christ Jesus but seeks after the putrid joysof sin. As with other senses so is it with man's sight. He is so spiritually blind that things most plain and clear he cannotand will not see. The understanding, which is the soul's eye, is covered with scales of ignorance and when these are removedby the finger of instruction,the visual orb is still so affected that it only sees men as trees walking.
Our condition is thus most terrible, but at the same time it affords ample room for a display of the splendors of Divine Grace.We are so naturally and entirely ruined, that if saved, the whole work must be of God, and the whole Glory must form the headof the Triune Jehovah. There must not only bea Christ lifted up of whom it can be said, "There is life in a look at the crucified One," but that very look, itself, mustbe given to us or else in vain should Christ hang upon the Cross!
I. Taking Hagar's case first, I shall address myself this morning to certain unconverted ones who are in a hopeful condition.
1. Taking Hagar's case as the model to work upon, we may see in her and in many like her a preparedness for mercy. In manyrespects she was in a fit state to become an object of mercy's help. She had a strong sense of need. The water was spent inthe bottle, she herself was ready to faint and herchild lay at death's door. This sense of need was attended by vehement desires. It is a very hard thing to bring a sinnerto long after Christ-so hard that if a sinner does really long and thirst after Jesus-the Spirit of God must have been secretlyat work in his soul,begetting and fostering those desires.
When the invitation is given, "Ho, every one that thirsts," you can honestly say, "That means me." That precious Gospel invitation,"Whoever will, let him come," is evidently yours, for you will it eagerly and vehemently. The Searcher of all hearts knowsthat there is no objection in your hearteither to be saved or to the way of being saved-no, rather you sometimes lift your hands to Heaven and say, "O God, wouldthat I might say, 'Christ for me!' " You know that the water of life is desirable-you know more than that-you pine with aninward desire todrink of it. Your soul is now in such a state that if you do not find Jesus you never will be happy without Him. God hasbrought you into such a condition that you are like the magnetized needle which has been turned away from the pole by thefinger of some passerby, and it cannotrest until it gets back to its place.
Your constant cry is, "Give me Christ! Give me Christ, or else I die!" This is hopeful, but let me remind you that it, alone,will not save you. The discovery of a leak in a vessel may be preparatory to the pumping of the ship, and to the repair ofthe leak-but the discovery of the leak willnot of itself keep the boat afloat. The fact that you have a fever is well for you to know, but to groan under that feverwill not restore you to health. To desire after Christ is a very blessed symptom, but mere desires will not bring you to Heaven!You may be hungering andthirsting after Christ, but hungering and thirsting will not save you! You must have Christ! Your salvation does not liein your hungering and thirsting, nor in your humbling, nor in your praying-salvation is in Him who died upon the Cross-andnot anything in you.
Like Hagar you are humbled, and brought to despair. There was a time when you did not admit your need of a Savior. You foundcomfort enough in ceremonies, and in your own prayers, repentances, and so on. But now the water is spent in your bottle andyou are sitting down with Hagar wringing yourhands and weeping in despair-a blessed despair! God bring you all to it! Despair is next door to confidence in Christ! Restassured, until we are empty Jesus will never fill us! Until we are stripped He will never clothe us! Until self is dead Christwill not live in us!
It is quite certain that in Hagar's case the will was right enough with reference to the water. It would have been preposterous,indeed, to say to Hagar, "If there is water are you willing to drink?" "Willing?" she would say, "look at my parched lips,hear my dolorous cries, look at my poorpanting, dying child! How can you ask a mother if she is willing to have water while her babe is perishing for thirst?"And so with you. If I were to propose to you the question, "Are you willing to be saved?" you might look me in the face andsay, "Willing? Oh Sir, I have longpassed beyond that stage! I am panting, groaning, thirsting, fainting, dying to find Christ! If He would come to me thismorning I would not only open both the gates of my heart and say, 'Come in,' but the gates are opened now before He comes.And my soul is saying, 'Oh, that I knewwhere I might find Him, that I might even come to His seat!' "
All this is hopeful, but I must again remind you that to will to be rich does not make a man rich, and that to will to besaved cannot in itself save you. Panting after health does not restore the sick man though it may set him upon using the means,and so he may be healed. And with you, yourpanting after salvation cannot save you-you must get beyond all this to the great Physician Himself.
2. In the second place, mercy was prepared for Hagar, and is prepared for those in a like state. There was water. She thoughtit was a wilderness without a drop for her to drink, but there was water. Troubled Conscience, there is pardon! You thinkit is all judgment, thunder and thunderbolts,curses and wrath, but it is not so. There is mercy! Jesus died. God is able justly to forgive sinners. God was in Christreconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. He is a God ready to pardon, ready to forgive!There is forgiveness with Him that Hemay be feared. There is water, there is mercy. What is more, there is mercy for you! There is not only that general mercywhich we are bound to preach to every creature, but for many of you whom I have described I am persuaded that there is specialmercy.
Your names are in His Book. He has chosen you from before the foundation of the world, though you do not know it. You shallbe His-you ARE His! The hour is not far distant, when, washed in the fountain and made clean, you shall cast yourselves atthe Savior's feet and be His captives in thebonds of love forever. There is mercy for you now if you trust Jesus!
The water was not created as a new thing to supply Hagar's thirst-it was there already. If she could have seen it she mighthave had it before, but she could not see it. There is mercy, there is mercy for you. All that is wanted is that you shouldsee it, poor troubled Conscience, and if youcould have seen it there would have been no necessity whatever that you should have been so long a time as you have beenin despair, and doubt, and fear. The water was near to Hagar, and so is Christ near to you. The mercy of God is not a thingto be sought for up yonder among thestars, nor to be discovered in the depths-it is near you, it is even in your mouth and in your heart!
The Savior who walked along the streets of Jerusalem is in these aisles and in these pews-a God ready to forgive, waitingto be gracious. Do not think of my Master as though He had gone up to Heaven out of your reach and had left no mercy behindHim. Let Him tell you that He is as near inspirit now as He was to the disciples when He spoke to them at Emmaus. Oh that you could see Him! He is "the same yesterday,today, and forever." He is passing by! Cry to Him, you blind man, and you shall receive your sight! Call to Him, you deaf!Speak, even you whose lips aredumb-His ears can hear your soul's desires! He is near-only believe in His Presence and trust His Grace-and you shall seeHim.
It is a notion abroad that the act of faith is very mysterious. Now faith, so far as it is an act of man, (and an act of manit most certainly is, as well as the gift of God, for "with the heart men believe"), is one of the simplest acts of the humanintellect. To trust Jesus, to lean with the soulupon Him-just as with my body I am leaning on this rail-to make Him all my confidence and all my rest needs no learning,no previous education. It needs no straining or mental effort. It is such an action that the babe and the suckling may glorifyGod by it!
The faith of Sir Isaac Newton, with all his learning, is not a whit more saving or less simple than the faith of the childof three years old, if brought to rest on Christ alone. The moment the dying thief looked to the Crucified and said, "Lordremember me," he was as saved as Paul, when he couldsay, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course." I am very anxious to be understood, and therefore I am tryingto speak very simply, and to talk right home to those whom I am driving at.
My own case is to the point. I was for some few years, as a child, secretly seeking Jesus. If ever heart knew what the bitteranguish of sin was, I did. And when I came to understand the plan of salvation by the simple teaching of a plain, illiterateman, the next thought I had after joy that I wassaved, was this-"What a fool I was not to trust Jesus Christ before!" I concluded that I never could have heard the Gospel,but I think I was mistaken. I think I must have heard the Gospel thousands of times, but did not understand it. I was likeHagar with my eyes closed. Weare bound to tell you every Sunday that trusting Jesus Christ is the way of salvation, but after you have heard that 50,000times, you really will not even understand what we mean by it till the Spirit of God reveals the secret.
But when you do but know it and trust in Jesus, simply as a child would trust his father's word, you will say of yourself,"How could it be? I was thirsty with the water rippling at my feet! I was famishing and perishing for hunger, and the breadwas on the table! I was fretting as though therewere no entrance into Heaven, but there stood the door wide open right before me, if I could but have seen it!" "Trust Christ,and He must save you." I will improve upon it: "Trust Him, you are saved." The moment you begin to live by faith in His dearSon, there is not a sin left inGod's book against you!
3. We pass on, then, in the third place, to notice that although Hagar was prepared and mercy was prepared, yet there wasan impediment in the way for she could not see the water. There is also an impediment in your way. Hagar had a pair of brightbeaming eyes, I will be bound to say, and yet shecould not see the water. And men may have first-rate understandings, but not understand that simple thing-faith in the LordJesus Christ. You do not suffer so much from lack of power to understand faith as from a kind of haze which hovers over youreyes to prevent theirlooking into the right place. You continue to imagine that there must be something very singular for us to feel in orderto have eternal life.
Now this is all a mistake! Simple trust in Jesus has this difficulty in it-it is not difficult-and therefore the human mindrefuses to believe that God can intend to save us by so simple a plan. What blindness is this! So foolish and so fatal! Isnot this ignorance partly caused bylegal terrors? Master Bunyan, who had a keen insight into spiritual experience, says that Christian was so troubled withthe burden on his back that in running he did not look well enough to his steps. Therefore, being much tumbled up and downin his own mind, as he says, he alsotumbled into the Slough of Despond.
You may have heard the thunder of God's Law so long that you cannot hear anything so soft and sweet as the invitation of theloving Jesus. "Come and welcome! Come and welcome!" is unheard because of the din of your sins.
The main reason I think why some do not attain early to peace is because they are looking for more than they will get andthus their eyes are dazzled with fancies. You who dare not take Christ because you are not a full-grown Christian, be contentto be a babe first! Be satisfied to go through theseed state, and the blade state, and the ear state, and then you will get to be the full corn in the ear! Be content tobegin with Christ and with Christ, alone. I verily believe some of you expect that you will experience a galvanic shock, ora superhuman delirium of horror. Youhave an idea that to be born-again is something to make the flesh creep or the bones shiver-an indescribable sensation,quite out of the compass of human feeling.
Now believe, that to be born-again involves the ending of superstition and living by feeling, and brings you into the worldof plain and simple truth where fools need not err. "Whoever believe in Him is not condemned." If you can understand thatand claim it as your own, you are born-again. Butthough you should understand all human mysteries, if you are not born-again you could not truly understand that simplestof all teachings, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved."
Again, I am afraid some persons with the water at their feet do not drink it because of the bad directions that are givenby ministers. When a minister closes up an address to the unconverted with this exhortation-"Now, my dear Friends, go homeand pray," that is a very rightexhortation-but it is given to the wrong people, and in the wrong place. I do not say to you this morning, I dare not sayto you, as though it were the Gospel message, "Go home and pray." I hope you will pray! But there is another matter to comebefore prayer, namely, faith inJesus!
When Christ told His disciples to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, He did not say to them, "He that prays shallbe saved," though that would be true if he prayed aright. But Christ said, "he that believes shall be saved." Your presentduty is not praying, but believing. You are to lookto Jesus Christ upon the Cross just as the poor serpent-bitten Israelites looked to the bronze serpent and lived. Your prayingwill not do you a farthing's worth of good if you refuse to trust Jesus Christ. When you have trusted Jesus Christ prayerwill become your breath, yournative air-you will not be able to live without it! But prayer, if put in the place of a child-like trust in Jesus, becomesan antichrist.
It is not going to places of worship, or Bible reading which saves. I am not depreciating these duties but I am putting themin their proper position. It is depending upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone which is the true vital act by which the soul isquickened into spiritual life. If you, trusting inChrist, do not find peace and pardon, the Gospel which I preach is a lie and I will renounce it! But then the Bible wouldbe false, also, for it is from that Book my message comes. This is the Gospel which we have received and which Christ hassent us to preach-that whoeverbelieves in Him is not condemned.
Now why do you hurry about after this and that? Why follow this man's and that man's directions? Why look to your baptismand confirmation? Why do you go about to your Church-goings and your Chapel-goings, your Bible-readings and your praying,your good works about this and about theother-they are all but dross and dung if you put them in the place of Christ! But Christ Jesus, if you rest on Him, is precious,and after your receive Him, your works and your prayers shall become precious, too, because they will be performed throughfaith in Him. But untilyou come to Him, they are all nothing and vanity-unacceptable in the sight of God-because you put them into the place whichshould be occupied by the Savior.
4. I feel certain that there are some here upon whom the Lord intends to work this morning-so we will speak, in the fourthplace, upon the Divine removal of the impediment. Hagar's blindness was removed by God. No one else could have removed it.God must open a man's eyes to understandpractically what belief in Jesus Christ is. That simple Truth of God-salvation by trust in Jesus Christ-still remains apoint too hard to be seen. Until the whole power of Omnipotence is made to bear upon the intellect man does not really comprehendit!
But while this was Divinely removed, it was removed instrumentally. An angel spoke out of Heaven to Hagar. It matters littlewhether it is an angel or a man-it is the Word of God which removes the difficulty. Dear Friend, I pray that the Word of Godmay remove your unbelief. May you see todaythe light of Jesus Christ by simply trusting Him! I believe there are some who are saved who still are afraid they willbe lost. I have heard of a butcher who, at his work, was accustomed to put his candle in a little candlestick which was tiedby a belt around his forehead. One dayhe needed his candle in his hand and he looked all around his slaughterhouse for it by the light of the candle on his forehead.He looked about everywhere to fine it and, of course, he could not have looked at all if he had not had the light which helooked for already! Many a manis looking within himself to see the evidence of Divine Grace when his anxiety and the very light by which he looks oughtto be sufficient evidence. I hope there are many of you who are just on the verge of salvation without knowing it.
I looked last Friday night at a very remarkable sight-the burning of a huge rug factory. I was returning home from my Master'swork, when I saw a little blaze, and in an incredibly short time a volume of fire rolled up in great masses to the skies!Why did it blaze so suddenly? Why, becausefor months before many men had been busily employed in hanging up the rugs and saturating the building in combustible materials.I do not mean with the intention of starting a fire, but in the ordinary course of their work. And in due time, when the firstspark came it immediatelygrew into a great sheet of flames.
So, sometimes, when the Gospel is faithfully preached, a sinner gets present peace and pardon and he is so full of joy thathis friends cannot make him out, his progress is so rapid. But remember that God has been mysteriously at work months beforein that man's heart-preparing his soul tocatch the heavenly flame so that there was only a spark needed and then up rolled the flames to Heaven! Oh that I couldbe that spark to some heart in whom God has been working this morning-by HE alone can make me so! I noticed when that factorywas on fire from top to bottomthat it seemed to glow like pure gold, or like transparent glass, and then I expected to see it fall and, by-and-by, fallit did, for after about half-an-hour, all of a sudden, one timber went over and the whole mass fell with a tremendous crash!
I venture to compare that final crash with the actual salvation of a soul long prepared, by God's Grace, to receive it. Theheart has been glowing with a Divine desire, a heavenly flame for even months and years, and then, at last, and in a moment,the final movement is made-and doubts andfears and sins fall to the ground-and there is room to build a Temple for the living God. May it be so with you this morning!
There has been much preparatory work in you, for you are brought to long after a Savior and you are desirous to be saved byHim. There He is! Take Him! Take Him! The cup of water is put before you. Drink it! No need to wash your mouth first, or tochange your garments. Drink it at once! Come toJesus as you are!-
"Come and welcome, sinner, come!"
II. Oh that the Spirit of God would give me power from on high while I try to talk to the saints from the second case-thatof the disciples in Luke 24:31. This is no Hagar, but "Cleopas and another disciples." And yet these two suffered under the same spiritual blindness asHagar, though not,of course, in the same phase of it. Carefully observe the case of these disciples, for I believe it is often our own. Theyought to have known Jesus for these reasons. They were acquainted with Him. They had been with Him for years in public andin private. They had heard His voiceso often that they ought to have remembered its tones. They had gazed upon that marred face so frequently that they oughtto have distinguished its features. They had been admitted into His privacy and they ought to have known His habits. ThatSavior walking there ought not to havebeen incognito to them though He was to the rest of men.
So it is with us. Perhaps you have not found Jesus Christ lately. You have been to His table and you have not met Him there.You are in a dark trouble this morning, and though He says, "It is I, be not afraid," yet you cannot see Him there. Brothersand Sisters, we ought to know Christ! We ought todiscover Him at once. We know His voice. We have heard Him say, "Rise up, My love, My fair one, and come away." We havelooked into His face. We have understood the mystery of His grief. We have leaned our head upon His bosom. Some of you havehad an experience of fifteen or twentyyears, some of forty or fifty years-and yet, though Christ is near, you do not know Him this morning-and you are saying,"Oh that I knew where I might find Him!"
They ought to have known Him because He was close to them. He was walking with them along the same road. He was not up ona mountain at a distance. Even then they ought to have known Him-but He was there in the same way with them! And at this hourJesus is very near to us, sympathizing withall our griefs.
"In every pang that rends the heart, The Man of Sorrows has His part." He bears and endures with us still, though now exaltedin Glory's Throne in Heaven. If He is here, we ought to know Him. If He is close to His people every day and in all theiraffliction is afflicted, we ought to perceive Him.Oh, what poor vision is this, that Christ should be near, our own well-beloved Redeemer, and yet we should not be able todetect His Presence!
They ought to have seen Him because they had the Scriptures to reflect His Image, and yet how possible it is for us to openthat precious Book and turn over page after page of it and not see Christ. They talked concerning Christ from Moses to theend of the Prophets, and yet they did not see Jesus.Dear Child of God, are you in that state? He feeds among the lilies of the Word and you are among those lilies, and yetyou do not see Him? He is accustomed to walk through the glades of Scripture and to commune with His people, as the Fatherdid with Adam in the cool of the day,and yet you are in the garden of Scripture but cannot see your Lord though He is there and is never absent?
What is more, these disciples ought to have seen Jesus, for they had the Scriptures opened to them. They not only heard theWord, but they understood it. I am sure they understood it, for their hearts burned within them while He spoke with them bythe way. I have known what it is, and so have you,to feel our hearts burn when we have been thinking of the precious Truth of God, and yet we have said, "Oh that I couldget at Him!" You have heard of election, and you have wondered to yourself whether you should ever see again the face of God'sfirst elect One. You have heard ofthe Atone- ment, and the mournful story of the Cross has ravished you. You have gone from page to page of Scripture doctrineand have received it and felt its influence, and yet that best of all enjoyments, communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, youhave not comfortably possessed.
There was another reason why the disciples ought to have seen Him, namely that they had received testimonies from others aboutHim. "But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day sincethese things were done. Yes, and certain womenof our company, which were early at the sepulcher, made us astonished. For when they found not His body, they came, saying,that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive." There He was close to them. Oh, it is so strangethat in the ordinances of God'shouse Jesus should be there, and yet in sad intervals our hearts should get so cold and so worldly that we cannot see Him!
It is a blessed thing to want to see Him, but oh, it is better still to see Him. To those who seek Him He is sweet. But tothose who find Him, He is dear beyond expression! In the Prayer Meeting you have heard some say, "If ever I loved You, myJesus, 'tis now," and your hearts burned within you asthey thus spoke, and yet you could not say the same yourself. You have been up in the sick-chamber, and you have heard thedying saint sing-
"I will love You in life, I will love You in death, And praise You as long as You lend me breath; And say when the death-dew lies cold on my brow, If ever I loved You, my Jesus, 'tis now."
You have envied that dying saint because you could not just then feel the same confident love.
Well this is strange, passing strange-it is amazing-a present Savior, present with His own disciples who have long known Himand who long to see Him-and yet their eyes are shut so that they cannot discover Him. Why do we not see Him? I think it mustbe ascribed in our case to thesame as in theirs, namely, our unbelief. They evidently did not expect to see Him, and therefore they did not discover Him.Brethren, to a great extent in spiritual things we shall get what we expect. The ordinary preacher of the Gospel does notexpect to see present conversions andhe does not! But there are certain Brethren I have known who have preached with the full faith that God would convert soulsand souls have been converted!
Some saints do not expect to see Christ. They read the life of Madame Guyon and her soul-enchanting hymns, and they say, "Ah,this was a blessed woman." They take down the letters of Samuel Rutherford, and when they read them through, they say, "Enchantingepistles! A strange, marvelously good manwas this." It does not enter into their heads that they may be as Madam Guyon and that they may have as much nearness toChrist, and as much enjoyment as Samuel Rutherford! We have got into the habit of thinking the saints gone by stand up inelevated niches for us to stare at themwith solemn awe, and fancy that we can never attain to their elevation.
Brothers and Sisters, they are elevated, certainly, but they beckon us to follow them, and point to a something beyond! Theyinvite us to outstrip them, to get greater nearness to Christ, a clearer sense of His love, and a more ravishing enjoymentof His Presence. You do not expect to see Christ,and therefore you do not see Him. Not because He is not there to be seen-but because your eyes are shut through your unbelief!I do not know any reason why we should not be full of joy this morning-every believing soul among us.
Why hang those harps on the willows, Beloved? You have a trial, you say. Yes, but Jesus is in it! He says, "When you passthrough the rivers, I will be with you, the floods shall not overflow you." Why not rejoice then, since the dear Shepherdis with you? What matters it though there are clouds?They are full of rain when He is there, and they shall empty themselves upon the earth. Up, my Brothers and Sisters, up!With everything that may discourage and cast you down, you have 10 times as much to encourage and life you up! He love youand gave Himself for you. His blood hascleansed you. His righteousness has clothed you. His Grace has decked you with jewels. This world and the world to comeare yours-and Christ who is better than both worlds-is yours forever and ever! Take down those harps and strike the stringswith glad fingers-andwake them into melodies of joy!
Now, dear Friends, I am sure it is the duty of every Christian, as well as his privilege, to walk in the conscious enjoymentof the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. It may be that you came here on purpose that you might begin such a walk. The discipleshad walked a long way without knowing Christ,but when they sat at His table it was the breaking of bread that broke the evil charm, and they saw Jesus clearly at once.Do not neglect that precious ordinance of the breaking of bread! There is much more in it than some suppose. Sometimes whenthe preaching of the Word affords nojoy, the breaking of bread might-and when reading the Word does not yield consolation-a resort to the Lord's Table mightbe the means of comfort.
It may even happen that some other neglected means may be that which God intends to bless to your soul. I am afraid many ofGod's servants are in darkness because they have neglected known duties. The windows of Christ's palace are many, and He wouldnot have one of them blocked up. And if youblock up one window, it may be that He will say, "I will never show My face at any but that. I will make My servants takedown that shutter, that the Light of God may shine through." There is nothing in any ordinance of itself, but there may bemuch sin in your neglecting it. Thereis nothing, for instance, in the ordinance of Believers' Baptism, and yet, knowing it to be a prescribed duty in God's Word,it may be that the Lord will never give you a comfortable sense of His Presence till you yield to your conscience in thatmatter. But, waiving all that point,what you want is to see Him! Faith alone can bring you to see Him. Make it your prayer this morning, "Lord, open my eyesthat I may see my Savior present with me. And after once seeing Him may I never let Him go. From this day forth may I begin,like Enoch, to walk with You, and mayI continue walking with You till I die, that I may then dwell with You forever."
I find it very easy to get near to God compared with what it is to keep near. Enoch walked with God 400 years! What a longwalk that was! What a splendid journey through life! Why should you not begin, dear Christian Brothers and Sisters, today,if you have not begun, and walk with God through thefew years which remain? What if God should spare you for 40 years? I do not see that there is any necessity that your communionwith God should be broken from now till death or the Lord's coming. "Yes," you say, "you talk in a Utopian fashion!" PerhapsI do, but I believe thathigh-toned Christian experience is, to a great extent, what common Christians think to be out of their reach.
Oh to get up above yon mists which dim the valley! Oh to climb the mountain's top which laughs in the sunlight! Oh to getaway from the heavy atmosphere of worldliness and doubt, of fear, of care, of fretfulness-to soar away from the worldlingswho are always earth-hunting, digging into itsmines and prying after its treasures-and to get up there where God dwells in the innermost circle of heavenly seclusion-toget where none can live but men who have been quickened from among the dead! Where none can walk but men who are crucifiedwith Christ, and who liveonly in Him! Oh to get up there where no more question concerning our security can molest us! Where no carking care candisturb because all is cast upon the Lord and rests wholly with Him! Oh to live in such an entireness of confidence and child-likefaith that we will have nothingto do with anything except with serving Him and showing forth the gratitude we owe to Him who has done so much for us!
Get up, Believers! Get up to your high mountain! Leave your dunghills and assume your thrones! Cast off your sackcloth! Throwaway your ashes and put on your scarlet apparel! Christ has called you to fellowship with Himself, and He is no longer inthe grave-He is risen! Rise! He is ascended!Ascend with Him and learn what this means, "He has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places inChrist Jesus!
I know you will say you cannot see this. However, it is there-most surely there! It is just the same as in Hagar's case, withyou-the same but with a difference. The fullness of fellowship with Christ is attainable! It is close to you and if you haveyour eyes opened to see it, as ithas been given you to see Jesus as your Savior, you may rejoice w with a joy unspeakable and full of glory! God do so toyou and more, also, according to His Covenant goodness in Christ Jesus. Amen and Amen.
PORTIONS SOF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-GENESIS 21:9-19; LIKE 24:13-31