Sermon 3096. The Second Time
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 1908.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, MAY 24, 1874.
"And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers." Acts 7:13.
[Two other Sermons by Mr. Spurgeon upon this incident, based upon Genesis. 45:1-5, are as follows-#449, Volume 8-JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS and #2516, Volume 43-JESUS AND HIS BRETHREN]
THIS did not happen on the first occasion when they went down into Egypt. Joseph knew them, then, but they did not recognizehim. He filled their sacks with corn, put the purchase money into their sacks, gave them provision for the way and sent themhome, but he gave them no token by which they were able to recognize him as their long-lost brother. And I want to show youthat as it was with Joseph, so it is with Jesus. There are times when sinners do not know Him even when they are speakingto Him. And on the first occasion He does not manifest Himself to them, but it is a very delightful thought that, full often,at the second time, Jesus is made known unto His brethren even as Joseph was. I will tell you the gist of my discourse atonce. It is this-if you have sought the Savior and have not yet found Him, seek Him again! If your first seeking has beena failure, let my text be a message of encouragement to you-"At the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers"-letit encourage you to seek the Savior again in the hope that, at the second time, Jesus may make Himself known to you!
We are constantly preaching the same Gospel, in the simplest terms we can find-and the Gospel that we preach is this, "Believeon the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." Believing on Christ is simply trusting Him, trusting in His great atoningSacrifice in which He stood in the place of sinners and suffered as their Substitute, so bearing, that they might never haveto bear, the righteous wrath of God on account of their sin. We might have supposed that every person who attended our ministrydid at least fully understand the plan of salvation, but it is not so. There are seekers here who are still in the dark. Thelight shines upon their eyes, but those eyes are blind-even in broad daylight they grope as in the night because there isa night within their spirit which it is not in our power to change into spiritual day! There are some seekers after Christwho, notwithstanding the simplicity of the Gospel, remain seekers by the space of weeks, months and even years. Yet, it seemsto me that no man or woman who is out of Christ ought to remain in that condition for another hour! During that hour he maydie and be damned, and it ill becomes him to run so solemn and terrible a risk. If I had any doubt of my being saved in Christ,I would give no sleep to my eyes nor slumber to my eyelids until I had found Him. I would say to myself, "I must have Him!I cannot live without Him." Yet there are some who seem to be awakened to a sense of their danger and who are apparently concernedabout their soul's eternal interests, yet they remain in that state of semi-concern and semi-awakening not merely for an hour,or for a day or two, but from month to month, and even from year to year, continually crying with Job, "Oh, that I knew whereI might find Him!" Yet they never get any nearer to the Savior-turning their faces towards Zion, yet never truly startingupon the heavenly pilgrimage! Desiring, hoping, fearing, resolving, debating, yet never actually trusting in Christ-and sonot saved!
Our fear concerning these Seekers who are not finders, is that one of two things will happen to them-either they will fallinto utter despair, or else into complete infidelity-perhaps into both, for despair is often the mother of infidelity. Theywill first, perhaps, fall into gloom, depression, despondency. And at last they will say, "It is no use for us to keep onseeking the Savior, for if we do seek Him, we shall not find Him. If we pray, we shall not be heard. If we listen to the Gospel,it will not bless us. If we make an appeal to Christ, He will not grant our request." And so they will settle down into deeperand deeper and yet deeper gloom and declare that there is no salvation for them. Out of this despair
may ultimately come an utter infidelity like that of those of old who said, "There is no hope: but we will walk after ourown devices and we will, everyone, do the imagination of his evil heart." We have known some who have said that as there wasno hope for them in the next life, they would have their swing in this life! They were going to be lost, they said, and thereforethey might just as well enjoy themselves here while they could. If they could not be pardoned, they might as well be hungfor a sheep as for a lamb-they would lay the reins upon the necks of their lusts, give full sway to all their passions-andplunge into sin till they were covered with its pollution!
Dear seeking Friend, I tremble lest that should ever be the case with you. I fear lest you should wipe away those tears andthat they should be succeeded by the infidel's jest. I dread lest your trembling should cease and be succeeded by a conscienceseared as with a hot iron! Such experiences have happened to others and I am afraid lest they should happen to you. The sunhas been shining upon you and it seemed as if it was going to melt you into penitence. It will certainly do one of two things-itwill either soften you or harden you. And if the melting time should pass over and you are not melted, there may then comea hardening time, and you will become Gospel-hardened and remain forever without hope concerning the world to come! May theGod of Infinite Love and Mercy graciously grant that it may not be so with you! And that it may not be so, I shall try nowto speak some words of encouragement to you. And may God the Holy Spirit move all who are the Lord's people to pray that thesewords of encouragement may be the means of bringing you, this very hour, to full acceptance with God through faith in HisSon, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!
I. I want to remind you, first, that THERE IS A SOMETHING WHICH YOU DO NOT KNOW.
Those who went down into Egypt did not know their brother Joseph in his exalted position, but "at the second time Joseph wasmade known to his brothers." Sinner, you need above everything to know Christ When Joseph's brothers went down into Egypt,they thought that if they could buy corn there, it would be enough to supply all their needs. But the grand thing that Godhad in store for them there was not merely corn, but that they might find Joseph who would secure to them all the corn andeverything else that they could possibly need! So, Sinner, I remind you again that your great need is to know Jesus Christ!And if you do come to know Him, you will have all that you can require.
You need to know Christ as Lord of All. The keys of all the granaries of Egypt were under the power of Joseph. He could openor close them when he pleased and when he gave his orders, none could countermand them. So, only in a much higher sense, ithas pleased the Father that in Christ all fullness should dwell, "therefore He is able also to save them to the uttermostthat come unto God by Him." Infinite ability to save is treasured up in Christ because He is Lord of All. Oh, how I wish thatyou all knew this! You tell me, Friend, that you doknow this. Yes, you know that it is a fact, but you do not realize thatall that is needed for your salvation is laid up in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, and that nothing is needed from you andthat you have not to procure anything from any other source! If you did but know Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, to be the appointedand anointed Savior, able to save you to the uttermost, it would make a grand change in your whole life!
But you also need to know not only that Christ is Savior and Lord, but that He is your Brother, one with you in nature, relationshipand love. The sons of poor old Jacob did not know that the man who was lord over Egypt was their own brother! They had nevereven dreamed of such a thing, yet all the while his heart was palpitating with love to them. The passion of his soul couldscarcely be restrained. He saw the well-remembered image of his father in every one of their faces and he longed to weep upontheir necks and to tell them how much he loved them. He restrained himself for a while, but "the second time Joseph was madeknown to his brothers." And then, oh, how glad they were to know him as their brother! And, dear Friend, if you ever foundout that Jesus Christ is your Brother and that He loved you before the foundation of the world-if ever you should make thisblessed discovery that for love of you, He took your nature upon Himself and was born at Bethlehem-that for love of you Hesweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane, and that for love of you He died upon the Cross of Calvary-oh, then what joy willfill your spirit! This is what you need to know- Christ in His eternal love for sinners, Christ in His brotherhood with allwho trust Him, Christ in His everlasting union with all His redeemed people! And if you ever know this, you will know morethan Solomon, himself, could have taught you, and you will be able to speak upon a theme which will far exceed any upon whichDemosthenes or Cicero was ever able to speak! O Soul, we want you to know that Jesus is ready to forgive you, ready to befriendyou, ready to help you, ready to enrich you, ready to enrich you with His own spotless robe of righteousness in place of yourown filthy rags, ready to be All in All to you between here and Heaven! I pray that the Holy Spirit may impart this knowledgeto you this
very hour, so that you may go out of this place saying, "Christ has now been made known to me. I never knew Him before. Ihave ridiculed His religion, I have despised His Gospel, but now that I know that He loved me and gave Himself for me, thatmakes all the difference! Knowing that I am one of His chosen people, one of His redeemed ones, one for whom His preciousblood was shed, I can never speak against Him again! But I will praise Him as long as I live, and after I die I shall liveagain to extol Him forever and ever for having made Himself known to me as my Lord and Savior, and Brother!" That is whatyou all need to know if you have not yet learned it.
II. Now, secondly, THERE IS A REASON WHY, AT YOUR FIRST GOING, YOU DID NOT LEARN THIS. Joseph was not made known to his brothersat their first visit, nor have you yet found Jesus so as to know His love. You have sought Him in some fashion or other, butHe has not yet made Himself known to you. Shall I try to tell you why?
I cannot be sure, but I think that one reason is that you have not really looked for Christ to be made known to you. Thesesons of Jacob went down into Egypt, not to hunt for Joseph, but to buy corn. In like manner, you prayed, but for what didyou pray? You say that you asked that your sins might be pardoned, that you might be saved from Hell. That is quite rightas far as it goes, for you need that, even as Joseph's brothers needed corn, but you need more than that, as they did. Yourprayers were not answered because you did not really ask for what you most needed. Your previous searches ended in failurebecause you were not seeking what you most needed. If you had truthfully said-
"You, O Christ, are all I need- More than all in You I find" and then had presented to God this petition-
"Gracious Lord, incline Your ear, My requests vouchsafe to hear. Hear my never-ceasing cry- Give me Christ, or else I die!Wealth and honor I disdain, Earthly comforts all are vain- These can never satisfy, Give me Christ, or else I die"- you wouldsoon have received an answer to your supplication. But if you have been praying in the wrong fashion, it may be that is thereason why the first time you went to Christ, He was not made known to you.
In the next place, you did not go to Him with a confession of your guilt Joseph's brothers went down into Egypt, the firsttime, simply to buy corn-they did not go there to search for their brother, Joseph, feeling that they had done a great wrongto him. But he took means to bring home to them a sense of their guilt, so that they said one to another, "We are verily guiltyconcerning our brother." Though his life had not actually been taken, it was no credit to them that he had been spared. Theyhad practically aimed at his murder and they confessed their guilt. And you, Sinner, have been guilty of the death of Jesus.Have you ever realized that it was your sins that fastened Him to the Cross of Calvary? Have you ever thought how greatlyyou have sinned against Jesus, the ever-blessed Son of God? No, you have thought of your sin as committed against yourself,or against your neighbor, but not as against Jesus! Yet this has been the greatest of all your sins-that you have been thecause of His death. And when He convinces you that He loved you before He made the world, this will cause you to condemn yourselfbecause you have not loved Him in return. I know that when I found out that Christ had bought me with His precious blood,I felt grieved at heart to think that I had so long been an enemy to Him. This is what you all need to know, and what someof you do not yet know. As you have not come to Him with a broken heart and contrite spirit, you should not wonder that Jesushas not yet revealed Himself to you!
You remember that when Joseph's brothers went down into Egypt the first time, they did not all go. They left Benjamin at home,so Joseph would not reveal himself to them until Benjamin was with them. And sometimes, when sinners go to Christ, they donot go whole-heartedly. They leave some faculty or capacity dormant, just as these brothers left Benjamin at home. You prayed,you say, but what sort of a prayer was it? It was a cold, languid prayer, scarcely worthy of the name. You did not put yourheart into it and you know that our Lord Jesus Christ said, "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent takeit by force," implying that intense earnestness is required if we would prevail with God. Or if lukewarmness was not the hindrancein your case, possibly there was a Benjamin-sin that you had not given up, or a Benjamin-self-confidence that you wanted tokeep-but all these must be abandoned if Christ is to make Himself known to us. We shall never learn to know the Lord untilwe go to Him and pray from our very soul-
"You do freely save the lost!
Only in Your Grace I trust-
With my earnest suit comply
Give me Christ, or else I die!
All unholy, all unclean,
I am nothing else but sin.
On Your mercy I rely,
Give me Christ, or else I die!
Lord, deny me what You will,
Only ease me of my guilt.
Suppliant at Your feet I lie-
Give me Christ, or else I die!"
If you will to be lost, you will be lost, but if you resolve that, by God's Grace, you will notbe lost, but will cry to Himfor mercy as long as there is in you any power to cry, I venture to believe that you will not be lost! That very importunitywhich the Holy Spirit has implanted in your spirit is a token for good. You may well expect that the Lord means to save youwhen He makes you resolve that you will not let Him go except He shall bless you. Perhaps the reason why you have failed untilnow to find Christ is that you have not been in real earnest in seeking Him.
I may tell you one thing, you have kept the Lord waiting so long that if He were to make you wait still longer, you oughtnot to wonder In some of our London squares which are still private property, you may drive through almost any day in theyear and nobody tries to stop you. But, occasionally, the owner has the gate shut just for a minute or two, and you have toask permission to go through. The gate is only shut in order to preserve the rights of the proprietor over the roadway. And,in a similar fashion, a sinner will sometimes find the gate of Mercy shut for a while to make him realize that God has theSovereign right to do as He wills, and that it sometimes pleases Him to withhold for a season the Light of His Countenance.But, Sinner, if God were to make you pray to Him for 50 years, if He heard you at the last, it would be well worth your whileto keep on praying! If He were to let you seek Him for 20 years and give you the Light of His Countenance only at the last,you might be satisfied to have it so! He is not likely to do anything of the kind, but if He did-you might be more than contentas long as He did but bless you!
III. Now we will turn to the third point. I have reminded you that your great need is to know Christ. And I mentioned somereasons why you have not yet known Him. Now I want to assure you that THERE IS GREAT HOPE IN YOUR GOING TO HIM AGAIN.
I will read the text once more-"At the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers." They went again to their brother-andyou had better go again to Christ, for remember that you must go or perish You sang just now-
"Perhaps He will admit my plea,
Perhaps will hear my prayer.
But if Iperish, I willpray
And perish only there.
I can but perish if I go-
I am resolved to try,
For if I stay away, I know
I must forever die."
That is most true. There is only one door to salvation and that door is Christ! So you had better keep on knocking if thedoor remains closed. There is only one road to Heaven and if that road seems to be blocked, you had better try again and againto pass along it, for there is no other way! You must either know Christ or else everlasting Hell must be your portion. Joseph'sbrothers knew that they must either go down into Egypt for corn or else starve, so they went there. And, poor Sinner, go toChrist because you must go-there is nowhere else for you to go.
Another reason why you should go to Christ again is because others have gone to Him and done well by going. I wish I couldspeak personally to every seeker here who has thus far sought Christ in vain, and encourage him by my own case. I sought theLord, when I was a child, not only for days and weeks, but for months and even for years before I found
Him. I can scarcely tell how it was that my brain was so muddled and my heart so distracted that I could not find Him, butI know that I wanted Christ and yet could not get Him. I remember how I made up my mind that I would go to every place ofworship in the town where I lived-and I did go to every dissenting place of worship that I knew of. Sometimes I heard a manpreach up election and then I said to myself, "That Doctrine will do very well for the saints, but it is not for me." I wentto hear another man who was preaching the precept of the Gospel-that was just like teaching people to dance who had no legs,and was no good to me. Then I went to another place where the minister was preaching some intellectual doctrine of which Icould make neither heads nor tails. So I went in vain from one place to another and often I went down on my knees and my littlebedroom was the scene of sorrowful groans and falling tears. But, in God's good time, I found the Lord, by His Grace, andat this moment I know that I am saved. So why should not you also come to know Christ even though, until now, He has not madeHimself known to you? And not only I, but hundreds of those who are sitting here had a hard time in coming to Christ, butthey did come to Him at last-so why shouldn't you?
You are like poor Mercy in John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." When Christiana and her children went in at the gate, Mercywas left outside. And while Christiana pleaded for her admission, she knocked so loudly that she startled her friend inside.When the Keeper of the gate looked out, poor Mercy had fallen down in a swoon through fear that she would not get in, buthe took her by the hand and led her gently in and bade those that stood by bring something to stop her fainting. Thus yousee that Mercy got in and so will you if you only keep on knocking! Knock as if you would break the gate down! Feel that youmust get in! Put your whole soul into your prayers and keep on seeking for Jesus with all your might, feeling that you mustbe saved and that you cannot rest content until Christ reveals Himself to you. As others have found mercy, why shouldn't you?
Go again, because, as I have already reminded you, since you went the last time, you have lingered far too long. You werevery earnest in seeking the Savior a few months ago, but as you did not succeed in finding Him, your earnestness passed away.But remember that before this time your soul might have been lost. Thank God that you are still alive, for if your body hadbeen this night in your grave, your soul would have been in Hell. As you are not there, take heart and resolve to seek theSavior once more, for it may be that you will soon find Him. I will tell you a secret-I believe that you are a man or a womanin whom God has put His Spirit, who has already begun to work within your heart. I think you are one of those to whom Jesuswill reveal Himself. I believe He has long wanted to do so. When Joseph's brothers went down to Egypt the first time, thoughhe did not tell them who he was, he knew well enough who they were. He was rough in his manner towards them, but when theywent away, I am certain that he wished they would come back the next morning. And I expect he said to his servants, "Sendword to the guards at the frontier of Egypt that when those men come back from Canaan, they are to let me know at once thatthey have come back." They probably made their corn hold out longer than Joseph thought it would, but even when he was busyabout the affairs of the kingdom of Egypt, I have no doubt that he often sat down and said to himself, "I wonder when thosebrothers of mine will be here again. I should like to hear about my father. I should like to see my brother Benjamin."
He was wanting them badly, yet they did not know it! And Jesus Christ is wanting you, for those to whom He reveals Himselfare those whom He loved long before they were born and long before the world was made. For love of them He came down fromHeaven to earth, lived in poverty and died in shame that He might save them. He is married to them and they are as dear toHim as the spouse is to her husband. Jesus wants you, Sinner, and if you do but know this, I feel sure that it will be sufficientto make you say, "Then I will go to Him yet again trusting that He will reveal Himself to me."-
"I'll go to Jesus, though my sin Has like a mountain rose. I know His courts, I'll enter in, Whatever may oppose."
IV. What will happen if you do go to Christ again? This story of Joseph and his brothers gives us A FORECAST OF WHAT WILLHAPPEN IF YOU DO GO TO CHRIST AGAIN.
Suppose that the Spirit of God should now work upon your soul and show you that all that is needed for your salvation is alreadydone, that you have nothing to do because Christ has done it all? Suppose that the Holy Spirit should then enable you simplyto put your trust in Jesus? You will be saved, saved now, and saved forever! Yet it is possible that your experience willbe like that of Joseph's brothers. At first, when you know who Jesus is, you will tremble in His
Presence. You will say to yourself, "After these many years of hearing the Gospel and slighting it, will Jesus receive menow?" You will fall on your knees and even while you are in prayer, possibly you will feel, "It cannot be any use for me toseek Him. I am growing old, now, and I have wasted a long life and spurned the Grace of God which has been pressed upon meall these years. I fear it is no use for me to seek the Lord now." Then I will tell you what will happen next. Christ willbid you draw near to Him, as Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, I pray you." The Holy Spirit will incline youto think about Christ and you will think about who He was and what He was, and what He did and what He is-and you will heara Voice which will say to you, "Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth." And you will look to Jesus andso you will be drawn near to Him!
What will happen then? Why, what happened to Joseph's brothers! He will fall upon your neck and kiss you. By that act youwill realize that all your offenses are forgiven and your transgressions are all blotted out! That kiss will be to you thetoken of forgiveness and acceptance. And then Christ will say to His servants, "Take off My brother's filthy rags. Make himclean, give him a change of raiment and let him sit at My table and feast with Me." Then He will tell you that He will providefor you all your days and, by-and-by, will take you to dwell with Him in Heaven forever and ever!
Does someone ask, "Can all that happen to me tonight?" I answer-Yes, if you will dispense with every other confidence andcome and rest in Jesus only, it will happen to you tonight! "But, Sir," says another, "I have been so long seeking." Thereis really no need for anyone to be seeking Christ for a long while. Remember what Paul wrote, "Say not in your heart, Whoshall ascend into Heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bringup Christ again from the dead). But what says it? The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart: that is, theword of faith which we preach; that if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart thatGod have raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouthconfession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, Whoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed."
"But," says one, "I cannot understand how the simple act of trusting Christ can change the heart and save the soul." Evenif you cannot comprehend it, it is true that as soon as a man has trusted Christ, he knows that he is saved! Then he lovesChrist for saving him-the impulse of love and gratitude changes his whole attitude towards God and towards God's will so thathe desires to do the very things which once he loved not to do, while sin, which was formerly his delight, has become a miseryto him and he longs with all his heart to escape from it! There is salvation for each one here who trusts in the Lord JesusChrist, but there is no salvation in any other way! As my eyes range around this audience, I see that many of you are strangersto me. But I know the characters of some who are now present. I know that there are some here who were once members of a ChristianChurch, but who fell through drunkenness.
There are others here who once made a profession of faith in Christ, but who were turned aside by one sin or another and sodisgraced their profession. Yet the Lord says to them, "Return, you backsliding children; come back to your God." I chargeyou to come back without further delay! Some of you have been inclined to return unto the Lord, yet I fear that you are againrelapsing into indifference. May the Lord bring you a second time and make sure work of it, even as the second time Josephwas made known unto his brothers!
As for you strangers who are with us at this service, if you are unconverted it may be that you have been hitherto satisfiedwith your state even though you have never possessed real vital godliness. Well, if it is so, I pray that you may speedilylearn to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and your Brother! Never be satisfied with anything short of that. Somepeople think they are all right because they have learned the catechism and are familiar with the prayer book. Others feelperfectly content because they know the creed of the place they usually attend. Ah, Sirs, all that is of no avail! Nothingand no one but Jesus Christ and Him Crucified can save a single soul! And it is no use merely to know Him by report-you mustknow Him personally and spiritually-your heart being humbled before Him because your sins slew Him. Your heart rejoicing beforeHim because God allowed Him to be put to death in order to save your soul!
Dear Hearers, if I should never be able to speak to you again, let this one Truth of God ring in your ears and abide in yourhearts-"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ"-so that if you are not built upon Christ,the Rock of Ages, you are off the only foundation that will endure the test of time, and death, and judgment! And you arebuilding on the sand-and down your building will come just when you most need a shelter! And great will be the fall thereof.You must have Jesus made known to you and only Jesus can make Himself known to you by
His ever-blessed Spirit! The sun alone can show you the sunlight, and Jesus must visit you in a supernatural way and revealHimself to you by His own Spirit. You must be born-again by the power of the Holy Spirit! And if it is not so with you, andif you are not resting in Him alone- where He is, you can never go! But if you know Him. If you are in Him, go your way inpeace, for "there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Knowing Him, you have saving knowledgeand you shall, by-and-by, be with Him where He is, to behold His Glory and to dwell with Him forever! May God grant to allof you this privilege, for Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: MATTHEW 7:1-8.
Verses 1, 2. Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measureyou mete, it shall be measured to you again. Use your judgment, of course-the verse implies that you will judge in a rightsense. But do not indulge the criticizing faculty upon others in a censorious manner, or as if you were set in authority andhad a right to dispense judgment among your fellows. If you impute motives and pretend to read hearts, others will do thesame towards you. A hard and censorious behavior is sure to provoke reprisals. Those around you will pick up the peck measureyou have been using and measure your corn with it. You do not object to men forming a fair opinion of your character, neitherare you forbidden to do the same towards them. But as you would object to their sitting in judgment upon you, do not sit injudgment upon them. This is not the day of judgment, neither are we his majesty's judges, and therefore we may not anticipatethe time appointed for the final assize, nor usurp the prerogatives of the Judge of all the earth! Surely, if I know myselfaright, I need not send my judgment upon circuit to try other men, for I can give it full occupation in my own Court of Conscienceto try the traitors within my own bosom.
3-5. And why behold you the mote that is in your brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or howwill you say to your brother, Let me pull the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite,first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cut the mote out of your brother's eye.Thejudging faculty is best employed at home. Our tendency is to spy out splinters in other men's eyes and not to see the beamin our own! Instead of beholding, with gratified gaze, the small fault of another, we should act reasonably if we penitentlyconsidered the greater fault of ourselves. It is the beam in our own eye which blinds us to our own wrong doing! But suchblindness does not suffice to excuse us, since it evidently does not shut our eyes to the little error of our brother. Officiousnesspretends to play the oculist, but in very truth it plays the fool! Fancy a man with a beam in his eye pretending to deal withso tender a part as the eye of another and attempting to remove so tiny a thing as a mote or splinter! Is he not a hypocriteto pretend to be so concerned about other men's eyes and yet he never attends to his own? Jesus is gentle, but He calls thatman a "hypocrite" who fusses about small things in others and pays no attention to great matters at home in his own person!Our reformations must begin with ourselves, or they are not true and do not spring from a right motive. Sin we may rebuke,but not if we indulge it! We may protest against evil, but not if we willfully practice it! The Pharisees were great at censuring,but slow at amending. Our Lord will not have His Kingdom made up of hypocritical theorists-He calls for practical obedienceto the rules of holiness!
After we are ourselves sanctified, we are bound to be eyes to the blind and correctors of unholy living-but not till then.Till we have personal piety, our preaching of godliness is sheer hypocrisy! May none of us provoke the Lord to say to us,"You hypocrite!"
6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast you your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under theirfeet, and turn again and rend you. When men are evidently unable to perceive the purity of a great Truth of God, do not setit before them. They are like mere dogs and if you set holy things before them they will be provoked to "turn again and rendyou." Holy things are not for the profane. "Outside are dogs"-they must not be allowed to enter the holy place. When you arein the midst of the vicious, who are like "swine," do not bring forth the precious mysteries of the faith, for they will despisethem and "trample them under their feet" in the mire. You are not needlessly to provoke attack upon yourself, or upon thehigher Truths of the Gospel. You are not to judge, but you are not to act without judgment. Count not men to be dogs or swine,but when they avow themselves to be such, or by their conduct act as if they were such, do not put occasions in their wayfor displaying their evil character. Saints are not to be simpletons- they are not to be judges, but, also, they are not tobe fools. Great King, how much wisdom Your precepts require! I need You, not only to open my mouth, but also at times to keepit shut!
7, 8. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you: for everyone that asksreceives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. To men you may not always speak of heavenlythings, but to God you may. "Ask, seek, knock." Let your prayer be adapted to the case. Let it increase in intensity, letit advance in the largeness of its objective. To receive a gift is simple, to find a treasure is more enriching, to enterinto a palace is best of all! Each form of prayer is prescribed, accepted and rewarded in a manner suitable to its character.The promise is universal to all who obey the precept. The commands are in opposition to the methods of carking care whichhave been denounced in the former chapter-and they are encouragements to the precepts of giving and non-resistance set forthpreviously, since he that can have of God for the asking may well give to men who ask and even yield to those who unjustlydemand! With such boundless stores at command, we should not be either niggardly or litigious. Lord, help me to have donewith fretting and to abound in asking, seeking, knocking! So shall I soon overflow with thanksgiving.