Sermon 2215. Young Man! A Prayer For You
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, AUGUST 2, 1891,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray, open his eyes, that he may see! And the Lord opened the eyes of the youngman,and he saw. And, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" 2 Kings 6:17.
This young man waited upon a Prophet-he could not have had a more instructive occupation, yet his eyes needed to be opened.He was well disposed towards good things, for the tone of his language to his master shows that he was heartily at one withhim-but his eyes were not yet half opened. Being in great alarm for his master's safety, he ran to him to warn him-good servantsshould be their master's best friends. In return, his believing master prays for him. If we desire the good of our servants,our children and our friends, let us take care that we make supplication for them! All that we can do for them at our bestis to give them secondary blessings, but if we pray to God for them, they will receive the best of gifts from Him who sendsdown in His mercy nothing but good gifts and perfect gifts. When we have come to the end of our teaching, example and persuasion,let us hand our young friends over to the Lord who works effectually unto eternal salvation.
Elisha's petition for this young man was, "O Lord, I pray, open his eyes, that he may see!" The young man was, at that time,in the peculiar condition of seeing and yet not seeing. He saw the enemy surrounding the city, but not the greater host ofthe Lord's angels who protected the man of God. Looking over the little walls of Dothan, he observed all the country roundabout to be occupied by the horses and chariots of the king of Syria. And he cried, "Alas, my Master! What shall we do?" Hecould see the danger, but he could not see the deliverance and, therefore, the Prophet lifted up his heart to Heaven and said,"O Lord, I pray, open his eyes, that he may see!" Elisha reckons his servant's natural sight as not seeing and regards thevision which detects the invisible as the only true sight.
Perhaps I am addressing some, at this time, who are very friendly to the cause of God and are even connected with it by relationshipor occupation. They cheerfully lend a hand at any time in holy service so far as they can and they wish prosperity to thecause of true religion. Yet their eyes have not been opened to see spiritual things or, at least, not sufficiently openedto see the gracious and Divine side of them. They see enough to perceive that they are in danger from a great enemy. Theyperceive that it is no easy thing to fight the battle of life and in the prospect of it they cry, "What shall we do?" Theyperceive that it is a difficult thing for a man to stand up for holiness, for truth, for integrity, for purity and to maintaina gracious character throughout the whole of life. They seem, to themselves, to be environed with opposing forces in theirbusiness, in their temperament, in their companionships and, perhaps, in their families. As for the cause of godliness, itseems hemmed in by adversaries and they ask-"What is to be done? Is not the matter desperate? Might it not be as well to surrenderat once?" For any such timid one I would present to God the prayer of Elisha-"O Lord, I pray, open his eyes, that he may see!"Oh, that the prayer might be answered at this hour!
Very briefly, I shall speak, first, upon our prayer. Secondly, upon our reason for offering such a petition. And thirdly,upon our hope, for we trust that if our prayer is answered, the person whose eyes are opened will behold a vision which willbless him beyond anything he has ever dreamed of.
I. First, then, OUR PRAYER-"Lord, I pray, open the eyes of the young man, that he may see!" This petition bears many senses.I will mention only a few.
For certain of our friends we pray that their eyes may be opened to see the enemy of their souls under the many disguiseswhich he assumes. We fear that many are ignorant of his devices. Young men, especially, are too apt to mistake the
great enemy for a friend. They believe his false and flattering words and are seduced to ruin. He holds forth to them thesparkling cup-but in its beaded bubbles death is lurking! He talks of "pleasure," but in the lusts of the flesh the pleasureis a shadow and misery is the substance! He wears the mask of prudence and admonishes young men to "mind the main chance,"and leave religion till they have made their fortunes. But that gain which comes of thrusting God aside will prove to be aneverlasting loss! The devil as a serpent does more mischief than as a roaring lion. If we had to meet the devil and knew himto be what he is, we might far more easily conquer him-but we have to deal with him disguised as an angel of light-and hereis the need of a hundred eyes, each one of them opened by God, that we may see!
Even worse than this is the fact that, at times, he does not meet us at all, but he undermines our path. He digs pits forour feet, he shoots his arrows from afar, or sends forth a pestilence which walks in darkness. Then have we need of a bettersight than Nature gives. I would pray for the young man who is just leaving home to go into the world, "O Lord, open the eyesof the young man, that he may see!" May he be able to detect the falsehood which may hide itself beneath the truth, the meannesswhich may wrap itself about with pride, the folly which may robe itself in learning, the sin which may dress itself in theraiment of pleasure! I would not have you taken, like birds, in a snare. I would not have the youth led, like a bullock tothe shambles, by the hand of temptation. Let us breathe such a prayer as that of Elisha for each person in this place whois beginning life. God grant that his eyes may be opened to see sin as sin and to see that evil never can be good, a lie nevercan be true and rebellion against our God can never be the way to happiness!
We want men's eyes to be opened to see God as everywhere, observing all things. What an opening of the eyes this would beto many! It is a sad but true saying that God may be seen everywhere, but that the most of men see Him nowhere. He is blind,indeed, who cannot see HIM to whom the sun owes its light. Until our eyes are opened, we rise in the morning, we fall asleepat night and we have not seen God all day, although He has been every moment around us and within us! We live from the firstday of January to the last day of December-and while the Lord never ceases to see us, we do not even begin to see Him till,by a miracle of Grace-He opens our eyes! We dwell in a wonderful world which the great Creator has made, filled with His ownhandiwork, cheered with His own Presence-and yet we do not see Him! Indeed, there are some so blind as to assert that thereis no Creator and that they cannot perceive any evidence that a supremely wise and mighty Creator exists!
Oh, that the Lord Jesus would open the eyes of the willfully blind! Oh, that you, also, who are blinded by forgetful-nessrather than by error, may be made to cry with Hagar, "You, God, see me," and with Job, "Now my eyes see you"! If God willgraciously convince men of His own Divine Presence, what a benediction it will be to them, especially to the young in commencinglife! A clear perception that the Lord observes all that we do will be a very useful protection in the hour of temptation.When we remember the Divine eyes, we shall cry, like Joseph, "How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" Tosee yourself is well, but to see God is better. Let us pray, "O Lord, open the young man's eyes, that he may see YOU!"
When a man begins to see his great enemy, and his best Friend, we may next pray, Lord, open his eyes to see the way of salvationthrough the appointed Savior. There is no seeing the Lord Jesus but by His own light. We look to Him with a look which comesfrom Him. I have tried to explain salvation to people many times in simple words and figures, but there is a great deal moreneeded than an explanation. It is right to be very plain, but more is needed than a clear statement. No matter how brightthe candle, a blind man sees none the better. I continually pray, "Lord, open my mouth," but I perceive that I must also pray,"Lord, open men's eyes!" Until God opens a man's eyes, he will not see what faith means, nor what atonement means, nor whatregeneration means. That which is plain as a pikestaff to a seeing man is invisible to the blind. "Believe, and live"-whatcan be plainer? Yet no man understands it till God gives Grace to perceive His meaning.
It is our duty, as preachers, to put the Gospel as plainly as possible, but we cannot give a man spiritual understanding.We declare, in baldest and boldest terms, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved," but men ask, like simpletons,"What do you mean?" We cry, "Look unto Jesus and live," but when our explanations are over, we learn that they have mistakenour meaning-and are still looking to themselves-and turning their backs on the Lord Jesus. To believe, or trust, is no mystery,but the simplest of all simplicities! And for that very reason men cannot be persuaded to think that we mean what we say,or that God means what He says. We need to pray-"Lord, open their eyes, that they may see, for seeing, they do not see, andhearing, they do not perceive!"
Blessed be the Lord, how sweetly they do see it the moment their eyes are opened by His own Omnipotent touch! Then they areamazed that they did not see it before and call themselves fools for not perceiving what is so plain! Faith in the Lord Jesusis the simplest A B C of Divine Revelation-it belongs to the rudiments and elements of heavenly knowledge and we are dolts,indeed, not to take it as we find it in the Word of God and leave off mystifying ourselves over so plain a matter! Once letthe miracle-working power of God open our eyes and we see well enough! But till then, we grope in the noonday for that whichis right before us! I hope, beloved fellow-Christians, that you are praying while I am speaking. Praying, I mean, for thosearound you, and for all the blind souls that wander among the graves of earth- "Lord, open their eyes, that they may see!"He that made the eyes can open them! Sin cannot so darken the mind but that God can pour light into it! If we cannot makemen see, we can at least lead them to the Master Optometrist, who can rectify their sight.
We should pray that our friends may have their eyes opened to see all manner of spiritual Truths of God. These optics of ourscan only see natural objects. That is all they are intended for. We should be very grateful that our eyes can see as muchas they see, but spiritual objects are not discernible by the eyes of the body, which are only for material objects. The thingswhich pertain to the spiritual Kingdom must be perceived by eyes of a spiritual sort, eyes opened by the Lord! God must giveto us spiritual senses before we can discern spiritual things-let this never be forgotten. There are those sitting among uswho cannot discern spiritual things, for they have not the needed faculties. Carnal men and carnal women see only carnal things.The flesh cannot grasp, perceive, or discern the things of the Spirit. We must become spiritual and receive spiritual facultiesbefore we can perceive spiritual things-in a word, we must be "born again." "The natural man receives not the things of theSpirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Thereforethe need of the prayer, "Lord, open the eyes of the young man, that he may
Already the horses and chariots of fire were round about Elisha, but his servant could not see one of them because they werespiritual chariots and spiritual horses-angelic beings belonging to the purely spiritual domain-and as yet the youth had notentered the spiritual region and had no eyes with which to see into it. When God had given him spiritual eyes, then therebegan to break upon his vision that strange sight. Ethereal, airy-no, spiritual-but yet most real! That sight which revivedhis soul with the conviction that the Prophet was safe, was the ministers of God, as flames of fire, flashing to and fro and,like an army with horses and chariots, showing themselves strong for the defense of the servant of Jehovah. How surprisedhe was! How great his amazement! How content his mind! He and his master were mysteriously defended beyond all fear of danger.
O my Hearers, as yet strangers to the things of God-if the Lord would open your eyes at once, you would be astonished, indeed,for as yet you have no idea, you cannot have any idea, what the spiritual life is, nor what spiritual realities must be-neithercan you have any true idea of them till you are quickened of the Lord! You may talk about spiritual subjects and discuss themand think yourselves theologians-but you resemble deaf persons criticizing music-and blind men describing pictures! You arenot qualified, even, to express an opinion upon the matter till you are created anew in Christ Jesus and brought within rangeof the spiritual and the heavenly. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." Let the prayer go up, then,from all enlightened hearts, for those who are not as yet walking in the light-"Lord, open the eyes of the young men, thatthey may see!"
We may expect a speedy answer! God hears prayer! Who knows but that many sitting in this house may be surprised by the secrettouch of the invisible Spirit and all of a sudden may find themselves introduced into a new world? Elisha's prayer for thisyoung man was not-and our prayer for others is not that they may do something which they can already do-that they may usesome faculty which they already possess. No, our prayer is that a new sight may be granted to them-and that a new nature maybe created within them, by a power altogether above and beyond themselves! We call on the hand of God! We ask the Lord towork a marvel! We would have you, dear Friends, receive what no education can ever get you, what no graduation at any universitycan ever bestow upon you! We want you to obtain what no years of experience or of study can achieve! We want you to possesswhat no imitation of other people will gain for you! We want you to experience a change which only the Lord, Himself, canwork in you! We would have you pass from Nature's darkness into God's marvelous light-from an awful blindness into a clearvision of things otherwise invisible! Register that
prayer before the Lord, you that are familiar with the courts of Heaven! Present the prayer for children, kinsfolk and friends.Cry, "Lord, let them receive sight, through the gracious working of Your Holy Spirit!"
II. Secondly, let us set forth OUR REASON for praying such a prayer for those around us. On this occasion, I can truly saythat I am praying much more than I am preaching. While I am standing here before you, I am also bowing low before the Lord,my God, and I am bearing upon my heart certain of you for whom I long in my heart and have great heaviness of spirit. I ampraying, in the secret of my soul, "Lord, open his eyes, that he may see!"
The first reason for our prayer is because we, ourselves, have been made to see. Had this miracle of Grace not taken placewithin us, we would have had no thought of prayer for you. But now our whole heart goes with the plea. Once we were as youare. Our eyes were blinded so that we saw neither our foes in all their terror, nor the Glory of the Lord round about us.Like blind Samsons, we went through the weary drudgery of earth surrounded by our foes. At last a glimmering of the Lightof God fell upon us like a lightning flash, showing us our sin! And after we were thus illuminated we endured a great fightof afflictions. Without were fights, within were fears. Our enemies were around us and we knew not what to do! But some manof God prayed for us and one day our eyes were turned toward the hills from which comes all aid to terror-stricken men. TheLord was there, though we knew Him not! But, by His Grace, we looked to Him and were enlightened and our faces were not ashamed-forround about Him the mountain was full of chariots and horses of fire! "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."-
"Lord, I was blind. I could not see
In Your marred visage any Grace!
But now the beauty of Your face
In radiant vision dawns on me!" What else but such a heavenly vision could have scattered all our guilty fear? What else couldhave given us peace in the midst of tumult? We did not quite understand how it was done, nor did the change come to all ofus in the same way, but we can all say, "One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see!" And since the prayers ofothers availed for us, we ought with double earnestness and hope to continue to plead for those who still have missed theglorious Revelation. "Lord, open the eyes of the young man, that he may see!"
We call upon the Lord for this second reason, because only by His power can men be made to see. This we found in our own experience.In vain we struggled to behold the salvation of God. In vain we sought the help of godly people. No sight came to our souls,nor were the eyes of our understanding enlightened until the Lord, Himself, washed our eyes in the waters that go softly.Then we came seeing! And this we also discover when we try to lead others to the Light of God. We speak to them of the glorieswe, ourselves, behold, and set before them the Truth of God, but we cannot make them see. To bestow spiritual vision is asgreat a wonder as to make a world-and requires the same fiat of Omnipotence! Only He who created the eyes can give this secondsight. "Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind." What folly, then,to attempt the greater task of bestowing the sight of the heart! How vain the boast of those who attempt to invade God's prerogativeand imagine that human ordinances or observances can open blind eyes! Beloved, let us, after we have done our best to makethe people see the Glory of the Gospel, always fall back on the God of the Gospel and entreat Him to do His own blessed work-
"He comes, from thickest films of vice,
To clear the mental ray;
And on the eyeballs of the blind,
To pour celestial day."
Do not try to hold up your tallow candles to reveal the chariots of fire nor parade your vain philosophy, as if that couldclear away the darkness of the soul. Leave room for God to work and, in a moment, at the touch of His finger, in responseto the prayers of His people, the wondrous work shall be accomplished!
Most importunately do we pray when we see the people enquiring. The cry, "What shall we do?" sends us to our knees, for weknow that what is necessary is, not something to be done, but something to be seen. And we feel persuaded that the Lord whoawoke the desire in the hearts of the seekers will surely, also, open their eyes to behold His Glory. The very fact that wefeel drawn to pray for them is already a token to us that, before long, the scales shall fall from their eyes and throughtheir vision of the splendor and sufficiency of the provision that God has made for those who trust in him,
the name of the Lord will be greatly glorified. Therefore, with much expectancy, we again utter our prayer, "Lord, open theireyes, that they may see!"
Another reason for this prayer is-you are not aware of your own blindness. You are trusting in yourselves that you can seeall you need to see well enough. That young man, of whom I am now thinking, has no idea, whatever, that his eyes are stoneblind to eternal things! He thinks himself a sharp and clever fellow and I do not deny that he is so, in his own line of things.I am glad that he has such quick faculties for this life. God bless him and may he prosper in his business and in the enterpriseupon which he is just entering! May the good Lord be with him concerning the matter on which his heart is set! But still,dear Friend, I am rather afraid of your cleverness. I am somewhat frightened at that keenness of yours because I have seensharp men cut themselves, and I have seen the self-reliant make miserable failures! Something is to be said for confidencein its proper place, but self-congratulation is a proof of inward weakness and forebodes a breakdown.
If you are depending on an arm of flesh, at the very best you are resting on a broken reed! You require a strength beyondyour own to fight the moral and spiritual battle of life. Your self-reliance, in this case, is a piece of groundless self-conceit.Do you not remember one of whom we read in this very Book of Kings that, when he was forewarned of what he would yet do, heexclaimed in astonishment, "Is your servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?" Hazael could not think himself capableof such crimes-and yet he no sooner had the opportunity than he fell into the evil up to his neck! He was dog enough to becruel, for he was dog enough to fawn upon himself! You do not believe, young man, that you will ever be dishonest, and yetthat little gambling speculation of yours will lead to it. You cannot think that you will ever be godless-and yet you areeven now departing from the good old ways of your home and making a jest of sacred things when in certain company! They thattrust in themselves are storing up fuel for a great fire of sin! The pride which lifts itself up will throw itself down. Becausethe fine young fellow does not know how blind he is, we, therefore, lament his blindness and are the more earnest in bringinghim to Jesus, that he may receive his sight. "Lord, open his eyes, that he may see!"
Next, we pray this prayer because we have reason to fear that you are surrounded by those who will mislead you. We know theyoung man well. He has newly come to London from that sober, orderly, country home-and he has no notion of the snares whichwill be laid for him by fowlers, male and female. Oh, you who have no experience and little discretion, hear the voice ofwarning! Satan has cunning servants about him that hunt for the precious life with double diligence. Our Lord Jesus has aboutHim servants who too often slumber, but the devil's servants are not slothful in their dreadful business! You will find themwaylay you in the streets and press around you in the haunts of pleasure. They are everywhere and they leave no stone unturnedthat they may entrap the unwary. And what if this blind young man is put down in the midst of all these bloodsuckers? Theywill devour him if they can-what if he is left to be their victim? It is like turning out a sheep among a pack of wolves!"Lord, open the eyes of the young man, that he may see!"
We pray this prayer for some of you because you are going away from those who have watched over you and this is a dangerouschange for you. Your mother-ah, we can never tell what a blessing a godly mother is to a young man-your mother parts fromyou with great anxiety. Will you ever forget her tender words? Our fathers are all very well-God bless them!-and a father'sgodly influence and earnest prayers are of untold value to his children. But the mothers are worth two of them, mostly, asto the moral training and religious bent of their sons and daughters! Well, I say, you are going right away from your mother'sholy influence and from your father's restraining admonitions. You will now have nobody to encourage you in the right way.You will miss your sister's holy kiss and your grandmother's loving persuasions. You are going out of the hothouse into anight's frost -well may we pray concerning you, that you may carry with you well-opened eyes to see your way and look beforeyou leap! The young man is now to walk alone-"Lord, open his eyes, that he may see!" If he does not look before he leaps,he will soon be in the ditch-and who shall pull him out?
Again, we pray this prayer with the more pleasure because you will do so much good if your eyes are opened. A blind man inthe midst of such a world as this, what can he do? He cannot help other travelers, for he has to seek aid for himself! Youwish to give rather than to take, do you not? Some here have great abilities and I want them to use them aright. I am persuadedthat I am speaking to young people whom God has ordained to be of great service to their age. That youth yonder does not asyet know what is in him. He is playing with himself. He is making a fool of himself! He is
throwing his pearls before swine-he is wasting his strength. If the Lord should open his eyes, he would see what he is doing.What a man he would make if he were but right with God!
Think of Saul of Tarsus, how he harassed the Church of Christ! But when the scales fell from his eyes, the Lord had no betterservant under Heaven than that once-furious persecutor! With both hands he diligently built up the Church which once he laboredto cast down. "The thing which has been is the thing which shall be." Pray, therefore, O my Brothers and Sisters, for ouryoung men who have sinned, that they may be restored! And pray for those who are as yet ignorant, that they may be enlightened.The cause of God has need of these and in these the Church shall find her champions! Little know we the wealth of comfortfor the faithful which may lie in one young life. Surely, we ought to pile on our prayers and make our intercession flamelike some great beacon light for the rising youth of our time!
There is yet another reason, fetched from the other side of the case. We should pray for the blinded one, since he may terriblysin if not soon made to see. How capable of doing mischief is a man blinded by ignorance, by passion, by ambition, or by anyother form of sin! Who knows the capacities for evil that lie within a single soul? That once bright spirit, Satan, when hefirst thought of revolting against the God of Heaven, it was, perhaps, a single momentary flash of rebellious thought. Butbefore long he had become proudly antagonistic to his Maker and the dragon had drawn down with his tail a third part of thestars of Heaven to quench them in the eternal night of endless wickedness! Then he came to this earth and polluted Paradise-andseduced our first parents from their happy innocence so that they became the progenitors of an unhappy race, steeped up totheir lips in sin.
That one first thought of sin, oh, how pregnant was it with innumerable evils! So, too, among ourselves. A boy, his mother'spride, to whom she looks forward as the honor of the family, may, for a while, appear to be everything that love can hope.But he falls into the hands of one of those tempters to unbelief who are so abundant in this great city. He is taught to pourridicule upon his mother's piety and soon he casts off the bands of his father's God. He forgets the sanctity of God's HolyDay and forsakes the House of Prayer-and then he learns the way to the houses of strange women and to the palace of strongdrink. And he plunges into one sin after another, till he is, himself, the leader of others down to the abyss! That boy whoused to kneel at his mother's knee, say his childish prayers and then stand up and sing of Jesus and His love, was fondlyregarded as one who would honor Jesus in his life. But look at him, now-he staggers home after midnight, vomiting oaths! Heis foul both in soul and in body and those who love him best are saddest at the sight of him.
Dear Friends, if we would not see our children or our friends running to this excess of riot and sinking in this superfluityof sin, let us, in agony of spirit, plead with God at once on their behalf! Oh, for an immediate entrance of the Light ofGod into their souls! Lord, open their eyes, that they may see! Lord, cause them to start back from the beginnings of sin,which are as the breaking out of the water floods! O Savior, quench in them the spark of evil before it grows into a fireand rages to a conflagration!
III. I must now close by mentioning what OUR HOPE is about men when we pray this prayer for them, as I have been doing allalong-"Lord, open the young man's eyes, that he may see!" What is our hope in reference to this? What will they see if theheavenly eye salve is applied?
Elisha, no doubt, felt that the answer to his prayer would be precisely what it really was. "The Lord opened the eyes of theyoung man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." We want men'seyes to be opened, that they may know, first, that spiritual forces really exist. The things which we see are not the onlyreal things, nor even the most real things. The things that are seen are temporal-they are, in truth, but shadows of the unseen!The substantial realities are not seen by these poor eyes-the substance is only perceived by our true selves. All that isvisible is the mere shadow-the very image of the thing is out of sight. Faith teaches us to believe in the existence of thatmost glorious of all Spirits-the great God-in whom we live, move and have our being.
Faith reveals to the heart the existence of that Divine and ever-adorable Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is at this hourwith His Church, and will abide with her to the end of the world. Faith also makes us know the existence, power and Presenceof the Holy Spirit who dwells with Believers and is in them, working out the eternal purpose of God in their sanctification.No knowledge is more sublime than to know the Trinity in Unity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit- one Jehovah! When we come to realizethat the Lord God is the source of all things, that the Lord has made us and not, we, ourselves-and that all things come intobeing by His sovereign will and power-then we come to recognize His
Presence, to consult His will and to lean upon His might. God then becomes real in our thought and apprehension. Since Hewhom we cannot see, nevertheless supports all things that are, we feel that the invisible is the basis of all things!
Oh, that we could get men's minds out of these time-worn ruts of things seen, these narrow bounds of space and time, and seeing,and handling! Oh, that they could rise into the region where the dim faculties, which are bounded by so small a circle, wouldgive place to perceptions which know the infinite, the eternal, the true, the Divine! Oh, that the human mind, which was madein the image of God, could find itself at home with God, whose child it may become, by a second birth, of the living and incorruptibleSeed, by the Word of God, which lives and abides forever!
Verily, if our eyes are opened, we shall begin to recognize that God is greater than this world and all worlds! And then themighty Truths of God which concern His way of mercy in Christ Jesus will ennoble the soul! Then shall we become true comradesof those bright messengers of God that fly to and fro, fulfilling the behests of the Most High. That there are devils, I thinkno Christian man will ever doubt, for at certain seasons we have been sadly conscious of a singularly terrible presence withwhich our souls have been in agonizing conflict. In that tearful battle, it has gone hard with us- our armor has been battered,our comfort has been grievously wounded and our courage badly mauled. We have been saved as by the skin of our teeth. We hardlyknew how to hold on at all, we were so sorely beset by unnatural temptations and suggestions nothing less than infernal!
Then, at the Lord's rebuke, this great adversary has taken sudden flight and angels have come and ministered to us new joysand fruits of consolation fresh from the Tree of Life! Then have we enjoyed communion with unseen messengers of God who haveseemed to bind up our wounds and bring us on our way and whisper peace. Did not an angel come to strengthen our Lord in Gethsemane?Have we not, in our measure, enjoyed a similar visitation? It is a grand thing to see the hosts of God attending us and toknow that bright convoys of these shining ones will come to salute us at the last! It is a great gain to have our eyes opened,to see the Lord's goodness and mercy following us all the days of our life and ourselves, even here, dwelling in the houseof the Lord forevermore! Open your eyes to spiritual things and at once you are encouraged! The present is grievous whileyou know only the visible, but the wilderness blossoms as the rose when you see the invisible! Project yourself beyond thisnarrow region and behold the Infinite-and sources of joy spring up around you everywhere! Poverty is forgotten in the midstof such riches-and even pain and disease have lost their sting.
Elisha's young attendant, when his eyes were opened, saw, next, that God's people are safe. He perceived that there were morewith Elisha, after all, than could possibly be against him, and he felt that he, himself, was safe as the servant of the servantof God. Thus he believed in his master's God and found a shelter from his own fears. The invaders were flesh and blood, butthe defenders were of fire and thus were able to consume the adversaries at once. He saw, and saw it so joyfully, that God'shorses of fire and chariots of fire were more than a match for all the forces of evil! I pray that the eyes of every Christianperson here may be so opened that they shall never doubt that the powers on the side of Truth and righteousness and God are,after all, mightier than the hosts of evil.
It may be that you live among those who scoff at your faith and despise all that you hold dear. Indeed, it seems that whereveryou turn, everybody is against you in this day of doubt! I think I hear you cry, with David, "My soul is among lions: andI lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharpsword." Courage, my Comrade, God is near you! His angels are keeping watch and ward about you! We are not alone, for the Fatheris with us. Oh, that our eyes may be so opened as to see that more are they that are with us than all that are against us!Indeed, "if God is for us, who can be against us?" Let us be strangers to fear! In holy confidence, let us be "steadfast,unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." Never allow a doubt as to the ultimate issue. Is God, Himself, yourshield and your exceeding great reward? Then, what can man do to you?
Perhaps, within a month, some of you to whom I now speak, may be in so severe a fight that you will be almost driven to throwdown your weapons in utter despair, saying, "How can I stand against so many?-I that am so feeble?" I beseech you, rememberthis warning! Have not I told you of it? I would plead with you to play the man! Gird up the loins of your mind. Be soberand hope to the end, for if the Lord has opened your eyes, you will perceive that you are on the winning side and that HEis coming soon who will smite His enemies upon the cheekbone. If you are on the side of God and of His Truth. If you do theright. If you believe in the Lord Jesus. If you commit yourself to the keeping of the hands which were pierced with the nails,Heaven and earth may pass away, but the Lord can never desert you! The skies may be rolled up like a shriveled parchment scrolland all the things that are seen may melt away like baseless fabrics of a vi-
sion-earth and sea may vanish-but a believing soul must live, triumph and be exalted to a throne with Christ, for He has said,"Because I live, you shall live also." Hold fast your integrity! Believe the Truth of God even to the end, for the Lord Jesuswill not fail, nor be discouraged, till all His foes are beneath His feet!
If your eyes are opened, you will know that saints are honored by their Lord. Look! He dispatches His squadrons to be a bodyguardto one of them-would not you wish for such honors? See here the secret of the peace which abides with the man of God-as hehas meat to eat that men know not of-so has he company that men cannot see! He lives like a prince in the center of a campand sleeps securely. Faith makes the difference between the tranquil Prophet and his frightened boy. Oh, that you would believein the Lord Jesus Christ and so enter into His peace! May this be the red-letter day in which your eyes shall be opened tosee spiritual things and you shall begin to live a spiritual life! For this I have prayed. For this, let us all breathe, fora moment a silent prayer. (Here followed an interval of silence and then the preacher spoke in prayer), "Lord, I pray you,open the young man's eyes, that he may see: yes, Lord, open the eyes of all the blind among us, for Jesus' sake! Amen."
PORTION OFSCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-2 Kings 6.