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day, he appears neither in the bustle of business or the retirement of his chamber, he makes no such advances as God once did to Adam in the garden of Eden, he makes no palpable visible appeal. In the days of his flesh, this declaration would have been literally true, for in his personal exhortations, and this visible appeal of his miracles, he did, as it were, personally knock at the heart of his hearers and beholders; and it is on this ground that he framed some of those terrific denunciations which stand on the pages of the inspired volume—“Wo unto thee Chorazin, wo unto thee Bethsaida, for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for
you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shall be cast down to hell." Since our Saviour's ascension into heaven, however, he knocks at the hearts of sinners in a different manner, and I proceed to lay before you the different methods in which Christ now knocks at your hearts.
1. By his word.
1st. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; and throughout the whole of the volume of revelation, the voice of Christ speaks plainly to the hearts of sinners, teaching them those great truths, the knowledge of which is essential to their salvation, and reproving them for their impenitence and disregard. The leading object of the Scripture is to turn the attention of sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ. And from the commencement of the sacred volume to its close, Christ is upon every page the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. The word of God is that silent, yet impressive preacher, whose voice is “quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." The word of God is doubtless much neglected, but still it is probable that there are few who do not give some portion of it an occasional, though perhaps slight perusal; for in these days of most wonderful endeavour-endeavour did I sayin these days of most wonderful achievement, the Bible is placed as a rich boon in every hand; and this very fact not only gives evidence that the time draws near, when the kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever; but it adds its confirmation strong to the position I have assumed. Yet never is that sacred book opened—I care not with what motive-never is that book opened, but Christ is then and there at the sinner's heart. The voice of Christ is in every exhortation to repentance which is found on the sacred page; in every threat; in every promise; in every expostulation; in
every portion of the history which exhibits the awful indignation of God against the guilty; in every portion which depicts the blessings and the happiness of the righteous. It is to thy heart, sinner, that Christ speaks; and it is at thy heart he knocks, when he says—“As I live I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way
and live; turn ye, turn ye
for why will ye die ?" Does thine eye ever wander over the pages of Isaiah? Christ is at thine heart when thou readest, “Come, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” “Who hath believed our report ?” “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” Christ is at thine heart when thine eye fastens on the tender invitation, “Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price.” Can you doubt it? Does not Christ say, “Incline your ear, and come unto me, hear, and your soul shall live ?" Christ is at thine heart when thine eye fixes its gaze on the declaration, “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets; she crieth in the chief place of concourse. To you, O men, do I cry; my voice is to the sons of men. How long, ye simple, will ye love simplicity, and ye fools, hate knowledge? Turn ye at my reproof.” Need I tell you how emphatically this remark is true, when applied to the New Testament? There are Christ's very words recorded. There he stands at your hearts, and knocks in a manner the most impressive; and when you read, “Except ye repent, ye shall perish;” and when you
read the record of his conversation with Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God;" and when you read, “Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" and when you read, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved; he that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;" and when you read the awakening interrogatory, “What is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?” and when you read, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" and when you read, “the Spirit and the bride say come, and whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely”-in each and in every one of these, and in ten thousand more which time will not permit me to mention, Christ is near your hearts by his word: he then knocks for admission, and if the evidence of the word of God is rejected; if when your eye pores over the sacred volume, and its truths have no awakening influence on your hearts; and if you read the book without a wish and without a prayer for spiritual illumination; and if you close it without a benefit received or a benefit desired, it is because you refuse to
refuse to open the door to him who stands without and knocks. No individual who has ever read a page or a sentence of the sacred volume, and no individual who has ever heard it read, and yet remains in impenitence and carelessness and sin, can be clear from the charge of refusing to hear the voice of the Redeemer, who thus stands at the door and knocks.
Again: Christ stands at the door and knocks through the medium of the preached Gospel. This, brethren, is but an extended view of the subject just now considered, for after all that can be said, a preached Gospel is substantially but the word of Christ, delivered through the mouth of living instruments. The Gospel ministry would be useless
and worse than useless; it would be positively deleterious, if those to whom it is entrusted should go beyond the word of the Lord, to say less or more. The ministry, however, is Christ's special appointment for the purpose of declaring his will to menGo ye
into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world." And whenever that Gospel is preached, it is the word of Christ, and he will own it as such in the conversion and sanctification of sinners. “For this cause, thank we God without ceasing,” says the Apostle, “because when ye heard the word which ye received of us, ye heard it not as the word of man, but as it is in truth the word of God, which effectually worketh in you which believe.” This also is the tenor of that hymn for ministers, the first part of which is in these words
Father of mercies, bow thine ear,
As a special appointment of Christ, then, he knocks at your hearts through the medium of the ministry; and it is delightful to consider how, in this institution of the ministry, he has consulted the sympathies of our nature, and not only the sympathies, but also the obstinacies of our nature. Many an individual whose heart could never be approached through the medium of his written word, is yet