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Consider the Gospel Invitation
Some years ago, while passing through the town of Rochester, my attention was arrested by an old-fashioned building which stood in the High Street, over the door of which a stone tablet announced that, by the bequest of a certain gentleman, "six poor travelers, not being rogues or vagabonds," were nightly lodged, entertained, and provided with a few pence to carry them on their journey the next day.
My curiosity was aroused, and although it was bitterly cold, the keen wind driving before it a drizzling rain, causing the few passers-by, whom, like myself, business had compelled to be out, to hurry on to seek the shelter of their homes, I concluded to wait, and, if possible, see who would apply for the charity.
Addressing myself to a policeman, who by this time had stationed himself near the door of the house, I enquired at what hour the poor travelers were admitted.
"Six o'clock," was his reply. I had not long to wait. Soon the church clock, close at hand, chimed out the hour of six, and before the last stroke had died away, at least twenty men had ranged themselves along the pavement. They came hurrying along from all directions—and a motley crowd they were. There was the farm laborer in his white smock frock, the mechanic out of employment carrying the tools of his craft, while here and there could be seen one of the genuine beggar type, shivering in the bitter wind, his countenance bearing the pinched and haggard appearance which tells most unmistakably of long acquaintance with want and privation.
But what struck me most was the eagerness depicted on every face. Each had his eyes fixed on the door, which he knew would soon open, and all else seemed forgotten in the one desire to get within the house of charity.
At length the door opened, and an old woman, looking as antiquated as the building itself, came out, and through the half-closed door could be seen the ruddy glow of the firelight within, in strange contrast to the inclement weather without. She quickly selected six, and I noticed that they were the most respectable ones—the poor shivering beggars were rejected—and then the door shut.
The look of eagerness gave way to one of disappointment, and the unsuccessful applicants dispersed, with the exception of one young man, who lingered for a moment, and then, turning to the stern-faced policeman, asked, with tears in his eyes, "Oh, sir, where am I to go?"
I have never forgotten the incident, trivial as it may appear to some; and I now use it in order to contrast God's door with man's door.
Reader, God has opened a door for poor travelers—those who are traveling on the broad road which leadeth to destruction. He has opened a door of wondrous grace and mercy for such.
Let me ask you, Is this your condition? Do you know yourself as a poor traveler—poor because you are without Christ? In a word, Do you know yourself as Lost? If so, draw near, I beseech you, to God's door, and let us see what He has written over it.
First I see His gift, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16.)
Now look at the class He addresses. "Whosoever will, let Him take the water of life freely." (Rev. 12:17.)
Now see the invitation. "Come, for all things are now ready." (Luke 14:17.)
Do these precious Scriptures satisfy you? or are you saying, "I cannot think that He will receive me, I am so sinful."
Look again, dear reader, at His own words, "Him that cometh to Me I will in No Wise cast out."
If you are still in doubt, take your Bible, turn to passages in the gospels where sinners came to Jesus, and I am sure you will not find one instance of a soul being turned away.
Jesus is now exalted; but although He is surrounded with the highest glory of heaven, His heart of love remains the same. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." (Heb. 13:8.)
But remember that, while the door of grace is open as wide as the abounding mercy of God and the precious blood of Christ can set it, although it has remained so for nearly 2,000 years, although God is now, as it were, holding that door open, that you, for whom He has waited so long, might enter —a time is coming, we know not how soon, when the door will be Shut forever; and if you are outside, no power on earth, or in heaven, can open it again for you. "When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are." (Luke 13:25.)
Come then, now, while God is calling. Enter the open door, and everlasting life shall be yours, through the Savior's precious blood.