The Signs of the Times


February 10, 1887

The Invitation of Mercy


“If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” ST February 10, 1887, par. 1

There is a work for all to do to open the door of the heart to the heavenly visitor. The Lord of glory, who has redeemed us by his own blood, seeks admittance; but too often we do not welcome him in. Worldliness does not incline us to throw wide open the door of the heart at the knock of him who is seeking entrance. Some open the door slightly, and permit a little light from his presence to enter; but they do not bid him hearty welcome. There is no room for Jesus; the place which should have been reserved for him is occupied with other things. He entreats, and for a time they feel inclined to hear and open the door; but even this inclination departs, and they fail to secure the communion with the heavenly guest which it was their privilege to have. ST February 10, 1887, par. 2

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” says the Saviour. The mansions in glory are his, and the joy of that heavenly abode; yet he humbles himself to seek an entrance at the door of the heart, that he may bless us with his light, and make us to rejoice in his glory. His work is to seek and to save that which is lost and ready to perish. He will redeem from sin and death all who will come to him; and will elevate them to his throne, and give them everlasting life. ST February 10, 1887, par. 3

Jesus will not force open the door of the heart. We must open it ourselves, and show that we desire his presence by giving him a sincere welcome. If all would make thorough work of clearing away the world's rubbish, and preparing a place for Jesus, he would enter, and abide with them, and would do a great work through them for the salvation of others. But many receive not the tokens of God's mercy and loving-kindness with thankful hearts; they do not bend their energies and unite their interests in his work, and they do not share in the blessing that he is waiting to bestow. ST February 10, 1887, par. 4

“If any man hear my voice,” says Christ, “and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” These words are not addressed simply to the more intelligent and refined, but to all, without respect of persons. A man may not bear the most pleasant exterior; he may be deficient in many respects; but if he will come to Christ, he will in nowise be cast out. The trouble is that many who make a profession of Christ are controlled by feeling. Their heart has not been renewed by the transforming influence of the Spirit of God. They have not depth and stability of character. Principle does not reach down deep, underlying the springs of action. And when sacrifices are to be made for the cause of Christ, they are found wanting. ST February 10, 1887, par. 5

To such cold-hearted professors I would say, Be entreated to seek Christ while he invites you to come to him that you may have life. I wish I could alarm you; I wish I could arouse you to action. You have no time to lose. Make mighty efforts to rescue yourselves from Satan's snare. He is vigilant in his efforts; his perseverance is untiring, his zeal earnest and unabated. He does not wait for his prey to come to him; he seeks for it. To wrench souls from the hand of Christ is his determined purpose. Yet if you will come to Christ, and make him your trust, you will be in no danger. He will fight the battle for you, and will overcome the powers of darkness in your behalf. ST February 10, 1887, par. 6

You need to humble your hearts before God, and seek meekness and righteousness, that you may be hid in the day of the Lord's fierce anger. You need to be forming a character for Heaven and eternal life. What account will you render to God for the time he has given you,—for the use you make of the privileges he has placed within your reach? To you the gracious words are spoken: “If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” If you neglect the invitation, the mercy that you have despised will condemn you in the Judgment. ST February 10, 1887, par. 7

Dedicate yourselves unreservedly to the Lord; then it will not be difficult to serve him, and you can do good in the world. You can “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” ST February 10, 1887, par. 8

It is not enough that we admit Christ into our hearts; he must abide there. We must encourage his presence by a life of prayer. Jesus is our example in all things; and when our human nature was upon him, prayer became to him a necessity and a privilege. He found joy and comfort in communion with his Father. Here he could unburden the sorrows that were crushing him; for he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and he needed all the divine support and comfort which the Father was ready to impart to his Son, who had left the joys of Heaven, and chosen his home, for the benefit of man, in a cold and thankless world. ST February 10, 1887, par. 9

Jesus had select places of prayer. He loved the solitude of the mountain in which to hold communion with his Father. Through the day he labored earnestly to save men from destruction. He healed the sick, comforted the mourning, called the dead to life, and brought cheerfulness and hope to the despairing. After his work was finished for the day, he went forth, evening after evening, away from the confusion of the city, and his form was bowed in supplication to his Father. At times the bright beams of the moon shone upon him, and then again the clouds and darkness shut away all light. He frequently continued his petitions through the entire night, and the dew and frost rested upon his head and beard while in the attitude of supplication. And he came forth from these seasons of prayer invigorated and refreshed, braced for duty and trial. ST February 10, 1887, par. 10

In thus becoming a suppliant, a mighty petitioner, seeking from his Father fresh supplies of strength, he identified himself with our needs and our weaknesses. As he is our example in all things, so he became a brother in our infirmities, but not a companion in our sins. His nature recoiled from evil, and in a sinful world he endured anguish and torture of soul. If the Saviour of men, with his divine strength, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of prayer, fervent, constant, importunate prayer! ST February 10, 1887, par. 11

Watch, pray, and work, are the Christian's watchwords. The life of a living Christian is a life of constant prayer. The light and strength of one day will not be sufficient for the trials and conflicts of the next. Satan is constantly changing his temptations, as he did with Christ. Every day we may be placed in new positions. And in the untried scenes that await us, we shall be surrounded by new dangers, and constantly assailed by new and unexpected temptations; but the strength and grace which we may gain from the accessible Heavens will enable us to meet the new temptations and bear the heavier responsibilities that are ever before us. Here, and here only, is our source of light and strength. ST February 10, 1887, par. 12

It is of the highest consequence that God manifest his will to us in the daily concerns of life; for the most important results frequently depend upon small occurrences. We cannot trust our own judgment, and the more we learn of the character and providence of God, the more fully we shall realize our own weakness and imperfection, and our dependence on divine strength and wisdom. We shall realize that in him we have what we so much need,—a sure guide to direct our faltering steps. ST February 10, 1887, par. 13

“The path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The Christian's life is one of progression. He goes forward from strength to strength, from grace to grace, from glory to glory, receiving from Heaven the light which Christ, at infinite cost to himself, made it possible for man to obtain. But the Christian cannot let his light shine properly unless he receives, day by day, an increase of the divine illumination, corresponding with his growth in the knowledge of Bible truth. It would be as inconsistent to expect to be sustained on the morrow by food eaten today, as to depend on present light and present blessings for future strength. ST February 10, 1887, par. 14

The Master requires his servants not only to grow in grace, but to improve upon the talents that he has committed to them. The good works of God's people have a more powerful influence than words. Their virtuous life and unselfish acts testify for God, and lead the beholder to desire the same righteousness which has produced such good fruit in their characters. He is charmed with the power from God which transforms selfish human beings into the divine image, and God is honored, his name glorified. ST February 10, 1887, par. 15

Oh! why will not God's people comply with the conditions laid down in his word? If they would, they would not fail to realize the excellent blessings freely given to the humble and obedient. Perfection, holiness, nothing short of this, would give them success in carrying out the principles he has given them. Without this holiness, the human heart is selfish, sinful, and vicious; but holiness of heart will produce right actions, and will lead its possessor to abound in all good works. The Christian will never become weary in well doing, neither will he look for promotion in this world. He will look forward for promotion to the time when the Majesty of Heaven shall exalt the sanctified ones to his throne. Then, enumerating the works of self-denial and mercy, compassion and righteousness, which they have wrought, he will say unto them, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” ST February 10, 1887, par. 16

Jesus is now inviting us to come unto him; who will listen to his voice? Let us take a higher stand than we have hitherto done. Let us make it our first business to gain the kingdom of Heaven and the righteousness of Christ, and the eternal reward will be ours at the end of the race. ST February 10, 1887, par. 17