In all matters of importance — zeal, effort and determination are commendable. The energetic generally succeed — the lukewarm seldom. But in nothing is determined action so necessary and commendable, as in seeking the salvation of the soul. This is variously set forth in God's holy word — but let us look at one passage, which appears to be full of fire and fervor. "The kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force!" Matthew 11:12
THE PRIZE. A kingdom — a heavenly
kingdom. That is — to be under the paternal government of God. Not
under his natural government, which all are; nor under his legal
government, as the Jews were; but under his gracious government.
He who is in possession of this kingdom, enjoys . . .
the pardon of all sin;
a sweet and holy peace of conscience;
sure and certain protection from all foes;
a constant and unfailing supply of all his needs;
the hallowed gratification of an enlightened mind;
the employment of all his talents, for a noble purpose;
and the bright and blessed prospect of everlasting glory!
What a prize! Surely this is worth striving for!
THE EFFORT. "The violent take it by force." The
violent are the energetic — the determined. Such every sinner ought to be,
in the matter of salvation. If we take this kingdom by force . . .
the eye will be directed to it;
the heart will be set upon it; and
the whole soul will be determined to possess it.
Energy, or effort will be put forth in . . .
breaking of old connections,
conquering old habits,
wrestling with God in prayer,
striving against unbelief,
resisting the attacks of Satan,
forcing the way through all difficulties,
and refusing to rest, but in the kingdom. Nothing will do for the determined soul — but the title deeds of the kingdom in the hand, and the joys of the kingdom in the heart!
There is a kingdom to be won! A great, a glorious,
an everlasting kingdom. A kingdom of grace on earth — a kingdom of
glory in Heaven! A kingdom . . .
whose sovereign is a Father,
whose laws are love,
whose resources are boundless, and
all whose subjects are both safe and happy!
Crowds have violently taken possession of it. They set their heart upon it, and would not be diverted from it; they energetically sought to possess it — nor would they rest until they obtained possession.
Those who would win it — must be determined. No
half-hearted, half-convinced, half-converted soul will ever obtain it. We
must strive — agonize to enter in at the strait gate. We must labor
to enter into that rest. It is worth all the effort we can make, all
the energy we can put forth. Energy, violent energy, is commendable.
Commendable! Nothing is so commendable. We should . . .
strain every muscle,
use every means,
employ every moment —
until we can call the kingdom ours!
Who would lose a kingdom —
for a little ease,
for a little indulgence of the flesh, or
for the enjoyment of a few of the fleeting pleasures of the world!
Who? Alas, multitudes do!
Now is the time to win so great a prize. The race must be run now. The struggle must take place now. The violence must be put forth now. "Behold, now is the accepted time! Behold, now is the day of salvation!"
It may soon be too late.
The time is limited.
The season is short.
The day is fast passing away.
The night will soon shroud us in its darkness.
Then it will be too late — eternally too late!
Let us then seize the present hour — for death may soon
be here. If we let the present opportunity slip — we shall regret it
forever. Hell is filled with useless regrets. The lost soul eternally
condemns its folly, and adds to its torment, by reflecting upon . . .
opportunities lost, and
the kingdom of glory forfeited, and forfeited forever!
Faint hearts will surely fail. But who will be faint-hearted, when a kingdom is at stake, a kingdom which may be taken, honorably taken; nor only taken — but be held and enjoyed forever!
Reader, are you forcing your way to Jesus. Are you pressing through the crowd of sin, difficulties, and obstacles? Remember, it is for a kingdom — an everlasting kingdom. You may be a king! You may reign in splendor and glory forever!
You must either be one of the most honorable beings in Heaven — or one of the most degraded creatures in Hell. There is no alternative.
A kingdom — or a dungeon,
dignity — or damnation,
Heaven — or Hell,
which shall it be?
One, it must be.
O may you be one of those who take the kingdom of Heaven by force!