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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Luke 14

Verse 23

Compel Them to Come In

December 5, 1858

by

C. H. SPURGEON

1834-1892

"Compel them to come in."-- Luke 14:23 .

I feel in such a haste to go out and obey this commandment this

morning, by compelling those to come in who are now tarrying in the

highways and hedges, that I cannot wait for an introduction, but must at

once set about my business.

Hear then, O ye that are strangers to the truth as it is in Jesus--hear then

the message that I have to bring you. Ye have fallen, fallen in your

father Adam; ye have fallen also in yourselves, by your daily sin and

your constant iniquity; you have provoked the anger of the Most High;

and as assuredly as you have sinned, so certainly must God punish you

if you persevere in your iniquity, for the Lord is a God of justice, and

will by no means spare the guilty. But have you not heard, hath it not

long been spoken in your ears, that God, in his infinite mercy, has

devised a way whereby, without any infringement upon his honour, he

can have mercy upon you, the guilty and the undeserving? To you I

speak; and my voice is unto you, O sons of men; Jesus Christ, very God

of very God, hath descended from heaven, and was made in the likeness

of sinful flesh. Begotten of the Holy Ghost, he was born of the Virgin

Mary; he lived in this world a life of exemplary holiness, and of the

deepest suffering, till at last he gave himself up to die for our sins, "the

just for the unjust, to bring us to God." And now the plan of salvation is

simply declared unto you--"Whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus

Christ shall be saved." For you who have violated all the precepts of

God, and have disdained his mercy and dared his vengeance, there is

yet mercy proclaimed, for "whosoever calleth upon the name of the

Lord shall be saved." "For this is a faithful saying and worthy of all

acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of

whom I am chief;" "whosoever cometh unto him he will in no wise cast

out, for he is able also to save unto the uttermost them that come unto

God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for us."

Now all that God asks of you--and this he gives you--is that you will simply

look at his bleeding dying son, and trust your souls in the hands of him

whose name alone can save from death and hell. Is it not a marvelous

thing, that the proclamation of this gospel does not receive the

unanimous consent of men? One would think that as soon as ever this

was preached, "That whosoever believeth shall have eternal life," every

one of you, "casting away every man his sins and his iniquities," would

lay hold on Jesus Christ, and look alone to his cross. But alas! such is

the desperate evil of our nature, such the pernicious depravity of our

character, that this message is despised, the invitation to the gospel feast

is rejected, and there are many of you who are this day enemies of God

by wicked works, enemies to the God who preaches Christ to you to-

day, enemies to him who sent his Son to give his life a ransom for

many. Strange I say it is that it should be so, yet nevertheless it is the

fact, and hence the necessity for the command of the text,--"Compel

them to come in."

Children of God, ye who have believed, I shall have little or nothing to

say to you this morning; I am going straight to my business--I am going

after those that will not come--those that are in the byways and hedges,

and God going with me, it is my duty now to fulfil this command,

"Compel them to come in."

First, I must, find you out; secondly, I will go to work to compel you to

come in.

I. First, I must FIND YOU OUT. If you read the verses that precede the

text, you will find an amplification of this command: "Go out quickly

into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, the

maimed, the halt, and the blind;" and then, afterwards, "Go out into the

highways," bring in the vagrants, the highwaymen, "and into the

hedges," bring in those that have no resting-place for their heads, and

are lying under the hedges to rest, bring them in also, and "compel them

to come in." Yes, I see you this morning, you that are poor. I am to

compel you to come in. You are poor in circumstances, but this is no

barrier to the kingdom of heaven, for God hath not exempted from his

grace the man that shivers in rags, and who is destitute of bread. In fact,

if there be any distinction made, the distinction is on your side, and for

your benefit--"Unto you is the word of salvation sent"; "For the poor

have the gospel preached unto them." But especially I must speak to

you who are poor, spiritually. You have no faith, you have no virtue,

you have no good work, you have no grace, and what is poverty worse

still, you have no hope. Ah, my Master has sent you a gracious

invitation. Come and welcome to the marriage feast of his love.

"Whosoever will, let him come and take of the waters of life freely."

Come, I must lay hold upon you, though you be defiled with foulest

filth, and though you have nought but rags upon your back, though

your own righteousness has become as filthy clouts, yet must I lay hold

upon you, and invite you first, and even compel you to come in.

And now I see you again. You are not only poor, but you are maimed.

There was a time when you thought you could work out your own

salvation without God's help, when you could perform good works,

attend to ceremonies, and get to heaven by yourselves; but now you are

maimed, the sword of the law has cut off your hands, and now you can

work no longer; you say, with bitter sorrow--

"The best performance of my hands,

Dares not appear before thy throne."

You have lost all power now to obey the law; you feel that when you

would do good, evil is present with you. You are maimed; you have

given up, as a forlorn hope, all attempt to save yourself, because you

are maimed and your arms are gone. But you are worse off than that,

for if you could not work your way to heaven, yet you could walk your

way there along the road by faith; but you are maimed in the feet as

well as in the hands; you feel that you cannot believe, that you cannot

repent, that you cannot obey the stipulations of the gospel. You feel that

you are utterly undone, powerless in every respect to do anything that

can be pleasing to God. In fact, you are crying out--

"Oh, could I but believe,

Then all would easy be,

I would, but cannot, Lord relieve,

My help must come from thee."

To you am I sent also. Before you am I to lift up the blood-stained

banner of the cross, to you am I to preach this gospel, "Whoso calleth

upon the name of the Lord shall be saved;" and unto you am I to cry,

"Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely."

There is yet another class. You are halt. You are halting between two

opinions. You are sometimes seriously inclined, and at another time

worldly gaiety calls you away. What little progress you do make in

religion is but a limp. You have a little strength, but that is so little

that you make but painful progress. Ah, limping brother, to you also is the

word of this salvation sent. Though you halt between two opinions, the

Master sends me to you with this message: "How long halt ye between

two opinions? if God be God, serve him; if Baal be God, serve him."

Consider thy ways; set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not

live. Because I will do this, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel! Halt no

longer, but decide for God and his truth.

And yet I see another class,--the blind. Yes, you that cannot see

yourselves, that think yourselves good when you are full of evil, that

put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, darkness for light and light for

darkness; to you am I sent. You, blind souls that cannot see your lost

estate, that do not believe that sin is so exceedingly sinful as it is, and

who will not be persuaded to think that God is a just and righteous God,

to you am I sent. To you too that cannot see the Saviour, that see no

beauty in him that you should desire him; who see no excellence in

virtue, no glories in religion, no happiness in serving God, no delight in

being his children; to you, also, am I sent. Ay, to whom am I not sent if

I take my text? For it goes further than this--it not only gives a

particular description, so that each individual case may be met, but

afterwards it makes a general sweep, and says, "Go into the highways

and hedges." Here we bring in all ranks and conditions of men--my lord

upon his horse in the highway, and the woman trudging about her

business, the thief waylaying the traveller--all these are in the highway,

and they are all to be compelled to come in, and there away in the

hedges there lie some poor souls whose refuges of lies are swept away,

and who are seeking not to find some little shelter for their weary

heads, to you, also, are we sent this morning. This is the universal

command--compel them to come in.

Now, I pause after having described the character, I pause to look at the

herculean labour that lies before me. Well did Melanchthon say, "Old

Adam was too strong for young Melanchthon." As well might a little

child seek to compel a Samson, as I seek to lead a sinner to the cross of

Christ. And yet my Master sends me about the errand. Lo, I see the

great mountain before me of human depravity and stolid indifference,

but by faith I cry, "Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel

thou shalt become a plain." Does my Master say, compel them to come

in? Then, though the sinner be like Samson and I a child, I shall lead

him with a thread. If God saith do it, if I attempt it in faith it shall be

done; and if with a groaning, struggling, and weeping heart, I so seek

this day to compel sinners to come to Christ, the sweet compulsions of

the Holy Spirit shall go with every word, and some indeed shall be

compelled to come in.

II. And now to the work --directly to the work. Unconverted, unreconciled,

unregenerate men and women, I am to COMPEL YOU TO COME IN.

Permit me first of all to accost you in the highways of sin and tell you

over again my errand. The King of heaven this morning sends a gracious

invitation to you. He says, "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure

in the death of him that dieth, but had rather that he should turn unto me

and live:" "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though

your sins be as scarlet they shall be as wool; though they be red like

crimson they shall be whiter than snow." Dear brother, it makes my heart

rejoice to think that I should have such good news to tell you, and yet I

confess my soul is heavy because I see you do not think it good news, but

turn away from it, and do not give it due regard. Permit me to tell you what

the King has done for you. He knew your guilt, he foresaw that you would

ruin yourself. He knew that his justice would demand your blood, and in

order that this difficulty might be escaped, that his justice might have its

full due, and that you might yet be saved, Jesus Christ hath died.

Will you just for a moment glance at this picture. You see that man there on

his knees in the garden of Gethsemane, sweating drops of blood. You see this

next: you see that miserable sufferer tied to a pillar and lashed with

terrible scourges, till the shoulder bones are seen like white islands in

the midst of a sea of blood. Again you see this third picture; it is the

same man hanging on the cross with hands extended, and with feet nailed

fast, dying, groaning, bleeding; methought the picture spoke and said, "It

is finished." Now all this hath Jesus Christ of Nazareth done, in order that

God might consistently with his justice pardon sin; and the message to

you this morning is this--"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou

shalt be saved." That is trust him, renounce thy works, and thy ways,

and set thine heart alone on this man, who gave himself for sinners.

Well brother, I have told you the message, what sayest thou unto it? Do

you turn away? You tell me it is nothing to you; you cannot listen to it;

that you will hear me by-and-by; but you will go your way this day and

attend to your farm and merchandize. Stop brother, I was not told

merely to tell you and then go about my business. No; I am told to

compel you to come in; and permit me to observe to you before I

further go, that there is one thing I can say--and to which God is my

witness this morning, that I am in earnest with you in my desire that

you should comply with this command of God. You may despise your

own salvation, but I do not despise it; you may go away and forget

what you shall hear, but you will please to remember that the things I

now say cost me many a groan ere I came here to utter them. My

inmost soul is speaking out to you, my poor brother, when I beseech

you by him that liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore, consider

my master's message which he bids me now address to you.

But do you spurn it? Do you still refuse it? Then I must change my tone

a minute. I will not merely tell you the message, and invite you as I do

with all earnestness, and sincere affection--I will go further. Sinner, in

God's name I command you to repent and believe. Do you ask me

whence my authority? I am an ambassador of heaven. My credentials,

some of them secret, and in my own heart; and others of them open

before you this day in the seals of my ministry, sitting and standing in

this hall, where God has given me many souls for my hire. As God the

everlasting one hath given me a commission to preach his gospel, I

command you to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; not on my own

authority, but on the authority of him who said, "Go ye into all the

world and preach the gospel to every creature;" and then annexed this

solemn sanction, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but

he that believeth not shall be damned." Reject my message, and

remember "He that despised Moses's law, died without mercy under

two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye,

shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of

God." An ambassador is not to stand below the man with whom he

deals, for we stand higher. If the minister chooses to take his proper

rank, girded with the omnipotence of God, and anointed with his holy

unction, he is to command men, and speak with all authority

compelling them to come in: "command, exhort, rebuke with all long-

suffering."

But do you turn away and say you will not be commanded? Then again

will I change my note. If that avails not, all other means shall be tried.

My brother, I come to you simple of speech, and I exhort you to flee to

Christ. O my brother, dost thou know what a loving Christ he is? Let

me tell thee from my own soul what I know of him. I, too, once

despised him. He knocked at the door of my heart and I refused to open

it. He came to me, times without number, morning by morning, and

night by night; he checked me in my conscience and spoke to me by his

Spirit, and when, at last, the thunders of the law prevailed in my

conscience, I thought that Christ was cruel and unkind. O I can never

forgive myself that I should have thought so ill of him. But what a

loving reception did I have when I went to him. I thought he would

smite me, but his hand was not clenched in anger but opened wide in

mercy. I thought full sure that his eyes would dart lightning-flashes of

wrath upon me; but, instead thereof, they were full of tears. He fell

upon my neck and kissed me; he took off my rags and did clothe me

with his righteousness, and caused my soul to sing aloud for joy; while

in the house of my heart and in the house of his church there was music

and dancing, because his son that he had lost was found, and he that

was dead was made alive. I exhort you, then, to look to Jesus Christ and

to be lightened. Sinner, you will never regret,--I will be bondsman for

my Master that you will never regret it,--you will have no sigh to go

back to your state of condemnation; you shall go out of Egypt and shall

go into the promised land and shall find it flowing with milk and

honey. The trials of Christian life you shall find heavy, but you will

find grace will make them light. And as for the joys and delights of

being a child of God, if I lie this day you shall charge me with it in days

to come. If you will taste and see that the Lord is good, I am not afraid

but that you shall find that he is not only good, but better than human

lips ever can describe.

I know not what arguments to use with you. I appeal to your own self-

interests. Oh my poor friend, would it not be better for you to be

reconciled to the God of heaven, than to be his enemy? What are you

getting by opposing God? Are you the happier for being his enemy?

Answer, pleasure-seeker; hast thou found delights in that cup? Answer

me, self-righteous man: hast thou found rest for the sole of thy foot in

all thy works? Oh thou that goest about to establish thine own

righteousness, I charge thee let conscience speak. Hast thou found it to

be a happy path? Ah, my friend, "Wherefore dost thou spend thy

money for that which is not bread, and thy labour for that which

satisfieth not; hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good,

and let your soul delight itself in fatness." I exhort you by everything

that is sacred and solemn, everything that is important and eternal, flee

for your lives, look not behind you, stay not in all the plain, stay not

until you have proved, and found an interest in the blood of Jesus

Christ, that blood which cleanseth us from all sin. Are you still cold and

indifferent? Will not the blind man permit me to lead him to the feast?

Will not my maimed brother put his hand upon my shoulder and permit

me to assist him to the banquet? Will not the poor man allow me to

walk side-by-side with him? Must I use some stronger words. Must I

use some other compulsion to compel you to come in? Sinners, this one

thing I am resolved upon this morning, if you be not saved ye shall be

without excuse. Ye, from the grey-headed down to the tender age of

childhood, if ye this day lay not hold on Christ, your blood shall be on

your own head. If there be power in man to bring his fellow, (as there is

when man is helped by the Holy Spirit) that power shall be exercised

this morning, God helping me. Come, I am not to be put off by your

rebuffs; if my exhortation fails, I must come to something else.

My brother, I entreat you, I entreat you stop and consider. Do you know

what it is you are rejecting this morning? You are rejecting Christ, your

only Saviour. "Other foundation can no man lay;" "there is none other

name given among men whereby we must be saved." My brother, I

cannot bear that ye should do this, for I remember what you are

forgetting: the day is coming when you will want a Saviour. It is not

long ere weary months shall have ended, and your strength begin to

decline; your pulse shall fail you, your strength shall depart, and you

and the grim monster--death, must face each other. What will you do in

the swellings of Jordan without a Saviour? Death-beds are stony things

without the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an awful thing to die anyhow; he

that hath the best hope, and the most triumphant faith, finds that death

is not a thing to laugh at. It is a terrible thing to pass from the seen to

the unseen, from the mortal to the immortal, from time to eternity, and

you will find it hard to go through the iron gates of death without the

sweet wings of angels to conduct you to the portals of the skies. It will

be a hard thing to die without Christ. I cannot help thinking of you. I

see you acting the suicide this morning, and I picture myself standing at

your bedside and hearing your cries, and knowing that you are dying

without hope. I cannot bear that. I think I am standing by your coffin

now, and looking into your clay-cold face, and saying. "This man

despised Christ and neglected the great salvation." I think what bitter

tears I shall weep then, if I think that I have been unfaithful to you, and

how those eyes fast closed in death, shall seem to chide me and say,

"Minister, I attended the music hall, but you were not in earnest with

me; you amused me, you preached to me, but you did not plead with

me. You did not know what Paul meant when he said, `As though God

did beseech you by us we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to

God.'"

I entreat you let this message enter your heart for another reason. I

picture myself standing at the bar of God. As the Lord liveth, the day of

judgment is coming. You believe that? You are not an infidel; your

conscience would not permit you to doubt the Scripture. Perhaps you

may have pretended to do so, but you cannot. You feel there must be a

day when God shall judge the world in righteousness. I see you

standing in the midst of that throng, and the eye of God is fixed on you.

It seems to you that he is not looking anywhere else, but only upon you,

and he summons you before him; and he reads your sins, and he cries,

"Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire in hell!" My hearer, I cannot bear

to think of you in that position; it seems as if every hair on my head

must stand on end to think of any hearer of mine being damned. Will

you picture yourselves in that position? The word has gone forth,

"Depart, ye cursed." Do you see the pit as it opens to swallow you up?

Do you listen to the shrieks and the yells of those who have preceded

you to that eternal lake of torment? Instead of picturing the scene, I turn

to you with the words of the inspired prophet, and I say, "Who among

us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with

everlasting burnings?" Oh! my brother, I cannot let you put away

religion thus; no, I think of what is to come after death. I should be

destitute of all humanity if I should see a person about to poison

himself, and did not dash away the cup; or if I saw another about to

plunge from London Bridge, if I did not assist in preventing him from

doing so; and I should be worse than a fiend if I did not now, with all

love, and kindness, and earnestness, beseech you to "lay hold on eternal

life," "to labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for the meat that

endureth unto everlasting life."

Some hyper-calvinist would tell me I am wrong in so doing. I cannot

help it. I must do it. As I must stand before my Judge at last, I feel that I

shall not make full proof of my ministry unless I entreat with many

tears that ye would be saved, that ye would look unto Jesus Christ and

receive his glorious salvation. But does not this avail? are all our

entreaties lost upon you; do you turn a deaf ear? Then again I change

my note. Sinner, I have pleaded with you as a man pleadeth with his

friend, and were it for my own life I could not speak more earnestly this

morning than I do speak concerning yours. I did feel earnest about my

own soul, but not a whit more than I do about the souls of my

congregation this morning; and therefore, if ye put away these

entreaties I have something else:--I must threaten you. You shall not

always have such warnings as these. A day is coming, when hushed

shall be the voice of every gospel minister, at least for you; for your ear

shall be cold in death. It shall not be any more threatening; it shall be

the fulfillment of the threatening. There shall be no promise, no

proclamations of pardon and of mercy; no peace-speaking blood, but

you shall be in the land where the Sabbath is all swallowed up in

everlasting nights of misery, and where the preachings of the gospel are

forbidden because they would be unavailing. I charge you then, listen

to this voice that now addresses your conscience; for if not, God shall

speak to you in his wrath, and say unto you in his hot displeasure, "I

called and ye refused; I stretched out my hand and no man regarded;

therefore will I mock at your calamity; I will laugh when your fear

cometh." Sinner, I threaten you again. Remember, it is but a short time

you may have to hear these warnings. You imagine that your life will

be long, but do you know how short it is? Have you ever tried to think

how frail you are? Did you ever see a body when it has been cut in

pieces by the anatomist? Did you ever see such a marvelous thing as the

human frame?

"Strange, a harp of a thousand strings,

Should keep in tune so long."

Let but one of those cords be twisted, let but a mouthful of food go in

the wrong direction, and you may die. The slightest chance, as we have

it, may send you swift to death, when God wills it. Strong men have

been killed by the smallest and slightest accident, and so may you. In

the chapel, in the house of God, men have dropped down dead. How

often do we hear of men falling in our streets--rolling out of time into

eternity, by some sudden stroke. And are you sure that heart of your's is

quite sound? Is the blood circulating with all accuracy? Are you quite

sure of that? And if it be so, how long shall it be? O, perhaps there are

some of you here that shall never see Christmas-day; it may be the

mandate has gone forth already, "Set thine house in order, for thou shalt

die and not live." Out of this vast congregation, I might with accuracy

tell how many will be dead in a year; but certain it is that the whole of

us shall never meet together again in any one assembly. Some out of

this vast crowd, perhaps some two or three, shall depart ere the new

year shall be ushered in. I remind you, then, my brother, that either the

gate of salvation may be shut, or else you may be out of the place where

the gate of mercy stands. Come, then, let the threatening have power

with you. I do not threaten because I would alarm without cause, but in

hopes that a brother's threatening may drive you to the place where God

hath prepared the feast of the gospel. And now, must I turn hopelessly

away? Have I exhausted all that I can say? No, I will come to you

again. Tell me what it is, my brother, that keeps you from Christ. I hear

one say, "Oh, sir, it is because I feel myself too guilty." That cannot be,

my friend, that cannot be. "But, sir, I am the chief of sinners." Friend,

you are not. The chief of sinners died and went to heaven many years

ago; his name was Saul of Tarsus, afterwards called Paul the apostle.

He was the chief of sinners, I know he spoke the truth. "No," but you

say still, "I am too vile." You cannot be viler than the chief of sinners.

You must, at least, be second worst. Even supposing you are the worst

now alive, you are second worst, for he was chief. But suppose you are

the worst, is not that the very reason why you should come to Christ.

The worse a man is, the more reason he should go to the hospital or

physician. The more poor you are, the more reason you should accept

the charity of another. Now, Christ does not want any merits of your's.

He gives freely. The worse you are, the more welcome you are. But let

me ask you a question: Do you think you will ever get better by

stopping away from Christ? If so, you know very little as yet of the way

of salvation at all. No, sir, the longer you stay, the worse you will grow;

your hope will grow weaker, your despair will become stronger; the

nail with which Satan has fastened you down will be more firmly

clenched, and you will be less hopeful than ever. Come, I beseech you,

recollect there is nothing to be gained by delay, but by delay everything

may be lost. "But," cries another, "I feel I cannot believe." No, my

friend, and you never will believe if you look first at your believing.

Remember, I am not come to invite you to faith, but am come to invite

you to Christ. But you say, "What is the difference?" Why, just this, if

you first of all say, "I want to believe a thing," you never do it. But your

first inquiry must be, "What is this thing that I am to believe?" Then

will faith come as the consequence of that search. Our first business has

not to do with faith, but with Christ. Come, I beseech you, on Calvary's

mount, and see the cross. Behold the Son of God, he who made the

heavens and the earth, dying for your sins. Look to him, is there not

power in him to save? Look at his face so full of pity. Is there not love

in his heart to prove him willing to save? Sure sinner, the sight of Christ

will help thee to believe. Do not believe first, and then go to Christ, or

else thy faith will be a worthless thing; go to Christ without any faith,

and cast thyself upon him, sink or swim. But I hear another cry, "Oh sir,

you do not know how often I have been invited, how long I have

rejected the Lord." I do not know, and I do not want to know; all I

know is that my Master has sent me, to compel you to come in; so

come along with you now. You may have rejected a thousand

invitations; don't make this the thousandth-and-one. You have been up

to the house of God, and you have only been gospel hardened. But do I

not see a tear in your eye; come, my brother, don't be hardened by this

morning's sermon. O, Spirit of the living God, come and melt this heart

for it has never been melted, and compel him to come in! I cannot let

you go on such idle excuses as that; if you have lived so many years

slighting Christ, there are so many reasons why now you should not

slight him.

But did I hear you whisper that this was not a convenient time? Then what

must I say to you? When will that convenient time come? Shall it come when

you are in hell? Will that time be convenient? Shall it come when you are on

your dying bed, and the death throttle is in your throat--shall it come

then? Or when the burning sweat is scalding your brow; and then again, when

the cold clammy sweat is there, shall those be convenient times? When pains

are racking you, and you are on the borders of the tomb? No, sir, this

morning is the convenient time. May God make it so. Remember, I have no

authority to ask you to come to Christ to-morrow. The Master has given

you no invitation to come to him next Tuesday. The invitation is, "To-

day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the

provocation," for the Spirit saith "to-day." "Come now and let us reason

together;" why should you put it off? It may be the last warning you

shall ever have. Put it off, and you may never weep again in chapel.

You may never have so earnest a discourse addressed to you. You may

not be pleaded with as I would plead with you now. You may go away,

and God may say, "He is given unto idols, let him alone." He shall

throw the reins upon your neck; and then, mark--your course is sure,

but it is sure damnation and swift destruction.

And now again, is it all in vain? Will you not now come to Christ?

Then what more can I do? I have but one more resort, and that shall be

tried. I can be permitted to weep for you; I can be allowed to pray for

you. You shall scorn the address if you like; you shall laugh at the

preacher; you shall call him fanatic if you will; he will not chide you,

he will bring no accusation against you to the great Judge. Your

offence, so far as he is concerned, is forgiven before it is committed;

but you will remember that the message that you are rejecting this

morning is a message from one who loves you, and it is given to you

also by the lips of one who loves you. You will recollect that you may

play your soul away with the devil, that you may listlessly think it a

matter of no importance; but there lives at least one who is in earnest

about your soul, and one who before he came here wrestled with his

God for strength to preach to you, and who when he has gone from this

place will not forget his hearers of this morning. I say again, when

words fail us we can give tears--for words and tears are the arms with

which gospel ministers compel men to come in. You do not know, and

I suppose could not believe, how anxious a man whom God has called

to the ministry feels about his congregation, and especially about some

of them. I heard but the other day of a young man who attended here a

long time, and his father's hope was that he would be brought to Christ.

He became acquainted, however, with an infidel; and now he neglects

his business, and lives in a daily course of sin. I saw his father's poor

wan face; I did not ask him to tell me the story himself, for I felt it was

raking up a trouble and opening a sore; I fear, sometimes, that good

man's grey hairs may be brought with sorrow to the grave. Young men,

you do not pray for yourselves, but your mothers wrestle for you. You

will not think of your own souls, but your fathers anxiety is exercised

for you. I have been at prayer meetings, when I have heard children of

God pray there, and they could not have prayed with more earnestness

and more intensity of anguish if they had been each of them seeking

their own soul's salvation. And is it not strange that we should be ready

to move heaven and earth for your salvation, and that still you should

have no thought for yourselves, no regard to eternal things?

Now I turn for one moment to some here. There are some of you here

members of Christian churches, who make a profession of religion, but

unless I be mistaken in you--and I shall be happy if I am--your

profession is a lie. You do not live up to it, you dishonour it; you can

live in the perpetual practice of absenting yourselves from God's house,

if not in sins worse than that. Now I ask such of you who do not adorn

the doctrine of God your Saviour, do you imagine that you can call me

your pastor, and yet that my soul cannot tremble over you and in secret

weep for you? Again, I say it may be but little concern to you how you

defile the garments of your Christianity, but it is a great concern to

God's hidden ones, who sigh and cry, and groan for the iniquities of the

professors of Zion.

Now does anything else remain to the minister besides weeping and

prayer? Yes, there is one thing else. God has given to his servants not

the power of regeneration, but he has given them something akin to it.

It is impossible for any man to regenerate his neighbour; and yet how

are men born to God? Does not the apostle say of such an one that he

was begotten by him in his bonds. Now the minister has a power given

him of God, to be considered both the father and the mother of those

born to God, for the apostle said he travailed in birth for souls till Christ

was formed in them. What can we do then? We can now appeal to the Spirit. I

know I have preached the gospel, that I have preached it earnestly; I

challenge my Master to honour his own promise. He has said it shall not

return unto me void, and it shall not. It is in his hands, not mine. I

cannot compel you, but thou O Spirit of God who hast the key of the heart,

thou canst compel. Did you ever notice in that chapter of the Revelation,

where it says, "Behold I stand at the door and knock," a few verses before,

the same person is described, as he who hath the key of David. So that if

knocking will not avail, he has the key and can and will come in. Now if the

knocking of an earnest minister prevail not with you this morning, there

remains still that secret opening of the heart by the Spirit, so that you

shall be compelled.

I thought it my duty to labour with you as though I must do it; now I

throw it into my Master's hands. It cannot be his will that we should

travail in birth, and yet not bring forth spiritual children. It is with him;

he is master of the heart, and the day shall declare it, that some of you

constrained by sovereign grace have become the willing captives of the

all-conquering Jesus, and have bowed your hearts to him through the

sermon of this morning.

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Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Luke 14". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/spe/luke-14.html. 2011.