“open to us!” These are not infidels, but
professed believers in Christ’s supreme authority.
“Lord, hast thou not taught in our streets?—open
to us!” is the plea of those who heard the truth
spoken, it may be by Jesus personally; of those, at
least, who had the privilege, and did not neglect
it, of hearing the word preached. “Lord,
have we not eaten and drunk in thy presence?—open
to us!” appears to others sufficient evidence
of friendship for the Redeemer, and such as might
be urged by those who followed Him in Judea, and saw
His person, heard His words, yea, sat at meat with
Him as “His familiar friends.” “Lord,
have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name
cast out devils, and done many wonderful works?—open
to us!” Thus could Judas have pleaded; and many
a man, perhaps, who had the gift of miracles without
the grace of God; or many more who have had rare gifts
of talent, genius, eloquence, which have done good
to others, in spite of their own selfish motives;
and who, by many wonderful works, have cast out “evil
possessions” of wicked principles and practices
from others, while evil, nevertheless, possessed themselves.
And with as imposing claims many too may seek admittance
to God’s kingdom, because they “gave their
goods to feed the poor, or their bodies to be burned.”
Yet, to each and all such pleadings, Jesus represents
himself as saying, “I know you not! Depart
from me, all ye workers of iniquity!” But if
so, we ask you, reader, what evidence of Christian
life can you adduce better or more satisfactory than
all this? Nothing, be assured, will be accepted
which does not prove a right spirit, or, in other
words, the existence in the soul of love to Jesus
in some form or other. “LOVEST
THOU ME?” will be the grand question, the truthful
reply to which will determine our real state on that
great day. Hence, while the evidence of doing
wonderful works, or of giving our body to be burned,
is rejected as worthless, inasmuch as the one proves
only the existence of power, and the other of what
may be but a sacrifice to self, and not to the Saviour,—yet
the gift of a cup of cold water to a disciple for the
sake of the Master, will suffice to open the doors
of heaven, because affording evidence of the heart
which loves Jesus, and for which heaven has been prepared.
“Come, ye blessed of my Father! Inasmuch
as ye have done it unto the least of my disciples,
ye have done it unto me!” “If any man
love not the Lord Jesus Christ; let him be accursed!”
We need not add that we have assumed that the persons
thus judged have had full opportunities of knowing
and serving Jesus as their Lord.
What shall the results be of such a searching, impartial,
and conclusive investigation into the history of mankind?
Some of these we may, perhaps, be permitted to anticipate.
The proceedings of the day of judgment will answer
all the accusations of Christ’s enemies.