(No. 1723)




   "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Matthew 7:12.

   I believe, no doubt, that, taken very strictly, the three exhortations
   of this verse--which, indeed, are but one-- were, first of all,
   intended for God's believing people. It was to His disciples that the
   Lord said, "Cast not your pearls before swine" and, perhaps, certain of
   them who were poor in spirit might turn around and say, "Lord, we have
   few pearls; we are too poor to have the treasures of Your Grace so
   plentifully. You have bidden us not to give that which is holy unto
   dogs; but holiness is rather a thing we seek after than possess."
   "Well," says the Lord, "you have only to ask and have; you have not
   because you ask not; you have only to seek and you will be sure to
   find--for holy things, like rare pearls, are to be discovered if you
   look for them. You have only to knock and spiritual secrets shall open
   to you, even the innermost Truths of God."

   In each exhortation our Lord bids us pray. Beloved, let us abound in
   supplication! Depend upon it, failure in prayer will undermine the
   foundation of our peace and sap the strength of our confidence. But if
   we abound in pleading with God, we shall grow strong in the Lord and we
   shall be happy in His love and we shall become a blessing to those
   around us! Need I commend the Mercy Seat to you who wait before it?
   Surely prayer must have become such a joy to you, such a necessity of
   your being, such an element of your life, that I hardly need press it
   upon you as a duty, or invite you to it as a privilege. Yet I continue
   to do so because the Master does it by a triple exhortation. A
   threefold cord is not easily broken--let not my text be neglected by
   you. Let me urge you to repeated, varied, ever intensifying
   prayer--ask! Seek! Knock!

   Cease not to ask till you receive; cease nor to seek till you find;
   cease not to knock till the door is opened unto you! In these three
   exhortations there would appear to be a gradation--it is the same
   thought put into another shape and made more forcible. Ask--that is, in
   the quiet of your spirit, speak with God concerning your needs and
   humbly beg Him to grant your desires--this is a good and acceptable
   form of prayer. If, however, asking should not appear to succeed, the
   Lord would awaken you to a more concentrated and active longing.
   Therefore let your desires call in the aid of knowledge, thought,
   consideration, meditation, practical action and learn to seek for the
   blessings you desire as men seek for hidden treasures. These good
   things are laid up in store and they are accessible to fervent minds.
   See how you can reach them. Add to asking the study of the promises of
   God, a diligent hearing of His Word, a devout meditation upon the way
   of salvation and all such means of Grace as may bring you the blessing.
   Advance from asking to seeking.

   And if, after all, it should still seem that you have not obtained your
   desire, then knock and so come to closer and more agonizing work--use
   not only your voice, but your whole soul--exercise yourself unto
   godliness to obtain the gift! Use every effort to win that which you
   seek after, for remember that doing is praying; living to God is a high
   form of seeking and the bent of the entire mind is knocking. God often
   gives to His people, when they keep His Commandments, that which He
   denies to them if they walk carelessly. Remember the words of the Lord
   Jesus, how He said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you
   shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you." Holiness is
   essential to power in prayer--the life must knock while the lips ask
   and the heart seeks.

   I will change my line of exposition and say--ask as a beggar petitions
   for alms. They say that begging is a poor trade, but when you ply it
   well with God, no other trade is so profitable! Men get more by asking
   than by working without prayer. Though I do not recommend not working,
   yet I most highly commend praying! Nothing under Heaven pays like
   prevailing prayer! He that has power in prayer has all things at his
   call. Ask as a poor mendicant who is hungry and pleads for bread. Then
   seek as a merchant who hunts for goodly pearls, looking up and down,
   anxious to give all that he has that he may win a matchless treasure.
   Seek as a servant carefully looking after his master's interests and
   laboring to

   promote them. Seek with all diligence, adding to the earnestness of the
   beggar, the careful watchfulness of the jeweler who is seeking for a

   Conclude all by knocking at Mercy's door as a lost traveler, caught out
   on a cold night in a blinding sleet, knocks for shelter that he may not
   perish in the storm. When you have reached the gate of salvation, ask
   to be admitted by the great love of God. Then look well to see the way
   of entering, seeking to enter in--and if the door still seems shut
   against you--knock right heavily and continue knocking till you are
   safely lodged within the home of love! Once again, ask for what you
   need, seek for what you have lost, knock for that from which you are
   excluded. Perhaps this last arrangement best indicates the shades of
   meaning and brings out the distinctions. Ask for everything you need,
   whatever it may be--if it is a right and good thing, it is promised to
   the sincere asker!

   Seek for what you have lost, for what Adam lost you by the Fall; for
   what you have lost, yourself, by your neglect, by your backsliding, by
   your lack of prayer--seek till you find the Grace you need. Then knock.
   If you seem shut out from comfort, from knowledge, from hope, from God,
   from Heaven--then knock, for the Lord will open unto you! Here you need
   the Lord's own interference--you can ask and receive, you can seek and
   find--but you cannot knock and open! The Lord must open the door,
   Himself, or you are shut out forever. God is ready to open the door.
   Remember, there is no cherub with fiery sword to guard this gate, but,
   on the other hand, the Lord Jesus, Himself, opens, and no man shuts.

   But now I must drop this line of things, for my desire is to use the
   text in reference to those who are not yet saved. Last Lord's-Day, when
   we preached upon glory, [Glory! #1721] we had before us the end of the
   pilgrim way. It was a very, very happy time, for in meditation we
   reached the suburbs of the Celestial City and we tasted of eternal
   Glory. This morning I thought we would begin at the beginning and enter
   in at the wicket gate, which stands at the head of the way to Heaven.
   Mr. Bunyan, in his, "Pilgrim's Progress," says, "Now over the gate
   there was written, 'Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.'" His
   ingenious allegory is always as truthfully instructive as it is
   delightfully attractive. I concluded that this should be my text.

   If it is thought worthy to be written over the gate at the entering in
   of the way of life, it must have a great claim upon the attention of
   those who have not yet started for Glory, but are anxious to do so. May
   God the Holy Spirit instruct and quicken them while we hear the Lord
   from within His palace saying, "Knock, and it shall be opened unto

   I. First, then, dear Friend, whoever you are, if you are desirous of
   entering into eternal life, I would expound to you the inscription over
   the gate, by saying, first, THE DOOR OF MERCY MAY APPEAR TO YOU TO BE
   CLOSED AGAINST YOU. That is implied in the text--"Knock, and it shall
   be opened unto you." If to your consciousness the door stood wide open,
   there would be no need of knocking. But since in your apprehension it
   is closed against you, it is for you to seek admission in the proper
   way by knocking. To a large extent, this apprehension is the result of
   your own fears. You think the gate is closed because you feel it ought
   to be so--you feel that if God dealt with you as you would deal with
   your fellow men--He would be so offended with you as to shut the door
   of His favor once and for all.

   You remember how guilty you have been, how often you have refused the
   Divine call and how you have gone on from evil to evil and, therefore,
   you fear that the Master of the house has already risen up and shut the
   door. You fear lest, like the obstinate ones in Noah's day, you will
   find the door of the ark closed and yourself shut out to perish in the
   general destruction. Sin lies at the door and blocks it. In your
   judgment, your desponding feelings fasten up the gate of Grace. But it
   is not so! The gate is not barred and bolted as you think it to
   be--though it may be spoken of as closed in a certain sense, yet in
   another sense it is never shut! In any case, it opens very freely. Its
   hinges are not rusted, no bolts secure it. The Lord is glad to open the
   gate to every knocking soul!

   It is closed far more in your apprehension than as a matter of fact,
   for the sin which shuts it is removed so far as the believing sinner is
   concerned. Had you but faith enough, you would enter in at this present
   moment, and if you did once enter in, you would never be put out again,
   for it is written, "Him that comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out."
   If you could, with holy courage, take leave and license to come in, you
   would never be blamed for it. Fear and shame stand in the sinners road
   and push him back and, blessed is he whose desperate mind forces him to
   be bold! One thing we should remember when we fear that the door is
   closed against us, namely, that it is not so fast closed as the door of
   our hearts has been.

   You know the famous picture of, "The Light of the World"? It seems to
   me to be one of the finest sermons the eyes have ever looked upon.
   There stands the Ever-Blessed, knocking at the door of the soul, but
   the hinges are rusted, the door, itself, is fast bolted and wild briars
   and all kinds of creeping plants running up the door prove that it has
   been a long time since it was moved. You know what it all means--how
   continuance in sin makes it harder to yield to the knock of Christ and
   how evil habits creeping up, one after another, hold the soul so fast
   that it cannot open to the sacred knocking. Jesus has been knocking at
   some of your hearts ever since you were children--and still He knocks.
   I hear His blessed hand upon the door at this moment! Do you not hear
   it? Will you not open?

   He has knocked a long time and yet He knocks again. I am sure that you
   have not knocked at Mercy's door so long as Incarnate Mercy has waited
   at your door! You know you have not. How, therefore, can you complain
   if there should be an apparent delay in answering your prayers? It is
   but to make you feel a holy shame for having treated your Lord so ill!
   Now you begin to know what it is to be kept waiting--what it is to be a
   weary knocker, what it is to cry, "my head is wet with dew and my locks
   with the drops of the night." This will excite you to repentance for
   your unkind behavior and also move you to love more intensely that
   gentle Lover of your soul who has shown such patience towards you. It
   will be no loss to you that the door was shut for a while, if you do
   but gain a penitent heart and a tender spirit!

   Let me, however, warn you that the door can be closed and kept shut by
   unbelief. He that believes enters into Christ when he believes. He that
   comes in by the door shall be saved and shall go in and out and find
   pasture--so our Lord says in the 10th chapter of John. "He that
   believes in Him has everlasting life," there is no question about that!
   But we read, on the other hand, "So, then, they could not enter in
   because of unbelief." Forty years the tribes were in the wilderness,
   going towards Canaan, yet they never reached the promised land because
   of unbelief! And what if some of you should be 40 years attending this
   means of Grace? Coming and going, coming and going, hearing sermons,
   witnessing ordinances, and joining with God's people in worship--what
   if, after all the 40 years, you should never enter in because of

   Souls, I tell you, if you lived, each one of you as long as Methuselah,
   you could not enter in unless you believed in Jesus Christ! The moment
   you have trusted Him with your whole heart and soul, you are within the
   blessed portals of the Father's house! But however many years you may
   be asking, seeking and knocking, you will never enter in till faith
   comes, for unbelief keeps the chain on the door and there is no
   entering in while it rules your spirit. Do you, however, complain that
   you should have to knock? It is the rule of the Most High!

   Am I addressing any who have been earnestly praying for several months?
   I can sympathize with you, for that was my case, not only for months,
   but even for years! Through the darkness of my mind and my cruel
   misapprehensions of the Lord, I did not find peace when I first began
   to ask for it, although I also sought with much earnestness, going to
   the House of God every time I could, and reading the Bible, daily, with
   a burning desire to know the right way. I did not enter into peace till
   I had knocked long and heavily. Listen, therefore, to one who knows
   your troubles and hear from me the voice of reason! Ought we to expect
   to enter into the glorious house of mercy without knocking at its door?
   Is it so with our own houses?

   Can every straggler carelessly saunter in? Is it not God's way in the
   world to give great blessings, but always to make men knock for them?
   We need bread out of the earth but the farmer must knock at the door of
   the earth with his plow and with all his instruments of agriculture
   before his God will hand him out a harvest! Is anything gained in this
   world without labor? Is it not an old proverb, "No sweat, no sweet: no
   pains, no gains: no mill, no meal"? And may we not expect, in heavenly
   things, that at least these great mercies should be prayed for with
   fervency before they can be bestowed? It is the usual rule with God to
   make us pray before He gives the blessing. And how could it be
   otherwise? How could a sinner be saved without prayer?

   A prayerless soul must be a Christless soul! The feeling of prayer, the
   habit of prayer, the spirit of prayer, are parts of salvation. Unless
   it can be said of a man, "Behold, he prays," how can there be any sort
   of hope that he knows his God and has found reconciliation? The
   prodigal did not come home dumb, neither did he enter his father's
   house in sullen silence. No, but as soon as he saw his father, he
   cried, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven." There must be speech
   within God, for God gives not a silent salvation! Besides, to make us
   knock at Mercy's gate is a great blessing to ourselves upon the spot.
   It is a going to school for us when we are set to plead with God for a
   while without realized success. It makes a man grow more earnest, for
   his hunger increases while he tarries.

   If he obtained the blessing when first he asked for it, it might seem
   dog cheap. But when he has to plead long, he arrives at a better sense
   of the value of the mercy sought. He also sees more of his own
   unworthiness as he stands outside Mercy's gate, ready to swoon with
   fear--and so he grows more passionately earnest in pleading and,
   whereas he did but ask at first, he now begins to seek, and he adds
   cries and tears and a broken heart to all the other ways of his
   pleading. Thus the man, by being humbled and awakened, is getting good
   by means of his sorrow while he is kept, for a while, outside the gate!

   Beside that, he is increasing his capacity for the future. I believe I
   never could have been able to comfort seekers in their anguish if I had
   not been kept waiting in the cold, myself. I have always felt grateful
   for my early distress because of its later results. Many men, whose
   experiences are recorded in books which are invaluable in the Christian
   library, never could have written those books if they had not,
   themselves, been kept waiting--hungry and thirsty and full of soul
   travail--before the Lord appeared to them. That blessed man, David, who
   always seems to be--

   "Not one, but all mankind's epitome" the history of all men wrapped up
   in one--how he pictures himself as sinking in the miry clay! Lower and
   lower did he go, till he cried out of the depths and then, at last, he
   was taken up out of the horrible pit and his feet were set on a rock
   that he could tell others what the Lord had done for him!

   Your heart needs enlarging, dear Sir. The Lord means to prepare you to
   become a more eminent Christian by expanding your mind. The spade of
   agony is digging trenches to hold the Water of Life. Depend upon it, if
   the ships of prayer do not come home speedily, it is because they are
   more heavily freighted with blessing! When prayer is long in the
   answering, it will be all the sweeter in the receiving, like fruit
   which is well ripened by hanging longer on the tree! If you knock with
   a heavy heart, you shall yet sing with joy of spirit! Therefore, be not
   discouraged because, for a while, you stand before a closed door.

   II. Secondly, A DOOR IMPLIES AN OPENING. What is a door meant for if it
   is always to be kept shut? The wall might as well have remained without
   a break! I have seen certain houses and public buildings with the form
   and appearance of doors where there were none--the sham doorway being
   made for architectural purposes--but nothing is a sham in the House of
   the Lord. His doors are meant to open! They were made on purpose for
   entrance and so the blessed Gospel of God is made on purpose for you to
   enter into life and peace. It would be of no use to knock at a wall,
   but you may wisely knock at a door, for it is arranged for opening.

   You will eventually enter in if you knock on, for the Gospel is good
   news for men--and how could it be good news if it should so happen that
   they might sincerely come to Christ and ask mercy--and be denied it? I
   fear that the Gospel preached by certain divines sounds rather like bad
   news than good news to awakened souls, for it requires so much feeling
   and preparation on the sinner's part that they are not cheered nor led
   to hope! But you can be sure that the Lord is willing to save all those
   who are willing to be saved in His own appointed way. A dear Brother
   beautifully said in prayer on Monday night--"You, O Lord, are perfectly
   satisfied with the Lord Jesus, and if we are satisfied with Him, You
   are satisfied with us."

   That is the Gospel put into a few words! God is satisfied with Christ
   and if you are satisfied with Christ, God is satisfied with you! This
   is a glad tiding to every soul that is willing to accept the Atonement
   made and the righteousness prepared by the Lord Jesus. Dear Friend,
   this Gospel must be meant to be received by sinners, or else it would
   not have been sent. But one says, "I am such a sinner." Just so. You
   are the sort of person for whom the news of mercy is intended! A Gospel
   is not needed by perfect men--sinless men need no pardon. No sacrifice
   is needed if there is no guilt--no atonement is needed where there is
   no transgression. They that are whole need not a physician, but they
   that are sick! This door of hope which God has prepared was meant to be
   an entrance into life and it was meant to open to sinners, for if it
   does not open to sinners, it will never open at all!

   We have all sinned and so we must all be shut out unless it is of free
   Grace for those who are guilty. I am sure this door must open to those
   who have nothing to bring with them. If you have no good works, no
   merits, no good feelings, nothing to recommend you, be not discouraged,
   for it is to such that Jesus Christ is most precious and, therefore,
   most accessible, for He loves to give Himself to those who will prize
   Him most! A man will never have Christ while he has enough of his own;
   but he that is consciously naked, poor and miserable, is the man for
   Christ's money--he it is that has been redeemed by price!

   You may know the redeemed man, for he feels his bondage and
   acknowledges that he must remain therein unless the redemption of
   Christ is applied for his deliverance. Dear Friends, that door of hope
   will be opened to you though you may be ignorant, weak and quite unable
   to fulfill any high conditions! When the text says, "Knock, and it
   shall be opened unto you," it teaches us that the way of winning
   admission to the blessing is simple and suitable to common people. If I
   have to enter in by a door which is well secured, I shall need tools
   and science. I confess I do not understand the arts--you must send for
   a gentleman who understands picklocks, "jimmies," and all sorts of
   burglarious instruments!

   But if I am only told to knock, fool as I am at opening doors, I know
   how to knock! Any uneducated man can knock if that is all required of
   him. Is there a person here who cannot put words together in prayer?
   Never mind, Friend! Knocking can be done by one who is no orator.
   Perhaps another cries, "I am no scholar." Never mind, a man can knock
   though he may be no philosopher. A dumb man can knock! A blind man can
   knock! With a palsied hand, a man may knock. He who knows nothing of
   this Book can still lift a hammer and let it fall. The way to open
   Heaven's gate is wonderfully simplified to those who are lowly enough
   to follow the Holy Spirit's guidance and ask, seek and knock

   God has not provided a salvation which can only be understood by
   learned men. He has not prepared a Gospel which requires half-a-dozen
   folio volumes to describe it. It is intended for the ignorant, the
   short-witted and the dying, as well as for others and, therefore, it
   must be as plain as knocking at a door! This is it--Believe and live!
   Seek unto God with all your heart and soul and strength, through Jesus
   Christ, and the door of His mercy will certainly open to you! The gate
   of Grace is meant to yield admission to unscientific people since it
   shall be opened to those who knock! I am sure this door will open to
   you because it has been opened to so many before you. It has been
   opened to hundreds of us now present. Could not you, dear Brothers and
   Sisters, stand up and tell how the Lord opened the gate of His
   salvation to you?

   That door has opened to many in this house during the last few weeks.
   We have seen persons coming forward to tell how the Lord has been
   pleased to give them an entrance into His mercy, though at one time
   they were afraid that the door was shut and they were ready to despair!
   Well, if the door has been so often opened for others, why should it
   not turn on its hinges for you? Only knock, with faith in God's mercy,
   and before long it shall yield to your importunity! It is for God's
   Glory to open His door of Grace and that is one reason why we are sure
   He will! We cannot expect Him to do that which would be derogatory to
   His own honor, but we do expect Him to do that which will glorify His
   sacred attributes!

   It will greatly honor the mercy, the patience, the love, the Grace, the
   goodness, the favor of God if He will open the door to such an
   undeserving one as you are, so knock! Knock, since God delights to
   give! Knock at the door which, every time it turns on its hinges,
   unveils His greatness! Knock with a holy confidence at this present
   moment for "it shall be opened unto you." It is a door which seems
   closed, but because it is a door, it must be capable of being opened!

   III. Thirdly knock, for A KNOCKER IS PROVIDED. When persons can be
   admitted by knocking, a knocker is usually placed on the door--and if
   not, we often see the words, NO ADMITTANCE. Before bells became so
   common, the habit of knocking at the door was well near universal and
   people were accustomed to like the door to resound with their blows.
   There was a nail head for the knocker to drop upon and people used to
   smite it so heavily that it became remarked that such blows on the head
   were killing and, therefore, arose the mirthful proverb, "as dead as a
   door-nail." It typifies a hearty kind of knocking which I would have
   you imitate by prayer.

   Knock at Heaven's gate as earnestly as people knocked at doors in the
   olden times! Have you not had knocks at your own doors which could be
   heard all through the house? Some of our Friends are vigorous and knock
   as if they meant to come in! It may be that gentle folks give such
   tender taps that they are not heard by the servants, and so they have
   to wait--but these I am speaking of never fall into that error, for
   they so startle everybody that they are glad to let them in, for fear
   they should thunder a second time! In this style let us pray--let us
   plead in a downright fashion and never cease till we gain admission.

   I have said that the Lord has provided a knocker. What is this knocker?
   First of all, it may be found in the promises of God. We are sure to
   speed well when we can plead a promise. It is well to say unto the
   Lord, "Do as You have said." What force abides in an appeal to the
   Word, the Oath and the Covenant of God. If a man presents to another a
   promissory note upon the day on which it is due, he expects to receive
   the amount stated therein. God's promises are bills of exchange and He
   will duly honor them. He was never known to dishonor a bill, yet, and
   He never will do so. If you can only

   quote a promise applicable to your condition--spread it before the Lord
   in faith and say--"Remember this Word unto Your servant upon which you
   have caused me to hope," you will obtain the blessing!

   Pleading the promise gives such a knock at the gate of Heaven that it
   must be opened. The great knocker, however, is the name of the Lord
   Jesus Christ. If a person were to call upon you on the behalf of some
   dearly-beloved son who is far away. If he brought you due credentials
   and a letter, saying, "Father, treat the bearer well for my sake," you
   would be sure to show him kindness! And if the aforesaid person was
   authorized to receive a promised amount in the name of your son, would
   you not hand out the money? Now, when we go to God and plead the name
   of Christ, it means that we plead the authority of Christ, that we ask
   of God as though we were in Christ's place and expect Him to give it to
   us as if He were giving it to Jesus! That is something more than
   pleading for Christ's sake.

   I suppose the Apostles, at first, did plead with God for Christ's sake,
   but Jesus says to them, "Hitherto you have asked nothing in My name."
   It is a higher grade of prayer, and when we get to pleading Christ's
   name with the Father, then do we gloriously prevail. At a Primitive
   Methodist meeting, a person was trying to pray, but did not get on at
   it and, presently a voice was heard from the corner of the room, "Plead
   the blood, Brother! Plead the blood!" I am not very fond of such
   interruptions, yet this was to be commended, for it gave the right note
   and set the pleader in his right place. Plead the precious blood of
   Jesus Christ and you have knocked so that you must be heard!

   "Alas!" says one, "I see the knocker, for I know something of the
   promises and of the Person of our Lord, but how am I to knock?" With
   the hand of faith! Believe that God will keep His promise! Ask Him to
   do so and thus knock. Believe that Jesus is worthy, whose name you are
   pleading, and so knock in confidence that God will honor the name of
   His dear Son. "Alas! My hand is so weak," you say. Then remember that
   the Holy Spirit helps our infirmities. Ask Him to put His hand upon
   your hand and, in that fashion, you will be able to knock with
   prevailing vehemence! I beseech you, knock with all the strength you
   have and knock often. If you are not in Christ, my dear Hearer, do not
   give sleep to your eyes nor slumber to your eyelids till you have found

   If you have prayed once, go and pray again! And if you have prayed
   10,000 times, yet still continue in prayer! Knock with all your might,
   with all the vigor of your spirit! Plead as for you life--knock at the
   door as a man would knock who saw a wolf ready to spring upon him!
   Knock as one would knock who found himself ready to die of cold outside
   the door. Throw your whole soul into the work. Say unto the Lord, "I
   beseech You have mercy upon me and have mercy upon me, now. I faint, I
   die, unless You manifest Your love to me and take me into Your house
   and heart, that I may be Yours forever." "Knock, and it shall be opened
   unto you." There is the knocker.

   IV. Next, to you who are knocking at the gate, A PROMISE IS GIVEN. That
   is more than having a door before you, or a knocker to knock with. The
   promise is above the gate in plain words. Read it. You are growing
   faint and weary. Read the promise and grow strong again! "Knock, and it
   shall be opened unto you." Observe how plain and positive it is with
   its glorious, "shall," burning like a lamp in the center of it! In
   letters of love, the inscription shines out amidst all the darkness
   that surrounds you--and these are its words--"It shall be opened unto
   you." If you knock at the door of the kindest of men, you see no such
   promise set before you and yet you knock, and knock confidently! How
   much more boldly should you come to the door of Grace when it is
   expressly declared, "It shall be opened unto you!"

   Remember that this promise was freely given. You never asked the Lord
   for such a word--it was uttered by spontaneous goodness. You did not
   come and plead with Jesus for a promise that you should be heard in
   prayer. Far from it-- you did not even pray! Perhaps you have been
   living in the world 40 years and have never truly prayed at all. But
   the Lord, out of His overflowing heart of generous love has made this
   promise to you, "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Why do you
   doubt? Do you think He will not keep His Word? A God who cannot lie,
   who was under no necessity to promise, but freely, out of the greatness
   of His Divine Nature, which is Love, says to a poor sinner, "Knock, and
   it shall be opened unto you." Oh, be sure of this that He means it! And
   till Heaven and earth shall pass away, His Word shall stand, and
   neither you nor any other sinner that knocks at His door shall be
   refused admittance! This inscription has encouraged many to knock--when
   they have been ready to faint and give up all further seeking, they
   have read again the cheering words, "Knock, and it shall be opened unto
   you"--and they have taken heart and made the gate resound again!

   Now, do you think God will tantalize us, that He will make fools of us,
   that He will excite hopes in poor sinners for the mere sake of
   disappointing them? Will He induce you to knock, by His promise, and
   then laugh at you? Did the God

   of Mercy ever say, "I called and you came; I stretched out My hands and
   you drew near to Me, and yet I will mock at your calamity, and laugh
   when your fear comes"? Why, a bad man would scarcely speak so! Such an
   act would be more like Satan than God! Do not tolerate the thought that
   the God of all Grace could treat a seeker thus! If it ever crosses your
   mind, thrust it away and say, "He that taught me to pray has thereby
   bound Himself to answer prayer. He will not invite me to knock in vain!
   Therefore I will knock again, only this time more vigorously than ever,
   relying upon His Word and

   His Truth."

   Oh, that you may never stop your knocking till salvation's door is
   entered by you! The promise of the Lord was given freely and on the
   strength of that promise we knock and, therefore, we are sure that the
   Lord will not deny His trusting servants. The mercy is that this
   promise is meant for all knockers--"Knock, and it shall be opened unto
   you." The Lord has not denied to you, my Hearer, the privilege of
   praying, or declared that He will not answer your requests. You may
   knock and you may expect to see the door open! I know the blessed
   doctrine of Election and I rejoice in it, but that is a secret with
   God, while the rule of our preaching is--"Preach the Gospel to every
   creature." I would, therefore, say to each one here, "Knock, and it
   should be opened unto you!" The Lord knows who will knock, for, "the
   Lord knows them that are His." But knock, my Friend, knock now, and it
   will soon be seen that you are one of God's chosen ones!

   Remember the story of Malachi, the Cornishinuan? When a Methodist
   friend had some money to give him, he smilingly said, "Malachi, I do
   not think I shall give you this money because I do not know whether you
   are predestinated to have it. Will you tell me whether you are
   predestinated to have it or not?" Malachi replied, "You put the money
   in my hand and I will tell you." As soon as Malachi had the sum in
   hand, he knew that he was predestinated to have it--but he could not
   know before he had it in possession. So the secret counsel of the Lord
   is revealed to our faith when it gets Christ in possession and not
   before! Knock at once! If you are predestinated to enter, I know you
   will knock and knock till you are admitted, for so it stands, and no
   exception is made to it--"Knock, and it shall be opened unto you." It
   is a rule with the Lord that to him that knocks, it shall be opened!

   Blessed be God, this text of mine shines out as if printed in stars and
   it continues to shine from the dawn of life to the setting of the sun!
   As long as a man lives, if he knocks at God's door, it shall be opened
   unto him! You may have been long a rebel and you may have heaped up
   your sins till they seem to shut out all hope from you--but still knock
   at Christ, the Door, for an opening will come! But put not off your day
   of knocking because of God's long-suffering mercy, but rather, today,
   knock, knock now, while sitting in the pew, and if you are not answered
   immediately, as I trust you will be, yet go home and there, in secret,
   cry unto the Lord, "I will not let You go unless You bless me! I am
   lost unless You find me! I am lost unless I find my Savior and Lord! I
   am not playing at prayer, now--my very soul means it! I must have
   Christ or else I am lost! I come just as I am. I cast myself upon You
   and trust in Your atoning Sacrifice. Oh manifest Yourself to me as a
   pardoning God!"

   I will be bound for God as a hostage that He will answer you! I sought
   the Lord and He heard me--and since then I have never doubted of any
   living soul but that if he, too, will seek the Lord through Jesus
   Christ, he will certainly be saved. Oh, that you would try it! The Lord
   have you do it by His own blessed Spirit!

   V. So I close with one more point. When the door opens, IT WILL BE A
   GLORIOUS OPENING TO YOU. "Knock, and it shall be opened." What will
   come of it, then? Immediately you who have knocked will enter. If you
   have knocked in sincerity, the moment you see Christ as a Savior, you
   will accept Him as your Savior. Enter into Christ by faith. Behold, He
   sets before you an open door and no man can shut it! Do not hesitate to
   enter in. Up to now you have thought there were many difficulties and
   obstacles in your way, but, indeed, it is not so! Believe and live!

   When, in answer to your knocking, you see the door move, then arise and
   tarry not. Remember that the opening of that door will not only give
   you entrance, but it will ensure you safety. He who once enters into
   Christ is safe forever. Only pass beneath that blood-sprinkled portal;
   only rest in the house of the Well-Beloved and you shall go out no
   more, forever! The life which He bestows is eternal, therefore you
   shall not die. The destroying angel, whenever he may take his flight,
   must pass you by. Only believe and you are saved! Only trust Christ
   with your whole heart, soul and strength and salvation has come unto
   your house--and you have come unto the house of salvation!

   But then there shall come to you more blessings, for yours shall be the
   adoption! Once entered in, you shall abide in the mansion of Grace, no
   more a stranger or a guest, but as a child at home! You shall sit at
   the Father's table and eat

   and drink as a son, an heir, a joint-heir with Christ. Yours shall be
   the liberty, the plenty, the joy of the great house of love. At God's
   right hand there are pleasures forever more--and these shall all be
   your heritage! Yes, and more than that, for when you have once entered
   into the house of love, you shall have access to its inner chambers!
   Even the vestibule of God's house is a place of safety, but afterwards,
   the Master of the house shall take you into many rooms and show you His
   treasures, and open to you His storehouses, so that you shall go from
   Grace to Grace, from knowledge to knowledge, and glory to glory by
   continued progress! All this can only be understood by experience and
   that experience can only be obtained by knocking.

   I need to say this and I have done. Some people think if they have
   begun to pray and are a little in earnest that this is enough. Now,
   praying is not an end--it is only a means! Knocking is not the
   ultimatum--you must enter in. If any of you are seeking, I am glad of
   it. If you are knocking, I am glad of it. But if you say, "I am
   perfectly satisfied to stand outside the door and knock," then I am
   grieved for you. You are foolish to the last degree because you are
   resting in the means as if they were the end! You must enter by the
   Door or else knocking will be labor in vain. Would any of you be
   content to visit a friend and merely to stand for an hour or two
   outside of his door knocking? Did you ever say, "I do not need anything
   more. I shall sit down comfortably on the steps and then get up and
   have another knock or two"?

   Knocking would not give you a dinner, nor do your business for you.
   Knocking is only the way of entrance, but if you stop at knocking it is
   poor work. The most earnest praying is only a way of getting to Christ.
   The Gospel, itself, is, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall
   be saved." Come, then, to Christ! If you find the door shut, knock. But
   oh, remember, the door is not really shut--it is only so in your
   apprehension! Heaven's gate stands open night and day! At once believe
   and live! Trust in the merit of Jesus Christ and you are clothed with
   it! Trust in the blood of Christ, and you are washed in it!

   Faith saves in an instant! It touches Jesus and the healing virtue
   pours forth from His garment's hem! Faith steps over the threshold and
   the soul is safe! The Lord grant that you may enter in at once--and
   then it shall be our joy, and the angels' joy, and the great Father's
   joy, forever and ever, to see you rescued from destruction! Amen.