Sometimes God is pleased to use a few words in the awakening of a soul. Such was the case some years ago, in the following remarkable manner. The porters at the Sheffield station had cried, "Take your seats for Derby and the South," when I observed a man making the utmost exertion to reach the train before it started. It was a struggle. "All right!" shouted the guard. The driver answered with a whistle. The train moved. The man was just in time. He took his seat by my side; smack went the door. I said, "And the door shall be shut." I do not remember that another word passed between us. Two years afterwards, when I had quite forgotten the circumstance, a friend of mine met with the same man, who told him that those words, "And the door shall be shut," produced such a solemn impression on his mind, that he could not, by any means, forget them. When he awoke in the morning, and all day long, they sounded in his ears. The madness and danger of delaying his salvation to the last moment became so evident, that he believed that circumstance had been used of God in bringing him to Christ.
Reader, those are, indeed, solemn words, in that prophetic parable of the ten virgins, "And the door was shut." The gospel train is fast filling; the last person will soon be in it; and then, can you tell what you would feel, not to be just in time, but just too late? Would you like to be one who shall cry, "Lord, Lord, open unto us?" when the only answer will be, "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity; I know you not."
Hark you, the gospel porters cry "Take your seats." But you say, "I have not paid my fare; and worse still, I cannot pay it." Do you really own this to be true? Have you tried to pay your fare to heaven by good works, and do you own that you are still a vile and worthless sinner? Whether you say so or not, God says so: "The scripture hath concluded all under sin." Yes, you stand at the station, and though the price required is immense to pass you from the kingdom and power of Satan to God, yet, strange as it may seem, those only can take their seats, who have nothing of their own to pay. The full price has been paid, even the precious blood of Christ. That which many a poor soul wants to be done, has been done. "It is finished!" Yes, the full fare has been paid. Ask God Himself, if the death of Christ for your sins is not enough to justify you in taking your seat, and enough to justify Him in receiving you to glory? The resurrection of Christ is God's answer to both these questions. If God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and thus to pay the fare in the giving up of His own life, God also raised Him from the dead for our very justification. Take your seat, then, and who shall condemn you? "It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God; who also maketh intercession for us." Take your seat, rest in the finished work of Christ. Who dare, or can, take us out of God's train of grace? "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" But you say, "This is very strange; a porter told me that I had to do much by prayer and amendment of life, and by deep repentance, before ever I could take my seat in God's train. I have been trying for years, but I do not know how much would satisfy God for my fare. I never before heard that it was all done, and that my ticket must be a free gift, because my fare has been paid, even the blood of God's Son." The porter that told you this story of works for salvation belongs to another company, and you will not find a passenger in his train who knows his fare is paid for heaven. I was once on that line myself, but I never was happy. I found it all tunnel, and we had no light in our carriage, and then it was down-hill, and so fast, and all uncertainty as to where we were going, that I do thank God for stopping the train, and making known to me His free grace. But you say, "There must be repentance." Yes, and what repentance is like that change of mind when a person believes the testimony of God — to the death and resurrection of Christ — that is, that all who believe are justified from all things? And you say, "There must be a forsaking of sin and the world." True, but I never saw a person get faster away from the place, than by taking his seat in a train. Would you really give up sin and the world? Then believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and, without money and without price, take your seat in a finished salvation. Do you want to be fifty miles from a given place in two hours? The power of steam can take you; you quietly trust this power; the train takes you. It is not you who take the train. Ah! men can trust anything but God! you want to be far away from sin, then take your seat, believing the death of Christ has paid your fare, and the mighty power of God shall bear you onward far away.
The devil has many lines, all of which lead to hell. There is only one to heaven. Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You may say, "Do not bother me. I will not travel on any line." In that you are greatly mistaken. Travel you must. Every day is a day nearer heaven or hell. Look at the crowd about you; and let me ask, where is the crowd that thronged this world a hundred years ago? But hark again! there is one speaks from heaven: "Behold, I come quickly!" His words are fast fulfilling. The professing church is as He said it would be: "While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept." Some are saying, "We will not believe He is coming." Others, "We will not have Him to reign over us." Few, very few, are waiting for the Son of God from heaven. But the word of God assures us, He will suddenly come, and take the world with as great a surprise as the flood in the days of Noah, or the destroying fire of God, that fell when the sun had arisen on Sodom.
Men may laugh now, as men laughed then; and scorners may say, "Where is the promise of his coming?" But, after years of prayerful searching of the scriptures, I take God at His word; and tell you plainly that "they that are ready shall go in, and the door shall be shut." And how soon no one knows. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." What an event!
Ah, reader! are you ready? Can you say, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly?" You tremble at the thought. Your sins! Ah! you could not bear to meet the Lord with them unpardoned. Oh! bring them at once to the cross. None ever sought forgiveness and were denied. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." There are thousands of professors whose lamps are gone out, or going out, and who have no oil in their vessels. Think of the midnight cry! awake from that fatal slumber! Fellow believer, go to Christ for oil. Trim your lamp; gird up your loins; be like one that waits for your Lord. "For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry." And then, farewell, poor world of sorrow, sin, and death: welcome, bright eternal joy! for ever with the Lord!