The

CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.

Part 1

Section 60óRevelation 3:20.

Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me,


From hence it is concluded,[1] that Christ stands and knocks at the hearts of unregenerate sinners by the ministry of the word, and that they have sufficient grace and strength to open their hearts unto him, or else he knocks in vain; for what wise man would stand at another's door and knock, if he knew there were not any within that could open to him? And since it is required of men in conversion, to open their hearts to Christ, it follows, that the work is not performed by an irresistible power, or without the consent and cooperation of the will of man. But,

1. It should be proved that the ministry of the word is ever signified by knocking at the hearts of unregenerate sinners, or that God, or Christ, are ever said to knock at men's hearts by the ministry of the word. Men can strike the ear, God only can reach and strike the heart, which is done when the Gospel comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost;and when God does this, he does not knock and rap, and then wait till entrance is made from within; but he strikes home, and at once opens the door of the heart, as he did Lydia's, by his powerful and efficacious grace. It should also be proved, that God, in conversion, does command and require men to open their hearts unto him, neither of which can be proved either from this text or from any other in the whole Bible; nor is it in the power of unregenerate men, being dead in trespasses and sins, nor in their will, inclinations, desires, and affections, their carnal mind being enmity against God and Christ, to open their hearts and let them in. And supposing that these words do represent Christ standing and knocking at the door of men's hearts, by the external ministry of the word, has he not the key of the house of David, with which he opens and no man shuts,and lets himself in by the power of his grace, without offering any violence to the wills of men, since his people are made a willing people in tie day of his power. Hence his knocking is not in vain, since to his elect not only sufficient but efficacious grace is given, by which the door of their hearts is opened to him, and others are left inexcusable, who are ready to make such shifts as these; had he knocked, I would have opened; had I heard, I would have believed; had I known, I would have done this and the other thing. But,

2. These words are not spoken to nor of unregenerate sinners, nor have they any reference to the opening of men's hearts in conversion, but are directed to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans, and to the members of that church, persons that professed the name of Christ; Who, though they were not hot, yet were not cold, and for whom Christ had a regard, though they were in this lukewarm state; and, therefore, takes every proper method to bring them out of it; which was much the same with the church in Song of Solomon 5:2, I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled ó a place parallel to this text, and which is the only one besides in which Christ is said to knock, and require any to open to him. Now his standing at the door may either mean his near approach to judgment, see James 5:8,9; (this church of Laodicea, being the last of the churches, represents the state of the church in the last times, which will bring on and conclude with the general judgment;) or else his attendance on this church is meant, which shows his continued love, care, condescension, and patience towards it. His knocking at the seer is not by the ministry of the word, but by some afflictive dispensation of providence, perhaps persecution. This church was in a sleepy, lukewarm, indifferent, secure frame of spirit, as appears from (vv. 15-18). Christ will not suffer her to continue so, and, therefore, takes his rod in his hand, stands at her door, and gives some severe knocks and raps to bring her to herself, and out of this indolent, supine, and self-confident state and condition she was in; which sense is confirmed by the preceding verse, as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten be zealous, therefore, and repent.The promise he makes to such who hear his voice,that is, the men of wisdom, who hear the rod, and who hath appointed it,when the Lord's voice crieth,to a city,or a church, and open to him, that is, by the lively exercise of faith and love, and which is owing to his putting in his hand by the hole of the door,is, that he will come in, to them, and sup with them, and they with him, which may, in general, design communion and fellowship in his house and ordinances, or in particular, the marriage-supper of the Lamb,to which they who are called are pronounced blessed.


ENDNOTES:

[1] Bellarmia. de Gratis el. Lib. Arbitr. 1. 1. c. 11; Remonstr. in Coil. Hag. art. in. and 4:p. 274; Whitby, p. 286; ed. 2. 279.


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