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II

THE CHALLENGE OF THE CLOSED DOOR

“Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”—Matt. vii. 7.

WE are more ready to speak of the challenge of the open door. Some opportunity shines before us with gates ajar, and the opening is a calling, in which we hear the voice of God, “Behold, I have set before thee an open door!” But, after all, it is the closed door which most severely challenges our faith and tests our ingenuity and courage. The real quality of our spirits is displayed when we have to stand knocking at the iron gate.

For instance, there is the closed door of the heart. We want to enter it with the holy love of the Lord Jesus, but it appears to be almost hermetically sealed. We knock, but we get no answer. We can hear the sounds of revelling within, and we catch glimpses of many bright distractions, but we cannot persuade 16the much-engaged friend to heed our knockings and make room for our Lord. The world is too much with him, and he has no use for Christ. It is the challenge of the closed door! There is nothing for it but to go on knocking, in the sustaining hope that some day there may be a lull in the whirling distraction, and the door may be opened to Jesus.

And there are the iron doors of caste. What a challenge they present to the servant of the Lord! Shall we just sit down before them and wait until on some happy day they open of their own accord? Or shall we exercise a sacred inventiveness, and in a thousand gentle knockings entice the imprisoned spirits to open their doors to the Lord and Saviour of all men? There is the door of prejudice. Where stern prejudice reigns every door and window is closed. How to overcome the barrier! It is a great challenge to Christian tenacity and devotion. We are called upon to bombard the closed life with light—but the light must be sunlight, it must be both light and heat, it must be both grace and truth, it must be both wisdom and love. The friendly besiegement must go on day 17after day, until all opposition yields to grace, and the doors are lifted up, and the King of Glory can enter in.

Anybody can enter an open door. The real challenge comes when the door is locked and barred and sealed. He who would open a closed mind needs a big mind He needs the grace of magnanimity and all that magnanimity breeds. In this ministry little minds are altogether without resources. We need “the mind of Christ.” We need a mind purified and enlarged by His saving grace, and with such endowment we can confront other minds, and by patient knockings we can persuade them to let in the King, that they also may come into possession of their great inheritance.

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