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§ 216. Call to entire Devotion.—The Strait Gate and the Narrow Way.—Heathen admitted to the Kingdom of Heaven. (Luke, xiii., 24-28.)

The hosts that gathered about the Saviour at this period were exhorted to make good use of the short time remaining to them to repent and believe, in order to escape the Divine judgments that were so soon to break upon the Jewish people. Such as were not hostile, and even rejoiced in his society, were told not to rest upon his personal presence (v. 26), or upon their superficial interest in him. All this would do no good (he told them) unless his word were truly received and applied; unless they sought earnestly, by self-denial and self-sacrifice, to enter the kingdom to which no road leads but this narrow 320and toilsome way.585585   Cf. p. 236.Many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Not those who seek aright; but those who seek, without the heart or the will, to fulfil the essential condition of entire self-denial.

Thus the one truth proclaimed by Christ presents opposite aspects under opposite circumstances. To oppressed and weary souls, groaning under the heavy burdens imposed by the Pharisees, he describes his yoke as mild and easy—easy to those that love—in comparison with the yoke of the law;586586   Cf. p. 202. while to those who are yet in bondage to the world of sense, and expect to find his service easy, he represents it as painful and laborious. Every thing depends upon the heart and the motives; what is hard to one is easy to another.

In further contrast with the disposition to look merely at outward relations, he announced prophetically (v. 28), that while many who gloried in their personal intercourse with him might be excluded from the kingdom for want of fellowship of spirit with him, many, on the other hand, from all quarters of the world, should be called to enter in.

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