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Unsuccessful Seeking for Heaven.

Unsuccessful Seeking for Heaven.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. D. MERRILL

For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Luke xiii. 24.
BY REV. D. MERRILL

For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Luke xiii. 24.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 23, 2013
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UNSUCCESSFUL SEEKING FOR HEAVEN.BY REV. D. MERRILLFor many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.Luke xiii. 24.In the constitution and government of the -world, God hasgiven no encouragement to idleness. If any man would berich, or honored, or intelligent, he does not become so by merelywishing ; his present exertions are necessary. And so if hewould be wise unto salvation, he must strive for that wisdom ;or rich toward God, or honored in the presence of his holyangels, he must do something more than wish. He must putforth his wishes into living, visible action. When we talk of the things of this world, and tell you they are not yours with-out your exertions, you understand perfectly what we mean,and your own hearts respond to it. We are met everywhereby a ready and joyous assent ; but when we talk of the gloriesof the future world, and tell you on what conditions they maybe yours, we receive indeed your assent — a cold, sleepy assent.No eye looks bright, no countenance sparkles with joy at theprospect. None show by look or by deed, the resolution —these glories shall be ours. When we say, too, that the manof a thousand purposes, forever resolving and yet never fixed,makes no advance with his forces scattered and weakened inproportion to the wideness of their dispersion — that, with forcespowerful if concentrated on any one object, he is the weakestof the weak as it is, and warn you to shun his example, you70 REV. D. 3IERIIILL's SERMONS.feel the force of the warning ; for you see that though he hasthe powers of a giant, they are yet so scattered that a childmay overcome him.But when we apply this case to yourselves, and tell you thatwhile your affections and your exertions have no fixed, definiteobject, but are scattered here and there, you can accomplishnothing — you are the weakest of the weak — you perhaps agreeto it in word, but have no feeling of its truth. With yourweakness demonstrated before you, and how you may becomestrong, you go on exhibiting proof after proof of weakness andimbecility. You love heaven a little, and are perhaps willingto make some little exertion to get tliere. But then, you lovea great many other things, which are not merely independentof the love of heaven, but inconsistent with it. You love your-
 
selves, the praise of men, pleasure, money, ease, earthly goodthings. You make exertions to obtain all these. You wouldgo to heaven full-handed — take all of gratification you can findhere, and then take the remainder in heaven ; so that thoughheaven has some place in your affections, it stands last on thelist. And I appeal to you whether you do not make abun-dantly more exertions to obtain any of these things, than toobtain heaven. Shall ye then enter heaven ? What ! with allthese scattered affections, with all these earthly desires andearthly hopes, and after all this striving for earthly things ?To make it any heaven to you, all these things which you lovemust be there — men to praise you — pleasure to revel in — ormoney to lay up — or beds for ease — or earthly good things toseek after. Verily, if you are found with affections fixed uponsuch objects, you may " seek to enter in, but shall not beable." Christ commands you to strive to enter in at the straitgate. There is something worth striving for, and there is alsoUNSUCCESSFUL SEEKING FOR IIEAYEN. 71some real difficulty in the case, — enough to call for our utmostexertion.Our Savior, for our admonition, has forewarned us that manyshall seek to enter in, but shall not be able. Who are these,and why will they not be able to enter ? Our Savior has toldus that there are many such — not merely here and there one,but many. And he has pictured before us in some measurethe awfulness of their disappointment — for they confidently ex-pected that they should be able to enter — had good hopes of themselves — and were sure that whoever might be excluded,they should enter, without question or difficulty. Who arethey ? Our Savior has given us some clue to their character,and has also told us to what they owe their exclusion — loantof exertion — ill-directed exertion, or ill-timed exertion. Theydid not strive enough, or they did not strive in the propermanner, or at the allotted time, and this last seems to havebeen the principal cause of their ruin. They began to feelstrongly, and to exert themselves much when it was too late —after the day was past, and the door of hope shut.Probably every living man has some kind of an expectationthat it will be well with him after death — that he either is safealready, or that he will arrange that matter before he dies.No man expects to go to hell, or, what is the same thing, to beexcluded from heaven. But a great many will be excluded,of whom it can hardly be said that they ever sought to enter,
 
for seeking implies some kind of exertion ; and how many havelived and died without making any exertions to get there, andwhose frail hope of heaven was built on something which theywere to do, but never did.. Such will not be condemned bythis text.This text condemns those who have actually done something,72 REV. D. Merrill's sermons.but not enough; and I must think it refers particularly toprofessors of religion. For who are so likely to use someexertion as they, and who but they should feel so safe, or speakso confidently ? A man who has never come out from theworld and joined a Christian society, may make some exertionand feel confident of his good state ; but having never acknowl-edged his Savior before men, it seems hardly possible that heshould have the assurance to come up to the door with any-thing like a confident expectation of admittance. But the pleaof those mentioned in the text seems to imply that they hadbeen numbered among the avowed, open followers of the LordJesus. Many who have sought and actually obtained entranceinto the kingdom of God on earth, or into the visible church,shall seek to enter heaven and shall not be able. Weighed inthe balances, they shall be found wanting. They do not striveenough. There are a great many professors of religion. Thechurch is a kind of net which encloses all sorts. Though ingeneral some kind of attention is paid to keeping out the worstcharacters, they will find an entrance almost whenever theychoose. By an outward reformation, or an appearance of zeal,or a thousand hypocritical pretences, they impose upon men.Men may call them good Christians, and eminently pious, whenGod sees in them nothing but rottenness and corruption.Men take it for granted that they are pious, because they areprofessors of religion ; and the good opinion of men casts outdoubts and fears, confirms their assurance, and they too take itfor granted that they are fair candidates for heaven. Theyknow they indulge habitually in some sins, but they are notof the disreputable kind. They habitually neglect some du-ties, but it is not generally known. The outside is somewhatspotted, but then, there are spots on the sun. They are to aUNSUCCESSFUL SEEKING FOR HEAVEN. 73considerable extent free from outbreaking vices, and exhibit oc-

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