24. “Trespassers, Beware!”

Only A Prayer Meeting by C. H. Spurgeon

In proclaiming the Gospel, we endeavour to set forth both its fulness and its freeness. We put up no hedge, fence, or barrier; we raise no question, and utter no prohibition; for the invitation runs thus, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” We sometimes meet with the opposite of this in the world without, and the contrast serves to enhance our idea of Divine liberality. This afternoon, I saw a large board, conspicuously lettered and elaborately printed, which bore the following inscription, “TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED. NO DOGS ALLOWED IN THESE WATERS.” The “waters” were a little miserable stagnant pond, green with duckweed, and the estate into which no trespassers were allowed to enter was about half an acre of what would have been a meadow if the grass had not been too much trodden down. I was cheered by the reflection that the dogs of the neighbourhood must have been highly intelligent, and that there was no need for the School Board in that region; for, of course, it would have been no use to put up the notice, “No dogs allowed in these waters,” unless the dogs could read. I have before heard of learned pigs, but reading dogs are even more an evidence of the culture of the district. The exclusiveness of the notice is not altogether new; but being placed so prominently, it struck my attention.

Frequently, we are warned that “trespassers will be prosecuted;” but there is no sentence of the Gospel which breathes such a spirit. You cannot trespass there, forthe rule is, “Whosoever will, let him come.” You may come to the richest banquets of the Gospel; you may walk up and down through all the length and breadth of the land of promise, but you shall never be questioned as to your right to be there, for the Lord says, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” An open door is set before us which no man can shut, and we may enter freely. I know an hotel, in a Continental town, in front of which there is a fine garden, and at the gate you may read this notice, “Strangers not residing at this hotel are invited to enter and enjoy the garden at all times.” Now that is generous, and deserves all praise; it is indeed after the manner of the Gospel, – enter and enjoy yourselves. “Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” “Come in, thou blessed of the Lord, wherefore standest thou without?” The Lord draws men to Him with the cords of a man, and with the bands of love; but He never did drive a soul from Him yet, and He never will. So long as this dispensation of grace shall last, no trespassers can ever be found on the domain of grace, for all who come are invited guests. The Queen permits certain favoured persons to drive through her private park, but the Lord sets the gate of mercy open to all comers, and gives all believers a golden key which will admit them at all hours to His own palace. Who then will refuse to come?

The board also said, “No dogs allowed in these waters.” But no such intimation is given concerning the living waters of Divine grace, for the poorest dog of a sinner that ever lived may come to drink, and swim, and wash here. No doubt it is advisable to keep dogs out of little shallow pools, for the water would soon become defiled, and the cattle would refuse it; but we do not need to preserve a great river, and no one cares to put up a notice informing the dogs that they may not wash in the sea, because there is no fear whatever that, however many dogs may come, they will ever pollute “old Father Thames or defile the boundless sea.” Where there is infinite abundance, there may well be unlimited freeness. The vilest dog of a sinner, that ever ate the crumbs which fell from the Master’s table, is invited to plunge into the river of the water of life, which is clear as crystal still, though thousands of uncircumcised and defiled lips have drunk of it, and myriads of foul souls have been washed whiter than snow in its streams. “Come and welcome, come and welcome,” is the note which sounds from Calvary, from the wounds of the expiring Saviour, yea, it sweetly comes upon mine ear from the lips of the glorified Christ, who sits at the right hand of the Father. “Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

No one can be an intruder when the call is so unconditional; and whoever tries to keep any sinner back, is doing the devil’s work. They are trespassers who keep away from Jesus, and not those who come to Him. Some are afraid that they would be presumptuous should they believe on the Lord Jesus, but presumption lies in the opposite direction: it is the worst of presumption to dare to question the love of God, the efficacy of the blood of atonement, and the saving power of the Redeemer. Cease from such proud questionings, and trust in Jesus.

“Come, hither bring thy boding fears,
Thy aching heart, thy bursting tears;
’Tis mercy’s voice salutes thine ears,-
O trembling sinner, come!”

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