And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus…
There is never a knock at heaven's gate but it sounds through hell, and devils come out to silence it. The ungodly world bids anxious souls to hold their peace. It cannot bear the sinner's distress. If his conscience is disturbed its own is not quite easy. Therefore the world sets itself to make an end of these convictions. For this it has innumerable devices. It will flatter or curse. For some it has persecutions, for others promotions. But I pause not on any of these. I wish now to address the professed people of God. I say, then, plainly: you are in great danger every day of rebuking anxious souls, and charging them to hold their peace.
I. BY INJUDICIOUS CRITICISM OF SERMONS you may stifle convictions and drive sinners away from Christ. I cannot better illustrate this caution than by a true narrative from "The Central Presbyterian." "A pious lady once left a church in this city (Richmond), in company with her husband, who was not a professor of religion. She was a woman of unusual vivacity, with a keen perception of the ludicrous and often playfully sarcastic. As they walked along toward home, she began to make some amusing and spicy comments on the sermon, which a stranger, a man of very ordinary talents and awkward manner, had preached that morning in the absence of the pastor. After running on in this vein of sportive criticism for some time, surprised at the profound silence of her husband, she turned and looked up in his face. He was in tears. That sermon had sent an arrow of conviction to his heart! What must have been the anguish of the conscience-stricken wife, thus arrested in the act of ridiculing a discourse which had been the means of awakening the anxiety of her unconverted husband!"
II. Beware also of UNSEASONABLE LEVITY AFTER SOLEMN APPEALS.
III. This brings to mind another way by which you may bid sinners hold their peace — by BLINDNESS TO ANY BEGINNING CONCERN. Would you see how you should watch? Come with me to the chamber where a babe lies dying. A breathless messenger has gone for the physician, but still he comes not. How the worn mother gazes on her little sufferer in an agony of fondness and fear; how she sinks in anguish before the mercy seat, and pleads like the Syrophenician woman at the feet of Jesus; how she rises wildly, and watches at the window for the physician; how at every sound of wheels she flushes with eagerness, and then grows sick at heart as they turn the corner, and the sound dies away; how she springs to the door as his well-known step is heard on the stair; and then, as he searches every symptom, how she waits on his every look, living on a gleam of hope, ready to die if his face is darkened by a cloud!
IV. Nor is this the worst. Professing parents often LAY PLANS FOR THEIR CHILDREN DIRECTLY OPPOSED TO THE SPIRIT'S WORK.
(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.