An Abundant Entrance

2 Pet. 1:11.---' For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.'

The kingdom here spoken of is that inward and spiritual kingdom which Jesus came to establish in the hearts of men. It stands for 'fullness of life,' and that now and under present conditions. The meaning of the entrance abundantly ministered is not that some 'golden gate,' in some far away heaven and in some far off future time, is to be flung wide open for our reception, but that in this world, we shall, if we will, live the largest and fullest life, a life at once of perfect obedience and of complete dominion; of perfect obedience to the Divine law, and of complete dominion over the lower nature. The 'kingdom,' in Christ's own idea of it, is a present kingdom, and we may have our 'abundant entrance' into it now.

There are men who never do more than touch the fringe of life's possibilities in any direction, because they are inert, without energy, without aspiration. How few seek an 'abundant entrance' into the kingdom of knowledge. The majority are content with the merest smattering, enough only to be able to sustain their part in the social small talk. They just edge themselves within the portals and see enough to say that they have seen something. Whereas others, the master minds of research, give themselves no rest until they have beaten down every barrier, scaled every height, and battered in the last gate of the very citadel of truth.

In art most young people are content with the drawing and music lessons which they receive at school, and with rising to the bare average of their circle in the production of rather lead-pencilly or milk-and-watery landscapes, or the performance of the conventional pianoforte 'piece' for the delectation or astonishment, or torture [as the case may be] of the audience. There they stop. They merely peep within the gates as they stand ajar, and go no further. There is no abundant entrance into these kingdoms of attainment. But others pause not till their Divine creations and their superb technique are a nation's wonder and the world's delight. In science, even among those of scientific tastes, the greater number take but a few steps, and those along paths already marked out for them; while here and there a Newton, a Faraday, a Darwin, daringly strikes out a path for himself, hunts down the secrets of Nature to their last hiding-place, and creates an epoch in the development of the human intellect, and the conquest of mind over matter.

Now this has its reflection on the spiritual side of man's nature, in relation to the capacities of the soul and the possibilities of the higher life. Most of us timidly take a few steps and there pause, while others press boldly on and take their seats on the right hand of the throne of eternal dominion. But all are summoned to this highest achievement. The 'abundant entrance' is for no favored few. All alike are 'called' and chosen to this dignity. It is but a question of fulfilling the conditions of attainment, the use of 'diligence' as the author of this Epistle puts it, to make our calling and election 'sure.' All cannot be creators in art, or discoverers in science, but all may become spiritual proficients. The reason who so many have so little joy and so little power in their spiritual life is because they do not use their privilege of appropriation to the full. They are like beggar children loitering around the gate of the nobleman's estate, looking furtively through; ever and anon peeping to see whether anyone is coming, and then, in a sudden access of boldness, running a few steps within the enclosure and incontinently rushing back again; shyly standing aside when the great man passes, and blushing as they receive from his hands an occasional dole. Does not this represent the religion of a good many of us? A timid and mendicant 'hanging on' to the outskirts of the great domain of spiritual experience and felicity. Jesus taught us both by His word and by His example our true relation to the Kingdom. He, 'as a Son in his own house,' not only passed within the gates, but claimed the whole realm as His heritage, and claimed the whole realm as His heritage, and entered into full possession. 'All things that the Father hath are mine.' He meant us to perform that sublime act of appropriation as well as Himself, and to live in the liberty and joy and power of it.

But though all are 'called' this abundance of entrance, this fullness of possession, is only for those for whom it is prepared; for those, that is to say, who through spiritual elevation and strenuous endeavors prepare themselves for its realization. The conquest of this kingdom cannot be without effort. 'Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life.' The gate must be forced---there must be determination, resolution, prolonged and forceful endeavor. 'The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence.' 'All things come to him who waits,' we are fond of saying; but the achievement of high spiritual possibility is not one of those things that come to the man who simply 'waits.' In order to the abundant entrance there must be abundant exertion. Men do not merely drift to their spiritual consummations. They must conquer them. hey come to them through a course, a process, a discipline, and you have the whole program of it in the context of this verse. The writer tells us we are 'called' to these things, but he gives us to understand at the same time that we must give effect to our own call. We are 'chosen' but we, too, must choose. He tells us, in ver. 3, that God has 'called us to glory and virtue,' that we are designed even to become 'partakers of the divine nature.' This is the infinite realm into which we are invited, no summoned, to enter. But though the call is to Divine dignities, the struggle is within the area of the human heart. 'Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue, knowledge, self-control,' and so forth. He runs through the whole gamut of Christian endeavor and spiritual achievement, and then says, 'If these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Then he urges the need of diligence as the one condition of ensuring the objects of our spiritual call; 'for is ye do these things, ye shall never stumble; for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom.'

A man knows that there is no 'abundant entrance' for him into the kingdom of commercial success without toil, perseverance, a constant alertness to seize opportunities, perpetual and strenuous endeavor. He must transfer these qualities to his spiritual career if he would know anything of the abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom. Men would soon become bankrupt in trade it they followed their business callings in the same fashion as that in which too many pursue spiritual aims. A man ought to be ashamed to be able to build up a business, to win fortune, and not to be able to win in fullness his own soul. We know that nothing great can be achieved in the realms of art and science without supreme exertion, and yet we think, or we act as if we thought, and where the highest principles of our nature are concerned we can enter into the fullness of life by remaining passive and simply leaving ourselves to be wrought upon by supernatural influences, over which we have no control and with which we have nothing to do. Will wind and tide alone bear a vessel across the ocean to some desired haven, without the incessant watchfulness and active cooperation of those on board? The elemental forces are there, but the mariner must wield and apply them. No man was ever just floated on the crest of some lucky wave, wafted by some heaven-breathed gale to those spiritual regions where life is sunniest and most fruitful, fullest of power, and of joy. It is no use merely to gaze upon your star; you must follow it. To those distant and radiant shores the divinest of voices is calling us, as to the true destiny and home of the soul; to those blissful realms our star is ever guiding us; none the less must we 'use all diligence to make our calling and election sure.'

In Christ, timothy. maranatha