'And their eves were opened. and they knew Him, and He vanished out of their sight.’ Luke xxiv 31.
How aptly does this describe what must have been the spiritual experience of most of us or all, at some time. The momentary glimpse caught, so sweet, so brief as to he almost a sorrow in memory, won as it would seem by effort, but which no effort could retain. What is the meaning of this and what is its remedy? Is it normal for us, the necessity of a life of faith, or the failure of faith, and to lie judged as such
In the case of the two at Emmaus what held their eyes? Was it divine power for their discipline, or human weakness, or what else It is plain they had failed in faith. The Lord’s words were a rebuke His difficulty in yielding to their desire a greater rebuke. These are things which those who know their Lord should have no difficulty in interpreting. The latter we may find again, or what resembles it in a case which should be familiar to us in the earliest book of the Old Testament. Lot in the gate of Sodom found his angelic visitors slow to yield to an invitation which, at Abraham’s hands, a greater than they had accepted without the smallest hesitation. Here the Lord Himself had stayed behind with Abraham. Sodom could not receive Him save in judgment. Lot’s dwelling there kept God out of his dwelling. Was it arbitrary dealing that we read in his case no such words as meet us in the case of the friend of God "- no appearance of Jehovah to Him. no "I am the God of Lot " As little was it arbitrary dealing when the messengers of judgment had to say.
"Nay, but we will abide in the street all night." And when his importunity had prevailed, and he had put such fare as he had before his guests, and they had sat down,- was he accountable or not for the clamour of the men of Sodom at his doors which interrupted them? Did he not abhor the wickedness? Did he not grieve for the interruption? Both, most undoubtedly. Yet Abraham had no men of Sodom to interrupt. Was that to his credit?- certainly, as it was his gain. Clearly it was the result of being where the men of Sodom had no place. Lot had chosen Sodom, and he must have the conditions attaching to his choice.
What does this tell in our ears? does it tell nothing? The thoughts that throng in upon us as unbidden, if not as unclean, guests, when we would so gladly have them away - at the Lord’s Table, at the prayer-meeting - hindering communion: have we any similar responsibility as to these? The effort necessary to obtain what we cannot hold, while other things throng in uncalled, when we do not want them: why are these things so? There is no accident, be assured. There is nothing arbitrary. How often would the Lord be absent from us when He might be present? No: we have lost authority to keep out, what (so licensed) must keep Him out. We have given the key of the house to those who now hold it in defiance of us; we have resigned our authority, and lost it.
They control us, when we should be controlling them. We have shut Him out, who could control them, by the necessity of His holiness.
With Lot there was not even a glimpse of the Lord possible, but it was the fruit of a place where association not only defiled, but where the choice of such association was in itself defilement. How many thus, by these associations, shut out the sunshine from their hearts effectually! Is it not only a lesser degree of a similar cause, when but a ray now and then struggles with the clouds that again banish it?