There's a soft, tender passion in the heart of God. Its flame burns steadily. It never flags nor dims. It's a passion for His child-man. And that very passion itself draws man to Himself with a drawing power that is irresistible. They can't resist being drawn, even though they may refuse to yield to it.
There is an answering passion in man's heart for God. It is often a sort of dumb longing, not clearly defined nor well understood. It is a mute yearning of his heart for God, though often he doesn't think of it that way. But it is there; for these two, man and God, belong together. They were together until sin drove its ugly wedge in between. They are a part of each other. Neither one is complete nor happy without the other.
The heart of God can be satisfied only as man comes back home to Him. And man's heart never rests until it finds rest in comradeship with God. These two are always drawing toward each other. God is always drawing man by the great master-passion of His heart. And man is always responding to that tender, strong pull in the underneath, mute yearning of his heart.
By and by the thing that keeps them apart will be gotten rid of. Sin will be shipped overboard, to fall by its own dead weight to the bottom of the sea. Then there will be glad reunion of God and man, their hearts in full glad accord again. To-night we want to talk together a bit about this answering passion of man's heart for God.
The heathen world is knocking today at the door of the Christian Church. It has found out who has the fullest and truest information about God. And it is knocking loudly and earnestly at that door. And it keeps on knocking, though the door seems to be barely open yet; and a good many—most?—inside don't seem to have heard the knocking.
The most remarkable thing about the present time from the Church point of view is that the heathen peoples are asking for what the Master has told us to give them. The centre of Church attraction and of Christian action today is on the swing toward heathen lands.
When the Church began again, a hundred years ago, to enter the great heathen world, it had to use pick and axe, jimmy and chisel. It seemed like using burglar's tools. Certainly it was working in the dark, with only the burglar's dark-lantern to show the way. But now the heathen door is wide open. Instead of our knocking at their door, the heathen world is knocking at our door.
Our billion brothers stand in the night-time of their darkness blindly feeling for our door, and knocking, now timidly, now earnestly and loudly, ay, imperiously, for the light that we have. It has been a cold night for them, and a long night, too. But the darkest hour of it is already throbbing with the flood of coming light. They have found the door and are using it. The whole foreign non-Christian world is knocking with incessant, insistent clamor at our church door.