No. 823. Delivered on Thursday Evening, March 5th, 1868,
By C. H. Spurgeon, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"The flood came and took them all away." Matthew 24:39
We commonly say that "there is no rule without an exception," and certainly the rule that there is no rule without an exception has an exception to itself, for the rules of God are without exception. The rule that God will punish the ungodly is without an exception; the rule that all who are out of Christ shall perish is a rule without an exception; and the rule that all who are in Christ shall be saved is also without an exception. I. I shall have to call your attention to-night to three rules that are without exception, and the first is the one before us- "THE FLOOD CAME AND TOOK THEM ALL AWAY."
The destruction caused by the deluge was universal. It did not merely sweep away some who were out of the ark, but it swept them all away. There were, doubtless, distinctions in those days, as there are now, for never has there been one level of equality among the sons of Adam since men multiplied on the face of the earth. Many in that time were wealthy. They had accumulated stores of gold and silver. They were rich in merchandise, invention, or plunder. They were rich in the produce of the field. They owned broad acres of land. They had multiplied to themselves the conveniences and the luxuries of life, but the flood came and swept them all away. Not one rich man could escape with all his hoards, neither could he purchase life if he had given all his wealth, for the flood came and swept them all away. There were no rafts of costly cedar, or towers of expensive masonry which could out reach the devouring deluge. Death laughed at miser and merchant, millionaire and monarch- all, all were swallowed up in the angry flood.
There were some in those days who were extremely poor. They worked hard to gain enough to keep body and soul together, and they were scarcely able to do that; they had to suffer every day "The oppressor's wrongs, the proud man's arrogance;" but I do not find that as a reward for their sufferings they were spared.
No; when the flood came it swept them all away. The pauper out of the ark perished as well as the prince. The poor and miserable peasant died, washed away from the filth of his mud hovel, just as monarchs were from their palaces. The beggar without a shoe to his foot died; the flood had no pity on his rags. He who swept the street-crossing and stood waiting for a casual alms, was taken away with the aristocrats who had pitied him. The flood came and swept them all away; the unrelenting billows meted out an equal fate to all who were outside the one ark of safety.
And so will it be at the last. As the great man will not purchase an escape by all that which he has stored up, so neither will the man be delivered because of his poverty. There was a rich man in hell, we read. Poor men have been there, and are there now. As riches cannot save from hell, so neither can poverty raise to heaven. The grace and justice of God are independent of society, and rank, and state, and condition. What does it
matter to the Lord how much or how little of yellow metal you have about you! He measures no man by his purse, but by his soul; and he whose soul is unpardoned is lost, be he rolling in plenty or pining in poverty. You must be born again; you must believe in Jesus; you must, in one word ,get into the ark, or when the flood comes it will sweep you all away, be you rich as Dives, or poor as Lazarus.
There were in those days learned men in the world; men who searched the stars at night; who had deciphered the constellations, who had pried into the secrets of matter; men who had ransacked science, and, so far as men had gone (and we do not know but what they went a very long way then), had pierced into the innermost recesses of knowledge; but when the flood came it swept them all away. There goes the philosopher; you can hear his dying gurgle. There, floating on the stream, is the head of an antediluvian wise man. The flood has swept away masters of arts, doctors of law, and rabbis in divinity. No man was able to escape the deluge by all that he had ever learned.
Knowledge is no life-buoy, logic is no swimming-belt, rhetoric no life-boat. Down, down they go, and all their science with them, beneath the shoreless waves! And as for the illiterate, who were, no doubt, numerous then as now, who could only count as many as the number of their fingers, who knew none of the niceties of learning or of eloquence, when the flood came it swept them all away. So that knowledge, except it be of one particular kind, namely, the heart-knowledge of Christ Jesus, will not deliver us from the final destruction; and, on the other hand, although ignorance, if it be not willful, is some palliation for sin, yet is it never such an excuse for it as to allow sin to go unpunished. There is a hell for those who knew their Master's will and did it not; and there is also a hell for those who would not know, but who lived and died willfully ignorant of the things of God. The flood came and swept them all away.
You men who are orthodox in doctrine, you who can talk about theology, and claim to be masters in Israel, if you do not belong to Christ, the flood shall sweep you all away. And you who say, "What does it matter? Creeds what are they but handles of old rubbish? We do not study our Bibles, and do not want to know the doctrines taught therein." I tell you, sirs, except you know Christ, and are found in him, your ignorance shall be no sufficient excuse for you, for when the flood of fire shall come it shall sweep you all away.
I doubt not that among those who perished in Noah's flood, there were many who were very zealous in the cause of religion; perhaps some who had officiated as priests in the midst of their families, and possibly even at God's altar. They were not a godless race in those days, so far as the form and profession went; they had a religion- even those sons of Cain had a religion; and indeed, generally when men are worst at heart, they prate most about outward religion. We may suppose it was so in Noah's day.
But when the flood came, these men being outside the ark, whether priests or not, did not escape; it swept them all away. And there were others, no doubt, who were profane, who lived in disregard of God, or who hectored out infidel expressions concerning him. But the flood made no distinction between the hypocritical priest and the direct blasphemer; when it came it swept them all away. O you sons of Levi, you who wear the robes of priesthood, and profess to be sent of God to teach others, with all your boasted magical powers, if you do not believe in Jesus as poor guilty sinners, and look up to the cross alone for your salvation, when the flood comes it will sweep you all away. You will drown, Sir Priest, despite your baptismal regeneration and your sacramental efficacy! You will sink with a lying absolution on your lips down to the nethermost hell! And, O you who rail against religion, and boast that you are no hypocrites, you doubtless think yourselves honest, but do not imagine that your impudent "honesty," as you choose to call it, will exonerate you at the last tremendous day, for in that day of wrath, the fiery deluge shall sweep you also all away. Short work will God make with doubters then. They shall behold him, and wonder, and perish, for a short and sharp work will he make in the earth.
Quick work will he make with the hypocrites in that day; for though they call, he will not answer them; and when they begin to cry to him, he will mock at their calamity, and laugh when their fear comes. The flood shall sweep all at last- whether religious or profane-away, for they have not fled to the ark, and so have rejected the one only shelter.
Let me solemnly remind you in this congregation tonight, that in that day of destruction some of the oldest men that have lived perished- older men than you, though your head be grey or bald; older women than you, though you have nourished and brought up children, and dandled your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren upon your knee: they went down the stream with others, perishing as though they had never seen the light. And the young died too! That one dreadful destruction took away the little child in his beauty, and the young man in his strength, and the maiden in her bloom. The flood took them all away; and so with all of us who have attained to adult years, and have arrived at knowledge so as to judge between good and evil; if we be found not in Christ the flood shall take us all away.
We know not at how young an age we may be responsible. Let the child never presume upon its youth. We have heard of fools of twenty pleading "infancy" in our courts of law, and of all pieces of roguery sanctioned by the law, I have thought that the plea of "infancy" from young men of nineteen and twenty years of age, who have purchased jewelry, and I know not what, to spend upon their lusts- of all pieces of villainy, I say, that seems to me to be the most intolerable. But there shall be no such plea of infancy for you boys and girls, and young people, at the last great day. If you know right from wrong, and if you can understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, at your peril do you reject it, at your peril do you neglect it! No, neither shall the young nor the old escape except by coming to Christ. "You must be born again," is of universal application to you who are young, and to you who are grey-headed. No youth can excuse, no experience can exempt, but alike will the flood of divine wrath overwhelm every human soul, unless we find refuge in the ark of the covenant of grace, even the work and person of Jesus, the bleeding Lamb of God.
This universality I shall have to illustrate in yet another way. I can suppose that when Noah built the ark- a most absurd thing to do upon all the principles of common reason apart from his faith in God there were a great many people who heard of this and wondered. It was a very huge ship; the greatest that ever had been built; a conception in navigation which altogether staggered the minds of men in his day. When Noah built this vessel, and built it on the dry land, far removed from any river or sea, it must have been a very great wonder, and have caused abundance of talk through all the neighboring nations. I should not wonder but what the tidings spread far and wide, and there were some who, as soon as they heard of it, said, "A madman! I wonder his friends do not confine him; what a lunatic he must be!" Having made that remark, they cracked a joke or two about it, and fell into the habit of sneering at a thing so very absurd, so that it passed into a proverb, and when a man did a silly thing, they said, "Why, he is as foolish as old Noah!" Ribald jests were all that Noah could get from them; they despised, ridiculed, and contemned him utterly, but the flood came and took them all away, and that was the end to their jests, their sarcasm's, their jeers. The flood had silenced them most effectually.
So will it be with any of you who have ridiculed the gospel of Christ, you will find in the great and terrible day of the Lord, that your laughter shall have no power over death, and win you no reprieve from the agonies of hell. There will be no room for infidelity in that tremendous day. God will be all too real to you when he tears you in pieces, and there is none to deliver; and the judgment will be all too real when the thunder claps shall wake the dead, and the books shall be opened and read by the blaze of lightning, and the sentence shall be pronounced, "Depart, you cursed!" Beware, you despisers, and wonder, and perish. Beware, now, while yet there is a day of grace to light you to heaven, for remember it will not last forever. May eternal love save any of us from perishing in devouring fire as Noah's despisers did in the devouring flood.
There were other people, no doubt, who, when they heard about Noah, criticized his building. I can imagine some of the shipbuilders of the time looking on and telling him that the keel was not arranged quite rightly; and that ingenious plan of 'tarring' the great ship inside and outside, would be sure to be very closely criticized, for it seems to have been a great novelty, not an invention of man, but a revelation from God. Then there was the making of only one window- why, we who read about it now do not know what it means, and all the plans that have ever been drawn of Noah's ark do not seem to realize the description given of it. Why, said the wise shipwright, "that thing will never float on the top of the flood, if it should chance to come; and besides, it has been so long in building that it will be sure to get the dry rot." What wise things were said about it! If they had been able to print them in those days, how many critical treatises would have been published against "that old wooden box of Noah's," as they very likely would have called it! All these critics could have built it a great deal better, I have no doubt, but they did not build at all; and though they found fault, and could do it so much better than Noah did, yet, somehow or other, they were drowned and he was saved. So in this world now, we constantly find men who eat up the sins of God's people as they eat bread.
"Oh! yes," they can say, "there is something in religion, no doubt, but then look at your imperfections, and your faults!" and, brethren, they need not look long to find them out. They can soon find ten thousand points in which we might be a little improved, and sometimes I have no doubt that our critics are in some respects better than we are. Many a worldly man has a better temperament than a genuine Christian. I am sorry to say it, but I have known unconverted people much more generous than some who are converted. They do excel in some qualities, but still, still, still, there is the solemn truth that the sharpest and most philosophical critic of other people, if he be outside of Christ, will be swept away, while the men whom he criticized and condemned, if they be found humbly believing in Jesus, shall be saved through faith in him. It all hinges on this one matter, inside or outside the ark- inside the ark a thousand imperfections, but all saved; outside the ark a thousand excellencies, but all drowned without a single exception at last!
Now there may have been, on the other hand, among those who came to see father Noah and his big ship, some who took his part. I never knew a man so big a fool, but what some sided with him. So, perhaps, there were some who said, "Well, after all, do not be too hard upon him, he is a respectable patriarch; he is a man who follows up his convictions: his convictions are very absurd, no doubt, but still it is a good thing in these days to see a man really practically sincere; we do like to see the man so infatuated, but though we cannot help wishing that he was a sane man, yet still it is almost better to see a man insane and carry out his convictions, than to see him trifling as so many are childishly trifling with their principles." Many a gentleman who looked at the ark when he said that,
went home with wonderful ease of conscience, and thought, "Now I have said a very good thing; I have put a spoke in the wheel of some of those cavilers; I have stood up for the good old man, for a very good old man, I have no doubt he is, though very much deceived." Ah! but when the flood came it swept all these people away as well. They were very kind in their remarks, and very patronizing in their air, but the flood swept them all away.
And do you not know such people now? Why, there are some of them here tonight. Listen to their gentlemanly talk; how generously they speak; "Well, yes; I like to see these Christian people so earnest; I dare say they do a great deal of good; you know, I like to hear a preacher speaking out so plainly; I like to see these people very zealous, in these days it is very refreshing to see people zealous about anything, for there is so much latitudinarianism, and politics, and so on, that we like to find people decided, even though we should think them a little too dogmatic and bigoted." O sirs, we thank you for your good opinion of us, but except you repent you shall likewise perish. Your excellent remarks will not save you, and your very lenient, and gentlemanly, and broad views of religion, will not assist you. You may hold all those views which are so tolerant and so excellent, and we are glad you do hold them, and yet you may have no share in Christ's salvation. You are a sensible man for holding such charitable views, but, sensible as you are, except you come to Christ you will have to perish, even as the most bigoted persecutors.
Besides these, there were some other people who liked Noah better still; they not only excused and defended him, but they sometimes grew very warm about it. They said, "Father Noah is right; we see his life, we mark his manners and conversation, and he is a better man than they are who ridicule and despise him; we are convinced by his preaching that his testimony is true, and we will help him and stand up for him; we do not like to hear the jeers and uncivil remarks that are made about him; they cut us to the quick." Then I suppose you are going into the ark, are you not?
"Well, we do not know ourselves about that yet, perhaps we may by-and -by; we are thinking of it; we have taken the matter into very serious consideration, and we think it to be a very proper thing to do, a very right thing to do, but at the same time, it is hardly convenient yet; we will wait a little longer." "Why," says one, "I am not married yet." And another says, "There is a banquet to be held on such-and-such a day; I must go to that; you know men must eat and drink, and therefore I am not going into the ark just yet." Well, now, these good-meaning, procrastinating people, who were postponing and putting off, what became of them? Did one of them escape?
Alas! no; when the flood came it took them all away. What, not save one of them, those who would be right if they had a little longer time? Not spare those who have good resolutions in their throats, who are almost persuaded to be Christians? No, not one of them; they all went down in the common wreck, and perished in the universal destruction, for good resolutions save no man unless they are put into practice. Almost persuaded to be a Christian is like the man who was almost pardoned, but he was hanged; like the man who was almost rescued, but he was burned in the house. As old Henry Smith says, "A door that is almost shut is open; a man that is almost honest is a thief; a man that is almost saved is damned."
O take heed of that, you halters between two opinions! you awakened but not decided! you aroused but not converted! Noah's friends perished, his very dearest friends who were not in the ark, when the flood came it swept them all away; and so must you, our sons and daughters, if you give not your hearts to the Lord.
So, to close this recapitulation, you have often been told that the very workmen who worked for Noah, and who were, no doubt, paid their wages, or they would not have worked, perished also. They helped to saw the wood, to lay the keel, to drive the bolts, to put in the oakum, to use the pitch, to strengthen the timbers, but after all that they had done not one of them escaped. And so the chapel-keeper, the pew-opener, the elder, the deacon, the minister, the bishop, the archbishop, all those who have had a function in the church, who have had something to do with the good staunch vessel of Christ's gospel, except they themselves be in Christ by a living faith, they must perish as much as the despisers and the outcasts. Here, then, is the solemn thought: all out of Christ lost; all in Christ saved; all unbelievers perishing; all believers preserved in him. Here is a rule without an exception. Very briefly we shall now have to speak upon a second subject.
II. It appears that when the flood came it found them all eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, and according to the text, this also was a rule without an exception. Is it not a very solemn thing that it is so now, that without any exception the mass of mankind are still neglectful of their souls, still busy about their fleeting interests, and negligent of eternal realities?
There are no exceptions to this rule among natural men. Gracious men care for these things, but all natural men are like these men in the days of Noah. While I was musing this afternoon I felt surprised at it. I said to myself, What, not one man in Noah's day that was anxious to be saved in the ark-not one? Why, the population of the globe is supposed by some to have been greater at that time than it is now. Owing to the extreme length of years to which men then lived the deaths were fewer, and the population increased more rapidly, and yet out of them all was there not one that sought after God naturally- not one? It was an extraordinary thing that there was not one who would believe in the reiterated prophecies of Noah, and find a shelter in the ark.
But is it not more strange still, only it is strangely true, that out of all the unregenerate, until they are quickened by divine grace, there is not one who cares to flee to Christ? "You will not come unto me that you might have life," is a rule of universal application. Men will not come to Christ, but had rather perish in their sins than come and put their trust in him.
I suppose the reason lies in three things. First, there is men's universal indifference about their souls- a wanton carelessness about their noblest part, their truest selves. But that is a strange thing! A man is always earnest about his life- "Skin for skin; yes, all that a man has will he give for his life." If a man thinks he is likely to perish by burning, what cries he will raise! What exertions he will make to get out of the room! If he is near to drowning, how he kicks and struggles! If he is sick, how quickly he sends for the doctor, and how anxious he is to get the best advice within his reach, so that his life may be preserved! And yet the preservation of his highest life seems to be to him a matter of no consequence at all! Every thinking man must feel that his true self is his spirit, his soul- that his body is not he himself, but simply a sort of garment that he wears, a house in which he lives; and yet men spend their time from morning until night in finding clothes and food for this outside house, but the tenant that dwells within is, poor creature! quite forgotten. That is odd, is it not?
Does it not seem to prove that man is degraded into something less than a reasonable creature by his sin, so that he acts like a beast? When a man has to live but a little time in this world, he wishes to be happy in it. If a man only stops for an hour in an inn, what a noise he makes if the chimney smokes, if the tablecloth is not clean, if chores are not done to a turn; and while he knows that his better self must live forever in another world, he does not concern himself about that world, or whether he shall be happy in it or not! Strange! It is strange; it is passing strange; it is incredible!
It is a miracle of madness that men should be so indifferent to the interest of their souls, their immortal souls, that they should go to sleep, not knowing whether they will wake up with the never-dying worm, or arise to enjoy with Jesus the surpassing splendors of eternity. Yet this indifference is universal. O brethren, you and I have need to pray that God would stir this dead sea, that he would speak with his quickening voice, and make men alive to these spiritual things, or else in the graves of their indifference they will rot forever!
The second reason for this indifference lay, no doubt, in universal unbelief. Is it not a strange thing that they did not one of them believe Noah? Noah was an honest man; some of them had known him for many years, ay, for hundreds of years they had known him, for they lived so long then. He spoke like an honest man. He preached with vehemence and power, but not one believed him, not one soul believed him so as to escape from the wrath to come, not one! Now that is odd, for as I have said before, no lie that was ever told was so incredible but what somebody or other was found to believe it, much more should some be found to receive the truth.
Yet here was a truth that looked so probable, on account of the sin of man, and yet nobody was found to believe it, but they universally rejected it. Even so it is with the gospel of Christ. We come and tell our fellow men that the Son of God was made flesh to redeem men, that whosoever trusts in him shall be saved. But they will not believe it, though we have proved it, hundreds of us, thousands of us, and we tell them as solemnly and as earnestly as we can, that we have tasted and handled of these things, that they are not cunningly devised fables, but are in very truth, most precious and proven realities; and yet, without the grace of God, there is not a single one, high or low, rich or poor, that will so believe as to try for himself; but they shake their heads and go on their way, and universally live and die in unbelief, unless sovereign grace steps in. A strange thing, a marvelous thing! "Jesus marveled because of their unbelief," and well may we marvel because of the universality of this sin.
Then a third cause for this general indifference was, that they were always and altogether given to worldliness. The text seems to hint that they did not think of preparing for the coming flood because they were so busy in the base enjoyment of mere eating. Some of them were gluttons, and others who did not eat so much, yet ate right well when they did eat, and daintily. They were worshiping that god that Paul speaks of- the belly.
Alas! good feeding ruins many, and men dig their way to hell with their teeth! Like brutes, they care only to be filled. Others were drunkards. Ah! how merry were they in their cups! How they judged a glass of wine, and told its age to a year! They were bent upon swallowing hogsheads of dainty liquor. They were drowned, like Duke Clarence, in their buckets of wine. No doubt they had, in their way, their Lord Mayors' feasts, and their Aldermens' and Companies' dinners, and I know not what besides, and they were all so occupied with these things, these crying necessities of the life of swine, that they did not and could not think of anything superior to that.
They were married and given in marriage; this was a serious business, and must be attended to- how could they forsake their wedding feasts and their newly-married brides? These things engrossed all their thoughts. And yet, friends, and yet, what was the use of eating and drinking, when they were to be drowned the next day? and what was the use of being married, when they were to be drowned on the morrow? If they had looked at these things in the light of faith, they would have despised them; but they only used the bleary eye of sense, and thus they set great store upon these present things of mirth. Ay, and so it is with the wicked man nowadays.
He gets rich, but what is the use of being wealthy if you must be damned? Fool that he is, if he buys a gold coffin, how would that help him? Suppose he is laid out with a bag of gold in each hand, and a pile of it between his legs, how will that help him? Others seek to get learning, but what is the good of learning if you sink to perdition with it? Take up the learned man's skull, and what is the difference between that and the skull of the merest pauper that scarcely knew his letters? Brown unpalpable powder, they both crumble down into the same elements. To die in a respectable position, what is the use of it? What are a few more plumes on the hearse, or a longer line of mourning coaches? Will these ease the miseries of Tophet?
Ah! friends, you have to die. Why not make ready for the inevitable? Oh! if men were wise, they would see that all earth's joys are just like the bubbles which our children blow with soap; they glitter and they shine, and then they are gone, and there is not even a trace left behind. O that they were wise to enter the ark, to look to Christ, so that when the floods arise they might be found safe in him.
Here, then, comes this general rule, never to be too much lamented, and which ought to make every Christian's heart break with heaviness, that universally and everywhere, in the very presence of the coming judgment, and between the very jaws of death and hell, the whole human race remains indifferent, unbelieving, worldly, and still will so remain until the flood of fire comes and sweeps them all away. Thus will they all sport until they perish, unless eternal love prevent.
III. The last consideration shall be but very briefly handled, but it is a very comforting one, namely, that ALL WHO WERE IN THE ARK WERE SAFE. Nobody fell out of that divinely-appointed refuge; nobody was dragged out; nobody died in it; nobody was left to perish in it. All who went in came out unharmed. They were all preserved in it; they were all safely brought through the dread catastrophe. The ark preserved them all, and so will Jesus Christ preserve all in him. Whoever may come to him shall be secure. None of them shall perish, neither shall any pluck them out of his hand.
Think what strange creatures they were that were preserved! Why, there went into that ark unclean animals two and two. May God bring some of you who have been like unclean animals unto Christ; great swine of sin, you have wandered farthest in iniquity and defiled yourselves- yet when the swine were in the ark they were safe, and so shall you be. You ravens, you black ravens of sin, if you fly to Christ he will not cast you out, but you shall be secure. If electing love shall pick you out, and effectual grace shall draw you to the door of that ark, it shall be shut upon you and you shall be saved. Within that ark there was the timid hare, but its timidity did not destroy it; there was the weak cony, but despite its weakness, in the ark it was all safe. There were to be found such slow-moving creatures as the snail; some darkness-loving creatures like the bat, but they were all safe; and the mouse was as safe as the ox, and the snail was as safe as the greyhound, and the squirrel was as secure as the elephant, and the timid hare was as safe as the courageous lion- not safe because of what they were, but safe because of where they were, namely, in the ark.
Oh! what a medley the Lord's people are! what strange beings! Some few of them fathers, but not many; the great mass of them little children, who, though they should have grown are still very carnal, and only babes in Christ instead of full grown men. Yet all safe; all alike in security, however much they may differ; varying temperament, but unvarying security; differing in experience, but the same in oneness to Christ, and all in him. "Wherefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ;" and so we have, whether we be great or small.
"To us the covenant stands secure,
Tho' earth's old columns bow;
The strong, the feeble, and the weak,
Are one in Jesus now."
When the storm beat upon the ark it might have destroyed the lion quite as soon as the mouse, but it destroyed neither, because the sides of the ark could bear the tempest; and when the floods came the vessel could mount higher, and higher, and nearer towards heaven, the deeper the waters were. So with us: let storms and furious tempests come and our sins assail us, and our sorrows too, yet we who are weakest are quite as secure as the strongest, because we are in Christ, and Christ shall outlive the storm, and bear us upwards, nearer and nearer to the heaven of God.
May God grant us grace to be found of him in peace in the day of the Lord's appearing, when the elements shall melt, and the skies be rolled up like a scroll. As I have already said it all hangs upon that question, "Do you believe in Christ?" If your heart trusts Christ you are safe, come what may; but if you rest not in him, you are lost, come what will. God save you, for Jesus' sake. Amen.
"Come to the ark, come to the ark; To Jesus come away: The pestilence walks forth by night, The arrow flies by day. Come to the ark: the waters rise, The seas their billows rear While darkness gathers over the skies, Behold a refuge near. Come to the ark, all, all that weep Beneath the sense of sin Without, deep calls unto deep But all is peace within. Come to the ark, before yet the flood Your lingering steps oppose; Come, for the door which open stood Is now about to close."