Who knows how many will find their way to peace by what they read here? A more important question to you, dear reader, is this--Will you be one of them?
A certain man placed a fountain by the wayside, and he hung up a cup near to it by a little chain. He was told some time after that a great art-critic had found much fault with its design. "But," said he, "do many thirsty persons drink at it?" Then they told him that thousands of poor people, men, women, and children, slaked their thirst at this fountain; and he smiled and said, that he was little troubled by the critic's observation, only he hoped that on some sultry summer's day the critic himself might fill the cup, and he refreshed, and praise the name of the Lord.
Here is my fountain, and here is my cup: find fault if you please; but do drink of the water of life. I only care for this. I had rather bless the soul of the poorest crossing-sweeper, or rag-gatherer, than please a prince of the blood, and fail to convert him to God.
Reader, do you mean business in reading these pages? If so, we are agreed at the outset; but nothing short of your finding Christ and Heaven is the business aimed at here. Oh that we may seek this together! I do so by dedicating this little book with prayer. Will not you join me by looking up to God, and asking Him to bless you while you read? Providence has put these pages in your way, you have a little spare time in which to read them, and you feel willing to give your attention to them. These are good signs. Who knows but the set time of blessing is come for you? At any rate, "The Holy Ghost saith, Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
THE CONTEMPORARY SKETCHES of the life of Spurgeon are an interesting conglomerate of significant facts, but they scarcely give an adequate picture of the man as he lived and laboured with such prodigious energy. It seemed desirable, therefore, that before those who knew him and shared in his ministry had passed away, someone who had the privilege of his friendship should say the things about him that still needed to be said, and place the familiar things in truer perspective than was possible at the time.That pleasant burden has been placed upon me, and in fulfilment of the charge I have allowed to drop out of sight a multitude of particulars which were only interesting at the moment, not chronicling events as in an epoch but presenting the personality as in an epic, although I can only summon common prose in the doing of it.
In the blood of Jesus God speaks peace and love to every sinner that believes; and that same precious blood enables the believer to draw near and keep near to God. The blood of Christ, being the true ground of peace and source of confidence in God, gives rest of conscience in God's presence, where Jesus now is, and fills the heart with praise.
Many believers, however, are in great bondage. They truly look to Christ for salvation, and haveeternal life, though they are scarcely sensible of it. Like Lazarus, when he left the tomb, they really have life, but are unable to walk in liberty, to minister for the Lord, or happily confess His name, because of the grave-clothes which envelop them. They struggle; but they are fettered, and need to be loosed. Some vainly try to get liberty by looking into their own hearts, or are expecting to receive it from some man, instead of looking only to Christ, and believing His Word. It is of the utmost importance that the believer should learn from God's truth his security and standing in Christ; that he is already a child of God, on the other side of death, in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus; not yet with, but in, Christ Jesus. This being realized, the natural inquiry must be, What is my hope? We reply, The Lord's coming. We do not hope to have everlasting life; for he that believeth hath everlasting life. (John 5:24.) We do not hope for forgiveness of sins; this also we have now: "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." (Eph. 1:7.) We do not hope for righteousness; this too we have now; for "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." (Rom. 10:4.) What, then, do we look for? The inspired reply is, "We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body." (Phil. 3:20, 21.)