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Theological Writings

Around the Wicket Gate

By C. H. Spurgeon

Around the Wicket Gate
By C. H. Spurgeon

Table of Contents
Chapter One - Awakening
Chapter Two - Jesus Only
Chapter Three - Personal Faith in Jesus
Chapter Four - Faith Very Simple
Chapter Five - Fearing to Believe
Chapter Six - Difficulty in the Way of Believing
Chapter Seven - A Helpful Survey
Chapter Eight - A Real Hindrance
Chapter Nine - On Raising Questions
Chapter Ten - Without Faith No Salvation
Chapter Eleven - To Those Who Have Believed


Millions of men are in the outlying regions, far off from God and peace; for these we pray, and to these we give warning. But just 

now we have to do with a smaller company, who are not far from the kingdom, but have come right up to the wicket gate which 

stands at the head of the way of life. One would think that they would hasten to enter, for a free and open invitation is placed over 

the entrance, the porter waits to welcome them, and there is but this one way to eternal life. He that is most loaded seems the most 

likely to pass in and begin the heavenward journey; but what ails the other men?

This is what I want to find out. Poor fellows! they have come a long way already to get where they are; and the King’s highway, 

which they seek, is right before them: why do they not take to the Pilgrim Road at once? Alas! they have a great many reasons; and 

foolish as those reasons are, it needs a very wise man to answer them all. I cannot pretend to do so. Only the Lord Himself can 

remove the folly which is bound up in their hearts, and lead them to take the great decisive step. Yet the Lord works by means; and I 

have prepared this little book in the earnest hope that He may work by it to the blessed end of leading seekers to an immediate, simple 

trust in the Lord Jesus.

He who does not take the step of faith, and so enter upon the road to heaven, will perish. It will be an awful thing to die just outside 

the gate of life. Almost saved, but altogether lost! This is the most terrible of positions. A man just outside Noah’s ark would have 

been drowned; a manslayer close to the wall of the city of refuge, but yet outside of it, would be slain; and the man who is within a 

yard of Christ, and yet has not trusted Him, will be lost. Therefore am I in terrible earnest to get my hesitating friends over the 

threshold. Come in! Come in! is my pressing entreaty. “Wherefore standest thou without?” is my solemn enquiry. May the Holy 

Spirit render my pleadings effectual with many who shall glance at these pages! May He cause His own Almighty power to create 

faith in the soul at once!

My reader, if God blesses this book to you, do the writer this favour—either lend your own copy to one who is lingering at the 

gate, or buy another and give it away; for his great desire is that this little volume should be of service to many thousands of souls.

To God this book is commended; for without His grace nothing will come of all that is written.


Return to Table of Contents

Chapter One — Awakening

Great numbers of persons have no concern about eternal things. 

They care more about their cats and dogs than about their souls. It 

is a great mercy to be made to think about ourselves, and how we 

stand towards God and the eternal world. This is full often a sign 

that salvation is coming to us. By nature we do not like the anxiety 

which spiritual concern causes us, and we try, like sluggards, to 

sleep again. This is great foolishness; for it is at our peril that we 

trifle when death is so near, and judgment is so sure. If the Lord 

has chosen us to eternal life, he will not let us return to our 

slumber. If we are sensible, we shall pray that our anxiety about 

our souls may never come to an end till we are really and truly 

saved. Let us say from our hearts:—

“He that suffered in my stead,

Shall my Physician be;

I will not be comforted

Till Jesus comfort me.”

It would be an awful thing to go dreaming down to hell, and there 

to lift up our eyes with a great gulf fixed between us and heaven. It 

will be equally terrible to be aroused to escape from the wrath to 

come, and then to shake off the warning influence, and go back to 

our insensibility. I notice that those who overcome their 

convictions and continue in their sins are not so easily moved the 

next time: every awakening which is thrown away leaves the soul 

more drowsy than before, and less likely to be again stirred to holy 

feeling. Therefore our heart should be greatly troubled at the 

thought of getting rid of its trouble in any other than the right way. 

One who had the gout was cured of it by a quack medicine, which 

drove the disease within, and the patient died. To be cured of 

distress of mind by a false hope, would be a terrible business: the 

remedy would be worse than the disease. Better far that our 

tenderness of conscience should cause us long years of anguish, 

than that we should lose it, and perish in the hardness of our hearts.

Yet awakening is not a thing to rest in, or to desire to have 

lengthened out month after month. If I start up in a fright, and find 

my house on fire, I do not sit down at the edge of the bed, and say 

to myself, “I hope I am truly awakened! Indeed, I am deeply 

grateful that I am not left to sleep on!” No, I want to escape from 

threatened death, and so I hasten to the door or to the window, that 

I may get out, and may not perish where I am. It would be a 

questionable boon to be aroused, and yet not to escape from the 

danger. Remember, awakening is not salvation. A man may know 

that he is lost, and yet he may never be saved. He may be made 

thoughtful, and yet he may die in his sins. If you find out that you 

are a bankrupt, the consideration of your debts will not pay them. 

A man may examine his wounds all the year around, and they will 

be none the nearer being healed because he feels their smart, and 

notes their number. It is one trick of the devil to tempt a man to be 

satisfied with a sense of sin; and another trick of the same deceiver 

to insinuate that the sinner may not be content to trust Christ, 

unless he can bring a certain measure of despair to add to the 

Saviour’s finished work. Our awakenings are not to help the 

Saviour, but to help us to the Saviour. To imagine that my feeling 

of sin is to assist in the removal of the sin is absurd. It is as though 

I said that water could not cleanse my face unless I had looked 

longer in the glass, and had counted the smuts upon my forehead. 

A sense of need of salvation by grace is a very healthful sign; but 

one needs wisdom to use it aright, and not to make an idol of it.

Some seem as if they had fallen in love with their doubts, and 

fears, and distresses. You cannot get them away from their 

terrors—they seem wedded to them. It is said that the worst trouble 

with horses when their stables are on fire, is that you cannot get 

them to come out of their stalls. If they would but follow your lead, 

they might escape the flames; but they seem to be paralyzed with 

fear. So the fear of the fire prevents their escaping the fire. Reader, 

will your very fear of the wrath to come prevent your escaping 

from it? We hope not.

One who had been long in prison was not willing to come out. The 

door was open; but he pleaded even with tears to be allowed to stay 

where he had been so long. Fond of prison! Wedded to the iron 

bolts and the prison fare! Surely the prisoner must have been a 

little touched in the head! Are you willing to remain an awakened 

one, and nothing more? Are you not eager to be at once forgiven? 

If you would tarry in anguish and dread, surely you, too, must be a 

little out of your mind! If peace is to be had, have it at once! Why 

tarry in the darkness of the pit, wherein your feet sink in the miry 

clay? There is light to be had; light marvellous and heavenly; why 

lie in the gloom and die in anguish? You do not know how near 

salvation is to you. If you did, you would surely stretch out your 

hand and take it, for there it is; and it is to be had for the taking.

Do not think that feelings of despair would fit you for mercy. 

When the pilgrim, on his way to the Wicket Gate. tumbled into the 

Slough of Despond, do you think that, when the foul mire of that 

slough stuck to his garments, it was a recommendation to him, to 

get him easier admission at the head of the way? It is not so. The 

pilgrim did not think so by any means; neither may you. It is not 

what you feel that will save you, but what Jesus felt. Even if there 

were some healing value in feelings, they would have to be good 

ones; and the feeling which makes us doubt the power of Christ to 

save, and prevents our finding salvation in him, is by no means a 

good one, but a cruel wrong to the love of Jesus.

Our friend has come to see us, and has travelled through our 

crowded London by rail, or tram, or omnibus. On a sudden he turns 

pale. We ask him what is the matter, and he answers, “I have lost 

my pocket-book, and it contained all the money I have in the 

world”. He goes over the amount to a penny, and describes the 

cheques, bills, notes, and coins. We tell him that it must be a great 

consolation to him to be so accurately acquainted with the extent of 

his loss. He does not seem to see the worth of our consolation. We 

assure him that he ought to be grateful that he has so clear a sense 

of his loss; for many persons might have lost their pocket-books 

and have been quite unable to compute their losses. Our friend is 

not, however, cheered in the least. “No,” says he, “to know my loss 

does not help me to recover it. Tell me where I can find my 

property, and you have done me real service; but merely to know 

my loss is no comfort whatever.” Even so, to believe that you have 

sinned, and that your soul is forfeited to the justice of God, is a 

very proper thing; but it will not save. Salvation is not by our 

knowing our own ruin, but by fully grasping the deliverance 

provided in Christ Jesus. A person who refuses to look to the Lord 

Jesus, but persists in dwelling upon his sin and ruin, reminds us of 

a boy who dropped a shilling down an open grating of a London 

sewer, and lingered there for hours, finding comfort in saying, “It 

rolled in just there! Just between those two iron bars I saw it go 

right down.” Poor soul! Long might he remember the details of his 

loss before he would in this way get back a single penny into his 

pocket, wherewith to buy himself a piece of bread. You see the 

drift of the parable; profit by it.
Return to Table of Contents

Chapter Two — Jesus Only

We cannot too often or too plainly tell the seeking soul that his 

only hope for salvation lies in the Lord Jesus Christ. It lies in Him 

completely, only, and alone. To save both from the guilt and the 

power of sin, Jesus is all-sufficient. His name is called Jesus, 

because “He shall save His people from their sins”. “The Son of 

man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” He is exalted on high “to 

give repentance and remission of sins”. It pleased God from of old 

to devise a method of salvation which should be all contained in 

His only-begotten Son. The Lord Jesus, for the working out of this 

salvation, became man, and being found in fashion as a man, 

became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. If another 

way of deliverance had been possible, the cup of bitterness would 

have passed from Him. It stands to reason that the darling of 

heaven would not have died to save us if we could have been 

rescued at less expense. Infinite grace provided the great sacrifice; 

infinite love submitted to death for our sakes. How can we dream 

that there can be another way than the way which God has 

provided at such cost, and set forth in Holy Scripture so simply and 

so pressingly? Surely it is true that “Neither is there salvation in 

any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among 

men. whereby we must be saved”.

To suppose that the Lord Jesus has only half saved men, and that 

there is needed some work or feeling of their own to finish His 

work, is wicked. What is there of ours that could be added to His 

blood and righteousness? “All our righteousnesses are as filthy 

rags.” Can these be patched on to the costly fabric of His divine 

righteousness? Rags and fine white linen! Our dross and His pure 

gold! It is an insult to the Saviour to dream of such a thing. We 

have sinned enough, without adding this to all our other offences.

Even if we had any righteousness in which we could boast; if our 

fig leaves were broader than usual, and were not so utterly fading, 

it would be wisdom to put them away, and accept that 

righteousness which must be far more pleasing to God than 

anything of our own. The Lord must see more that is acceptable in 

His Son than in the best of us. The best of us! The words seem 

satirical, though they were not so intended. What best is there 

about any of us? “There is none that doeth good; no, not one.” I 

who write these lines, would most freely confess that I have not a 

thread of goodness of my own. I could not make up so much as a 

rag, or a piece of a rag. I am utterly destitute. But if I had the 

fairest suit of good works which even pride can imagine, I would 

tear it up that I might put on nothing but the garments of salvation, 

which are freely given by the Lord Jesus, out of the heavenly 

wardrobe of His own merits.

It is most glorifying to our Lord Jesus Christ that we should hope 

for every good thing from Him alone. This is to treat Him as He 

deserves to be treated; for as He is God, and beside Him there is 

none else, we are bound to look unto Him and be saved.

This is to treat Him as He loves to be treated, for He bids all those 

who labour and are heavy laden to come to Him, and He will give 

them rest. To imagine that He cannot save to the uttermost is to 

limit the Holy One of Israel, and put a slur upon His power; or else 

to slander the loving heart of the Friend of sinners, and cast a doubt 

upon His love. In either case, we should commit a cruel and 

wanton sin against the tenderest points of His honour, which are 

His ability and willingness to save all that come unto God by Him.

The child, in danger of the fire, just clings to the fireman, and 

trusts to him alone. She raises no question about the strength of his 

limbs to carry her, or the zeal of his heart to rescue her; but she 

clings. The heat is terrible, the smoke is blinding, but she clings; 

and her deliverer quickly bears her to safety. In the same childlike 

confidence cling to Jesus, who can and will bear you out of danger 

from the flames of sin.

The nature of the Lord Jesus should inspire us with the fullest 

confidence. As He is God, He is almighty to save; as He is man, 

He is filled with all fulness to bless; as He is God and man in one 

Majestic Person, He meets man in His creatureship and God in His 

holiness. The ladder is long enough to reach from Jacob prostrate 

on the earth, to Jehovah reigning in heaven. To bring another 

ladder would be to suppose that He failed to bridge the distance; 

and this would be grievously to dishonour Him. If even to add to 

His words is to draw a curse upon ourselves, what must it be to 

pretend to add to Himself? Remember that He, Himself, is the 

Way; and to suppose that we must, in some manner, add to the 

divine road, is to be arrogant enough to think of adding to Him. 

Away with such a notion! Loathe it as you would blasphemy; for 

in essence it is the worst of blasphemy against the Lord of love.

To come to Jesus with a price in our hand, would be insufferable 

pride, even if we had any price that we could bring. What does He 

need of us? What could we bring if He did need it? Would He sell 

the priceless blessings of His redemption? That which He wrought 

out in His heart’s blood, would He barter it with us for our tears, 

and vows, or for ceremonial observances, and feelings, and works? 

He is not reduced to make a market of Himself: He will give freely, 

as beseems His royal love; but He that offereth a price to Him 

knows not with whom he is dealing, nor how grievously he vexes 

His free Spirit. Empty-handed sinners may have what they will. All 

that they can possibly need is in Jesus, and He gives it for the 

asking; but we must believe that He is all in all, and we must not 

dare to breathe a word about completing what He has finished, or 

fitting ourselves for what He gives to us as undeserving sinners.

The reason why we may hope for forgiveness of sin, and life 

eternal, by faith in the Lord Jesus, is that God has so appointed. He 

has pledged Himself in the gospel to save all who truly trust in the 

Lord Jesus, and He will never run back from His promise. He is so 

well pleased with His only-begotten Son, that He takes pleasure in 

all who lay hold upon Him as their one and only hope. The great 

God Himself has taken hold on him who has taken hold on His 

Son. He works salvation for all who look for that salvation to the 

once-slain Redeemer. For the honour of His Son, He will not suffer 

the man who trusts in Him to be ashamed. “He that believeth on 

the Son hath everlasting life”; for the ever-living God has taken 

him unto Himself, and has given to him to be a partaker of His life. 

If Jesus only be your trust, you need not fear but what you shall 

effectually be saved, both now and in the day of His appearing.

When a man confides, there is a point of union between him and 

God, and that union guarantees blessing. Faith saves us because it 

makes us cling to Christ Jesus, and He is one with God, and thus 

brings us into connection with God. I am told that, years ago, 

above the Falls of Niagara, a boat was upset, and two men were 

being carried down by the current, when persons on the shore 

managed to float a rope out to them, which rope was seized by 

them both.

One of them held fast to it, and was safely drawn to the bank; but 

the other, seeing a great log come floating by, unwisely let go the 

rope, and clung to the great piece of timber, for it was the bigger 

thing of the two, and apparently better to cling to. Alas! the timber, 

with the man on it, went right over the vast abyss, because there 

was no union between the wood and the shore. The size of the log 

was no benefit to him who grasped it; it needed a connection with 

the shore to produce safety. So, when a man trusts to his works, or 

to his prayers, or almsgivings, or to sacraments, or to anything of 

that sort, he will not be saved, because there is no junction between 

him and God through Christ Jesus; but faith, though it may seem to 

be like a slender cord, is in the hand of the great God on the shore 

side; infinite power pulls in the connecting line, and thus draws the 

man from destruction. Oh, the blessedness of faith, because it 

unites us to God by the Saviour, whom He has appointed, even 

Jesus Christ! O reader, is there not common sense in this matter? 

Think it over, and may there soon be a band of union between you 

and God, through your faith in Christ Jesus!

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Chapter Three — Personal Faith in Jesus

There is a wretched tendency among men to leave Christ Himself 

out of the gospel. They might as well leave flour out of bread. Men 

hear the way of salvation explained, and consent to it as being 

Scriptural, and in every way such as suits their case; but they forget 

that a plan is of no service unless it is carried out; and that in the 

matter of salvation their own personal faith in the Lord Jesus is 

essential. A road to York will not take me there, I must travel along 

it for myself. All the sound doctrine that ever was believed will 

never save a man unless he puts his trust in the Lord Jesus for 


Mr. Macdonald asked the inhabitants of the island of St. Kilda how 

a man must be saved. An old man replied, “We shall be saved if we 

repent, and forsake our sins, and turn to God”. “Yes,” said a 

middle-aged female, “and with a true heart too.” “Ay,” rejoined a 

third, “and with prayer”; and, added a fourth, “It must be the prayer 

of the heart.” “And we must be diligent too,” said a fifth, “in 

keeping the commandments.” Thus, each having contributed his 

mite, feeling that a very decent creed had been made up, they all 

looked and listened for the preacher’s approbation; but they had 

aroused his deepest pity: he had to begin at the beginning, and 

preach Christ to them. The carnal mind always maps out for itself a 

way in which self can work and become great; but the Lord’s way 

is quite the reverse. The Lord Jesus puts it very compactly in Mark 

16:16: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Believing 

and being baptized are no matters of merit to be gloried in; they are 

so simple that boasting is excluded, and free grace bears the palm. 

This way of salvation is chosen that it might be seen to be of grace 

alone. It may be that the reader is unsaved: what is the reason? Do 

you think the way of salvation, as laid down in the text we have 

quoted, to be dubious? Do you fear that you would not be saved if 

you followed it? How can that be, when God has pledged His own 

word for its certainty? How can that fail which God prescribes, and 

concerning which He gives a promise? Do you think it very easy? 

Why, then, do you not attend to it? Its ease leaves those without 

excuse who neglect it. If you would have done some great thing, be 

not so foolish as to neglect the little thing. To believe is to trust, or 

lean upon Christ Jesus; in other words, to give up self-reliance, and 

to rely upon the Lord Jesus. To be baptized is to submit to the 

ordinance which our Lord fulfilled at Jordan, to which the 

converted ones submitted at Pentecost, to which the jailer yielded 

obedience on the very night of his conversion. It is the outward 

confession which should always go with inward faith. The outward 

sign saves not; but it sets forth to us our death, burial, and 

resurrection with Jesus, and, like the Lord’s Supper, it is not to be 


The great point is to believe in Jesus, and confess your faith. Do 

you believe in Jesus? Then, dear friend, dismiss your fears; you 

shall be saved. Are you still an unbeliever? Then remember, there 

is but one door, and if you will not enter by it, you must perish in 

your sins. The door is there; but unless you enter by it, what is the 

use of it to you? It is of necessity that you obey the command of 

the gospel. Nothing can save you if you do not hear the voice of 

Jesus, and do His bidding indeed and of a truth. Thinking and 

resolving will not answer the purpose; you must come to real 

business; for only as you actually believe will you truly live unto 


I heard of a friend who deeply desired to be the means of the 

conversion of a young man, and one said to him, “You may go to 

him, and talk to him, but you will get him no further; for he is 

exceedingly well acquainted with the plan of salvation”. It was 

eminently so; and therefore, when our friend began to speak with 

the young man, he received for an answer, “I am much obliged to 

you, but I do not know that you can tell me much, for I have long 

known and, admired the plan of salvation by the substitutionary 

sacrifice of Christ”. Alas! he was resting in the plan, but he had not 

believed in the Person. The plan of salvation is most blessed, but it 

can avail us nothing unless we personally believe in the Lord Jesus 

Christ Himself. What is the comfort of a plan of a house if you do 

not enter the house itself? What is the good of a plan of clothing if 

you have not a rag to cover you? Have you never heard of the Arab 

chief at Cairo, who was very ill, and went to the missionary, and 

the missionary said he could give him a prescription? He did so; 

and a week after he found the Arab none the better. “Did you take 

my prescription?” he asked. “Yes, I ate every morsel of the paper.” 

He dreamed that he was going to be cured by devouring the 

physician’s writing, which I may call the plan of the medicine. He 

should have had the prescription made up, and then it might have 

wrought him good, if he had taken the draught: it could do him no 

good to swallow the recipe. So is it with salvation: it is not the plan 

of salvation which can save, it is the carrying out of that plan by 

the Lord Jesus in His death on our behalf, and our acceptance of 

the same. Under the Jewish law, the offerer brought a bullock, and 

laid his hands upon it: it was no dream, or theory, or plan. In the 

victim for sacrifice he found something substantial, which he could 

handle and touch: even so do we lean upon the real and true work 

of Jesus, the most substantial thing under heaven. We come to the 

Lord Jesus by faith, and say, “God has provided an atonement here, 

and I accept it. I believe in the fact accomplished on the cross; I am 

confident that sin was put away by Christ, and I rest on Him”. If 

you would be saved, you must get beyond the acceptance of plans 

and doctrines to a resting in the divine person and finished work of 

the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear reader, will you have Christ now?

Jesus invites all those who labour and are heavy laden to come to 

Him, and He will give them rest. He does not promise this to their 

merely dreaming about Him. They must come; and they must come 

to Him, and not merely to the Church, to baptism, or to the 

orthodox faith, or to anything short of His divine person. When the 

brazen serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, the people were not 

to look to Moses, nor to the Tabernacle, nor to the pillar of cloud, 

but to the brazen serpent itself. Looking was not enough unless 

they looked to the right object: and the right object was not enough 

unless they looked. It was not enough for them to know about the 

serpent of brass; they must each one look to it for himself. When a 

man is ill, he may have a good knowledge of medicine, and yet he 

may die if he does not actually take the healing draught. We must 

receive Jesus; for “to as many as received Him, to them gave He 

power to become the sons of God”. Lay the emphasis on two 

words: We must receive HIM, and we Must RECEIVE him. We 

must open wide the door, and take Christ Jesus in; for “Christ in 

you” is “the hope of glory”. Christ must be no myth, no dream, no 

phantom to us, but a real man, and truly God; and our reception of 

Him must be no forced and feigned acceptance, but the hearty and 

happy assent and consent of the soul that He shall be the all in all 

of our salvation. Will we not at once come to Him, and make Him 

our sole trust?

The dove is hunted by the hawk, and finds no security from its 

restless enemy. It has learned that there is shelter for it in the cleft 

of the rock, and it hastens there with gladsome wing. Once wholly 

sheltered within its refuge, it fears no bird of prey. But if it did not 

hide itself in the rock, it would be seized upon by its adversary. 

The rock would be of no use to the dove, if the dove did not enter 

its cleft. The whole body must be hidden in the rock. What if ten 

thousand other birds found a fortress there, yet that fact would not 

save the one dove which is now pursued by the hawk! It must put 

its whole self into the shelter, and bury itself within its refuge, or 

its life will be forfeited to the destroyer.

What a picture of faith is this! It is entering into Jesus, hiding in 

His wounds.

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee.”

The dove is out of sight: the rock alone is seen. So does the guilty 

soul dart into the riven side of Jesus by faith, and is buried in Him 

out of sight of avenging justice. But there must be this personal 

application to Jesus for shelter; and this it is that so many put off 

from day to day, till it is to be feared that they will “die in their 

sins”. What an awful word is that! It is what our Lord said to the 

unbelieving Jews; and He says the same to us at this hour: “If ye 

believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” It makes one’s 

heart quiver to think that even one who shall read these lines may 

yet be of the miserable company who will thus perish. The Lord 

prevent it of His great grace!

I saw, the other day, a remarkable picture, which I shall use as an 

illustration of the way of salvation by faith in Jesus. An offender 

had committed a crime for which he must die, but it was in the 

olden time, when churches were considered to be sanctuaries in 

which criminals might hide themselves, and so escape from death. 

See the transgressor! He rushes towards the church, the guards 

pursue him with their drawn swords, athirst for his blood! They 

follow him even to the church door. He rushes up the steps, and 

just as they are about to overtake him, and hew him in pieces on 

the threshold of the church, out comes the Bishop, and holding up 

the cross, he cries, “Back, back! Stain not the precincts of God’s 

house with blood! Stand back! “The fierce soldiers at once respect 

the emblem, and retire, while the poor fugitive hides himself 

behind the robes of the Bishop. It is even so with Christ. The guilty 

sinner flies straight away to Jesus; and though Justice pursues him, 

Christ lifts up His wounded hands, and cries to Justice, “Stand 

back! I shelter this sinner; in the secret place of my tabernacle do I 

hide him; I will not suffer him to perish, for he puts his trust in 

Me.” Sinner, fly to Christ! But you answer, “I am too vile”. The 

viler you are, the more will you honour Him by believing that He 

is able to protect even you. “But I am so great a sinner.” Then the 

more honour shall be given to Him if you have faith to confide in 

Him, great sinner though you are. If you have a little sickness, and 

you tell your physician—“Sir, I am quite confident in your skill to 

heal,” there is no great compliment in your declaration. Anybody 

can cure a finger-ache, or a trifling sickness. But if you are sore 

sick with a complication of diseases which grievously torment you, 

and you say—“Sir, I seek no better physician; I will ask no other 

advice but yours; I trust myself joyfully with you”, what an honour 

have you conferred on him, that you can trust your life in his hands 

while it is in extreme and immediate danger! Do the like with 

Christ; put your soul into His care: do it deliberately, and without a 

doubt. Dare to quit all other hopes: venture all on Jesus; I say 

“venture” though there is nothing really venturesome in it, for He 

is abundantly able to save. Cast yourself simply on Jesus; let 

nothing but faith be in your soul towards Jesus; believe Him, and 

trust in Him, and you shall never be made ashamed of your 

confidence. “He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded” (1 

Peter 2:6).

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Chapter Four — Faith Very Simple

To many, faith seems a hard thing. The truth is, it is only hard 

because it is easy. Naaman thought it hard that he should have to 

wash in Jordan; but if it had been some great thing, he would have 

done it right cheerfully. People think that salvation must be the 

result of some act or feeling, very mysterious, and very difficult; 

but God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our 

ways. In order that the feeblest and the most ignorant may be 

saved, He has made the way of salvation as easy as the A, B, C. 

There is nothing about it to puzzle anyone; only, as everybody 

expects to be puzzled by it, many are quite bewildered when they 

find it to be so exceedingly simple.

The fact is, we do not believe that God means what He is saying; 

we act as if it could not be true.

I have heard of a Sunday-school teacher who performed an 

experiment which I do not think I shall ever try with children, for it 

might turn out to be a very expensive one. Indeed, I feel sure that 

the result in my case would be very different from what I now 

describe. This teacher had been trying to illustrate what faith was, 

and, as he could not get it into the minds of his boys, he took his 

watch, and he said, “Now, I will give you this watch, John. Will 

you have it?” John fell thinking what the teacher could mean, and 

did not seize the treasure, but made no answer. The teacher said to 

the next boy, “Henry, here is the watch. Will you have it?” The 

boy, with a very proper modesty, replied, “No, thank you, sir”. The 

teacher tried several of the boys with the same result; till at last a 

youngster, who was not so wise or so thoughtful as the others, but 

rather more believing, said in the most natural way, “Thank you, 

sir,” and put the watch into his pocket “Then the other boys woke 

up to a startling fact: their companion had received a watch which 

they had refused. One of the boys quickly asked of the teacher, “Is 

he to keep it?”. “Of course he is,” said the teacher, “I offered it to 

him, and he accepted it. I would not give a thing and take a thing: 

that would be very foolish. I put the watch before you, and said 

that I gave it to you, but none of you would have it.” “Oh!” said the 

boy, “if I had known you meant it, I would have had it.” Of course 

he would. He thought it was a piece of acting, and nothing more. 

All the other boys were in a dreadful state of mind to think that 

they had lost the watch. Each one cried, “Teacher, I did not know 

you meant it, but I thought—”. No one took the gift; but every one 

thought. Each one had his theory, except the simple-minded boy 

who believed what he was told, and got the watch. Now I wish that 

I could always be such a simple child as literally to believe what 

the Lord says, and take what He puts before me, resting quite 

content that He is not playing with me, and that I cannot be wrong 

in accepting what He sets before me in the gospel. Happy should 

we be if we would trust, and raise no questions of any sort. But, 

alas! we will get thinking and doubting. When the Lord uplifts His 

dear Son before a sinner, that sinner should take Him without 

hesitation. If you take Him, you have Him; and none can take Him 

from you. Out with your hand, man, and take Him at once!

When enquirers accept the Bible as literally true, and see that Jesus 

is really given to all who trust Him, all the difficulty about 

understanding the way of salvation vanishes like the morning’s 

frost at the rising of the sun.

Two enquiring ones came to me in my vestry. They had been 

hearing the gospel from me for only a short season, but they had 

been deeply impressed by it. They expressed their regret that they 

were about to remove far away, but they added their gratitude that 

they had heard me at all. I was cheered by their kind thanks, but 

felt anxious that a more effectual work should be wrought in them, 

and therefore I asked them, “Have you in very deed believed in the 

Lord Jesus Christ? Are you saved?” One of them replied, “I have 

been trying hard to believe.” This statement I have often heard, but 

I will never let it go by me unchallenged. “No,” I said, “that will 

not do. Did you ever tell your father that you tried to believe him?” 

After I had dwelt a while upon the matter, they admitted that such 

language would have been an insult to their father. I then set the 

gospel very plainly before them in as simple language as I could, 

and begged them to believe Jesus, who is more worthy of faith than 

the best of fathers. One of them replied, “I cannot realize it: I 

cannot realize that I am saved.” Then I went on to say, “God bears 

testimony to His Son, that whosoever trusts in His Son is saved. 

Will you make him a liar now, or will you believe His Word?” 

While I thus spoke, one of them started as if astonished, and she 

startled us all as she cried, “O sir, I see it all; I am saved! Oh, do 

bless Jesus for me; He has shown me the way, and He has saved 

me! I see it all.” The esteemed sister who had brought these young 

friends to me knelt down with them while, with all our hearts, we 

blessed and magnified the Lord for a soul brought into light. One 

of the two sisters, however, could not see the gospel as the other 

had done, though I feel sure she will do so before long. Did it not 

seem strange that, both hearing the same words, one should come 

out into clear light, and the other should remain in the gloom? The 

change which comes over the heart when the understanding grasps 

the gospel is often reflected in the face, and shines there like the 

light of heaven. Such newly enlightened souls often exclaim, 

“Why, sir, it is so plain; how is it I have not seen it before this? I 

understand all I have read in the Bible now, though I could not 

make it out before. It has all come in a minute, and now I see what 

I could never understand before.” The fact is, the truth was always 

plain, but they were looking for signs and wonders, and therefore 

did not see what was nigh them. Old men often look for their 

spectacles when they are on their foreheads; and it is commonly 

observed that we fail to see that which is straight before us. Christ 

Jesus is before our faces, and we have only to look to Him, and 

live; but we make all manner of bewilderment of it, and so 

manufacture a maze out of that which is plain as a pikestaff.

The little incident about the two sisters reminds me of another. A 

much-esteemed friend came to me one Sabbath morning after 

service, to shake hands with me, “for,” said she, “I was fifty years 

old on the same day as yourself. I am like you in that one thing, sir; 

but I am the very reverse of you in better things.” I remarked, 

“Then you must be a very good woman; for in many things I wish I 

also could be the reverse of what I am.” “No, no,” she said, “I did 

not mean anything of that sort: I am not right at all.” “What!” I 

cried, “are you not a believer in the Lord Jesus?” “Well,” she said, 

with much emotion, “I, I will try to be.” I laid hold of her hand, 

and said, “My dear soul, you are not going to tell me that you will 

try to believe my Lord Jesus! I cannot have such talk from you. It 

means blank unbelief. What has HE done that you should talk of 

Him in that way? Would you tell me that you would try to believe 

me? I know you would not treat me so rudely. You think me a true 

man, and so you believe me at once; and surely you cannot do less 

with my Lord Jesus.” Then with tears she exclaimed, “Oh, sir, do 

pray for me! “ To this I replied, “I do not feel that I can do 

anything of the kind. What can I ask the Lord Jesus to do for one 

who will not trust Him? I see nothing to pray about. If you will 

believe Him, you shall be saved; and if you will not believe Him, I 

cannot ask Him to invent a new way to gratify your unbelief.” 

Then she said again, “I will try to believe”; but I told her solemnly 

I would have none of her trying; for the message from the Lord did 

not mention “trying”, but said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, 

and thou shalt be saved”. I pressed upon her the great truth, that 

“He that believeth on Him hath everlasting life”; and its terrible 

reverse—“He that believeth not is condemned already, because he 

hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” I 

urged her to full faith in the once crucified but now ascended Lord, 

and the Holy Spirit there and then enabled her to trust. She most 

tenderly said, “Oh, sir, I have been looking to my feelings, and this 

has been my mistake! Now I trust my soul with Jesus, and I am 

saved.” She found immediate peace through believing. There is no 

other way.

God has been pleased to make the necessities of life very simple 

matters. We must eat; and even a blind man can find the way to his 

mouth. We must drink; and even the tiniest babe knows how to do 

this without instruction. We have a fountain in the grounds of the 

Stockwell Orphanage, and when it is running in the hot weather, 

the boys go to it naturally. We have no class for fountain-drill. 

Many poor boys have come to the Orphanage, but never one who 

was so ignorant that he did not know how to drink. Now faith is, in 

spiritual things, what eating and drinking are in temporal things. 

By the mouth of faith we take the blessings of grace into our 

spiritual nature, and they are ours. O you who would believe, but 

think you cannot, do you not see that, as one can drink without 

strength, and as one can eat without strength, and gets strength by 

eating, so we may receive Jesus without effort, and by accepting 

Him we receive power for all such further effort as we may be 

called to put forth?

Faith is so simple a matter that, whenever I try to explain it, I am 

very fearful lest I should becloud its simplicity. When Thomas 

Scott had printed his notes upon “The Pilgrim’s Progress”, he 

asked one of his parishioners whether she understood the book. 

“Oh yes, sir,” said she, “I understand Mr. Bunyan well enough, and 

I am hoping that one day, by divine grace, I may understand your 

explanations.” Should I not feel mortified if my reader should 

know what faith is, and then get confused by my explanation? I 

will, however, make one trial, and pray the Lord to make it clear.

I am told that on a certain highland road there was a disputed right 

of way. The owner wished to preserve his supremacy, and at the 

same time he did not wish to inconvenience the public: hence an 

arrangement which occasioned the following incident. Seeing a 

sweet country girl standing at the gate, a tourist went up to her, and 

offered her a shilling to permit him to pass. “No, no,” said the 

child, “I must not take anything from you; but you are to say, 

‘Please allow me to pass,’ and then you may come through and 

welcome.” The permission was to be asked for; but it could be had 

for the asking. Just so, eternal life is free; and it can be had, yea, it 

shall be at once had, by trusting in the Word of Him who cannot 

lie. Trust Christ, and by that trust you grasp salvation and eternal 

life. Do not philosophize. Do not sit down, and bother your poor 

brain. Just believe Jesus as you would believe your father. Trust 

Him as you trust your money with a banker, or your health with a 


Faith will not long seem a difficulty to you; nor ought it to be so, 

for it is simple. 

Faith is trusting, trusting wholly upon the person, work, merit, and 

power of the Son of God. Some think this trusting is a romantic 

business, but indeed it is the simplest thing that can possibly be. To 

some of us, truths which were once hard to believe are now matters 

of fact which we should find it hard to doubt. If one of our great 

grandfathers were to rise from the dead, and come into the present 

state of things, what a deal of trusting he would have to do! He 

would say tomorrow morning, “Where are the flint and steel? I 

want a light”; and we should give him a little box with tiny pieces 

of wood in it, and tell him to strike one of them on the box. He 

would have to trust a good deal before he would believe that fire 

would thus be produced. We should next say to him, “Now that 

you have a light, turn that tap, and light the gas.” He sees nothing. 

How can light come through an invisible vapour? And yet it does. 

“Come with us, grandfather. Sit in that chair. Look at that box in 

front of you. You shall have your likeness directly.” “No, child,” 

he would say, “it is ridiculous. The sun take my portrait? I cannot 

believe it.” “Yes, and you shall ride fifty miles in an hour without 

horses.” He will not believe it till we get him into the train. “My 

dear sir, you shall speak to your son in New York, and he shall 

answer you in a few minutes.” Should we not astonish the old 

gentleman? Would he not want all his faith? Yet these things are 

believed by us without effort, because experience has made us 

familiar with them. Faith is greatly needed by you who are 

strangers to spiritual things; you seem lost while we are talking 

about them. But oh, how simple it is to us who have the new life, 

and have communion with spiritual realities! We have a Father to 

whom we speak, and He hears us, and a blessed Saviour who hears 

our heart’s longings, and helps us in our struggles against sin. It is 

all plain to him that understandeth. May it now be plain to you!

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Chapter Five — Fearing to Believe

It is an odd product of our unhealthy nature—the fear to believe. 

Yet have I met with it often: so often that I wish I may never see it 

again. It looks like humility, and tries to pass itself off as the very 

soul of modesty, and yet it is an infamously proud thing: in fact, it 

is presumption playing the hypocrite. If men were afraid to 

disbelieve, there would be good sense in the fear; but to be afraid 

to trust their God is at best an absurdity, and in very deed it is a 

deceitful way of refusing to the Lord the honour that is due to His 

faithfulness and truth.

How unprofitable is the diligence which busies itself in finding out 

reasons why faith in our case should not be saving! We have God’s 

word for it, that whosoever believeth in Jesus shall not perish, and 

we search for arguments why we should perish if we did believe. If 

any one gave me an estate, I certainly should not commence raising 

questions as to the title. What can be the use of inventing reasons 

why I should not hold my own house, or possess any other piece of 

property which is enjoyed by me? If the Lord is satisfied to save 

me through the merits of His dear Son, assuredly I may be satisfied 

to be so saved. If I take God at His word, the responsibility of 

fulfilling His promise does not lie with me, but with God, who 

made the promise.

But you fear that you may not be one of those for whom the 

promise is intended. Do not be alarmed by that idle suspicion. No 

soul ever came to Jesus wrongly. No one can come at all unless the 

Father draw him; and Jesus has said, “Him that cometh to me I will 

in no wise cast out.” No soul ever lays hold on Christ in a way of 

robbery; he that hath Him hath Him of right divine; for the Lord’s 

giving of Himself for us, and to us, is so free, that every soul that 

takes Him has a grace-given right to do so. If you lay hold on Jesus 

by the hem of His garment, without leave, and behind Him, yet 

virtue will flow from Him to you as surely as if He had called you 

out by name, and bidden you trust Him. Dismiss all fear when you 

trust the Saviour. Take Him and welcome, He that believeth in 

Jesus is one of God’s elect.

Did you suggest that it would be a horrible thing if you were to 

trust in Jesus and yet perish? It would be so. But as you must 

perish if you do not trust, the risk at the worst is not very great.

“I can but perish if I go;

I am resolved to try;

For if I stay away,

I know I must for ever die.”

Suppose you stand in the Slough of Despond for ever; what will be 

the good of that? Surely it would be better to die struggling along 

the King’s highway towards the Celestial City, than sinking deeper 

and deeper in the mire and filth of dark distrustful thoughts! You 

have nothing to lose, for you have lost everything already; 

therefore make a dash for it, and dare to believe in the mercy of 

God to you, even to you.

But one moans, “What if I come to Christ, and He refuses me?” 

My answer is, “Try Him.” Cast yourself on the Lord Jesus, and see 

if He refuses you. You will be the first against whom He has shut 

the door of hope. Friend, don’t cross that bridge till you come to it! 

When Jesus casts you out, it will be time enough to despair; but 

that time will never come. “This man receiveth sinners”: He has 

not so much as begun to cast them out.

Have you never heard of the man who lost his way one night, and 

came to the edge of a precipice, as he thought. and in his own 

apprehension fell over the cliff? He clutched at an old tree, and 

there hung, clinging to his frail support with all his might. He felt 

persuaded that, should he quit his hold, he would be dashed in 

pieces on some awful rocks that waited for him down below. There 

he hung, with the sweat upon his brow, and anguish in every limb. 

He passed into a desperate state of fever and faintness, and at last 

his hands could hold up his body no longer. He relaxed his grasp! 

He dropped from his support! He fell—about a foot or so, and was 

received upon a soft mossy bank, whereon he lay, altogether 

unhurt, and perfectly safe till morning. Thus, in the darkness of 

their ignorance, many think that sure destruction awaits them, if 

they confess their sin, quit all hope in self, and resign themselves 

into the hands of God. They are afraid to quit the hope to which 

they ignorantly cling. It is an idle fear. Give up your hold upon 

everything but Christ, and drop. Drop from all trust in your works, 

or prayers, or feelings. Drop at once! Drop now! Soft and safe shall 

be the bank that receives you. Jesus Christ, in His love, in the 

efficacy of His precious blood, in His perfect righteousness, will 

give you immediate rest and peace. Cease from self-confidence. 

Fall into the arms of Jesus. This is the major part of faith—giving 

up every other hold, and simply falling upon Christ. There is no 

reason for fear: only ignorance causes your dread of that which 

will be your eternal safety. The death of carnal hope is the life of 

faith, and the life of faith is life everlasting. Let self die, that Christ 

may live in you.

But the mischief is that, to the one act of faith in Jesus, we cannot 

bring men. They will adopt any expedient sooner than have done 

with self. They fight shy of believing, and fear faith as if it were a 

monster. O foolish tremblers, who has bewitched you? You fear 

that which would be the death of all your fear, and the beginning of 

your joy. Why will you perish through perversely preferring other 

ways to God’s own appointed plan of salvation?

Alas! there are many, many souls that say, “We are bidden to trust 

in Jesus, but instead of that we will attend the means of grace 

regularly.” Attend public worship by all means, but not as a 

substitute for faith, or it will become a vain confidence. The 

command is, “Believe and live”; attend to that, whatever else you 

do. “Well, I shall take to reading good books; perhaps I shall get 

good that way.” Read the good books by all means, but that is not 

the gospel: the gospel is, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and 

thou shalt be saved.” Suppose a physician has a patient under his 

care, and he says to him, “You are to take a bath in the morning; it 

will be of very great service to your disease.” But the man takes a 

cup of tea in the morning instead of the bath, and he says, “That 

will do as well, I have no doubt.” What does his physician say 

when he enquires—“Did you follow my rule?” “No, I did not.” 

“Then you do not expect, of course, that there will be any good 

result from my visits, since you take no notice of my directions.” 

So we, practically, say to Jesus Christ, when we are under 

searching of soul, “Lord, Thou badest me trust Thee, but I would 

sooner do something else! Lord, I want to have horrible 

convictions; I want to be shaken over hell’s mouth; I want to be 

alarmed and distressed!” Yes, you want anything but what Christ 

prescribes for you, which is that you should simply trust Him. 

Whether you feel or do not feel, cast yourself on Him, that He may 

save you, and He alone. “But you do not mean to say that you 

speak against praying, and reading good books, and so on?” Not 

one single word do I speak against any of those things, any more 

than, if I were the physician I quoted, I should speak against the 

man’s drinking a cup of tea. Let him drink his tea; but not if he 

drinks it instead of taking the bath which is prescribed for him. So 

let the man pray: the more the better. Let the man search the 

Scriptures; but, remember, that if these things are put in the place 

of simple faith in Christ, the soul will be ruined. Beware lest it be 

said of any of you by our Lord, “Ye search the Scriptures, for in 

them ye think ye have eternal life; but ye will not come unto Me 

that ye might have life.”

Come by faith to Jesus, for without Him you perish for ever. Did 

you ever notice how a fir-tree will get a hold among rocks which 

seem to afford it no soil? It sends a rootlet into any little crack 

which opens; it clutches even the bare rock as with a huge bird’s 

claw; it holds fast, and binds itself to earth with a hundred 

anchorages. We have often seen trees thus firmly rooted upon 

detached masses of bare rock. Now, dear heart, let this be a picture 

of yourself. Grip the Rock of Ages. With the rootlet of little-faith 

hold to Him. Let that tiny feeler grow; and, meanwhile, send out 

another to take a new grasp of the same Rock. Lay hold on Jesus, 

and keep hold on Jesus. Grow up into Him. Twist the roots of your 

nature, the fibres of your heart, about Him. He is as free to you as 

the rocks are to the fir-tree: be you as firmly lashed to Him as the 

pine is to the mountain’s side.
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Chapter Six — Difficulty in the Way of Believing

It may be that the reader feels a difficulty in believing. Let him 

consider. We cannot believe by an immediate act. The state of 

mind which we describe as believing is a result, following upon 

certain former states of mind. We come to faith by degrees. There 

may be such a thing as faith at first sight; but usually we reach 

faith by stages: we become interested, we consider, we hear 

evidence, we are convinced, and so led to believe. If, then, I wish 

to believe, but for some reason or other find that I cannot attain to 

faith, what shall I do? Shall I stand like a cow staring at a new 

gate; or shall I, like an intelligent being, use the proper means? If I 

wish to believe anything, what shall I do? We will answer 

according to the rules of common sense.

If I were told that the Sultan of Zanzibar was a good man, and it 

happened to be a matter of interest to me, I do not suppose I should 

feel any difficulty in believing it. But if for some reason I had a 

doubt about it, and yet wished to believe the news, how should I 

act? Should I not hunt up all the information within my reach about 

his Majesty, and try, by study of the newspapers and other 

documents, to arrive at the truth? Better still, if he happened to be 

in this country, and would see me, and I could also converse with 

members of his court, and citizens of his country, I should be 

greatly helped to arrive at a decision by using these sources of 

information. Evidence weighed and knowledge obtained lead up to 

faith. It is true that faith in Jesus is the gift of God: but yet He 

usually bestows it in accordance with the laws of mind, and hence 

we are told that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word 

of God”. If you want to believe in Jesus, hear about Him, read 

about Him, think about Him, know about Him, and so you will 

find faith springing up in your heart, like the wheat which comes 

up through the moisture and the heat operating upon the seed 

which has been sown. If I wished to have faith in a certain 

physician, I should ask for testimonials of his cures, I should wish 

to see the diplomas which certified to his professional knowledge, 

and I should also like to hear what he has to say upon certain 

complicated cases. In fact, I should take means to know, in order 

that I might believe.

Be much in hearing concerning Jesus. Souls by hundreds come to 

faith in Jesus under a ministry which sets Him forth clearly and 

constantly. Few remain unbelieving under a preacher whose great 

subject is Christ crucified. Hear no minister of any other sort. 

There are such. I have heard of one who found in his pulpit Bible a 

paper bearing this text, “Sir, we would see Jesus”. Go to the place 

of worship to see Jesus; and if you cannot even hear the mention of 

His name, take yourself off to another place where He is more 

thought of, and is therefore more likely to be present.

Be much in reading about the Lord Jesus. The books of Scripture 

are the lilies among which He feedeth. The Bible is the window 

through which we may look and see our Lord. Read over the story 

of His sufferings and death with devout attention, and before long 

the Lord will cause faith secretly to enter your soul. The Cross of 

Christ not only rewards faith, but begets faith. Many a believer can 


“When I view Thee, wounded, grieving,

Breathless, on the cursed tree,

Soon I feel my heart believing

Thou has suffered thus for me.”

If hearing and reading suffice not, then deliberately set your mind 

to work to overhaul the matter, and have it out. Either believe, or 

know the reason why you do not believe. See the matter through to 

the utmost of your ability, and pray God to help you to make a 

thorough investigation, and to come to an honest decision one way 

or the other. Consider who Jesus was, and whether the constitution 

of His Person does not entitle Him to confidence. Consider what 

He did, and whether this also must not be good ground for trust. 

Consider Him as dying, rising from the dead, ascending, and ever 

living to intercede for transgressors; and see whether this does not 

entitle Him to be relied on by you. Then cry to Him, and see if He 

does not hear you. When Usher wished to know whether 

Rutherford was indeed as holy a man as he was said to be, he went 

to his house as a beggar, and gained a lodging, and heard the man 

of God pouring out his heart before the Lord in the night. If you 

would know Jesus, get as near to Him as you can by studying His 

character, and appealing to His love.

At one time I might have needed evidence to make me believe in 

the Lord Jesus; but now I know Him so well, by proving Him, that 

I should need a very great deal of evidence to make me doubt Him. 

It is now more natural to me to trust than to disbelieve: this is the 

new nature triumphing; it was not so at the first. The novelty of 

faith is, in the beginning, a source of weakness; but act after act of 

trusting turns faith into a habit. Experience brings to faith strong 


I am not perplexed with doubt, because the truth which I believe 

has wrought a miracle on me. By its means I have received and 

still retain a new life, to which I was once a stranger: and this is 

confirmation of the strongest sort. I am like the good man and his 

wife who had kept a lighthouse for years. A visitor, who came to 

see the lighthouse, looking out from the window over the waste of 

waters, asked the good woman, “Are you not afraid at night, when 

the storm is out, and the big waves dash right over the lantern? Do 

you not fear that the lighthouse, and all that is in it, will be carried 

away? I am sure I should be afraid to trust myself in a slender 

tower in the midst of the great billows.” The woman remarked that 

the idea never occurred to her now. She had lived there so long that 

she felt as safe on the lone rock as ever she did when she lived on 

the mainland. As for her husband, when asked if he did not feel 

anxious when the wind blew a hurricane, he answered, “Yes, I feel 

anxious to keep the lamps well trimmed, and the light burning, lest 

any vessel should be wrecked.” As to anxiety about the safety of 

the lighthouse, or his own personal security in it, he had outlived 

all that. Even so it is with the full-grown believer. He can humbly 

say, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is 

able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that 

day.” From henceforth let no man trouble me with doubts and 

questionings; I bear in my soul the proofs of the Spirit’s truth and 

power, and I will have none of your artful reasonings. The gospel 

to me is truth: I am content to perish if it be not true. I risk my 

soul’s eternal fate upon the truth of the gospel, and I know that 

there is no risk in it. My one concern is to keep the lights burning, 

that I may thereby benefit others. Only let the Lord give me oil 

enough to feed my lamp, so that I may cast a ray across the dark 

and treacherous sea of life, and I am well content.

Now, troubled seeker, if it be so, that your minister, and many 

others in whom you confide, have found perfect peace and rest in 

the gospel, why should not you? Is the Spirit of the Lord 

straitened? Do not His words do good to them that walk uprightly? 

Will not you also try their saving virtue?

Most true is the gospel, for God is its Author. Believe it. Most able 

is the Saviour, for He is the Son of God. Trust Him. Most powerful 

is His precious blood. Look to it for pardon. Most loving is His 

gracious heart. Run to it at once.

Thus would I urge the reader to seek faith; but if he be unwilling, 

what more can I do? I have brought the horse to the water, but I 

cannot make him drink. This, however, be it remembered—

unbelief is wilful when evidence is put in a man’s way, and he 

refuses carefully to examine it. He that does not desire to know, 

and accept the truth, has himself to thank if he dies with a lie in his 

right hand. It is true that “he that believeth and is baptized shall be 

saved”: it is equally true that “he that believeth not shall be 

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Chapter Seven — A Helpful Survey

To help the seeker to a true faith in Jesus, I would remind him of 

the work of the Lord Jesus in the room and place and stead of 

sinners. “When we were yet without strength, in due time CHRIST 

DIED FOR THE UNGODLY” (Rom. 5:6). “Who His own self 

bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24). “The Lord 

hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). “For Christ also 

hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might 

bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).

Upon one declaration of Scripture let the reader fix his eye. “WITH 

HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED” (Isa. 53:5). God here treats sin 

as a disease, and He sets before us the costly remedy which He has 


I ask you very solemnly to accompany me in your meditations, for 

a few minutes, while I bring before you the stripes of the Lord 

Jesus. The Lord resolved to restore us, and therefore He sent His 

only-begotten Son, “very God of very God”, that He might 

descend into this world to take upon Himself our nature, in order to 

our redemption. He lived as a man among men; and, in due time, 

after thirty years or more of obedience, the time came when He 

should do us the greatest service of all, namely, stand in our stead, 

and bear “the chastisement of our peace”. He went to Gethsemane, 

and there, at the first taste of our bitter cup, He sweat great drops of 

blood. He went to Pilate’s hall, and Herod’s judgment-seat, and 

there drank draughts of pain and scorn in our room and place. Last 

of all, they took Him to the cross, and nailed Him there to die—to 

die in our stead. The word “stripes” is used to set forth His 

sufferings, both of body and of soul. The whole of Christ was 

made a sacrifice for us: His whole manhood suffered. As to His 

body, it shared with His mind in a grief that never can be 

described. In the beginning of His passion, when He emphatically 

suffered instead of us, He was in an agony, and from His bodily 

frame a bloody sweat distilled so copiously as to fall to the ground. 

It is very rarely that a man sweats blood. There have been one or 

two instances of it, and they have been followed by almost 

immediate death; but our Saviour lived—lived after an agony 

which, to anyone else, would have proved fatal. Ere He could 

cleanse His face from this dreadful crimson, they hurried Him to 

the high priest’s hall. In the dead of night they bound Him, and led 

Him away. Anon they took Him to Pilate and to Herod. These 

scourged Him, and their soldiers spat in His face, and buffeted 

Him, and put on His head a crown of thorns. Scourging is one of 

the most awful tortures that can be inflicted by malice. It was 

formerly the disgrace of the British army that the “cat” was used 

upon the soldier: a brutal infliction of torture. But to the Roman, 

cruelty was so natural that he made his common punishments 

worse than brutal. The Roman scourge is said to have been made 

of the sinews of oxen, twisted into knots, and into these knots were 

inserted slivers of bone, and huckle-bones of sheep; so that every 

time the scourge fell upon the bare back, “the plowers made deep 

furrows”. Our Saviour was called upon to endure the fierce pain of 

the Roman scourge, and this not as the finis of His punishment, but 

as a preface to crucifixion. To this His persecutors added buffeting, 

and plucking of the hair: they spared Him no form of pain. In all 

His faintness, through bleeding and fasting, they made Him carry 

His cross until another was forced, by the forethought of their 

cruelty, to bear it, lest their victim should die on the road. They 

stripped Him, and threw Him down, and nailed Him to the wood. 

They pierced His hands and His feet. They lifted up the tree, with 

Him upon it, and then dashed it down into its place in the ground, 

so that all His limbs were dislocated, according to the lament of the 

twenty-second psalm, “I am poured out like water, and all my 

bones are out of joint.” He hung in the burning sun till the fever 

dissolved His strength, and He said, “My heart is like wax; it is 

melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a 

potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast 

brought me into the dust of death.” There He hung, a spectacle to 

God and men. The weight of His body was first sustained by His 

feet, till the nails tore through the tender nerves: and then the 

painful load began to drag upon His hands, and rend those 

sensitive parts of His frame. How small a wound in the hand has 

brought on lockjaw! How awful must have been the torment 

caused by that dragging iron tearing through the delicate parts of 

the hands and feet! Now were all manner of bodily pains centred in 

His tortured frame. All the while His enemies stood around, 

pointing at Him in scorn, thrusting out their tongues in mockery, 

jesting at His prayers, and gloating over His sufferings. He cried, “I 

thirst”, and then they gave Him vinegar mingled with gall. After a 

while He said, “It is finished”. He had endured the utmost of 

appointed grief, and had made full vindication to divine justice: 

then, and not till then, He gave up the ghost. Holy men of old have 

enlarged most lovingly upon the bodily sufferings of our Lord, and 

I have no hesitation in doing the same, trusting that trembling 

sinners may see salvation in these painful “stripes” of the 


To describe the outward sufferings of our Lord is not easy: I 

acknowledge that I have failed. But His soul-sufferings, which 

were the soul of His sufferings, who can even conceive, much less 

express, what they were? At the very first I told you that He sweat 

great drops of blood. That was His heart driving out its life-floods 

to the surface through the terrible depression of spirit which was 

upon Him. He said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto 

death”. The betrayal by Judas, and the desertion of the twelve, 

grieved our Lord; but the weight of our sin was the real pressure on 

His heart. Our guilt was the olive-press which forced from Him the 

moisture of His life. No language can ever tell His agony in 

prospect of His passion; how little then can we conceive the 

passion itself? When nailed to the cross, He endured what no 

martyr ever suffered; for martyrs, when they have died, have been 

so sustained of God that they have rejoiced amid their pain; but our 

Redeemer was forsaken of His Father, until He cried, “My God, 

my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” That was the bitterest cry 

of all, the utmost depth of His unfathomable grief. Yet was it 

needful that He should be deserted, because God must turn His 

back on sin, and consequently upon Him who was made sin for us. 

The soul of the great Substitute suffered a horror of misery instead 

of that horror of hell into which sinners would have been plunged 

had He not taken their sin upon Himself, and been made a curse for 

them. It is written, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”; 

but who knows what that curse means?

The remedy for your sins and mine is found in the substitutionary 

sufferings of the Lord Jesus, and in these only. These “stripes” of 

the Lord Jesus Christ were on our behalf. Do you enquire, “Is there 

anything for us to do, to remove the guilt of sin?” I answer: There 

is nothing whatever for you to do. By the stripes of Jesus we are 

healed. All those stripes He has endured, and left not one of them 

for us to bear.

“But must we not believe on Him?” Ay, certainly. If I say of a 

certain ointment that it heals, I do not deny that you need a 

bandage with which to apply it to the wound. Faith is the linen 

which binds the plaster of Christ’s reconciliation to the sore of our 

sin. The linen does not heal; that is the work of the ointment. So 

faith does not heal: that is the work of the atonement of Christ.

“But we must repent,” cries another. Assuredly we must, and shall, 

for repentance is the first sign of healing; but the stripes of Jesus 

heal us, and not our repentance. These stripes, when applied to the 

heart, work repentance in us: we hate sin because it made Jesus 


When you intelligently trust in Jesus as having suffered for you, 

then you discover the fact that God will never punish you for the 

same offence for which Jesus died. His justice will not permit Him 

to see the debt paid, first, by the Surety, and then again by the 

debtor. Justice cannot twice demand a recompense: if my bleeding 

Surety has borne my guilt, then I cannot bear it. Accepting Christ 

Jesus as suffering for me, I have accepted a complete discharge 

from judicial liability. I have been condemned in Christ, and there 

is, therefore, now no condemnation to me any more. This is the 

ground-work of the security of the sinner who believes in Jesus: he 

lives because Jesus died in his room, and place, and stead; and he 

is acceptable before God because Jesus is accepted. The person for 

whom Jesus is an accepted Substitute must go free; none can touch 

him; he is clear. O my hearer, wilt thou have Jesus Christ to be thy 

Substitute? If so, thou art free. “He that believeth on Him is not 

condemned.” Thus “with His stripes we are healed”.
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Chapter Eight — A Real Hindrance

Although it is by no means a difficult thing in itself to believe Him 

who cannot lie, and to trust in One whom we know to be able to 

save, yet something may intervene which may render even this a 

hard thing to my reader. That hindrance may be a secret, and yet it 

may be none the less real. A door may be closed, not by a great 

stone which all can see, but by an invisible bolt which shoots into a 

holdfast quite out of sight. A man may have good eyes, and yet 

may not be able to see an object, because another substance comes 

in the way. You could not even see the sun if a handkerchief, or a 

mere piece of rag, were tied over your face. Oh, the bandages 

which men persist in binding over their own eyes!

A sweet sin, harboured in the heart, will prevent a soul from laying 

hold upon Christ by faith. The Lord Jesus has come to save us 

from sinning; and if we are resolved to go on sinning, Christ and 

our souls will never agree. If a man takes poison, and a doctor is 

called in to save his life, he may have a sure antidote ready; but if 

the patient persists in keeping the poison-bottle at his lips, and will 

continue to swallow the deadly drops, how can the doctor save 

him? Salvation consists largely in parting the sinner from his sin, 

and the very nature of salvation would have to be changed before 

we could speak of a man’s being saved when he is loving sin, and 

wilfully living in it. A man cannot be made white, and yet continue 

black; he cannot be healed, and yet remain sick; neither can anyone 

be saved, and be still a lover of evil.

A drunkard will be saved by believing in Christ—that is to say, he 

will be saved from being a drunkard; but if he determines still to 

make himself intoxicated, he is not saved from it, and he has not 

truly believed in Jesus. A liar can by faith be saved from falsehood, 

but then he leaves off lying, and is careful to speak the truth. 

Anyone can see with half an eye that he cannot be saved from 

being a liar, and yet go on in his old style of deceit and 

untruthfulness. A person who is at enmity with another will be 

saved from that feeling of enmity by believing in the Lord Jesus; 

but if he vows that he will still cherish the feeling of hate, it is clear 

that he is not saved from it, and equally clear that he has not 

believed in the Lord Jesus unto salvation. The great matter is to be 

delivered from the love of sin: this is the sure effect of trust in the 

Saviour; but if this effect is so far from being desired that it is even 

refused, all talk of trusting in the Saviour for salvation is an idle 

tale. A man goes to the shipping-office, and asks if he can be taken 

to America. He is assured that a ship is just ready, and that he has 

only to go on board, and he will soon reach New York. “But,” says 

he, “I want to stop at home in England, and mind my shop all the 

time I am crossing the Atlantic.” The agent thinks he is talking to a 

madman, and tells him to go about his business, and not waste his 

time by playing the fool. To pretend to trust Christ to save you 

from sin while you are still determined to continue in it, is making 

a mock of Christ. I pray my reader not to be guilty of such 

profanity. Let him not dream that the holy Jesus will be the patron 

of iniquity.

Consider a tree which has ivy growing all over it strangling it, 

sucking out its life, and killing it. Can that tree be saved? The 

gardener thinks it can be. He is willing to do his best. But before he 

begins to use his axe and his knife, he is told that he must not cut 

away the ivy. “Ah! then,” he says, “it is impossible. It is the ivy 

which is killing the tree, and if you want the tree saved, you cannot 

save the ivy. If you trust me to preserve the tree, you must let me 

get the deadly climber away from it.” Is not that common sense? 

Certainly it is. You do not trust the tree to the gardener unless you 

trust him to cut away that which is deadly to it. If the sinner will 

keep his sin, he must die in it; if he is willing to be rescued from 

his sin, the Lord Jesus is able to do it, and will do it if he commits 

his case to His care.

What, then, is your darling sin? Is it any gross wrongdoing? Then 

very shame should make you cease from it. Is it love of the world, 

or fear of men, or longing for evil gains? Surely, none of these 

things should reconcile you to living in enmity with God, and 

beneath His frown. Is it a human love, which is eating like a canker 

into the heart? Can any creature rival the Lord Jesus? Is it not 

idolatry to allow any earthly thing to compare for one instant with 

the Lord God? “Well,” saith one, “for me to give up the particular 

sin by which I am held captive, would be to my serious injury in 

business, would ruin my prospects, and lessen my usefulness in 

many ways.” If it be so, you have your case met by the words of 

the Lord Jesus, who bids you to pluck out your eye, and cut off 

your hand or foot, and cast it from you, rather than be cast into 

hell. It is better to enter into life with one eye, with the poorest 

prospects, than to keep all your hopes, and be out of Christ. Better 

be a lame believer than a leaping sinner. Better be in the rear rank 

for life in the army of Christ than lead the van and be a chief 

officer under the command of Satan. If you win Christ, it will little 

matter what you lose. No doubt many have had to suffer that which 

has maimed and lamed them for this life; but if they have entered 

thereby into eternal life, they have been great gainers.

It comes to this, my friend, as it did with John Bunyan; a voice 

now speaks to you, and says— WILT THOU KEEP THY SIN 



The point should be decided before you quit the spot. In the name 

of God, I ask you, Which shall it be—Christ and salvation, or the 

favourite sin and damnation? There is no middle course. Waiting 

or refusing to decide will practically be a sure decision for the evil 

one. He that stands questioning whether he will be honest or not, is 

already out of the straight line: he that does not know whether he 

wishes to be cleansed from sin gives evidence of a foul heart.

If you are anxious to give up every evil way, our Lord Jesus will 

enable you to do so at once. His grace has already changed the 

direction of your desires: in fact, your heart is renewed. Therefore, 

rest on Him to strengthen you to battle with temptations as they 

arise, and to fulfil the Lord’s commands from day to day. The Lord 

Jesus is great at making the lame man to leap like a hart, and in 

enabling those who are sick of the palsy to take up their bed and 

walk. He will make you able to conquer the evil habit. He will 

even cast the devil out of you. Yes, if you had seven devils, He 

could drive them out at once; there is no limit to His power to 

cleanse and sanctify. Now that you are willing to be made whole, 

the great difficulty is removed. He that has set the will right can 

arrange all your other powers, and make them move to His praise. 

You would not have earnestly desired to quit all sin if He had not 

secretly inclined you in that direction. If you now trust Him, it will 

be clear that He has begun a good work in you, and we feel assured 

that He will carry it on.
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Chapter Nine — On Raising Questions

In these days, a simple, childlike faith is very rare; but the usual 

thing is to believe nothing, and question everything. Doubts are as 

plentiful as blackberries, and all hands and lips are stained with 

them. To me it seems very strange that men should hunt up 

difficulties as to their own salvation. If I were doomed to die, and I 

had a hint of mercy, I am sure I should not set my wits to work to 

find out reasons why I should not be pardoned. I could leave my 

enemies to do that: I should be on the look-out in a very different 

direction. If I were drowning, I should sooner catch at a straw than 

push a life-belt away from me. To reason against one’s own life is 

a sort of constructive suicide of which only a drunken man would 

be guilty. To argue against your only hope is like a foolish man 

sitting on a bough, and chopping it away so as to let himself down. 

Who but an idiot would do that? Yet many appear to be special 

pleaders for their own ruin. They hunt the Bible through for 

threatening texts; and when they have done with that, they turn to 

reason, and philosophy, and scepticism, in order to shut the door in 

their own faces. Surely this is poor employment for a sensible man.

Many nowadays who cannot quite get away from religious 

thought, are able to stave off the inconvenient pressure of 

conscience by quibbling over the great truths of revelation. Great 

mysteries are in the Book of God of necessity; for how can the 

infinite God so speak that all His thoughts can be grasped by finite 

man? But it is the height of folly to get discussing these deep 

things, and to leave plain, soul-saving truths in abeyance. It 

reminds one of the two philosophers who debated about food, and 

went away empty from the table, while the common countryman in 

the corner asked no question, but used his knife and fork with great 

diligence, and went on his way rejoicing. Thousands are now 

happy in the Lord through receiving the gospel like little children; 

while others, who can always see difficulties, or invent them, are as 

far off as ever from any comfortable hope of salvation. I know 

many very decent people who seem to have resolved never to come 

to Christ till they can understand how the doctrine of election is 

consistent with the free invitations of the gospel. I might just as 

well determine never to eat a morsel of bread till it has been 

explained to me how it is that God keeps me alive, and yet I must 

eat to live. The fact is, that we, most of us, know quite enough 

already, and the real want with us is not light in the head, but truth 

in the heart; not help over difficulties, but grace to make us hate sin 

and seek reconciliation.

Here let me add a warning against tampering with the Word of 

God. No habit can be more ruinous to the soul. It is cool, 

contemptuous impertinence to sit down and correct your Maker, 

and it tends to make the heart harder than the nether millstone. We 

remember one who used a penknife on his Bible, and it was not 

long before he had given up all his former beliefs. The spirit of 

reverence is healthy, but the impertinence of criticizing the inspired 

Word is destructive of all proper feeling towards God.

If ever a man does feel his need of a Saviour after treating 

Scripture with a proud, critical spirit, he is very apt to find his 

conscience standing in the way, and hindering him from comfort 

by reminding him of ill-treatment of the sacred Word. It comes 

hard to him to draw consolation out of passages of the Bible which 

he has treated cavalierly, or even set aside altogether, as unworthy 

of consideration. In his distress the sacred texts seem to laugh at 

his calamity. When the time of need comes, the wells which he 

stopped with stones yield no water for his thirst. Beware, when you 

despise a Scripture, lest you cast away the only friend that can help 

you in the hour of agony.

A certain German duke was accustomed to call upon his servant to 

read a chapter of the Bible to him every morning. When anything 

did not square with his judgment he would sternly cry, “Hans, 

strike that out.” At length Hans was a long time before he began to 

read. He fumbled over the Book, till his master called out, “Hans, 

why do you not read?” Then Hans answered, “Sir, there is hardly 

anything left. It is all struck out!” One day his master’s objections 

had run one way, and another day they had taken another turn, and 

another set of passages had been blotted, till nothing was left to 

instruct or comfort him. Let us not, by carping criticism, destroy 

our own mercies. We may yet need those promises which appear 

needless; and those portions of Holy Writ which have been most 

assailed by sceptics may yet prove essential to our very life: 

wherefore let us guard the priceless treasure of the Bible, and 

determine never to resign a single line of it.

What have we to do with recondite questions while our souls are in 

peril? The way to escape from sin is plain enough. The wayfaring 

man, though a fool, shall not err therein. God has not mocked us 

with a salvation which we cannot understand. BELIEVE AND 

LIVE is a command which a babe may comprehend and obey.

Doubt no more, but now believe;

Question not, but just receive.

Artful doubts and reasonings be

Nailed with Jesus to the tree.

Instead of cavilling at Scripture, the man who is led of the Spirit of 

God will close in with the Lord Jesus at once. Seeing that 

thousands of decent, common-sense people—people, too, of the 

best character—are trusting their all with Jesus, he will do the 

same, and have done with further delays. Then has he begun a life 

worth living, and he may have done with further fear. He may at 

once advance to that higher and better way of living, which grows 

out of love to Jesus, the Saviour. Why should not the reader do so 

at once? Oh that he would!

A Newark, New Jersey, butcher received a letter from his old home 

in Germany, notifying that he had, by the death of a relative, fallen 

heir to a considerable amount of money. He was cutting up a pig at 

the time. After reading the letter, he hastily tore off his dirty apron, 

and did not stop to see the pork cut up into sausages, but left the 

shop to make preparations for going home to Germany. Do you 

blame him, or would you have had him stop in Newark with his 

block and his cleaver?

See here the operation of faith. The butcher believed what was told 

him, and acted on it at once. Sensible fellow, too!

God has sent His messages to man, telling him the good news of 

salvation. When a man believes the good news to be true, he 

accepts the blessing announced to him, and hastens to lay hold 

upon it. If he truly believes, he will at once take Christ, with all He 

has to bestow, turn from his present evil ways, and set out for the 

Heavenly City, where the full blessing is to be enjoyed. He cannot 

be holy too soon, or too early quit the ways of sin. If a man could 

really see what sin is, he would flee from it as from a deadly 

serpent, and rejoice to be freed from it by Christ Jesus.
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Chapter Ten — Without Faith No Salvation

Some think it hard that there should be nothing for them but ruin if 

they will not believe in Jesus Christ; but if you will think for a 

minute you will see that it is just and reasonable. I suppose there is 

no way for a man to keep his strength up except by eating. If you 

were to say, “I will not eat again, I despise such animalism”, you 

might go to Madeira, or travel in all lands (supposing you lived 

long enough!), but you would most certainly find that no climate 

and no exercise would avail to keep you alive if you refused food. 

Would you then complain, “It is a hard thing that I should die 

because I do not believe in eating”? It is not an unjust thing that if 

you are so foolish as not to eat, you must die. It is precisely so with 

believing. “Believe, and thou art saved”. If thou wilt not believe, it 

is no hard thing that thou shouldst be lost. It would be strange 

indeed if it were not to be the case.

A man who is thirsty stands before a fountain. “No,” he says, “I 

will never touch a drop of moisture as long as I live. Cannot I get 

my thirst quenched in my own way?” We tell him, no; he must 

drink or die. He says, “I will never drink; but it is a hard thing that 

I must therefore die. It is a bigoted, cruel thing to tell me so.” He is 

wrong. His thirst is the inevitable result of neglecting a law of 

nature. You, too, must believe or die; why refuse to obey the 

command? Drink, man, drink! Take Christ and live. There is the 

way of salvation, and to enter you must trust Christ; but there is 

nothing hard in the fact that you must perish if you will not trust 

the Saviour. Here is a man out at sea; he has a chart, and that chart, 

if well studied, will, with the help of the compass, guide him to his 

journey’s end. The pole-star gleams out amidst the cloud-rifts, and 

that, too, will help him. “No,” says he, “I will have nothing to do 

with your stars; I do not believe in the North Pole. I shall not 

attend to that little thing inside the box; one needle is as good as 

another needle. I have no faith in your chart, and I will have 

nothing to do with it. The art of navigation is only a lot of 

nonsense, got up by people on purpose to make money, and I will 

not be gulled by it.” The man never reaches port, and he says it is a 

very hard thing—a very hard thing. I do not think so. Some of you 

say, “I am not going to read the Scriptures; I am not going to listen 

to your talk about Jesus Christ: I do not believe in such things.” 

Then Jesus says, “He that believeth not shall be damned.” “That’s 

very hard,” say you. But it is not so. It is not more hard than the 

fact that if you reject the compass and the pole-star you will not 

reach your port. There is no help for it; it must be so.

You say you will have nothing to do with Jesus and His blood, and 

you pooh-pooh all religion. You will find it hard to laugh these 

matters down when you come to die, when the clammy sweat must 

be wiped from your brow, and your heart beats against your ribs as 

if it wanted to leap out and fly away from God. O soul! you will 

find then, that those Sundays, and those services, and this old 

Book, are something more and better than you thought they were, 

and you will wonder that you were so simple as to neglect any true 

help to salvation. Above all, what woe it will be to have neglected 

Christ, that Pole-star which alone can guide the mariner to the 

haven of rest!

Where do you live?

You live, perhaps, on the other side of the river, and you have to 

cross a bridge before you can get home. You have been so silly as 

to nurse the notion that you do not believe in bridges, nor in boats, 

nor in the existence of such a thing as water. You say, “I am not 

going over any of your bridges, and I shall not get into any of your 

boats. I do not believe that there is a river, or that there is any such 

stuff as water.” You are going home, and soon you come to the old 

bridge; but you will not cross it. Yonder is a boat; but you are 

determined that you will not get into it. There is the river, and you 

resolve that you will not cross it in the usual way; and yet you 

think it is very hard that you cannot get home. Surely something 

has destroyed your reasoning powers, for you would not think it so 

hard if you were in your senses. If a man will not do the thing that 

is necessary to a certain end, how can he expect to gain that end? 

You have taken poison, and the physician brings an antidote, and 

says, “Take it quickly, or you will die; but if you take it quickly, I 

will guarantee that the poison will be neutralized.” But you say, 

“No, doctor, I do not believe in antidotes. Let everything take its 

course; let every tub stand on its own bottom; I will have nothing 

to do with your remedy. Besides, I do not believe that there is any 

remedy for the poison I have taken; and, what is more, I don’t care 

whether there is or not.”

Well, sir, you will die; and when the coroner’s inquest is held on 

your body, the verdict will be, “Served him right! “ So will it be 

with you if, having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, you say, “I am 

too much of an advanced man to have anything to do with that old-

fashioned notion of substitution. I shall not attend to the preacher’s 

talk about sacrifice and blood-shedding.” Then, when you perish, 

the verdict given by your conscience, which will sit upon the 

King’s quest at last, will run thus, “Suicide: he destroyed his own 

soul.” So says the old Book—“O Israel, thou hast destroyed 

thyself!” Reader, I implore thee, do not so.
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Chapter Eleven — To those who have Believed

Friends, if now you have begun to trust the Lord, trust Him out and 

out. Let your faith be the most real and practical thing in your 

whole life. Don’t trust the Lord in mere sentiment about a few 

great spiritual things; but trust Him for everything, for ever, both 

for time and eternity, for body and for soul. See how the Lord 

hangeth the world upon nothing but His own word! It has neither 

prop nor pillar. Yon great arch of heaven stands without a buttress 

or a wooden centre. The Lord can and will bear all the strain that 

faith can ever put upon Him. The greatest troubles are easy to His 

power, and the darkest mysteries are clear to His wisdom. Trust 

God up to the hilt. Lean, and lean hard; yes, lean all your weight, 

and every other weight upon the Mighty God of Jacob.

The future you can safely leave with the Lord, who ever liveth and 

never changeth. The past is now in your Saviour’s hand, and you 

shall never be condemned for it, whatever it may have been, for the 

Lord has cast your iniquities into the midst of the sea. Believe at 

this moment in your present privileges. YOU ARE SAVED. If you 

are a believer in the Lord Jesus, you have passed from death unto 

life, and YOU ARE SAVED. In the old slave days a lady brought 

her black servant on board an English ship, and she laughingly said 

to the Captain, “I suppose if I and Aunt Chloe were to go to 

England she would be free?” “Madam,” said the Captain, “she is 

now free. The moment she came on board a British vessel she was 

free” When the negro woman knew this, she did not leave the 

ship—not she. It was not the hope of liberty that made her bold, 

but the fact of liberty. So you are not now merely hoping for 

eternal life, but “He that believeth in Him hath everlasting life.” 

Accept this as a fact revealed in the sacred Word, and begin to 

rejoice accordingly. Do not reason about it, or call it in question; 

believe it, and leap for joy.

I want my reader, upon believing in the Lord Jesus, to believe for 

eternal salvation. Do not be content with the notion that you can 

receive a new birth which will die out, a heavenly life which will 

expire, a pardon which will be recalled. The Lord Jesus gives to 

His sheep eternal life, and do not be at rest until you have it. Now, 

if it be eternal, how can it die out? Be saved out and out, for 

eternity. There is “a living and incorruptible seed, which liveth and 

abideth for ever”; do not be put off with a temporary change, a sort 

of grace which will only bloom to fade. You are now starting on 

the railway of grace—take a ticket all the way through. I have no 

commission to preach to you salvation for a time: the gospel I am 

bidden to set before you is, “He that believeth and is baptized shall 

be saved.” He shall be saved from sin, from going back to sin, 

from turning aside to the broad road. May the Holy Spirit lead you 

to believe for nothing less than that. “Do you mean,” says one, 

“that I am to believe if I once trust Christ I shall be saved whatever 

sin I may choose to commit?” I have never said anything of the 

kind. I have described true salvation as a thorough change of heart 

of so radical a kind that it will alter your tastes and desires; and I 

say that if you have such a change wrought in you by the Holy 

Spirit, it will be permanent; for the Lord’s work is not like the 

cheap work of the present day, which soon goes to pieces. Trust the 

Lord to keep you, however long you may live, and however much 

you may be tempted; and “according to your faith, so be it unto 

you”. Believe in Jesus for everlasting life.

Oh, that you may also trust the Lord for all the sufferings of this 

present time! In the world you will have tribulation; learn by faith 

to know that all things work together for good, and then submit 

yourself to the Lord’s will. Look at the sheep when it is being 

shorn. If it lies quite still, the shears will not hurt it; if it struggles, 

or even shrinks, it may be pricked. Submit yourselves under the 

hand of God, and affliction will lose its sharpness. Self-will and 

repining cause us a hundred times more grief than our afflictions 

themselves. So believe your Lord as to be certain that His will 

must be far better than yours, and therefore you not only submit to 

it, but even rejoice in it.

Trust the Lord Jesus in the matter of sanctification. Certain friends 

appear to think that the Lord Jesus cannot sanctify them wholly, 

spirit, soul, and body. Hence they willingly give way to such and 

such sins under the notion that there is no help for it, but that they 

must pay tribute to the devil as long as they live in that particular 

form. Do not basely bow your neck in bondage to any sin, but 

strike hard for liberty. Be it anger, or unbelief, or sloth, or any 

other form of iniquity, we are able, by divine grace, to drive out the 

Canaanite, and, what is more, we must drive him out. No virtue is 

impossible to him that believeth in Jesus, and no sin need have 

victory over him. Indeed, it is written, “Sin shall not have 

dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace”. 

Believe for high degrees of joy in the Lord, and likeness to Jesus, 

and advance to take full possession of these precious things; for as 

thou believest, so shall it be unto thee. “All things are possible to 

him that believeth”; and he who is the chief of sinners may yet be 

not a whit behind the greatest of saints.

Often realize the joy of heaven. This is grand faith; and yet it is no 

more than we ought to have. Within a very short time the man who 

believes in the Lord Jesus shall be with Him where He is. This 

head will wear a crown; these eyes shall see the King in His 

beauty; these ears shall hear His own dear voice; this soul shall be 

in glory; and this poor body shall be raised from the dead and 

joined in incorruption to the perfected soul! Glory, glory, glory! 

And so near, so sure. Let us at once rehearse the music and 

anticipate the bliss!

But cries one, “We are not there yet”. No: but faith fills us with 

delight in the blessed prospect, and meanwhile it sustains us on the 

road. Reader, I long that you may be a firm believer in the Lord 

alone. I want you to get wholly upon the rock, and not keep a foot 

on the sand. In this mortal life trust God for all things; and trust 

Him alone. This is the way to live. I know it by experience. God’s 

bare arm is quite enough to lean upon. I will give you a bit of the 

experience of an old labouring man I once knew. He feared God 

above many, and was very deeply taught of the Spirit. He was great 

at hedging and ditching; but greater at simple trust. Here is how he 

described faith: "It was a bitter winter, and I had no work, and no 

bread in the house. The children were crying. The snow was deep, 

and my way was dark. My old master told me I might have a bit of 

wood when I wanted it; so I thought a bit of fire would warm the 

poor children, and I went out with my chopper to get some fuel. I 

was standing near a deep ditch full of snow, which had drifted into 

it many feet deep—in fact, I did not know how deep. While aiming 

a blow at a bit of wood my bill-hook slipped out of my hand, and 

went right down into the snow, where I could not hope to find it. 

Standing there with no food, no fire, and the chopper gone, 

something seemed to say to me, “‘Will Richardson, can you trust 

God now?’ and my very soul said, ‘That I can’”. This is true 

faith—the faith which trusts the Lord when the bill-hook is gone: 

the faith which believes God when all outward appearances give 

Him the lie; the faith which is happy with God alone when all 

friends turn their backs upon you. Dear reader, may you and I have 

this precious faith, this real faith, this God-honouring faith! The 

Lord’s truth deserves it; His love claims it, His faithfulness 

constrains it. Happy is He who has it! He is the man whom the 

Lord loves, and the world shall be made to know it before all is 


After all, the very best faith is an everyday faith: the faith which 

deals with bread and water, coats and stockings, children and 

cattle, house-rent and weather. The superfine confectionery 

religion which is only available on Sundays, and in drawing-room 

meetings and Bible readings, will never take a soul to heaven till 

life becomes one long Conference, and there are seven Sabbaths in 

a week. Faith is doing her very best when for many years she plods 

on, month by month, trusting the Lord about the sick husband, the 

failing daughter, the declining business, the unconverted friend, 

and suchlike things.

Faith also helps us to use the world as not abusing it. It is good at 

hard work, and at daily duty. It is not an angelic thing for skies and 

stars, but a human grace, at home in kitchens and workshops. It is a 

sort of maid-of-all-work, and is at home at every kind of labour, 

and in every rank of life. It is a grace for every day, all the year 

round. Holy confidence in God is never out of work. Faith’s ware 

is so valued at the heavenly court that she always has one fine 

piece of work or another on the wheel or in the furnace. Men 

dream that heroes are only to be made on special occasions, once 

or twice in a century; but in truth the finest heroes are home-spun, 

and are more often hidden in obscurity than platformed by public 

observation. Trust in the living God is the bullion out of which 

heroism is coined. Perseverance in well-doing is one of the fields 

in which faith grows not flowers, but the wheat of her harvest. 

Plodding on in hard work, bringing up a family on a few shillings a 

week, bearing constant pain with patience, and so forth—these are 

the feats of valour through which God is glorified by the rank and 

file of His believing people.

Reader, you and I will be of one mind in this: we will not pine to 

be great, but we will be eager to be good. For this we will rely 

upon the Lord our God, whose we are, and whom we serve. We 

will ask to be made holy throughout every day of the week. We 

will pray to our God as much about our daily business as about our 

soul’s salvation. We will trust Him concerning our farm, and our 

turnips, and our cows, as well as concerning our spiritual privileges 

and our hope of heaven. The Lord Jehovah is our household God; 

Jesus is our brother born for adversity; and the Holy Spirit is our 

Comforter in every hour of trial. We have not an unapproachable 

God: He hears, He pities, He helps. Let us trust Him without a 

break, without a doubt, without a hesitation. The life of faith is life 

within God’s wicket gate. If we have hitherto stood trembling 

outside in the wide world of unbelief, may the Holy Spirit enable 

us now to take the great decisive step, and say, once for all, “Lord, 

I believe: help Thou mine unbelief!”

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