Excerpt (from chapter "Without Faith, No Salvation")
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 inquiry. 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 favor—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.
Faith in the Person of the Lord Jesus
Faith Very Simple
Fearing to Believe
Difficulty in the Way of Believing
A Helpful Survey
A Real Hindrance
On Raising Questions
Without Faith No Salvation
To Those Who Have Believed
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 Savior.
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.