A RECORD OF COMBAT WITH SIN & LABOR FOR THELORD. EDITED BY C. H. SPURGEON. 1868. “They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one With one of his hands wrought in the work,’ and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.” — Nehemiah 4:17,18.
ESTEEMED READER, Take thought of mortality from the gliding away of the years. It seems but yesterday that the bells rang in the young 1868, and now in the sere ,and yellow leaf, shivering with old age, we must lay it in its tomb. What a rapid wing has life! Time’s an band’s breadth; ‘tis a talc; ‘Tis a vessel under sail; ‘Tis an eagle in its way, Darting down upon its prey; ‘Tis an arrow in its flight, Mocking the pursuing sight; ‘Tis a short-lived fading flower; ‘Tis a rainbow on a shower; ‘Tis a momentary ray, Smiling in a winter’s day; ‘Tis a shadow; ‘tis a dream; ‘Tis the closing watch of night, Dying at the rising light; ‘Tis a bubble; ‘tis a sigh; Be prepared, O man, to die!
The gentleness of the Lord has brought us to another halting-place in the pilgrimage of life, and as we conclude another volume of our Magazine, it is well to sit down on the milestone to consider many things of the past, and debate with one’s self on matters which dimly shadow themselves in the future. It is of little use idly to regret what ]night have been done in that period which is now numbered “with the years beyond the flood;” but to shame ourselves into increased activity by the painful remembrance of neglects and lethargies may be of lasting benefit To weep over the sepulchers of dead days will bless no one, unless the tears are salted with holy repentance, and help the eyes which shed them to see the duties which are crowding all around. That we have not done what we ought to have done is certain: to sin again after the same fashion is easy; to gird up our loins for the future is a pressing necessity. It is a sweet mercy from the God of grace when we can honestly feel that our days have not been absolutely barren. If some glory has redounded from us to our Redeemer, and some benefit to his church, let the Spirit of God have all the praise. From the sovereign grace of God we derive our spiritual life itself, that which comes of it is therefore not ours to glory in; by the everflowing bounty of heaven we are daily renewed in strength, all therefore which is wrought by that strength, must be ascribed unto the Lord our helper.
What more can be attempted for our Lord in the remaining portion of our lives? If there be a possibility of more, let us search it out. Wise husbandry and greater diligence may yet increase the harvest of the Great Owner of the vineyard. Cannot each of us pray more, give more, work more, love more? — that last word will be the insurance of all that went before it. This being settled, what matters it what strange apparitions rise amid the mists of craning years! New trials await us, doubtless, but if our Beloved is ours and we are his, and are daily proving the double fact, by our consecrated lives, what cause is there for anxiety? All must be well if the heart be right with heaven. It is true we know not the future, and it has been well observed that “we can become familiar with a landscape; we know where to find the waterfall, and the shady ledge where the violets grow in spring, and the sassafras gives forth its odors; but we can never become familiar with our life-scape; we can never tell where we shall come upon the shady dell, or where the fountains will gush and the birds sing.” Yet one thing’ we know, yonder stand the everlasting hills of divine faithfulness, and if heaven and earth shall pass away, these are among the things which cannot be shaken. There they stand in solemn majesty: and we will lift up our eyes to the hills whence cometh our help.
SUBSCRIBERS AND FRIENDS, We are glad that we have won your lenient judgments during another year. It certainly has not been by any reticence of our peculiar views. We have waged determined war with Popery, for ours is pro-eminently A PROTESTANT MAGAZINE, But we fight against doctrinal Popery, not in Rome alone, but at Oxford too. To us the sacramentarianism of the English Church is not a thing to be winked at. We hold that he who hates Popery because of its antichristian teaching, will never stay his hand because it assumes a Protestant dress.
The English Church is so Popish in its catechism, its baptismal service, and much of its ritualism, that it must not so much be reformed as transformed.
These are not times to keep this matter in the background, and we have not done so.
In all ways we have sought to aid honest Christian work wherever we have seen it. Our desire is to stimulate the zeal of believers and lead them on in the aggressive policy which is bound up with true religious life. The Magazine has fostered the young movement of English Colportage, destined in some more earnest day to be one of our mightiest agencies.
Thanks to unflagging friends, the College remains in unabated vigor, and derives no little aid from the Sword and Trowel, which brings it before so many minds and hearts. Last but not least, the Stockwell Orphanage, the child of the Magazine, bearing the Sword and Trowel over its entrance, owes a large amount of its contributions to our generous readers. That work as to the building’s, will be completed in a few weeks, but the dear children must be supported, and we cannot do better than close our preface by reminding our readers that it will make Christmas all the merrier if in every household a portion is set apart for our orphans.
The Lord bless and keep all his people. Brethren, pray for Your willing servant, C. H. Spurgeon