How Is Your Zeal?
Rev. C. H. Spurgeon says: "I sat down in an arm chair, wearied with my work. My toil had been severe and protracted. Many were seeking the pearl of great price, and many had found what they sought. The church wore an aspect of thrift and prosperity, and joy and hope and courage were the prevailing sentiments on every band. As for myself, I was joyous in work. My brethren were united. My sermons and exhortations were evidently telling on my hearers. My church was crowded with listeners. The whole community was more or less moved by the prevailing excitement, and as the work went on I had been led into exhausting labors for its promotion. Fired with my work, I soon lost myself in a half forgetful state, though I seemed fully aware of my place and my surroundings. Suddenly a stranger entered the room without any preliminary 'tap' or 'come in.' I saw in his face benignity, intelligence and weight of character; but, though he was passably well attired, he carried suspended about his person measures, and chemical agents, and implements which gave him a very strange appearance.
"The stranger came toward me and extending his hand said: - 'how is your zeal?' I supposed when he began his question that the query was to be for my health, but was pleased, to hear his final word, for I was well pleased with my zeal, and doubted not the stranger would smile when he should know its proportions. Instantly I conceived of it as a physical quantity and put my hand into my bosom and brought it forth and presented it to him for inspection. He took it and placed it in his scale, weighed it carefully, and I heard him say 'one hundred pounds.' I could scarcely suppress an audible note of satisfaction, but caught his earnest look as he noted down the weight, and I saw at once that he had proved no final conclusion, but was intent on following his investigation. He broke the mass to atoms and put the crucible into the fire. When it was thoroughly fused he took it out and set it down to cool. It congealed in cooling, and when turned out on the hearth exhibited a series of layers of strata, which all, at the touch of the hammer, fell apart, and were severely tested and weighed, the stranger making minute notes as the process went on. When he had finished he presented the notes to me, and gave me a look of mingled sorrow and compassion as, without a word except, 'May God save you!' he left the room. I opened the 'notes' and read as follows:
"I had become troubled at the peculiar manner of the stranger, and especially at his parting look and words; but when I looked at the figures my heart sank as lead within me. I made a mental effort to dispute the correctness of the record, but was suddenly startled into a more honest mood by an audible sigh – almost a groan – from the stranger, who had passed into the hall, and by a sudden, darkness that was failing upon me, by which the record became at once obscured and nearly illegible. I suddenly cried out: 'Lord save me!' knelt down at my chair, with the paper in my hands and my eyes fixed upon it. At once it became a mirror, and I saw my heart reflected in it. The record was true; I saw it, I felt it, I confessed it, I deplored it, and besought God to save me from myself, with many tears; and, at length, with aloud and irrepressible cry of anguish, I awoke. I had prayed, in years gone by, to be saved from hell, but my vow to be saved from myself was now immeasurably more fervent and distressful; nor did I rest or pause till the refining fire came down, and went through my heart, searching, probing, melting, burning, filling all its channels with light, and hallowing my whole heart to God.
"That light and that love are in my soul to-day, and when the toils of my pilgrimage shall be at an end, I expect to kneel in heaven at the feet of the divine Alchemist, and bless him for the revelations of that day which showed me where I stood and turned my feet into a better, higher, narrower path.
"That day was the crisis of my history;
and if there shall prove to have been in later years, some depth and
earnestness in my convictions, and some searching and saving pungency in my
words; I doubt not eternity will show their connection with the visit of the
Searcher of Hearts, at whose coming my sins went to judgment beforehand and I
was weighed in the balance and found wanting.'
– 'Christian Conservator', Jan. 3, 1894.
Admitting the veracity of Mr. Spurgeon, it is impossible for any sane Bible-reader to deny a Special Divine interposition in this case of recent occurrence.
From Philosophy of Faith and Special Providence,
J.K. Alwood, D.D. 1897
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