This little volume is by no means intended to be a theological Work. Nor does it attempt to show the details of the Christian life. The author seeks to point out the principal means by which sincere souls may be saved and keep saved.
It is intended to be a simple, direct exposition of the way of salvation, put in everyday language, with the earnest desire that “he that runneth may read,” and that the reader may be helped in reaching the goal, and in finding an abundant entrance into the City of God.
With this single aim we launch this little book, praying that it may be helpful to some soul who seeks to know what God has for him.
“Lost! Lost!” How startling the cry! It is a fearful thing to be lost! What a sickening sensation sweeps over the mind when after wandering for hours seeking to find his way, the traveler discovers that he has been traveling in a circle and is in the very place where he started. Only those who have experienced it know the sensation of such an hour.
“Lost! Lost!” A child is lost. The search begins at once. That little word “lost,” stirs up a whole community. Its ringing appeal causes strangers to leave their firesides to search for the loved one of a family they have never even seen. Strong men leave business cares to spend the day and night in search for the lost one. Tender hearted women weep and mothers pray, while multitudes join in the search. Sympathetic hearts beat while one mother’s heart is wrung in anguish. What agonies are pent up in that little word, “lost.”
“Lost, lost!” A fortune is gone. The labor and frugality of a lifetime are swept away in a day. The grim monsters of penury and starvation stare their intended victim in the face. The man who has thus far borne all the trials of a lifetime undaunted, who has thus far laughed at the storms of life, now bows his head like the oak to the cyclone and goes down with a crash before it. Perhaps reason leaves her throne, or he wanders about like one dazed or stunned by a blow. The agony of lost hopes is carved upon his face. The eye loses its luster and premature old age settles down upon him. All this and more is contained in that word “lost.”
Lost! Lost! The soul of man lost! If our spiritual senses were as keen as our physical and mental faculties what would we see and hear in that word, “lost!” A soul created in the image of God! Intended for heaven but consigned to dwell with devils. Lost! A soul banished from God and holy angels! Lost! Lost, and Lost forever unless some kind hand shall interpose! Ah, who on earth knows all that it means to be lost and lost Forever!
Salvation! The word means nothing except that some one is lost or about to be lost. The very word means that it has its opposite. Man does not need salvation unless he is lost. If man is not lost then the crucifixion of Jesus was unnecessary; his sufferings and death were all folly. Christ can not be a Savior unless there is some one who needs to be saved.
How wicked it is to say that God is vindictively determined to punish sinners! The truth is that man is as truly lost now as he will be by and by. God is trying to save him, declaring that He willeth not the death of him that dieth. God is doing all he can to save man, except to compel him against his will. There is no virtue in goodness that is compulsory. God is asking men to renounce their sins, so that He can save them. No lost sinner in hell will ever sue God for false imprisonment.
Impenitent men are pursuing a path that surely leads to hell. God is seeking by every inducement to cause them to turn into the path that leads to heaven. He can not take a man to heaven against his will. The man that goes to hell goes because he prefers the path that leads there, rather than the path that leads to heaven. “Salvation is free” and so is damnation. No one has to have either. It would be awful if they did. These are matters of choice and every soul will get that which he most prefers. They who prefer the way to heaven will walk in it. And they that prefer the way to hell will walk therein. They who are lost become so because they prefer that road. God says he wills not the death of any but that all may come to him and be saved.
The last word of invitation in the word of God is, “Come.” Our only business in life then is to know how to get out of our lost condition. In other words to discover HOW TO GET SAVED AND HOW TO KEEP SAVED.