Few and simple should be the words which introduce this eagerly expected book to the many friends who will welcome it.
The beloved author has gone to his eternal reward, he is “the blessed of the Lord for ever”; but he has left with us this last precious legacy, which draws our hearts heavenward after him.
It stands alone in its sacred and sorrowful significance. It is the tired worker’s final labor of love for his Lord. It is the last sweet song from lips that were ever sounding forth the praises of his king. It is the dying shout of victory from the standard-bearer, who bore his captain’s colors unflinchingly through the thickest of the fight.
Reverently we lay it at the dear master’s feet, with love, and tears, and prayers. It needs no comment. It is beyond all criticism. But his acceptance and approval will be its reward and glory.
During two previous winters in the south of France, a great part of dear Mr. Spurgeon’s leisure had been devoted to the production of this commentary, and it bears much internal evidence of the brightness of the sunny shore where it was written.
On the last visit to Mentone, after his terrible illness, his mental strength was apparently quite restored, and this delightful service was eagerly resumed; so eagerly, that we often feared his health would suffer from his devotion to his happy task. But it was difficult to persuade him to relax his efforts; with his master, he could say, “my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work;” and till within a few days of the termination of his lovely and gracious life, he was incessantly occupied in expounding this portion of God’s word.
Much of the later portion of the work, therefore, was written on the very border-land of heaven, amid the nearing glories of the unseen world, and almost “within sight of the golden gates.”
Such words acquire a solemnity and pathos with which nothing else could invest them. We listen almost as to a voice “from the excellent glory.”
Yet, in reading over the proof-sheets of my beloved’s last work, I have been as much struck by the profound simplicity as by the tender power of the dear expositor’s comments. Surely the secret of his great strength lay in this, that he was willing to say what god put in his heart, and did not seek to use “enticing words of man’s wisdom.”
Although the master’s call to his faithful servant came before he could complete the revision of his manuscripts, the concluding pages have been compiled, with loving care, entirely from his own spoken and written words, by the dear friend who was most closely associated with him in all his work for god.
S. S. Westwood, Beulah hill, Upper Norwood, January, 1893.