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A FEW words as to the origin of this Work. In April, 1886, a young friend, who had been in the habit of attending my “ Bible Readings," at the Y.M.C.A., in Aldersgate Street, London, asked me to see a former school-fellow of his, who had become a “Spiritualist." After an interview, which I had with this young man, in which I pointed out to him the awful sin which he was committing, in thus consulting demons; he sent me a book, entitled, “Spirit Teachings," (which is referred to in the after part of this work,) accompanied by a letter ; in which he said, he hoped that I “should be instructed and enlightened by it; as he himself had been : ” for “to relapse into a belief in the doctrines of Christianity, and the scheme of redemption"—which in a subsequent letter, he scrupled not to characterize
" "a gigantic imposture" — "would make him thoroughly unhappy” ! !
After having returned him the book, with a letter, in which I denounced his unscriptural dogmas, and gave him a final, pointed, and faithful warning ; I purposed
writing a small tractate upon the identity of the doctrines of the demons, with so-called "modern thought:" but being then engaged in other work, I deferred the matter until a more favourable opportunity: but when that opportunity arrived, on reflecting that several other persons had written on the subject of Spiritualism, so-called, I had then serious thoughts of giving up the matter altogether.
Returning home, however, from an Evangelistic tour, in the middle of January last, the matter seemed then to be pressed home upon my conscience; and not knowing of any work on this subject, which dealt with it, as a whole ; and the text in James iv. 17—“ to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” -having dropped in upon my spirit, more than once, as it seemed to me reproachfully; I began to think that the Lord Himself must be calling me to this work; and so, on the 21st of January last, I began to write. I had no sooner done so, however, than the whole subject-matter of this Work, in the order in which it is now presented to my readers, seemed to flash into my mind at once; and such a number of passages in various works and periodicals, which I had read, some so far back as forty years ago, and upwards; and so many circumstances that had taken place in years gone by, came trooping into my mind, so appositely, to fit into the various divisions of my subject; that I could not but call to mind Bunyan's description of the state of his mind, when he first began to write his “Pilgrim's Progress :" although of course I am not so vain as to
suppose that there is any other likeness in the two cases than this particular one !
Nevertheless, as I am certain that the Lord Himself has wonderfully and most graciously helped me in the writing of the book itself—having from time to time furnished me, in so marked a manner, with the fact or illustration exactly needed, and at the very time when needed, and frequently not until the time when needed ; I am bound to give, and I do most thankfully and gratefully give, Him all the glory of it. Moreover, as the book was completed on the 20th of March last, exactly two months after I had first commenced it; with the exception of some two or three illustrations, which occurred after the first portion had been sent to the press; and the book itself was in the printer's hands before the month was out; and I have moreover had such manifest proofs in my own soul of the Lord's gracious help in the writing of it; I am bound to believe, that He means to use it for the enlightenment at least of some of His dear children in Christ Jesus; as well as for the deliverance of others, " out of the snare of the devil,” who may have been “taken captive by him at his will ”—2 Tim. ii. 26. And should any of my readers feel quickened, or encouraged, by the perusal of the Work itself; I would earnestly ask them to plead with the Lord for His blessing to rest, both upon it, as well as upon its Author.
My believing readers will of course perceive, why I have given an Exposition of the Gospel of the grace of God,” in the latter part of the Work: which was
needed, not only as an antidote to the false teaching, which I have thus been compelled to set forth, for the purpose of exposing; but also as a guide to any poor soul, whom it may please the Lord Himself to "convict of sin," in its perusal ; that it may be led to trust in Him, Who “saveth to the uttermost" all who come unto God by Him”—Heb. vii. 25.
Lastly, I think it only right to state, that most of the italics, small capitals, and notes of admiration, in the quotations given in the book, are mine.
words relating to it in the Old Testament—The like of
or less, throughout all ages
- Testimony of the Old Testament—The like of
the early days of Christianity-Witchcraft in
Mesmeriem and Spiritualism, not in themselves of modern