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by C. H. Spurgeon
From the July 1869 Sword and Trowel


ON ONE OF THE HOTTEST days of a sultry July, two of us, weary and worn from a long and dusty tramp along the Portsmouth road, reached at length the top of Hindhead. Not a tree or a shrub within hail, and the sun pouring down remorselessly a flood of fire, there was no sign of shadow except from a large stone cross which garnished Hindhead's summit. That cross was elaborately adorned with Latin inscriptions, and in form was accurate and classical; but its shadow was too narrow to furnish perfect shade even for one, much less for two. The shadow was most refreshing, but there was not enough of it, and one traveler must, parched as he was, stand or lie down beneath Sol's blazing beams, for there was no room for him within the cooling shade. Thus may it be with the gospel of Jesus as set forth by some ministries. Jesus is eloquently talked of, but the freeness of his grace and the abundant power of his blood are not enforced; or it may be systematic theology is the preacher's idol, and Christ is narrowed down to the creed; accuracy of doctrine is fostered, but the Christ who is set forth has no breadth of love, no vastness of shade for the refreshment of weary sinners. At the same time too many take away the solid character of the atonement altogether, and, while aiming at breadth, give us instead of a granite cross a mere gauze with no shade at all. The true scriptural idea of the atonement is "The shadow of a great rock in a weary land." The motto of the gospel of Jesus is, "And yet there is room."
    Oh, the blessed shadow of Christ's cross! All the flocks of the Lord lie down under it, and rest in peace; millions of souls are delivered by it from the heat of vengeance, and myriads more shall find a covert within it from the wrath to come. Dear reader, are you within the shadow of the Crucified? Does he stand between God and your soul to ward off from you the burning beams of justice, which your sins so richly deserve, by bearing them himself? If you perish from want of shelter it will not be because there was no room for you in Christ, for no sinner was ever sent away for that reason, and none ever will be. If you die in the fierce heat of divine wrath, you will have yourself alone to blame, for there is the shadow of the great propitiation, cool and refreshing, and it is at every moment accessible to simple faith. If you refuse to believe, and count yourself unworthy of salvation, your blood must lie at your own door. Come, now, into the sure and blessed shelter, lest the sunstroke of despair should wither thee. Once beneath the shadow of Jesus, the sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night; thou shalt abide under the shadow of the Almighty. "The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand." He who would fain find the shelter of the cross, let him sing and pray with all his heart.

"Where is the shadow of that rock
Which from the sun defends thy flock!
Fain would I feed among thy sheep,
Among them rest, among themsleep."

From my Note Book.—C. H. S.

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