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Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
Zeal for Souls
A traveler was journeying in the darkness of night along a road that led to a deep and rapid river, which, swollen by sudden rains, was chafing and roaring within its 'precipitous banks. The bridge that crossed the stream had been swept away by the torrent, but he knew it not. A man met him, and after enquiring whither he was bound, said to him in an indifferent way: ' Are you aware that the bridge is gone?' 'No,' was the answer. 'Why do you think so?' 'Oh, I heard such a report this afternoon, and though I am not certain about it, you had perhaps better not proceed.'
Deceived by the hesitating and undecided manner in which the information was given, the traveler pushed onward in the way of death, Soon another meeting him, cried out in consternation. 'Sir, sir, the bridge is gone!' 'Oh! yes,' replied the wayfarer, 'some one told me that story a little distance back; but from the careless tone with which he told it, I am sure it is an idle tale.' 'Oh, it is true, it is true!' exclaimed the other. 'I know the bridge is gone, for I barely escaped being carried away with it myself. Danger is before you and you must not go on.' And in the excitement of his feelings, he grasped him by the hands, by the arms, by the clothes, and besought him not to rush upon manifest destruction. Convinced by the earnest voice, the earnest eyes, the earnest gestures, the traveler turned back, and was saved. The intelligence in both cases was the same; but the manner of its conveyance in the one gave it an air of a fable, in the other an air of truth.
So it is only through a burning zeal for the salvation of the lost: a zeal glowing in the heart, and flashing out in the look and action and utterance: that the confidence of unbelief can be overcome, and the heedless travelers of the broad way won to the path of life and happiness. Love is the most potent logic: interest and sympathy are the most subduing eloquence.: Christian Work.
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Zeal for Souls'. Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fff/z/zeal-for-souls.html. 1870.
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19