God’s Promises Of Salvation, Life, And Eternity, by Charles H. Spurgeon
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
The original title of this book, when it was published in the 1800’s during the lifetime of its author , was “According To Promise: Or, The Lord’s Method Of Dealing With His Chosen People.” This book does deal with God’s promises, especially towards the end of this book, but it is not as straightforward a book as one might expect. Indeed, the way that this book begins and ends suggest that the author had something in mind with each part of the book and turned two related but somewhat independent projects into a combined book that is intriguing but is certainly far more complex than one might think for the author’s generally straightforward work. I found it to be a deeply interesting book, to be sure, and the book was full of the author’s punchy rhetoric and intriguing biblical insights, but the first part of the book seemed to be a bit heavy-handed for me, certainly more than I tend to appreciate, although not all readers are likely to be as sensitive to such matters as I am.
As is common for the author’s books, this is a fairly short volume of just over 150 pages. The first four chapters form an extended look at contrasts between Isaac and Ishmael from the point of view of spiritual analysis, the natural versus the supernatural, as well as two kinds of life and two kinds of hope. While I thought towards the end of this section of the book that the author was clubbing a dead horse a bit, the book became much more enjoyable to read as it progressed. The author talks about persecution, the importance of directing our hearts properly, and then spends the rest of the book talking about the promises of God in a generally excellent way. He talks about who the promises belong to, God’s free gifts, the reality of God’s promises because of His faithfulness, and the fact that such blessings are a treasure for believers. He talks about how believers value the promises, how God fulfills them, and how they are endorsed and taken possession of. As the book closes, the author then moves towards a look at how some promises must be searched out and that the timing is according to God’s will and not our own, before finishing with chapters on the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ and how they relate to promises, giving a striking conclusion to an intriguing book.
Overall, despite the fact that the book begins with a rather harsh and unsympathetic look at Ishmael and his kin among those who are children of the flesh and not of faith, this book does have a lot to commend it. The author can be praised for managing to praise God for His faithfulness to His promises without offering the sort of name it and claim it approach that characterizes so much of contemporary professed Christianity. Given the shortness of this book, I was a bit surprised that the author did not spend more time looking at the things that God does not promise that people mistakenly believe that God has promised, but that might have made the book a bit more dark than the author was intending it to be. In this book the author appears more than usually concerned to address the subject of divine providence and God’s faithfulness, and it has fewer personal stories than most of the other works I have read from the author, although the author’s exegesis is generally sound and up to his usual standard. Given our generation’s struggle with faith, this book certainly provides some useful reminders as to the importance of believing in promises and not misrepresenting what God has promised either to the right hand or to the left hand, which is all too easy for us to do sometimes.
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