W. (William) Haslam.

From death into life: or, Twenty years of my ministry online

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last night. We held our watch-night service as usual,
thanking God for the mercies of the past, and entered upon
the new year with thanksgiving and prayer.

Thus ended my work, and eventful sojourn at Hayle, a
little more than three years after it began. A very sorrowful
trial it was, and one of bitter disappointment ; but the Lord's
leading was clear, and I have since proved that it was all



THE QUAINT OLD PICTURE. 315

right, though at the time it was most mysterious and very
dark.

A few weeks before leaving Hayle, as I was sitting by
the fire one wet afternoon, my eyes fell on a little coloured
picture on the mantel-piece, which had been the companion




of my journeys for all the twenty years of which I have
been writing. It was a quaint mediaeval illustration of Moses
lifting up the serpent in the wilderness, copied from a
valuable manuscript (Book of Prayers) in the Bodleian
Library at Oxford.



5i6 FROM DEATH INTO LIFE,

As I looked at the engraving before me, I began to
suspect for the first time that there was a design in the
arrangement of the figures, and that it was really intended
to convey some particular teaching. I took it in my hand
and studied it, when I observed that the cross or pole on
which the serpent was elevated stood in the centre, dividing
two sets of characters, and that there were serpents on one
side, and none on the other.

Behind the figure of Moses, Is a man standing with his
arms crossed on his breast, looking at the brazen serpent.
He has evidently obtained life and healing by a look. On
the other side, I observed that there were four kinds of
persons represented, who were not doing as this healed one
did to obtain deliverance.

First, there is one who is kneeling in front of the cross,
but he is looking towards Moses, and not at the serpent,
and apparently confessing to him as if he were a priest.

Next behind him is one lying on his back, as if he was
perfectly safe, though he is evidently in the midst of danger ;
for a serpent may be seen at his ear, possibly whispering
" Peace, peace, when there is no peace."

Still further back from the cross there is a man with a
sad face doing a work of mercy, binding up the wounds of
a fellow-sufferer, and little suspecting that he himself is
involved in the same danger.

Behind them all, on the background, is a valiant man
who is doing battle with the serpents, which may be seen
rising against him in unabating persistency.

I observed that none of these men were looking at the
brazen serpent as they were commanded to do. I cannot
describe how excited and interested I became ; for I saw in
this illustration a picture of my own life. Here was the
way of salvation clearly set forth, and four ways which are
not the way of salvation, all of which I had tried and found



A RETROSPECT. 317

unavailing. This was the silent but speaking testimony of
some unknown denizen of a cloister, who lived in the
beginning of the fifteenth century, in the days of ignorance
and superstition. But notwithstanding this darkness, he
was brought out into the marvellous light of the Gospel,
and has left this interesting record of his experience.

Like him, I also had fought with serpents, for I began
in my own strength to combat with sin, and strove by my
own resolutions to overcome. From this, I went on to do
good works, and works of mercy, in the vain hope of thus
obtaining the same for myself Then, I relied in the Church
for salvation, as God's appointed ark of safety ; but not feel-
ing secure, I took another step beyond, and sought forgive-
ness through the power of the priest. This I found was as
ineffectual as all my previous efforts. At last, I was brought
(by the Spirit of God) as a wounded and dying sinner, to
look at the Crucified One. . Then (as I have related), I
found pardon and peace. Ever since it has been my joy
and privilege (like Moses pointing to the serpent) to cry,
*' Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of
the world" (John i. 29). *' I have determined to know
nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified ;" that is, to tell
only of the person and office of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Nearly twenty years have elapsed since the period at
which this book closes,* and, during all that time I have
verified the truth and reality of the teaching and experience
I have recorded in this volume. All these years, with their
months, weeks, and days have passed by, and have found
me continually rejoicing in the work of the Lord — often
wearied in it, but never of it — often tempted to falter, but

* I may, perhaps, at some future time, give an account of these latter
twenty years.



3i8 FROM DBA TH INTO LIFE.

always enabled to persevere. I have seen many rise and
start well, who have collapsed or retired ; many who have
blazed like a meteor for a short time, and then disappeared
from the scene.

May I here, in a few parting words to the reader, tell
how it is that I have been kept. I believe it is — First,
Because I have never failed to insist upon the absolute
necessity of conversion, saying in the words of the Master,
" Marvel not, Ye must be born again " (John iii. 7).
Secondly, Because I have preached nothing but what is
taken from the Word, and required nothing to be believed
for Salvation and Edification, but what can be proved
thereby. Thirdly, Because I have exhorted living souls
with purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord ; firmly
believing that He who died to save, rose again from the
dead, and lives to keep His people.

When we are saved, we are debtors to God, to devote
ourselves to His service, and for His glory : besides this, we
are debtors to men, to make known to them the grace which
we have received ; and we, as faithful stewards of God,
should be ever ready (and not ashamed) to preach the
Gospel, for, " It is the power of God unto salvation to every
one that believeth" (Rom. i. 16).




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Online LibraryW. (William) HaslamFrom death into life: or, Twenty years of my ministry → online text (page 23 of 23)