A Pastor's Sketches
Summary: Referred to the Bunyan of Brooklyn, Ichabod Spencer was a master at conversing with souls. Averaging 800 visits a year for the 25 years he was a pastor is incredible, but the fact that he meticulously made notes on each of these visits is nothing short of amazing. And that is primarily what makes up this book. It is a book filled with conversations between a pastor and unconverted sinners. He tears down every obstacle people erect to keep themselves from God. He allows no excuse for delaying repentance. He lovingly pursues his flock, caring deeply for their souls.
Personal Thoughts: Oh, I WISH I could get more people to read this book! I enjoy it so much. Conversion is most fascinating. I have learned so much about the human heart in these chapters. I have learned much about the work of Satan. I have found similar obstacles in these stories that I too have had to overcome in my spiritual life. This book gives the reader a very solemn view of the soul. It is indeed able to be lost forever and that is a grave matter we think little about.
Chapter 8: Reliance on Man
As I was leaving the place of a morning prayer- meeting, which was attended, in a time of revival,
very early in the morning; a young man about sixteen years of age came to me, and asked permission to accompany me home ; for " he wanted to talk with me."
" What do you wish to say to me ?" said I.
" Why — I want you to tell me what to do."
" I have told you, again and again. I can tell you nothing different — nothing new. You must repent, if you would be saved. You must give up your self-righteousness and flee to Christ. The Law condemns you. The sovereign grace of God only can save you. You must give up your miserable and long-continued attempts to save yourself. You must give God your heart, as he requires, and as I have explained to you already, many times."
" Yes, I know that ; but I am so distressed ! I cannot live so ! I want you to tell me some- thing else."
" I cannot relieve your distress. Christ alone can give you rest. I have nothing else to tell you. I have told you all
the truth — all you need to know."
" I thought," said he, "Perhaps you could say something, that would help me ; if I went to your house."
" So you have said to me more than once, and I have told you better. God only can help you. You must rely on him."
" But I should like to talk with you again about my feelings, in your study."
" It would do you no good. You have nothing to say, that you have not said before ; and I have nothing new to say to you."
" Well — may I go home with you ?"
" No. Go home. Man cannot help you. The whole matter lies betwixt yourself and God."
He turned away, the most downcast creature I ever saw. It seemed as if his last prop was gone. He walked as if his limbs could scarcely carry him.
I had not been at home an hour, before he came to tell me, that his burden was gone. He said, that after I " had cast
him off," all hope forsook him, and he " had nowhere else to go but to God." Before he reached his home, (about a mile,) he had given all into the hands of God ; and he felt so much relieved of his burden of sin and fear, that he thought he " would turn right about, and come right back and tell me." —
But," said he, "I do not believe I should have gone to God, if you had not cast me off."