Most authorities agree that the preacher who spoke in the Primitive Methodist chapel at Colchester, England, on January 6, 1850, when Charles Haddon Spurgeon was converted, was not the "illiterate deacon" as commonly supposed, but the Reverend Robert Eaglen, whose sermon notes, written on four pages of letter paper, have recently been brought to light. As will be remembered, the sermon was based on Isaiah 45:22, and the actual sermon outline was published many years ago in the Methodist Times. In view of the tremendous consequences of this one sermon, preached by an obscure minister, the notes assume special interest and value. The outline, virtually as it appeared then, is as follows:
(Text.) "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, . . for I am God, and there is none else." Isa. 45:22.
(Introduction. ) God wills the salvation of man. In order that it may be accomplished, He makes use of varied means—He threatens, promises, exhorts, entreats, and in His Word clearly points out the means whereby we may be saved. Notice :
I. The Blessing Offered: Salvation.
a. Salvation is deliverance from slavery or danger. This salvation is a spiritual one, and may best be illustrated by considering the moral condition of man. Man is naturally 'under—
b. The guilt of sin which, like a chain, binds the soul.
c. The dominion of sin which, like a taskmaster, keeps him in drudgery.
d. He is also exposed to the wrath of God against sin.
2. The blessing offered in the text is an entire deliverance from all these evils. This salvation is:
a. Free—in its offers ; in its communications.
b.Full—in the deliverance it effects in the blessings it imparts.
c. Present—in its realization.
II. The Means to be used in Order to Obtain
: "Look unto me."
a. The Object of regard—God.
God in Christ atoning for our sins. John 1 :29.
What is meant by looking to this Object? (Refer to the Israelites and the brazen serpent.) It implies:
A sense of our need of salvation.
A desire to obtain it.
An exertion after it, by earnest prayer and strong faith. The reception of this blessing is inevitably consequent on our thus "looking."
III. The reason why we must look to this object: "I am God, and there is none else."
- Consider the greatness of the Being giving the command.
- There is no other means of being saved.
Evidently it was when "applying the subject" that the preacher cried out to the youth in front of him, "Young man, look to Jesus Christ !"
Probably Robert Eaglen went home that day to his Sunday dinner wondering, like many another preacher, what good he had accomplished: But who can tell what results may accrue from even the humblest ministry in the Master's service? We must labor on in faith and hope, confident that while we may but humbly scatter seeds, or water another's sowing, God, in His own good time, will give the increase.