I Must Know Him!
from Spurgeon’s, “Do You Know Him?”
Imagine for a moment that you are living in the age of
the Roman emperors. You have been captured by Roman
soldiers and dragged from your native country; you have
been sold as a slave, stripped, whipped, branded, imprisoned,
and treated with shameful cruelty.
At last you are appointed to die in the amphitheater, to make
holiday for the tyrant. The populace assemble with delight.
There they are, tens of thousands of them, gazing down
from the living sides of the capacious Coliseum.
You stand alone, and naked, armed only with a single dagger
-a poor defense against gigantic beasts. A ponderous door is
drawn up and forth there rushes the monarch of the forest
-a huge lion; you must slay him or be torn to pieces!
You are absolutely certain that the conflict is too stern for you,
and that the sure result must and will be that those terrible
teeth will grind your bones and drip with your blood.
You tremble; your joints are loosed; you are paralyzed with fear,
like the timid deer when the lion has dashed it to the ground.
But what is this? O wonder of mercy! A deliverer appears!
A great unknown leaps from among the gazing multitude,
and confronts the savage monster. He shrinks not at the
roaring of the devourer, but dashes upon him with terrible
fury, until, like a whipped cur, the lion slinks towards his
den, dragging himself along in pain and fear.
The hero lifts you up, smiles into your bloodless face, whispers
comfort in your ear, and bids you be of good courage, for you are
free! Do you not think that there would arise at once in your heart
a desire to know your deliverer? As the guards conducted you
into the open street, and you breathed the cool, fresh air, would
not the first question be, “Who was my deliverer, that I may fall
at his feet and thank him?”
You are not, however, informed, but instead you are gently
led away to a noble mansion house, where your many wounds
are washed and healed with salve of rarest power. You are
clothed in sumptuous apparel; you are made to sit down at a
feast; you eat and are satisfied; you rest upon the softest down.
The next morning you are attended by servants who guard you
from evil and minister to your good. Day after day, week after
week, your needs are supplied. You live like a king. There is
nothing that you can ask which you do not receive.
I am sure that your curiosity would grow more and more intense
until it would ripen into an insatiable craving. You would scarcely
neglect an opportunity of asking the servants, “Tell me, who does
all this, who is my noble benefactor, for I must know
“Well, but” they would say, “is it not enough for you that you are
delivered from the lion?” “No,” say you, “it is for that very
reason that I pant to know him.”
“Your needs are richly supplied- why are you vexed by curiosity
as to the hand which reaches you the boon? If your garment is
worn out, there is another. Long before hunger oppresses you,
the table is well loaded. What more do you want?”
But your reply is, “It is because I have no wants, that,
therefore, my soul longs and yearns even to hungering and
to thirsting, that I may know my generous loving friend.”
Suppose that as you wake up one morning, you find lying up on
your pillow a precious love-token from your unknown friend, a
ring sparkling with jewels and engraved with a tender inscription,
and a bouquet of flowers bound about with a love-motto!
Your curiosity now knows no bounds. But you are informed that
this wondrous being has not only done for you what you have seen,
but a thousand deeds of love which you did not see, which were
higher and greater still as proofs of his affection!
You are told that he was wounded, and imprisoned, and scourged
for your sake, for he had a love to you so great, that death itself
could not overcome it: you are informed that he is every moment
occupied in your interests, because he has sworn by himself that
where he is there you shall be; his honors you shall share, and of
his happiness you shall be the crown.
Why, methinks you would say, “Tell me, men and women, any of
you who know him, tell me who he is and what he is!” and if they said,
“But it is enough for you to know that he loves you, and to have daily
proofs of his goodness,” you would say, “No, these love-tokens
increase my thirst. If you see him, tell him I am sick with love. The
flagons which he sends me, and the love-tokens which he gives me,
they keep me for awhile with the assurance of his affection but they
only impel me onward with the more unconquerable desire that I
may know him. I must know him; I cannot live without knowing him!
His goodness makes me thirst, and pant, and faint, and even die,
that I may know him.”
Methinks what I have now pictured before you will wake the
echoes in your breasts, and you will say, “Ah, it is even so!
It is because Christ loved me and gave himself for me that
I want to know him; it is because he has shed his blood for
me and has chosen me that I may be one with him forever,
that my soul desires a fuller acquaintance with him."