THE TREE OF LIFE
"On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." Rev. 22:2
The simple design of this little volume is, not so much to unfold the varied and striking phenomena of our Lord's life, as to illustrate some of its leading incidents. His life can alone be properly studied in the light of its doings. It was pre-eminently a practical life. "Not words, but deeds," might have served for its motto. "He went about doing good." It was life for life- life set apart, life spent, life sacrificed for man. Living in a world that hated Him, He yet loved it. Dwelling among a race that injured Him, He yet toiled for it. Belonging to a nation who insulted and rejected Him, He yet died for it. Behold the man! -the God-man, Christ Jesus- and let your admiration deepen into love, and your love constrain you to go forth and live, and, if need be, die, for Him.
If we would be Christ's true disciples, we must be practical. Our Christian life, not evaporate in mere words, must, like the dew of night and the light of day, diffuse, invisible and noiseless, its vital and illuminating influence along all our pathway to eternity- blessed of God and blessed to man. Oh, it is a solemn thing to live! We have but one life- yet that life may act for weal or for woe upon the deathless lives of countless beings, speeding, like ourselves, to the judgment. "No man lives to himself." He cannot, if he would. Man lives for man, his friend or foe.
It has been the aim of the author of the present volume so to unfold the "way of life " that each chapter should contain an epitome of the gospel plan of salvation. It may thus be found an appropriate work to place in the hands of those alas! how countless the number!- who are living in blinded ignorance or in criminal neglect of the claims of God, the interests of their soul, and the solemnities of eternity.
Nor this alone. Equally has it been his object gently, as beneath the floating banner of Christ's love, to lead the experienced believer into the banqueting house of God's truth, supplying such doctrinal and preceptive instruction as may aid the growth of that vigorous, manly, and practical Christianity which can alone with effect meet the demands, and confront the foes of this extraordinary age.
Nor has the suffering, the tried, and the tempted believer been overlooked. "All manner of fruit" clusters upon our "Tree of Life." It has been the aim of the writer to bring all believers within its reach; that those who, by reason of weakness of faith, or sorrow of mind, or suffering of body, cannot touch the topmost bough, may at least pluck from the lowest the spiritual nourishment that shall make sorrow less bitter, suffering less keen, sin more hated, and Christ more precious.
The writer has but to add that it is his purpose, the Lord permitting, to follow the present volume with a similar one on some of the leading TITLES OF CHRIST, in which he proposes shall, like the "Tree of Life," yield its fruit "every month." The Lord add His blessing, and to the Triune-Jehovah shall be ascribed all the praise!