Shadows and Realities constitute the great contrast between earth and heaven, time and eternity. "What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue!" was an exclamation once uttered upon the floor of the British Senate by Burke, one of England's most eloquent statesmen, not less true than solemn and sublime. But the revelations of the Bible have come to displace these human, these earthly shadows, with divine and heavenly REALITIES. The Bible is true--eternity is real. "We have not followed cunningly devised fables" in yielding our unquestioning belief to the great and precious truths of the Gospel. Experience has proved them real, has demonstrated them divine. We have tried the world, and it has wounded us--the creature, and it has disappointed us--the teaching of men, and it has bewildered us--our own hearts, and they have proved "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." We turn to the "glorious Gospel of the blessed God," and we find it, through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, light in darkness, joy in sorrow, counsel in perplexity, strength in weakness, and hope in despair. It tells us of Jesus, the loving One, the mighty One, the sympathizing One, the faithful One, the saving One; and concentrating our whole soul in childlike faith upon Him, we prove the Gospel divine, God's Word true--all it threatens, and all it promises, REAL.
The following pages will, we trust, in a humble way, lead the reader into a closer acquaintance with a few of these Divine Realities. With them many who take up this volume, may be already familiar. Those who have welcomed them before, as they have eagerly looked for a word of counsel and comfort at the opening of a new year, may not regret to meet them again in another and more permanent form. To those to whom they will be new, this will explain the particular and appropriate bearing of each chapter upon this reflective and impressive period of time. But, believing that they contain instructive and saving, sanctifying and consolatory truths, suitable for the history of every-day life, and that they have already had the seal of the Divine blessing, the author commends them with confidence, in their enlarged form, to the prayerful perusal of the Christian Church, and to the continued favor of the Triune God.