Around the Wicket Gate by Charles H. Spurgeon

In an age where it has been pointed out that perhaps a majority of church members in most of our churches in America are unregenerate, a book such as Charles Spurgeon’s Around the Wicket Gate is much needed.  John Bunyan made the phrase “the wicket gate” popular in his work , The Pilgrim’s Progress.  In that allegory, the wicket gate represented the narrow gate that Christ reveals in Matthew 7:13-14 through which Christian, and all pilgrims, must past on their way to the Celestial City.  In Around the Wicket Gate, Spurgeon makes use of this well-known story to reach out to those who may be all around the wicket gate but have never stepped through it.  The subtitle of the book is “A Friendly Talk with Seekers Concerning Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”  In the preface , Spurgeon writes:

“Millions of men are in the outlying regions, far off from God and peace; for these we pray, and to these we give warning.  But just now we have to do with a smaller company, who are not far from the kingdom, but have come right to the wicket gate which stands at the head of the way of life.  One would think that they would hasten to enter, for a free and open invitation is placed over the entrance, the porter waits to welcome them, and there is but this one way to eternal life. . . . I have prepared this little book in the earnest hope that he may work by it to the blessed end of leading seekers to an immediate, simple trust in the Lord Jesus.”

This book is written for those who are in the church, perhaps children who attend weekly with their parents.  It is for those individuals who are on the church grounds with God’s people but as of yet have not stepped through the gate by faith into everlasting life themselves.  Do you know someone like this?  Are you one such as this?  This book is for you to read and to give to others who are in need of its penetrating truth.  It is easy to read, full of illustrations, and would be a good book to read with children who are asking questions about their salvation.  It is also, however, an excellent book for adults.  While our knowledge of the language and way of life of the 1800s may hinder us from understanding some of Spurgeon’s points, the main point is easy for our 21st century mind s to understand.  He discusses the simplicity of faith and the difficulties that some may feel in believing,  but throughout the book, Spurgeon points to Jesus Christ.  He closes the book with comments to those who have believed.  Near the end of the book, Spurgeon writes these words:

“You have taken poison and the physician brings an antidote, and says, “Take it quickly, or you will die; but i f you take it quickly, I will guarantee that the poison will be neutralized.”  But you say, “No, doctor, I do not believe in antidotes.  Let everything takes its course; let every tub stand on its own bottom; I will have nothing to do with your remedy.  Besides, I do not believe that the re is any remedy for the poison I have taken and, what is more, I don’t care whether there is or not.“  Well, sir you will die; and when the coroner’s inquest is held on your body, the verdict will be, “Served him right!”  So will it be with you if, having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, you say, “I am too much of an advanced man to have anything to do with that old-fashioned notion of substitution.  I shall not attend to the preacher’s talk about sacrifice and blood shedding.”  Then, when you perish, the verdict given by your conscience which will sit upon the King’s quest at last, will run thus. “Suicide: he destroyed his own soul.” . . . Reader, I implore thee, do not so.” (Emphasis Added)

This is just one example of the imploring Spurgeon does in this book to those who are almost saved, but completely lost.  Even if you are a believer, this book  cannot help but encourage you because believers need the gospel every day, just as those who are only “around the wicket gate.”

Barry W Sewell