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The opening paragraph of a Spurgeon sermon from 1880:

Were you ever in a new trouble, one which was so strange that you felt that a similar trial had never happened to you and, moreover, you dreamt that such a temptation had never assailed anybody else? I should not wonder if that was the thought of your troubled heart. And did you ever walk out upon that lonely desert island upon which you were wrecked and say, “I am alone—alone—ALONE—nobody was ever here before me”? And did you suddenly pull up short as you noticed, in the sand, the footprints of a man? I remember right well passing through that experience—and when I looked, lo, it was not merely the footprints of a man that I saw, but I thought I knew whose feet had left those imprints. They were the marks of One who had been crucified, for there was the print of the nails. So I thought to myself, “If He has been here, it is no longer a desert island. As His blessed feet once trod this wilderness-way, it blossoms now like the rose and it becomes to my troubled spirit as a very garden of the Lord!”

—Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Education of the Sons of God” (Metropolitan Tabernacle: June 10, 1880).

HT: Rachel Aviv

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3 thoughts on “Was Spurgeon the Original Inspiration for the “Footprints” Poem?”

  1. MarieP says:

    And JC Ryle is the apparent original founder of the WWJD movement:

    A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will not only live the life of faith in Him, and draw from Him all his daily peace and strength, but he will also labour to have the mind that was in Him, and to be “conformed to His image.” (Rom. viii. 29.) It will be his aim to bear with and forgive others, even as Christ forgave us–to be unselfish, even as Christ pleased not Himself–to walk in love, even as Christ loved us–to be lowly-minded and humble, even as Christ made Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself. He will remember that Christ was a faithful witness for the truth–that He came not to do His own will–that it was His meat and drink to do His Father’s will–that He would continually deny Himself in order to minister to others–that He was meek and patient under undeserved insults–that He thought more of godly poor men than of kings–that He was full of love and compassion to sinners–that He was bold and uncompromising in denouncing sin–that He sought not the praise of men, when He might have had it–that He went about doing good–that He was separate from worldly people–that He continued instant in prayer–that He would not let even His nearest relations stand in His way when God’s work was to be done. These things a holy man will try to remember. By them he will endeavour to shape his course in life. He will lay to heart the saying of John, “He that saith he abideth in Christ ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked” (1 John ii. 6); and the saying of Peter, that “Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow His steps.” (1 Peter ii. 21.) Happy is he who has learned to make Christ his “all,” both for salvation and example! Much time would be saved, and much sin prevented, if men would oftener ask themselves the question, “What would Christ have said and done, if He were in my place?”

    – from Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots

  2. David says:

    Fortunately, pastors doesn’t know what will happen to their well-intentioned illustrations. :-)

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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