Desire of Ages: the book of ages
In the hearts of all mankind, of whatever race or station in life, there are inexpressible longings for something they do not now possess. This longing is implanted in the very constitution of man by a merciful God, that man may not be satisfied with his present conditions or attainments, whether bad, or good, or better. God desires that the human shall seek the best, and find it to the eternal blessing of his soul.
Satan, by wily scheme and craft, has perverted these longings of the human heart. He makes men believe that this desire may be satisfied by pleasure, by wealth, by ease, by fame, by power; but those who have been thus deceived by him (and they number myriads) find all these things pall upon the sense, leaving the soul as barren and unsatisfied as before.
It is God’s design that this longing of the human heart should lead to the One who alone is able to satisfy it. The desire is of Him that it may lead to Him, the fullness and fulfillment of that desire. That fullness is found in Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Eternal God. “For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell;” “for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” And it is also true that “in Him ye are made full” with respect to every desire divinely implanted and normally followed.
Haggai calls Him “the Desire of all nations,” and we may well call Him “the Desire of ages,” even as He is “the King of ages.” It is the purpose of this book to set forth Jesus Christ as the One in whom every longing may be satisfied. There is many a “life of Christ” written, excellent books, large funds of information, elaborate essays on chronology and contemporaneous history, customs, and events, with much of the teaching and many glimpses of the many-sided life of Jesus of Nazareth. Yet it may be truly said, “the half has never been told.” It is not, however, the purpose of this work to set forth a harmony of the Gospels, or even to give in strictly chronological order the important events and wonderful lessons of the life of Christ; its purpose is to present the love of God as revealed in His Son, the divine beauty of the life of Christ, of which all may partake, and not to satisfy the desires of the merely curious nor the questionings of critics.
But even as by the attraction of His own goodness of character Jesus drew His disciples unto Himself, and by His personal presence, by His sympathetic touch and feeling in all their infirmities and needs, and by His constant association, transformed their characters from the earthly to the heavenly, from the selfish to the sacrificing, from small-hearted ignorance and prejudice to large-hearted knowledge and profound love for souls of all nations and races, even so it is the purpose of this book so to present the blessed Redeemer as to help the reader to come to Him face to face, heart to heart, and find in Him, even as did the disciples of old, Jesus the Mighty One, who saves “to the uttermost,” and transforms to His own divine image all those who come unto God by Him. Yet how impossible it is to reveal His life! It is like attempting to put upon canvas the living rainbow; into characters of black and white the sweetest music.
In the following pages the author, a woman of large and deep and long experience in the things of God, has set forth new beauties from the life of Jesus. She has brought many new gems from the precious casket. She opens before the reader undreamed-of riches from this infinite treasure house. New and glorious light flashes forth from many a familiar passage, the depth of which the reader supposed he had long before fathomed.
To state it in brief, Jesus Christ is revealed as the fullness of the Godhead, the infinitely merciful Saviour of sinners, the Sun of Righteousness, the merciful High Priest, the Healer of all human maladies and diseases, the tender, compassionate Friend, the constant, ever-present and helpful Companion, the Prince of the House of David, the Shield of His people, the Prince of Peace, the Coming King, the Everlasting Father, the culmination and fruition of the desires and hopes of all the ages.
Under the blessing of God this book is given to the world with the prayer that the Yahawah by His Spirit will make the words of this book words of life to many souls whose longings and desires are yet unsatisfied; that they “may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings,” and finally, throughout a blessed eternity, at His right hand, share in “that fullness of joy,” and “pleasures forevermore,” which will be the ripened fruit-age of all those who find in Him the all in all, “the Chiefest among ten thousand,” and “the One altogether lovely.”