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The Sheepfold and the Common
Or, Within and Without in 2 volumes by Timothy East (1858)


This Work was originally published, above thirty years ago, under the title of the Evangelical Rambler. It has long been out of print; and its republication at the present time has been recommended, as calculated to assist in arresting the progress of some popular errors and dangerous institutions, and in aiding the advancement of truth and social happiness. This opinion was strengthened by a knowledge of the fact, that, according - to the most accurate calculations, from sixty thousand to a hundred thousand copies of the Work, under its original title, were issued from the English press, whilst in America it obtained an equally extended circulation; and from the still more important fact of the Author having received, from a large number of persons, assurances, both by letter and personal interviews, of their having derived their first religious impressions and convictions from perusing its pages. A new and thoroughly-revised Edition is, therefore, now issued, under the title of “The Sheepfold and the Common,” as being more descriptive of the aim and intention of the Work than its former name.

The object of the Work is to afford instruction and amusement, conveyed by a simple narration of the events of everyday life. In constructing his story, the Author has availed himself occasionally of the conceptions of his fancy, and at other times he has crowded into a narrow compass facts and incidents culled from an extended period of his history; but reality forms the basis of every narrative and of every scene he has described. He has departed from the common-place habit of presenting the grand truths of the Christian faith in didactic and dogmatic statements, preferring the dramatic form, as more likely to arrest the attention and interest the feelings, especially of the youthful and imaginative portion of the community. In adopting this style of composition, he has thus endeavoured to follow the footsteps of the great Prophet of Israel, who often spake in parables, veiling truth in a beauteous external vehicle, to captivate and teach his hearers, while their prejudices were lying dormant. In no book of human authorship can we find specimens of imaginative composition that will compare with the following examples from the New Testament, which the Author quotes, in illustration and defence of the principle on which his Work is based.

On no occasion during the ministry of Jesus Christ are we so thoroughly convinced of the fatal danger of trusting in our own attainments and doings for our salvation, and of the absolute safety of reposing exclusive confidence in Him for this inestimable blessing, as when he places us in imagination on the shore, after the desolating storm has completed its work of destruction, leaving us to gaze on the ruins of the one house erected on the sand; while we see the other remaining secure on the unmoved and unshaken rock, in stern and tranquil defiance of all tempests and hurricanes. See Matt. vii. 24-28.

We have more definite and more vivid impressions of the invisible world—of the calm repose and fraternal fellowship of the saved, and of the privations and anguish of the lost, when reading our Lord’s description of the condition of Lazarus and the rich man, than is produced on our minds by his announcement of the issue of the day of judgment, when the wicked go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal. Luke xvi. 19-26.

The Work, under its new title, “The Sheepfold and the Common,” has undergone a very careful revision; many portions of the original have been re-written, and others omitted to make room for new matter of more interest and importance at the present time. While carrying out the main object of the Work, as already adverted to—namely, to present the grand doctrines of the Christian faith in a pleasing and attractive manner—the Author has also endeavoured to elucidate various topics important to the church at large and to the well-being of society in general; and though he has not plunged into the mazes of controversy, with the obscure and often unintelligible advocates of the theological heresies of the age, yet many of the more prominent of these have been subjected to a severe and, he trusts, an impartial examination.

If the re-issue of this Work should prove as successful in conveying spiritual life to the spiritually dead—in relieving the anxious inquirer from his misgivings and perplexities—and in administering the consolations of faith and hope to the devout believer, while passing through the varied seasons of his eventful history, as it proved in its less perfect and less attractive form—then, whether living or dying, the Author will indulge the hope of meeting many, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be to him a crown of rejoicing for ever.

Volume 1  |  Volume 2

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