Forward by Arthur Blessitt
“They were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
“I speak to you as strangers and pilgrims.”
1 Peter 2:11
Many years ago someone sent me a very old book published in 1861: The Cross Bearer.
I glanced at the book and sent the person a thank you note. It was 'lost' for many years in my library and not located until I moved to new offices. As I was unpacking the book I opened it and read a few pages. I was overcome by the message and the drawings. They were so powerful. I read and wept through the night. How true, how true I thought. This book must be published again.
I did publish it but it is now out of print. I felt led of the Lord to put it on our website for people to read and to print a copy. The author of the book is not known so I cannot give that person credit. All the credit goes to Jesus who is the Master Cross Bearer.
Please note that the writing is more in the style of many years ago. I have edited it to the main points and know that the drawings carry a great impact and really tell the story.
I have added some of my own thoughts and feelings at the end of this book.
All Glory to God,
A pilgrim follower of Jesus,
The Model Cross Bearer
“His appearance was marred more than any man
His form more than the sons of men."
It seemed to be the noon hour and I was standing on a street of Jerusalem amid a multitude of people.
What a scene was before me. My Lord was there: but in what a condition and with what surroundings! A few hearts loved him; but lover and friends were far from Him. Rude, fierce soldiers attended Him on His way to death. An atmosphere of hatred and oaths and mocking and cruelty was all around Him.
He was staggering and fainting beneath the rugged cross. Then I remembered how it had been said that the weight of our sins was laid upon Him, even to the limit of His strength. Jesus carried the cross for us and for our sins.
Surely I had never before really comprehended this scene. My heart was deeply moved as I discovered the greatness of my wrong and the greatness of the sufferer, the intensity of His suffering, His cheerfulness and willingness to endure it for me. There had been something superficial before in my view of my Lord bearing the cross for me.
The Cross Presented
“If any person will come after me,
let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
The scene changed, and I seemed to be an eyewitness of the Majesty of Him who had appeared before in weakness bowing beneath His cross. His Face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was as white as the light.
Before Him stood a young man, pleasant and in the dress of a pilgrim, his face was set toward the celestial city.
The Lord held in His hand a cross resembling his own, but far smaller and lighter. He presented the cross to the young man and said,
“Take your cross and follow me!"
A deep sadness passed over the countenance of the young man. The Lord stood holding out the cross to him.
Lord: “My dear disciple, I have cheerfully suffered for you. I endured the cross, despising the shame, for you. Can you not accept this cross now and bear it for me?"
Disciple: “Why, Lord? Did you not promise rest to all who come to you. I thought that from now on my life was to be full of happiness. I looked for joy and peace in believing. Now I only find a cross. Difficulties have begun to embarrass me that I never knew when living in the world. Trial succeeds trial, like waves of the ocean."
Lord: “My child, your happiness is found in tribulation and conflict here. It is in imitating and obeying me that you are to become holy in bearing your cross, to find joy, to be exalted in being abased, to conquer by yielding, to find your life in losing it.
You must deny yourself. Passion will plead for indulgence but it must be refused. The world will beckon you to ease and seek to dazzle you with its glitter and pomp; but you must resist. I have shown you in my own example what I would have you be. Again I repeat, take your cross and follow me."
Disciple: “Lord, I could bear anything but this trial you have allotted me."
Lord: “You are called to bear your own cross and not another's."
Disciple: “Is there only these severe terms? I desire to follow you but how can I make such a sacrifice of my position in society, my comfort and my interest?"
Lord: “You may be my disciple but only on the condition of bearing your cross after Me."
Disciple: And must I give up my cherished dreams? From childhood my heart has indulged in the most delightful anticipations of future enjoyment of life. I should be able to relieve my anxieties and gratify my tastes and have everything around me comfortable so that the ideal of life would be realized."