A Summary of the Christian Faith brings Hutter’s classic Compendium into a readable and easily accessible form. Henry Eyster Jacobs writes: “The book is not a mere compilation, but the matured expression of the convictions of the author, from the time when, as a child he was introduced to many of the problems treated, to the present.
“The funeral sermon is one of the most difficult sermons to prepare and deliver. To begin with, there is an emotional strain which is felt by preacher and hearers alike. Jesus was ever and anon saying: “I have compassion.
“There are two general ways of looking at God; from the point of view of Sinai, or as He is revealed to us on Calvary. If we know God only, or chiefly, as He is revealed to us in the lights and shadows, the thunderings and threatenings, of Sinai, He will appear to us rather stern and austere, — a Lawgiver and Judge.
“Amid other employments in this the evening of his long and useful life, Mr. East has, we think, been wisely guided to revise and publish these remarkable pastoral experiences. They include some exceedingly interesting cases of conversion and spiritual revival.
“The most deceived man of all is he whose mind is influenced by the Evil Spirit and yet he believes that he is besought by the Good Spirit. We hope to reach some of such persons whose eyes are color blind and whose ears are so impaired that they alone cannot distinguish between the voices that are calling them downward and those that are calling them upward.
“These sermons were preached in the Church of the Holy Communion, Philadelphia, to a congregation consisting in part of University and college students. In preaching it was impossible to disassociate from my mind the struggles through which many of these young people were passing and the battles which I was asked to help them fight during the week.
“…there are many people today who are wandering in doctrinal fogland, and do not know what they believe; or, if they think they have any real convictions, they have pared them down to what they call ‘the irreducible minimum.
“If ever any man was competent to write on true Christianity, that man was John Arndt. It had become his very life; it entered into the very center of his own experience; it was an essential part of his being, and hence it was only necessary to let the mouth utter that, of which the heart was full.
“The following translation of a manuscript letter of the venerable Patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America, will constitute an acceptable addition to the valuable biographies which precede it. Its historic is not its only interest.
“The book presents Christian doctrine and Christian character, as both are drawn from the words of the Bible. It sums up the Biblical teachings concerning divine truth and human life, and presents the principles of the Christian religion both for the guidance of faith and intellect and for the formation of character…
This book of brief and simple sermons are the result of a lifetime of study, thought and experience by a faithful pastor and teacher.
“The title expresses the chief purpose of the book — to follow ‘In the Redeemer’s Footsteps.
“Salvation is the great end for which the Son of God came into the world. To restore fallen man to his original state of holiness and happiness, he must be delivered from the curse of sin that is upon him and the power of the devil that enslaves him.
“There is a knowledge which puffeth up, because it is sundered from true faith which maketh humble. It is knowledge without light or life, a cold thing lodged in the brain, but without influence on the sensibilities and will.
“I want you to understand that I have never preached opinions from this pulpit; it is not a question of opinion; I have absolutely no right to stand here and give you my opinion, for it is not worth any more than yours; we do not come to church to get opinions; I claim that I can back up every sermon I have preached, with the Word of God, and it is not my opinion nor yours, it is the eternal Word of God, and you will find it so on the Judgment day.
“…Every minister of the Gospel should so preach that he need never be ashamed of the words he has spoken. Do you suppose that if I were ashamed of my sermons I would have them put in cold print to speak long after I am dead?
Learning to love is a long lesson. It takes all of the longest life to learn it. The most inveterate obstacle in mastering the lesson is self, which persists with an energy which nothing but divine grace can overcome.