MARVELOUS INCREASE. — FACTS AND FIGURES.
Any man, who has his eyes open to the world at large, will acknowledge that there are many clouds brooding over England, and over the world. I received lately a letter from a gentleman at Hull, in which he tells me that he sympathizes with my views concerning The condition of the Church at large. I do not know whether Christendom was ever worse off than it is now. At any rate, I pray God it never may be. Read The account of the condition of the Suffolk churches, where the gospel is somewhat flourishing, and you will be surprised to learn that they have had hardly any increase at all in The year. So you may go from church to church, and find scarcely any that are growing. Here and there, a chapel is filled with people; here and there, you see an earnest minister; here and there, an increasing church; here and there, a good prayer-meeting; but these are only like green spots in a great desert. Wherever I have gone through England, I have always been grieved to see how the Church of Christ is under a cloud, — how “the precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold. are esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter.” It is not for me to set myself up as universal censor of the Church; but I must be honest, and say that spiritual life, and fire, and zeal, and piety seem to be absent in ten thousand instances. We have abundance of agencies, we have good mechanism, but the Church, nowadays, is very much like a large steam engine without any fire, and, therefore, without any steam. There is everything but steam, everything but life. England is veiled in clouds; — not clouds of infidelity; I care not one fig for all the infidels in England, and I do not think it is worth Mr. Grant’s trouble to go after them. Nor am I afraid of Popery for old England; I do not think she will go back to that, nay, I am sure she never will; but I am afraid of this deadness, this sloth, this indifference, that has come over our churches. The Church wants shaking, like the man on the mountain-top does when the cold benumbs him into a deadly slumber. The churches are gone to sleep for want of zeal, for want of fire. Even those that hold sound doctrine are beginning to slumber. Oh, may God stir the Church up I One great black cloud, only broken here and there by a few rays of sunlight, seems to be hanging over the entire area of this our happy island. But, beloved, there is this comfort, “the clouds are the dust of His feet.” God can scatter them in a moment.
He can raise up His chosen servants, who have only to put their mouth to the trumpet, and one blast shall awake the sleeping sentinels, and startle the slumbering camp. God has only to send out again some earnest evangelist, like Wesley or Whitefield, and the churches shall start up once more; and she, who has been clothed in sackcloth, shall doff her robes of mourning, and put on the garment of praise. The day is coming, I hope, when Zion shall sit, not without her diadem; but, with her crown on her head, she shall grasp her banner, take her shield, and, like that heroic maiden of old who roused a whole nation, shall go forth conquering and to conquer. — C. H. S., in sermon preached at New Park Street Chapel, August 19, 1855. WHATEVER may be the present condition of the Church of Christ in general, and of the Baptist denomination in particular, it is certain that, at the time Mr. Spurgeon began his ministry in London, the state of affairs was far from satisfactory. Mr. Horace Mann’s report on the attendance at places set apart for public worship proved that, even in the mere external observances of religion, there was at that period much to be desired; he wrote: — ”Comparing the number of actual attendants with the number of persons able to attend, we find that, of 10,398,013 (58 percent. of the whole population) who would be at liberty to worship at one period of the day’, there were actually worshipping but 4,647,482 in the morning, 3,184,135 in the afternoon, and 3,064,449 in the evening. So that, taking any one service of the day, there were actually attending public worship less than half the number who, as far as physical impediments prevented, might have been attending. In the morning there were absent, without physical hindrance, 5,750,531; in the afternoon, 7,2x3,878; in the evening, 7,333,564. There exist no data for determining how many persons attended twice, and how many three times, on the Sunday, nor, consequently, for deciding how many attended altogether on some service of the day; but if we suppose that half of those attending service in the afternoon had not been present in the morning, and that a third of those attending service in the evening had not been present at either of the previous services, we should obtain a total of 7,261,032 separate persons, who attended service either once or oftener upon the Census Sunday. But, as the number who would be able to attend at some time of the day is. more than 58 per cent. (which is the estimated number able to be present at one and the same time), probably reaching 70 per cent., it is with this latter number (12,549,326) that this 7,261,032 must be compared; and the result of such comparison would lead to the conclusion that, upon the Census Sunday, 5,288,294 persons, able to attend religious worship once at least, neglected to do so.”
This was sufficiently sad; but to those who looked below the surface, to see the true spiritual condition of the people, the revelation was still more depressing. At the re-opening of New Park Street Chapel, after the enlargement, good Mr. Sherman said, in the course of his sermon: — ”It is only here and there that God is pouring out His Spirit; but most of the churches are lying like barges at Blackfriars Bridge when the tide is down, — right in the mud, — and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot pull them off; they need the tide to turn, and the water to flow, and set them all afloat.”
Our own denomination was not at all in a flourishing condition. At the Baptist Union session, in 1854, the following resolution was passed: — ”That the Union learn, with unfeigned regret, that the rate of increase in the churches, as shown by the Association Returns of 1853, is smaller than in preceding years, and smaller than it has been in any year since 1834, — the limit of the Union records, — it being only at an average of x½ per church per annum; — that, while the impression made by this numerical statement might be somewhat modified by a regard to the temporary causes — such as emigration, for example, — which have operated to the diminution of the churches (and the statement cannot alone be taken as a satisfactory basis on which to form an estimate of the spiritual state of the churches), in the judgment of the Union it presents at once an occasion for humiliation and a loud call to united activity and prayer; the former in every department of the work of the Lord, the latter for the gracious outpouring of His Holy Spirit.”
In London, the interest in denominational affairs had sunk so low that The Baptist Messenger, in reporting the meeting of the London Association of Baptist Churches, held at the Mission House, October 17, 1855, said that “the number in attendance, representing thirty-three metropolitan churches, consisted ofNINE PERSONS, — six ministers, and three lay-brethren. Alas! ‘how is the gold become dim \‘ Who can wonder at the low state of the churches, when the princes among the people are thus negligent and supine?”
Three months later, the same Magazine was able to give a somewhat more cheering account of the proceedings in connection with the Association: — “The annual meetings were held on January 9. In the afternoon, the Rev.
James; Harcourt, of Regent Street, Lambeth, preached from Acts 1:8. In the evening, a public meeting was held, at which letters from the churches were read, and addresses delivered by the chairman, the Rev. C. Stovel, the Rev. Joshua Russell, and the Rev. Jonathan George. The letters, which were encouraging, reported a clear increase, during the year, of members, principally owing to the extraordinary success attending the labors of the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon.”
The truth of the last sentence is confirmed by the remarks of the young Pastor when preaching at New Park Street Chapel on the last Lord’s-day morning in 1855; he said: — “Ought we to let this year pass without rehearsing the works of the Lord? Hath He not been with us, and prospered us exceeding abundantly?… We shall not soon forget our sojourn in Exeter Hall, — shall we? During those months, the Lord brought in many of His own elect, and multitudes, who had been up to that time unsaved, were called by Divine mercy, and brought into the fold. How God protected us there! What peace and prosperity hath Fie given to us!
How hath He enlarged our borders, and multiplied our numbers, so that we are not few; and increased us, so that we are not weak! I do think we were not thankful enough for the goodness of the Lord which carried us there, and gave us so many who have now become useful to us in our church....
Some old writer has said, ‘ Every hour that a Christian remains a Christian, is an hour of miracle.’ ‘It is true; and every year that the church is kept a united church, is a year of miracle. This has been a year of miracles. Tell it to the wide, wide world; tell it everywhere: ‘ The eyes of the Lord ‘have been upon us, ‘ from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.’ Two hundred and ten persons have this year united with us in church-fellowship; — about enough to have formed a church. One half the churches in London cannot number so many in their entire body; yet the Lord has brought so many into our midst. And still they come; whenever I have an opportunity of seeing those who are converted to God, they come in such numbers that many have to be sent away; and I am well assured that I have as many still in this congregation who will, during the next year, come forward to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (N.B. — In the next paragraph, the autobiographical narrative is resumed.)
Great numbers of the converts of those early days came as the direct result of the slanders with which I was so mercilessly assailed. My name was so often reviled in the public press that it became the common talk of The street, and many a man, going by the door of our house of prayer, has said, “I’ll go in, and hear old Spurgeon.” He came in to make merriment of the preacher (and very little that troubled him); but the man stood there until the Word went home to his heart, and he who was wont to beat his wife, and to make his home a hell, has before long been to see:me, and has given me a grip of the hand, and said, “God Almighty bless you, sir; there is something in true religion! .... Well, let me hear your tale.” I have heard it, and very delightful has it been in hundreds of instances I have said to the man, “Send your wife to me, that I may hear what she says about you.”
The woman has come, and I have asked her, “What do you think of your husband now, ma’am?” “Oh, sir, such a change I never saw in my life! He is so kind to us; he is like an angel now, and he seemed like a fiend before.
Oh, that cursed drink, sir! Everything went to the public-house; and then, if I came up to the house of God, he did nothing but abuse me. Oh! to think that now he comes with me on Sunday; and the shop is shut up, sir; and the children, who used to be running about without a bit of shoe or stocking, he takes them on his knee, and prays with them so sweetly. Oh, there is such a change!”
One Sabbath evening, two brothers were brought to the Lord at New Park Street Chapel the very first time they met with us. These were the circumstances of the case. A widowed mother had two sons, who had nearly come to man’s estate. They had been excellent children in their boyhood, but they began to be headstrong, as too many young people are prone to be, and they would not brook maternal control; they would spend their Sunday as they pleased, and sometimes in places where they should not have been seen. Their mother determined that she would never give up praying for them, and one night she thought she would stop at home from the house of God, shut herself up in her room, and pray for her sons’ conversion.
The very night she had thus set apart for prayer on their behalf, the elder son said to her, “I am going to hear the minister that preaches down Southwark way; I am told he is an odd man, and I want to hear him preach.” The mother herself did not think much of that minister, but she was so glad that her boy was going anywhere within the sound of the Word, that she said, “Go, my son.” He added, “My brother is going with me.” Those two young men came to the house of God, and that odd minister was blessed to the conversion of both of them.
When the mother opened the door, on their return home, the elder son fell upon her neck, weeping as if his heart would break. “Mother,” he said, “I have found the Saviour; I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.” She looked at him a moment, and then said, “I knew it, my son; to-night I have had power in prayer, and I felt that I had prevailed.” “But,” said the younger brother, “oh, mother! I, too, have been cut to the heart, and I also have given myself to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Happy was that mother, and I was happy, too, when she came to me, and said, “You have been the means of the conversion of my two sons; I have never thought of baptism before, but I see it now to be the Lord’s own ordinance, so I will be baptized with my children.” It was my great joy to lead the whole three down into the water, and to baptize them “into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Not only were many converted who had been indifferent or careless about their souls, but I had peculiar joy in receiving not a few, who had themselves been numbered amongst the slanderers and blasphemers who seemed as if they could not say anything cruel and wicked enough concerning me, even though they had never been to hear me. Many a man has come to me, when he was about to be added to the church, and his first speech has been, “Will you ever forgive me, sir?” I have said, ‘“Forgive you for what? .... Why, because,” he has answered, “there was no word in the English language that was bad enough for me to say of you; and yet I had never seen you in my life, and I had no reason for speaking like that. I have cursed God’s people, and said all manner of evil of them; will you forgive me?” My reply has been, “I have nothing to forgive; if you have sinned against the Lord’s people, I am heartily glad that you are ready to confess the sin to God; but as far as I was concerned, there was no offence given, and none taken.” How glad I have been when the man has said that his heart was broken, that he had repented of his sins, that Christ had put away all his iniquities, and that he wished to follow the Lord, and make confession of his faith! I think there is only one joy I have had greater than this; that has been when those converted through my instrumentality have been the means of the conversion of others. Constantly has this happened during my ministry, until I have not only been surrounded by those who look upon me as their father in Christ, but I have had quite a numerous company of spiritual grandchildren, whom my sons and daughters in the faith have led to the Saviour.
The love that exists between a Pastor and his converts is of a very special character, and I am sure that mine was so from the very beginning of my ministry. The bond that united me to the members at New Park Street was probably all the stronger because of the opposition and calumny that, for a time at least, they had to share with me. The attacks of our adversaries only united us more closely to one another; and, with whole-hearted devotion, the people willingly followed wherever I led them. I have never brought any project before them, or asked them to aid me in any holy enterprise, but they have been ready to respond to the call, no matter what amount of self-sacrifice might be required. Truly I may say, without the slightest flattery, that I never met with any people, on the face of the earth, who lived more truly up to this doctrine — that, chosen of God, and loved by Him with special love, they should do extraordinary things for Him, — than those among whom it has been my privilege to minister. I have often gone on my knees before God to thank Him for the wondrous deeds I have seen done by some of the Christians with whom I have been so long and so happily associated. In service, they have gone beyond anything I could have asked. I should think they would have considered me unreasonable if I had requested it; but they have done it without request. At the risk of everything, they have served their Master,’ and not only spent all that they could spare, but have even spared what they could ill afford to devote to the service of Jesus. Often have I brushed the tears from my eyes when I have received from some of them offerings for the Lord’s work which utterly surpassed all my ideas of giving. The consecration of their substance has been truly apostolic. I have known some who have, even in their poverty, given all that they had; and when I have even hinted at their exceeding the bounds of prudence, they have seemed hurt, and pressed the gift again for some other work of the Master whom they love. A man once said to me, “If you want a subscription from me, sir, you must get at my heart, and then you will get at my purse.” “Yes,” I answered, “I have no doubt I shall, for I believe that is where your purse lies.” But that was not the case with the great bulk of my dear friends at New Park Street; their hearts were in the Lord’s work, and therefore they generously gave of their substance for the advancement of their Saviour’s Kingdom. (Perhaps the consecration and liberality of the members can be accounted for, at least i[n part, by the example set before them from the very first by their young minister. At the great meeting, held in the Metropolitan Tabernacle, on Tuesday evening, May 20, 1879, to commemorate the completion of Mr. Spurgeon’s twenty-fifth year as Pastor of the church, Mr. William Olney, in presenting the testimonial of f6,233, said, among many other kind things: — ”After the very able paper of Mr. Cart, it will not be necessary for me to say much about our Pastor. But one point demands most explicit utterance to-night, — a point upon which he has been greatly misunderstood. The generosity of our Pastor, his selfabnegation, and his self-denial, I will speak of from a deacon’s point of view. I should like it to be clearly understood, — for I know the words I utter will be heard beyond this place, and beyond the audience now listening, — I should like it to be understood that, after twenty-five years’ intimate fellowship with him on money matters, I can testify to this one thing, — whilst the world says, concerning him, that he has made a good thing of it by becoming the minister of this Tabernacle, I can say it is we that have made a good thing of it, and not he. The interests of this church have always been first with him, and personal interests have always been second. Now, facts are stubborn things. Let me give you a few of them.
When he first came, at the invitation of the church, we were a few feeble folk; the sittings at Park Street had for some years gone a-begging; the minister’s salary was exceedingly small, and the difficulty we had in keeping the doors open was very great. Incidental and other expenses of one sort and another were a heavy burden upon the people. When Mr. Spurgeon came, the arrangement between him and the deacons was that, whatever the seat-rents produced, should be his. Those seat-rents had been supplemented in the case of all former Pastorates by a great number of collections, and the hat had to go round frequently, a few having to give at the end of the year to keep matters straight. When Mr. Spurgeon came, the seats went begging no longer. The seat-rents, as they came in, all belonged to him. Did he keep them? No! The first thing he did, at the close of three months, was to say, ‘ Now we will have no more collections for incidental expenses,! will pay for the cleaning and lighting myself;’ and from that time till now he has done so. There has never been a collection for the current incidental expenses in this Tabernacle, and I believe there never will be as long as he lives; — I hope not until the end of time. Now for another important fact. There was what we might fairly call an interregnum between the time that this church was worshipping in New Park Street, and its removal here. During those three years, we were wandering, in some senses of the word. At one part of the time, we worshipped in Exeter Hall, and also in the Surrey Music Hall. During the whole of that time, the crowds collected to hear our Pastor were so great that certain charges were made for admission to the several buildings. Tickets, called preference tickets, were issued in large numbers for the privilege of early admission to hear Mr. Spurgeon, and the whole of the proceeds legitimately belonged to him. Did he take them? not one farthing. I speak from the book, mind; and such · facts ought to be made known on such nights as these. During those three years, Mr. Spurgeon paid over to the treasury of this church, for the building of this Tabernacle, just upon f5,000, all of which belonged to himself, for he was fairly and clearly entitled to it. F7 That is what we have received at the hand of our Pastor. “Now listen again. Our Pastor says, ‘ That will do;’ but it will not do for me, and I do not believe that it will do for you. I want this to be heard outside this Tabernacle. The report of this great meeting will be in the newspapers, and be read by many who do not understand Mr. Spurgeon, and who do not understand us; and I wish all the world, reporters and everybody else, clearly to know that I am speaking facts which can be demonstrated and proved. For many years, the most generous helper of all the institutions connected with this place of worship has been Mr. Spurgeon. He has set us an example of giving. He has not stood to preach to us here for what he has got by preaching, but he has set an example to every one of us, to show that every institution here must be maintained in full vigor and strength. The repairs in connection with this place of worship, the maintenance of it, the management of all its institutions, and of everything connected with the building, and the property, and everything else,mall has been under his fostering care.
Not only so, but the proceeds to which he was fully entitled have never been taken by him from the first day until now, and he does not take them at the present moment. But, instead of that, I will tell you what he does. He told you, at our public meeting, and if he had not told it then, it deserves to be told a dozen times over, he has expended upon the Lord’s work so much of what he has received for preaching in the Tabernacle that he has, during some of the years, returned as much as he received. This does not represent all we owe to him, and it is putting our obligation to him on a very low scale indeed. What we owe to him, as a church, God only knows.
Why, sir, there are hearts here that love you with an intense affection, — an affection which only eternity will fully reveal to you. We shall have to tell you, when time is no more, of the benefits and blessings conferred on our souls within these walls, and conferred on us as a church and congregation, for words are wanting to express such obligations as these. “I have now to perform an exceedingly pleasant duty, and I will do it without troubling you any more, though this is a theme on which one might go on for a long time yet. But I will turn at once away from this matter which you will read a great deal more about, I daresay, in the paper that is to be published; and I will, as your representative, speak to our Pastor, and beg, in your name, that he will accept the testimonial which it has been our privilege and pleasure to raise for him, and to put at his absolute disposal, to commemorate the very happy event which has gathered us together in this Tabernacle to-night. Let it go forth to the world, — I know that I am anticipating what Mr. Spurgeon himself is going to say, but I cannot help it,-he told us last night, and it is too good to let him speak of it alone; in the matter of this testimonial, he says, ‘ not one farthing for me; you may give it to me for myself, if you like, but I will not keep it. It shall all be the Lord’s, and all shall belong to the Lord’s cause.’ Many of you know how it is going to be appropriated, or our Pastor will tell you presently as to that point; but, still, it has been raised by you as an expression of your love for him, and I have to hand it over to him, in the name of the deacons, and in the name of the committee, to be at his absolute disposal, as a gift without conditions, and as an expression of our great attachment to him and love for him.”
As intimated by Mr. William Olney, the Pastor had stated, on the previous evening, that he would not accept any part of the testimonial for himself; on that occasion, Mr. Spurgeon said: — ”I shall simply make a remark about the testimonial. My dear brethren, the deacons, said from the very first that there ought to be a testimonial to me personally; I mean, for my own use. But I said that it was God who had wrought so graciously with us, and therefore I would have nothing to do with a testimonial to me unless it could be used in His service. We thought of the almswomen, whose support has drawn so heavily upon our funds, and I felt that it would be of the utmost service to the church if we could raise an endowment for the suppo:rt of our poor sisters. We have built rooms, but have not provided the weekly pensions, and I thought that it would be a good thing to put this matter out of hand. £5,000 was suggested as the amount, and to this object £5,000 will go. But you have contributed £6,200, and I have been considerably scolded by several friends, who have declared that they would have given much more if some personal benefit had accrued to me. ‘I am, however; obstinate in this matter, and it shall be even as I said at: the first, that the whole of your generous offering shall go to the carrying on of the work of the Lord among you. It is to God that the honor belongs, and to God shall the whole of your offerings go, — with this exception, that I wish to raise a memorial in the Almshouses to Dr. Rippon, the founder, and to add to it the record of the way in which the Almshouses were extended and endowed: and, in addition, there is this much for myself, I said that I should like to have in my house a piece of bronze, which should be a memorial of your abiding love. This dock, with candelabra as side ornaments, will stand in my home, and will gladden me, as it calls you to remembrance. This I shall greatly treasure, and I do not doubt that one or other of my sons will treasure it after me: they are so nearly of an age, and so equal in all respects, that either of them is worthy to be heir to his father’s valuables. “‘The rest of the money shall be devoted to various purposes, some of which I shall name to-morrow; but I shall leave the amount in the hands of Mr. Thomas Olney and Mr. Greenwood, who are the treasurers, and they will see that it is so used; so that all may know and be assured that not a penny comes to me, but I shall draw it from them for the different objects as it is wanted. I shall have the credit of having received this large sum, and I shall have a corresponding number of begging letters to get it out of me, and that will be my personal gain. I daresay you have all heard that’Spurgeon makes a good thing of this Tabernacle.’ Well, whenever anybody hints that to you, you may on my authority assure them that I do.
I should not like anybody to think that my Master does not pay His servants well. He loadeth us with benefits, and I-am perfectly satisfied with His wages: but if any persons assert that, by my preaching in this place, I have made a purse for myself, I can refer them to those who know me, and my way of life among you. ‘Ah, but!’ they say, ‘ he has had a testimonial of £6,000 presented to him.’ Yes, he has had it, and he thanks everybody for it. Perhaps there are some other persons who would like a similar testimonial, and I wish they may get it, and do the same with it as I have done. “Legacies left to me and sums subscribed for the Orphanage and College and so on are spoken of as if I had some private interest in them, whereas I have: neither a direct nor indirect pecuniary interest in any of these works to the amount of a penny a year. With regard to all things else, from the first day until now, I have acted on no other principle but that of perfect ctmsecration to the work whereunto I am called. 1 have no riches. I sometimes wish that I had, for I could use money in an abundance of profitable ways. What have I gained of late years ill my ministry here? I have received all that I wished by way of salary, but I have for years expended almost all of it in the cause of God, and in some years even more t~han all. As far as my Pastoral office is concerned, the net income for myself, after giving my share to all holy service, is not so much that any man need envy me. Yet this is not your fault, or anyone’s fault, it is my joy and delight to have it so. The Lord is a good and a gracious Paymaster; and inasmuch as men say,’ doth Spurgeon serve God for nought?’
Spurgeon replies, ‘No, he is paid a thousand times over, and finds it a splendid thing to be in the service of the Lord Jesus.’ If anyone will serve the Lord Jesus Christ after the same or a better fashion, he too will make the same splendid thing of it; he shall have splendid opportunities for working from morning till night, and far into the night on many an occasion; splendid openings for giving away as much as he can earn;splendid opportunities of finding happiness in making other people happy, and easing the sorrows of others by entering into hearty sympathy with them.”
After the presentation, Mr. Spurgeon said: — ”Dear friends, I thank you very, very, very heartily for this testimonial, and I hope that you will not consider that I do not take it to myself, and use it personally, because I hand it over to works of charity, for my Lord’s work is dear to me, and to use it for Him, and for His poor, is the sweetest way of using it for myself.
I said, at the very first, that, if a testimonial could be made the means of providing for our aged sisters in th~ Almshouses, I would be doubly glad to receive it; and when friends urged that they had rather give lo me, I begged them to let me have my own way, for surely a man may have his way on his silver-wedding day, if at no other time. The matter was commenced on that footing, but I never dreamed that you would give anything like this right royal amount. Our communion fund has been so heavily drawn upon for the support: of the almswomen that we have been embarrassed in providing for the very large number of poor persons, who, I am thankful to say, belong to this church. I hope we shall always have a large number of the Lord’s poor among us, for thus we are able to show kindness unto our Lord Himself. We erected more almsrooms than we had money for, and I felt it to b,e wrong to leave the church in future years with these unendowed houses; for times might come when this extra burden could not be borne, since in these days of our strength we find it a load. For such an object, I heartily approved of an endowmene.
Endowments for the support of ministers are confessedly a great evil, since they enable a man to keep among a people long after his usefulness is over; but no such evil can arise in the present instance. £5,ooo was considered by our dear friend Mr. Greenwood, who is my invaluable guide in such matters, to be about sufficient for our object. Therefore £5,ooo of this noble testimonial is hereby devoted to that end; and I have told you that all the rest of the money will be given to the Lord’s work. “Mr. William Olney said more than enough about what I have done in money matters: I will only add that I serve a good Master, and am so sure that He will provide for me that I never thought it worth my while to ke scraping and hoarding for myself. When I gave myself up at first to be His minister, I never expected anything beyond food and raiment; and when my income was £45 a year, I was heartily content, and never thought of a need without having it supplied. It is with me much the same now: ‘I have all, and abound.’ I have only one grievance, and that is, being asked for loans and gifts of money when I have none to spare. Under the impression that I am a very rich man, many hunt me perpetually; but I wish these borrowers and beggars to know that I am not rich. They argue that a man must be rich if he gives away large sums; but, in my case, this is just the reason why I am not rich. When I have a spare £5, the College, or Orphanage, or Colportage, or something else, requires it, and away it goes. I could very comfortably do with much more. Oh, that I could do more for Christ, and more for the poor! For these, I have turned beggar before now, and shall not be ashamed to beg again. The outside world cannot understand that a man should be moved by ally motive except that of personal gain; but, if they knew the power of love to Jesus, they would understand that, to the lover of the Saviour, greed of wealth is vile a.s the dust beneath his feet.”
On June 19, 1884, when Mr. Spurgeon’s Jubilee was celebrated, a further testimonial of £4,500 was presented to him, and he speedily gave this amount to the Lord’s work as he had given the previous £6,233.)
In the year 1865, The JVonconform£st newspaper did good service to all sections of the Christian Church by the issue of a statistical statement as to the religious condition of London. At the census of 1861, the Government did not collect religious statistics in the same fashion as ten years before, so The Nonconformist did well in supplying the deficiency. notwithstanding all that had been done to meet the needs of the ever-increasing population, the destitution of the metropolis was still appalling. There were some cheering, signs, and Baptists especially had good cause to take heart, and gird themselves for the battle still before them. I quofe with pleasure the annexed tabular statement, and the note appended to it, giving glory to God that, during the greater part of the period referred to, He had enabled us to make some small discernible mark upon the mass of ignorance and sin around us:—\parRELIGIOUS DENOMINATION.SITTINGS. SITTINGS.
Church of England Congregationalists Baptists Wesleyans United Methodist Free Churches Methodist New Connection Primitive Methodists Church of Scotland English Presbyterians United Presbyterians 409,834 100,436 54,234 44,162 4,858 3,380 3,886 10,065 4,280 512,067 130,611 87,559 52,454 13,422 6,667 9,230 5,116 I2,952 4,860 Roman Catholics 18,230 31,100 “This table speaks for itself, and affords gratifying proof of the Christian activity of the principal Free Churches, though that satisfaction is somewhat diminished by the increase being spread over fourteen years. The large stride taken by the Baptists, rounder which designation every section of that denomination is included, — is unquestionably due, in the main, to the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon and his missionary operations in various parts of the metropolis.”
Another table gave the statistics for our own district ofNEWINGTON, where Dissent had been up to that time singularly strengthened; the Baptists especially, during the fourteen years from 1851 to 1865, having increased far more than all the other denominations put together, — the one place marked in the list as Free Church of England being virtually Baptist, and thus still further increasing our total gain: —