MEMORABLE SERVICES AT THE TABERNACLE, 1861-1874.
At this moment, China is; open to Christian enterprise; and I honestly avow, if this Tabernacle had not been built, and I had had no larger house of prayer than the place in which I have lately preached, I should have felt in my conscience bound to go to learn the language and preach the Word there; but I now know what to do, I must abide here, for this is my place. — C. H. S., in sermon at the Tabernacle, March 29, 1861.
It seems to me, standing here, as if I heard a voice saying to me, “Go thou, therefore, and teach all nations;” and my soul sometimes pants and kings for the liberty to preach Christ where He was never preached. before; not to build upon another man’s foundation, but to go to some untrodden land, some waste where the foot of Christ’s minister was never seen, that there the solitary place might be made glad, and the wilderness might rejoice and blossom as the rose. I have; made it a solemn question whether I might not testify in China or India the grace of Jesus, and in the sight of God I trove answered it I solemnly feel that my position in England will not permit my leaving the. sphere in which I now am, or else tomorrow I would offer myself as a missionary. — C. H. S., in sermon at the Tabernacle, April 21, 1861.
Among the earliest of memorable services at the Tabernacle was the one held on Lords-day morning, December 15, 1861. Late on the previous night, the Prince Consort had been “called home; and in commencing his sermon, Mr. Spurgeon read a. few sentences which he had written with reference to that solemn event. His manuscript was preserved, and is reproduced in facsimile on the preceding page. He did not feel that he could at that time make further allusion to the Prince’s departure, as he had prepared a discourse upon quite a different topic; but the following Sabbath morning he preached, from Amos 3:6, — “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” — a sermon which ‘was published under the title, “The Royal Death-bed.”
The introduction contained the following noble tribute to the character and influence of Albert the Good: — “The evil mentioned in the text is that of calamity, and we might read the verse, — ‘Shall there be a calamity in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?’ — a question exceedingly appropriate at the present time. There has been evil in this city; a calamity of an unusual and disastrous nature has fallen upon this nation. We have lost one who will today find a thousand tongues to eulogize him; a Prince whose praise is in the mouth of all, and who is in such repute among you that it is needless for me to commend his memory to your hearts. We have lost a man whom it was the habit of some to suspect so long as he lived, he could do little without arousing their mistrust; they were always alarmed by phantoms of intrusion and unconstitutional influence; but now that he has departed, they may sincerely regret that they could not trust where confidence was so well deserved. Not of lack of homage to his rank, his talents, or his house, could he complain; but from his tomb the. re might well come (he. still small w)ice of memory, reminding us of many causeless suspicions, a few harsh judgments, and one or two heartless calumnies. I was pleased by a remark made by the leading journal of the age, to the effect that the Prince Consort’s removal might suggest deep regrets for our thrifty homage and measured respect. He has deserved nothing but good at our hands.
Standing in the most perilous position, his loot has not slipped; dwelling where the slightest interference might have brought down, a storm of animosity upon his head, he has prudently withheld himself, and let public affairs alone as much as possible. Looking upon the nature of our government, and the position of the throne in our constitution, I can but say, ‘Verily it is a heavy calamity for such a Queen to lose such a husband.’ “So dire is this evil, that our troubled hearts are shadowed with dark forebodings of other ills of which this may be the mournful herald; an earthquake has commenced, the mountain trembles, one great rock has fallen, ‘what may come next? We did reckon upon war, but we had no forewarnings of a royal funeral; we looked forward with some apprehension to strifes abroad, but not to losses at home. And now we feel that a corner-stone in the royal house has been taken away, and. we look forward with sorrow and teal’ to what may come next, and next, and next.
We have great faith in our constitution, but had we not: even greater faith in God, ‘we might fear lest the removal of an eminent minister, the taking away of some great men who have stood prominent in our commonwealth, should leave us desolate, without earthly helpers. ‘Tis not the fall of yonder stately column which alone has caused us sadness; it is the prophetic finger pointing to other parts of the goodly pile, which has made us full of forebodings of the time when many a noble pillar must lie in the dust. Nor is this all, or the deepest sorrow. We feel this to be an evil upon the city, because of the taking away of a parent from his children, and such children, too, — princes, whom no man may venture to instruct as could a father, princes; into whose ears wise words will scarcely enter save through a father’s voice, — prince and princesses, who needed to have his prudent counsel to steer them through the various; trials of their minority, and to cheer them when they should come into the battles of life. He who, in concert with the Queen, has so well trained them, is taken away; and what his loss may be to their future characters, time only shall reveal. More than this, — and here we touch the tenderest string, and come nearest to the heart of the evil, — Her Majesty has lost her beloved husband, her only equal friend, her only confidant, her only counselor in her private cares.
Save her children, she has lost all at a blow, and she is this day more widowed than the poorest widow in the land. The bereaved wife of the peasant is too often afflicted by the grasp of chill, penury, but she has some equals and friends who prevent the comer hand of regal isolation from freezing the very soul. In our tenderly-beloved Sovereign, we: see Majesty in misery, and what if I say, we behold the Empress of sorrow. Just as the mountain-peaks, the first to catch the sunbeams of summer, are the most terribly exposed to the pitiless blasts of winter, so the elevation of sovereignty, with all its advantages in prosperity, involves the maximum of sorrow in the hour of tribulation. What rational man among us would be willing to assume imperial cares in ordinary times; but what must they be now, when household bereavement wrings the heart, and there is no more an affectionate husband to bear his portiere of the burden? Brethren, we can only sympathize; we cannot console. Ordinary cases are often within reach of compassion; but the proper reverence due to the highest authority in the land renders it impossible for the dearest friend to use that familiarity which is the very life of comfort. “This is a calamity indeed! O Lord, the Comforter of all! those whose hearts are bowed down, sustain and console our weeping Monarch! Would that Robert Hall, or Chalmers could arise from the grave, to depict this sorrow! As for me, my lips are so unaccustomed to courtly phrases, and I understand so little; of those depths of sorrow, that I am not tutored and prepared to speak on such a subject as this; I do but stammer and blunder where there is room for golden utterance and eloquent discourse. O God of Heaven, Thou knowest that there beats nowhere a heart that feels more tenderly than ours, or an eye. that can weep more sincerely for the sorrow of that Royal Lady who is thus left alone! Alas! for the Prince who has fallen upon the high places! From the council-chamber he is removed; from the abode of all the graces he is taken away; from the home of loveliness, from the throne of honor, he is gone; and it is an evil, — such an evil as has never befallen this nation in the lifetime of any one of us, — such an evil, that there is but one death — and may that be far removed! — which could cause greater sorrow in the land.”
Singularly enough, the next discourse claiming special notice also related to a great public calamity, namely, the Hartley Colliery explosion. On Thursday evening, January 30, 1862, Mr. Spurgeon preached, from Job 14:14, — “If a man die, shall he live again?” — a sermon which commenced thus: — “Once more the Lord has spoken; again the voice of Providence has proclaimed, ‘All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.’ O sword of the Lord, when wilt thou rest and be quiet? Wherefore these repeated warnings? ‘Why doth the Lord so frequently and so terribly sound an alarm? Is it not because our drowsy spirits will not awaken to the realities of death? We fondly persuade ourselves that we are immortal; that, though a thousand may tall at our side, and ten thousand at our right hand, yet death shall not come nigh unto us. We flatter ourselves that, if we must die, yet the evil day is far hence. If we be sixty, we presumptuously reckon upon another twenty years of life; and a man of eighty, tottering upon his staff, remembering that some few have survived to the close of a century, sees no reason why he. should not do the same. If man cannot kill death, he tries at least to bury him alive; and since death will intrude himself in our pathway, we endeavor to shut our eyes to the. ghastly object. God in ‘Providence is continually filling our path with tombs. With kings and princes, there is too much forgetfulness of the world to come; God has therefore spoken to them. They are but few in number; so one death might be sufficient in their case, that one death of a beloved and illustrious Prince will leave its mark on court; and palaces. As for the workers, they also are wishful to put far from them the thought of the coffin and the shroud God has spoken to tzero also. They were many, so one death would not be sufficient; it was absolutely necessary that there should be many victims, or we should have disregarded the warning. Two hundred witnesses cry to us from the pit’s mouth, — a solemn fellowship of preachers all using the same text, ‘Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel!’ If God had not thus spoken by the destruction of many, we should have said, ‘Ah! it is a common occurrence; there are frequently such accidents as these.’ The rod would have failed in its effect had it smitten less severely.
The awful calamity at the Hartley Colliery has at least had this effect, that men are talking of death in all our streets. O Father of Thy people, send forth Thy Holy Spirit in richer abundance, that by this solemn chastisement higher ends may be answered than merely attracting our thoughts to our latter end! Oh, may hearts be broken, may eyes be mad,.’ to weep for sin, may follies be renounced, may Christ be accepted, and may spiritual life be given to many survivors as the result of the physical death of those who now sleep in their untimely graves in Earsdon churchyard!”
In closing his discourse, the preacher pleaded for the widows and orphans who were suffering through the terrible: calamity; and, though it was a wet week-night, and many who were present had already contributed to the Relief Fund, the congregation generously subscribed pound 120.
When Mr. Spurgeon was at Geneva, in 1860, he preached for Dr. Merle D’Aubigne as well as in the cathedral. It was therefore fitting that: the Genevan divine should speak to the congregation at the Tabernacle when the opportunity occurred. On Lord’s-day morning, May 18, 1862, the Pastor purposely made his discourse somewhat shorter than usual; and, in closing it, said: — “My dear friend, Dr. D’Aubigne, is here this morning, having been called by the Bishop of London, according to the order of our beloved Queen, to preach in the Royal Chapel of St. James. In a kind note with which he favored me, last week, he expressed a desire publicly to show his hearty fellowship with his brethren of the Free Churches of England, and I am delighted to welcome him in the Tabernacle, in the name of this church, and may venture to add, in the name of all the Free Churches of England. May the historian of the Reformation continue to be honored of the Lord his God.”
Dr. D’Auibigne said: — “When I heard your dear Pastor reading to us the 16th chapter of the Romans, I remembered those words which we find very often in the Epistles of Paul, — ‘love to the saints,’ and ‘faith in the Lord.’
In that 16th chapter, we. find a beautiful exhibition of love to the saints, the children of God. We see that it was written from the Church of Corinthus, in Greece, to the Church in Rome. Observe how many Christians that Church of Corinthus and the apostle Paul knew at Rome! We have a long catalogue of them, — Priscilla, Aquila, Andronicus, and others. I must confess, my dear friends, to my regret, that in this great assembly I know only two or three people. I know your Pastor and my dear friend, Mr. Spurgeon; I know the name, but not the person, of Mr. North, upon my left; and I know the friend who has received me in your great city, Mr. Kinnaird, — ‘Gaius, mine host,’ as the apostle says. But in this great assembly of six thousand men and women, and I hope brethren and sisters in Christ, I do not know anyone else. Well, my dear friends, I would ask you, do you know the names of many Christians in Geneva? Perhaps you do not know three; possibly, not two; perhaps, only one. Now, that is to me a demonstration that fraternity, or brotherly love, is not so intense in our time as it was in the days of the apostles. In the first century, for a man to give his name to the Lord was to expose himself to martyrdom; and Christians at that time formed only one household in the whole world, in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Let us remember that, and may we, by the Holy Ghost, say that we, who have been baptized with the blood and the Spirit of the Lord, have only one Father, one Savior, one Spirit, one faith, and we are only’ one house, the house of the living God, the house of Christ, one house of the Holy Spirit in the whole world; not only in Europe, Asia, and Africa, but in America, in Australia, one house, one family. O my dear friends, let us grow in love to the brethren! “Then there is; another thing, faith in the Lord Jesus. There can be no love to the saved and the redeemed, if there is no true living faith and hope in the Savior and the Redeemer. Well, I suppose all of you in this great meeting would say, ‘We believe in the Lord, we have faith in Him.’ Yes, but that faith must be sincere, must be living, must come from the heart. I will tell you one word from Rome. Probably all these friends sent some messages by the apostle, but I will tell you one word that was said once in Rome, not in the days of Paul, but at the time of our blessed Reformation.
There was, in the latter part of the sixteenth century, a man in Italy, who was; a child of God, taught by the Spirit. His name was Aonio Paleario. He had written a book called, The benefit of Christ’s Death. That book was destroyed in Italy, and for three centuries it was not possible to find a copy; but two or three years ago, an Italian copy was found, I believe, in one of your libraries at Cambridge or Oxford, and it has been printed again. It is perhaps singular, but this man did not leave the Romish Church, as he ought to have done, but his whole heart was given to Christ. He. was brought before the judge in Rome, by order of the Pope. The judge said, ‘We will put to him three questions; we will ask him what is the first cause of salvation, then what is the second cause of salvation, then what is the third cause of salvation?’ They thought that, in putting these three question, he would at last be made to say something which should be to the glory of the Church of Rome; so they asked him, ‘What is the first cause of salvation?’ and he answered, ‘Christ’ Then they asked him, ‘What is the second cause of salvation?’ and he answered, ‘CHRIST.’ Then they asked him, ‘What is the third cause of salvation?’ and he answered, ‘CHRIST.’
They thought he would have said, first, Christ; secondly, the Word; thirdly, the Church; but no, he said, ‘Christ.’ The first cause, Christ; the second, Christ; the third, Christ; and for that confession, which he made in Rome, he was condemned to be put to death as a martyr. My dear friends, let us think and speak like that man; let every one of us say, ‘The first cause of my salvation is Christ; the second is Christ the third is Christ. Christ and His atoning blood, Christ and His powerful regenerating Spirit, Christ and His eternal electing grace, Christ is my only salvation, I know of nothing else.’ “Dear friends, we find in the Epistle to the Romans these words, ‘The whole church saluteth you.’ I have no official charge but I may, in a Christian and fraternal spirit, say to you, the Genevese Church, the Church in Geneva saluteth you; and I would say, the whole Continental Church saluteth you, for we know you, and we love you, and the dear minister God has given you. Now we ask from you love towards us; we are doing what we can in that dark Continent to spread abroad the light of Jesus Christ. In Geneva, we have an Evangelical Society which has that object before it, and we are also laboring in other places; we ask an interest in your prayers, for the work is hard among the Roman Catholics and the infidels of the Continent. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! Amen.”
During the terrible distress caused by the Lancashire cotton famine, Mr. Spurgeon preached, on Lord’s-day morning, November 9, 1862, a sermon on “Christian Sympathy,” from Job 30:25: “Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? Was not my soul grieved for the poor?” In appealing on behalf of the people in need, the Pastor urged these five reasons why they should be generously helped: — ( 1 ) their poverty was not the result of their own fault; ( 2 ) the cause of their suffering was the national sin of slavery; ( 3 ) their heavy trials had been borne most patiently; ( 4 ) the distress was very widely spread; and ( 5 ) gratitude to God should move all who were able to give liberally to those who were in want. The appeal was most effective, for the congregation contributed 776 pounds 11s. 11d. towards the Famine Fund, — probably the: largest amount ever given from the Tabernacle to any outside object, and exceeding even the sum (700 pounds) realized by the Fast-day service at the Crystal Palace in aid. of the Indian Relief Fund.
March 15, 1863, was a memorable morning at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, for Mr. Spurgeon then delivered the discourse which, when published, became No. 500. The: text of it was, 1 Samuel 7:12: “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Sheri, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us;” and the title was most appropriate, “Ebenezer.” It was both autobiographical and historical, and contained many interesting allusions; to the Lord’s gracious help to both Pastor and people. In the introduction, the preacher said: — “Looking at God’s hand in my own life, and acknowledging that hand with some record of thankfulness, I, your minister, brought by Divine grace., to preach this morning the five hundredth of my printed sermons, consecutively published week by week, set up my stone of Ebenezer to God. I thank Him, thank Him humbly, but yet most joyfully, for all the hello and assistance given in studying and preaching the Word to these mighty congregations by the voice, and afterwards to so many nations through the press. I set up my pillar in the form of this sermon. My motto this day shall be the same as Samuel’s, ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped me,” and as the stone of my praise is much too heavy for me to set it upright alone, I ask you, my comrades in the day of battle, my fellow-laborers in the vineyard of Christ, to join with me in expressing gratitude to God, while together we set up the stone of memorial, and say, ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.’” On such an occasion, it was most natural to contrast the calm, quiet worship at the Tabernacle: with the awful turmoil of the tragedy at the Surrey Gardens: — “We have had our sorrows as a church. Shall I remind you of our black and dark day? Death came into our windows, and dismay into our hearts. Did not almost all men speak ill of us? Who would give us a good word? The Lord Himself afflicted us, and broke us as in the day of His anger; — so it seemed to us, then. Ah, God! Thou knowest how great: have been the results which flowed from that terrible calamity, but from our souls the memory never can be taken, not even in Heaven itself. In the recollection of that night of confusion, and those long weeks of slander and abuse, let us roll a great stone before the Lord, and let us write thereon, ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.’ Little, I ween, did the devil gain by that master-stroke; small was the triumph which he won by that piece of malice.
Greater multitudes than ever flocked to listen to the Word; and some here, who otherwise might never have attended the preaching of the gospel, remain as living monuments of God’s power to save. Of all evil things out of which good has arisen, we can always point to the Surrey Music Hall catastrophe as one: of the greatest goods which ever befell this neighborhood, notwithstanding the sorrows which it brought.”
Another reminiscence carried the thoughts of the congregation back to “the boy-preacher’s” first service in London: — “The greatness of our work compels us to confess that it must be of God, and of God alone. And, dear friends, we see that it must be so if we consider the little with which we began. Jacob said, as he came back to his own land, ‘ With my staff I passed over this Jordan; now I am become two bands.’ Surely, his becoming two bands must have been of God, for he had nothing but his staff. And do not some few of you, here present, remember one morning when we crossed this Jordan with a staff? Were we a hundred when first I addressed you? What hosts of empty pews! What a miserable handful of hearers! But God has multiplied the: people, and increased the joy, till we have become, not only two bands, but many bands; and multitudes this day are gathering to hear the: gospel preached by the sons of this; church, begotten of us, and sent forth by us to minister the Word of life in many towns and villages throughout the kingdom. Glory be to God, this cannot be man’s work! What effort, made by the unaided strength of man, will equal this which has been accomplished by God? Let the Name of the Lord, therefore, be inscribed upon the pillar of our memorial. I am always ‘very jealous about this matter; if we do not, as a church and congregation, if we do not, as individuals, always give God’ the glory, it is utterly impossible that He should continue to work by us. Many wonders have I seen, but I never yet saw a man who arrogated the honor of his work to himself, whom God did not leave sooner or later.”
The same note of humble, and hearty gratitude to God was very prominent in the discourse delivered in the Tabernacle on Lord’s-day morning, May 3, 1863, after the Pastor had returned from a preaching tour in Holland: — “ I ask for myself, this morning, as your minister, your thanksgivings to be mingled with mine in blessing God for the help which He has vouchsafed to me in the very arduous work of the,. last fortnight. Praise be to God for the acceptance which He gave me among all ranks of the people, in that country! I speak to His praise, and not to my own; for this has been a vow with me, that, if God will give me a harvest, I will riot keep even an ear of it myself, but He shall have it all. I found, in all the places where I went, great multitudes of people; — crowds who could not understand the preacher, but who wanted to see his face, because God had blessed his translated sermons to their souls; — multitudes who gave me the grip of brotherly kindness, and, with tears in their eyes, invoked, in the Dutch language, every blessing upon my head. I hoped to preach to some fifties and hundreds; but, instead of that, there were so many that the great cathedrals were not too large. This surprised me and made me glad, and caused me to rejoice in God, and I ask you to rejoice with me. I thank God for the acceptance which He gave me among all classes of the people.
While the poor crowded to shake hands, till they almost pulled me in pieces, it pleased God to move the heart of the Queen of Holland to send for me, and for an hour and a-quarter I was privileged to talk with her concerning the things which make for our peace. I sought no interview with her, but it was her own wish; and then I lifted up my soul to God that I might talk of nothing but Christ, and might preach to her of nothing but Jesus, and it pleased the Master to help me, and I left that very amiable lady, not having shunned to declare to her the whole counsel of God. gratified indeed was I to find myself received cordially by all denominations, so that on the Saturday, at Amsterdam, I preached in the Mennonite Church in the morning, and at the Old Dutch Reformed Church in the evening; the next Sunday morning, in the English Presbyterian Church, and then again, in the evening, in the Dutch Free Church; sometimes in the great cathedrals, as in the Dom Kirk, at Utrecht, and in Peter’s Kirk, at Leyden, not having the poor only, but the nobility and the gentry of the land, who of course could understand English better than those who have had. little or no opportunity of learning it. While going from town to town, I fell: the Master helping me continually to preach. I never knew such elasticity of spirit, such bounding of heart in my life be. fore; and I come back, not wearied and tired, though preaching twice every day, but fuller of strength and vigor than when I set out. I give God the glory for the many souls I have heard of who have been converted through the reading of the printed sermons, and for the loving blessings of those who followed us to the water’s edge with many tears, saying to me, ‘ Do thy diligence to come again before winter,’ and urging me once more to preach the Word in that land. There may be mingled with this some touch of egotism; the Lord knoweth whether it be so or not. but I am not conscious of it. I do praise and bless His Name that, in a land where, there is so much philosophy, He has helped me to preach the truth so simply that I never uttered a word as a mere doctrinalist, but I preached Christ, and nothing but Christ. Rejoice with me, my dear brethren; my loaf of praise is, too great for me to e. at it all.”
In many respects, the most memorable service ever held in the Tabernacle was the one on lord’s-day, morning, June 5, 1864, when Mr. Spurgeon preached his notable sermon on “Baptismal Regeneration,” which is now in its 230th thousand, and is still in constant demand. Concerning that discourse, the preacher wrote, more than ten years afterwards:— “It was delivered with the full expectation that the sale of the sermons would receive very serious injury; in fact, I mentioned to one of the publishers that I was, about to destroy it at a single blow, but that the blow must be struck, cost what it might, for the burden of the Lord lay heavy upon me, and I must deliver my soul. I deliberately counted the cost, and reckoned upon the loss of many an ardent friend and helper, and I expected the assaults of clever and angry foes. I was not mistaken in other respects; but, in the matter of the sermons, I was altogether out of my reckoning, for they increased greatly in sale at once. That fact was not in any degree to me a test of my action being right or wrong; I should have felt as well content in heart as; I am now as to the rightness of my course had the publication ceased in consequence; but, still, it was satisfactory to find that, though speaking out might lose a man some friends, it secured him many others; and if it overturned his influence in one direction, it was fully compensated elsewhere. No truth is more sure than this, that the path of duty is to be followed thoroughly if peace of mind is to be enjoyed. Results are not to be looked at; we: are to keep our conscience, clear, come what may; and all considerations of influence and public estimation are to be light as leathers; in the scale. In minor matters, as; well as in more important concerns, I have spoken my mind fearlessly, and brought down objurgations and anathemas innumerable, but I in nowise regret it, and shall not swerve from the use of outspoken speech in the future any more than in the past. I would scorn to retain a single adherent by such silence as. would leave him under any misapprehension. After all, men love plain speech.”
A student who was in the Pastors College in 1864 — Mr. Samuel Blow — has preserved this interesting reminiscence of the day following the great: deliverance: — “It was the custom of Mr. Spurgeon to revise his sermons on Monday mornings, and then, in the afternoon, to come to the classroom, and question us on history and other subjects in a homely and friendly way. Entering the room, and taking his seat, on this particular occasion, he told us that he had just been revising this special sermon, and he was certain it would cause a great stir and raise tremendous opposition when it appeared in print. He suggested that, instead of going through the usual course of instruction, we might devote the time to prayer, so the whole of that afternoon was spent in supplicating a blessing on the issue and circulation of that remarkable discourse showing the absurdity of the Baptismal Regeneration theory.”
Now that a whole, generation has passed away since the sermon was delivered, it is difficult to realize the sensation which was caused when it appeared in print, and became generally known. A hundred thousand copies of it were speedily sold, and the circulation was still further increased by the many replies to it which were before long preached and published. Three weeks after its delivery, Mr. Spurgeon preached from Hebrews 13:13, “Let us Go Forth;” and in quick succession followed two, more special discourses in continuation of the controversy, — “Children Brought to Christ, not to the Font;” and “‘Thus Saith the Lord;’ or, the.
Book of Common Prayer Weighed in the Balances of the Sanctuary.” All of them had an immense sale, and as each one was issued, it elicited answers from the Church of England side. Mr. Spurgeon collected a hundred and thirty-five sermons and pamphlets, and had them bound in three large octavo volumes; and, doubtless, others gathered together similar signs and tokens of the fray. One such set afterwards came into the Pastor’s hands, and he found in it several contributions which were not contained in his own series. They were bound in two substantial volumes, and were evidently (he result of the sympathetic labors of an ardent admirer, who recorded his opinions concerning the controversy in the following Preface: — “ In 1864, the Rev. C. H, Spurgeon threw down the gauntlet of defiance to the Church of England upon the point of Infant Baptism and Regeneration; when, presto! such a theological battle ensued as; was never before seen or heard of. The whole religious worm of London flung itself into it; — the press groaned under the infliction; the pamphlets which followed, pro, and con, in prose and verse, serious and burlesque, being almost innumerable. Of these, I have collected about a hundred, — including twenty-eight in another volume; and, to commemorate this great baptismal war, I have here, for a frontispiece to my gathering, by a slight improvement, adapted this Gulliverian illustration, which, I submit, represents the great Nonconformist champion in repose, after his victory, but playfully offering his Brobdingnagian person to the collected attack of his Lilliputian opponents, smilingly conscious that the slightest farther movement on his part — a kick out — or an upraised arm — would annihilate them!”
That Mr. Spurgeon’s clerical critics were by no means Lilliputians, is manifest from a glance at the documents they produced in reply to his discourses. The names of many of them are quite unknown to the present generation, but others are remembered as among the doughtiest defenders of the Establishment, including Dean Goode (of Ripon), the Revs. Hugh Stowell, M.A. (Manchester), Hugh Allen, D.D., Joseph Bardsley, M.A., Charles Bullock, Francis Cruse, B.A., and J. H. Titcomb, M.A., together with Paedobaptist Nonconformists, such as Rev. A. McAuslane and many others. Mr. Spurgeon was by no means left to fight the battle alone, for ranged side by side with him were Dr. Brock (of Bloomsbury Chapel), Dr. Landels (of Regent’s Park Chapel), Dr. Haycroft (of Broadmead Chapel, Bristol), and Revs. W. Barker \Hastings), T. W. Medhurst (Glasgow), Arthur Mursell (Manchester), A. A. Rees (Sunderland), Burlington B.
Wale (Plymouth), D. Katterns (Hackney), J. W. Genders (Wandsworth), R. A. Bellman, Edward Leach, and Henry Varley, and many others whose names may not have been so well known. In the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, Mr. Mursell gave, in most incisive language, a scathing criticism of an article on “The Anabaptist Caliban,” in the Saturday Review. That paper at various times assailed Mr. Spurgeon with such virulence that, on one occasion, he made the following significant declaration: — “I always like to have. the hatred of The Saturday Review and the love of God. No movement can ever hope to be established until it has had both.” Remembering the character of many of the attacks made in its pages upon the Tabernacle Pastor in his early days, it is hardly surprising that one of his artist friends altered the word “Saturday” into “Satanic” in the accompanying cartoon.
It was a surprise and a disappointment to many friends of Mr. Spurgeon to find that his protest against the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration was, to some extent at least, weakened by a published letter from the Hon. and Rev. Baptist Wriothesley Noel, M.A., who had himself left the Church of England, and become Pastor of the Baptist Church meeting in John Street Chapel, Bedford Row, and whose Essay on the Union of Church and State contained quite as vigorous a condemnation of the clergy as appeared in the sermon to which he objected. It is generally supposed, and was officially stated, on the authority of Mr. Arnold, the late Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance, that Mr. Spurgeon’s withdrawal from that body was the result of Mr. Baptist Noel’s letter; but the following paragraph in The Sword and the, Trowel, March, 1870, puts the matter in its true light:— “Our readers may have observed a letter written by us to an American paper explaining the reason why we cannot attend the meeting of the Evangelical Alliance at New York. We had to make the same explanation to the Dutch brethren when the Alliance met at Rotterdam; but, as we have no wish to disturb the peace of the Alliance, we have not agitated the question. It may, however, be as well to state, that, about the time when Mr. Noel’s letter appeared, objecting to certain expressions used by us in our notorious Baptismal Regeneration sermon, we received a letter from Mr. James Davis, the secretary of the Alliance, setting forth very strongly that our only alternative was either to retract our harsh language., or to withdraw from the Alliance. Knowing Mr. Noel’s gentle spirit, we should not have taken much notice of his; letter had we not been led to suppose, from the epistle of the secretary, that the Committee of the Alliance were of the same mind; and then, not being able to retract a syllable of our utterances, and being unwilling to embroil the Alliance in our conflict, we withdrew from it.’ We have since learned that the letter was unauthorized, and several members of the Alliance Committee have expressed regret that we acted upon it. We are in this state of the case absolutely passive; we do not wish to revive any personal question, or cause altercation; only it is clear to everyone that, under the circumstances, neither manliness nor Christian truthfulness will allow us to attend Alliance gatherings while we are practically under its ban.”
Happily some few years afterwards, Mr. Spurgeon saw his way to rejoin the Alliance, and he remained a member of its Council until he was “called home” in 1892. On many occasions, he spoke at meetings arranged in connection with the Alliance, the moat memorable being the great gatherings at Exeter Hall and the Mildmay Conference Hall, in 1888, for united testimony in regard to fundamental truth, just: at the time when the “Down-grade” Controversy was at its height, and thousands of lovers of Evangelical doctrine felt the need of a clear and emphatic “declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us.” It is also noteworthy that, in the circular concerning the formation of the Pastors’ College Evangelical Association, Mr. Spurgeon wrote: — “As a convenient summary of faith, we have adopted, with certain alterations and additions, the basis of the Evangelical Alliance, accepting it with the more readiness because so many believers of various churches have been content thus; to set forth the main points of their agreement.”
The Baptismal Regeneration Controversy afforded Dr. Campbell the opportunity of publishing in The British Standard a series of articles, which extended over seventeen weeks, and were afterwards; republished in a volume, consisting of 330 small octavo pages. In the Introduction, he explained why he had not earlier taken part in the conflict: — “It was known to many that, between Mr. Spurgeon and myself, there had long been an intimate and cordial friendship, proofs and illustrations of which,, on my part, had from time to time appeared in the columns of The British Standard, and other publications under my control. In his early days, I stood by him, when his advocates in the press were neither numerous nor, with one or two honorable exceptions, efficient, while his adversaries were both unscrupulous and powerful. Some surprise accordingly was felt, by our mutual friends, that I was not among the first to place myself at his side. They were at a loss to account for my seeming apathy; but, in this, they were guided by feeling rather than by judgment; they did not reflect that the state of things was entirely altered. Mr. Spurgeon was no longer a tender sapling that might receive benefit from the friendly shade of an cider tree, but an oak of the forest, whose roots had struck deep in the earth, and whose thick and spreading boughs bade defiance to the hurricane. They forgot that Mr. Spurgeon alone was more than a match for all his adversaries. Besides, a passing newspaper article, however strong or telling, although it might have gratified our mutual friends, would have been of small importance, to the cause which I had so much at heart, — the correction and purification of the Liturgy of the Established Church.. That subject is vital, not only to her real usefulness, but to her very existence as a Protestant Institution! The universality of the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration will be the sure, prelude to her overthrow, and the re- establishment of the Church of Rome, with all her darkness and bondage, misery and wickedness.”
The service at the Tabernacle, on Lord’s-day evening, July 31, 1864, was a memorable one to Mr. Spurgeon and two of his hearers, and afterwards to many more when be related a singular circumstance which occurred in connection with his sermon that night. A man, living in Newington, had been converted through the Pastor’s preaching, and he became a regular worshipper at the Tabernacle. His wife, a very staunch member of the Church of England, strongly objected to his going; but he continued to attend notwithstanding all that she said. One Sabbath night, after her husband had gone to the service, her curiosity overcame her prejudice, and she herself determined to go to hear Mr. Spurgeon. Not wishing to be known, she tried to disguise herself by putting on a thick veil and a heavy’ shawl, and sought still further to avoid observation by ascending to the upper gallery. She was very late in reaching the building; so, just as she entered, the preacher was announcing his text, and the first words that sounded in her ears were strikingly appropriate to her case, especially as she declared that Mr. Spurgeon pointed directly at her as he said, “Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another?” This singular coincidence further impressed her when, in the course of his sermon, the Pastor said: — “While thus speaking about the occasional hearer, an idea haunts ray mind that I have. been drawing somebody’s portrait. I think there are some here who have had their character and conduct: sketched out quite accurately enough for them to know who is meant. Do remember that, if the description fits you, it is intended for you; and if you yourself have been described, do not look about among your neighbors, and say, ‘I think this refers to somebody else.’ If it applies to you, take it home to yourself; and may God impress it upon your conscience, so that you cannot get rid of it!...I do not suppose there is anybody here disguised as to dress tonight, though such a thing has happened before now; but, whoever, you may be, disguised or not, it is no use: to try to hide your identity where God’s gospel is preached, it is a quick discerner, and will find out the thoughts and intents of the heart. It will search you out, and unmask your true character, disguise yourself as you may.”
When the husband reached home, the. woman revealed her secret, and said that he must, somehow, have let Mr. Spurgeon know that she was. up in the gallery of the Tabernacle. The good man assured her that he was quite innocent, but she would not be convinced. The next day, when he saw the Pastor, he told him what a hard time he was having through his wife’s singular experience the previous evening, and then added, “And I have a bone to pick with you on my own account; for if she was; the wife of Jeroboam, then I must be Jeroboam himself, and that is not a very complimentary name to be given to me.” The sermon is entitled, “A Hearer in Disguise.”
At the Monday evening prayer-meeting at which Mr. Spurgeon related the foregoing incident, he also mentioned the sermon at Exeter Hall, in which he suddenly broke off from his subject, and, pointing in a certain direction, said, “Young man, those gloves you are wearing have not been paid for; you have stolen them from you,’ employer.” At the close of the service, a young man, looking very pale and greatly agitated, came to the room which was used as a vestry, and begged for a private interview with Mr. Spurgeon. On being admitted, he placed a pair of gloves upon the table, and tearfully said, “It’s the first time I have robbed my master, and I will never do it again. You won’t expose me, sir, will you? It would kill my mother if she heard that I had become a thief.” The preacher had drawn the bow at a venture, but the arrow struck the target for which God intended it, and the startled hearer was, in that singular way, probably saved from committing a greater crime.
A service which became more memorable after several years had elapsed was the one held on Lord’s-day morning; August 4, 1867, when the Pastor preached from Job 14:14: “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” After the murder of President James A. Garfield, in September, 1881, his widow wrote to Mr. Spurgeon: — “It is choice treasure from my storehouse of beautiful memories, that I sat beside General Garfield in the Metropolitan Tabernacle, one bright summer Sunday morning (.August 4, 1867), and listened to your voice. I have this morning re-read from his journal his account of that day. A sentence from it may interest you. After describing his impressions of the great audience, of the preacher, and of the sermon, he adds: — ‘ God bless Mr. Spurgeon!
He is helping to work out the problem of religious and civil freedom for England in a way that he. knows not of.’” One passage in the discourse was specially appropriate to the hundreds of Americans, and other strangers from across the seas, who were present: — “ The Christian life. should be one of waiting; that is, holding with a loose hand all earthly things. Many travelers are among us this morning; they are passing from one place to another, viewing divers countries; but is they are only travelers, and are soon to return to their homes, they do not speculate in the various businesses of Lombard Street or Cheapside. They do not attempt to buy large estates, and lay them out, and make gold and silver thereby; they know that they are only strangers and foreigner’s, and they act as such. They take such interest in the affairs of the country in which they are sojourning as may be becoming in those who are not citizens of it; they wish well to those among whom they tarry for a while; but that is all, for they are going home, therefore they do not intend to hamper themselves with anything that might make it difficult for them to depart from our shores.”
On Thursday evening, April 16, 1868, Mr. Spurgeon preached at the Tabernacle the annual sermon for the Young Men’s Association in aid of the Baptist Missionary Society. His text was, Acts 2:17: “Your young men shall see visions.” As a young’ man, speaking to young’ men, the preacher claimed his right to see visions; and amongst the rest was this one of a very practical character:— “Suppose that there should be a number of young men here who know each other very well, young men who have been trained in the same sanctuary, nurtured in the same church, who should meet together tomorrow, or at such other time as shall be convenient, and say to one another, ‘ Now, we are in business, we have just commenced in life, and God is prospering us, more or less; we are taking to ourselves wives; our children are coming around us; but, still, we trust we are never going to permit ourselves to be swallowed up in a mere worldly way of living; now, what ought we to do for missions?’ And suppose the inquiry should be put, ‘Is there one amongst us who could go and teach the heathen for us?’ As; we, most of us, may not have the ability, or do not feel called to the work, is there one out of twelve of us young men, who have grown side by side in the Sunday-school, who has the ability, and who feels called to go? Let us make it a matter of prayer, and when the Holy Ghost saith, ‘Separate So-and-so to the work,’ then we, the other eleven who remain, will do this, —we will say to him, ‘ Now, brother’, you cannot stop at home to make your fortune or to earn a competence; you are now giving yourself up to a very arduous and difficult enterprise, and we will support you; we know you, and we have confidence in you; you go down into the pit, we will hold the rope; go forth in connection with our own denominational Society, but we will bear the expense year by year among ourselves! Have you faith enough to go trusting’ that the. Lord will provide? Then, we will have faith enough, and generosity enough, to say that your wants shall be our care; you preach for Christ, we will make money for Christ; when you open the Bible for Christ, we will be taking down the shop shutters for Christ; and while you are unfolding the banner of Christ’s love, we will be unfolding’ the calicoes, or selling the groceries;; and we pledge ourselves always to set aside your portion, because, as our brother, you are doing our work.’ I wish we had such godly clubs as these, — holy confederacies of earnest young men who thus would love their missionary, feel for him, hear from him continually, and undertake to supply the means for his support. Why, on such a plan as that, I should think they would give fifty times, or a hundred times, as; much as ever they are likely to give to an impersonal Society or to a man whose name they only know, but whose face they never saw. I wonder whether I shall ever live to see a club of t that kind; I wonder whether such an association will ever be formed by members of this church, or of any of the churches in London. If it shall be so, I shall be glad to have seen a vision of it.”
Happily, the Pastor did live to see something closely resembling the realization of his vision. In 1875, the leader of one of the Tabernacle Bibleclasses —Mr. Stephen Wigney — undertook the responsibility of raising pounds a year towards the support of Mr. G. F. Easton, in connection with the China Inland Mission; and year after year, down to the present time, the teacher and his class have continued to raise that amount. More recently, by the introduction of the system of “Missionary circles” and “Carey’s penny” the number of Tabernacle missionaries thus maintained has been considerably increased.
Many who are no longer young can recall a notable Tuesday evening, March 2, 1869, — when Mr. Spurgeon preached in the Tabernacle to several thousands of children. It was remarkable as being one of the very few occasions on which the young people of the congregation and of the Sunday-schools were assembled specially by themselves. The text was, Psalm 71:17: “O God, Thou hast taught me: from my youth;” and the sermon was one that boys and girls could easily understand and remember.
It contained an unusually large number of anecdotes and illustrations, and in the course of it Mr. Spurgeon put several questions to his youthful auditors, which they answered promptly, and on the whole accurately. A brief extract will show the style of the sermon: — “Why should we go to God’s school early? I think we ought to do so, first, because it is such a happy school. Schools used to be very miserable places; but, nowadays, I really wish I could go to school again. I went into the Borough Road School, the other day, into the Repository, where they sell slates, and pencils, and books, and all such things. The person who was there opened a box, and said to me, “Do you want to buy any of these things?’ I said, ‘What are they? Why, they are toys, are they not?’ He answered, ‘No, they are not toys: they are used for the lessons that are taught in the kindergarten school.’ I said, ‘Why, if I were to take them home, my boys would have a game with them, for they are only toys.’ ‘Just so,’ he replied, ‘but they are what are used in the kindergarten school to make learning the: same as playing, so that little children should play while they are learning.’ Why, I thought, if that were so, I should like to go at once!
Now, those who go to God’s school are made much more happy than any toy can make children. He gives them real pleasure. There is a verse, — I don’t know how many of you can repeat it, —I will say the first line; you say the second, if you can. “MR.SPURGEON: — ‘’Tis religion that can give’ — “THE CHILDREN: — ‘ Sweetest pleasures while we live;’ — “MR.SPURGEON: — ‘’Tis religion must supply’ — “THE CHILDREN: — ‘Solid comfort when we die.’ “MR.SPURGEON: — Yes, we made that out very well between us. Then, let us be off to Gods school early, because it is such a happy school.”
Mr. Spurgeon delivered a similar discourse to a congregation of children on Lord’s-day afternoon, February 26, 1871, only on that occasion his subject consisted of Dr. Horatius Bonar’s hymn: beginning, — “I lay my sins on Jesus, The spotless Lamb of God.” In the course of his remarks, the Past,)r made the following reference to an object-lesson which he had given to the children many years before: — “It is a long. while ago since I gave an address on a Sunday afternoon; but I daresay some of you, who are growing into young men and young women, recollect that I brought a large piece of scarlet cloth to show to you. I had asked my dear wife to have it tested, and it had been boiled ever so many times; and it had been soaked in water ever so long be. fore I brought; it here. I could hardly tell you how much it had been rinsed, and rubbed, and scrubbed, and boiled. It was red when it: went into the copper, and it was quite as; red when it came out; the color could not be taken out of it:. I have heard that red rags cannot be made into any sort of paper except that red blotting-paper that we use, for this reason, that men cannot get the color out. That is just like our sins; they are upon us like bright red stains, we cannot get them out, do what we may, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ; but if we are washed in His precious blood, we become as white as snow. Not only does the crimson color go, but not so much as a spot remains.”
Towards the close of the sermon, Mr. Spurgeon related to the children this interesting reminiscence of his boyhood: “Now the last wish is, — “‘I long to be with Jesus.’ That is the best of all. But, dear boys and girls, you cannot sing that in your hearts unless you carry out the first part of the hymn, for we cannot be with Jesus till first He hats; taken upon Himself our sins, and made us like Himself. I do not think many of you go to a boarding-school, but I know what I used to do when I was at a school of that kind. I wanted, to get home for the holidays; and six weeks before breaking-up time came, I made a little almanac. There was one square for every day; and, as the days passed, I used to mark them over with my pen, and make them black.
Didn’t I like to see them getting blotted! First I said, ‘There are only five weeks and six days before the holidays come,’ then it was, ‘ five weeks all five days,’ and then,’ five weeks and four days,’ and so on, till it was within a forenight of the vacation, and then I began to feel that it was almost time to go home. You see, I was longing to go home; and that is how you and I will feel when we become like Jesus, we shall long to be with Jesus, where saints and angels sing His praises for ever. But, in order to be able to look at death in that light, we must first lay our sins on Jesus.”
Both these discourses are published in neat booklets, which would make most useful presents to children and young people, many of whom might, through reading them:, be led to trust the Savior, and so go — “To be with Jesus, Amid the Heavenly throng.” How vividly this incident in my husband’s boyhood recalls a similar one in much later days. He had been working at high pressure for a long time, and was greatly needing a rest. The time for the proposed holiday was fixed far in advance, and he looked forward to it with feverish impatience. It was referred to at all mealtimes; and one day he said to me, “Wiley, I wish I had a piece of string marked, and put in some prominent place, so that I could cut off each day as it passes.”
I immediately prepared a length of tape, with all the dates plainly written on it, and attached it to the chandelier which overhung the dining-table. It certainly was not an ornament to the room, but it gave him exceeding pleasure to clip off a piece of it day by day; so nobody cared how it looked, if he were gratified. It was very long when first put up, and he took as much delight as a little child would have done in watching it gradually grow shorter.
Friends would stare at it in wonder and curiosity, especially if they happened to be there at dividing time, when the scissors were produced, and with all due ceremony the symbol of the flight of another twenty-four hours was snipped off. Some laughed, some joked, some criticized; but he steadily persevered in his task until only an inch or two of the recording line was left hanging in its place, and we began to make preparations for the long-de, sired journey.
Alas, for those plans of ours which do not run parallel with God’s will! My beloved became seriously ill when but a few clays-remained on the register, and that pathetic morsel of tape was cut down and removed, amidst tears of disappointment and sorrow for his sake. A sad period of suffering ensued, and one day he said, “Wiley, we will never do that again; it will be better, in future, patiently to wait for the unfolding of God’s purposes concerning ‘us.”
Many other memorable services were held in the Tabernacle during the period covered by this chapter, some of which may be mentioned subsequently; but space can only be spared here for a brief notice of the discourse which was delivered by Mr. Spurgeon on June 14, 1874, — the Sabbath before his fortieth birthday. The text was, Deuteronomy 2:7: “For the Lord thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand; He knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee, thou hast lacked nothing;” and the sermon was largely autobiographical. One of the most characteristic passages was the following: — “The work of some. of us has been to preach the gospel: and if the Lord had given us a few scores of conversions, we would have loved Him for ever; but inasmuch as He has given us thousands upon thousands of converts, how shall we find language with which to praise Him? He has blessed the work of our hands, so that a vast church has been gathered, and many smaller ones have sprung from it; one enterprise has been taken up, and then another; one labor which seemed beyond our power has been achieved, and then another, and. yet another; and at His feet we hay the crown. I must confess my Lord’s special favor towards me, the very stones in the street would cry out against me if I did not. Brethren, you have. had a share in the blessing, — have a share also in the praising. Enemies have arisen, and they have been exceedingly violent:, only to fulfill some special purpose of God, and increase our blessing against their will. Sickness has come, only to yield discipline; we trove been made weak that we might become strong, and brought to death’s door that we might know more of the Divine life. Glory be to God, our life has been all blessing from beginning to end; ever since we knew Him, He has dealt out blessing, and blessing and blessing, and never a syllable of cursing. He has fulfilled to us the word, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.’” Of all the memorable services away from the Tabernacle, the’ most notable were those held on the five Lord’s-day mornings, March 24 to April 21, 1867, in the Agricultural Hall, Islington. It is difficult to tell the exact number of persons present, — the estimates ranging from twelve to twenty-five thousand; — but the congregations were the largest that Mr. Spurgeon ever addressed in any building with the exception of the Fast-day service at the Crystal Palace.
Not only were great crowds of hearers attracted, but the Word preached was blessed to very many of them, some of whom joined the neighboring churches, while others; found a spiritual home at the Tabernacle. The text on the first morning was Matthew 21:28-32, and in introducing his subject, the preacher said: — “The sight of this vast arena, and of this crowded assembly, reminds me of other spectacles which, in days happily long past, were seen in the amphitheaters of the: old Roman Empire. Around, tier upon tier, were the assembled multitudes, with their cruel eyes and iron hearts; and in the center stood a solitary, friendless man, waiting till the doors of the. lion’s den should be uplifted, that he might yield himself up a witness for Christ and a sacrifice to the popular fury. There would have been no difficulty then to have divided the precious from the vile in that audience. The most thoughtless wayfarer, who should enter the amphitheater, would know at once who was the disciple of Christ and who were the enemies of the: Crucified One. There stood the bravely-calm disciple, about to die, but all around, in those mighty tiers of the Colosseum, or of the amphitheater of some provincial town, as the case might be, there sat matrons and nobles, princes and peasants, plebeians and patricians, senators and soldiers, all gazing downward with the same fierce, unpitying look, vociferous in the joy with which they beheld the agonies of a disciple of the hated Galilean, ‘butchered to make a Roman holiday.’ “Another sight is before us today, with much more happy associations; but, alas! it is a far more difficult task this day to separate the chaff from the wheat. Here, in this spacious arena, I hope there are hundreds, if not thousands, who would be prepared to die. for our Lord Jesus, if such a sacrifice were required of them; and in yonder crowded seats, we may count by hundreds those who bear the Name and accept title gospel of Jesus of Nazareth; and yet, I fear me that, both in these living hills on either side, and upon this vast floor, there are many enemies of the Son of God, who are forgetful of His righteous claims, who have cast from them those ‘cords of a man’ which should bind them to His throne, and have never submitted, to the mighty love which showed itself in His cross and in His wounds. I cannot attempt the separation. You must grow together until the harvest. To divide you were a ‘task which, at this hour, angels could not perform; but which, one day, they will easily accomplish, when, at their Master’s bidding the harvest being come, they shall gather together first the tares in bundles to burn them, and afterwards the. wheat into Jehovah’s barn. I shall not attempt the division, but I ask each man to make it for himself in his own case. I say unto you, young men and maidens, old men and fathers, this day examine yourselves whether you be in the faith. “Let no one take it for granted that he is a Christian because he has helped to swell the numbers of a worshipping assembly. Let no man judge his fellow, but let each of us judge himself. To every one of you I say, with deepest earnestness, let a division be made by your conscience, and let your understandings separate between him that feared God and him that feareth Him not. Though no man clothed in linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side, shall go through the midst of you, to set a mark: upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations of this city, let conscience take the inkhorn, and honestly make the mark, or leave the favored sign unmade, and let each man question himself, this morning’, ‘Am I on the Lord’s side? Am I for Christ, or for His enemies? Do I gather with Him, or do I scatter abroad?’ ‘ Divide! divide!’ they cry in the House of Commons; let us say the same in this great congregation this day.
Political divisions are but trifles, compared with the all-important distinction which I would have you consider. Divide as you will be divided to the right and to the left in the great day when Christ shall judge the world in righteousness. Divide as you will be divided when the bliss of Heaven, or the woes of hell, shall be your everlasting portion.”