GROWTH OF THE INSTITUTIONS, 1878-1892.
College, Orphanage, Colportage Association, and Society of Evangelists, might any one of them be regarded as; works of Christian inventiveness, but it would be by far the smaller half of the truth to look at them from that point of view. These enterprises have succeeded each other, by a natural rule and order of Providence, as inevitably as the links of a chain follow one another.
We have heard kind friends speak of “genius for organization” and “great practical common sense” as abiding in the leader of these various works for the lord; but, indeed, it would be far nearer the truth to say that he followed with implicit, and almost blind, confidence what he took to be the intimations of the Divine will, and hitherto these intimations have proved to be what he thought them. At the close of twenty-five years, we see a vast machinery in vigorous operation, in bette’ working condition than ever it was; and, a; to means and funds, perfectly equipped, although it has no other resources than the promise, “My God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Gratitude bows her head, and sings her own song to her Well-beloved, to whom it belongs. — C. H. S., in Preface to “The Sword and the Trowel” volume for 1878. THE last fourteen years of Mr. Spurgeon’s earthly life proved to be a very profitable period both for the Tabernacle Church and the various Institutions connected with it. Towards the close of his address, at the meeting held in the Tabernacle, on May 20, 1879, in connection with the celebration of his pastoral silver wedding, he said — “Let us go forward, brethren, let us go forward. We have made a very fair beginning’, in God’s strength, and to Him be the honor of it; but I regard to-night not as the goal, but as the starting-place. We have truly laid underground foundations of a structure which now we trust will rise into open day. Here is one point for a new departure. Listen and consider it. A day or two ago, the lady, who founded the Boys’ Orphanage sent me £50 for the Girls’ Orphanage. I wrote to her somewhat to this effect — ‘I am very grateful for the proposal; but I am not very well, and the times are not very hopeful, so I had rather not begin any new work just yet.’ I proposed to keep the £50 in case we did build an Orphanage for girls; and if not, to hand it over to the boys. ‘ No,’ said our friend, ‘ you a. re right in your judgment, but take the £50 as the first brick, for I am fully assured that many more bricks will shortly be added.’ Now I propose that £50 of the testimonial should be placed with my dear friend’s £50 that we may found the Girls’ Orphanage together. I do not mean to press this new enterprise just now; but only to moot it, and see whereunto this thing will grow.
Other eggs will conic to the nest-egg, and the nest will become full, and then we shall have another family of little chicks. I feel as though I was laying’ the first stone of the Girls’ Orphanage, and you were all saying, ‘Go ahead.’ This is a good note for our present page of history, — ‘second twenty-five years of pastorate commenced by the inauguration of project for Girls’ Orphanage.’ ‘What next?’ says somebody. I cannot tell you what I may suggest to you next; but, you see, I am driven to this Girls’ Orphanage. I have this £50 forced upon me, and I cannot get rid of it; would you have me refuse to use this money for poor fatherless girls? No, your hearts would not so counsel me. Thus, of my own free will, compelled by constraining grace, I accept a further charge, and look to see prayer and faith open a new chapter of marvels.”
One friend, who heard the Pastor’s speech, at once gave him £50 for the new project, and other contributions speedily followed. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Spurgeon wrote — ” At the very’ time at which we began to move in this matter, it pleased God, in His providence, to put within our reach the house and grounds known as ‘ The Hawthorns,’ at which we had looked wistfully for a long while. A few years ago, this house was to be sold, and the Trustees of the Boys’ Orphanage attempted to purchase it at the auction; but the price was run up to several hundreds of pounds beyond its value. On June 6, this house was; again offered for sale, and we bought it for the exact sum which we had proposed to give on the former occasion.
There is only one paddock between its garden and the Orphanage grounds; and, by the goodness of God, and the kindness of its owner, we hope that this meadow also may one day become ours; we should then be able to make the Orphanage into a complete, square by erecting similar buildings to those which are there already. This must be a work of time, but it is something to have a place whereon to put our fulcrum, and apply our lever. We believe that the Lord has led us forth by a right way, that we might go to a city of habitation. We have purchased the house and grounds for the Girls’ Orphanage, but we have only about L360 in hand with which to payFOR it; and we are specially desirous that, when the time shall come for the absolute payment of the entire sum, we may be able to count out the whole £4,000. That time will be here in a few days, but time is not an object with the Possessor of Heaven and earth. We have never been in debt yet, nor have we had a mortgage upon any of our buildings, nor have we even borrowed money for a time, but we have always been able to pay as we have gone on. Our prayer is that we may never have to come down to a lower platform, and commence borrowing. If this land had not been put up to auction there and then, we should have waited until we had received the purchase-price from our great Master’s stewards; but, as the site was so extremely desirable, and as the purchase had to be made at once or not at all, we thought it wise to secure it. We cannot think that we erred in this decision. None of our beloved counselors and fellow-helpers think so, but one and all advised the step. The money for the payment must come from somewhere, and the questions now to be answered are, — Where is the money? Who has charge of it at present? Who feels called upon to send it?
The silver and the gold are the Lord’s, and He has but to incline His servants to apportion some of their Master’s money to this particular work, and the thing will be done. If they can do better with their substance, by all means let them do so; but if they count us faithful, we are prepared to accept this further trust, and do our best with it. “It has often happened that we have been unable to assist widows in necessitous circumstances, with large families, because there did not happen to be a boy of the special age required by the rules of our Boys’ Orphanage.. There were several girls, lout then we could not take them; and, however urgent the case, we have been unable to relieve very deserving mothers, simply because their children weft not boys. This is one reason why we need a Girls’ Orphanage. “Here is a grand opportunity for Christian people with means to take their places among the thunders of this new Institution; and if they judge that such a work will be good and useful, we hope they will, without fail, and without delay, come to our assistance in this fresh branch (of service. We cannot afford to lose a single penny from the funds for the boys, bet this work for the girls must be something extra and above. You helped Willy and Tommy; will you not help Mary and Maggie?”
The scheme quickly secured the sympathy of the Christian public; the money for the purchase of “The Hawthorns” was ready by the date on which it was required, and the first family of girls was soon installed there.
It was found that the trust-deed of the Orphanage provided for the reception of fatherless children, without specifying either sex, so no alteration was needed in it; and arrangements for the completion of the Institution were made in due time. The Pastor and his publishers and the Trustees nobly led the way with generous gifts, many thousands of donors followed their example, and thus, block by block, the Orphanage gradually attained the appearance depicted in the bird’s — eye view.
It is not possible to tell all the blessing that the Orphanage has already been to hundreds of bereaved families; and ‘its beneficent influence is still continued. Up to the time of Mr. Spurgeon’s home-goings, nearly sixteen hundred boys and girls had been sheltered within its walls. They have often expressed their gratitude for all that has been done for them in the Institution; and many of them have, at various times, given practical proofs of their interest in the happy home into which they were received in the hour of their helpless orphanhood. One instance of this is described in the following letter, the receipt of which gave great joy to the President - “Stockwell Orphanage, “Clapham Road “London, S.W., “February 14th, 1888. “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “In closing the list, today, for March Sword and Trowel, you will I am sure, be pleased to know that it contains donations from ‘some of the old boys’ (about forty), to the amount of £17. 17. 0.
Everyone, in forwarding his subscription, wishes it were ten times or a hundred times as much; and it is accompanied with every expression of gratitude for the benefits received at the Stockwell Orphanage, and of warmest love to yourself, — the earthly father to this large orphan family; and they all pray that our Heavenly Father may spare you, for many, many years, to lead and direct this blessed work of caring for the widow and the fatherless. “I am, “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “Ever yours sincerely, “F. G.LADDS.”
A letter from one of the girls, after she had left the Orphanage, will show that there was equal gratitude on that side of the Institution — “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “You must excuse the liberty I am taking in writing to you; but you will not mind when you know the reason. I must, first of all, tell you that I am one of your old orphan girls; but the Lord having found me, and made me His child, before I left the Orphanage, I knew it would cheer your heart if I wrote and told you. I thought, when my father died,1 could never have another to equal him; but when I came to your Orphanage, I discovered my mistake, for I found a better and truer Father, ‘who will never leave me nor forsake me, and to whom I can take my every trouble, however small it may be. It seems almost too good to be true that Jesus was really crucified to save me. When I think of all the years I grieved and pained Him, it only makes me want to try and please Him ever so much more tot the future. “I must tell you that I was in the Orphanage seven and a-half years, and was very happy indeed, and wish myself back again. Now I think I must close, thanking you for your kindness in giving us such a beautiful home to live in. It will always be something to look back on with pleasure for the rest of our lives, and for which we can never thank you enough. I myself hope shortly to come forward, and, by baptism, publicly let the world know that I have accepted Jesus as my Savior; or, rather, I should say, that He has accepted me as His child. “1 remain, “One of your old orphan girls, “____” On a memorable afternoon, in the autum of 1890, Mr. Spurgeon paid a visit to the Orphanage under circumstances which are not likely to be forgotten by any who were then present. Almost immediately afterwards, he wrote the following account of the “happy scene in a storm,” which may fitly conclude the references to the Orphanage in his Standard Life, for it shows how, right to the last, he sought the spiritual welfare of the children, which had been the principal aim both of Mrs. Hillyard and himself in founding the Institution — “I went to the Stockwell Orphanage, on Tuesday, September 23, to walk round with an artist, and select bits for his pencil, to be inserted in a Christmas book for the Institution. We had not gone many yards before it began to rain. Umbrellas were forthcoming, and we tried to continue our perambulation of the whole square of the boys’ and girls’ houses but the rain persisted in descending, and speedily increased into a downpour.
Nothing short of being amphibious would have enabled us to face the torrent. There was no other course but to turn into the play-hall, where the boys gave tremendous cheers at our advent, — cheers almost as deafening as the thunder which responded to them. Go out we could not, for the shower was swollen into a deluge, so I resolved to turn the season to account. A chair was forthcoming, and there I sat, the center of a dense ‘throng of juvenile humanity, which could scarcely be kept off from a nearness which showed the warmth of their reception of their friend. Our artist, who, standing in the throng, made a hurried sketch, could not be afforded space enough to put in the hundreds of boys. “It was certainly a melting moment as to heat, and fresh air was not abundant; but anything was; better than the storm outside. Flash after flash made everybody feel sober, and prompted me to talk with the boys about that freedom from fear which comes through faith in the Lord Jesus. The story was told of a very young believer, who was in his uncle’s house, one night, during a tremendous tempest. The older folk were all afraid; but he had really trusted himself with the Lord Jesus, and he did not dare to fear.
The baby was upstairs, and nobody was brave enough to fetch it down because of a big window on the stairs. This lad went up to the bedroom, brought the baby to its mother, and then read a Psalm, and prayed with his relatives, who were trembling with fear. There was real danger, for a stack was set on fire a short distance away; but the youth was as calm as on a summer’s day of sunshine, not because he was naturally brave, but because he truly trusted in the Lord. “While I was thus speaking’, the darkness increased, and the storm overhead seemed brooding over us with black wings. It was growing dark before its hour.
Most appropriately, one of the boys suggested a verse, which all sang sweetly and reverently, — “Abide with me! fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me!’ “This ended, there followed a word about the ground of the believer’s trust he was forgiven, and therefore dreaded no condemnation; he was in his Heavenly Father’s hand, and therefore feared no evil. If we were at enmity against God, and had all our sins resting upon our guilty heads, we might be afraid to die; yes, and even afraid to live; but, when reconciled to Him by the death of His Son, we said farewell to tear. With God against us, we are in a state of war; but with God for us, we dwell in perfect peace, Here came flashes of lightning and peals of thunder which might ‘well make us start; but no one was afraid. It is true we all felt awed, but we were restful, and somehow there was a quiet but general cry for ‘perfect peace.’ On enquiring what this meant, I was answered by all the boys singing right joy fully, — “Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace, Over all victorious in its bright increase, Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day; Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest, Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest. “‘Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand, Never foe can follow, never traitor stand; Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care, Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there. ‘Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest, Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.’
“This sung, we covered our faces reverently, and the boys were very silent, while I lifted up my voice in prayer. Then we opened our eyes again, and it was very dark, as if night had come before its time. While the flames of fire leaped in through the windows and skylights, the noise of the rain upon the roof and the tremendous thunder scarcely permitted me to say much upon Jesus as being our peace, through His bearing our sins in His own body on the tree. Yet, as well as I could, I set forth the cross of Christ as the place of peace-making, peace-speaking, and peace-finding, both for boys and men; and then we all sang, to the accompaniment of the storm-music, — How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, And drives away his fear.’ “Never did the power of that Name to drive away tear appear more sweetly. To me, the words came with a soothing, cheering force, which filled me with intense delight; so we very joyfully and peacefully sang the third verse, — “‘ Dear Name! the rock on which I build, My shield and hiding-place; My never-failing treasury, fill’d With boundless stores of grace.’ ‘Just as we came to ‘my shield and hiding-place,’ there was a peculiarly blue flash, with a sort of rifle-crack, as if something very close to us had been struck. The boys looked at one another, but went on, in subdued tones, singing of the ‘boundless stores of grace.’ Teachers and others were mixed with the little army of boys, but we were all welded together in common emotion. I then reminded them that, to such a Protector, we must give our heart’s love. It was a duty to love one so good as the Lord Jesus, but even more a delight to do so, since He gave Himself For us, and, by bearing our punishment, delivered us from all harm. As if by instinct, someone led off — “My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine, For Thee all the follies of sin I resign; My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou, If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.’ “Here was a good opening to press home the question, — ’ Is this true of each one of you? The great desire of all who conduct the Orphanage is to lead you to take Jesus \or your gracious Redeemer, that so you may love Him. Oh, that you loved Him now/ It may be that, if you leave us unsaved, the Lord will yet bring you in; but it would be far better that you should go, out from us ready for the battle’, of life, and covered with a holy armor, so that you might not be wounded by the arrows of sin.’ Then I picked out Mr. May, who is employed at the Orphanage, and bade him tell the boys about himself. May was a boy’ with us at the Orphanage, — a restless spirit, so he went to sea; and, after many hardships and adventures, he was converted to God at Malta, and then came back to us, and we found him a post at his own school. As the lads knew the most of his story, May did not say very much; and what he did say was rather overborne by the rain on the roof, which sounded like ten thousand drums. The thunder added its trumpet voice, and only allowed us pauses of silence. I went on With the talk till there came a burst of thunder loud and long. I stopped, and bade the children listen to the voice of the Lord. We all hearkened to it with awe and wonder. Then I reminded diem of Psalm xxix ‘The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars; yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever.’ I told them how often I had sung to myself Dr. Watts’s verses, —
“‘The God that rules on high, And thunders when He please, That rides upon the stormy sky, And manages the seas: “‘This awful God is ours, Our Father and our love; He shall send down His heavenly powers To carry us above. “‘There shall we see His face, And never, never sin; There from the rivers of His grace, Drink endless pleasures in. “As they did not know the old-fashioned tune ‘ Falcon Street,’ to which I had been wont to sing the words, we kept quiet till, suddenly, there came another roll of drums in the march of the God of armies; and then, as an act of worship, we adoringly sang together, with full force, the words of the Doxology — . “‘Praise God, from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below, Praise Him above, ye heavenly host, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.’ “This was a grand climax. The heavens themselves seemed to think so, for there were no more thunder-claps of such tremendous force. I need not write more. The storm abated. I hurried off to see enquirers at the Tabernacle, but not till one and another had said to me, ‘The boys will never forget this. It will abide with them throughout eternity.’ So be it, for Christ’s sake! Amen.”
Like the Orphanage, the Pastors’ College made great advances during the fl0urteen years from 1878 to 1892. Up to the time of the President’s homegoing, nearly nine hundred brethren had been educated in the Institution, of whom a large number had gone to the foreign mission field or to other distant, spheres of service. The statistical account for the year 1891-2 showed that, in the churches under the charge of the ministers who furnished the figures for that Annual Report, — and it was never possible to get returns from anything like all of them, — nearly 100,000 persons had been baptized since the year 1865, when the statistics were first collected; and, after making all deductions, there had been a clear increase of 80,000 members. Truly, if Mr. Spurgeon had done nothing beyond founding and carrying on the Pastors’ College, it would have been a noble life-work; yet that was only one of his many forms of labor for the Lord.
The four tutors, whose portraits appear on the opposite page, were in charge of the College classes during the greater part of Mr. Spurgeon’s presidency. “Father Rogers,” who was spared to see his first student succeeded by more than eight hundred others, continued to hold the office of Principal until 1881, and he afterwards rendered occasional help at the College until 1884, when he finally retired. Then, after spending seven restful years in his peaceful home at South Norwood, at the ripe age of ninety-two, he entered the glory-land only about four’ months before the Pastor and President with whom he had been so long and so happily associated in the important work of training men for the Christian ministry.
Professor Gracey, was appointed Principal in 1881, and he faithfully discharged the duties of that responsible position until he also was “called home” just a year after Mr. Spurgeon. Professor Fergusson remained at his post until the end of 1891, when increasing infirmities necessitated his retirement; and he is now (in 1899,) the sole survivor of the early tutorial staff of the College. Professor Marchant, who had himself been a Pastors’ College student, became one of the tutors in 1881; he continued in that post until 1898, and only a few months more elapsed before he also received the home-call, just a week or two after the sudden summons reached Pastor J. A. Spurgeon, the former Vice-President, and afterwards the President of the Institution.
One of the most important events in the later history of the College was the formation, in 1888, of the Pastors’ College Evangelical Association. This was one of the direct results of the “Down-grade” Controversy. When Mr. Spurgeon found how many of his own former students had accepted various forms of modern-thought teaching, he felt compelled to withdraw from further fellowship with them in the annual Conferences, at which they were practically his guests for the week. The only method of attaining that end, so far as he could see, was to reorganize the Association, and to define more clearly the doctrinal basis, which had been in existence from its commencement, although there had been no need to call attention to it while all had been heartily united in the “one faith” as well as the “one Lord” and the “one baptism.” It was a great grief to the President that some brethren, who were firmly attached to Evangelical doctrine, remained outside the new fraternal band; but the gap in the ranks, which was caused by their absence, was quickly filled by a.n equal number of ministers, who, though not trained in the Pastors’ College, were in heart and soul one with Mr. Spurgeon, especially’ in his great protest against error and worldliness in the Church. A special clause was inserted in the constitution of the reorganized fraternity by which they were admitted, as associates, to share the privileges enjoyed by’ the members. Two of these brethren — Pastors Hugh D. Brown and R. Shindler — are in the group reproduced on the opposite page from a photograph, taken at the Orphanage, on the Tuesday afternoon of the Conference week in 1888. The artist desired to secure a portrait of the beloved leader who had, that morning, been unanimously and enthusiastically elected “Perpetual President of the Pastors’ College Evangelical Association,” although he always insisted upon the observance of what all regarded, in his case, as the pure formality of an annual election, for he foresaw that a time might come when that right would have to be exercised in real earnest, — and all too soon it happened .as he had prophesied. He was in one of his happiest moods, that afternoon, and he called to him seven brethren who were near him at the time, and then told the photographer to take them all. This he did, with the most satisfactory result, as the illustration clearly shows.
The chapter on “Jubilee Joys” contains a reference to Mr. Spurgeon’s objections to an endowment for his College; but he was, in a very singular way, and quite unintentionally, the means of providing a large portion of the funds for its maintenance for several years after he had been “called home.” The story greatly’ amuse, d him when he heard it related; it was to this effect. The conductor of an omnibus, while waiting on the City side of London Bridge, endeavored to attract passengers by shouting out, “Over the water to Charlie!” A gentleman enquired what he meant by this unusual cry, and he explained that the ‘bus was going over the Thames, and past the Tabernacle, where C. H. Spurgeon was announced to preach. It happened that the stranger had never heard the Pastor; indeed, as the tale ils told, it appears that he was not in the habit of attending any place of worship; but he went on that occasion, and for the rest of his life he was a diligent reader of the printed sermons, and when he made his will, he bequeathed a very large sum to Mr. Spurgeon for the Pastors’ College and for building chapels for the ministry of brethren trained in that Institution.
The Law of Mortmain prevented the carrying out of the latter part of his bequest, and a long Chancery suit reduced the.. residue which he intended for the College; but several thousands of pounds were received from his estate by the Trustees, who were thus enabled to continue the President’s important work of preparing preachers of the Word for home and foreign service.
An important outgrowth from “Mr. Spurgeon’s First Institution” was the Pastors’ College Society of Evangelists. The students, from the very beginning, had been noted both for the Evangelical doctrines which they held in common with their beloved President, and for the evangelistic fervor with which they proclaimed those truths. Many of them possessed the qualifications for the offices of pastor and evangelist to a very remarkable degree, and contemporary records abundantly prove how greatly the Church of Christ in general, and the Baptist denomination in particular, have been strengthened and increased through the labors of “our own men” in London, throughout the British Islands, on the Continent of Europe, in the United States, in most if not all of our numerous Colonies, and in the great mission field at large.
Still, Mr. Spurgeon long felt the need of a number of brethren, specially called and fitted to “do the work of an evangelist ;” and it was a great joy to him as, one after another, suitable men came forward, and offered themselves for the service on which his heart had been set. Mr. W. Higgins, now pastor at Wymondham, Norfolk, was the pioneer of this new movement; to which a great impetus was given by the appointment of Messrs. A. J. Clarke and J. Manton Smith. Then, when the temporary failure of Mr. Clarke’s health made it advisable for him to accept an invitation to Australia, Mr. W. Y. Fullerton took his place, and so commenced that happy partnership in labor for the Lord which has made the names of “C.. H. Spurgeon’s evagelists, Fullerton and Smith,” familiar as household words in tens of thousands oF homes in various parts of the United Kingdom. Other College. brethren, who have been more or less closely connected with the Society of Evangelists, are Messrs. J. Burnham, E. A. Carter, A. A. Harmer, J. s. Harrison, j. T. Mateer, and F. Russell.
The “little band of brothers’ entirely set apart for evangelistic work has been decreased by’ Messrs. Fullerton, Harmer, and Russell’s acceptance of pastorates; but some compensation for their loss has resulted from Mr. Carter’s generous aid and self-sacrificing devotion to the Pioneer Mission, by which the number of earnest evangelists, seeking to serve the Savior, has been largely augmented. It should also be mentioned that, long before the College Society of Evangelists was organized, there had existed two large and useful companies of so-called “lay” brethren, — the Tabernacle Evangelists’ Association and Country Mission, — under the leadership of devoted elders of the Tabernacle Church. Many of the students first began to speak for the Lord in connection with one or other of these useful agencies; and, during their College career, they continued, by this means, helping in the evangelization of the metropolis, and its suburbs, and the towns and villages in the adjacent counties. The total result of these many forms of Christian service, only eternity can reveal; but it is already known that, through their instrumentality, multitudes of sinners have been led to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and many new churches have, been formed, which are now self-supporting, and, in their turn, are centres of evangelistic effort in “the regions beyond.” To God be all the glory.
One other useful branch of the College work, in which Mr. Spurgeon greatly rejoiced, was the Pastors’ College Missionary Association. Without any kind of antagonism to existing organizations, when sufficient sums were placed at his disposal, he guaranteed the necessary amount for the support of Mr. Patrick and Dr. Churcher in North Africa; and, through the same agency, contributed toward the maintenance of Messrs. Blamire and Wigstone in Spain. He hoped that the way might have been opened for sending out large numbers of missionaries to various lands that are still destitute of gospel light; but, as the means for carrying out this purpose did not reach him, he was glad that so many of his students were enabled to go, under the auspices of the Baptist Missionary Society, the American Baptist Missionary Union, or the China Inland Mission, to the different portions of the foreign field to which they believed themselves to be called of God. They also have done and are doing a work which “the day shall declare.”
Not much need be added to the account of the Colportage Association given in the previous volume. In the last year of Mr. Spurgeon’s life, colporteurs we. re employed, — a larger number than in any previous part of the history of the work; and their sales amounted to £11,255 0S. 6d., — a higher total than they had ever before reached. During 1891, they had sold nearly 20,000 Bibles and Testaments, and more than a quarter of a million of Scripture texts and cards. The total of their sales, from the commencement of the Association to the close of 1891, was £153,784 3s. 6d.; and, during that quarter of a century, they had recorded 11,822,637 visits to families. It is impossible to tabulate the blessing that these earnest Christian workers have taken into the homes of the people, or that they have been the means of conveying by the services, Sunday-schools, missions, and temperance meetings which they are continually conducting; for, happily, this work is still being’ carried on, though with a smaller number of agents, and with even greater anxieties as to finances than Mr. Spurgeon experienced. It was always a marvel to him that the Lord’s stewards did not more quickly realize the value of the colporteurs’ labors, and more generously aid this Protestant, Evangelical, Home Mission service During the period that these various institutions were growing and flourishing, the Tabernacle Church, the foster-mother of them all, was prospering beyond all precedent. At the time of Mr. Spurgeon’s home-call, the number of members on the church-roll was 5,31I; and, during his long pastorate, no less than 14,691 persons were received into fellowship. At the end of 1891, there were 22 mission stations, and 27 Sunday and Ragged Schools, with 612 teachers, 8,034 scholars, and accommodation for 3,840 worshippers in the various halls used for public services.
Comparing this great host with the little company of anxious but praying people to whom “the boy-preacher” delivered his first discourse, in New Park Street Chapel, on that historic morning, in December, I853, one can only say, as he said, times without number, when speaking of the blessing which the Lord had graciously vouchsafed to his ministry, — “WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT!”