SIMON THE PEDDLER ANNO ABOUT the year 1553, at Bergen op Zoom, in Brabant, there was a peddler named Simon, standing in the market selling his wares. The priests with their idol passing by, the said Simon dared not show the counterfeit god any divine honor; but following the testimony or God in the holy Scripture, he worshipped the Lord his God only, and Him alone served. He was therefore seized by the advocates of the Romish Antichrist, and examined as to his faith. This he boldly confessed. He rejected infant baptism as a mere human invention, with all the commandments of men, holding fast the testimony of the word of God — he was therefore condemned to death by the enemies or the truth. They led him outside the town, and for the testimony of Jesus committed him to the flames. The astonishment of the bystanders was greatly excited when they saw the remarkable boldness and steadfastness of this pious witness of God, who, through grace, thus obtained the crown Of everlasting life. “The bailiff, who procured his condemnation, on his return home from the execution fell mortally sick, and was confined to his bed. In his suffering and sorrow he continually exclaimed, Oh Simon, Simon! The priests and monks sought to absolve him; but he would not be comforted. He speedily expired in despair, an instructive and memorable example to all tyrants and persecutors.”
Such is the brief story of Simon the Baptist peddler as we find it in the grand old folio volume of Baptist Martyrology, a copy of which we brought home with us from Amsterdam. It is well to review the memory of the brave days of old that we may be inspired with the like uncompromising Spirit. Not a nod of the head or a bend of the knee will the solitary champion concede to the idol before which, others prostrate themselves. His life must answer for his daring, but no entreaties or threats can move him; he can burn but he cannot turn; he can yield his body to the tormentors, but not his soul to the tempters. Things invisible have nerved his heart against all visible terrors, and the fear of the most holy God has banished from him all fear of man. He sought not the conflict, but he dared not shun it, and now that the hour is come for witness-bearing, peddler though he be, he bears him. self in a right princely manner, and proves himself one of the nobility of heaven. Pie might have lived and died in obscurity, a humble number of the band who have not bowed their knees to Baal, but now the test is put before him, and he will not quail; at all hazards he will be true to his conscience and his God. “He lived unknown Till persecution dragged him into fame, And chased him up to heaven.” Short and-sharp was the action of the persecutor, swift and sure was the transformation of the peddler into one of the white-robed throng before the throne. That calm face was lit up for a few moments with the lurid glare of blazing faggots, and an on that upright frame fell in ashes about the stake.
Think not that he threw, himself away for the Lord, and was lost to the Church by his decision, far from it; his death was more useful than his life; for through the page of history speaking from the stake he is to this day right eloquent, and being dead yet speaketh. He was sown like good seed corn in fertile soil, and the harvest is not all reaped as yet; the year of the redeemed has not yet reached the full feast of ingatherings. “The blood of martyrs, living still, Makes the ground pregnant where it flows, And tot their temporary ill Thereon eternal triumph grows.” All compliance with that which we know to be erroneous and un scriptural is a form of bowing the knee to Antichrist, and should be loathed by every follower of the Lord Jesus. Union with unsound churches, and compliance with unscriptural ceremonies stain the in-terrify of many. In many shapes, in our own land, we are tempted to yield-up the completeness of our faith, or withhold our testimony against error; but in any form and from any quarter, this temptation is always to be resisted as we would resist Satan himself. We have no more right to give up truth than to give away our master’s property. Trimming and temporizing, amiable silence, and unfaithful compromises are treason to God, and are devices of the devil to obtain space. and place for the propagation of falsehood; of which he is the father, but decision for truth sees through the enemy’s craft, and disdains to yield him so much as a single inch of vantage ground. Charity is a virtue, and so also is decision; and the one must never override the other, or it ceases to be true charity. When believers are steadfast in the truth they impress their age with a respect for their faith, but when they vacillate and yield up their principles the world neither respects them nor their religion.
Men look at weathercocks, but never steer by them. To the sinful pleasures of the world the believer must not yield; to its carnal customs he must not bow, and into its spirit he must not drink, or it will be all over with the power, and probably with the very existence of his testimony. When dancing parties, cards, novels, and such-like things are delighted in, grace has no more reigning power. The idol is set up and God is dishonored.
From the world’s religion we must keep at an equal distance; although bound to love all the people of God into whatsoever error they may have fallen, we must by no means connect ourselves with Antichrist in any of her branches, lest we be partakers of her plagues. Our nonconformity must be a daily protest against Popery both Romish and Anglican, doctrinal or ceremonial. Nor is it enough for us as believers in the Lord Jesus to be separate from false churches; we must bear our witness for the doctrines of the Word of God; we must cry aloud and spare not, for the times are full of danger, and need bold and living testimonies for the kingship of Jesus and the simplicity of his gospel. He who turns his back on Christ is a coward of the basest sort. He who minces matters to please a flattering world is unworthy of the kingdom! Speak out, act honestly, and if need be suffer for so doing, but never in jot or tittle sell the truth or prove traitor to conscience. The Holy Spirit is to be sought unto to inspire in us the courage which endures unto the end.
C. H. S.
UNWELCOME VISITORS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW YEAR
“The bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year,” 2 Kings 13:20.
SCARCELY have we had space to praise the God of mercy for sparing us through the past year, before we ate beset with new enemies; Unasked, unexpected, and unwelcome guests, pour into the house, while yet our friends are wishing us a happy New Year. A little breathing space would have been delightful; to down and sing of faithfulness and truth, would have been refreshing, but the trumpet sounds, the foe is mustering, and therefore we must lay aside the dulcimer of peace for of unsanctified nature; the Old Adam is their father, sin is their mother; unbelief their nurse, and self their captain. For number they are legion, and they prowl in bands, each band doing its best to make havoc of every good thing. They break down the carved work of our graces with axes and hammers, they fill up the wells of our comfort, and mar every piece of the -good -ground of our usefulness with stones; Doubts of our calling, election, and perseverance, like packs of hounds, hunt for their prey. Suspicions of the love, truth, wisdom, and faithfulness of God, march in troops, devastating the land wherever they obtain an entrance. Worldly cares, fretfulness, murmuring, and despondency, with fierce looks cast fire upon all the goodly houses of our delight and hope. Temptations of all shapes, but chiefly suggestions of an unbelieving character, barbarously ravage out’ ‘hearts. Before one has finished his terrible work, another is at hand. Like the frogs of Egypt, these invaders go up into our bedchamber and disturb our sleep; they leap into our kneading troughs and embitter the bread we eat, and even enter the king’s house and defile our devotions. Behind our business they entrench themselves, and in our evil hearts they find munitions of war; our increasing families, our health, our trade, our work for God, our unanswered prayers, and above all, our sins, seem all of them to be as ladders by Which they scale the ramparts of our soul. Alas, for us, that these Moabites thus cruelly invade the land. What is their errand? It is the thief’s business. They come to kill and to destroy. Doubts are ruthless robbers, and spare nothing upon which they can lay their mischievous hands. Unbelief ravins as a wolf; in the morning it devours the prey, and in the evening it divides the spoil. Distrust of the God of providence and grace is cruel as death, and insatiable as the grave.
To suppose that we can ever be profited by harboring such visitors, is as foolish as to dream of carrying coals in our bosom, and escape burning.
Doubts spoil our comfort, impede our progress-injure our usefulness, dishonor the Lord, and vex his Spirit. Faith enriches, suspicion impoverishes; trust fills the garner, fear empties the storehouse, confidence trades with Ophir, mistrust wrecks the vessels; believing feeds the fat kine, but doubts are the lean kine which devour the fat kine. We shall never overcome trouble by fretting, or lighten care by dark forebodings. These bands of the Moabites are enemies, and are bent on ill designs. How shall we receive them.* The edge of the sword of faith must give them a sharp reception, and the weapons of our holy warfare must all be plied with vigor, to make the land too hot to hold them. Believers in the Lord Jesus, rally your forces around the standard of the cross; unsheath the invincible weapon of all-prayer; put Captain Credence at the head of the troops, and march vigorously against the band of cares, the host of doubts, the legion of suspicions, and the army of temptations. No truce or parley may be talked of. To submit tameless even though it were but for an hour would involve the ruin of our joy for many a day, for these foes in a moment perpetrate mischief which years cannot amend. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” must be our answer to any dark thought of God which may crave a hiding-place in our bosoms. The wonderful dealings of the Lord with his people in ancient times, his faithfulness as proved in our own experience, the immutability of his counsels, the power of his arm, the love of his heart, the veracity of the promise, the prevalence of the precious blood, all these should furnish us with artillery against the Moabitish bands.
God is on our side, why should we fear? He has given us deliverance aforetime, let us rely upon him now. Our hope is in heaven, and our boast in Jesus, and therefore with courage we advance to preserve our borders and expel the foe. Are there no other visitors? Did not a host of angels meet Jacob at Mahanaim? Are there not still watchers, and holy ones who have commerce with the heirs of salvation? Is the King himself a stranger to his blood-bought ones? Is there no Melchizedek to refresh conflicting believers with bread and wine? Is there no goodly fellowship of saints on earth, and no noble army of martyrs in heaven? Let us seek communion with heaven and heavenly things, and fill our house with the friends of Jesus, that there may be no room in our inn to entertain worldly cares. Let us dedicate our days to Christian service among the Lord’s people. To wait upon God is to bless ourselves. Can we not wish the poor a happy New Year practically by relieving their wants? Can we not visit some sick brother to-day and cheer his lonely bed? Can we not do something for King Jesus by feeding his sheep or lambs. Surely we can find a band of godly Workers to unite with, that like those of old who feared the Lord, we may speak often one with another. While thus engaged the enemy will find less occasion against us, and being in holy employment, we may hope for heavenly protection. If bands of hallowed desires, gracious endeavors, fervent supplications, and devout meditations shall garrison our souls, we need not fear that the bands of the Moabites will invade the land at the coming in of the year. Can we not invade the enemy’s territories? There is yet very much land to be possessed. Districts lie unvisited, towns unevangelized, sinners unsaved.
War must rage, then let us be the invaders, and carry the battle into the enemy’s camp. Oh for one great, energetic, earnest, persevering onslaught all along the line! England expects every man to do his duty; what does the Church expect? What does our Lord expect and deserve at our hands? By the love we bear him let us seek to snatch the souls of men from rum, by telling them of the love of Jesus to sinners. Rouse us, O Lord, at the coming in of the year, and make 1866 to be blessed in the annals of our race.
C. H. S.
LO every individual man, And plant, and insect, in his plan, Hath shared his thought ere worlds began.
To him was every being known, Before it could a being own, When self-involved he dwelt alone, Companioned but by schemes sublime, Before Creation’s morning prime, Before the birth of eldest Time.
But ‘twould avail thee nought to know He loved thy world so long ago, Or e’en thyself, if thou couldst show That he neglected and forgot, When it had gained existence, what He knew when it existed not. One after one, thought’s motley train Goes filing through thy groove like brain, Length without breadth,—a line-like chain, And canst thou hope to comprehend, How thought and love of God extend, From right to left, and’ end to end?
Synoptically in his eye, Past, present, future, equal lie; Nought is to come, and nought gone by.
His thoughts can never turn away; Once known to him is known to-day; Once loved by him is loved for aye.
From Poem entitled “Spes Super Sidera,” in “Angel Visits,”
DR PUSEY ON THE WORSHIP OF MARY IN THE CHURCH OF ROME ACCORDING to promise, we have summarized the detailed account of the idolatrous worship of Mary by the Papists as exposed in full by Dr. Pusey in his new work. As his statements are not made at random, but are supported by quotations from Romish writers of recognized authority, they will be valuable to those who are met by the crafty denials of Romanists whenever they expose the genuine doctrines of Popish faith. Amid all the mischief which Pusey has done, it is well to note and acknowledge whatever service he may in this case render to truth. The headings of the paragraphs are ours; the quotations are given as they stand. Blessings said to be obtained through Mary.—” So, then, it is taught in authorized books, that ‘it is morally impossible for those to be saved who neglect the devotion to the Blessed Virgin ;’ that ‘ it is the will of God that all graces should pass through her hands ;’ that ‘ no creature obtained any grace from God, save according to the dispensation of His holy Mother; ‘ that Jesus has, in fact, said, ‘no one shall be partaker of My Blood, unless through the intercession of MY Mother ;’ that ‘we can only hope to obtain perseverance through her;’ that ‘God granted all the pardons in the Old Testament absolutely for the reverence and love of this Blessed Virgin; ‘ that ‘ our salvation is in her hand;’ that ‘ it is impossible for any to be saved, who turns away from her, or is disregarded by her; or to be lost, who turns to her, or is regarded by her; ‘ that ‘ whom the justice of God saves not, the infinite mercy of Mary saves by her intercession ;’ that God is ‘ subject to the command of Mary;’ that ‘God has resigned into her hands (if one might say so) His omnipotence in the sphere of grace;’ that ‘it is safer to seek salvation through her than directly from Jesus.’” Mary worship held up as a cure for trouble.— “F. Faber, in Ms popular books, is always bringing in the devotion to the Blessed Virgin. He believes that the shortcomings of English Roman Catholics are owing to the inadequacy of their devotion to her. After instancing people’s failures in overcoming their faults, want of devotion, unsubmission to God’s special Providence for them, feeling domestic troubles almost-incompatible with salvation, and that ‘ for all these things prayer appears to bring so little remedy,’ he asks, ‘ What is the remedy that is wanted? what is the remedy indicated by God himself? If we may rely on the disclosures of the saints, it is an immense increase of devotion to our Blessed Lady, but remember, nothing short of an immense one. Here, in England, Mary is not haft enough preached. Devotion to her is low and thin and poor. It is frightened out of its wits by the sneers of heresy. It is always invoking human respect and carnal prudence, wishing to make Mary so little of a Mary, that Protestants may feel at ease about her. Its ignorance of theology makes it unsubstantial and unworthy. It is not the prominent characteristic of our religion which it ought to be. It has no faith in itself. Hence it is, that Jesus is not loved, that heretics are not converted, that the Church is not exalted; that souls, which might be saints, wither and dwindle; that the sacraments are not rightly frequented, or souls enthusiastically evangelized. Jesus is obscured, because Mary is kept in the background. Thousands of souls perish, because Mary. is withheld from them. It is the miserable unworthy shadow which we call our devotion to the Blessed Virgin, that is the cause of all these wants and blights; these evils and omissions and declines. Yet, if we are to believe the revelations of the saints, God is pressing for a greater, wider, a stronger, quite another devotion to His Blessed Mother’“ Pope’s whole reliance on the Virgin.—In his Encyclical Letter of 1849, Pius IX. wrote: “On this hope we chiefly rely, that the most Blessed Virgin — who raised the height of merits above all the choirs of Angels to the throne of the Deity, and by the foot of Virtue ‘ bruised the serpent’s head,’ and who, being constituted between Christ and His Church, and, being wholly sweet and full of graces, hath ever delivered the Christian people from calamities of all sorts and from the snares and assaults of all enemies and hath rescued them from destruction, and, commiserating our most sad and most sorrowful vicissitudes and our most severe straits, toils, necessities with that most large feeling of her motherly mind—will, by her most present and most powerful patronage with God, both turn away the scourges of Divine wrath wherewith we are afflicted for our sins, and will allay, dissipate the most turbulent storms of ills, wherewith, to the incredible sorrow of our mind, the Church everywhere is tossed, and will turn our sorrow into joy. For ye know very well, Ven. Brethren, that the whole of our confidence is placed in the most Holy Virgin, since God has placed in Mary the fullness of all good, that accordingly we may know that if there is any hope in as, if any grace, if any salvation, it redounds to us from her, because such is His will presented by the Apostolic See with the honor of this most illustrious mystery: Spain, the Bishop of Almeria justified the attribute by appeal to the service of the Conception. ‘ The Church, adapting to the Mother of God in the Office of the Conception that text, ‘Let Us make a help like unto Him,’ assures us of it. and confirms those most ancient traditions, ‘Companion of the Redeemer,’ ‘ Co- Redemptress,’ ‘Authoress of everlasting salvation. ‘‘ The Bishops refer to. these as ancient, well-known, traditionary titles, at least in their Churches in North and South Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Spain.” A Parallel infamously drawn between Jesus and Mary.—-” As our Redemption gained its sufficiency and might from Jesus, so, they say, did it gain its beauty and loveliness from the aid of Mary. As we are clothed with the merits of Christ, so also, they say, with the merits of Mary. As Jesus rose again the third day without seeing corruption, so they speak of her Resurrection so as to anticipate corruption, in some three days ;’ as He was the first-fruits of them that slept, so is she; as He was taken up into heaven in the body so, they say, was she; as He sits at the Right Hand of God, so she at His Right Hand; as He is there our perpetual Intercessor with the Father, so she with Him; as ‘ no man cometh to the Father.’ Jesus saith, ‘but by Me ;’ so ‘no man cometh to Jesus’, they say, ‘but by her;’ as He is our High Priest, so she, they say, a so, they say, did she, ‘her will conspiring with the will of her Son to the making of the ‘Eucharist, and assenting to her Son so giving and offering Himself for food and drink, since we confess that the sacrifice and gifts, given, to us under the form of bread and wine, are truly hers and appertain unto her. As in the Eucharist He is present and We receive Him, so she, they say, is present an received in that same sacrament. The priest is ‘minister of Christ,’ and ‘ minister of Mary.’ They seem to assign to her an office, like that of God the Holy Ghost, in dwelling in the soul. They speak of ‘souls born not of blood, nor of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God and Mary ;’ that ‘the Holy Ghost chose to make use of our Blessed Lady to bring His fruitfulness into action by producing in her and by her Jesus Christ in His members ;’ that ‘ according to that word, ‘ the kingdom of God is within you,’ in like manner the kingdom of our Blessed Lady is. principally in the interior of a man, his soul; that ‘when Mary has struck her roots in the soul, she produces there marvels of grace, which she alone can produce, because she alone is the fruitful Virgin, who never has had, and never will have, her equal in purity and fruitfulness.’“ Shameless declaration that Mary is in the Eucharist.—(Oswald.) “‘ We maintain a (co-)presence of Mary in the Eucharist. This is a necessary inference from our Marian theory, and we shrink back from no consequence.’ ‘We are much inclined,’ he says afterwards, ‘to believe an essential co-presence of Mary in her whole person, with body and soul, under the sacred species. Certainly to such a presence in the Eucharist, 1. there is required a glorious mode of being of the Virgin body of the Holy Mother. We are not only justified in holding this as to Mary, but we have well-nigh proved it. 2. The assumption of a bodily presence of Mary in the Eucharist compels self-evidently the assumption of a multi-location (i.e. a contemporaneous presence in different portions of space) of Mary, according to her flesh too. 3. One who would receive this must be ready to admit a compenetration of the Body of Christ and of that of the Virgin in the same portion of space, i.e. under the sacred species.’ The writer subsequently explains that ‘ the ‘lac virginale” must be looked upon as that of Mary, which is primarily present in the Eucharist, whereto, in further consequence, the whole Christ the Head, the Blessed Virgin is, after her Assumption, as it were, the neck of the Church, so that all grace whatever flows to the Body through her, that is, through her prayers, it might be argued, that, for such as have this belief to ask anything of or through her, is identical in sense, but in point of form better, than to ask it directly of Christ, in like manner as to ask anything of or through Christ, is identical in sense, but clearer and fuller in point of form, than to ask it directly of the Father. And hence, it might seem that it would bean improvement, if, reserving only the use of the appointed forms for the making of the Sacraments, and an occasional use of the Lord’s Prayer (and this rather from respect to the letter of their outward institution than from any inward necessity or propriety), every prayer, both of individuals and of the Church, were addressed to or through Blessed Mary, a form beginning, ‘Our Lady, which art in heaven,’ etc, being preferred for general use to the original letter of the Lord’s Prayer; and the Psalter, the Te Deum, and all the daily Offices, being used in preference with similar accommodation.’“ Horrid ravings of Faber, whose writings are very popular among Papists. — “There is some portion of the Precious Blood which once was Mary’s own blood, and which remains still in our Blessed Lord, incredibly exalted by its union with His Divine Person, yet still the-same. This portion of Himself, it is piously believed, has not been allowed to undergo the usual changes of human substance. At this moment, in heaven, He retains something which was once His Mother’s, and which is, possibly, visible, as such, to the saints and angels. He vouchsafed at mass to show toS. Ignatius the very part of the Host which had once belonged to the substance of Mary. It may have a distinct and singular beauty in heaven, where, by His compassion, it may one day be our blessed lot to see it and adore it. But with the exception of this portion of it, the Precious Blood was a growing thing,’” etc.
Enough! enough! every one of our readers will cry out, and therefore we stay our hand. Surely “for this cause, God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness:’ THE LONDON ASSOCIATION ON the 10th of November Special Meetings were held at the Metropolitan Tabernacle for promoting the union of Baptist Ministers and Churches. In the morning the pastors met to the number of eighty. Mr. Brock presided, and Mr. Lewis acted as Secretary. After some devotional exercises, rules for a proposed union were read, and considered seriatim. Mr. Spurgeon, Mr. Landels, Mr. Stayel, Mr. Stent, Mr. Bloomfield, Mr. Lewis, Dr. Angus, Mr. J. Spurgeon, Mr. Tucker, Mr. Hobson, Dr. Burns, and Dr. Underhill, took part in the discussion. The rules as agreed upon were— “ 1. That an Association be formed, to be called ‘ The London Association of Baptist Ministers holding Evangelical Sentiments, and the Churches under their care.’ 2. That the objects contemplated by this Association be—the co-operation of the Associated Churches in efforts to advance the kingdom of Christ in connection with the Baptist denomination in London and its suburbs ;—the promotion of Christian union amongst their officers and members; rather erection of at least one chapel in each year in the metropolis or its suburbs ;— and the adoption of such measures as shall from time to time be deemed conducive to the prosperity and consolidation of the Associated Churches. 3. That, for the purpose of carrying out the objects contemplated by this Association, a meeting be held every quarter of a year in one of the chapels of the Associated Churches. The pastors of the Associated Churches to be convened at eleven o’clock a.m, for the purposes of united prayer and conference. The pastors and delegates to meet at four p.m. for the despatch of business, and the proceedings of the day to terminate with a public prayer-meeting or a sermon, or in such other way as shall be determined upon at the meeting of the members and delegates, held three months previously. 4. That the first quarterly meeting in each year shall be called the annual meeting, when, in addition to the ordinary business, the report of the proceedings for the past year shall be presented to the members and delegates, and they shall proceed to the election of officers for the ensuing year, and the appointment of the time and place for each of the quarterly meetings which shall be held indifferent districts of the metropolis. 5. That each of the churches included in the Association be entitled to send one member as a delegate to the quarterly meetings; that churches having 250 members be entitled to send two delegates; and churches having more than 250 members be entitled to send one delegate for each additional 250 members. 6. That tutors of denominational colleges, and secretaries of denominational societies, being Baptists, be eligible our election to membership. 7. That the business of this Association be carried out by a President, who shall act as Chairman of all meetings of the Association during his term of office, a Treasurer, an Executive Committee of eleven, and a Secretary, —all to be elected annually, by the members and delegates, by ballot. In case of the unavoidable absence of the President of the Association, the meeting to have power to choose a Chairman. The Committee to meet not less frequently than once in each month,—five to form a quorum,—and its minutes to be read at each quarterly meeting. The Committee to have the power of calling special meetings of the members and delegates. 8. That the working expenses of the Association be defrayed by a proportionate contribution from each church. 9. That in order to certify the genuineness of chapel cases, and similar extraordinary appeals for pecuniary help, the signatures of the President, Treasurer, and Secretary, be appended to all cases which have received the approval of the Executive Committee. 10.
That churches, pastors, and officers of societies, applying for admission to this Association, be proposed at one quarterly meeting, and voted for, by ballot, at the next—the votes of three-fourths of the members and delegates present being necessary for admission. 11. That no alteration be made in these rules until three months’ notice has been given, and the consent of three-fourths of the members and delegates present obtained to such alteration. 12. That the pastors and representatives of the churches present at this meeting be requested to submit this plan to their respective churches, and that the wish to join the Association be communicated to Mr. Lewis, Secretary (pro tem.). on or before the 1st of January, 1866; together with the names and addresses of the pastors and delegates. 13.
That the following gentlemen have power to convene the First Meeting of the Associated Churches, as soon after the 1st of January, 1866, as may be convenient—Messrs. Brock, Landels, C. H. Spurgeon.” Dinner was provided by the deacons of the Tabernacle, after which the pastors were joined by about 150 deacons of Baptist Churches; Mr. Brock again presided, and prayer and praise having been offered, the rules were read and received the sanction of the church officers. In the evening a fourth of the Great United Prayer Meetings was held at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, when the building was completely filled in every part. numbers being unable to obtain seats. There was an additional interest and importance attached to this meeting from the fact, that it was held in connection with the Conference, having for its object the promotion of unity, and the extension of the Redeemers kingdom. Mr. C. H, Spurgeon presided as on former occasions, and in introducing the objects for which they were gathered together said, “It may be well just to tell you, that your prayers may be with understanding why, and what it is we have met together for This morning eighty of us, pastors of Baptist Churches— consider what cause for’ thankfulness in the number — met together to lay down a certain basis upon which we might ,mite in an association.-This afternoon many church officers assembled, and it is proposed to each church represented by them, that they should send us word by the 1st of January, how far they will be able to join with us; so that the union once formed may not be marred by future emendations. Now, you see, beloved friends, that since God has been with us we want to have his manifest smile upon us to-night, and I cannot conceive of a better stamp or seal put upon it than that we should all feel a spirit of united desire that sinners may be converted to God. I take the position of leading this meeting, having led similar large gatherings before; and permit me to ask our friends to be all of them very brief; no need for length when there are so many to address the throne. God make us all come to the throne and ask for what we want, and leave off when we have done. Now, it will be well to commence the meeting with a song of praise; after we have sung a few verses of praise, I shall ask our dear friend, Mr. Brock, to pray for the unity and revival of our churches: what can we better sing than the One Hundredth Psalm, to the Old Hundredth tune?” Psalm One Hundredth, verses 4, 5, and Doxology were then sung, after which Mr. Brock engaged in prayer. Mr. Spurgeon: “Let us sing this verse asking to be taught how to pray :— ‘O thou, by whom we come to God, The Life, the Truth, the Way!
The path of prayer thyself hast trod Lord! teach us how to pray.’ and then we will have two brief prayers, asking for the revival of our churches, and the manifest work of the Holy Ghost. Our brothers, Frank White, and Varley will kindly try to lay hold of the Angel of the covenant.”
After which, Mr. Spurgeon said, “We all of us know that the revival of the whole must be by the revival of each one. Perhaps now will be the time to have a few minutes of silent prayer, in which each heart should seek to draw near to God, and make its own petition known, whispering in the ear of the Lord Jesus Christ. Before doing so, a verse setting forth our position at the foot of the cross may well be sung. ‘Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling; Naked come to thee for dress; Helpless, look to thee for grace J Black, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die!’ Now, dear friend, let the next two or three minutes be between God and thy own soul. Peradventure thou art not converted; it will be well that thou shouldst ask thyself what thou doest here to-night, in the midst of this people; and while the question is being asked, may the Lord lead thee to see his great love in Jesus Christ, and may the time of silence be the time when thou shalt find the Savior. To the believer I suggest these thoughts.
We meet for unity; think of what thou mayst have done in the past to put the brethren at variance; of the hard thought’s thou hast had; of the unkind words; think of thine own want of diligence in God’s work; thy want of perfect love to Christ Jesus, and humble thyself, and pray that from henceforth thou mayest contribute to the good of the church of which thou art a member, and to the benefit of other churches, and to the unity of all churches of which Christ is the head. I do aver, God the Holy Ghost being our witness, that we have met together to seek union; seek union with each church of Jesus Christ, and with the Master himself. Let these two or three minutes be occupied with penitence for former disunion, and earnest cries that God may knit us together as one man, and give us such a blessing that there may not be room enough to receive it. Let us pray.” After two or three minutes spent in silent prayer, Mr. Spurgeon led the assembly in devotion.
Mr. Spurgeon: “I will now call upon our dear brother Mr. Landels to say a word or two, as he may be moved; pray for him, that every word may be blessed to those who hear.”
Mr. Landels: “Dear brethren, we know that the Lord has been here in answer to prayer; we may surely expect some blessed answer, as so many Christian hearts are united in common supplication at the throng of grace.
We know what prayers have done in days-of old; how, when the disciples were met together with one accord the Spirit came down like a rushing mighty wind, sitting on the brethren like tongues of fire, firing all hearts with love, and nerving them all with power to go forth and work, -We know that God changes not, and as of old so now he will fulfill his promise; may we not expect, therefore, in answer to our prayers, a large outpouring of the Divine Spirit? Many of us feel, too, that it is a blessed thing when so many have been brought together from scores of churches, to seek unitedly the divine blessing upon the efforts which are being put forth. That union, as Mr. Spurgeon has said, has been pointed at in the wishes of many for some time past: to-day there seemed so earnest a desire for it, that all little objections were speedily overborne. Surely that is a token for good. I think our past disunion has been our disgrace; many good works have languished for want of the help that we might have afforded had we been united; reproach has been brought on the cause of Christ. I feel we are all verily guilty in this matter, and had we forgotten self more, and sought the advancement of the cause of Christ, there would not have been these obstructions. It is a matter of thankfulness that these are removed. Men and women who have access unto the Father, bought by the blood of the Son, inspired by the same Spirit, should ever be one in heart.
It seems to me to have been a happy inspiration coming from the Author of all good, to lead to so many ministers to come together to-day; it is a matter of devout thankfulness that a spirit of love has presided over our assembly, and guided us not only unanimously but heartily it is the provision of a gracious-Providence that we have this spacious place to assemble in, where so many can come together in prayer; not often have so many united together as have united now in offering prayer to Almighty God, so many prayers going up with one voice: all this, I think, is an earnest for good, an intimation that God will do great things for us yet, take away our reproach, and send down his blessing upon us for evermore, We know that our union will tend to nothing Without the divine blessing; but then all good will come in answer to united prayer; we have only to ask that we may receive, to seek that we may find, to knock that it may be opened to us; and when our divisions are healed, at least one great obstacle has been taken away. If we do not grieve the Holy Ghost, if we put away all bitterness, and wrath, and clamor, and evil speaking, and cherish that love which flows from the Spirit, then we may expect to see a mighty result, But, dear brethren, as you have heard to-night, very much of the result for which we look depends really on individual religious life; if our churches are to be better, we must be better, we must rise above our selfishness; and you members, too, must seek to rise above yourselves, and enter into the Master’s work with greater consecration: we must have our business engaged in with the conviction that all our gains are to be consecrated to Christ’s service, and we are to glorify God by our daily occupation: we must feel that the work of winning souls is the great work unto which we are called, and that end must be sought in all we do. I believe that great good may result from our meeting together time after time for common supplication, and to deliberate upon the means to be adopted for our Savior’s cause; but it will all depend on the spirit in which we come together, each of us bringing so much of the divine fire in our own souls that we can kindle it in others, and making all our energies in sacrifice to our Master cause. How many souls around us are perishing!
How little we have done to rescue them! to set before them the Savior in all his fullness, and freeness, and sufficiency! We must take a more decided, part in the great work of winning souls. Let us now, as we appear before God throne, think of the sin of the past and confess it: in the moments of silent devotion, let us pour out our hearts, and where there is any consciousness of being wrong, there let us say, ‘ I have been, wrong here. I have been wrong there, in fact I have been wrong altogether.’ Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, humbly seeking divine help that in time to come we may render nobler service, may realize blessings to ourselves and be the means of imparting them to others. Oh that the Divine Spirit in all the plenitude of his power may rest upon this people, and grant that our prayers may return in showers of blessing on our head! Oh that those who may still present our prayers may be more earnest that God may lift up the light of his countenance upon us, and give us peace.”
Mr. Spurgeon: “Beloved friends, I think we must say, ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.’ I shall call upon Brother William Olney to pray for us ministers, and as I ask him, I call upon every faithful soul here, and I speak the language of our brethren here, do I not, my brethren? when I say, ‘pray for us” Mr. Olney prayed.
Mr. Spurgeon: “We must now give up the rest of the meeting to the one great prayer for the conversion of sinners; may the Lord guide our brethren to draw close to the throne, for after all we shall not think we have a blessing, unless we see the increase of the Church. We will sing a verse of that hymn, ‘There is a fountain fill’d with blood.’ God bless it to those who sing it. Now to the work of prayer; may I ask special brevity? I will call upon Mr. Bloomfield and Mr. Stott to pray, and then I shall be thankful if our brother Brock Will read a few verses of God Word, and if he should be moved, perhaps he will say a word or two to sinners.”
When Mr. Bloomfield and Mr. Stott had engaged in supplication for the conversion of sinners, Mr. Brock read Romans 10:1-13.
Mr. Spurgeon: “All who know the Lord will sing an invitation to sinners. I have read of a son who ran away from home, and when he came back he was afraid to enter into his father’s house. It was evening, and he listened outside the door, and he heard the family within singing a hymn, which had in it a reference to their hope that he might return; this encouraged him to enter the house. Now, sinner, outside mercy’s door, shivering in the darkness to-night, thank God it is not the outer darkness for ever yet; now be comforted while you hear your brethren sing these words :— ‘From the Mount of Calvary, Where the Savior deignd to die, What melodious sounds I hear, Bursting on my ravish’d ear!— “Love’s redeeming work is done!
Come and welcome, sinner, come!
Again let us unite in player. Our dear friend Mr. Tucker will plead first, and Mr. Offord will follow him.” When Mr. Tucker had prayed, Mr. Offord said, “Before I further lead your devotions I shall recite One Scripture; ‘ Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’ I feel led to say one word on that, and it is, that we may humble ourselves and pray for sinners at one and the same time.”
Prayer having been offered, Mr. Spurgeon said: “I think we have felt the sprat of prayer; sinner, do you not feel in the atmosphere of hope? Hast thou no prayer for thy soul? Are eternal burnings such as thou canst bear without trying to escape from them? Is Christ so little esteemed that there is no desire in thee toward him? May he bring thee to trust him now. We will solemnly sing, one verse, and then I shall ask two more friends to pray.
Mr. Clifford and Mr. Lewis then wrestled in prayer after the congregation had sung, “Just as I am, without one plea, Save that thy blood was shed for me, And that thou bid’st me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come.” When the two prayers were finished, Mr. Spurgeon again said, “I could not let you go without a manifestation that we intend unity. I should like an audible Amen from the ministers. We do desire to unite as pastors who love each other in the Lord; as many of us as do will say, Amen.” This was responded to by the ministers. “And, Christian brethren, down below church officers, we can all say, I trust, we love one another; if so, say, Amen.” The elders and deacons answered to this appeal. “And then, you who love the Lord, members of our churches, do we-agree in this matter?
As many of you as feel that you love each other in Christ say , Amen” The people responded most solemnly, AMEN.
Although past the time we must stag thin verse :— ‘ The head that once was crown’d with thorns Is crown’d with glory now; A royal diadem adorns The mighty Victor’s brow.’“ The benediction was then pronounced, and the assembly dispersed.
WORK OF THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE SOON as the Metropolitan Tabernacle College began to assume a definite form, and promised to become a permanent institution, prejudices arose in certain quarters, and objections were urged against it. The Baptist denomination, it was alleged, had already made sufficient provision for the Collegiate training of its ministers; its colleges were capable of enlargement if required; but even in their present state they were with much difficulty sustained. The formation of a new college would excite jealousies and divisions in the denomination. A different class of preachers would arise both in sentiment and acquirements that would introduce new elements of counsel and of action that might tend to weakness and decay. Would it not be better, therefore, for Mr. Spurgeon to send his students to one or more of the existing colleges, either to pass through the usual course of training? or with such modifications as he might suggest? These considerations were plausible, but did not harmonize with the peculiar character of the new institution. They savored more of the wisdom of man than of the power of God. The same circumstances, it was felt, which had forced this institution into being, should be left to guide its future course. It was a child both of Providence and grace, and upon these it should be cast its future support.
It was expressly designed, moreover, to meet a certain demand which other colleges were unable to supply; and to which they could not well be adapted without interfering with their original constitution and design.
Many young men full of zeal to make known to others what they had tasted and felt of the Word of life, and who needed only a certain course of training in order to accomplish their purpose with comfort to themselves and profit to others, were precluded from institutions which had been professedly established for that end, either because they had not the preliminary education required, or because neither they nor their friends were able to contribute to their support. Thus encouragement was given to some aspire to the office of the Christian ministry, and a prohibition was laid upon others. The educational and pecuniary qualifications, if not the first consideration, were essential to success. The men of burning zeal, and ready utterance, must stand aside to allow the men of less substantial, but of more circumstantial, acquirements, to enter in. Upon what grounds had the opinion been founded that men of education and fortune alone possessed the gifts and graces that are needful for the Christian ministry?
Might it not be that even to this work not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. Certainly we have no right to impose human restrictions upon an office which the Head of the Church has left free to all ranks and gradations of men. We do not hold that uneducated men should be encouraged at once to enter the Christian ministry, but that it is possible to furnish them with an education solely for that end, and that within a comparatively short period of time. We hold, too, that, provided they have a little more piety, prayerfulness, and zeal, such teachers will become more effective for all the great purposes of preaching, than those who far exceed them in literary attainments. This was the experiment to be tried. Collegiate training had hitherto been limited to a particular class of candidates, and to a particular kind and amount of education; and the tendency has recently been to restrict the preliminary qualifications within still narrower bounds, and to bring our Dissenting colleges into nearer approximation with the ancient Universities of our land. The literary attainments, of our ministers, it has been said, mast advance with the literature of the age. They must be prepared to stand in the. ford. most ranks of the scholars and critics of their day; and must have earned some literary degree, if they would secure the public confidence in their teaching. A strong current, not of public opinion, but of effort on the part of the tutors and directors of our colleges, has of late years been accumulating in that direction. What has the result been? Have the students that have passed through the new method of training been better preachers, more earnest, more eloquent, more adapted to the tastes and circumstances of their hearers, than those who preceded them? Have they taken more commanding positions, and been more effective in their ministrations?
Have they more clearly and consistently interpreted and enforced the truths of God’s Word? We unhesitatingly answer, No! The men who are the most effective preachers of our day, as a rule, are not the men of high scholastic attainments; but look among them for the rationalistic perverters of the simplicity that is in Christ, and you will not look in vain. This effect, we grant, is not to be attributed to literature itself, but to the undue influence assigned it as a needful and primary element in the Christian teacher, to the undue authority claimed for it in the exposition of divine truth, and consequently to a diminished reliance upon a prayerful and experimental discernment of spiritual things. Such a state of things might well lead us to pause, and to begin to think of retracing our steps, or at feast to adopt some new method of collegiate training, better adapted to the real wants of the age. This has been done for us by God himself, in raising up, sustaining, and accompanying with many signal tokens of his favor the Metropolitan Tabernacle College. Stimulated by its example, other institutions, similar in their principle and design, have been formed with encouraging prospects amongst the Independents; and. the. whole, subject of collegiate training is undergoing revision amongst the principal bodies of Dissenters: The College at the Tabernacle is no longer an experiment; it is an established fact. Numbers have gone from it, of whose success in the direct object of a preached gospel, we shall be able to give a very favorable account. Many have succeeded, where others had failed. In many parts, where for want of sympathy with the condition of the people, and adaptation to their habits of thought and feeling, a Christian Pastor could not be sustained, the Church has been revived, and provision has been made for the minister’s support.
Some of the students have risen to considerable eminence, and have occupied important stations in their, denomination; and others have established new and flourishing Churches. In both these respects the results have been equal to those of other colleges, which make them their sole aim. Facts have clearly shown there was ample room for this college, and that it has become increasingly needful. What it may become we cannot tell. For what it has been, and what it now is, we are thankful. The great Head of the Church has called it to do a great work, and until that is accomplished it must remain. “The Master is come, and calleth for thee.”