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  • CHARLES SPURGEON -
    THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL - JANUARY, 1867.


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    COLUMBUS BEFORE THE COUNCIL AT SALAMANCA OUR frontispiece represents an interesting scene in the life of the discoverer of the New World. A plainly-attired, earnest-looking mariner, with that steady determination which characterizes all true men whose convictions are strong and whose faith is steady, is meeting the objections of a number of learned professors of the sciences, dignitaries of the Romish Church, and learned friars, and defending the theory of the rotundity of the earth. An obscure navigator, strong in his belief, scouted by the illiterate, seeks in the Dominican convent in Salamanca, the great seat of learning in Spain, the sympathy and cooperation of the most erudite assembly his country can muster. Does he gain either sympathy, or help? History answers, No. In the first place, anything new, however true, was stigmatized as heresy in those Inquisition times, and Columbus might well fear the consequences of indulging any thought that savored of heresy. Priestcraft, that great curse of mankind, was sure to oppose a new theory which overturned the testimony and traditions of the Church. Then, too, the scholastic body had too much learned ride to yield to a simple navigator. “It was requisite,” says Las Casas, “before Columbus could make his solutions and reasonings understood, that he should remove from his auditors those erroneous principles on which, their objections were founded ;” which Columbus could not do, as the Ptolemaic plan had not yet been reversed, Copernicus not having at that time discovered the true theory of the solar system. Very small hope for Columbus to convert so stubborn an audience!

    It is noteworthy how admirably Columbus replied to his objectors. He combated the fancies of the philosophical world with great ability. “Las Casas,” says Irving, “and others of his contemporaries have spoken of his commanding person, his elevated demeanor, his air of authority, his kindling eye, and the persuasive intonations of his voice. How they must have given majesty and force to his words, as, casting aside his maps and charts, and discarding for a time his practical and scientific lore, his visionary spirit took fire at the doctrinal objections of his opponents, and he met them upon their own ground, pouring forth those magnificent texts of Scripture, and those mysterious predictions of the prophets, which, in his enthusiastic moments, he considered as types and annunciations of the sublime discovery which he proposed.” Notwithstanding the dense bigotry and stupidity of his audience, a few were convinced of the reasonableness of the new theory, and these converts, doubtless, shielded Columbus from the ecclesiastical censures of the prejudiced. But the greater number doggedly persevered in their old opinions, and the poor navigator, as our readers well know, had to fight an uphill battle for years, and had to conquer many adverse circumstances before he saw the “Land of the Free.”

    The nobility Of genius is often best seen under the most disadvantageous circumstances, and with the spiritual life the same thing holds good.

    Columbus braves the ridicule of the learned and the bigotry of the ecclesiastics, because he is convinced of the truthfulness of his position. So the jeers, taunts and reasonings of an ungodly world, though unpleasant and grievous, are to the Christian things to be borne with calmness and magnanimity, because his faith is in the ultimate realization of the hopes which the world derides. The deep convictions of his heart are not to be disturbed or uprooted because others will not be convinced of the superiority of the future life to that in which they now grovel. Whoever prefers to follow the theories and practices of the “old man,” the godly man aspires after a perfect knowledge of the “new life.” With him old fancies have passed away, and behold all things have become new. The enmity and ridicule created by this antagonism between the conventionalities of life and the earnestness and devotion to the prospects of the more glorious future are intensely strong. A teetotaler was struck down a few days ago and killed merely because he would not treat some rascals to a drop of beer; and many a man has been slandered simply because of the distinguished purity of his character and. life. Nevertheless, if we believe in the world to come, and feel its power, we must not be slow to declare our convictions at all hazards, and, like Columbus, play the man.

    That which many learned philosophers may not perceive, the simplest Christian may discover. True, it takes a wise man to be a Christian; nevertheless, the most advanced in worldly wisdom are dull in spiritual things. Columbus ultimately gained the object of his ambition, and his name continues to be honored as one of the greatest benefactors of his race, while for his opposers naught is reserved but the ridicule which ‘their own foolishness has heaped upon their memories. And the man possessed of even the mustard-seed of divine grace shall yet find his way to the kingdom above, where honor and renown shall through the eternal ages attend him; while those who sympathized not with the aspirations of his heart, but scoffed and ridiculed his godliness, shall yet learn the emptiness for good of everything that is not based upon the truth of God. Courage, persecuted comrade, truth’s victories are slow but sure.

    THE PASTORS’ ADVOCATE AN EPISTLE TO THE MEMBERS OF THE BAPTIZED CHURCHES OF JESUS CHRIST.

    BELOVED BRETHREN As exceedingly great and bitter cry has gone up unto heaven concerning many of us. It is not a cry from the world which hates us, nor from our fellow-members whom we may have offended, but, (alas that it should be so!)it is wrung from hundreds of poor, but faithful ministers of Christ Jesus who labor in our midst in word and doctrine, and are daily oppressed by the niggardliness of churls among us. Many of our churches honorably discharge towards their pastors the duty of ministering to them in temporal things, but by far the larger number dole out; to them a pittance upon which they do not live but barely exist. Brethren of abundant liberality are among us, but those of an opposite disposition abound. I should be very sorry to be compelled to add ace the many cases in which the hire of the spiritual laborer who has reaped down our fields is wickedly kept back; but this 1 know full well--that at the cries of them which have reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord God of Sabaoth, and it is high time that a voice should be lifted up to warn the churches of their sin, and of the consequences which will surely fellow unless there be a speedy amendment, Having no end to serve but the glory of God, and having no pecuniary gain to seek, and having personally seen and lamented the affliction and poverty of my fellow-servants in the ministry, I feel bound with all affection, but much earnestness, to press the matter upon the hearts of the faithful in Christ Jesus.

    Hundreds of our ministers would improve their circumstances if they were to follow the commonest handicrafts. The earnings of artisans of but ordinary skill are far above the stipends of those among us who are considered to be comfortably maintained. Is this the way in which we show our appreciation of their spiritual gifts, their fervent prayers, their earnest labors, their watchings for souls? In thousands of cases church members do to give so much as one penny a week towards the maintenance of the man whom they call their “beloved pastor,” and if they pay the mean and paltry pittance of a shilling for a quarter of a year they reckon themselves to have done liberally, and as becometh saints. Is this the manner in which we show our gratitude to the great Head of the church for sending us pastors after his own heart to feed us with knowledge and understanding? Worthy devoted men are obliged to sue for alms at the hand of our charitable Fund in London, in order to eke out the scanty portions which their people allot to them; while in many cases there are those connected with their churches who dwell in sumptuous houses, own farms of many acres, and ride in their carriages. Is the Lord well pleased with those professors who thus constrain others to maintain a ministry of which they enjoy the fruit, and which they are therefore bound in common honesty to support by their own gifts? Do not many of the wealthy and of those who are thriving in business need to blush when they see themselves giving towards their pastor’s maintenance no more than is given by domestic servants and day laborers? Is it not a thing to be wept over that men’s consciences should, allow them to speak of being consecrated to Christ, while the servant of Christ pines in poverty, and they of their abundance do not minister to Mat? “If,” says the apostle, “we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your carnal things?” 1 Corinthians 9:11. But is, it not in these days thought to be a very great thing if the preacher be properly sustained, and if he be left to be humiliated by debt or to be pinched by want, is it not thought to be a trifling grievance? The last great day alone will reveal the secret sorrows, the bitter anguish through which many a servant of the Lord has had to pass because of the niggardliness of the people who professed to be his loving and faithful flock. “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:13,14. Is not this ordinance of God greatly trifled with? Might it not even be conceived that the churches feel it to be a yoke of bondage, or think it to be better that men should starve of the gospel than live of it? If it be our conscientious belief that the pastors of the churches should give their whole time gratuitously:, let us say so, and be consistent. If the laborer be not in our esteem worthy of his hire, let us tell him so, and bid him go about his business. Those who deny the right of the ministers to temporal support fly in the teeth of Scripture, but they are at least consistent in withholding their money; but; to hold with a paid ministry, to make even more than commendable stir about electing a pastor, to expect him to, be instant in season and out of season, in the pulpit, and from house to house, and then to deny him even enough of bread to eat, and raiment; to put on, is shameful. One would imagine from the excitement frequently attending the choice of a minister that the office was held in the most eminent esteem, but alas! the wretched contributions prove the reverse. For this there is no excuse. If you will have the man, be honest enough to pay him. What right-minded man would wish another even to do, the work of his scullery for nought? Who would consent to be pauperized by receiving another man’s labor without; returning him a recompense? How is it with your consciences, ye non-subscribing churchmembers, or have ye no consciences at all?

    Some hearers appear, to imagine that all their duty towards their ministers lies in criticizing them, and they judge themselves to have done the preacher a great service if they speak a good word of his discourses. They use the preacher as the old carriers did their pack-horses, when they heaped heavy burdens upon their backs, and afterwards hung bells at their ears to make them music. As an old writer says, “ministers empty their books, empty their veins, and empty their brains, but they must feed upon turnips and leave their posterity beggars.” The world maintains its players and fiddlers far better than the Christian church remunerates its ministers; and a dancer or an actor will receive more than the most learned and edifying divine. Many farmers spend more on their clogs than upon their minister, and one dinner will cost some traders as much as a year’s gospel; and yet these persons would be in a fine fever if their piety were doubted.

    The lives of many professors so far as their gifts to the Lord’s cause are concerned, would, if’ fairly written out, read like a libel upon human nature, and would be a mere burlesque of Christianity. Many, it is to be hoped, have never thought upon this matter carefully. Would to God it were in my power to let those who withhold from thoughtlessness see the sorrow which they inflict upon those whom they respect. The ambassadors of peace do indeed weep bitterly with a weeping which is neither profitable to themselves nor convenient for us. At the present moment the great advance in the price of all the necessaries of life is very keenly felt in the pastor’s house; but has the fact been taken into consideration by the churches? The wages of workmen have advanced, but not the incomes of the workers for God. Bricklayers, carpenters, printers, all draw their extra pay at the week’s end, but there is no increase to the scanty quarterage of the poor preacher, Even kind friends forget this, and unkind ones only remember it to make cruel remarks thereon. Meanwhile the evil recoils; the poverty of the minister is visible in the flock. He is meanly fed temporally, and they are scantily fed spiritually. They give unto the Lord scant measure, and even so is it measured unto them again. Want of books must impoverish the hearer quite as much as the preacher; debt must distract the thoughts, and so impair the discourse; children poorly clad, and rent unpaid:, must injure the mind and so the sermon. I do not ask luxuries for my brethren, although many of them might claim eyed these; but I would, with all my heart and soul say, “Deacons of churches, stir up the members, and set the example yourselves of giving our preachers at least a generous supply of necessaries.” You, the deacons of our churches, know from your own experience, that £100 per annum, for a man with a wife and children, is not wealth, but far from it, and yet how many ministers would be; happy if their incomes came near to this moderate sum. We are asked repeatedly to send students to spheres where £40 is mentioned as if it were competence, if not more, and those who so write are not always farmlaborers, but frequently tradesmen, who must know what penury £40 implies. A church contributing £70, frequently counts itself munificent, but many of its members must I know that such a sum is not respectability, nor much less than hard, I pinching, but covert want. I heard the other day of a minister whose congregation would be shocked to know it, and I hope ashamed also, who very seldom sees a joint of meat, except on other people’s tables, and!is indebted to gifts from friends in other denominations for parcels of left-off clothing, which are made up for his otherwise ragged children. With desperate self-denial alone is he kept from debt; comfort he never knows. If these things needed to be so, it were a theme of rejoicing that our brethren are honored to endure hardness for Christ’s sake, but these are in many cases needless hardships, and should not be inflicted upon our honored brethren. If their Master called them to it, well and good, ‘but it is not the Master, it is the thoughtless fellow-servant who puts them to so severe a trial. Persuaded that a great reform is needed, I propose to publish such cases of deep necessity as may be supplied to me by Baptist ministers and are well authenticated. The names and addresses shall be sacredly kept secret, but the facts shall be published that holy shame may induce a speed)’ amendment. Any person can reprint this article, and the more widely it is distributed the better. I speak not without abundant cause. I am no retailer of baseless scandal. I am no advocate for an idle and ill-deserving ministry. I open my mouth for a really earnest, godly, laborious, gracious body of men, who are men of God, and approved of his church. Are these for ever to be starved? Shall the ox that treadeth out; the corn be always muzzled? Shall he who planteth the vineyard eat none of its fruit? It is our shame as Baptists to be mean towards our pastors. Brethren, help to roll away this reproach at once and for ever.

    C. H.SPURGEON.

    PLYMOUTH BRETHREN We have been requested to reply to a small tract which has been given away at the door of the Tabernacle, by one of the “Plymouth Brethren,” but’ it is so devoid of all sense, Scripture and reason, that it needs no reply.

    We: have not learned the art of beating the air, or replying to nonsense.

    The only meaning we could gather from the rambling writer’s remarks was a confirmation of our accusation, and a wonderful discovery that a long controverted point is now settled; the unpardonable sin is declared to be speaking against the Darbyites. Our portion must. be something terrible if this be correct, but we have so little faith in the spirit ‘which inspires the Brethren, that we endure their thunderbolts as calmly as we would those of the other infallible gentleman who occupies the Vatican. Another of this amiable community, having detected an error in one of our printed sermons, has most industriously spread the tidings that Mr. Spurgeon is a blasphemer. At the doors of their meetings and by enclosures in letters this sweet specimen of Christian charity is abundantly distributed; more to their shame than to our injury. ‘We are persuaded that neither the writer of that cowardly anonymous fly-sheet, nor any other Plymouthist, believes in his heart that Mr. Spurgeon would knowingly blaspheme the glorious name of Jesus, and therefore the issue of the pamphlet is, we fear, a, wickedly malicious act, dictated by revenge on account of our remarks upon their party. Our name and character are in too good a keeping to be injured by these dastardly anonymous attacks. Neither Mr. Newton nor Mr. Muller would sanction such action; it is only from one clique that we receive this treatment. It is worthy of note that even the printer was ashamed or afraid to put his name to the printed paper. Our error was rectified as soon as ever we knew of it, and being fallible we could do no more; but these men, who pretend to be so marvelously led of the Spirit, have in this case deliberately, and in the most unmanly manner, sought to injure the character of one who has committed the great sin of mortifying their pride, and openly exposing their false doctrine.

    NOTES OF A LATE VISIT TO PARIS LAST Christmas-day we crossed the Channel to seek a little rest on the opposite shore. Smooth water below, a clear sky above, a merry heart within, and good company at hand, are a fair portion for a day of joy. The boat was decked with holly and mistletoe as became the festive season, and nature in her best attire was all in tune with the general gladness. We: left Dover’s giant cliffs, and entered Calais harbor without a thought of the chops of the Channel, or any other of the disagreeable of life. Yet for all this who cares to be traveling on Christmas-day? to not all the memories appeal, against it? It goes against the grain to be showing tickets, changing carriages, and shivering on landing-stages on a day sacred to plum-pudding and roast beef, family festivities, blazing fires, and household joys. One feels like a barbarian violating the proprieties of civilized life, or a prodigal running away from the fatted calf, and the feasting of the old house at home. Never mind, here we are, with six and twenty miles of brine between us and the old English Christmas logs, and we must catch the train for Paris, or be left among the runaway bankrupts. It is a long and weary journey from Calais to Paris, just a dreary drag over a huge flat; monotonous as the clergy an s tones at Droneton-in-the-Marsh, and twothirds as dull as his of repeated sermons; but Paris itself is even in winter a full reward for all the tedium of the way. Having from preference visited the gay capital several time’s in winter, When by the way it is not gay but remarkably quiet, we do not hesitate to say that we know of no other place where in winter rest and instructive recreation can be so easily blended. As an educational city Paris is complete; it has large and well-arranged museums of every science and art; and within a small radius it contains a wealth of illustration which all Europe besides could not excel. Here the thoughtful observer may study in different museums, zoology, anatomy, comparative anatomy, diseased pathology, conchology, entomology, geology, botany, hydrostatics, agriculture, mining, horology, electricity, and indeed every branch of knowledge; and his studies may be diversified with wanderings among miles of pictures and acres of statuary. The vain may very easily find in Paris a feast for their vanity, but the intelligent may be: equally content with the feast of knowledge ‘which it, splendid collections afford them. Our readers would not care to hear in detail of the many marvels of a city which they have no doubt superficially seen for themselves; we only suggest that upon their next ‘visit they should become scholars for once instead of mere sightseers, and the? will find new pleasure in the very pleasant trip.

    On the last Sabbath of the year we were agreeably surprised to find so many shops closed compared with the state of things five or six years ago.

    We noticed this to a friend well acquainted with the city, and he coincided in the observation. It seemed to us on former occasions as!if no shops were closed at all, and workmen were certainly toiling as on ,ordinary days, but now there is just the shade of a Sabbath, for which ‘,step in the right direction one is heartily thankful. We cannot vouch for it that this Sabbatic improvement is general, but it was certainly very marked in the streets which we traversed. We visited our French Baptist brethren in their obscure, out-of-the-way, and dirty room at the back of the church of St.

    Roch. We sincerely wish that they would come out of that cave of Adullam: We have no objection to worship ‘with them, even if they select a stable, but some people maintain the dangerous luxury of a nose, and others have a fastidious liking for fresh air, and these pardonable refinements will be quite out of place in that miserable school-room. The number of worshippers was about the same as when we were there last, something under one hundred; but their zeal and spirit were all that we could wish. A heart conscious of the love of Jesus would soon discover that the Lord is there. A really living church tenants that humble room. Not enterprising and bold, but; humbly earnest and stedfast in the faith are these men. So gracious and zealous are they that we can scarcely tell how it is that they do not, for the sake of the good cause, thrust themselves into a position of more publicity. It was with extreme difficulty that we found them out at all upon a former visit, for there was not even a notice-board outside, and one had to turn into a little courtyard and up a winding pair of stairs before the little written notice which tells the hour of worship could be seen. It is as if a tradesman should advertise ibis wares upon a piece of paper wafered on a pane of the back-kitchen window, where no one would ever see it but his own family: verily the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the, children of light. The church of God in this case is not a city set upon a hill, but a hamlet hidden in a hole. We imagine that a sense of dwelling under a despotism haunts our French friends, and makes them fear to attempt anything which might bring down the rough hand of authority upon them; yet as we doubt not, if the hand did fall, they would bear it like true heroes, and derive great good therefrom, they have no cause to be alarmed. The same number of members of our church in the Tabernacle would have hired a large hall, or preached out in the Champs Elysees by now, throwing themselves upon the cheveux-de-frise if they could not scale the wall of difficulties, but our French brethren are content to go on worshipping in dinginess and singing their unmelodious cantiques in peaceful obscurity. We wish they had a little more of the fire, as well as the clew from heaven. They are admirable examples of all the virtues, but courageous enterprise is not their most prominent feature. The pastors and evangelists are indefatigable in their visitations and ministrations, but it would give us unfeigned satisfaction to see a portion of the tremendous energy of our brother Oncken, of Hamburg, infused into them. The American society ‘by which they’ are Sustained should get them a better room, in as public a place as possible, make them known among Americans and English:. and push the cause to a success. By God’s help, there is the nucleus of a great movement in that handful of people, but the £50 a year expended for a dirty chamber is so much money wasted; if four times the money were spent in rent, or better still, a good plain chapel erected, the larger sum would be by far the more economical investment. Under God, the people are worth spending the money upon, and would abundantly reward the society, and this is more than can be said of every sphere occupied by our American and English societies upon the Continent.

    It does not appear clear that the large sums expended by the Congregationalists and Wesleyans are producing an adequate return although their generous efforts are laudable in the extreme. We are informed that the annual expense of the Independent mission is not far short of £25 per head per annum for every member of the church; if they are not first-rate members at that cost they certainly ought to be. English Christianity in Paris in its collective capacity must probably always be a struggling plant, needing much foreign aid, and bearing slender fruit; the majority of our countrymen leave their religion behind them when they go abroad, and those who retain a profession find themselves weakened by the ungenial atmosphere of Vanity Fair. If French churches can be formed of each denomination, and English services be held as adjuncts, there will be a far greater probability of vitality and success; and this is what we anxiously long to see accomplished in the ease of our very worthy friends of the Rue St. Roch. Certain funds are in hand for a chapel for them, but the amount is scarcely a fourth of what will be required; meanwhile Pastor Dez is very unwell, and cannot carry on the work of collecting; and the other pastor, M. Le Poids, is fully occupied with the good work among his own flock.

    Unless a gracious Providence shall interpose, a most hopeful people will linger on in forced obscurity and powerlessness; whereas, if brought out into the light, their progress in all probability would be rapid. They are nearly all converts from Popery, and know how to converse with those who are under that yoke of bondage; their teachings are heard with respect, and the prejudice against them is almost as much to be rejoiced in as to be regretted, since it excites curiosity, and so brings hearers under the sound of the truth. There appears to be among the French working classes a considerable amount of religiousness of a hopeful kind. They do not much frequent the churches or reverence the priests; they make a distinction between the church and religion, and prefer to be religious in their own way. The story of the love of Jesus is generally received with respectful tenderness, and evangelical truth, if not distinctly styled “Protestantism,” usually commands a hearing. The pastor, M. Le Poids, had just returned from a funeral ,rhea we saw him, and had been preaching the glorious gospel of immortality and eternal life at the grave, around which a large company gathered, and many Romanists and others came forward at the close to press his hand and thank him for the good word which he had spoken to them. There is a grand field for the gospel in France, but the limited amount of money allotted to the work by those who foster’ it is the great drawback at present. We are neither requested nor authorized to say this by friends in Paris, but this is our own deliberate judgment, and so assured are we o£ its correctness that if it were in our power we would remove the difficulty at once.

    We traversed the enormous circles of the Great Exhibition. At a distance the erection has at present the appearance of a monster gasometer, but as far as one could judge from walking through it is well adapted for its purpose, and will be the great wonder of the year 1867. When we went to Paris our heart was set upon obtaining a larger room for our French Baptist friends, in which, during the Exhibition the best; known of our English ministers might have held a service for friends of our own denomination. Into this project the committee or the London Association entered most heartily, hoping to be made a blessing to the thousands who will visit Paris to inspect the. World’s Fair. Finding, however, that the wants of the English will be very well provided for by other denominations, and perceiving no likelihood of drawing our St. Roch friends out of their upper room, we have for the time let the matter drop, unless the providence of God should open a door and clear the path for the further carrying out of the scheme. May the Lord look upon the country which his faithful servants in olden times stained with their blood, and send forth his salvation upon the land! May France rejoice in the Lord Jesus and his salvation!

    C. H.SPURGEON.

    THE trees of the world’s forest are all marked for the ax; let us not build our nests upon them. They will come down ere long beneath the strokes of time and death, and we shall share their fall if we seek our comfort in them.

    Dear reader, set not your affection upon the fleeting things of time, but seek an everlasting’ portion, which shall be yours when sun and moon grow dim. Jesus, the Son of God, saves all those who trust their souls in his hands. His death upon the cross has made a great atonement for the sins of all those who believe in him. If you have never looked to him for life and pardon,LOOK NOW.

    Tarry not, for time is short.

    In my lonely meditations I heard a voice, as of one that spake in the name of the Lord. I bowed my head to receive the message, and the voice said, “Cry,” and when I said, “What shall I cry?” the answer came to me as to Isaiah of old, “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof!is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass.” Then I thought I saw before me a great meadow wide and far reaching, and it was like to a rainbow for its many colors, for the flowers of summer were in their beauty. In the midst thereof I marked a mower of dark and cruel aspect, who with a scythe most sharp and glittering, was clearing mighty stretches of the field at each sweep, and laying the fair flowers in withering heaps.

    He advanced with huge strides c f leagues at once, leaving desolation behind him, and I understood that the mower’s name was Death. As I looked I was afraid for my house, and my children, for my kinsfolk and acquaintance, and for myself also; for the mower drew nearer and nearer, and as he came onward a voice was heard as of a trumpet, and it said in my ear what I trust, dear reader, it may say in thine, “PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD.”

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