DISCIPLINE OF THE CHURCH AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE.
BY J. A. SPURGEON.
object of this paper is to direct attention to the discipline of our churches as distinguished from their creeds and constitution, thus contributing, it may be hoped, some assistance to the discussion of the best methods for securing and maintaining purity and pete within the gates of our Zion.
The subject of the paper is the discipline of the church at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. This particular example has been selected because with it the writer is more familiar than with any other. It is moreover the discipline of one of our oldest churches, and not the least successful of them, and it has been thought that there are elements of peculiar interest connected with it which it would be superfluous to enumerate.
We are anxious to disclaim, at the outset, any pretensions to perfection in our methods of action — we have found them work best for ourselves hitherto, but we are always anxious to find out a more excellent way. Our plans have been the outgrowth of necessity, not of theory; they were not sketched on paper and then carried out as an experiment, but the circumstances of the church drove us to our present methods, and we hope we have seen a line of scriptural precedent justifying our obedience to providential indications. We should regret exceedingly if for a moment it were supposed that we would recommend absolute uniformity in the methods of discipline adopted by churches; but to our minds thus much is clear, that the congregational churches both Baptist and Paedobaptist, have gone as far in the direction of diversity as possible, and weakness rather than strength has been the result. That no room should be left for the different peculiarities of pastor and people, but all be bound to one undeviating standard of action, would be to cramp, and not to benefit; but, on the other hand, that so few points of agreement should be accepted as a common basis of action, sustaining a sense of confidence in each 6ther’s discipline, is little short of a calamity, Mutual confidence arising from known adequate, though it may be at times dissimilar courses of action, leading up to one result, must be a source of blessing to any denomination; and at present we frankly admit, as the result of a somewhat wide observation of the methods of receiving’, and the all but uniform want of method in removing names from our church rolls, we have but small faith in ecclesiastical statistics, and what is worse, a limited confidence in letters of commendation from our churches. That we may all find room for improvement is undoubted, and that we may at once make the discovery and act upon it, is the object and prayer of the writer of this paper.
We remark at once that at the Tabernacle we have no written code of laws but the Book of Inspiration, and we unhesitatingly assert that all such printed rules as some have desired, and others adopted, are only ferrets at the best of times, and snares and traps in periods of dispute and difficulty. We have faith in sanctified common sense, resulting from an application to the source of all wisdom by prayer and reading of the word. If churches would only act with the prudence of any assembly of mercantile men, much evil would be averted, and more good secured. Acting in things temporal after a truly business principle, and in things spiritual as God’s word and Spirit dictate, no formal system of rules, in our opinion, will ever be required.
Certain recognized courses of procedure, from which, without cause assigned, no deviation shall be made, are certainly necessary for mutual cooperation and peace in any church; but for emergencies, special action should be adopted to suit the exigencies of the case, and no rules or traditions must forbid the course which wisdom suggests, even though it should be contrary to all the precedents of the previous history of the church. A general understanding of leading principles, and an elastic interpretation of them as cases may require, will be all the rule outside of the Scripture required in churches where confidence abounds between pastors, officers, and members; if this be wanting, no rules, human or divine, can make them work harmoniously together. We must have faith in each other’s intentions and integrity, or we shall loosen the pins of church action, and all will lapse into confusion and conflict.
I. CHURCH OFFICERS Principles of action however clear, and methods of procedure however established by custom, will be of little avail if they be not sustained by a vigorous executive. Amongst the officers of the church, foremost stands the pastor, who, though its servant, is so to rule, guide, and discipline it as God shall help and direct by his Holy Spirit. In connection with the church at the Tabernacle two such officers are now laboring. It is a trite remark that if two men ride a horse one must sit behind, and he who is in the front must hold the reins and drive. Co-pastorships have been sources of discomfort or blessing as this principle has been understood. Wherever it may have been disregarded, it is not (by the grace of God) likely to be so in the case in hand. Where one of the two brothers has been so instrumental in creating the necessity for additional help, from the very fullness of blessing resulting from his labors; and is, moreover, so superior in talent, influence, and power, it is a privilege to follow in the order of nature and birth which God, from the first, had evidently designed. The discipline of the church thus emanates from a common center, acting through recognized division of labor. All meetings and institutions are subject to the influence, and when required, to the action of the Pastorate. It would be, at least, unseemly to have a hydra-headed band of Christians. Sunday-school, college, orphanage, almshouses, psalmody, are all under the supervision of a common headship, so as to prevent almost inevitable confusion, if not conflict, as the result of divided action. The leader of the church should surely lead the church’s work. Strife without measure has arisen from rival authorities disputing about the boundaries of their little empires. The spirit of peace has kept us from this evil, but a judicious arrangement has been helpful in producing the result. There are still Diotrephes in the present age — men loving to have the pre-eminence — but it is the duty of the minister to magnify his office, and rule even these, which is best done not by assertions of power or complaints of want of influence, but by possessing such personal weight of piety and prudence, zeal, godliness, gentleness, and forbearance, as will inevitably place him in the front in course of time.
In the long run, the measure of any man’s power and influence is the measure in which he deserves to possess them; and no man is entitled to expect any more. It is quite certain that no efforts to assert official dignity, when sound judgment and weight of character are wanting, will ever result in anything short of failure and contempt. We have known some whose claims for deference and respect were in the inverse ratio to their deserts; and the only outgrowth of their priestlyism was to ruin and break up every church they attempted to guide and control. How much we need the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove! How gently, as a nurse among her children, should the pastor behave himself! With what unassuming brotherly love, and paternal wisdom, should he hold intercourse with his people! True pastors must be both made and born; and day by day must they be sustained, or their office will be a shame to themselves and a burden to their flocks. From this may the Lord keep his servants evermore. Deacons and Elders. — After the pastor, and laboring by his side, we need brethren qualified of God to be helpers of our joy. In this church, two offices distinct in main points, though often coincident in others, are recognized, and as we think, with both Scripture and common sense upon our side. It may and does often happen that the man of judgment, prudent in counsel, and skilled in money matters, is not gifted with speech so as to lead devotional exercises in the church or prayer-meeting, or beside the bed of sickness, or in the house of mourning. A good man for things temporal, in dealing with worldly matters, may not be an elder apt to teach and to exhort. On the other hand, a man may have all the qualifications of an elder, but be lacking in such abilities as are required for the serving of tables, the disposing of finances, and the securing of needed funds for the church.
Our deacons, nine in number, are elected by the church, at the suggestion of the pastor, after consultation with the previously elected deacons. It is open to any member to nominate whom he pleases at such an election, but in no case has the recommendation of the pastor and deacons been dissented from, for the brethren nominated were in every way called and qualified of the Lord. They are chosen for life; this having been the usual custom in such cases; and there being no strong reason for a change in the rule. Their duties are to care for the ministry, and help the poor of the church, to regulate the finances and take charge of the church’s property, seeing to the order and comfort of all worshipping in the place. The workis divided so as to secure the services of all, and prevent the neglect of anything through uncertainty as to the person responsible for its performance. One honored brother is general treasurer, and has been so for many years — long may he be spared to us; another takes all out-door work, repairs of the exterior, keeping the gates, appointing doorkeepers, etc.; another has all indoor repairs; while others watch over the interests of the new churches which are springing from our loins; and one brother as a good steward sees to the arrangement and provision of the weekly communion, and the elements required for the Lord’s table; thus with a common council we have separate duties. At every remembrance of these brethren we thank God. Some ministers have found their trials in their deacons; it is but right to say that we find in them our greatest comfort, and we earnestly desire that every church should share in an equal blessing. Elders. — Our eldership, now sustained by twenty-six brethren, is a source of much blessing to our church. Without the efficient and self-denying labors of the elders, we should never be able to supervise our huge church, containing at the close of the year 1868, 3,860 members; and from which, under the present pastor, about an equal number have gone to the church triumphant, or to other parts of the church militant.
The elders are re-elected annually, but usually continue for life in their office; fresh elders are proposed by the pastor to the already elected elders, and after some time has been given for thought, the subject of the propriety of their election is discussed at an elders’ meeting, and if recommended with general unanimity, the names are then laid before the church by the pastor, and after opportunity given for the expression of opinion, the vote of the church is taken. We offer no opinion here as to other methods of electing church officers, but we will add that no other plan commends itself so much to our judgment; no other plan is so safe for our church, or so likely to procure good officers. No other plan is so helpful to the pastor, who is most concerned in the choice, having to work with those selected; and no other plan as we can see will enable him so faithfully to discharge his office of guide and shepherd, in one of the most critical periods of the church’s history. Timidity here is a crime, and the affectation of modesty in not wishing to influence the church is to our mind a dereliction of duty. A church possessed of unlimited liberty of action, needs, for the sake of its junior and less instructed members, to be directed in its choice of officers — the best men to do it are the pastor and officers already tried and proved, and the fear of giving offense seems to us but the fear of man which bringeth a snare.
To the elders is committed the spiritual oversight of the church, and such of its concerns as are not assigned to the deacons nor belong to the preacher. The seeing of inquirers, the visiting of candidates for church membership, the seeking out of absentees, the caring for the sick and troubled, the conducting of prayer-meetings, catechumen and Bible-classes for .the young men — these and other needed offices our brethren the elders discharge for the church. One elder is maintained by the church for the especial purpose of visiting our sick poor, and looking after the churchroll, that this may be done regularly and efficiently. As a whole we cheerfully bear our testimony to the beneficial working of the system of deaconate and eldership as distinct offices. Both works are in a few cases performed by the same person, but the existence of the two bodies of men is in a thousand ways a great assistance to good government.
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP All persons anxious to join our church are requested to apply personally upon any Wednesday evening, between six and nine o’clock, to the elders, two or more of whom attend in rotation every week for the purpose of seeing inquirers. When satisfied, the case is entered by the elder in one of a set of books provided for the purpose, and a card is given bearing a corresponding number to the page of the book in which particulars of the candidate’s experience are recorded. Once a month, or oftener when required, the junior pastor appoints a day to see the persons thus approved of by the elders. If the pastor is satisfied, he nominates an elder or church member as visitor, and at the next church meeting asks the church to send him to enquire as to the moral character and repute of the candidate. If the visitor be satisfied he requests the candidate to attend with him at the following or next convenient church meeting, to come before the church and reply to such questions as may be put from the chair, mainly with a view to elicit expressions of his trust in the Lord Jesus, and hope of salvation through his blood, and any such facts of his spiritual history as may convince the church of the genuineness of the case. We have found this a means of grace and a rich blessing. None need apprehend that modesty is outraged, or timidity appalled by the test thus applied. We have never yet found it tend to keep members out of our midst, while we have known it of service in detecting a mistake or satisfying a doubt previously entertained. We deny that it keeps away any worth having. Surely if their Christianity cannot stand before a body of believers, and speak amongst loving sympathizing hearts, it is as well to ask if it be the cross-bearing public confessing faith of the Bible? This is no matter of flesh and blood, but of faith and grace, and we should be sorry to give place to the weakness and shrinking of the flesh, so as to insult the omnipotence of grace, by deeming it unable to endure so much as the telling in the gates of Zion what great things God has done for the soul. Of course, the system may be, and has been, abused, but we decline to recognize any argument drawn from the abuse of what we use lawfully. It need not be an offense to any, and it will be an immense blessing to that church which watches for souls, and rejoices over one repenting sinner more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance. After the statement before the church, the candidate withdraws, the visitor gives in his report, and the vote of the church is taken; when the candidate has professed his faith by immersion, which is administered by the junior pastor after a week-day service, he is received by the pastor at the first monthly communion, when the right hand of fellowship is given to him in the name of the church, and his name is entered on the roll of members. A communion card is furnished, divided by perforation into twelve numbered parts, one of which is to be delivered every month at the communion, which is held every Lord’s-day; the tickets are checked upon the register, and thus show the attendance of each member at the communion. If a member is absent more than three months without any known cause, the elder in whose district he resides is requested to visit him, and send in a report on a printed form which is given him; or if the residence be distant, a letter is written, a record of such visit or letter being retained. When a case for discipline presents itself, it is brought before the elders, who appoint one of their number to visit and report; if the matter demands action beyond caution and advice, we lay it before the church, and recommend the course of procedure to be adopted, whether censure or excommunication.
In dealing with such as are members of other churches, we have been by sad experience compelled to exercise more caution than at first seemed needful. The plan we adopt is to have the person seen by an elder, who enters particulars in the transfer book. If there appears to be any difficulty, an interview is arranged with one of the pastors, who investigates the case on its own merits, as alas! he has discovered that membership with some churches is not always a guarantee even of morality. Some churches retain a name upon their books for years after the person has ceased to commune; and frequently when he has passed away from all know]edge of or connection with the church, it will nevertheless grant a transfer as if all were satisfactory. We record this with mingled shame and sorrow. When the individual has thus given evidence of fitness, so far as we can judge, a dismissal is applied for in the usual way on a form prepared — the reply is laid before the church, any information necessary is added, and the vote of the church taken.
When, in the order of God’s providence, any of our number are removed from us, and are not able to attend, a certificate is given for three, six, or twelve months, which must then be renewed, and a report of the reason for renewal given, or the membership will lapse, unless in special cases. We much prefer commending our brethren to the fellowship of other churches, where they may be of service, than to have them linger out a merely nominal connection with us. We have thus sent from us 166 in the course of last year, we hope to the strengthening of the churches and the spread of the truth.
On receipt of application from any church for a transfer, the letter is read to the church, with the detailed account from our books, giving a brief but complete history of the case, when and how received, the attendance of the person while a member with us, and reasons for seeking removal. The church is then advised to authorize the usual letter of dismission to be sent.
In all our business the aim is to have everything done openly and aboveboard, so that no one may complain of the existence of a clique, or the suppression of the true state of affairs. We occasionally ask the unquestioning confidence of the church in its officers in cases delicate and undesirable to be published, but otherwise we consult the church in everything, and report progress as often as possible in all matters still pending and unsettled. Nothing, we are persuaded, is so sure to create suspicion and destroy confidence as attempts at secret diplomacy, or mere official action.
When details of cases under discipline are kept from the church, the fact is openly stated, and leave asked for the maintenance of such public reticence; while any member is informed, that if dissatisfied, the pastor will give him the reasons why the elders have advised the removal of the offender, and their motive in not giving details of the sin. When it would be for the injury of good morals, or expose the pastor to a suit-at-law, the officers ask the confidence of the church, and request it to adopt their verdict in the case without hearing detailed information; this is cheerfully accorded in every case, and much evil thus averted.
All money matters are audited by unofficial brethren selected by the church, and the accounts read and books produced at the annual church meeting, when all the members endeavor to be present.
All minutes of church meetings, deacons’ and elders’ courts, are entered, and confirmed at the following meeting. Unless notice is previously given, no business, as a rule, is entertained but what emanates from the chair, or is sent up from an elders’ or deacons’ session; though this custom is departed from if any manifest benefit is to be derived from so doing, and no one challenges the motion as irregular.
WORK The discipline of service is one element of highest importance. The best officers and the wisest mode of government will only result in feebleness and discord if the church sits still with folded hands. A lazy people must, by a law of necessity, become a corrupt people. Purest water stagnating must putrify. “Satan finds some mischief still For idle hands to do.” It would lengthen out our paper, already too long, beyond all reasonable bounds, if we were to enter into details concerning the work at the Tabernacle. In general terms, we remark that our Sunday-school contains 1,077 children, under the tuition of 96 teachers; besides another band, in the almshouses, containing 180 children, with 20 teachers; a third, at Manchester Hall and Richmond Street, with 320 children and 25 teachers; and many schools connected with rooms and preaching stations too numerous to be mentioned in this outline.
We have an elders’ class for the children of the officers of the church; a young woman’s Bible-class, containing from 500 to 600 members, conducted by Mrs. Bartlett; and two young men’s catechumen classes, averaging upwards of 100 each. We have no means of judging the amount of work done by our members in ragged schools and Sunday-schools apart from our own place, but we know of more than a dozen schools which depend mainly, and some of them entirely, upon our help.
Meetings for prayer are held every day in connection with the church; in the morning at seven, and in the evening, generally, at half-past seven. Two prayer meetings are held every Sabbath, besides some dozens of others, held in the houses of friends, both in the week and on the Lord’s-day. We are constantly hearing of these, and they are a source of great strength to the church. Railway porters, letter sorters, and others who cannot get to evening meetings, meet for prayer in the middle of the day. In several large houses of business, we have Bible-classes, etc, A number of our members have connected themselves with the Rescue Society, and have for some time visited the Homes regularly, and helped in this work with great success.
Our Evangelist’s Society keeps in active operation the preaching of the gospel in the streets every Lord’s-day, weather permitting, and in small rooms and preaching stations.
Our Tract Society, with 69 districts, has circulated 2,336 copies of sermons every week in the last year, which, when they have gone round the districts, are given away at the workhouses which are visited. Two brethren are maintained in connection with Mr. Oncken’s work on the Continent.
Our sisters are not wanting in their efforts to do good. We have our Dorcas, our Benevolent, our Working meetings, our Maternal Society, and our Mothers’ Meetings, all in full activity. Seventeen of our poor and aged sisters are maintained in our almshouses.
Nor are the young ones behind. We have a juvenile Sabbath-school Working Society, and prayer meetings amongst the scholars. A special service for the young is held every Sunday at the almshouses at 6.30. A large Band of Hope is also doing a good work.
Our College, with its heavy responsibilities and innumerable outgrowths, and the growing care of the Orphanage, we cannot dilate upon. These are well known.
Our Colportage Society employs eight colporteurs, who have visited during the year 1868, 91,528 families, and regularly visit two hundred villages every month.
Some of our brethren work amongst the police, and visit the government stores; while others call at shops open on the Lord’s-day, to try and speak a word for the sanctity of the Sabbath.
Several of our elders have regular preaching stations, with all the organizations for worship and service, which are usually connected with separate churches. These will some of them develop into distinct interests in due season, to our nominal decrease, but to the increase of the general church, which is our ultimate end and object for God’s glory. Among such are, our dear friend Field, at the Rosemary Branch; Friend Dunn, at Manchester Hall, with its Sunday, Day, and Ragged Schools, and many charitable societies; and Elder Perkins, at Gospel Hall, South Street, Camberwell, where a building has been secured for home mission work; and regular preaching is carried on both during the week and on the Lord’s-day.
Our evening classes are, moreover, a fruitful source of blessing. A good education is given to all young men of moral character who will attend regularly. Two singing classes on the tonic sol-fa system are held, and one for choral music of a superior class. A Bible-class for the young on Wednesdays, and a public Bibles-class presided over by Mr. Rogers on Mondays at 8.30. We have also a flourishing day-school under a most efficient master. Popular and scientific lectures are given during the winter months by Professor Solway and others, to which the public are admitted on a merely nominal payment, so as to provide interesting and instructive pastime for our young people, and at the same time connect them with our work.
Many of our friends help in the raising of new churches, four of which have been formed this year.
We must not omit to mention our Loan Fund for Chapel Building, which lends out money without interest, on the principle of the Baptist Building Fund. This sum, which we hope before long to increase to £5,000, forms a reserve for the College in case of an emergency.
In conclusion, we feel bound to acknowledge that our dependence for prosperity and peace is solely upon the God who commands the dew of his grace to descend upon his church. All our springs are in him; no under shepherd’s care, not the best built and guarded fold can ever keep out the wolf in sheep’s clothing, nor the enemy so watchful and relentless, who goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Our help cometh from the Lord who made heaven and earth. The discipline of the closet and the prayer meeting, of close fellowship with God in secret, will bring the reward openly. Nothing in the shape of rules or customs, no, not even the devoted services of apostles themselves, can compensate for lowtoned piety on the part of the members. Whence come wars and rightings — is it not because many professors are still carnal, and walk not after the Spirit? Drawing nearer and nearer to the center and source of all grace and blessing will inevitably result in our being “one” to the glory of God the Father. We must raise our standard of individual and personal piety, and to that extent we shall destroy elements of evil. If thorns can spring up and choke the good seed, the same law may, if rightly turned upon the foe, destroy roots of bitterness which, springing up, would trouble us, by occupying the ground with the “fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance — against such there is no law.”
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
CITY ARABS IN a little pamphlet, published, for threepence, by Mr. Nisbet, of Berners Street, Mr. W. Burns Thomson gives a most amusing and delightful account of his labors among the wild lads of Edinburgh. We envy the man of God who can do such good service, endure such discouragements, and persevere so undauntedly. Great will be the reward of those who love their Lord so well that the offscouring of men are precious in their eyes for his sake. The lower the strata the more precious the ore, in moral mining.
Jesus is glorified greatly when his gospel lifts the beggars from the dunghill and sets them among princes. The Medical Mission of Edinburgh is honored by having such a man as Dr. Thomson in connection with it: may it prosper richly. Being much pleased with the simple narrative, we take the liberty of giving our readers copious extracts, believing that our selections will not hinder, but rather suggest the purchase of the little record.
The odd experiences of those who go upon soul-hunting expeditions among the ragged city pariahs, are illustrated by the following embarrassing predicament: — “One afternoon, when discharging the usual class duties, we found ourselves in a moment in midnight darkness, The shutter of the only window was suddenly closed and fastened outside. As some of my scholars were not quite orthodox in their views respecting the distinction between Mine and Thine, I hastily planted myself, with outstretched arms, between them and the movables, and sent them to open the door, but that was found to be fastened outside. The stronger amongst us exerted ourselves to effect deliverance, but in vain. At length we thundered at the door and attracted the attention of the people opposite, but they brought no help. It was discovered afterwards that the handle of our door was tied by a rope to the handle of that fronting us, so that the harder we pulled, striving to get out, the more effectually we shut our neighbors in, and prevented their coming to the rescue. It was a clever trick, and I longed to make the acquaintance of its author.”
The hero of this practical joke was met with and subdued by love; there was found to be a tender, affectionate heart beneath the young rascal’s rough exterior. “After a free and full forgiveness, he promised to come to my Bible Class, at least for once, to see how he should like it. He came regularly afterwards, and I was sometimes able to comfort him. At the end of several months I was called to leave that district, and went one afternoon to bid good-bye to some of those with whom I had become acquainted. When passing along Downie Place on my way home, I received a gentle tap on the arm, and turning round, saw my young Arab friend. ‘I hear you’re gaun awe’, he said, and the tears filled his eyes. ‘Yes,’ I replied, as kindly as possible, and tried to cheer him; but it wouldn’t do. He fairly broke down, weeping like a child, and ejaculated betwixt his sobs, ‘ I’ll hae nae freen’ noo to tak care o’ me.’ This exhibition was as unexpected as it was impressive. These tears have never been forgotten. This was the first real Arab I had ever encountered, and I discovered that he had not only a humam but a tender heart.”
Mr. Thomson’s endeavors to form a decent Ragged School were for a long time utterly baffled by the depravity of the young sinners who to his room, apparently for no earthly purpose but to plague their teacher. “Plenty of boys came, but we could not manage them. It is difficult to imagine, and impossible to describe, the scenes we witnessed on these occasions. A boy looks you in the face as innocently as if mischief were a stranger to him, and perhaps addresses some interesting question to you, whilst his toes are drumming the front of the pew. If he detects a suspicious glance flitting across your eye, on account of the quarter whence the noise proceeds, be gives a punch to his neighbor, tells him to be quiet, and rebukes him for his wickedness in hindering him from learning the truth. In this, our first attempt, we never got the correct name and address of a single boy. ‘What is your name, my man?’ ‘John Russell, sir.’ ‘Ah! that’s an honorable name.’ ‘That it is, sir.’ ‘Where do you live, my boy?’ ‘At Moray Place, sir’ On expressing astonishment, and hinting that his garments were scarcely in keeping with ribands the sleeve of his jacket, he exclaims —’Many, many a time our Bible Class seemed transformed into a menagerie. The singing was marred by the intermixture of every discordant sound the ingenuity of the lads could invent. The cries of animals were ever and anon issuing from sonic quarter of the building. The mewing of the cat was particularly in request. The mya-a-oo was always prolonged into a dismal wail, and wound up with an energetic ‘fizz.’ ‘Talk,’ says Dr. Davidson, ‘of the gross darkness and depravity of heathenism! I can honestly say that I have never met in heathen countries ignorance more complete, and depravity more deep and hopeless, than I have seen in this Cowgate of Edinburgh. Certainly I should a thousand times rather deal with the poor ignorant Malagasy, whose depravity, great as it is, has not grown up under the sun of Christianity and civilization, than I would with your young Cowgate Arabs.’“ Such is the frequent lot of Ragged School teachers in London, and they deserve, and ought to have, our daily prayers that they be not faint and weary in their work. Ordinary workers know nothing of the self-denials of those who gather together the outcasts; they bear the brunt of the battle, and should have our heartiest sympathy and aid.
Undismayed by difficulties, our friend persevered, and having a considerable taste for singing, he was led to adopt a somewhat singular mode of laying hold upon his savage proteges. “Whether I clung to these boys from pride or from piety — from a mere unwillingness to be beaten in my undertaking, or from an affectionate, prayer-fill interest in their soul’s welfare, or perhaps from a blending of both — I shall not stay to inquire; certain it is, I could never live in peace whilst they wandered around me uncared for. I longed and prayed, and worked for the opportunity of telling them, in quietness, of the love of God in Christ, and I could not resist the conviction, that, though Satan might be allowed to thwart, perplex, and baffle me in this precious and interesting work, the Lord would give the desire of my heart. During the remainder of the session I tried to keep up as much personal friendly intercourse as possible with the lads, that I might not fall out of acquaintance with them.
Next winter I began an experiment of a kind entirely different from any hitherto attempted, mainly with the view of keeping the youths in contact with me. I engaged a professional singer, with whom Miss Mercer joyfully associated herself, to teach them music and singing. They assembled twice a week in the school-room at Cowgate-head in great numbers. I tried to prepare the teacher for rough work, but it was with him, as I doubt not it is with many of my readers — he had no conception of what I had been speaking about. Five minutes in the school-room opened his eyes, and when I entered shortly after I found him bewildered, helpless, and actually pale with fright. And little wonder — the youngsters had rushed in with feelings of jubilation as if this were the jolliest plan I had ever tried with them, when as many as pleased might come together for a rompus, which was the only idea they had of a singing class. To speak to them was out of the question, even roaring would not have been heard; but a song, beautifully sung, gained a gradually enlarging circle of attentive listeners, till the room was quiet. Oft that winter were we struck with the power of music. When the boys themselves sung, which they soon learned to do pretty well, and in parts, they were not at all subdued; the last note was frequently converted into a bray or shriek, whilst a companion got a poke in the ribs, or was toppled over the form, or received some other little courtesy of that nature; but when a duet was sung by the teachers, the pupils were fairly spell-bound by it; and even after the applause there was a season of quiet, in which they would listen to a word of advice. During the first half-hour songs were sung; and during the second, sacred melodies. In this way they became acquainted with the words and music of many of our most precious hymns, such as ‘ Rock of Ages,’ ‘There is a fountain,’ etc., etc.; and truly it was not easy to survey the group and listen unmoved, whilst they poured forth with a real heartiness the glorious truths of the gospel. The behavior improved on the whole as the session advanced; but from first to last the management of them was an arduous and exhausting duty. In addition to what might be called the normal stream of annoyance and worry, episodes of every, type and complexion were introduced to diversify the proceedings. One night a youth came in with a lighted coal in his jacket pocket. As he entered late, and I knew him to be a thorough rogue, he was kept so constantly covered with my eye, that he found it impossible to carry out the glorious exploit with which he no doubt expected to dazzle his companions; and in a short time my attention was drawn to an intolerable smell of singeing, followed soon after by a pretty dense cloud of smoke, in the midst of which the culprit rushed from the room. The burning coal had set fire to his jacket.”
On the occasion of a tea and treat given to these young hopefuls, their incorrigible kleptomania displayed itself, and was the source of an amusing anecdote: — “One of the juveniles, true to his Ishmaelitish instincts, slipped a saucer into his pocket, and no doubt chuckled over his success, as no notice was taken at the time of what he had done, although he had been observed. But before pronouncing the benediction I made the following intimation: — ‘There is a boy here who imagines himself clever enough to put a saucer in his pocket without my knowing it. The joke is all spoiled, for the boy was seen. You can place the saucer on the lobby table as you go out.” To our astonishment we found five saucers. There were more culprits than one; but each, supposing himself the individual addressed, delivered up his article as he went out.’“ The plan of giving free breakfasts was at last hit upon, and turned out to be the right method of reaching the poor lads. The respected writer tells us — “We have got excellent classes this winter, and a fine description of boys to labor amongst; and, if these hasty sketches have been of any use in exciting an interest in their behalf in the minds of Christian readers, we trust you will hold up our hands in the good work by your sympathy and prayers. We should rejoice were you encouraged to do a little amongst them yourselves. If you live in a district less depraved than ours, and where fewer difficulties would beset your efforts, thank God and begin. Let me remind you the boys must be taught. Though we should foolishly leave them alone, still they must be taught, and taught too at our expense. It is a costly thing to pay police officers to hunt the youths from crime to crime, judges to condemn them, drunken drum-majors to flog them, governors and warders to guard them, not to mention chaplains, teachers, food, and clothing, all paid for out of our pockets. A little kindness, suitably administered, might at least help to make good citizens of them, and what a saving to our pockets, not to speak of the comfort to our hearts. Today, when coming down Anderson’s Close, I met one of our wildest quondam Arabs, well dressed and respectable looking in his appearance, with the mallet under his arm, going to his work. He is now a journeyman mason, and doing well: and this is not a solitary case.”
If a gentleman incessantly engaged in medical and educational pursuits could render such service to the church of God, what might not gentlemen of leisure accomplish! Our beloved friend and brother, Mr. Orsman, is another case in point. He toils all day at the Post Office, and then begins a second day’s work among the costermongers and crossing sweepers of Golden Lane, and all for love of his Lord. Such men shame us; especially do they shame the race of Christian loungers, who go from meeting to meeting in search of pious dissipation, but never buckle down to hard work. Let those who are great at religious tea-drinkings, soirees, and public meetings, but very little in actual service, hide their diminished heads in the presence of the apostles of the Cowgate and Seven Dials. All honor to the excavators of souls buried under accumulated mounds of ignorance and poverty. May such men be multiplied. Not to help them with funds would be an outrage upon all the instincts of our new-born nature; not to pray for them would be to prove ourselves graceless. He who pens these lines would cheerfully resign all the honors of a most popular ministry to have the singular grace of being counted worthy of the matchless glory of bringing the outcasts into the kingdom of Christ.
C. H.SPURGEON. “OH, YOU WRETCH!”
A PRAYER-MEETING TALK. BY C. H.SPURGEON.
IQUITE agreewith the remark made by a cheerful believer, that the Christian life may be described as “good, better, best” — “the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day;” but close researches into our own heart lead us to apply very different adjectives to our own carnal nature, of which we feel far more inclined to say that, to our apprehension, it is bad, worse, worst. All is light in the Lord, but all is darkness in self; in the Lord Jehovah have we righteousness and strength; in ourselves nothing but sin and weakness. “In him is only good, In me is only ill; My ill but draws his goodness forth, And me he loveth still.” I heard today from a friend an odd story, which has much amused me and something more. He kept a parrot of loquacious habits, and next door to him there lived a minister, who called upon him one morning and asked him to be so good as to remove the talkative bird, for it worried him exceedingly. It was not its noise, but what it said, which was the cause of annoyance. It did not swear like a trooper, or scream like a termagant, but still it disturbed the divine beyond all bearing. Its voice had not vexed his ears one-tenth so much as its utterance had rent and torn his conscience.
My friend was anxious to know what dreadful words those might be which had thus turned poor harmless Poll into a tormenting spirit, a very accuser of the brethren. It turned out that the bird, when he was hanging outside the window near to the preacher’s study, had screamed out with all his might, “Oh, you wretch! Oh, you wretch! “Just,” said the minister, “when I am trying to prevail with God in prayer, or am endeavoring to confess my sins, a voice seems to mock me and sarcastically cry, ‘Oh, you wretch!’
And,” said the good man, “ it is so true; I feel it is so; it comes home to me; it makes me remember that I am not praying as I ought, nor laying hold upon the promise as I should, and it causes me to feel deeply ashamed of myself. When I am writing my sermon, and preparing for the Sabbath, and am perhaps mourning over my cold-hearted and dilatory studies, the parrot calls out, ‘Oh, you wretch!’ and I think within myself, that is really just what I am. That parrot deeply distresses me by so continually bringing before my mind my shortcomings and unworthiness. It was all very well for a time, but it is now a perpetual blister to me.” My friend was very fond of his parrot, though he must have sadly neglected its education; but he parted with it to relieve his neighbor, hoping thus that he had given a cup of cold water to one of the Master’s little ones.
I thought, when I heard the story, that I should like to have that parrot hung up in my study, but perhaps a little bird which lodges in my breast will do as well. My conscience softly moans to me like a turtle dove, “Oh, wretched man that I am!” and the note is so true, that my heart repeats it again and again: the shadow of my infirmities is ever upon me. I dare not hold my head on high, for I am deeply conscious of the evil within my bosom. Nor do I desire to feel other than ashamed of myself, for I never pray better than when the mournful, note of self-accusation is heard, and I never love Jesus more than when I feel my great need of his cleansing blood. So far as I can judge, I never quicken my pace so well in the spiritual pilgrimage as when my heart cries with all her might, “ God be merciful to me, a sinner.” They run fastest home who most fear the storm; hence, “Blessed is the man that feareth always.” They carry most of Christ who have least of self, hence the richness of spiritual poverty.
As once a message from God came from the mouth of an ass, I shall borrow a text from a parrot, and use the words, “Oh, you wretch!” as a peg on which to hang a brief homily.
These words might be applied to some of us at sundry times and in divers places. For instance. Our Lord has been very gracious to us, and he has answered our prayers and fulfilled his promises times beyond number; he has brought us through six troubles, and in seven there has no evil touched us; we have been through fire and through water, and been divinely shielded from every ill. If, in fresh trials, we grow unbelieving and desponding, what excuse can be made for us? Some of you have been preserved sixty or seventy years; others of us have been kept by all sufficient grace, and have known the Lord now these twenty years, and have proved his faithfulness every moment during that long time. Now, when we begin to distrust and suspect the goodness of our God, our conscience might well say, “Oh, you wretch! Oh, you wretch!” What wretched creatures we must be so to dishonor our God, to question his immutable love, to doubt the veracity of his word, and suppose that he can change in his affection, or forget his people! How much more saintly to sing, “Away, distrust, my God hath promised: he is just!” Nothing degrades us more than unbelief. Nor is there any sin over which we ought to grieve with deeper anguish of repentance than mistrust of God. Oh, it is a high crime and misdemeanor to impute unfaithfulness to him who cannot lie! Wretch that I am, that I should thus insult my God! What fountains of evil must be in me when the streams are so polluted with unbelief of my faithful God!
To bring to remembrance another evil, let us reflect how often during the day we wander from God in heart; our love is fixed on an earthly creature, and images of jealousy are set up in opposition to the Well-beloved of our souls. Dagon is elevated hard by the ark. If it were not for grace, we should forsake our Lord, and as it is, it almost comes to that; idolatry well nigh supplants our worship of God, and our love to the creature leads us to undervalue our Creator’s goodness, and even to repine if the object of our overweening affection is removed. Then may we well chide ourselves — “Wretch that I am to wander thus, In chase of false delights!” We have been deceived so often by the dried-up brooks of earthly joy, why fly we to them again? We have been to the broken cisterns so many times, and found no water in them, why do we leave the everlasting spring to trust the leaking creatures?
So too, dear friends, such a word as that might be spoken to us by our conscience when we have been angry under provocation, so as to have spoken rashly with our lips. That may not be the temptation with some of you, but it is the besetting sin of not a few. Some believers soon lose their balance; they speak hard and biting words, and think very unholy things.
How hardly and sharply may conscience cry, “Oh, you wretch!” When Christ has forgiven you all sin, to be so easily enraged and to find it so hard to forgive your offending brother! When the Great Creditor frankly forgave you ten thousand talents, what a wretch are you to think it so difficult to let your brother go who only owes you the hundred pence! What a wretch to have your hand upon your neighbor’s throat with “Pay me what thou owest.” May we learn the mischief of an angry spirit, hate ourselves for ever yielding to it; and by the softening power of the Holy Ghost, be preserved in patience and meekness in imitation of our gentle Lord.
I need not mention the many, many times during the day in which such a cry as that of the poor imitating bird might be a needful reminder to us if a tender heart would but let us feel its power. O Savior in heaven, when we think of what we are in ourselves, we would lie in the very dust before thee. What is there in us that can recommend us to thee? How is it thou canst love us at all? It is a Wonder of wonders that ever thy august and ennobling love should have been set upon us. We cannot see anything lovely in ourselves; what is there of attraction that thy far more observant eye can by any possibility discover? We are but wretched men, as the apostle saith, in ourselves, and yet for all that, such is the exceeding greatness and abounding fullness of the love and mercy of God, that we are as surely dear to Jesus as if we were perfect in the flesh, and as much beloved of him as if we had never sinned; yea, our sins have given opportunities for matchless and amazing displays of his love, which otherwise, so far as we can judge, had not been exhibited to the wondering gaze of principalities and powers. Loathsome as sin is, I am almost ready to agree with Augustine when speaking of the fall, he said, “Oh, beata culpa!” — “ Oh, happy fault!” — because it opened such room for redeeming love and divine compassion. Disastrous as was our first parents’ sin, yet inasmuch as it made room for the wonderful display of the divine love to such sinners as we are, we can only magnify the depth of the wisdom and the height of the grace, and the breadth of the love of God, in the way in which eternal mercy overcomes the evil which was permitted, doubtless, for that very end.
It is essential that we should always maintain in our inmost hearts, a deep sense of the humbling truth that we are in ourselves nothing but dust and ashes, sin and defilement; wretches in the worst sense if it were not for grace. When a man begins to think, “Well, there is something praiseworthy in my flesh after all,” depend upon it, there is nothing in him of any real worth. I remember a friend of mine who, one morning met in the market a deacon for whom up to that hour he had entertained the highest respect.
This deacon said to my friend, “Friend So-and-So, I want you to do me a good turn.” “Well,” he replied, “I am sure I will if it is at all reasonable.”
Then said the other, “I want you to lend me a hundred pounds.” My friend had it on his tongue to say, “Yes, I will write you a cheque at once,” when the deacon said, “You can trust me, you know, I am perfectly safe; I am not like a young man, who may be led into doing wrong; I have been in the ways of the Lord for so many years, and have had so much experience that I am past temptation.” “Past temptation!” muttered my friend. “Past temptation! I would not lend you the value of a sixpence.” “Why not?” said the man with surprise. “Because I would not trust you with any money of mine.” “But why not?” “Because you say you are past temptation, and man who is so confident in himself is one I have no confidence in.” That deacon knew right well that he had committed himself most grossly in pecuniary matters, and when he was talking so proudly he was consciously playing the hypocrite in the vilest manner. I was gratified at the shrewd commonsense of my friend, and glad that he saved himself from losing one hundred pounds, for the boaster went to pieces and was in prison within a month of that time. Whenever we allow our hearts to dream that we are beyond the region of indwelling sin, we are encircled by its coils. When we imagine that we are resplendent with a thousand virtues, we are besmeared and bespattered with defilement. Our congratulatory addresses to ourselves are the sure evidences of spiritual unsoundness. All trust in our own experience, or acquired wisdom, is a sandy foundation. No slippery morass, or all-devouring bog, is more treacherous than a self-flattering estimate of human nature. Quaint Herbert says: “Surely, if each one saw another’s heart, There would be no commerce, No sale, or bargain pass; all would disperse And live apart.” The poet does not tell us what a man would do if he could see his own naked self in the glass of truth. It will not be an exaggeration if we say that it would be enough to drive him mad. Whenever we censoriously exclaim, “See how others behave! If I were in their position, how much better I should be than they are,” we are already well nigh gone and ready to slip with our feet. Ah! we do not know ourselves, my brethren, or instead of hearing laudatory words with pleasure, we should often shiver at the sound of a still small voice crying out, “Oh, you wretch!”
If you have a bird which cries, “Good master,” wring its neck; but if it shrieks, “You wretch,” be thankful that if neither your own heart nor your neighbors are honest to you, there remains yet one truth-telling creature upon the earth.
The Lord keep us empty in ourselves and full of himself, so that though we may mournfully confess, as David did, “So foolish was I and ignorant, I was as a beast before thee;” yet with him we may add, “Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou hast holden me by thy right hand.”
SERVICE OF JESUS IN LITTLE THINGS.
To turn every opportunity to account for Jesus is an art which all believers should learn. All cannot be eminent in the ministry of the pulpit; but the path to distinguished usefulness in the walks of every-day-life lies open to every Christian. Fish are not only taken in nets which surround them by hundreds, but they are captured by anglers, who concentrate their attention upon a single individual; soul fishery may be conducted in the like manner.
In reading the life of John Milne, which has just been compiled by that man of God, Dr. Horatius Bonar, we have been struck with Mr. Milne’s power in dealing with souls one by one. His life lacks those stirring incidents which make a biography popular, but for this reason it will be all the more useful to those of whom it may be written. “Along the cool sequest’red vale of life They keep the even tenor of their way.” He was associated with M’Cheyne and Burns, and other honored brethren, by whom the Lord worked mightily. Together with their soft and sweet radiance they made up a bright and lovely constellation, comparable to the Pleiades, and he was one of the brightest of the stars. Alas! that so many of them should shine no more for earth. The one thing, however, which has struck us in his life has been his readiness to catch at the slightest opportunity for saying a word in season; while the whole of his life was such as to shed a sacred influence all around, and to make his memoir precious to those who value grace and truth. This peculiar trait of character, which his biographer has perhaps unconsciously illustrated most lavishly, gave a * Life of the Rev. John Milne, of Perth. By Horatius Bonar, D.D. London: James Nisbet & Co., Berners-street tone to his life which we fail to note in many other good men. As our readers peruse the following interesting instances, let them earnestly pray that they may be filled with the same spirit. On his way to India, to labor in Calcutta, “He was not idle on board, though unable to do so much as he wished. He found opportunities, from day to day, of doing or speaking something for eternity. His light could not but shine during that voyage, and of this there were found some traces on the vessel’s return. A gentleman coming from India in that same year (1853) was surprised to find tracts and little books lying about the steamer. He asked how and by whom this had been done.
He was told that, last voyage a ‘curious gentleman’ had been on board, going to India. Every evening he used to go among the sailors, talking to them and listening to their stories. When they had done with their talk, he would take out his Bible from his pocket, and read a portion to them. Then he prayed with them. It was he who had given the tracts and books. There was no difficulty in discovering who this ‘curious gentleman’ was. “On the same voyage, he went about among the cabin-boys, getting hold of them whenever he could. He used to promise them a sixpence or a shilling if they would learn a certain psalm or chapter, and repeat it to him. This was his practice on shore as well as at sea; and his card would frequently be handed in to Mrs. Milne by some boy, with this penciled on it, ‘Give the bearer sixpence [or a shilling as it might be] if he repeats the 53rd of Isaiah, or 55th, as the case might be. His devices for getting hold of people, or getting a word spoken to them, were as various as his zeal was unflagging.
In Perth, or on the road, he might be seen helping a baker to carry his board or basket, or a man with a wheelbarrow, that he might get an opportunity of speaking to them. A Roman Catholic woman, who went about as a hawker, selling plates and dishes, tells that, meeting him once as he was coming down a long stair, he said to her, ‘You are looking weak;’ and then he insisted on carrying her basket down to the street, dropping a word as he went. These were frequent occurrences; and he would say on such occasions, ‘You know we should bear one another’s burdens,’ or some such word. Some would have thought it beneath his dignity to hand his coat to a poor man who complained that he could not get to church for want of clothes; or to give chase to three boys who ran off when he was trying to persuade them to come to the Sabbath-school; or to rush out of his house one snowy day to the Inch (or public green) to help a poor woman to get down her washing-ropes; but he never thought of his own comfort or dignity when he could assist another. Whether on shore or on ship-board, in Scotland or in India, his benevolence and obligingness was the same. In one pocket you might find a bottle of wine for some sick person, in another a bunch of grapes, and in another a packet of tracts or books. He was ‘ready, aye ready,’ for every good word and work. He ‘called nothing common or unclean’ whereby he could serve the Master, or comfort a disciple, or arrest a wanderer.
Mr. Bonar says of him in 1855 — “Of this date is the following sentence, so expressive of the man, reminding us of Paul’s ‘This one thing I do.’ It is a word for all, especially for ministers. ‘Let us try to say something to every one we meet.’ I have been trying it today. When in London, among some Government officials, he astonished them by speaking personally to them about eternity, especially one venerable gentleman, who, not at all offended, simply made the remark, ‘I was never spoken to in that way before.’ It was most pleasant, but somewhat perilous, to have a walk with him. The stoppages were many; — Words to be dropped; tracts to be given; kind deeds to be done to passers-by.” “Traveling in a train (1864), he writes afterwards: — ‘A news-boy was sorting his papers; I said, I have a newspaper that never grows old. He looked up with such an amazed, inquiring face, ‘What’s that?’ I took out my little Bible, and the poor boy felt it.” “During a visit to London, at one of the metropolitan railway stations, while waiting for a train, he was interested with a fine little boy, whose father was pretending he would throw the child on the rails, much to the little fellow’s amusement. At last Mr. Milne said to the boy, ‘Why are you not afraid? If he throws you down, you will be killed.’ ‘Oh!’ said the child, with a shout of laughter, ‘he’s my papa.’ Mr. Milne paused a moment, and then turning to the gentleman, said, ‘What a lesson your boy has taught us, that, under all circumstances, we should trust our heavenly Father that he wi1I not hurt us!’ and then walked on. In a few minutes the gentleman followed and said, ‘It is very remarkable that you should have made that remark to me just now. I am now on my way to visit my own father, who is in a lunatic asylum, and I am afraid I have had hard thoughts of my heavenly Father; but’ — at that moment his train came up, and all he could add was, ‘Thank you, thank you.’“ “Coming from church one afternoon he saw three women, in a humble rank of life, going out to walk on the Inch. One said to the others, ‘Stop, I have lost something.’ ‘Yes,’ said Mr. Milne, ‘stop; for though I do not know what you have lost, I know what you are losing.’ They looked amazed. ‘Yes,’ he continued, ‘you are losing your Sabbath; and if you lose your Sabbaths now, you will lose your souls by-and-by.’ The women did stop and turned back to their house. “Walking in the country, near Bridge of Allan, he met a woman, to whom he offered a tract. She seemed most willing to take it, and he added, ‘I hope you can say, Christ is mine.’ She hesitated; so holding out the tract, he said, ‘I offer you this, is it yours?’ She said, ‘Not till I have taken it.’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘it is the same with Christ. God, by his ministers, offers him to you. Accept of him, and then you can say, Christ is mine.’“ “He had preached one Sabbath on ‘The harvest is passed, the summer is ended, and we are not saved;’ and during the course of the following week he saw one of his people walking along with a companion. He went up, and putting his hand on his friend’s shoulder, said, “ ‘The harvest is passed, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” — are You saved?’ and immediately passed. His friend’s companion said, ‘Was not that very forward and uncalled for?’ ‘No,’ said the other, ‘it is a most important question.’ That question led to a true conversion.”
Reader, go and do thou likewise. C. H.SPURGEON.
POPERY IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
THIS IS NO FANCY PICTURE, but a tolerably correct representation of a clergyman of the church of England, occupied in the performance of some part of his ritual; we confess we know not which, but we vouch for the accuracy of the sketch. It was time that such foolery was stopped, but if the symbo1 be forbidden, the doctrinal Popery remains in the church. That many clergymen preach the gospel of Jesus right well and earnestly we joyfully admit, and we heartily wish that all did so; but how does this excuse the Establishment for teaching baptismal regeneration in her prayerbook, and so inviting the uprowth of Popery in her pale? Some of her physicians prescribe the balm of Gilead for dying men: does this justify her in speaking so ambiguously in her prayer-book that men are poisoned with abominable and idolatrous nostrums borrowed from the old destroyer at Rome? It is said that the Ritualists will one day be turned out of the church by the exercise of her discipline: we sincerely hope so; but believe that so long as the prayer-book is unrevised, the church will remain but half reformed. The prayer-book is for the Ritualist in much of its teaching. The mere snuffing out of a few candles is nothing, the evil lies deeper than courts of law can reach. The only cure is for all true Evangelicals to come out of the church, and no longer bear the sin of fellowship with an Anglican Papacy: if they have not the courage to do this, let them agitate for the separation of the church from the state, in which case they would reform their church at once. Something ought to be done, and done soon, for as matters now stand the established church is the recruiting sergeant for Rome, and the pope’s work is being better done by our state-paid clergy than by his Jesuits or Cardinals. It is intolerable that a Protestant nation like England should much longer be saddled with the support of a church which is a nursery for Papists. Every Christian should shake himself free from all complicity with the Popery which is insidiously covering the land. How can he do this if he remains in fellowship with Ritualists? Come ye out from among them; be ye separate; touch not the unclean thing. NO. 34 — From C. H.SPURGEON’ S “Sword and Trowel,” published monthly, price 3d.; post free 4d Tracts, 6d. per 100; post free 8 stamps. — Passmore and Alabaster, 18, Paternoster Row.