A HAPPY NEW YEAR BY C. H. SPURGEON.
SOUTHEY, in his “Solemn Thoughts for New Year’s-day,” bids the melancholy moralizer gather a dark and wintry wreath to engarland the sepulcher of time, “for” saith he, “I pour the dirge of the departed days — For well the funeral song Befits this solemn hour.” His muse is, however, interrupted in its somber meditations by the delightful peals which hail “the consecrated, day,” and the poet exclaims — “But hark! even now the merry bells ring round With clamorous joy to welcome in this day.” The interruption was most opportune: “the dark-stoical maid of melancholy, with stern and frowning front,” may very fitly be dismissed until a more convenient season, for there is much that is cheery and exhilarating in the advent of “that blithe morn which ushers in the year.”
Hope, earth’s one abiding angel, whispers of happiness now arriving, and makes our sluggish blood leap in our veins at the thought of the good new year. We feel like sailors who have finished one voyage and are commencing another amidst-hurrahs and joyous shoutings: we are full of anticipation of the future, and are relieved by the departure of the past. The kindly salutation, “I wish you a happy new year,” rings sweetly with lingering chimes of Christmas, and harmonizes well with the merry peals which bid adieu to the departed, and welcome the coming Son of Time.
The vision of thought in which we see “the skirts of the departing, year,” ‘is viewed with sober cheerfulness, and the foresight of .better days to come fills the house with social glee. Human nature is so fascinated with the bare idea of novelty, that although time runs on like a river in whose current there is an unbroken monotony, yet the arbitrary landmarks which man has erected upon the shore, exercise a bewitching power over the imagination, and make us dream that on a New Year’s morning the waves of time roll onward with a froster force, and flash with a brighter sheen.
There is no real difference between the first of January and any other day in the calendar — the first of May is lovelier far — and yet because of its association with a new period, it is a day of days, the day of the year, first among three hundred and more of comrades. Evermore let it be so. If it be a foible to observe the season, then long live the weakness. We prize the pensive song in its season, but we are not among those “to whom all sounds of mirth are dissonant.” The steaming flagon which our ancestors loved so well to drain, the lambs’ wool, and the wassail bowl are as well forgotten, and other of their ancient New Year’s customs are more honored in the breach than in the observance; but not so the cheerful greetings and warm good wishes so suitable to the hour. We feel jubilant at the prospect of the coming day, and are half inclined to sing a verso or two of the old wassail ballad, and pass our hat round for our Orphan House. “God bless the master of this house, Likewise the mistress too, And all the little children That round the table go.
Good master and mistress, .
While you’re sitting by the fire, Pray think of those poor children Who are wandering in the mire.” English life has too little of cheerful observance and festive anniversary to relieve its dullness; there are but two real breaks in the form of holidays in the whole twelve months of toil; birth-days and new-year’s-days are at least semi-festivals, let them be kept up by all means, and celebrated by every family. Strew the path of labor with at least a few roses, for thorns are plentiful enough. Never may we cease to hail with pleasure the first day of the first month, which is the beginning of months unto us. Let not old Time turn over another page of eternity and truth, and find his children indifferent to the solemnity, or ungrateful for the longsuffering which permits them to enjoy their little span of life. If others decline to unite with us, we are, nevertheless, not ashamed to confess that we adhere to the cheerful custom, and find it not inconsistent with the spirit of the church of God. We meet together at the last hour of the year, and prayerfully await the stroke of midnight, that we may consecrate the first moment of the new year with notes of holy song; then, having dropped each one of us his offering into the treasury of the Lord, we return to our homes in the clear frosty air, blessing the Preserver of men that we have shared in the devotions of one more watchnight, and have witnessed the birth of another year of grace. If we do not hasten to the houses of our friends with presents and congratulations, as our lively French neighbors are wont to do, yet, with many an honest grip of the hand and cordial greeting, we utter our good wishes and renew our friendships; and then in our private devotions we “breathe low the secret prayer, that God would shed his blessing on the head of all.” Nor does the influence of our midnight worship end with the motion of our minds towards friendly well-wishing, for the devout are quickened in the way of godly meditation, and led to prepare for that day of days for which all other days were made. Returning from the solemn meeting we have felt as he did who wrote — “The middle watch is past! Another year Dawns on the human race with hope and fear:
The last has gone with mingled sigh and song’, To join for ever its ancestral throng; And time reveals As past it steals, The potent hand of God, the Everlasting, Guiding the sun, with all his blazing peers, And filling up the measure of our years, Until Messiah, Prince, to judgment hasting, Shall roll the darkness from this world of sin, And bid a bright eternity begin.” Wisdom is not content with sentiment and compliment, but would fain gather solid instruction: she admires the flowers but she garners the wheat, and therefore she proposes the inquiry, “What is the message of the New Year to the watchers who listen so silently for the bell which strikes the twelfth hour of the night?” O thou newly-sent prophet, hearken to the question of the wise, and tell us what is the burden of thy prophecy! We are all waiting; teach us, and we will learn! We discern not thy form as thou passest before our faces, but there is silence, and we hear thy voice, suing, “Mortals, before ye grow weary of me, and call me old and long, as ye did the year which has passed, I will deliver to you my tidings. As a new year, I bring with me the promise of new mercies, like a golden casket stored with jewels. God will not forget you. The rock of your salvation changes not; your Father who is in heaven will still be gracious to you. Think not because the present is wintry, that the sun will never shine, for I have in store for you both the lovely flowers of spring and the ripe fruits of summer, while autumn’s golden sheaves shall follow in their season. The black wing of the raven shall vanish, and the voice of the turtle shall be heard in your land. Providence has prepared surprises of gladness for the sorrowful; unexpected boons will it east into the lap of the needy; therefore let hope, like a dove, bear to the mourner the olive branch of peace, for the waters of grief shall be assuaged. Fresh springs shall bubble up amid the wastes, and new-lit stars shall cheer the gloom; the angel of Jehovah’s presence goes before you, and makes the desert blossom as the rose. He who makes all things new will send his mercies new every morning, and fresh every evening, for great is his faithfulness. Yet boast not yourselves of to-morrow, nor even make sure of to-day, for I forewarn you of new trials and novel difficulties. In the unknown future, the days of darkness shall be many; rains will descend, floods will arise, and winds will blow, and blessed shall he be whose house is built upon a rock. Crosses will be laid upon you for every hour, and cares will molest every day. Pilgrims of earth, ye must hold yourselves ready to traverse thorny ways, which your feet have not trodden heretofore; have your loins well girt about you, lest the trials of the wilderness should come upon you unawares. Your road leads o’er the barren mountain’s storm-vex’d height, and anon it dives into the swampy sunless valleys, and along it all you must bear more or less of affliction’s heavy load; arm yourselves with patience and faith, for you will need them every step of the march to “Jerusalem the Golden.” So surely as “the wintry wind moans deep and hollow o’er the leafless grove,” tribulation will await you frequently, for man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. Adversity is an estate entailed upon the sons of Adam.
Learn this before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, ye may not be surprised with any amazement. Be not, O children of God, dismayed at my message, neither let your harps be hung upon the willows, for I bring you tidings of new grace, proportionate to all your needs. Great is the strength which your covenant God will give you in the hour of your weakness, so great indeed that if all the afflictions of all mankind should meet upon the head of any one of you, he should yet be more than a conqueror through the mighty Lord who hath loved him. Onward, soldiers of the cross, where Jesus has led the way. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath you are the everlasting arms. You are not called upon to go a warfare at your own charges, neither are you left alone in the battle: the banner which waves over you bears the soul-assuring motto, ‘Jehovah- Jireh, the Lord will provide.’ Laborer in the vineyard of the Lord Jesus, I bring to thee new opportunities for usefulness; I introduce thee to fresh fields of service. Many great and effectual doors shall be opened during the twelve months of my sojourn, and they who are wise to win souls shall have grace to enter. The moments as they fly, if taken upon the wing, shall yield a wealth, of sacred opportunity: the frivolous shall ruin himself by suffering them to pass unheeded, while the watchful shall earn unto himself a good degree, by regarding the signs of the times and improving every occasion for promoting his Master’s glory. Therefore, with earnest tones, I warn you that I bring new responsibilities, from which none of you can escape. For every golden moment you will be held responsible. O stewards of the manifold gifts of God, waste not your strength upon trifles, cast not away your priceless opportunities, fritter not away your precious hours: by the remembrance of eternity, I charge you live with an ardor of industry which will be worthy of remembrance in another world. O child of time, lay not up for thyself misery in the remembrance of misspent years, but live as in the presence of the all-seeing God. Believer in Jesus, gather jewels for his crown, and irradiate his name with glowing honors, so, as I pass away, thy record shall be on high, and thy reward in heaven.FAREWELL.”
HEARD BUT NOT SEEN THERE is a spot on the Lago Lugano, where the song of the nightingale swells sweetly from the thickets on the shore in matchless rush of music, so that the our Has motionless and the listener is hushed into silent entrancement; yet I did not see a single bird, the orchestra was as hidden as the notes were clear. Such is a virtuous life, and such the influence of modest holiness; the voice of excellence is heard when the excellent themselves are not seen. — From my Note Book. C. H. S.
THE ATTRACTIVE STATUE YES, the people gathered in crowds around the statue, and looked at it again and again. It was not the finest work of art in the city, nor the most intrinsically attractive. Why, then, did the citizens of Verona stand in such clusters around the effigy of Dante on that summer’s evening? Do you guess the reason? It was a fete in honor of the poet? No, you are mistaken: it was but an ordinary evening, and there was nothing peculiar in the date or the events of the day. You shall not be kept in suspense, the reason was very simple, the statue was new, it had, in fact, only been unveiled the day before. Every one passes Dante now, having other things to think of; the citizens are well used to his solemn visage, and scarcely care that he stands among them. Is not this the way of men? I am sure it is their way with us ministers. New brooms sweep clean. What crowds follow a new man! how they tread upon one another to hear him, not became he is so very wise or eloquent, much less became he is eminently holy, but he is a new man, and curiosity must gratify itself! In a few short months, the idol of the hour is stale, flat, and unprofitable; he is a mediocrity; there are scores as good as he; indeed, another new man, at the end of the town, is far better. Away go the wonder-hunters! Folly brought them, folly removes them: babies must have new toys. — From the Note Book of my Travels.
C. H.S.EXTREME UNCTION AND THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
CARLYLE, the male Cassandra of the age, assures us that the straps which our ancestors invented to bind THE DEVIL, have one by one been cut, and that now hardly any limb of the great enemy has a tatter of rope or leather left upon it; in fact, he has become an emancipated gentleman, lithe of limb as in Adam and Eve’s time, and scarcely a toe or finger of him tied any more. We are very much of Carlyle’s opinion, at least, so far as ecclesiastical affairs are concerned, for it appears to us that the fiend has taken up his lodging in the Anglican establishment, with hoofs, horns, and tail complete, as of old; and yet, if we or others speak of things as they really are, all the sham charity and inert blockheadism, and pious cant of the nation are by-and-by offended, and cry, “Shocking, how fearfully uncharitable!” The dire fact that priestcraft grows bolder every hour, and gathers adherents daily, is undeniable; and a still more melancholy fact is quite as evident, namely, that the professors of evangelism within the establishment, evince more and more clearly their boundless capacity for dirt-eating, and their utter want of all capacity of every other sort. The Tractarian hunters have fairly chased the Evangelic hares out of their wits; they are bewildered, divided, powerless; and yet, if they would but dissever themselves from ecclesiastical connection with those whom they so much detest, their march to victory would be plain before them. If they would but come out of Babylon, they would not be partakers of her plagues: they ought to do so; they sin against God and the souls of men every hour they delay. It may help to nerve the timorous and arouse the indolent, if in a few pages, we give a specimen of Ritualism as it now is; we will present it with as little note and comment of our own as may be consistent, and it shall speak for itself. Two series of essays on questions of the day have been issued under the editorship of Rev. Orby Shipley, M.A.; most of them written by eminent Ritualists, and commanding the highest commendations of the “Union Review,” and other high-church organs; a third series is now in course of issue, and may be had of Messrs. Longmans. We have read No. 7, upon “Unction of the Sick,” and it is of this tract that we are about to give a resume. The titles are our own: — Unction of the Sick, its spiritual position. — “ The personal union which we, the children of Jesus, contract with our Father, who is in heaven, by means of the ‘sacramental system ‘ of the church, may be broken. The sacrament of penance has been ordained to meet the contingency of our falling into mortal sin during the course of our lives on earth. Hence, our blessed. Lord seats himself, in the person of his priests, on the tribunal of mercy. “But, at the approach of our last moments, our union with Jesus Christ is exposed to danger more than ever. On the one side the tenors of death, the remembrance of past sins, and the fearful anticipation of the judgment of God, unite to shroud the soul in trouble, impatience, and discouragement — it may be, to drive it to despair. On the other side, the demons profit by these wretched dispositions, and aggravate the soul’s peril. Knowing that he has but a few moments more during which he may fight, and lead captive and slay, the great enemy of mankind redoubles his efforts, and multiplies his artifices to attract or to frighten the parting soul into mortal sin, and so to separate it for ever from its Maker. Hence, another extension of the incarnation, in the sacraments of the church, is needful for the soul to meet this contingency also… “There has existed in the church of God, from apostolic days, an usage of applying to the baptized, when grievously sick, and in danger of death, an anointing with oil, accompanied by prayers, in order to efface their sins past, and to strengthen them to endue the pains of sickness and the anguish of death. That this usage has so existed, and that it produces this effect, are the two main propositions which it is the end of our essay to establish and make plain.” The matter of the rite. — “ As to its matter. Following the apostolic precept to which we have already so often referred, the church has always regarded sanctified oil as the matter of the sacrament. And by oil, oil of olives is meant, other liquors being called oil simply from their resemblance to it, from which they derive their name But the matter of this sacrament is sanctified oil — sanctification being essential in order to its effect St.
Thomas observe, ‘ As in other anointings, the matter is consecrated by a bishop, so ought it to be also in this: in this, as in them, to make manifest that the sacerdotal power is derived from the episcopal. The efficacy of the sacraments descends from Christ, in whom it primarily resides, to his people in a due order. It descends to them by means, that is, through the mediation of his ministers who dispense his sacraments, and to his inferior ministers through the mediation of their rulers whom he has set over them, and who sanctify the matter. In all sacraments, therefore, which require sanctified matter, its first sanctification is effected by the bishop, although its use be in some of them committed to the priest, and this to show that the sacerdotal power is derived from the episcopal, according to the psalm: — It is like the precious ointment upon the Head, that is, Christ, that (first) ran down unto the beard, even unto Aaron’s beard, that is, the episcopate, and went down to the skirts of his clothing, that is, the priesthood.’ “One of the most solemn, most magnificent, and most instructive of the ceremonies of the Latin church is the benediction of the holy oils, which takes place daring the mass on Maundy Thursday, and may be traced up to the seventh century. The bishop officiating is seated before a table placed in the middle of the sanctuary. The deacons and subdeacons bring and place upon it vessels filled with the oils which are to be sanctified and blessed. There are the oils which are destined for the newborn infants, and there are those which are intended for the sick and dying; oils for anointing priests when they are vowed to God; and oils for anointing kings when they are consecrated and crowned. The bishop blesses them, praying that there may descend on them the Holy Spirit of God. He ought to be assisted by twelve priests, if possible all pastors, that is, having cure of souls, in order the better to represent the twelve apostles, and seven deacons, in order to recall the time when the college of sacred ministers was composed of twelve priests and seven deacons. After their consecration, the bishop and priests, in order, salute the holy oils, adoring thereby the Holy Ghost, the great Sanctifier of all God’s creatures. Venerable in itself, this function is yet more venerable by reason of its high antiquity. It is mentioned in the sacramentary of S. Gregory the Great.” The effect of the rite. — “ Its principal effect, and that for which it was primarily instituted, was to relieve the soul from the remains of sin. “Every sacrament has been instituted with one principal end in view, that is, to produce one special effect, although it may produce, as consequences, other effects besides. The principal effect of a sacrament may be learned by observing what is symbolized in its administration; for the sacraments both signify what they effect, and effect what they signify.
Thus, from their signification is to be ascertained their principal effect.
Now, this sacrament is administered by way of medicine, as baptism is by way of washing, and as communion is by way of food. But medicine is intended for the removal of infirmity. And so, this spiritual medicine has been ordained and prescribed principally in order to heal the infirmity of sin.
Hence, as baptism is a spiritual regeneration, and confirmation a spiritual strengthening, and communion a spiritual feeding, and penance a spiritual resuscitation from the spiritual sleep or death of sin, so is unction a spiritual curing of the wounds which sin has left in the soul The principal effect, then, of unction, is the removal of the relics of sin; its consequential effect, the remission of the guilt of any sin it may find in the soul. The practice of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors. — “ At the first appearance of danger from sickness or accident, notice was forwarded to the parish priest. It was his duty to obey the summons. No plea but that of inability could justify refusal or hesitation. The following is the order of proceeding marked out for him in the Anglo-Saxon pontificals: — Attended by his inferior clergy in the habits of their orders, he was to repair to the home of the sick man, to offer to him the aid of his ministry, to admonish him of the necessity of ‘putting his house in order’ before he was summoned to the tribunal of God. He then called upon him to give proof of his belief in Christ, by repeating the Apostles’ Creed, and of his charity towards man, by declaring that he forgave all his enemies, as fully as he hoped to be forgiven. After these preliminaries, he received the confession of the penitent, suggested to him sentiments of repentance and resignation, and having exacted from him a second declaration that he would die in peace with all mankind, pronounced over him the prayer of reconciliation. The sacrament of ‘Extreme Unction’ followed. The eyelids of the dying man, his ears, nostrils, lips, neck, shoulders, breast, hands and feet, and the parts principally affected with pain, were successively anointed in the form of a cross; each separate unction was accompanied with an appropriate prayer and followed by a psalm; and the promise in the Epistle of S. James was read to him: — ‘ That the prayer of faith should save the sick man, that the Lord should raise him up, and that, if he were in sins, they should be forgiven.’ The whole of this religious ceremony closed with the administration of the Eucharist, under the name of the Viaticum, or ‘Wayness,’ the support of the soul on its way to another world… When all these rites had been performed, the friends and relatives ranged themselves round the bed of the dying man, received from him small presents, as memorials of his affection, gave to him the kiss of peace, and bade him a last farewell. He was not, however, left even now without spiritual aid. In parishes the priest, or some of the clergy, in monasteries some of the monks repeatedly visited him, consoled him, prayed with him, cited or chanted the canonical hours in his presence, read to him the Passion of Christ from one of the Evangelists, and made it their care that he should again receive the holy house when the moment of his departure was manifestly approaching. The moment he expired, the bell was tolled. Its solemn voice announced to the neighborhood that a Christian brother was departed, and called on those who heard it to recommend his soul to the mercy of his Creator. All were expected to join, privately at least, in this charitable office; and in monasteries, even if it were the dead of night, the inmates hastened from their beds to the church, and sang a solemn dirge. “Such is an account of a religious death-bed in the early days of Christianity in this country, in the details of which the last anointing occupies an important .and conspicuous place. The words that rise to one’s lips on reading it, expressing the desire of one’s heart, are those of Balaam, ‘May I die the death of the righteous, and may my last end be like his.’“ F1 Extreme Unction not wholly discontinued among Anglicans, — “ While we admit with shame and sorrow, before our brethren of the Latin and Greek Communions, that the administration of this sacrament which is within their reach, cannot be compelled in our own; we yet maintain that its use has never been wholly discontinued in the church of England, and still less in another church — a church in visible and full communion with the See of Canterbury — the church of Scotland. We are informed that in that church the tradition of anointing has been continued in more than a single diocese, and that oil has been consecrated and used in unction within the last few years. The late Bishop Jolly of Moray, remembered for his saintly asceticism, and maintenance, according to the light of his day, of the Catholic faith as well as for his adherence to what he believed to be primitive and apostolic practice, was wont to anoint the sick. And he is said to be not without successors in the present day. It has been stated, on good authority, that ‘there are two bishops, at least, in the Anglican Communion, who have consecrated oil for this purpose.’ For this we are thankful; but we are by no means satisfied.” How to obtain the oil — “ We want to know how we may obtain the holy oil, and when, and where. True, a bishop of one diocese has no right to consecrate oil for the parish priests of another: but he has every right to do so for those of his own. And there is nothing to prevent a priest who has received consecrated oil from his bishop, giving a share of it to. another priest or priests of his acquaintance in any diocese whatsoever. So that the oil has been blessed by a bishop, it does not matter by what bishop.
Further, the consecration of oil for the sick, as has been stated, is not essentially confined to the episcopate. In the Eastern church seven priests assemble for the purpose. Therefore, if the English bishops resist all demands, there is an easy remedy at hand in the adoption of the rule which prevails amongst seventy millions of orthodox Christians.” How to restore the rite. — “ But how is its restoration to be begun, and when, and where? When? At once. Where? Clearly in religious houses. Distribution of the oil and spread of the rite. — “ A large supply of oil consecrated by a bishop could certainly be obtained by one of the recognized houses. The Mother House and its various branches would form so many depots where it might be obtained by parish priests, who were associates of the order, or any, in fact, who desired it. f2 “Again, the confraternities, and associations, and third orders, connected with these religious houses, would cause the practice to spread with everincreasing rapidity. “Then a demand far its administration would arise among the members of our better instructed and more advanced congregations. The demand would, in the nature of things, produce the supply; and the supply, according to the ordinary law of action and re-action, would produce the demand. “By-and-by, as the practice spread, and threatened to become general, it would attract the notice of the world. Through the newspapers the world would abuse it, and condemn it, and laugh at it. At the same time, this very process would advertise it, and bring the subject before men’s minds. In the language of the newspapers themselves, it would be well ‘ventilated.’ And of course, as to the issue, there is only one event possible: it would be accepted and valued by all who accept and value the sacramental system which Jesus Christ instituted and revealed.”
The Office to be used at the Unction of the Sick has been reprinted by Mr. Masters, and may be had at his publishing house. As we are not anxious that any of our readers should waste their money on such precious rubbish, it will content them to know that with sundry psalms and collects, and antiphons, the main business consists in touching the sick person with the holy oil in the sign of a cross on the different parts of his body. First he is anointed upon each eye, beginning with the right (mind that, or you spoil all!) while the priest says, “Through this anointing, and his most loving mercy, the Lord pardon thee whatever thou hast sinned by sight. Amen.”
Then the priest oils the man’s ears, lips, nostrils, hands, and feet, uttering the same sentences with the alteration of the name of the member; and, finally, “then the priest rising, washes his hands with salt and water, in the vessel wherein the cottons for the oil were placed, which are to be burned, and buried in the cemetery. F3 “Afterwards the priest shall say the blessing over the sick person in this wise: — . ‘In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; let this anointing of oil be to thee tot the purifying of soul and body, and for a bulwark and defense against the darts of unclean spirits. Amen.’“ What say our readers to this? Is not this fully developed popery? Have we ever been too severe against such treason to truth? Could any one be too severe in denouncing such wicked superstition? Will the Judge of all the earth hold those guiltless who, knowing better, yet support a church which allows its ministers to mislead the people? And the nation upon whose substance these traitors are sustained, is it to sit still and see its children deluded, and never raise a voice against the priestly miscreants? If ever there was a time for vehement protest and the casting aside of kid-gloved charities, and milk-and-water gentlenesses, it is now. Souls are being damned by thousands by the false teachers of the Anglican church, and in God’s name let every honest man speak out, and speak often.
LAMPS PITCHERS AND TRUMPETS.
OF treatises upon preachers and preaching, we have enough of the dry-asdust order, but we still have need of a masterly work on Homiletics, interesting and yet solid. Clande’s essay, with the extraordinary notes of Robinson will never be worn out, but it is fragmentary; Bridges is holy, but heavy; Sturtevant is heavier still; Porter’s lectures are the best we know of, but there is not enough of them; the Wykehamist’s papers are capital, but brief: a volume is wanted combining the excellencies of each, and making up for the deficiencies of all. Mr. Hood’s remarkable production does not supply this desideratum, but meanwhile it helps to relieve the manifest want, and leads us to hope for great things should he fulfill his half promise to produce a more complete course of lectures. It was, indeed, a treat to listen to Mr. Hood when delivering the addresses of which this volume is mainly composed — the audience of young and ardent spirits appreciated him to the highest point, and he himself feeling at home to the fullest degree, poured out his wit and wisdom in perfect cataracts: personally, we felt after: each lecture as if we had been whirled through the whole empire of literature by express train, and had in the course of a single hour enjoyed a glimpse at everything in the entire range of pulpit history. We should say Mr. Hood has read almost every book in the English language, good, bad, and indifferent, and we have caught him levying black mail upon the French authors, by poking about in the Parisian bookshops: he has a voracious appetite for rare bits of sarcasm, wit, and eloquence, and his own larder is stored with such dainties; he is an irresistible story-teller always ready with anecdotes pat to the point, and he possesses powers of mimicry seldom equaled, in addition to which, he takes such a manly, bold, unsqueamish view of Christian work, that he cannot fail to edify and instruct our rising ministry when he touches upon a theme like that in hand. The volume so quaintly entitled, “Lamps, Pitchers, and Trumpets,” is a wealthy treasury of wisdom, a museum of curiosities, a warehouse of anecdotes, and we may add a menagerie of oddities. Some of the most outrageous things ever said or done, or said to have been done, are here recorded, and recorded in language which we fear will make kid-gloved critics go into fits. This is no can-de-Cologne or rose-water book, but a plain, homely, outspoken, dashaway talk of a bold man to men who can bear to hear, ay, and like to hear a man speak his mind without mincing his words. We do not agree with all that Mr. Hood says, but it does us good to hear him say it whether we like it or no. We do not claim any high degree of spirituality for these utterances, the deep things were not aimed at, the book deals with the human side of preaching, not the divine. Believing that it will aid in fetching some older brethren out of the old, deep-worn rut of routine ministry, and will go far to keep our younger brethren from letting their chariot wheels slip into it, we wish for this volume a very’ large circulation.
Giving as it does a very complete outline of the history of preaching, it will guide the student into new fields of research. We confess that many of the facts concerning mediaeval preaching were quite new to us, and we may also acknowledge our comparative ignorance of the modern French pulpit with which Mr. Hood seems to be well acquainted; and we suppose that to the mass of ministers much in the volume will be as new as it has been to us. The price of the book is half-a-sovereign, but any young man who is aspiring to the ministry, and cannot afford so much as that, shall be helped by means of our College to half the price if he writes for the volume to Mr. Blackshaw, at the Tabernacle, enclosing a note from his pastor, or some other officer of a Christian church. We subjoin a few out of the countless anecdotes with which this volume teems. “Old Kruber was greatly averse to read sermons — for even in those days there were readers of sermons in the pulpit. Once a youthful congregational minister read before him; Jacob had also to follow the young man in preaching, and it was expected he would give the young brother a thrust for the use of his notes. He finished, however, without saying a word that looked towards the manuscript; but, in his concluding prayer, he uttered these strange petitions: — ‘ Lord, bless the man who has read to us to-day; let his heart be as soft as his head, and then he will do us some good.’ ‘How do you make your preachers?’ was once said to one of these fine old preachers of the woods. ‘Why, we old ones tell the young ones all we know, and they try to tell the people all they can, and they keep on trying till they can — that’s our college.’ One was asked, ‘:Do you belong to the standing order?’ No,’ he said, ‘ I belong to the kneeling order.’“ “You have heard many sermons preached upon the publican and pharisee; but did you ever hear that preached in St. Giles-in-the-Fields? ‘ It was sad,’ said the able and eloquent preacher, ‘ that any of our fellow creatures should so fall, as to stand in need of such a degrading confession as the publican’s; but he besought his hearers to be upon their guard, lest by drawing too favorable a contrast between such outcasts and themselves, they incurred the censure pronounced on that otherwise most amiable character, the pharisee.’ And James Haldane mentions, in one of his missionary tours in Scotland, that he heard a minister solemnly warn his people, and he was a minister of the Scotch Establishment, against putting any trust, while they continued sinners, in the blood of Christ. ‘Repent,’ said he, ‘ become righteous, atone for your sins by probity, and virtue, and then if you please, you may look to that blood, but not before.’“ “It may be sixty, years since there frequently, came to Bristol a wellknown.
Calvinistic Methodist preacher of that day — in a day when flattering titles were not very lavishly distributed — called Sammy Breeze by the multitudes who delighted in his ministry. He came periodically from the mountains of Cardiganshire, and spoke with tolerable efficiency in English. Our friend was in the chapel when, as was not unusual, two ministers, Sammy Breeze and another, were to preach. The other took the first place — a young man with some tints of academical training, and some of the livid lights of a then only incipient Rationalism on his mind. He took for his text, ‘ He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned;’ but he condoned the heavy condemnation, and, in an affected manner, shaded off the darkness of the doom of unbelief, very much in the style of another preacher, who told his hearers that he’ feared ‘lest they should be doomed to a place which good manners forbade him from mentioning. The young man also grew sentimental, and begged pardon of an audience, rather more polite than usual, for the sad statement made in the text. ‘But, indeed,’ said he, ‘he that believeth shall be saved, and ‘he that believeth not — indeed, I regret to say, I beg your pardon ‘for uttering the terrible truth — but indeed he shall be sentenced to a place which ‘here! dare not mention.’ Then rose Sammy Breeze. He began, ‘.I shall take the same text to-night which you have just heard; our young friend has been fery foine to-night, he has told you some very polite things. I am not fery foine, and I am not polite, but I will preach a little bit of gospel to .you, which is this — ’ He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be tamned,’ and I begs no pardons.’ He continued, ‘ I do look round on this chapel; and I do see people all fery learned and intellectual. You do read books, and you do study studies; and fery likely you do think that you can mend God’s Book, and are fery sure that you can mend me. You bare great — what you call thoughts — and poetries.
But I will tell you one little word, and you must not try to mend that, but if you do it will be all the same. It is this, look you — ‘ He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be tamned,’ and I begs no pardons. And then I do look round your chapel, and I do see your fine people, well-dressed people, well-to-do people. You are not only pious, but you have ferry fine hymn-books and cushions, and some red curtains, for I do see you are ferry rich, and you have got your monies, and are getting very proud. But I will tell you it does not matter at all, and I do not mind it at all — not one little bit — for I must tell you the truth, and the truth is — ‘ He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be tamned,’ and 1 begs no pardons.’ ‘ And now,’ continued the preacher, ‘ you will say to me, ‘ What do you mean by talking to us in this way? who are you, Sir?’ And now I will tell you, I am Pilly Preeze. I have come from the mountains of Cardiganshire on my Master’s business, and his message I must deliver. If you will never hear me again, I shall not matter much; but while you shall hear me, you shall hear me, and this is his word to me, and in me to you — ‘He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be tamned,’ and I begs no pardons.” But the scene in the pulpit was a trifle to the scene in the vestry. There the deacons were in a state of great anger with the blunt teacher; and one, the relative — we believe the ancestor — of a well-known religious man in Bristol, exclaimed. ‘Mr. Breeze, you have strangely forgotten yourself to-night, Sir. We did not expect that you would have behaved in this way. We have always been very glad to see you in our pulpit; but your sermon to-night, Sir, has been most insolent, shameful.’ He wound up a pretty smart condemnation by saying, ‘ In short, I don’t understand you.’ ‘He! he! What! you say you don’t understand me? Eh! look you then, [will tell you I do understand you.
Up in our mountains, we have one man there we do call him exciseman. He comes along to our shops and stores, and says, ‘What have you here? anything contraband here?’ And if it is all right, the good man says, ‘Step in, Mr. Exciseman; come in, look you.’ He is all fair, and open, and above board. But if he has anything secreted there, he does draw back surprised, and he makes a fine face, and says, ‘ Sir, I don’t understand you.’ Now you do tell me you don’t understand me; but I do understand you, gentlemen: I do, and I do fear you have something contraband here; and now I will say good-night to you; but I must tell you one little word, that is — ‘He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be tamned,’ and I begs no pardons.”
STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE BEING called, in the order of divine providence, to found and preside over an institution for the relief of poor fatherless children, we are anxious with all our co-trustees to be faithful and good stewards, using all means within our power to carry out the enterprise successfully. Trusting alone in the living God, we put forth all our efforts in reliance upon his name, and we have already before us conclusive evidence that our Lord accepts our service, and intends still further to bless our endeavors. In March, 1867, the deed of incorporation, transferring the original gift of £20,000 in railway debentures, bonds, etc., to trustees, was signed and executed. Soon after, by the Lord’s good hand upon the hearts of his people, money began to flow in, so that when the first stones of three houses were laid in September (the three on the left of the engraving), we were able to say that the freehold ground was our own, the cost of £3,000 having been paid, and, moreover, we had the happiness to announce that the three houses had each been given by generous donors. One house commemorates the twenty-fifth year of the married life of two friends who are always bountiful to us in all our works, upon whom we pray that a rich benediction may abide; another is the offering of a brother beloved in the Lord, whose name is, at his own desire, to be left unknown; and the third is the noble gift of Mr. Higgs and his workmen. A fourth house (next in plan) was on the day of the stone-laying, given by the Messrs. Olney, to bear the beloved name of “Unity,” and the four are now advancing towards completion, so that in about April next we shall hope to house about sixty boys. About three weeks ago, the noble sum of £l,000 was brought to us by an unknown gentleman towards the erection of two other houses; and we understand that by a resolution of the Baptist Union, the Baptist churches are endeavoring to raise a sum sufficient for two more. This fills our heart with grateful gladness, for thus the whole block represented in the engraving can be erected; only as two of the houses are to be larger than the others (see plan), they may require £700 each instead of £500. We will hope that the contribution of the churches will be as near £1,400 as possible, and, if it fails short, we must make it up by extra gifts. At the contemplation of all this success, we are lost in adoring wonder, and can only say, “What hath God wrought?” He has done for us exceeding abundantly above what we asked or even thought.
When the whole eight houses are completed, we shall be able to lodge about 150 children; but we cannot venture upon this unless we have at the same time provided a proper school room, dining hall, master’s house, lodge gate, and other needful accommodation. All the work may therefore be brought to a standstill in a few months for want of the needful school buildings; but, no, this can never be — He who has led us onward will not leave us for a moment, but will be ever near at hand. We must, however, do all we possibly can, for to trust in providence and to use no means, in our cause would be presumption, and therefore we have prepared collecting cards for our friends, to be returned on March 25, and we also beg for assistance towards a bazaar, to be held upon the Orphanage ground in June next; not a bazaar with objectionable frivolities and gamblings, but a solid sale of goods against which none but mere carpers can bring a complaint. Will not our lady friends come forward to the rescue? We ought to raise between this and next June stone £4,000 at least, and then building operations may be suspended until the Sunday School House and the Students’ House shall have all the funds ready for their erection. Be it remembered that 150 children will require about £3,000 a year to keep them, and educate them, so that it will be well to get the building business done with, that we may put forth our strength in providing for the little ones. God will surely give a willing mind to his people, for he is the father of the fatherless; and he will assuredly help, seeing that we have no object in view but his glory, and the good of immortal souls. Some 200 children have already applied for entrance, and in April we can only take rift\’, so that there is no present use in friends making further applications. Many of the cases which we must refuse are quite heartrending in their deep distress, but as it is impossible to accept all, we have selected those whose needs appeared to be even greater. We mean to invite, next month, gifts towards furnishing the first four houses, the expense of which will be a heavy draw upon our funds, but might be done easily by many hands, especially if some friends in trade gave the articles themselves. We do not ask any more friends to give houses for the orphans to live in, as we have enough in prospect for the present; but if any one would give £500 for the master’s house, or a smaller sum for the lodge gate, it would be a great assistance. He who has raised up so many helpers, will not suffer the enterprise to flag: of this we are most sure.
Collecting cards can be had by our friends on application to our Secretary, Mr. Chas. Blackshaw, Metropolitan Tabernacle.
SEVEN SEASONABLE QUESTIONS FOR ALL BELIEVERS.
I. Cannot I do more for Jesus this year than I have done in the past? Have I no wasted time or rusting talents?
What shall I do? What form shall my extra effort take? I must not be long in selecting, for time speeds; but, without neglecting my old work, what new labor shall I enter upon at once?
III. Can I give more to the work of Jesus? Ought I not to practice weekly storing? Am I a faithful steward with my substance? Am I really returning to my Lord in proportion as he has given to me? How much shall I give at orate?
IV. Ought I not, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to become more Christlike this year? I am certainly older in years, should I not grow in grace in proportion? Shall I not seek more grace at once?
V. Shall not my prayers be more constant and fervent during this year?
Might not my whole life be more forceful for good if I had more power in secret prayer? Shall I be content to go on as I have done in this matter?
VI. Must I not labor after nearer communion to Jesus? Why should I not walk in the light of his countenance? Why should I cleave so much to worldly things? Shall there not, by God’s grace, be an improvement in this respect? Is there not grievous room for it?
VII. Can I not this very day aim personally at the conversion of at least one soul? Might I not go at once and talk with some unconverted relative or neighbor about his soul? O Lord, go with me! O Lord, use me in thy service!