A WORD FOR BRUTES AGAINST BRUTES BY C. H. SPURGEON.
THE newspapers for the last few weeks have been a source of grievous affliction to humane minds. The brutalities which they have recorded have shown a diabolical refinement of cruelty which makes us blush to belong to the race of man. When we read of a wretch driving a poor horse for miles with its feet broken, bleeding at every step it took upon its poor stumps, we shudder and our blood runs cold; but when we hear a trifling sentence pronounced upon such a monster we feel that same blood tingling in our cheeks as our whole nature churns with indignation at such a failure of justice. If there be no law which would award the lash to such a fiend incarnate an Act ought to be passed at once, or Mr. Justice Lynch might for once be invoked to give the demon his reward in an irregular manner.
The hideous story brings to our mind the none too forcible lines of a muchabused poet, Martin Tupper, when he pleads for a worn-out horse: — Liveth there no advocate for him? no judge to avenge his wrongs?
No voice that shall be heard in his defense? no sentence to be passed on his oppressor?
Yea, the sad eye of the tortured pleadeth pathetically for him; Yea, all the justice in heaven is roused in indignation at his woes; Yea, all the pity upon earth shall call down a curse upon the cruel; Yea, the burning malice of the wicked is their own exceeding punishment.
The Angel of Mercy stoppeth not to comfort, but passeth by on the other side, Anti hath no tear to shed, when a cruel man is damned.” Close upon the heels of this torturing of a horse comes the case of a man who, as a matter of business, picks little birds’ eyes out with a pin to make them sing better: whipcord is too good a thing for this being; and if we were not averse to all capital punishment we should suggest that nothing short of a rope with a noose in it would give him his deserts. Is this the nineteenth century? Then may we have patience to endure with our fellow men till we get out of it into a better century, if such will ever come. Swift is right, man is often a mere yahoo, a two-legged brute, and this yahoo proves himself to be the worst possible master to the other animals; he is a viler tyrant than the wolf or the hyena would have been: unhappy are the creatures to be ruled by such a lord!
Since it is useless to be indignant and declamatory, if we are nothing more, let every humane person bestir himself to put down the reign of terror towards the animate creation, wherever it comes under his notice. Cruelty to animals must be stamped out. Each case must be earnestly dealt with.
Where the laws are violated humane persons must undertake the unpleasant duty of prosecuting the offenders, or must at least report them to the proper authorities: and where no law exists to protect the unhappy victims, instances of cruelty should be reported by the press, that shame may be aroused and a right public sentiment treated. Children should be taught to avoid everything approaching to unkindness; the wanton destruction of birds’ nests, the atoning of birds, beating of donkeys, worrying of fowls, and a hundred petty cruelties in which boys are often encouraged, should be promptly denounced. The works issued by Messrs.
Partridge and Co., in connection with “The British Workman” ought to be scattered “thick as leaves in Vallambrosa;” for the woodcuts are striking, and with the letterpress, make up an advocacy for animals of the noblest kind. Every other means which would come under the head of example or precept, reward or punishment, should be continually employed; and no exertion should be spared till cruelty to animals shall be an unknown vice, or at least shall be universally regarded as the distinguishing mark of the lowest and basest of the people.
It is not only for the sake of the creature subject to cruelty that we would plead for kindness, but with a view to the good of the person causing the pain; for cruelty hardens the heart, deadens the conscience, and destroys the finer sensibilities of the soul. The most eminently spiritual men display great delicacy towards all living things, and if it be not always true that “he prayeth best who loveth best both male and bird and beast,” yet the converse is assuredly the fact, for the man who truly loves his Maker becomes tender towards all the creatures his Lord has made. In gentleness and kindness our great Redeemer is our model. Our Lord would not deprive a poor ass of the company of its foal when he rode into Jerusalem, and he talked of the most common and insignificant of birds as the object of the Great Father’s care. His best followers are gentle towards all things which live and feel, and, taught by his Spirit, they have learned — “Never to blend their pleasure or their pride With sorrow of the meanest thing that breathes.’ A holy mind sympathises with Cowper in his refusal to enter on his list of friends the man “who needlessly sets foot upon a worm,” and fully agrees with Dr. Blair that it is “shameful to treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty.” In proportion as men decline from the highest standard of goodness their sympathies become blunted, they lose delicacy, and tenderness, and becoming more selfish become also less considerate of others. He who dwells in God has a great heart which encompasses all creation, and as it were lives in it all like the soul in the body, feeling akin with all, yea, one with all life, so that it joys in all true joy, and sorrows in all sorrow. The man of dead heart towards God has a heart of stone towards the Lord’s creatures, and cares for them only so far as he can make them minister to his own wealth or pleasure. Hardness of heart towards poor flies, so that he found amusement in piercing them with pins, was in Domitian a sure mark of a hard heart towards the Lord and all goodness. Cock-fighting and bull-baiting were not only detestable things as involving needless torturing of living things, but as corrupting, depraving, and preparing for eternal perdition all who delighted in them. A cruel action is as a hot iron to the soul searing it, and preventing its feeling the touch of the gentle hand of mercy’s angel. We remember reading a story some, what to the following effect: — A lad while strolling through the fields with his sister found a nest of young rabbits. The sister was charmed with the little creatures, but the rough boy seized them, mimicking their squeaks and their struggles. In vain his sister wept and entreated; he flung them up into the air, and shouted as each fell dead upon the stones. Ten years after, that sister sat weeping again by that lad’s side. He was in chains, sentenced to be hanged for shooting a farmer whilst poaching: they were waiting for the awful procession to knock at the cell door. “Sister,” he said, “do you remember the nest of rabbits ten years ago, how you begged and prayed, and I ridiculed? I verily believe, that from that day, God forsook me, and left me to follow my own inclinations. If I had yielded to your tears, then, you and I would not be weeping these bitter tears now.” There may have been a great deal more truth in this remorseful confession than at first blush some would imagine; at any rate, we will go the length of affirming that no person really penitent for sin can be cruel, that no man who feels the love of God shed abroad in his heart can find pleasure in giving pain, and furthermore that wanton cruelty to an animal may be that last deadening deed of ill which may for ever leave the heart callous to all the appeals of law and gospel.
Perhaps we may each one do most to serve the cause of kindness to animals by setting a high example ourselves. Possibly we cannot like Cowper keep tame hares and sing about them, or like Dr. Elford Leach, walk about the streets, attended by an obsequious wolf, but we may set up a high ideal of treatment towards creatures both tame and wild, and act upon it. A famous saint was wont to call birds and beasts his brothers and sisters, and Mr. Darwin apparently goes in for that relationship most literally: we do not contend for anything so high as that, but we do ask to have them viewed as our Father’s creatures, to be treated well for his sake, and to be regarded as our friends. There really can be no reason honorable to our humanity to account for the fact that every living thing flees from us the moment we appear, as if we were the ogres of creation who delight in doing mischief to all within reach. We have often felt as if we should like to tell the birds that they misunderstand us, that we have no wish to drive them away, that we beg their pardon for being so rough in our manners, for really we are their very good friends, and would like to cultivate their acquaintance. Pray, little sparrow, do not trouble yourself to leave those crumbs because we happen to be going by, we assure you we would not hurt you, and will even turn back and go round the garden by another path if you will only not be alarmed at us. What a pity that men should have deserved the bad opinion of so many of God’s most lovely creatures! Long years of wrong-doing have gained for us the universal dread of beast and bird; only dogs and cats will trust us, and they do so probably because they are tolerably well able to take care of themselves, by biting or scratching us: the defenseless animals feel that they have no chance with us, and fly at our approach. Cannot we redeem our character, and persuade our furred and feathered friends to trust us, and learn at the same time to trust them?
Can none of our fair readers ever become an Amoret to whom the rivergod sings — “Not a fish in all my brook That shall disobey thy look, But, when thou wilt, come sliding by, And from thy white hand take a fly.” Surely to that same privileged maiden it will be more than safe to say — Do not fear to put feet Naked in the river, sweet; Think not leech, or newt, or toad, Will bite thy foot, when thou hast trod.” The fancy picture may be realized. We once saw in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris a young lady take her seat, and in a few moments the air was fall of birds of every wing. They were all around and upon her, peeking crumbs from her shoulder, her hand, and her lips. They hawked for particles of bread which she threw into the air, they alighted on her bonnet, they perched upon her fingers. It was a pretty sight, though a sadly rare one, yet might it be common enough if we earned the love of our feathered friends as she had done by supplying their humble wants every day. The like kindnesses will earn the like gratitude and confidence. Of this we are gathering evidence by daily experience. We do not allow a gun in our garden, feeling that we can afford to pay a few cherries for a great deal of music, and we now have quite a lordly party of thrushes, blackbirds, and starlings upon the lawn, with a parliament of sparrows, chaffinches, robins, and other minor prophets. Our summer-house is occupied by a pair of bluemartens, which chase our big cat out of the garden by dashing swiftly across his head one after the other, till he is utterly bewildered, and makes a bolt of it. In the winter the balcony of our study is sacred to a gathering of all the tribes; they have heard that there is corn in Egypt, and therefore they hasten to partake of it and keep their souls alive in famine. On summer evenings the queen of our little kingdom spreads a banquet in our great green saloon which the vulgar call a lawn; it is opposite the parlor window, and her guests punctually arrive and cheerfully partake, while their hostess rejoices to gaze upon them. Some of them are now so tame that, when fresh provision is brought out to them, they take no more notice of the lady servitor than a child at table would of a servant who brings in a fresh joint.
In a more secluded place, with more time to spare to look after them, we could educate the fera naturae, or in plain words the wild creatures, into a high degree of confidence. They would very soon become as familiar with us as Alexander Selkirk found them to be with himself on his desert island: we should not, however, say as he did, “Their tameness is shocking to me.”
Kindness would speedily re-establish mankind in bird estimation and remove that ill opinion which makes them startle at our approach. If all around, children, servants and visitors, could be bound over to keep the peace, there might again be seen around the good man’s house a sort of Paradise Regained, and of the husband and wife it might be said as of our yet unfallen parents — About them frisking played All beasts of the earth, since wild and of all chase In wood or wilderness, forest or den.” That such a state of things may be realized is clear, for to a large degree it has been produced by many persons of kindly spirit. Mr. Jacox in his very remarkable work entitled “Traits of Character” has a passage in which he mentions the power over animals possessed by several remarkable men.
With that extract we shall dismiss the subject, hoping that we may not in vain have opened our mouth for the dumb. “Rousseau piqued himself on the liking manifested towards him by the pigeons, and he would spend hours at a time in teaching them to trust him.
A very difficult bird to tame, to teach confidence, he affirms the pigeon to be; and all the greater the kudos claimed by Jean Jacques for succeeding in inspiring his window visitors with such confidence in him that they followed him whithersoever he went, and let themselves be taken whensoever he would. At last he could never make his appearance in the garden or yard, but instantly two or three of them were on his shoulder or his head; and their attentions of this kind became so pressing, and ce cortege became si incommode, that he was obliged to check their familiarity. But he ever took a singular pleasure in taming animals — those in particular which are wild and timid. It seemed to him a charming thing to inspire them with a confidence which he never betrayed or abused. His desire was to have them love him while they remained absolutely free. He carried on the like system of tactics with bees, and with like success.
Mr. Froude declares ‘all genuine men’ to be objects of special attraction to animals (as well as to children); and in his biographical sketch of Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, he recounts the ‘very singular instance’ of the liking shown for that prelate by the big swan of Stone Manor, usually so unmanageable and savage: the bishop knew the way to his heart; fed him, and taught him to poke his head into the pockets of his frock to look for bread crumbs, which he did not fail to find there. Ever after, it is said, he seemed to know instinctively when the bishop was expected, and flew trumpeting up and down the lake, slapping the water with his wings; and on the arrival of his right reverend friend, he would strut at his side, and sometimes follow him up stairs. It was a miracle of course, adds the biographer, to the general mind, though explicable enough to those who have observed the physical charm which men who take pains to understand animals are able to exercise over them. “Coleridge is the ‘noticeable man with large grey eyes,’ who, in the wellread description by his brother bard, would entice a congenial comrade to share his outdoor idlesse, the two together being as happy spirits as were ever seen: ‘If but a bird, to keep them company, Or butterfly sate down, they were I ween, As pleased as if the same had been a maiden-queen.’ Professor Lowell would have made a happy third — even if he had quizzed them afterwards, and himself. His essay on his Garden Acquaintance told us how all the birds looked on him as if he were a mere tenant-at-will, and they were landlords. ‘With shame I confess it, I have been bullied even by a humming-bird.’ Scarce a tree of his but has had, at some time or other, a happy homestead among its boughs. ‘I love to bring these aborigines back to the mansuetude they showed to the early voyagers, and before (forgive the involuntary pun) they had grown accustomed to man and knew his savage ways. Savage Landor had anything but savage ways with the creatures ferae naturae on his estate, whether at Lanthony or at Fiesole; and proud he was to assert in octosyllabics his good fellowship with the good creatures in question, all and sundry: ‘Cares if I had, I turned those cares Toward my partridges and hares, At every gun and dog I heard Ill-auguring for some truant bird Or whiskered friend of jet-tipt ear, Until the frightened eld limpt near.
These knew me, and ‘twas quite enough.’“
COLPORTAGE B Y C. H.SPURGEON.
IT has been our lot to attend many anniversary meetings of societies during the present May meeting season, but none of them were so interesting, amusing, and full of real life and vigor as the meeting of the Colportage Society at the Tabernacle. The society had brought up from their country districts most of their book-hawkers, and some of these told their experiences with hearty simplicity, in language full of racy expressions and striking provincialisms. Probably the audience obtained a better idea of the work of colportage through these viva voce descriptions than could have been communicated to them by a score of annual reports. Fine language and feeble propriety spoil many public meetings, but in this case there were both force and freedom, and a degree of vivacity which was quite refreshing. One brother appeared with the model pack upon his back — in harness, as he said — and described his dangers from “dawgs.” His district is in Lancashire, where “dawgs” abound, beautiful bull-pups among them, whose education has been so neglected that they are constantly mistaking a man’s leg for a shin of beef, and are never more happy than when they can make their teeth meet in something alive. Amid abundant laughter, our friend declared that he had not fought wild beasts at Ephesus, but had often been forced to do so round by Haydock; he had found it well to trust in God and carry a big stick. Another excellent colporteur, who rides a velocipede, described his journeys twenty miles in all directions, from his center at Warminster, Wilts, giving a graphic account of the lone farmhouses and hamlets which he visits. He appeared to be a very acceptable and laborious preacher of the gospel, carrying the word of God on his tongue as well as upon his back. The laborer in the Isle of Sheppy also gave details of the power of the gospel, and of the eagerness to hear it evinced by the villagers everywhere. It was clear enough to all present; that the rural districts need just such an agency as the Colportage, that the society has found a staff of right men, and that the work ought to be indefinitely extended, Nonconformity will not for many years be strong enough to support a sufficient staff of ministers in the more sparsely populated districts; many of the church clergy are worse than useless, and make the darkness around them darker still; those of them who are evangelical are glad of the colporteurs’ aid, for they cannot get at all classes, and the best, if not the only available means, of saving the benighted people is to reach them by means of the colporteur. To a district subscribing £40 a year the society sends a man to sell books, who will visit the sick, distribute tracts, gather prayer-meetings, preach on the green, and probably form bands of hope and temperance societies. It is the cheapest agency known to us. The excuse of selling his wares makes the colporteur bold to push in where otherwise he might not dare to call. He knocks at the doors of the rich as well as the poor, and has a word for old and young. As his report of sales will have to come before the committee he has a capital reason for diligence in business, and is not likely to loiter. If he is a live man, as our colporteurs mostly are, he finds abundance of work all around him, and opens doors for himself where at first he found but little scope.
Instances of conversion have been very many by the means of our colporteurs, and we expect yet more. The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. We should like it to be understood that we wish to see a Colportage society, including all denominations, and if some brother will take over the work we shall be glad for the present society at the Tabernacle to become a branch of it. If this does not occur we hope the Tabernacle Committee will plod on until they convince Englishmen that the work is good and necessary, and ought to be taken up with spirit. Our own solemn conviction is that Colportage, as an agency, is second to none. It ought to be worked by a society as large as the Bible Society, or the Religious Tract Society. We have nowadays an association for almost every supposable purpose, from the feediing of stray dogs to anti-vaccination, surely Colportage cannot be long neglected.
At the annual meeting, our excellent Committee presented a report from which we will make extracts: — The object of this association, the increased circulation of religious literature, is carried out in a twofold manner: — 1st. By means of colporteurs, whose whole time is devoted to the work, and who are paid by a fixed salary. 2nd. By Book Agents, who canvas for orders for periodicals, and supply them month by month; these receive a liberal per-centage on the sales to renumerate them for their trouble. The first of these methods its the more important, as the colporteur is thereby enabled to engage in Christian labor in all parts of the district; and his regular visits afford an opportunity of teaching the people in their own homes. The average total cost of a colporteur is £80, but the committee wil1 appoint a man to any district for which £40 a year is subscribed, if the funds of the association permit. The second method is admirably suited to the requirements of village churches and Sunday schools, where the guarantee for a colporteur cannot be obtained. Shopkeepers, or other persons willing to become book agents, may communicate with the secretary, Metropolitan Tabernacle. The association is unscetarian in its operations “doing work for the friends of a full and free gospel anywhere and everywhere.” [By this second method friends who are shopkeepers might aid in spreading pure literature by keeping a small stock in a corner of their window.
Village general shops might be thus used.] The number of colporteurs in the employ of the association at the commencement of the year was nine, but at its close thirteen, and through the kind liberality of two gentlemen deeply interested in colportage work, eighteen men are now engaged in various parts of the country.
The sales effected during 1872, by an average of eleven colporteurs, reached the sum of £1,238 0s. 2d., and consisted of 66,835 different publications, nearly all of a religious tendency and for the most part circulated among those who would not otherwise have purchased them. In addition to these our book agents have disposed of good literature to the value of nearly £120. The total expense of the association for the year (deducting profit on the sales) was £539 8s. 5d., while the subscriptions and donations amounted to £662 ls. 5d., including one large contribution of £100 received just as the year closed, which has enabled the committee to make the extension in its operations previously referred to.
The colporteur, in his constant, regular rounds, has some of the best possible opporunities for evangelistic work, and our agents have not been behind in their efforts in this direction, 121,100 visits have been paid, the sick and dying read and prayed with, careless sinners exhorted to repentance, and many thousand tracts distributed monthly; but in addition to this valuable work very much has been done in holding cottage meetings, Sunday services, Bible classes, and in some instances night schools, and the testimony of many has been borne to their efficacy, through the blessing of God, in leading souls to a saving knowledge of the truth. Notably in one instance a gracious revival of religion, resulting in the conversion of scores, has followed the faithful labors of the colporteur, but in many other cases good evidence has been given of the working of the Holy Spirit of God through this agency.
These facts lead the committee to hope that since colportage has been proved to be as successful in England as elsewhere, a larger response may be given to their appeal for subscriptions, that they may be enabled not only to maintain the present number of agents, but very largely to extend their operations during the present year.
Never was the need greater, both for pure literature and for faithful dealing with the souls of men, than at present, and no form of agency seems better suited to the requirements of the time, or obtainable at so moderate an expense.
The increase in the number of agents has rendered it necessary to enlarge the staff of officers, by engaging the services of a permament paid secretary, the honorary officers finding the efficient working of the association now demands more time than they can possibly devote to it after their own business hours, and the committee have obtained the assistance of Mr. W.Gordon Jones in that capacity, which choice they trust may tend to the welfare and extension of the association.
The committee desire to record their obligations to the District Local Committees for their assistance in supervising the work of the agents, and to the Religious Tract Society, London, and the Dublin Tract Society, for liberal grants of tracts and books.
In the following extracts from the journals of the colporteurs it will be seen that the work is both appreciated and successful.
THE COLPORTEUR APPRECIATED.
Often such an expression as this comes to my ears: “If it were not for the colporteur there would not be any spiritual influence in these villages,” and I hear this from the most thoughtful and spiritually-minded people. Wherever I go the people seem to have a word ready to cheer me, and express sympathy with our work.
Every Christian person seems to say that he believes colportage to be one of the best agencies for spreading Christian principles in these dark villages. Only yesterday I called at a clergyman’s house.
After he had asked me into the study he eulogized our work, and said that such efforts as ours were the best means to bring about a higher spiritual life, which he greatly desired.
A Wesleyan minister writes concerning one of the colporteurs: — “Having had frequent opportunities of meeting him at public meetings in the villages around, I am fully convinced that he is doing a good work for our Lord and Master. Many have been led to the Savior by him. The aged and afflicted are especially looked after and regularly visited by him. It is the opinion of all I have met with that he is the right man in the right place.’” THE COLPORTEUR ANEVANGELIST. I am thankful to say that God is doing wonders here. He has blessed the word to eighteen souls, and a glorious work is still going on among the young men and women. For the last month I have been holding special services, and though at first a heavy cloud seemed to hang over the meeting, at last the cry broke out. “ What shall I do?” The whole congregation was in tears. Last Sabbath I preached at H..... The people flocked in and the place was filled long before the time. Some were up the staircase, and many had to return home. God blessed the word to six souls that night. Two young men came to hear me on Sunday night and to have a bit of fun, but while there the Lord pricked their hearts. My persecutions have been great and my name scandalously spoken of, but I care not for this as Christians are stirred up and souls saved.
After a week of special prayer and addresses the colporteur writes, we had a glorious meeting at my house, for there two found the Savior, and several others are under deep conviction. I go to G..... once a month to preach on Sunday, and the chapel there that was in a dead state seems all alive; last time I was there it was crowded. I have to walk six miles there and six miles back again, and go three miles each way by water, and sometimes it is very rough, but God is with me. I visit the Union and I believe God has made me a great blessing to several in it. I am engaged by Wesleyans, Independents, Primitive Methodists, and Baptists to preach once a month, beside week-night Bible classes and prayer meetings. The Sunday before I had a hard day’s work. I went to G.... and preached, and a young man told me what a blessing the Lord had been made to him. I landed at at half-past eight and then took the Ragged School service. Praise God! a revival broke out there: it would have done you good to have heard eighteen or twenty on their knees praying for salvation. I believe they all found it. After that I had to go visiting the people’s friends. They took me about to the sick and I did not get to bed until twelve o’clock.
THE COLPORTEUR; A TEMPERANCE ADVOCATE.
As I was going from house to house in a back street, on opening a door I found myself unexpectedly in a public house. I thought it best not to beat a retreat, but to stand like the brave with my face to the foe. In the first room there were six or seven women drinking. One of them said, “Why, you have come to a public house!” I said, “Yes, and I wish you were all teetotallers.” Looking for a suitable tract I found one entitled, “Scotch Jim, the drunken Ballad Singer.” A man then called me into the next room where about twenty men sat smoking and drinking. They commenced laughing at me, one in particular, to whom I then gave a tract called “Don’t laugh it off.” I also supplied each with a tract, and invited them to the house of God. One asked me to have a sip of beer, but I told him I did not mind having a glass of water and paying for it, which the landlord kindly fetched free of charge.
It will, we trust, interest our readers if we subjoin a list of the eighteen Colporteurs and their spheres of labor. Will the number ever increase to eighty? Perhaps some wealthy person who will read this, carries the answer in his pocket.
DISTRICTS SUPPLIED WITH COLPORTEURS BY THIS ASSOCIATION.
A.SMEE. — A very successful district for sales, which amount to upwards of £250 a year. The agent visits some fifteen villages, and is heartily received by the people. Eythorne, Kent:
— One of the longest established, the guarantee for which is given by the Baptist Church at Eythorne.
The colporteur supplies one or two preaching stations, and his work is much appreciated. Haydock, Lancashire:
JOHN VARNHAM. — A mining district, needing constant and earnest effort. The agent here conducts frequent open-air services, night schools and cottage meetings, and many souls have been won to Christ through his instrumentality. Warminster, Wiltshire:
— The agent here travels as much as twenty miles from his center, very often accomplishing the journey on a velocipede, and his visits are eagerly watched for and highly valued by many of God’s aged people, while his testimony to sinners has not been in vain. Harold Wood, Essex : A. E.INGRAM.
— The colporteur here in addition to his rounds has the charge of a small chapel. The population of the district is sparse, but a fair attendance is secured and the worshippers assist in the support of the agent. Bushton, Wiltshire:
— Rather an extensive district like that at Warminster, but equally successful. The colporteur being assisted in his journeys by using a pony and cart. Many souls have been blessed in this district. Minster, Isle of Sheppey:
— This colporteur has been greatly used of God in the conversion of souls. Severa1 meetings weekly are held in various parts of the Island, and are well attended and much blessed, especially the Bible classes held by the agent at his own house. Burnley, Lancashire:
JOSEPH POWELL. — A manufacturing population, among whom the last agent labored with success. The present agent is only recently appointed, but writes encouragingly of the prospects of the work. Ross, Herefordshire:
— The local Baptist Union subscribes for the support of this district, which comprises a large number of villages regularly canvassed, and several services conducted therein. Arnold , Nottinghamshire:
D. J.WATKINS. — A manufacturing district, recently commenced and partly maintained by a Bible class at the Tabernacle. This promises to become a very successful agency. Sunderland, Durham:
F.W.BLOOMFIELD. — A good sphere for a colporteur. The agent here will labor in connection with a Mission Church situated near the Quay, where an earnest band of Christian working men welcome his co-operation. Forton, Hampshire:
— This district consists of a number of villages in the neighborhood of Portsmouth. The labors of an earnest man are much needed here, and it is hoped that the colporteur may be much blessed. Riddings, Derbyshire:
— This agent has recently commenced the work here, and met with much encouragement. It is a very promising sphere. Tewkesbury, Gloucester:
R.TRENCHARD. — A very favorable locality for a colportage agency. Stafford: T.
— This district is in great need of such an agency, and is supported by the kind liberality of a Christian lady. Gloucester:
The last three are new districts commenced on trial in the hope of obtaining local support.
Scotland is well supplied with this class of laborers, and they are even more wanted in England; will not friends be found to subscribe £40 per annum that a man may give all his time and energies to the district in which they take a special interest? In the county of Surrey a half a dozen men could be most usefully employed. We mention it because it lies at our door, and is peculiarly in need. We should like to have a man at work in a district running from Clapham to Croydon, Sutton, Epsom, Kingston, and Wandsworth, and hoping some loving friend will supply the means, we will set a man going at once in full confidence that the funds will be forthcoming. Although quite willing that our little society should be merged in a larger one, we should be still more gratified if it should grow into a large institution, and remain attached to us, for we can see many advantages connected with its present working which might be lost in a society with a wider constituency and less firm in its principles. We ask and we expect help. The Christian public will not allow so excellent a work to languish; above all, the Great Head of the Church will look upon it and supply all its needs. This enterprise is of God, and must go on. The more we see of its working, the more we are enamored of it; it only needs thorough working to be made a mighty means for good.
A SEARCHING WORD BY C. H. SPURGEON.
THOU sayest, “I have faith.” I will ask thee a second question. Does that faith make thee obedient? Jesus said to the nobleman, “Go thy way,” and he went without a word; however much he might have wished to stay and listen to the Master, he Obeyed. Does your faith make you obedient? In these days we have specimens of Christians of the most sorry, sorry kind; men who have not common honesty. I have heard it observed by tradesmen, that they know many men who have not the fear of God before their eyes, and yet are most just and upright men in their dealings; and on the other hand, they know some professing Christians who are not positively dishonest, but they can back and hedge a little; they are not altogether lame horses, but every now and then they jib; they do not keep up to time if they have a bill to pay; they are not regular, prompt, scrupulous and exact; in fact, sometimes — and who shall hide what is true? — you catch Christians doing dirty actions, and professors of religion defiling themselves with acts which merely worldly men would scorn.
Now, sirs, I bear my testimony as God’s minister, too honest to alter a word to please any man that lives, you are no Christian if you can act in business beneath the dignity of an honest man. If God has not made you honest, he has not saved your soul. Rest assured that if you can live in disobedience to the moral laws of God, if you are inconsistent and lascivious, if your conversation is mixed up with things which even a worldling might reject, the Love of God is not within you. I do not plead for perfection, but I do plead for honesty; and if your religion has not made you careful and prayerful in common life; if you are not, in fact, made a new creature in Christ Jesus, your faith is but an empty name, as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
I will ask you one more searching question about your faith, and I pray you answer it. Thou sayest, “I have faith.” Has thy faith led thee to bless thy household? Good Rowland Hill once said, in his own quaint way, that when a man became a Christian, his dog and his cat would be the better for it; and I think it was Mr. Jay who said that a man, when he became a Christian, was better in every relation. He was a better husband, a better master, a better father, than he was before, or else his religion was not genuine. Now, have you ever thought, my dear Christian brethren and sisters, about blessing your households? Do I hear one saying, “I keep my religion to myself?” Do not be very anxious about its ever being stolen, then; you need not put it under lock and key; there is not enough to tempt the devil himself to come and take it from you. A man who can keep his godliness to himself has so small a proportion of it, that it will be no credit to himself, and no blessing to other people. But you do sometimes, strange to say, meet with fathers who do not interest themselves in their children’s salvation any more than they do about poor children in the back slums of St. Giles’s. They would like to see the boy put out well, and they would like to see the girl married comfortably; but as to their being converted, it does not seem to trouble their heads. It is true the father occupies his seat in a place of worship, and sits down with a community of Christians; and he hopes his children may turn out well. They have the benefit of his hopes — certainly a very large legacy: he will no doubt when he dies leave them his best wishes, and may they grow rich upon them! He has never made it a matter of anxiety of soul, as to whether they shall be saved or not. Out upon such religion as that! Cast it on the dunghill; hurl it to the dogs; let it be buried like Koniah, with the burial of an ass; cast it without the camp, like an unclean thing. It is not the religion of God. He that careth not for his own household, is worse than a heathen man and a publican.
Never be content, my brethren in Christ, till all your children are saved.
Lay the promise before your God. The promise is unto you and unto your children. The word does not refer to infants, but to children, grandchildren, and any descendants you may have, whether grown up or not. Do not cease to plead, till not only your children but your great grand-children, if you have such, are saved. I stand here to-day a proof that God is not untrue to his promise. I can cast my eye back through four generations, and see that God has been pleased to hear the prayers of our grandfather’s father, who used to supplicate with God that his children might live before him to the last generation, and God has never deserted the house, but has been pleased to bring first one and then another to fear and love his name.
So be it with you and yours. In asking this you are not asking more than God has promised to give you. He cannot run back from his promise. He cannot refuse to give you both your own and your children’s souls as an answer to the prayer of your faith. “Ah,” says one, “but you do not know what children mine are.” No, my dear friend., but I know that if you are a Christian, they are children whom God has promised to bless. “But they are such unruly ones, they break my heart.” Then pray God to break their hearts, and they will not break your heart any more. “But they will bring my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.” Pray God then that he may bring their eyes with sorrow to prayer, and to supplication, and to the cross, and then they will not bring you to the grave. “But,” you say, “my children have such hard hearts.” Look at your own. You think they cannot be saved: look at yourselves; he who saved you can save them. Go to him in prayer, and say, “Lord, I will not let thee go except thou bless me;” and if thy child be at the point of death, and, as you think, at the point of damnation on account of sin, still plead like the nobleman, “Lord, come down ere my child perish, and save him for thy mercy’s sake.” O thou that dwellest in the highest heavens, thou wilt ne’er refuse thy people. Be it far from us to dream that thou wilt forget thy promise. In the name of all thy people we put our hand upon thy Word most solemnly, and pledge thee to thy covenant. Thou hast said thy mercy is unto children’s children of them that fear thee and that keep thy commandments. Thou hast said the promise is unto us and unto our children; Lord, thou wilt not run back from thine own covenant; we challenge thy word by holy faith at this time, and plead with thee, saying, “Do as thou hast said.”
Traits of Character and Notes of Incident in Bible Story. ByFRANCIS JACOX.
Hodder and Stoughton.
THIS is the book from which we have made the long extract which closes our first article. Mr. Jacox appears to have read through the Bodleian and all other collections of books; he does not talk like a book, but like the British Museum Library. He quotes far more from works of fiction than we like, but his gatherings upon the subjects which he takes up are quite marvelous. We do not know any books in modern times at all like Mr. Jacox’s, they are unique; in fact, they are curiosities of literature.
Spirituality we have not, but versatility, cleverness, research, and suggestiveness. The man must be a cyclopaedia; we expect to come across him one day, and to find him bound in cloth, lettered. He ought to be in several volumes, but we suppose they are bound up in one thick royal octavo, and contain more matter than a hundred volumes of Dr. Going or Dr. Septimus Losequick. It is a literary treat to read such a work. The motto upon the frontispiece, odd as it is, is accurately descriptive: — “That from all books the Book of books may gain He mingle-managles sacred and profane:
Quotes Swift with DANIEL; Byron with SAINT PETER; EZEKIEL with the English opium-eater:
Hood with HABAKKUK; Crabbe with ZECHARIAH; Landor with Job; and Lamb with JEREMIAH; The prophet SAMUEL with his namesake Pepys; Bunyan and Jean Paul with th’APOCALYPSE; King SOLOMON with Shakespeare, Scott, Racine; ESTHER with Edmund Spenser’s Faery Queene; With Moses, Dryden, Dante, Doctor Donne; ‘Accomplish’d St. John with divine SAINT JOHN.” Phases Of Belief. By The Rev.JAMES WALKER, Hamilton, Adams, And Co. WE have no desire that our belief should pass through that phase which is evidently the settled conviction of Mr. Walker. He sets forth his own views with considerable power, but we cannot endorse them. We preach the gospel to all mankind as freely as he does, but we hold the doctrines of election and predestination most tenaciously, and we are persuaded that he who fights against them goes to war with the word of God. We do not believe that the wings of the angel of the church are pinioned by Calvinism; we might retort but we will not. Light From Beyond To Cheer The Christian Pilgrim .BY CUNNINGHAM GEIKIE, D.D. Strahan And Co. SOME thirty excellent sermonettes, with a brief prayer or a piece of poetry at the conclusion of each. We do not see the appropriateness of the title, for several of the brief discourses are of a warning or hortatory character.
Much confusion arises from the absurd practice of naming books of sermons after the title of the first discourse. It is not only an idle way of saving the author the trouble of seeking out a fitting title, but it misleads the public. In the present case the error is less glaring than in any other we have met with, but we mean to protest against the practice in every case until it is dropped. We have much pleasure in commending both the matter and manner of Dr. Geikie’s book. Christian Edification; The Sheltering Blood, Or The Sinner’s Refuge .BY W.POOLE BALFERN, author Of “Glimpses Of Jesus.” Passmore & Alabaster. MR.
Balfern is issuing in monthly papers, price two-pence, a work which aims to show the way of peace, and to unmask false theories of the Atonement. He always writes well. As an author he is not of the flimsy school, but thinks out his subjects, and is not afraid of the deep things of God. Experience has also its due place in his testimony, and the whole is perfumed with love to “the Master.” We wish him much success in this new work.