BY C. H. SPURGEON, THE most precious things are the most often counterfeited. It would not remunerate the forger to imitate farthings, but he drives a profitable business if he can succeed in issuing bad sovereigns. Spirituality of mind is one of the golden coins of religious currency, rarely seen by some people, despised only by those who do not possess it, and valued highly by all right minded persons. It is not easily attained, but it is very readily imitated: some have counterfeited it with remarkable success, and others have done so in a manner too slovenly to deceive any but the most foolish. A certain order of mimic spirituality which has come in bur way we should like to drive out of circulation, and therefore we will nail down a couple of specimens upon our counter.
The first is “the citizen of heaven” who proves his heavenliness by shirking the duties of his social position, while he takes to himself all its privileges. “You really are very hard to deal with, Mr. Brotherton, I cannot meet you at all to-day. That last farthing in the pound will about pay my commission, and, as I don’t want to have your name off of the books of our firm, I shall forfeit my commission on the transaction, and you shall have the goods. At the same time, I must say, you are the toughest customer in the circle of my acquaintance.” “Times are so hard now that, if I did not reduce my expenditure in all directions, I could not manufacture our class of goods without loss I will take enough of you to run on with for the next few weeks, and then perhaps your terms will be more reasonable, and I shall be a buyer.” Some such words as these closed a very long business conversation between two Christian men, the one a representative of a London house which supplied certain articles necessary to manufacturers, and the other the wealthy owner of an immense factory, who was well known for his sharpness in driving a bargain. They knew each other very well, and therefore when the transaction was so far finished the London traveler observed, “Your town seems very lively just now with this election.” “Yes, the men of Ibis world are very eager about such mailers.” “And don’t you take an interest in the present contest? One of the candidates is a temperance man, and the other is the nominee of the beer interest. I believe W — to be a thoroughly conscientious man, a friend of religious equality, a lover of peace, and in all respects on the side of progress. As for his opponent, he is of the old school, and would not only conserve every abuse but create a few more if he could.” “All this is of no interest to me,” said Mr. Brotherton, with that tone of sanctity which borders on the angelic, “I am no longer a citizen of this world ; my conversation is in heaven.” This was too much for our London commercial; he was a genuine Christian, but he was not very familiar with the canal of certain modern schools, and therefore he would have been disgusted had it not been that he was too much tickled with a sense of the ridiculous. “Come, come,” said he, “this is rather too good.
What, Mr. Brotherton, you not a citizen of this world! Ha! Ha! Why, you beat me down to the very last farthing over that soap, and you are known to be about as sharp and shrewd a man as any in the country, and yet you are not a citizen of this world! Man alive, I wish you were not, for then perhaps there would be a chance of getting a fair profit out of you! I know what the Scriptures mean by the expression you have quoted, but the way in which you use it sounds to me very like a joke, or else a lazy excuse for neglecting your duty.” The traveler had spoken the truth, though Mr. Brotherton did not care to admit it.
Here was a man of wealth and influence who never hesitated to accept the services of the police for maintaining order or checking pilfering in his mill, who owed his commercial prosperity to laws which have emancipated trade from unequal burdens, and who every day in many ways was indebted to the rule, order, and conveniences afforded by the Government under which he lived; and yet, when he was summoned to discharge one of the duties required of dwellers in a free state, he refused to obey. He was a citizen so long as it was for his own benefit, but no further. He was willing to reap, but not to sow. When traveling in foreign countries he claimed the rights of an Englishman with all the boldness of the Palmerstonian “Romanus sum”; but at home, when there was something to be done for the benefit of his countrymen, he turned tail, and said, “I am no longer a citizen of this world.” To make money for himself was laudable even in a citizen of heaven, but to obtain enactments which would promote the public health and social well-being was inconsistent with his high calling.
Does any man but a brother of the same clique believe that Jesus Christ would have countenanced such utter meanness as this? Dirt meanness a friend of mine calls it. If in a literal sense a man has no sort of citizenship here, let him renounce the privileges of his position as well as forego its duties; let him decline the benefit of laws which he will not assist in making, and claim no further share in the liberty which he will not aid in preserving. In this country every man is not only under the law, but he is also a part of the lawmaking body — he is a member of the corporate Caesar by whom our Government is carried on; and it is a blessing that it is so, a blessing well worth all the struggles which it cost our fathers in ages gone by. Now, as it is clear that a Christian governor would be wrong in neglecting his government and allowing bad laws to oppress his subjects, so every Christian Englishman sins if he neglects his own governing vocation, and allows his portion of the control to be ill used, or not used at all. Every vote withheld from the right side is virtually given to the wrong.
Abstinence from voting for truth and righteousness involves the abstaining person in responsibility for all the wrong which his neglect has tacitly supported. Nor is this all. If the virtuous dwellers in a country leave its arrangements to the vicious — and this is what, it will come to if this noncitizenship idea is to be carried out — then a great measure of the wrong done by the ruling vicious class will justly be laid at the door of the virtuous who placed them in power. Can the God of all grace have intended us to shoulder injustice into office by our spiritual-minded neglect, to aid and abet oppression by letting it alone, and to retard the advance of righteousness and truth by passing by on the other side? The conscience of every intelligent man is capable of deciding this question.
The fact is that a certain class of men love to be quiet, and are ready to sell their country to the evil one himself so that they may live at ease, and make no enemies. They have not the manliness to plead for the right, for it might cost them a customer or a friend, and so they pretend to superior holiness as a reason for skulking. The glorious truth of the believer’s citizenship in heaven, which they use as a figleaf to cover the nakedness of their selfindulgence, does not in reality conceal their shame. Who but an idiot would plead that because he is a child of God he is no longer the son of his earthly father? What wife would urge that because she loves the heavenly Bridegroom she may, therefore, desert the husband of her youth? What lunatic would assert that because he wears a robe of righteousness he has no need to put on garments made by a tailor? Any one of the whole range of inferences from metaphors is equally as forcible as that which is drawn from the simile of citizenship, and might as fitly be carried into practice.
The result would not, perhaps, be much worse in any of the eases suggested above than it would be in the present one if all Christian men were infatuated by it. Think a moment of England’s past history and the monstrousness of the ease is clear. Go back a few years. The negro is enslaved, and only the national will can break his fetters, yet no Christian man must be returned to Parliament to set him free, for that would be horrible. No Christian man may go to the hustings to record his vote, for that would be worldly. Slaves in Jamaica must be flogged to death, and bought and sold like chattels, till the unchristian and infidel portion of the population shall commence an agitation for setting them free, for those who believe in Jesus have nothing to do with it, they are citizens of another country.
Wilberforce and Clarkson are great sinners to meddle with politics, true saints leave negroes to bleed and die. Or take another case. Life is trifled with; men are hanged in batches every week; for petty thefts the gallows tree is loaded with hideous fruit. At Newgate men die by the score for minor crimes. Is this legal murder to be continued? Does not every Christian heart denounce it? Yet ye “citizens of heaven,” ye must not vote for a humane member of parliament, much less must Ye go to Westminster yourselves to plead for the precious life. No, let the wretches hang, and be sent to hell for the matter of that! Anything must be better than the worldliness which would be involved in the soft and sleek “citizen of heaven” giving his vote for humanity! These are not fancy cases, but passages of acknowledged history, and to-day, when vital questions are still mooted, and great wrongs still remain to be redressed, the principle which keeps a Christian from quietly exercising his judgment and voting for right, truth, sobriety, freedom, is a principle opposed to the spirit of Christ, and cometh not from him who bids every man love his brother. Nothing in the Scriptures with regard to the higher life may be interpreted to relieve us from the obligations of our natural existence; these last are not specifically mentioned in Scripture upon the principle quoted by Paul when he said, “Doth not nature itself teach you, etc.?” Since it is an apostolic injunction, “If thou mayest be free, choose it rather,” it does not need inspiration to add, “but in choosing to be free you come under certain obligations which you will be bound to discharge. Attend to them with jealous conscientiousness.” Nature, common sense, and our natural sense of justice teach us that. Enough, however, upon this most egregious sham.
Another equally common and pernicious form of mock spirituality is the superfinely heavenly-minded creature who never likes to hear about money or any secular work in connection with religion. “What a terrible waste of time we had this morning,” said brother Spiritual to his friend Body. “To think of that number of Christian men spending pretty nearly two hours in talking about finances! I felt ashamed to be there and to hear about the poverty of ministers and the hundreds of pounds wanted for foreign missions, as if everything depended upon the pounds, shillings, and pence.” “Well,” said Body, “you surprise me. I thought the address we listened to was one of the best, wisest, and most timely I have heard for many a day. Like you, I felt ashamed as I heard of the want of liberality which has caused so much poverty, but I thought it was high time we were all brought to book, and stirred up to do better. For my part, I should like to put a good piece of ribs of beef on every poor minister’s table next Sunday, and I should be glad to pop an extra £20 into his pocket to rig out his wife and children with new clothes.” Good brother Spiritual smiled with benign compassion upon Body, who was evidently carnal, a mere babe in grace, and he mildly replied, “But the secret of all this mischief is the low state of grace in the churches, and we must begin by raising the spiritual tone. Once get our members to enjoy the higher life, and all will be well. Now, if that assembly had spent its time in prayer to God, instead of planning how to raise money, they would have drawn down the power from on high, and funds would have come in rightly enough. I confess it grieves me to have so much precious time wasted with business.”
Body nodded his head, for he very much agreed with his friend in theory, though he totally differed from him as to the present practical matter in hand. He saw that brother Spiritual would get no good from anything he had to say, and therefore, softly humming a tune, he trotted off, poor carnal man that he was, to relieve his feelings by giving a five pound note to a poor minister who, as far as Spiritual was concerned, would probably live upon vegetables for a quarter of a century if he waited for the spiritual tone of the churches to be raised to its proper point. “Ah,” said Body to himself, “the good man is very right, if the churches were more Christlike the Lord’s exchequer would be full to overflowing; but then, as they are not all they ought to be, what is to be done by those who see it and regret it? Suppose every one of us should just blame the churches and there let the matter rest, would that mend it? Who and what are the churches but a company of excellent brethren like Spiritual, and a lot of poor stupids like Body? Come, then, Body, old fellow, it is just you and Spiritual who want toning and tuning; what note can you run up to at this time? You are nothing like so good as you ought to be, and I am afraid even Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith, good souls as they are, will never make you perfect, but is that any reason why poor ministers should starve?”
There are many around us of the school represented by Spiritual. They are ethereal and sublime: some say unearthly and absurd, but that is a scandalous observation. They have listened to the music of the spheres, and the tinkling of a collection torments their tympanum. The Lord’s work ought to be done by faith, and if people had faith there would be none of these miserable appeals for money. Pew rents they regard as abominable, every one ought to sit as free as his neighbor, and rather more so. We should trust in God to pay the charwoman, and the gas bill, and the repairs, and the other trifles. The minister — well, it is a question if there should be any, but there can be no question whatever that it would be very advisable for him to keep a school, or cut hair, or sell fried fish, or sweep chimneys, or practice as a herbalist, or follow some other respectable calling, so that he might not be a burden to his brethren. If he must be supported by the church, the proper way is, according to these superior people, to leave the matter to his faith, and let him be fed like a dog whenever the dear people choose to pitch him a bone. The Scripture says, “The laborer is worthy of his hire;” but as it would be degrading to a pastor to pay him regularly and fairly, like a hireling, let him be exalted into a more dependent condition, and live on as slender a diet as a poor relation.
We have known deeply spiritual persons apply to an Orphanage for the admission of a poor child, but when they have been asked whether they would subscribe to the institution, they have replied that they could not do it, for they would by so doing have “fellowship with system,” whatever that may mean. To obtain the benefit of other people’s charity it seems would be right, but to contribute yourself would be wrong. The same order of sublime beings denounce all total-abstinence societies because the world is doomed to go to the bad, and it is the duty of Christians to scramble through it and out of it as speedily as possible: to reform it is no business of theirs. Societies for promoting education, thrifty habits, and social happiness, are very proper things to be conducted by unregenerate people, but saints must, not touch them, nor do a hand’s turn to improve or bless anybody. Even in the matter of Dorcas societies, or hospital collections, they are excused; the heavenly citizenship comes in again, and delivers them from lending their beast, or subscribing their twopences; Samaritans are good when they attend to such carnal matters, but the true seed of Israel, whose portion is on high, are bound to abstain from such worldliness.
We have known a very spiritual body so abstracted from all sublunary things, as to forget to drop in the threepenny bit which had been carefully selected for the collection, and somehow we have thought more highly of the poor dame who pinched herself all the week in little dainties that she might in her quiet way give her shilling to the offering. The “Be ye warmed, be ye filled” gentlemen and ladies are, as a rule, very heavenlyminded in their own esteem, but we question whether the angels are of the same opinion. They fuss about that wonderful point in the fourth verse of the fifteenth chapter of this and that, but no ragged school sees them toiling amidst the filthy and the depraved, no soup kitchen brings down upon them the blessings of the poor, no maternal society makes babe and mother happy in the hour of need. They see a starving man and give him — a tract! \\is consumptive wife, whose bones may be seen through her skin, receives — an orthodox leaflet. What more can they expect from those pure spirits whose fellowship with flesh and blood is over, and who only linger here to let admiring people learn what heaven must be, where such shining ones are to be seen in every street.
We do not like to be uncharitable, but we think our nose detects the faintest possible smell of hypocrisy in all this. Is it so? or are we mistaken?
When a man’s view of life is always taken from the penurious side, is he after all the model of a Christian? Is the most miserly mode of worship, the most beggarly method of supporting Christian ordinances, quite sure to be the Scriptural one? When a man’s grace moves his tongue but never opens his hand it can hardly be a very real and powerful force. The truth is we do not believe in the gaseous state of mind which makes men soar aloft among the clouds, but leaves to others such practical duties as the helping of the poor, the support .of the minister, the spread of missions, and the teaching of the Arab children. We would remind all the super-spiritual of the old story of the beggar who asked the priest for a sovereign, and being refused came down to a crown, a shilling, and a farthing, but obtained nothing whatever. “Ah, then, holy father,” said he, “will you not in your charity give me your blessing.” “That I will, my son,” replied the reverend gentleman, “with pleasure; kneel down, and receive it.” The beggar, however, declined the favor, and went on his way, remarking that if it had been worth one single farthing it was clear that his reverence would not have given it away. Never let it come to this, that we dream about heaven and forget to relieve the needs of earth. To sunder ourselves in sympathy from our fellow-men is certainly inhuman, and therefore it can hardly be divine. We are men, and all that concerns men concerns us. We are Christian men, and therefore all the more pitiful and compassionate, and if’ in addition to all this we have any claim to rank among the highly spiritual let us prove it by the pro-eminent practicalness of our lives, the generosity of our gifts, in a word, by the reality of our profession.
THE OLIVE ONE of the most common and striking objects along the Mediterranean shore is the olive tree. One rides through gardens, we had almost said forests of olives. In going southward through France the olive first appears in a smaller form, and reminds the traveler of a large laurel, or a Kentish filbert tree trained in the shape of a hollow cup; but as you near the sea coast and enter upon a warmer atmosphere, it becomes quite a forest tree for dimensions, and its form is more irregular because it is too large for training, and is left to its own sweet will. Some of our mountain ashes remind us of the olive; indeed, many writers place it in the same family as the ash, The silver gray, the sober green, the emerald drab, — we do not know what to call it — -the faint hue, of the olive makes us sadly happy, and happily sad by turns. It is a comfort in winter to see the sun reflected from its silver leaves as they twinkle in the soft breeze; joy dances in the heart at; the sight: but in other moods, especially when the sun is gone, the tree looks almost funereal and faded, as if it wished to be green and could not, and therefore in despair resolved that its leaves should wither, but they in their self-will sulkily refused to complete the process.
The tree has many charms for us, it enables us to imagine the scenery of the Holy Land, and makes us feel at least a little nearer the theater of Bible history. We sat down at the foot of a conical hill, which was covered from base to summit with venerable olives, and we experienced a day-dream of Gethsemane, so vivid that memory renews it now. Those writhing, twisting, tortured stems looked to us like an embodied agony. There was scarce an olive among all we looked upon but what was contorted and snake-like as to its form; with its trunk divided, its heart laid bare, and its bark turned inside out, each tree looked as if it had been flayed alive. The group of trees looked like wrestlers condemned to stand for ever in attitudes strained and painful. We almost expected to hear some OLEA AGONISTES groan aloud in harmony with the terrible energy which its outward form revealed. Laocoon with the serpents about him was not more pressed and wrung than many a tree appeared to be. Musing on, we thought we saw what it cost a living thing to fetch oil out of the flinty rock.
That marvel is wrought by the olive, but see what it costs! There are other rocks out of which the Lord of the olive garden hath fetched both wine and oil, and at what cost let us consider as best we may. A form more marred than that of any other of the sons of men reveals the labor of his soul in producing for us that oil which makes man’s face to shine.
Ever green in all weathers, the olive is not afraid of the wintry blast; it has not the bright vivid green of deciduous trees, but it modestly wears a color which it can retain. It is true it saddens the landscape in summer in comparison with the livelier greens, but then it gladdens it in winter with a verdure for which we are so grateful that we cannot criticize it. Its beauty, though not brilliant, is perennial. We remember one who rejoiced in spirit, but not with the hilarity of earth; his joy, which no man took from him, was secret, solemn, mysterious, but also unspeakable and full of glory. Such joy he from amid the olive grove of Gethsemane offers to us if we will drink of his cup. With the oil of gladness will he anoint us, even as he is anointed above his fellows, if we also love righteousness and hate wickedness.
If I remember rightly, I think they told me that the only manure they give the olive is filthy rags. Those worn out woolen rags, which are of no use for any other purpose, are buried near its roots, and it transmutes them into oil. I dare not push the parallel, but what I may not dwell upon in words lies gratefully in my heart.
The olive tree, when old, renews its youth by means of the branches which grow out of its roots and trunk. An old olive bears some resemblance to a pollard willow, with many young shoots from the original stem. It lives by dying, and flourishes by its own decay. Fit memento of One who, except he had died, would have remained alone, but who being dead bringeth forth much fruit: prophecy also of that continuous succession by which the body of Christ shall live on in perpetual youth.
There is a capital summing up of nearly all our information about the olive in Maria Calcott’s” Scriptural Herbal,” and as, dear reader, we are resting now, we will let that fair lady speak to you instead of us. “With reverence I write of the olive. The olive, symbol of peace and forgiveness, was the firs[green thing seen by that pure family, whom faith and hope had led into the ark, when the dread punishment of the everlasting God rushed in the floods of heaven, and from the broken up springs of the deep, upon all flesh. F9 “So was the olive a type of that greater mercy and forgiveness, when, in the fullness of time, the law with all its ceremonial, its feasts under tabernacles shaded by the olive, and its ever-burning lamps fed with the consecrated oil of the olive, should have passed away, and the Savior and Redeemer be born. “While he condescended to remain on earth, where may we, on so many important occasions, trace his steps, as on the Mount of Olives? There he sat when he wept over Jerusalem. In a village of that Mount he condescended to human friendship, and proved his human nature by affection and by grief, being moved like as we are. Finally, the garden on the Mount of Olives witnessed his agony and resignation. There the inward sacrifice was completed by the words, ‘Father, if it be possible, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.’ And from the Mount of Olives he visibly ascended to the Father, having gained the victory over death, and begun the reign of peace on earth, good will towards man. “The olive branch brought to Noah by the dove was not only a sign of peace, but of the recovered fertility of the earth, The olive was to form a main part of the riches of the land promised to Abraham. Moses and Joshua tell the people of their inheritance of olive trees, which they had not planted. “The beautiful fable of Jotham tells of the fatness of the olive, whereby ‘they honor God and man.’ The oil of the lamps of the temple, the anointing oil for the altar and the priests, and the oil of the first-fruits, were humble offerings in honor of God. The anointing of the kings, by command of God, was an especial honor to man; and hence one of the Oriental customs of hospitality was, and still is, to offer to a respected guest oil, generally perfumed, to anoint his head, after having refreshed him with water for his feet. “The prodigious quantities of oil produced in ancient Judea may be estimated from the number of measures annually sent by Solomon to the King of Tyre, besides what was required for the home consumption of a people who used vegetable oil, instead of any animal fat, in cookery; who consumed little, if any, wax for candles in common domestic life; and, therefore, depended for artificial light upon the oils procured from seeds and fruits, of which the olive was the chief. “It appears, from the epistle to the Romans, that the Jews grafted their olives, using the stock of the wild olive as an improvement to the fruit. “In Italy, where the Greek method was probably followed, the olives were only occasionally grafted; and the olive tree was generally propagated, as it still is, by removing the suckers, which spring up in abundance annually from the roots of the old trees, and planting them in fresh soil Thus managed, the olive soon comes into bearing; and there are few trees which can compare with it for length of life, and a long succession of productive seasons. “Some of the most ancient in the world still grow on the Mount of Olives, especially in the garden of Gethsemane. Travelers have doubted whether, as the poor monks who show them say, they are the same under which Jesus sat. First, they object the age of the trees, and then that Titus cut down every tree, in order to furnish himself with warlike machines, during the siege of Jerusalem. “To the last objection might be answered, that olive wood is little fitted for such purposes, and that most probably the young trees at any rate would escape; besides, Titus would hardly have been at the pains to dig up the large spreading roots of the olives, whose nature it is to fix themselves to rocks and stones, and which must have had many a hold in the fissures and rents of the limestone rocks of the Mount of Olives. Though no other trees remained, the annual shoots which arose* from those ancient roots may surely be considered as branches of the very trees, so precious to the imagination of the Christian pilgrim. “As to the objection founded on the age of the trees in the garden of Gethsemane, there are other olive trees which claim an equal date. For instance, there is at Gericomio, on the mountain road between Tivoli and Palestrina, an ancient olive tree of large size, which, unless the documents are purposely falsified, stood as a boundary between two possessions even before the Christian era, and in the second century was looked upon as very ancient. That tree produced a large crop annually, even so late as 1820; and may perhaps be still, as it was then, the pride of the neighborhood. “Pliny says the Athenians of his time showed an olive tree, which they said was coeval with the city, and therefore sixteen centuries old; and he mentions an olive yard, planted by the first of the Scipios, about seven centuries before he wrote, which was then in vigorous bearing. “Modern travelers tell us of aged olive trees, near the banks of the Ilyssus, which probably witnessed the discourses of ‘Divine philosophy, From heav’n descended to the low-roof’d house Of Socrates.’ But a wiser than Socrates sat under the trees of :Mount Olivet; and his precepts, dark at the moment of utterance, but made light by the one great and pure sacrifice, changed the condition of man, and placed him under the safeguard of a wisdom to which all human philosophy is but vanity, ‘ Loses discountenanced, And like folly shows.’ “The oil of Jewry was, in ancient times, as much valued for its excellent properties in food and medicine, as for its purity and quantity, The leaves were also used by the ancient surgeons, in the composition of many plasters and liniments. “The timber of the olive tree has been in all times esteemed excellent for furniture and ornamental carving. Homer says the nuptial bed of Ulysses was of olive wood. The club of Polyphemus was also of olive; and from that lofty poet, who was a keen observer of nature, whether in the great or the minute, we find that the handles of tools for domestic use, as well as those of warlike weapons, were of the same solid wood. In modern times the little town of Chiaveri, near Genoa, is famous for its light and elegant olive wood emirs; and the delicate closeness of the grain renders it fit for painters’ palettes; the exceeding beauty of which, in the color and veining of the wood, shows how judiciously it was applied in the temple of Solomon in the carvings and posts of the doors, as well as in the foundation for the gold work of the cherubims, within the Holy of Holies. “At a distance, the olive tree resembles the gray willow in color, though the hue may be a shade grayer. “The stems of old trees appear like three or four pollard willows congregated together; and the grayish-brown bark, showing every here and there the very white and bleached wood beneath, wherever it has been exposed to the weather adds to the likeness, but there the resemblance stops. The olive is ever green; and, instead of catkins, produces bunches of whitish flowers, succeeded by a fruit about the size of the sloe, which is more or less abundant, and larger or smaller, according to the soil and the season. The crop seldom fails; when it does, it appears to be from some early blight, which makes it shed its flowers prematurely; and this it was subject to in ancient Judea, as well as in the comparatively neglected modern olive yard. “The olive affords a double harvest. The first in or about August; when the fully ripe fruit drops from the tree upon sheets or mats, spread under it for the purpose of receiving the rich produce undamaged. The second’ harvest is about October, or later in hilly places; when the tree is beaten, and the fruit, as at the first, caught on sheets.” [We write these lines just as we are leaving for the Riviera. We hope to be in time to see the poor people still gathering the remnants of the last picking and gathering up the windfalls, which often lie quite thickly on the paths by the side of the high-road. The tree seems to devote itself alone to fruit bearing. Careless of its beauty, it finds its beauty in its fatness. Be it so with us.]NOTES. ON Monday afternoon, October 25th, the Pastors opened the New Schools in Richmond Street, East Street, Walworth, to accommodate a mission connected with the Metropolitan Tabernacle, which has grown out of the work of Mr. Dunn. Several of the neighboring ministers were kindly present, and uttered a cheering word. The two rooms, one above the other, are plain, well ventilated, lofty, and moderately spacious. £300 remained to he raised before the opening ceremony in Richmond Street; after it the sum needed was £150. The friends adjourned to the Tabernacle school-room to tea, a numerous and cheerful hand, all delighted to be engaged in a good work, and to have a shake of the hand with the pastors. The prayermeeting was a mighty one, full of pleading and prevailing: at the close the pastor quietly said that some £150 more was required to open the new schools free of debt, that he would give £50 of it, and that he did not mean to leave the Tabernacle till the other £100 was paid, for he could not endure to have the Lord’s work in debt. Amid a little joyous excitement friends came up to the table with offerings large and small; and though the moneyed friends were most of them absent the sum was soon made up, and with the singing of the doxology, the host of believers moved on, “a day’s march nearer home,” joyfully ready for the next enterprise which the Lord may lay upon them.
Monday, November 1st, was another joyful missionary night, for another member of the church, who is also a student of the College, was publicly commended to God for work in China. That honored servant of God, Mr’.
Hudson Taylor, was present, and gave a soul-stirring address, and then our young brother, Mr. Joshua Turner, and two sisters in the Lord, were made subjects of special prayer, all the people saying Amen as one by one they were brought before the throne of grace. May the missionary spirit continue and increase among us, and then the writing of these notes will be joyful work. It ought also to be said that the senior pastor was very lovingly prayed for by all, and the petition was expressed many times that his rest might be of great service to him. It ought also to be noted that in order to receive into fellowship the numbers coming forward to join the church it was needful, as of late on several former occasions, to hold a church-meeting simultaneously with the prayer-meeting, Mr. James Spurgeon presiding. Thus the sower and reaper are both at work at the same time. Let God be magnified.
On Friday, November 5, a great meeting was held at the Tabernacle to bid farewell to the Pastor, and to aid the College. Five of the students, Mr. Tooley, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Mackey, Mr. Fitch, and Mr. Josephs, addressed the meeting with remarkable power. The enthusiasm for the College which they stirred up among the friends was delightful to witness.
The night was very cheerless out of doors, but within the Tabernacle the crowd was so great that no one could have supposed that the weather was bad. The Pastors were both greatly cheered by this loving meeting.
Sabbath, November 7. — Sixty-nine persons were received into Church fellowship, the gains of another fruitful month. The Lord be praised. Month by month our number has been increased, and perhaps never more rapidly than at present. Our care is great, and our examination of candidates very rigid, but they come none the less, perhaps all the more.
The Special Services, conducted at the Tabernacle by our brethren, Mayers, Stott, and Sawday, from November 12 to 17, were attended with such blessed results that it was resolved to continue them throughout the following week.
The general health of the orphans is remarkably good, and a gracious work is still bearing fruit. Thinking of our two hundred and forty boys, we are reminded that Christmas is coming. Will our friends help us to make their eyes bright and their hearts glad, as in former years?
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle. By Mr. J. A. Spurgeon: — October 21st, twenty-one; October 28th, twenty-five; November 4th, twenty-four.