DR.ALEXANDER was often heard to say in substance as follows: “Clergymen, authors, teachers, and other persons of reflective habits, lose much health by losing sleep; and this because they carry their trains of thought to bed with them. In my earlier years, I greatly injured myself by studying my sermons in bed. The best thing one can do is, to take care of the fast half-hour before retiring. Devotion being ended, something should be done to quiet the strings of the harp, which otherwise would go on to vibrate. Let me commend to you this maxim, which I somewhere learnt from Dr. Watts, who says he had it in his boyhood from the lips of Dr. John Owen: Break the chain of thoughts at bed-time by something at once serious and agreeable. By all means break the continuity, or sleep will be vexed, if not even driven away. If you wish to know my method of finding sleep, it is to turn over the pages of my English Bible without plan, and without allowing my mind to fasten on any, leaving any place the moment it ceases to interest me. Some tranquilizing word often becomes a divine message of peace: ‘ He giveth his beloved sleep.’ “.
LADY BOUNTIFUL’S LEGACY.
ALL last winter, in the sunniest corner of the south window of our especial sanctum, there stood a common garden flower-pot containing a little plant which we deemed a marvel of grace and beauty. We had sown some lemon pips the preceding autumn with a lively hope that one or more of them might possess the wonderful life-germ, and we were well rewarded for our confidence. In due time a frail little stem and two of the tiniest leaves that ever coaxed their way through the dark mold made their appearance, and from that moment it was watched, and watered, and tended with assiduous care. So frail at first, and delicate, that a drop of dew would have overwhelmed it, it nevertheless soon gained courage, the tender stem strengthened, one by one other and larger leaves unfolded themselves, and the little plant stood perfect and complete. It was a very little thing, but it gave great pleasure; and though some of the younger members of the household would occasionally ask, with just a suspicion of sarcasm in their tone, “If there were any lemons yet?” we cherished our little plant even more lovingly, and thanked God who, with infinite tenderness towards his suffering children, often deepens and intensifies their enjoyment of daily mercies, throwing a special charm around their common comforts, and causing a leaf, a flower, or the song of a bird, to whisper sweet “comfortable thoughts” in their hearts.
But this winter our Heavenly Father has given us a better plant to care for.
The little tree of the “Book Fund” sprang from as small a beginning as the lemon plant itself, and we fondly hope it is as surely a creation of the Lord’s hand. Great was the lovingkindness which brought this plant into our sick chamber and gave us the loving commission to “dress and keep it.” With what joy we received the charge, and how happy the work made us, words fail us to tell; but since the little tree has grown rapidly under the sunshine of the Lord’s blessing, we thought our friends would be interested to know how much and what manner of fruit it bears.
At first we intended only to distribute one hundred copies of Mr. Spurgeon’s “Lectures to my Students,” but we received so many kind donations from friends who sympathized with our wishes that we soon became ambitious, and without discontinuing the distribution of “Lectures” we longed to supply needy ministers with the precious volumes of the “Treasury of David,” Sermons, etc. This we have been enabled to do, and the work goes on daily. Without any solicitation friends have sent in £182, and though our dear Mr. Editor thinks they might not like their names to be published, yet if he should one day * The beloved writer, with profound reverence for our editorial authority, placed this paper in our hand with a great deal of diffidence, and coaxingly entreated us to alter and amend it, and make it presentable. It is not in our heart to touch a word of it, we could not improve it, and we do not want to partake in the honor of it. Every line cost the suffering writer pain, and gave her joy, and it shall speak for itself. We cannot, dare not alter it. change his mind they are all ready for him faithfully registered, and would look very nice in his Sword and Trowel. We keep also a strict debtor and creditor account, in which said dear Mr. Editor takes great interest, being quite as delighted as ourselves when any increase to the fund is announced.
Better still, the Lord’s “book of remembrance” is open, and therein assuredly the names of all those who aid his toiling servants will be recorded. We are still prepared to give the “Lectures” to all ministers who apply direct to us. Up to this date we have sent out five hundred and fifty “Lectures,” each one with an earnest prayer for God’s blessing, and we have had many delightful proofs that this has been bestowed. One minister thus writes — “I may also say for your encouragement that after I received your copy (Lectures) Mr. Mayers kindly sent me one which I gave to a poor brother in a neighboring village, who has not been to our College, and the effect on his heart has been most blessed; after reading it he went to prayer, like myself, and next Lord’s-day he and his congregation were in tears.”
The students of Pontypool and Haverfordwest Colleges, and the members of the East-end Training Institute, were especially anxious to possess the “Lectures,” and were joyfully supplied, while ministers of all denominations have eagerly accepted the gift.
As yet, with three or four exceptions, the “Treasury of David” has been given only to pastors once students of the Pastors’ College, but as our work prospers we may hope to extend the boon to others also. We have had the pleasure of giving 49 Entire sets of the “Treasury” (4 vols. each). 121 Volumes of” Treasury” to complete sets. 167 Volumes Sermons to those already possessing “Treasury.’” 100 Volumes of Dr. Fish’s “Handbook of Revivals.” 4 Copies of the “Interpreter,” and a few of Mr. Spurgeon’s lesser works.
How greatly these gifts are needed, and how thoroughly they are appreciated will be best seen by some extracts from letters which we here subjoin.
A pastor with a salary of £80 a-year writes thus: — “Your great gift to me came safely to hand this morning. I cannot command language that will adequately convey to you the thanks I desire to offer. You will believe me when I say that the gift, and the way in which it came to me, thoroughly broke me down, and tears of joy flowed freely.” “I beg to acknowledge with ten thousand thanks the receipt of the precious Treasury of David.’ I have long sighed for these volumes, but they were out ‘of my reach. I cannot tell you with what delight I receive them.” “My salary is £60 a-year. I have a wife and family. You will be able to conceive my feelings (on receiving four vols. of ‘ Treasury ‘) when I tell you that these are the only new books I have had for three years past.” “I was not educated at the Pastors’ College, and fear, therefore, that I have no claim, but if mistaken in this I shall be most thankful for any help of the kind you may be able to render me. My library is small, and minus several books which I am daily thirsting to possess, but thirsting in vain, inasmuch as there are nine of us to subsist upon £100 per annum. It costs so much to clothe and feed my boys and girls, that I have nothing left for the clothing and feeding of my bookshelves. If it is not in your power to assist me, I will not murmur, for I have become accustomed to disappointment, but will labor on as hitherto with the Master’s help.” “A thousand thanks to you, and also to the kind friends who have aided you. The four vols. of Sermons received safely to-day. They are a splendid addition to my small library, and will be highly valued and greatly used.” “Through the long illness of my dear wife . . . I have been unable to add a single book to my very small stock for the last two years, therefore any present of a book is most thankfully accepted May the Lord raise up many other friends, so that you may be able to help poor ministers yet more and more.” “The prospect of having a new book seems to put new life into me.
I have often longed to have the “Treasury of David,’ but could not afford to purchase it. After buying necessary things there is nothing left for buying books.” “It would have been next to impossible for me to have purchased them (the volumes of Treasury) at the published price.” “Very heartily do I thank you for your kindness, it is most opportune. Affliction has been in my home ever since the first week in this year (1875), and the money that would have gone for books, will have to go towards paying a ten months’ doctor’s bill.” “I have long desired the whole of the ‘ Treasury of David.’
Mr. Spurgeon gave me the first vol. (which is all I possess), but I had given up all hope of possessing the remaining volumes. You will understand this when I tell you I have a wife and five little ones to support, also aged parents, one of whom is now in his 86th year, and £100 is my only income to meet all, so that out of it I dare not attempt to buy such a valuable work as the ‘Treasury.’ “My family has increased very rapidly, while my income has remained nearly stationary, consequently during the past two years I have not been able to buy above three or four books. I have been compelled to be one of those whom our president addressed in his lecture to ‘ Workers with slender apparatus.’” Perhaps in dosing this short statement my dear Mr. Editor would graciously accord me the privilege of laying aside for a moment that formal and perplexing” we,” and allow me to say how deeply I am personally indebted to the dear friends who have furnished me with the means of making others happy. For me there has been a double blessing. I have been both recipient and donor, and in such a case as this it is hard to say which is the “more blessed.” My days have been made indescribably bright and happy by the delightful duties connected with the work and its little arrangements, and so many loving messages have come to me in letters, such kind words, such hearty good wishes, such earnest, fervent prayers have surrounded me that I seem to be living in an atmosphere of blessing and love, and can truly say with the psalmist, “my cup runneth over.” So, with a heart full of gratitude to God, and deep thankfulness to my dear friends, I bid them for the present a loving farewell.
SUSIESPURGEON. MESSRS. MOODY AND SANKEY IN GREAT BRITIAN THE avowed object of Mr. Moody in setting foot on our shores was to win ten thousand ‘souls for Christ; and he landed at Liverpool in the middle of June, 1873, under somewhat ‘gloomy circumstances, such as would have damped the zeal of any man whose all-sustaining faith had not borne him aloft above difficulties and earthly care. Two of his most influential friends were dead; and of those who were left few expected him, and to judge by appearances none very particularly wished for his services. Yet, as a beginning would have to be made somewhere, York — “ cold and dead” — was the chosen spot. Late at night “he reached the city where very few had ever heard his name.”
Humanly speaking, a more unpromising starting-point could not have been selected. The inhabitants of cathedral cities have never been remarkable for their zeal in the promotion of religious revivals, and this was most emphatically true of the polite churchgoers whose homes clustered around York Minster. Having been used to have everything done in an elegant, orthodox, ecclesiastical manner, they were the less inclined to tolerate an invader of their primly-kept parterre, who had only one aim in life, whose speech was as homely as his illustrations were bold and original, and who, to crown all other disqualifications, was totally unknown to fame. The congregation which first welcomed the evangelists was characteristic of the place and of the times; it assembled “in one of the small rooms of the Young Men’s Christian Association,” and “eight persons only were in attendance.” Learn not to despise the day of small things by remembering that this company of eight was “the first of that long series of revival meetings which were destined to form an era in the history of England, Scotland, and Ireland.”
Yet even in aristocratic York an impression of a kind was made before the allotted month of service had expired; although the clergy looked on with lofty disdain, while the Dissenters, according to their denominational bias, timidly shrank from abetting the cause of men who were not of their school. The common people at any rate soon discovered that strangers of no ordinary caliber were among them. The earnestness of the visitors was manifest. The flaming solicitude of the preacher struck numbers with awe, and Mr. Sankey sang for a purpose. The Bible expositions were thoroughly original and effective, so * D. L. Moody and His Work. By W. H. Daniels, A.in., Chicago. With Portraits and Illustrations. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1875. that “people who went to church with no particular religious impressions were often brought under the influence of the truth.” The harvest at York was no mean one — many were brought into the Savior’s fold, and both singer and preacher rejoiced over the spoil.
On taking leave of York to continue the campaign in Sunderland the outlook was still unpromising. Only one Nonconformist minister held out his hand to welcome the itinerant gospellers, and this fact immediately awakened sectarian prejudices which occasioned the main body of the pastors to keep in the background, if not actually to discountenance the work in progress “We can never go on in this way. It is easier fighting the devil than fighting the ministers,” said Mr. Moody. A slight advance was made when an invitation carne to preach before the Young Men’s Christian Association; but when this was done, and the meetings were all ablaze in consequence of the largeness of the blessings poured out upon them, not a few influential persons even became embittered against the Young Men’s Institution because of its connection with scented Calvinistic theology” the Wesleyans the evangelists. Having would have found reason for .justifying a determined opposition had not the wise counsel of Dr. Punshon led them to adopt an opposite course. Pamphlets and flyleaves more or less bitterly hostile to the American innovators were thickly sown among the crowd.
Some lifted up the warning voice because the entire affair was different from anything with which they were acquainted; others were offended because people were converted too fast; and a few insisted that singing the gospel was a snare and a sham. “Poor Mr. Moody! His soul was among lions. Even the sweet singing of Mr. Sankey could not calm all the disturbances which were raised by his vigorous discourses.”
At Newcastle an era of better things was inaugurated. The battle with the ministers and with prejudices in high places was now virtually over, and Mr. Moody was master of the situation. One after another the pastors came forward to wish the work God-speed and to render assistance. The best people in the town, in common with the lowest, came in crowds to the preaching services, to the noon prayer-meetings, and to the popular Bible readings. The searching words of the preacher went abroad far and wide to hit their mark in most unexpected places. The hardened and the abandoned were rescued from ruin. Half-and-half professors felt their first love rekindled; and “More than one minister of the gospel, who found himself without a satisfactory experience, gave himself to Christ anew, and came into a joyful sense of pardon and acceptance.” There was one poor soul who felt that he could not come to Christ because the fetters were about his soul and Satan was hard upon him. Dr. Lowe read to him the passage relating to the Pool of Bethesda; but still the inquirer was desponding — his case clearly resembled that of the impotent folk, but still he could not for some reason or another lay hold on the Savior: — “‘You are impotent?’ ‘Yes; I cannot help myself a bit.’ ‘You are blind? you just now said the devil was throwing dust in your eyes.’ ‘True.’ ‘And you have had this infirmity as long as thirty-eight years, have you not. ‘Yes; just about that time,’ said the inquirer, ‘Now, hear what Jesus said: — And when Jesus saw him lying, and knew that he had been a long time in that case, he said unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?” Now, my friend, that is just what Christ is saying to you: “Wilt thou be made whole?”‘ Quick as lightning the truth flashed in upon the poor man’s mind. He sprang to his feet, shouting, ‘ I am free! Where is Mr. Moody?’ And away he rushed to find him; threw his arms about him, nearly carrying him off his feet; seized both his bands, and shook them joyful]y, exclaiming, ‘I am free.
I am free. A number of other towns besides Newcastle, York, and Sunderland were visited, the most marvelous results following. In the meantime Scotland was looking on with wonder, and having received unimpeachable testimony that all was orthodox and straightforward, she invited the evangelists to Edinburgh. “What can such a man as! do up there amongst those great Scotch divines?” said Mr. Moody. The answer came when he really went, and when the romantic capital of the north was stirred, as she has probably not been stirred since the Reformation days, when John Knox preached in the cathedral, and Craig in the Cowgate. What was called” the voracity” of the evangelist’s faith astonished everybody, while his “use of the Bible was greatly enjoyed.” The interest felt in the movement by Edinburgh soon extended to the whole of Scotland; newspapers devoted a large portion of their space to the daily history of the revivals, while the multitudes who thronged the meeting places were largely composed of the elite of a city which calls itself the modern Athens. “In thousands of Christian households,” we are told, “the deepest interest was felt by parents for their children, and by masters and mistresses for their servants; and so universal was this that Dr. Horatius Bonar declares his belief that there was scarcely a Christian household in all Edinburgh in which there were not one or more persons converted during this revival.” The voice of slander was raised; so was also the cry of heresy; the press poured forth its vituperations, and letters of violent abuse were plentifully received; but still the wave of revival swept forward. The following affords us an insight into the character of the work carried on at this time: — “Edinburgh is a city of wealth and leisure. Large numbers of persons who have either made or inherited fortunes reside here; and among the very highest classes of Edinburgh society were found the heartiest admirers of, and the most enthusiastic workers with, the evangelists from across the sea. But there are also, in this center of wealth and learning, a good many educated infidels, who have united themselves into clubs for the purpose of preaching their unbelief in much the same way as Christians unite in churches to enjoy the fellowship of faith. Among the notable cases of conversion was the chairman of one of these infidel clubs. He came to a meeting, intending not only to ridicule it, but hoping also to raise a controversy with Mr. Moody, and thus practically break it up. In this, however, he was altogether unsuccessful, and would have been thrust out of the house for his interruption, if the speaker had not interposed in his behalf. He remained for some time after the congregation were dismissed; and Mr. Moody, seeing him, inquired if he wanted to be a Christian. He replied that he did not, and that he had a very poor opinion of Christians. ‘ Would you like to have us pray for you?’ said Mr. Moody. ‘ Oh yes; I have no objection to your trying your hand on me, if you like; but I think you will find me a match for you.’ Mr. Moody kneeled down beside the scoffer, prayed for him earnestly and tenderly, and then left him, promising to pray for him still further at home. It was not long. before he was brought under deep conviction of sin, resigned his presidency of the infidel club, and earnestly and faithfully sought the Savior. At a subsequent meeting in Edinburgh, out of thirty persons seeking the Lord, seventeen were members of this infidel club,-one of them its chairman, the successor of him whose conversion has just been related; and who has since become a successful evangelist.”
The work in Edinburgh was repeated in many other towns of Scotland such as Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, etc., and with similar results, the people going so far as to tolerate Mr. Sankey’s “unsanctified musical machine.”
The campaign in Ireland which succeeded was still more remarkable when we take into account the national prejudices of the population. In Dublin the Great Exhibition building was hired for the meetings as being the only place in the city capable of accommodating the multitudes who came to hear. This success of the evangelists in the Emerald Isle was a fine testimony to the power of the simple gospel; for while no fierce denunciations of the apostate church were heard from the platform, the converts came alike from the ranks of Romanists as well as from the houses of the Protestants. The Romish leaders raised the voice of warning, but to no purpose; and their machinations were aided by a club of atheists, who penetrated into the inquiry rooms to endeavor to turn the whole into controversy. As an illustration of Mr. Moody’s carefulness in minor matters, it may be mentioned that he took pains to have the vast area Notes.
Thanks, a thousand thanks, for the noble presents to the Orphanage which this month we chronicle, which not only gave us a right royal Christmas, but have cheered, and adorned, and nourished our little troop in many ways. Kind donors we thank you heartily. May the Lord be gracious unto you.
We came home to find some seventy converts waiting to be added to the church. The Lord had not suffered the good work to flag. During the year 510 were added to the church, 208 went to strengthen or form other churches,66 went home to glory, and we have remaining a clear increase of 136. Our number is now 4,813. We must win for our Lord at least one soul each Sabbath or our loss by death cannot be made up.
Our Colportage Society now occupies forty-three districts. If we were not cramped for room we would give the Secretary’s excellent report. New districts have been taken up at Blyth, Yarm, Reading, Cardiff, and Upper Broughton. All this is hopeful, but, alas, some stations have to be given up because local supporters fail, and the Society cannot make up the deficiency. Presteign is a well worked region, but will have to be abandoned for lack of £20 a year. The Society does all it can with the means at its disposal. One of these days it may find more friends; it deserves to do so.
Several of our students are settling over pastorates. Many churches are unable to obtain ministers: the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. We hope to have a prosperous year in the College, for we commence it with most encouraging tokens. The missionary spirit is alive among us, and we hope to find many recruits for the missionary army among our men.
Jan. 24. — Our dear friend Mr., Hudson Taylor, of the China Inland Mission, brought three of his missionaries to the Tabernacle, and most earnest prayer was presented on their behalf. This is one of the noblest enterprises now carried on by the Christian Church.
We have an appeal from Mr. Harvey for a medical mission to the Chinese in Bliamo, where the beloved brethren Stevenson and Soltau have gone.
We are sorry that we could not insert it this month, for it is certainly one of the most admirable suggestions we have lately seen. We hope our readers subscribe to “China’s Millions,” and if so they are well posted up. The first volume of that magazine may be had for one shilling.
The congregation in Gloucester under the pastoral care of our brother John Bloomfield are about to build schools as a memorial of Robert Raikes. We wonder this has not been done before. If ever man deserved a memorial, he does; and the form which is suggested is such as would have exactly suited his wishes, had he been alive. Next month we purpose giving an engraving of the proposed building. Meanwhile Sunday-schools can send on their help to Rev. John Bloomfield, Gloucester.
The zealous friends in Finehley, under the pastorate of Mr. Chadwick, have worshipped for some time in a place of the most inconvenient kind, and have now quite outgrown it: they are very anxious to build a new chapel; we wish we could give them a large donation, but just now the brook runs low. We do, however, heartily commend their case to all the Lord’s stewards.
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle by Mr. J.A. Spurgeon: — December 20th, 1875, eighteen. By Rev. V. J. Charles-worth: — -December 30th, l875, fourteen.