IN AND AROUND LONDON.
COMPILED BY C. H. SPURGEON.
YEAR by year we have presented our subscribers with a Report or the Pastors’ College, until we begin to fear that we shall tire them with our repetitions. Paganini is said to have produced exquisite music upon a single string, but we do not possess his melodious secret, and therefore find it difficult to harp upon one subject without falling into monotony. We will therefore summarize our report of the College by saying once for all, that the blessing of God is resting upon it, that it has a plentiful supply of students, that the tutors remain as they were, their funds have not been lacking, and that everything works well. Our heart is often heavy within us with sore travail in supervising all the various agencies which have been formed around us, and were it not that we can take our cares to our heavenly Father we should sink: but yet so great has been the loving favor of our God in affording direction in hours of dilemma and supplies in times of need that we are right happy as we adore and magnify our gracious Lord. Bound to persevere, and yet trembling under the responsibility, we feel like Gideon’s men when they were “faint, yet pursuing.” We are thankful, but we are not satisfied wish what has been already done, feeling an increasing hunger to see our great city thoroughly permeated with the gospel. The population grows far beyond our power to overtake it, and all we do seems as a drop in the sea to its awful need of holy influences, and its grievous ignorance of the true God. Thank God, others are working too, and reaping their reward; but this only makes us the more eager to do our full share.
We tarry a moment to express our deep gratitude to many generous friends who have from time to time assisted us, and to the great Disposer of all heart, who has led them so to do. Mr. Phillips’ supper and the Weekly Offering are our chief channels of supply, and these yielded right plentifully last year. Our many donors will never know how much of benefit has been bestowed upon the sons of men through the instrumentality of the men educated by the College, until eternity shall reveal all things. Then will it be seen what multitudes have been instructed, awakened, and decided by the earnest appeals of those who have been trained for their life-work in our beloved institution.
This year we purpose reviewing the work of the College in the metropolis; this will give a measure of variety, and perhaps set results in a clearer light than usual. We ought to have something to show, as the outgrowth of years of giving, working, and praying; and we think we have. The success of our men both in England and abroad has been very encouraging, and would vie with the London work in importance and interest; but at this time we make no mention of it, reserving our space for the recapitulation of the work done in and around our great city. Even upon this we cannot enter into full particulars, but must for the most part keep to cases in which chapels have been built or purchased, and churches formed, or raised from the brink of destruction; adding only a mere summary of pastorates occupied by our men over churches of older date.
A large amount of very earnest evangelistic work results in the conversion of souls, but does not produce any church organization: this, however, is by no means labor in vain, for thereby our Lord sees of his soul’s travail, whether we see it or not. We could not, however, write much upon this point, unless we were to descend to the tabulation of professed conversions; and this we dare not do, for such statistics are very unreliable and unsatisfactory, and are generally best omitted. Our College men have carried on open-air preaching in divers places, besides assisting regular pastors when desired; and halls and rooms have been taken for a. time and then. dropped when there seemed no hope of permanent success. Our policy has been to imitate the florist, by planting a large number of slips, in the hope that some of them would strike. In the process a great many prove to be failures as to any church result, but they are not failures in other respects, and inasmuch as Christ has been preached, we rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. On this occasion we confine ourselves to operations which have been successful in forming, saving, or greatly increasing churches of Christ. If our successes in this direction had been much fewer we should not have been disappointed; for the difficulty of founding churches, and especially of building chapels, can only be known by those who have experienced it. Societies have existed, and have I not been able to accomplish much even by long continued efforts; and this makes us the more grateful that our God in his great mercy has enabled our men to achieve very marked results, such as materially affect the spiritual provision for our teeming population, and the growth of the Christian body to which we belong.
Often under very difficult circumstances a brother has labored on under hardship and discouragement, and only after a considerable period has perseverance been rewarded. The plan is generally to begin in a hall or other hired building, to get together a few people, to gather converts, and to struggle on till a small church is formed: then commences the labor of collecting money to build a schoolroom or part of a building, or to erect an iron chapel, and, this accomplished, the chapel is undertaken. This has in some cases proved too small, but the smaller one has housed the people until they have been strong enough to erect a more commodious structure.
Thus by degrees with slender funds a new house of prayers opened and Christian activities set in motion, and despite the prejudice of some good men against regular places of worship, we are at a loss to know what London would have been if these permanent centers of gracious influence had not been maintained among us. No amount of occasional evangelistic services will ever render needless the abiding work of organized Christianity; in fact, in proportion as special efforts are of use, our churches will become the more necessary. The larger the harvest, the more need of barns.
The College funds, aided by private friends, have largely assisted in building operations, and, whatever we have personally possessed has been cheerfully given; yet the Christian public, and especially a few noble givers, who appear to help every deserving cause, have had to be relied upon.
Therefore we by no means claim for our College all the credit of the work done, nor indeed do we ask for any credit at all, but simply wish to give an account of our stewardship to our subscribers, and most heartily to lay whatever of honor there may be resulting from it at the feet of the Ever Gracious One. The credit of some of the chapels mentioned is due mainly to the London Baptist Association, and it is the furthest thought from our mind to rob it of a single atom of its need of praise, for it has done noble service to the metropolis, and deserves the growing confidence of the denomination which it represents. If we include in our Report any portion of Association work, it is simply that we may express our gratitude that it has consented to work with us so often. Other denominational organizations have also been our hearty friends, and we trust will ever remain so. We have no object distinct from that of the church of Christ at large; the new churches melt into the community to which we belong, and will be found to be doing Christian Work in perfect harmony with churches before established. It is no concern of ours to keep the new spheres for our own men, and when more fitting preachers come forward we have never expressed any regret at the fact, nor have we been conscious of feeling any.
The pulpits are there, and let the best men fill them whether they hail from our College or from another, or from none at all. The churches must choose for themselves, and although we are glad that they, as a rule, feel a grateful tie binding them to the fostering mother, yet if they see reason to go elsewhere they do not find us repining at this use of their Christian liberty.
Should there be any errors in our account, they may arise from the fact that we have had to collect the details with considerable difficulty, and they are mere extracts from materials prepared by a willing hand, but digested by an overwrought laborer who cannot spend time in examining the minute accuracy of every line. We trust that nothing has been overstated, for we have endeavored in every case to be below rather than above the truth, and we do not believe that any one of our brethren would mislead us. Still, some men are sanguine, and see everything through magnifying glasses, and if it be found to have been so in any one case we can only assure our readers that we have not sinned in that direction in compiling our record, but have rather inclined to the other side. The ministers themselves may even discover cause for complaint that we have unduly toned down their reports; we must therefore assure them that we have never done so because we doubted their word, but in order that all might be under rather than over the mark.
Our fear is that there may be omissions of acknowledgments to others, which they might reasonably expect. If so, they must excuse this fault, for space is limited, and this paper is not prepared with any idea of saying; all that could or even should be said. To obviate all misunderstandings on this score, we would say in one word that nothing has been done by us alone, but that in many cases the work may as fairly be ascribed to other people as to ourselves, and all we intend by mentioning certain enterprises in this Report is neither more nor less than this — the work has been done, in connection with the College, under the leadership of our young brethren, an we are rejoiced to have had even the humblest share in it. If we tread on any one’s corns after these somewhat lengthy apologies we shall have the consolation of having done so unintentionally.
Only one other fact requires to be mentioned, namely, that from the commencement our plan was not only to train students, but to found churches. Our subscriptions have been received after due announcement that all sums not needed for the education of young men would be used for the work of God in connection with them, and this has all along been done.
Hence our expenditure is not all for the men themselves, and no estimate of the cost of each man deduced from our balance-sheet can be correct if it omits this consideration. On the other hand, the large sums which we have supplied for buildings have in almost every instance been either the gift of a generous helper who insists upon being anonymous, or they have come from our own private purse, which is now so thoroughly drained that we could wish that some brother of wealth were moved to come to our assistance. This said, we enter upon our record of labor for “the Master” in London.
NEW CHAPELS OR CHURCHES.
I. —EAST HILL,WANDSWORTH, Was the first scene of our endeavors. In the year 1859 the Assembly Rooms of the Spread Eagle Tavern were hired, and one of our then very little band of students, Mr. J. W. Genders, was sent to preach the gospel.
After three months, the youthful preacher and nine other believers were formed into a church. A great blessing followed the ministry, and at the end of four-and-a-half-years’ labor in the Assembly Rooms the church had increased to about 150 members.
In May, 1863, Mr. Spurgeon opened their new chapel, capable of accommodating nearly 700 persons, and costing £3,000, towards which he contributed a considerable amount.
After a successful ministry of ten years, Mr. Genders removed to Luton, and Mr. F. G. Marchant, a former student, accepted the pastorate in 1870.
He has lately become pastor of a church at Hitchin.
A large amount has been expended, upon school and class rooms and improvements, by the friends at East Hill.
II. —STEPNEY GREEN,AND EAST LONDON TABERNACLE,BURDETTROAD.
The eminent success of our beloved brother, Mr. A. G. Brown, late President of the London Baptist Association, is too well known to our readers, and indeed to the Denomination, to require more than a brief notice.
The Church was originated in 1858, by the efforts of one of our early students, in a small chapel in Grosvenor Street, Commercial Road. This place proving too strait for the numbers attending, the Hall of the Beaumont institution was hired, and ultimately a commodious Chapel erected on Stepney Green, at a cost of £3,500, towards which we gave largely, and our Loan Fund voted £500. This was in 1864.
In November, 1865, our brother, Mr. T. Ness, took the oversight of the church, but though favored to see increasing spiritual prosperity, he was obliged within twelve months, through failing health, to relinquish his work and go to Australia for a season.
In January, 1867, Mr. Brown entered upon the duties of the pastorate. Of his work in his previous sphere, undertaken while yet a student in our College, an account will be found under Number V. Speedily the Chapel at Stepney was thronged Sabbath after Sabbath; aisles, vestries, platforms all densely crowded; and every Lord’s-day evening large numbers were turned away from the doors, unable to gain admission. Necessity being thus laid upon them, the Pastor with his earnest and united people encouraged themselves in their God and determined to build. While their new building was in progress they negotiated with friends of the Primitive Methodist connection for the sale of the Stepney Green Tabernacle, and received a fair price for it, which amount was paid to the new Chapel Fund.
On February 22nd, 1869, the President of the Pastors’ College opened the new sanctuary: a noble pile indeed, which he described as “a Dissenting Cathedral, plain, massive, immense.” It contains 2,724 sittings, and has cost about £12,000. Bat for the princely generosity of the builder, Mr. Higgs, the expense would have been far greater; but on this occasion, as upon many others, he has used the office of Deacon well, and earned unto himself a good degree. From the first the noble building has been well filled, and frequently overcrowded, and, best of all, the spiritual results have been in the highest degree satisfactory. The church now numbers 1,753 members: the tide of blessing has never ebbed.
III. —SOUTH STREET,GREENWICH.
Mr. Benjamin Davies, who at an early age was an acceptable preacher of the gospel among our Baptist brethren of the Strict and Hyper-Calvinistic order, after several short pastorates, was called to the pastorate of the church in Bridge-street, Greenwich, in 1858. The College was then in its infancy, and our friend, feeling his need of the advantages it offered, sought our help and was heartily welcomed. A change taking place in his views as to the mode in which the gospel should be presented to the unconverted, he resigned his charge, and was about to proceed to Natal to take the oversight of a church, when large numbers of people called upon him urging him not to leave Greenwich, as his ministry had been greatly blessed to their souls. This led to the Lecture Hall, at Royal Hill, being rented; and Mr. C. H. Spurgeon, who greatly assisted and encouraged the undertaking, preached the opening sermons in February, 1859. Then followed years of patient and unwearied toil — preaching, lecturing, and collecting for a chapel. At length, mainly by the liberal aid and timely activity of Mr. John Olney and Mr. Huntley, the church and its hard-working pastor saw their long-cherished hopes fulfilled; and the noble sanctuary in South-street, with inimitable class and school accommodation, was opened by Mr. C.H. Spurgeon on the 21st day of March, 1872. For a few Lord’s-days only after the opening services was Mr. Davies permitted to serve his Master upon earth, for after a few days’ suffering, from what at first was thought to be but a trifling ailment, he fell asleep and entered into rest on May 11th, 1872. This pulpit is not now occupied by a brother from our College, but we none the less wish to the church an abundant blessing.
IV. —LOWER SLOANE STREET,CHELSEA.
Our beloved brother Mr. Frank H. White, who is now at Talbot Tabernacle, Notting-hill, was sent in the early days of our College to Paradise Chapel, Chelsea, situated at the end of a most unsavory court in a very low neighborhood, where the friends were often insulted as they passed to and fro. Despite these difficulties, Mr. White’s efforts led, by the divine blessing, to the ingathering of many, and after several years a handsome chapel was erected in the main road at a cost of £1,500, towards Which Sir S. Morton Peto generously gave £2,000. We contributed £750 to the work, and also a loan from our Building Fund.
The Lord greatly prospered the church under our dear brother’s care for some years, till failing health forced him to resign and seek rest. The church then passed through a series of vicissitudes, and was brought very low. At length our former student, Mr. Knight, removed from Lowestoft at the call of the church, in October, 1876, since which time there has been a continual improvement. The church now numbers 261 members, 69 of whom were added during the past year.
The Baptist chapel at Bromley, Kent, is the result of the work commenced by one of our earlier students, Mr. T. Harley, at the first by open-air preaching, and by services in the old market-house. Little, however, remained when Mr. Archibald G. Brown, then a student with us, entered the town and left his mark upon it. We once heard the following story concerning our brother’s first Sundays at Bromley in 1862. On the Monday following his second visit, in reply to an inquiry as to “how he got on,” he answered that his sermon had some effect, for the congregation of persons on the first occasion had come down to 12: he had evidently “moved” half-a-dozen. The next Monday he reported further progress in the same direction, for he had had but 6 hearers on the third occasion, and he remarked that it only required another Sunday to finish the work. Full of youthful pleasantry, our dear brother was also full of zeal for God’s glory, and prayer and faith soon caused the tide to turn; the meeting-place was filled, and the White Hart Assembly Rooms had to be taken to accommodate the numbers anxious to hear the young preacher. It was soon necessary to admit the regular attendants by ticket. A church of about 30 persons was formed in 1863; many of the members were the seals of his ministry. The little community rapidly increased by the addition of converts from among the eager listeners, and a house became needful for the growing family. Mr. Brown gave himself to the enterprise with all his heart, and consequently he succeeded.
In July, 1864 Mr. C. H. Spurgeon laid the memorial-stone of the present chapel, and preached the opening sermon in July, 1865. As will be seen by reference to the history of the East London Tabernacle, Number II., Mr. Brown removed to Stepney, and another of our former students, Mr.A. Tessier, of Coleraine, was chosen pastor in May, 1867, and has the happiness of ministering to an earnest and united people.
During the past year extensive alterations and improvements have been effected in the building at a considerable outlay, towards which the friends have raised nearly £400.
Ealing Baptist Chapel has sprung up, not from the efforts of a student, but from the ministry of our esteemed tutor, Mr. Fergusson, whom it was a great pleasure to assist in this work by a grant of £100. Our friend and fellow-member Mr. John Olney also lent his very efficient aid, and Tabernacle friends espoused the cause. The chapel accommodates a healthy and earnest church, which values its pastor’s thoughtful preaching.
The debt is gone, and large schoolrooms have been erected. The membership numbers 127.
VII. —OCTAVIUS STREET CHAPEL,DEPTFORD.
In the year 1863 a few of the members of the Metropolitan Tabernacle church residing at Deptford formed themselves into a church, and hired a large room at the Lecture Hall. Students from our College ministered to the little community, but as each brother neared the close of his College course, he had to seek a self-supporting sphere of labor, and vacated his temporary place of service for a permanent pastorate. These changes greatly interfered with the progress of the work. For the past eleven years, however, the church has been favored with the earnest ministry of our friend Mr. D. Honour, who has borne much and worked hard, and the result is that he now sees ground of hope that a numerous church will be gathered as soon as he has a house to hold the people. We helped our friends years ago to build the schoolroom in which they now worship, and we have promised them £200 towards their long-needed chapel; most earnestly do we commend their appeal to the prompt and generous aid of all who wish to see the working classes evangelized. Both minister and people are worthy of help if industry and perseverance constitute a claim.
This is an effort among the working classes, and is one of a kind which we would gladly see multiplied. The people have supported their pastor and have done their best to find funds for a chapel; this is far better for them than if a missionary effort had been made by others, and the people had been pauperized. Help in erecting their chapel is the safest and best mode of aiding a working-class church: once let these good people have their chapel built and free from debt, and by God’s grace they will need no more help from outside. Mr. Honour would be delighted to receive subscriptions.
VIII. —UPPER KENNINGTONLANE.
The building, in the above road, then known as St. Paul’s Episcopal Chapel, came into the possession of our denomination in the year 1864, under the following circumstances. A small but increasing congregation had been gathered by the zealous efforts of Mr. G. Hearson, in a large carpenter’s shop In an out-of-the-way place near the Vauxhall Railway Station, and a more suitable meeting-place became a necessity. When the ritualistic congregation vacated St. Paul’s chapel for a more architectural building, Mr. Hearson’s friends, acting with Mr. Spurgeon, secured the chapel on lease, and a considerable sum was expended on necessary repairs and improvements. Mr. Hearson joined the College and carried on pastoral work at the same time. He still remains with the church doing a good work:, and ministering, like the apostle of old, to his own necessities.
IX. —OLD FORD,VICTORIAPARK.
Here a church has been gathered and an iron chapel erected through the persevering endeavors of Mr. R. R. Finch. The freehold site has been purchased and the whole property is free from debt, Mr. Spurgeon having given five per cent. of the money as it was collected. Having worshipped for about fourteen years in the iron chapel, the inevitable wear and tear of such a structure will compel the congregation to erect a more permanent building; but for this they will require much aid from friends beyond their own circle, and they must be content to work on year by year till their means shall increase. We wish the friends every success in their project, but we wish their were stronger, or had a smaller task before them.
X. —DRUMMOND ROAD,BERMONDSEY.
Students of our College having for some time preached the word in a schoolroom in Mill Lane, the nucleus of a Baptist church was gathered. In August, 1865, the pastor of the Tabernacle church laid the foundationstone of a chapel in the new neighborhood of the Drummond Road. This was entirely a missionary effort, and we and our friends at the Tabernacle raised £1,270 of the cost and lent £500 free of interest. A church was soon formed and a considerable congregation gathered under the ministry of our student Mr. J. A. Brown. In 1870 the growing needs of the earnest church rendered necessary the erection of far larger premises for the schools.
These buildings quite eclipse the chapel, and are the scene of a very gracious work among the children, who number 655. The dew of God’s blessing has continued to rest upon our brother’s labors from the first day until now. The present membership is 258.
XI. —PENIEL TABERNACLE,CHALK FARMROAD.
This interest originated about 1865 in the labors of a person to whom we had for a while accorded the benefits of the College Classes, but who turned out to be far more zealous than wise. Without our sanction or knowledge he contracted liabilities and proceeded to erect a chapel, and finding that disaster would follow, we helped to save the building from being sold by giving £250. The originator of the unwise enterprise disappeared very speedily, and the buildings, was burdened with debt. Mr. Edgley, one of our students, took up the work after a time, but the pecuniary difficulties proved so great that he resolved to leave the building and to erect another chapel in the Berkley Road. This the church its own responsibility, and the wisdom or otherwise of the course remains with them. In our opinion they were only creating another difficulty, but in their judgment they were following the right path. We gave them aid after the deed was done, but we had no hand in the doing of it. Certainly the Berkley Road building is a great advance upon Peniel, and is incomparably better as to situation. The first chapel, however, was still used by a portion of the congregation, who invited Mr. E. W. Thomas to minister to them, which he has continued to do with successful results till within a short time since. The present pastor is Mr. R. T. Sole, of our College; but the chapel is badly situated, and the task of raising a church in it will remind the preacher that Peniel was the place where Jacob wrestled hard.
XII. —BERKLEY ROAD,CHALKFARM.
This chapel, referred to in the preceding paragraph, was opened in 1871, and Mr. Edgley was favored with a fair measure of success until his removal to Swindon in 1873, when Mr. E. Leach, the present pastor, succeeded him. His esteemed brother is fighting gallantly an uphill battle, and we pray that the divine blessing may crown his endeavors. There is room for both the churches, and even for others, if the people could but free themselves from the burden of debt, which is severely felt, and is no doubt a great hindrance to the cause. When our men run before us they usually run into debt, but when we have controlled a movement we have either cut down the expense or waited till the funds came in to pay the cost.
XIII. —MAPLE ROAD,PENGE.
This was an entirely new work. In the year 1865, Mr. J. M. Cox commenced preaching in the lower rooms of a small house in Penge, which soon became inconveniently crowded. A church was formed, and within twelve months it grew to the number of 41 members. With great generosity the friends connected with the Wesleyan body lent their Baptist neighbors their temporary chapel, and they migrated from their hired house. A project for a chapel was set on foot, and the little band worked with a will, and we rendered them substantial help. On June 4th, 1867, the chapel, which cost about £1,200, was opened by us free of debt with the exception of £300 granted as a loan free of interest by our Loan Building Fund. Upon the removal of its first pastor, the church cordially welcomed our dear friend Mr. John Collins, now of John Street, Bedford Row, to be their minister, and by the divine blessing much spiritual prosperity was the result of the union. In 1869 first-class schoolrooms were erected and soon paid for. Mr. G. Samuel is now the pastor. Peace and prosperity reign in the midst of this people.
About the year 1865 a few friends left Park Chapel and endeavored to raise a new interest; they were soon after formed into a church under the ministry of Mr. Walter, a student of the College. When persons, seceding from other churches, apply to us, we always try our best to induce them to make peace; but when they altogether refuse to do this, and feel that they can do better by themselves, we do not think it right to let them drift, but endeavor to see how far they can be used for the increase of the church.
We believe that in this case good has resulted from this new interest, though we were sorry that it sprung up at first. The present members of the church are not those by whom it was set on foot, but are nearly all new comers. On Mr. Walter’s removal Mr. W. Smith was sent by us, and continued with the little church until his removal to Malton. How he suffered and labored, and endured poverty, is written in the book of the record of the living martyrs for the faith. Mr. W. Sumner, the present pastor, sends the few particulars which we subjoin: — “My predecessor was Mr. Smith, who left in June, 1875, and is now settled at: Melton, Yorkshire. He labored here for several years with remarkable zeal and self-denial. I followed him as a student in July, 1875, and the Lord greatly blessed me in preaching the gospel; but in the December of the same year the church received notice from the Directors of the Town-hall, wherein the friends had worshipped for nearly ten years, that they would be obliged to raise the rent of the Hall. The church considering it impossible for them to stay, betook themselves to prayer, and the Lord graciously interposed. Just at this time two Congregational bodies amalgamated, leaving, as a consequence, the Albany Chapel, in High Street, which holds nearly 400 persons, unoccupied. Upon leaving our prayer-meeting we heard of this, and hired the Chapel at once at £25 per annum. Thus, instead of giving the Directors more money, we were enabled to give them notice, God in his good providence having provided a better place for us. We took possession of Albany Chapel in March, 1876, and our first business was to make a baptistery. The good work went on, and the church called me to the pastorate in January, 1877. The Lord has continued his blessing, and upwards of 40 have joined our fellowship. The church now numbers 72.”
About the year 1859 a few members of a neighboring church residing in this village commenced holding Sunday-evening services in one of the cottages; but the increasing attendance rendered larger accommodation necessary, and the friends hired a larger cottage, and converted it into a mission-room, where, in December, 1865, they formed themselves into a church of 15 members, and regular Sabbath servicers and schools were conducted. Mr. E. E. Fisk, of the College, was invited to minister to them, and he was favored to see souls saved and added to the little company. By the help of one of their number, who gave much time and labor to the work, a pretty little chapel, with baptistery, vestries, and all needful accommodation, was erected at a cost of £600, towards which some £200 had been collected. Mr. Fisk removing to a larger sphere of usefulness in 1868, another student, Mr. Walter J. Mayers, took his place, and God greatly prospered his work during his short stay. He removed to the new chapel, Battersea-park, in January, 1870, and students were sent to supply the church at Cranford, which ultimately chose Mr. Young as pastor, who soon after went to labor in Scotland, where he died. This is one of the smaller village churches; but these are as needful as larger ones.
XVI. —STREATHAM,LEWINROAD. In the latter part of the last century some Christian people erected a small wooden building as a preaching-station in Greyhound-lane. The history of the little community, like the wheels upon which we are told that the little meeting-house once stood, is lost in obscurity. This dilapidated building fell into the hands of Mr. Spurgeon, who rented it of a clergyman. Student after student preached here during their College course with varying success. A small church was formed in 1867, and Mr. Lauderdale became the minister; but the place was extremely small, low, hot, and uninviting: many a barn is much more attractive.
About the year 1870, Mr. W. Coombs, of our College, was induced to stay with the little church through the liberality of an esteemed Christian lady in the neighborhood, in the hope that a suitable chapel would soon be erected, as our revered friend Mr. Caleb Higgs (now with God) had purchased a freehold site for the purpose. Through domestic affliction Mr. Coombs left without seeing his hopes realized. The church then invited Mr. J. L. Keys to become their pastor, and we were enabled, with the help of our beloved deacon, Mr. W. Higgs, to erect a neat iron chapel in the rear of the site; this was opened free of debt in February, 1874, by our brother and Co-pastor J. A. Spurgeon.
On November 14, 1877, we had great delight in opening a new chapel erected on the ground in front of the temporary iron structure. It is a remarkably beautiful specimen of the taste and common sense of our deacon, Mr. W. Higgs, who carried out the work; it was presented by himself and his brothers, as a memorial of their departed father, Mr. Caleb Higgs. What better form can be given to a monument? It is precisely such as our departed friend would have approved. Here is an example for others.
Mr. J. Johnstone; from our College, is the present minister.
XVII. —TRINITY CHAPEL,JOHN ST.,EDGWAREROAD.
Our much esteemed brother, Mr. J. O. Fellowes, succeeded Mr. W.A. Blake as pastor of the church at Shouldham-street in 1865, where he labored with success until 1868, when he and his friends obtained possession of the noble chapel in John-street, which had originally been erected for the congregation of the late Mr. Ridley Herschell. The Word was with power, and the people came in numbers to hear it, and were saved. Thus in the providence of God a small impoverished church has advanced to the front, and now numbers 571 members. This is a clear gain to the denomination, for Shouldham-street Chapel still remains as before.
After the larger church which we have just noticed this is but a small affair.
The church meeting in Chiswick-lane is one of those which owes its origin to the Pastors’ College. The chapel was for some years in the hands of our brethren the Congregationalists. Under the ministry of the late Mr. Millar, a much respected and devoted servant of God:, the cause was prosperous.
After his death it declined, and in the year 1867 Mr. Spurgeon took the place, and sent a student to conduct services and preach the gospel on the Lord’s-day. The brethren from the College continued to sustain the work for some years, during which time congregations were gathered, and a Sunday-school put into working order. The preaching of the Word was owned of God, souls were saved, and a small church was formed. Many students have worked here with varying success, for the place is a difficult one. About a year ago Mr. Lynn, formerly a student of the College, was invited to become the pastor. During the past year fifteen members have been added to the Church, and there has been a considerable increase in the attendance. The church and congregation are for the most part composed of the working classes, but they contribute liberally in proportion to their means in support of the cause. We trust God will answer prayer, send down his Holy Spirit in rich abundance upon all the efforts of the church for his glory, and magnify his grace in the salvation of many souls. The church is one of the weaker sort, but it has “held the fort” very bravely, and we cannot doubt that a brighter future awaits it.
XIX. —WYNDHAM ROAD,CAMBERWELL.
A case in which the help of a wealthy brother would be very valuable: especially if he would build the people a chapel very soon, for otherwise all available ground will soon be covered. A company of believers banded themselves together in the year 1866 to form a new interest in this crowded locality, and worshipped for some time in the Claremont Rooms, under the leadership of Mr. J. Spanswick, of the College. Mr. E. Morley succeeded his fellow-student, and the Lecture Hall in Carter Street was hired for the Sunday-evening services. It was found necessary by the little church to secure a permanent home, and two railway arches were leased and fitted up at considerable expense, the one for public worship and the other for Sunday-school purposes. Mr. Aabington, of the College, labored here as pastor with satisfactory success until his removal to Eastbourne. As this is a struggling cause in a very poor neighborhood, and could not afford support to a minister, the pastors have, after leaving College, been compelled to remove to congregations which could maintain them, so that the little church has had special difficulties to contend with; and, moreover, converted railway arches do not form very attractive homes or “quiet resting-places.” Mr. Childs, another student, has been for some time pastor of the church, and under him there has been a time of great happiness and blessing. He has had many opportunities to remove, but he loves the people, and will abide by them as long as ever he can. A fund has commenced for the building of a chapel, but it is the day of small things as yet. Who will help?
XX. —DALSTON JUNCTION,ASHWINSTREET. Mr. D. Paterson, one of our students, labored very strenuously in the neighborhood of Kingsland Gate for several years to raise a Baptist Church; and about the year 1866 he and his friends obtained a short lease of the old Congregational Chapel, which had been occupied by the church under Dr. Aveling. Mr. Paterson removed to Oxford, where after a short pastorate he fell asleep in Jesus. Mr. A. Bird, another student, then went to Kingsland, and at Luxemburg Hall, Dalston, carried forward his late fellow-student’s work. After a time his people erected a noble building near Daiston Junction, at a cost, including land, of £5,300. With this last enterprise our College has had nothing to do, as we judged the scheme to be beyond the means of the people, and therefore imprudent. However, substantial friends have appeared upon the scene, and have carried on the work with mingled zeal and wisdom, and we now believe that the enterprise will be carried through. We were sorry to differ from our brethren, who were more venturesome as to borrowing money than we have ever been, and we join with them in congratulations as to the hopeful future which lies before them. At the moment of writing we are informed that our friend Mr. Burton, of Kingsgate Street, has been invited to the pastorate, and should he accept it we look forward to great things, the Lord being his helper.
About the year 1866 some gentlemen in this neighborhood, mourning over its spiritual destitution, determined to erect a Baptist Chapel. After considerable difficulty this was done. The cause thus started at first bade fair to be a success, but after some time declined so much as to become almost extinct. However, in August, 1868, one of our students, Mr.W. Priter, took up the work while continuing his college duties. This brother, who so lately died, to our intense distress, left a name behind him in the north of England which will not soon be forgotten. Under his earliest direction the work of the Lord prospered; within twelve months 30 persons were added to the church, and much blessing continued to rest upon his labors until his removal to Middlesborough in 1871. Several changes have since taken place at Barnes, and but little progress has been made until within the past eighteen months. Signs of returning prosperity cheer the hearts of the friends under the ministry of Mr. F. Brown, of our College, who baptized 28 believers last year, and is evidently raising the church into a healthy, self-supporting condition.
XXII. —CORNWALL ROAD,BRIXTON.
In December, 1866, a small room was opened in this district, and Mr. Asquith, of the College, was sent to see what could be done towards raising a new cause. The friends obtained the loan of a joiner’s shop, where they held services until September, 1867. By that time, through the generosity of Mr. Spurgeon, who gave £50, and the still more efficient assistance of Pastor A. G. Brown, a small chapel was erected. A church of eight members was soon afterwards formed, which within eighteen months was increased to sixty. The crowded state of the little chapel and the rapidly increasing Sunday-school rendered a much larger building necessary, but the attainment of this would have been utterly impossible to so poor a people had not the Lord moved one of the members of the Tabernacle generously to secure suitable property close by, and to erect at his sole expense a convenient chapel to seat 500, with house for the minister This with some adjoining houses is the property of the Stockwell Orphanage, who let the chapel and house to the church and minister at a nominal rent; such being the wish of the donor. The arrangement is a very useful one, as it gives to a small church an efficient board of reference in case of any dispute out of which scandal might arise. Thus helped, the friends have appropriated the smaller chapel to Sabbath-school purposes, and are carrying on their work without the burden of a debt. On the generous donor may every blessing rest.
Cheam is a small village in Surrey. Our students commenced here, and in the neighboring village of Ewell, in the open air. The two lower rooms of a cottage were hired and made into one, and here, in a most self denying manner, our students continued to preach. At last a new chapel was erected under the leadership of Mr. W. Sullivan, who is partially occupied in the post office, and is thus enabled to render service to the little community without being a burden to it.
In this growing town Mr. W. Norton erected a small chapel, and upon his removing we purchased it of him for £400. A congregation was gathered and a church formed, which, after paying us £300 for the chapel (ourselves giving them the remainder), has removed into a better position in the High Street, where they have erected part of a more ornate structure, and are going on to raise funds for the completion of what will evidently be a handsome and suitable chapel. Under the able pastorate of Mr. Bergin, this community is increasing in power and usefulness. This esteemed brother is not of our College, but we are none the less interested in Sutton, where from the character of the population we hope that a strong church will grow up. The first chapel is now used as a schoolroom.
XXV. —SHOOTER’ S HILL ROADCHAPEL.
This chapel is situated on the old road which from time immemorial has run from London to the sea at Dover, traversed, in all probability, by the Roman legionaries as well as by the Canterbury pilgrims, and in later days by the stage coaches. Near the chapel are two distinct neighborhoods, the one consisting of handsome suburban villas, and the other of a large working-class colony known as Sunfields.
It was in a little mission chapel in Sunfields that the Baptist church now worshipping in Shooter’s Hill Road Chapel was first organized. This mission chapel was built by persons of various denominations, and was to be used for the preaching of the gospel without any sectarian basis. This scheme resulting in a congregation of less than half-a-dozen, a few Baptists living in the neighborhood took up the cause, the original promoters having abandoned it, and applied to Mr. Spurgeon for a student to supply the pulpit. The present pastor, Mr. H. Rylands Brown, was sent. After much anxious toil and many discouragements a church numbering ten members was at length formed. Circumstances then occurred which rendered the building of a new chapel imperative. In the good providence of God a most eligible site was secured in the main road, and the present chapel was opened, Mr. Spurgeon preaching one of the sermons.
The church has steadily grown both in numbers and power, especially in earnestness and oneness of purpose, internal disputes being practically unknown. There are at present 137 on the church books, 28 having been added since January of the past year. There is now no debt upon the property. The church was assisted by a loan of £200 from the Tabernacle Loan Fund; and by a gift from Mr. Spurgeon of £250. From the advent of the pastor, upwards of ten years since, the interest has been selfsupporting.
XXVI. —NORTHFINCHLEY. In July, 1867, Mr. W. Clarke, now of Ballafat, was sent from the College to open a preaching station at North Finchley. The services were held in the front room of a dwelling-house. At the beginning of the following year a building known as the “Cottagers’ Chapel” was secured, and a church formed. A good congregation was gathered during the time of Mr. Clarke’s ministry, but in the early part of 1870, having accepted an invitation to the pastorate of the church at Ashford, he severed his connection with Finchley.
During the next two years a variety of circumstances combined to scatter the congregation, and in August, 1872, the brother who had supplied the pulpit for the space of about a year joined himself to the Plymouth Brethren, a number of those who had been associated with him following his example.
A very small company of worshippers was left in possession of the chapel, but at the invitation of these friends Mr. J. Chadwick, then a student in the College, who had on several occasions conducted the Sabbath services, agreed to take the oversight of the work. The church was reorganized in October, 1872, and consisted of ten members, with Mr. Chadwick as pastor. He labored with them continuously during the two years remaining of his term in College, and then went to reside permanently amongst them.
From the beginning of his ministry the work has greatly prospered: the congregation soon increased so as to fill the room, and the church has now a membership of nearly a hundred, while it has won for itself through God’s blessing the sympathy and esteem of the various churches in the district. Further progress, however, is impossible so long as the church remains in its present place of meeting. The “Cottagers Chapel,” originally a stable, is a low, dilapidated, and in every way inconvenient building, incapable of enlargement or improvement, and as the recent extension of railway facilities is bringing to the district a continuously increasing population, the members of the congregation feel that the duty is thrust upon them of providing a meeting-house that shall not only meet their present requirements, but shall be suited to the wants of a growing and attractive neighborhood.
Rather more than two years ago a most eligible site was purchased at a cost of £450, and vested in trustees. Plans have been prepared by Morton M. Glover, Esq., and accepted by the committee. They are designed ultimately to accommodate, with galleries, 850 persons; but for the present the building is so arranged as to provide 400 sittings on the ground floor, while under the same roof there will be vestries, class-rooms, and a lecture or schoolroom for about 300 children. The estimated cost, including land, gas fittings, etc., is £4,000, towards which a large amount is already promised.
The President of the College has very warmly commended this cause to the sympathy of the churches, and has himself contributed £100 towards the cost of the undertaking.
XXVII. —ENFIELD BAPTISTTABERNACLE.
Early in the year 1867, a few friends of Baptist principles resolved, after serious and prayerful consideration, to commence a Baptist cause at Enfield. Accordingly a deputation waited upon the President of the College, who promised to render all the assistance in his power. A large room, known as the Assembly Room, adjoining the “Rising Sun” publichouse, was forthwith rented and opened for public worship on the 24th of March, and students from the College conducted the services. On Whit Sunday of the same year a church consisting of 12 baptized believers was formed by four of the deacons and elders of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, and a building fund commenced. The success of the work soon excited a considerable amount of prejudice and opposition, and the landlord of the “Rising Sun,” doubtless finding that the preaching of the gospel on his premises was not the most likely method of increasing his business, summarily gave the friends notice to quit. This involved them in an unexpected difficulty, as no other suitable place could be found. However, assured that the work was of God, they determined without delay to erect a temporary building, and on the 3rd of December an iron chapel was opened by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon. From that time the cause rapidly increased, and the church found itself able to support a pastor. Accordingly, in 1868, Mr. D. E. Evans, of the College, was invited, and labored for upwards of two years with most cheering results. Upon the resignation of Mr. Evans, in 1870, Mr. George W. White — who during his College course commenced the church at Shoreham, Sussex — accepted the pastorate.
Early in his ministry it became evident, owing to the increasing congregation and the inadequate accommodation in the iron chapel for the advancing agencies of the church, that a more suitable and substantial building would be required. And in December, 1872, an enthusiastic meeting was held and a building scheme inaugurated. For two years the friends worked unanimously and heartily to raise the necessary funds, after which the committee felt justified in commencing operations, and on the 16th of June, 1875, the memorial stone of the new tabernacle was laid by W. Fowler, Esq., J.P. In the following September the building was opened for public worship, Dr. Landels preaching the first sermon. The total expenditure, including freehold site and accommodation for Sundayschools, was £2,517. The people have done nobly, as may be gathered from the fact that a debt of only £590 remains. To remove this burden four gentlemen have promised £25 each on the condition that the entire debt be cleared during the present year, and it is earnestly hoped that other friends will come to the assistance of this church in its final struggle for freedom.
During the ministry of the present pastor the church has steadily increased, and now numbers 90 members. Souls are being saved, and the work bids fair to be one of the most successful of the College enterprises.
XXVIII. —TOTTERIDGE ROAD,ENFIELDHIGHWAY.
The neighborhood of Enfield having been selected by the government for the erection of large works for the manufacture of rifles and other weapons of war, a very large number of artisans settled in the locality. A few earnest friends, desiring to employ the weapons of our warfare, which are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, sought our advice and help. A plain schoolroom was erected at a cost of £200, of which sum we provided the half. We went brethren from the College to preach the word, under the ministry of one of whom there was considerable success, and a small church was organized; this was in 1868. In the following year Mr. Doel was chosen pastor, and the church and the congregations rapidly grew, until larger accommodation became necessary, and a neat chapel was erected, towards which we contributed. After the retirement of Mr. Doel from the work Mr. W. Townsend received a call to the pastorate; since which time between forty and fifty persons have been received into fellowship. The great decline of work in the gun factory has caused the removal of large numbers of persons from the neighborhood, and affects the progress of Christian work. In these stirring times, as an ill wind blows good to some one, it may be that this church will increase with the number of gun-makers employed. The present membership is about ninety. The friends have reduced their debt of £800 to £550, by the help of a loan of £150 from our Tabernacle Building Fund.
XXIX. —GRESHAM CHAPEL,BARRINGTON RD.,BRIXTON.
In May, 1868, one of our students, Mr. G. Kew, obtained the large hall of the Angell Town Institute for Sunday services, at an annual rental of £50, for which two friends became responsible. Within a short time a church of thirty-six baptized believers was formed, which number increased to sixty within twelve months, and there were large congregations on Sabbath evenings. As there was no accommodation for week-night services or Sabbath-schools, the friends began to raise funds for a chapel, our good friend Mr. James Stiff acting as treasurer, and rendering them considerable pecuniary help. A plot of ground was taken on lease and a neat iron Chapel erected in 1871. Within twelve months, however, the Lord was pleased to call his young servant home, after a long and painful illness.
Mr. J. T. Swift, of the College, the present pastor, succeeded Mr. Kew, and much blessing has resulted from his earnest pleadings with men’s souls.
The chapel has long been too small for the numbers attending, and there is great need of a larger chapel and suitable school-rooms, but the path has been blocked up hitherto.
XXX. —HORNTON STREET,KENSINGTON.
While studying with us, Mr. R. J. Mesquitta was chosen by a few friends to be their minister, and to aid in a movement to form a new church. He succeeded in raising a Baptist church in a public hall in High-street, Kensington, in 1868. The friends, after a time, obtained possession of the old chapel in Hornton-street, formerly occupied by Dr. Stoughton’s congregation. By their self-denying efforts, and some outside help, the place was converted into an elegant place of worship at a cost of £70! Mr. Mesquitta left the church in 1870 for another sphere of labor, and our brother, Mr. Hawes, who is not of our College, is now the pastor. May prosperity attend him.
XXXI. —SURREY LANE,BATTERSEA.
The church meeting at Surrey-lane was formed in 1868, at the Laminas Hall, under the ministry of one of our students, Mr. J. Eames. A piece of ground in Surrey-lane was soon after secured, and the present temporary iron chapel erected, capable of holding 300 persons. Here Mr. Vaughan works with great diligence, but the lease of the ground has almost run out, and unless a friend is raised up to save the interest, this church of working people will lose its place of worship. They are bound to build a permanent chapel in eighteen months, or to forfeit both chapel and lease. We were not parties to this agreement; but as it was so constructed we should deeply regret the winding up of the enterprise, but we do not see how it is to be avoided unless some friend is moved to help more largely than we are able to do.
XXXII. —BATTERSEA PARKCHAPEL.
The London Baptist Association having voted £1,000 towards the chapel, we purchased a fine freehold site for £750, and our esteemed deacon, Mr. Riggs, erected the chapel-school upon the back part of the ground, for the small cost of £1,000, leaving the land in front for the future chapel. The building now holds about 500 persons. The place was opened free of debt in January, 1870. We selected our earnest student, Mr. W. J. Mayers, now of Bristol, to commence the work of the Lord in the new building, and right happy were we in our choice, for soon a good congregation was gathered, a church of earnest workers formed, Mr. Mayers recognized as its pastor, and schemes of usefulness entered upon and successfully carried out. In 1871 it was found necessary to erect a gallery to accommodate more hearers.
Upon the removal of Mr. Mayers to Bristol, in 1874, our former student, Mr. A. Bax, of Faversham, was heartily welcomed to the pastorate, and spiritual prosperity was enjoyed by the church, and Sabbath-schools and vestries erected. To the regret of the church and congregation, he left at the call of the important church at Salter’s Hall Chapel, and was succeeded by another of our College brethren, Mr. T. Lardner, of Ulverstone, who has during the past year baptized 61 believers. The present membership is 289. We have said that there is freehold ground for the erection of a large chapel, but the people are mostly poor, and will need much aid from outside before they can hope to achieve their purpose. At present they do not seem to look upon the design as practicable with their small means.
They need a good start, and being an earnest folk they would go on with it and by degrees reach their aim.
The gathering of a congregation and the erection of a substantial chapel in James’ Grove may be considered as a home-missionary enterprise of our own beloved people at the Tabernacle. The work was commenced in by Mr. J. B. Field, one of our elders, who preached for several years in a room in a friend’s house. A much larger place became necessary, and the large hall of the Rosemary Branch Tavern was hired. The attendance was large and souls were converted. The people, though of the humbler class, worked hard and were liberal, so that a considerable sum was collected towards the cost of a chapel. We contributed £140, and in December, 1870, had the pleasure of preaching the opening sermon. Mr. Field relinquished his secular calling and entered our College some time previously, and he continued to minister to the people he had gathered until his removal to Aylsham in 1875. The converts have from the first been received into fellowship at the Tabernacle, but they will be formed into a church as soon as it will be wise to do so. Discordant elements have hindered progress, our student, Mr. Chettleborough, has united the people around him, and the prospects are very pleasing XXXIV. —MERTON ROAD,NEWWIMBLEDON. In 1871 our friend Mr. J. L. Keys having had his attention drawn to this new neighborhood as a likely field for a Baptist interest, rented the Palmerston Hall, then used as a preaching station by our Independent brethren. The little company was upon the point of giving up the work, but willingly transferred their tenancy to Mr. Keys. A congregation was gathered, and in the course of twelve months a small church formed. Mr. W. W. Robinson, also from our College, succeeded Mr. Keys. and labored among the people for about three years. During his ministry the friends purchased the freehold building, which was very fairly adapted for a Nonconformist chapel, having a good schoolroom and vestry. Towards the cost (over £1000) we apportioned them £200. The present pastor, Mr.A. Halford, another of our College men, became pastor in 1875. There are now sixty-five members in fellowship and a flourishing Sabbath school.
XXXV. —SUNNYSIDE ROAD,HORNSEYRISE.
The church and congregation now worshipping in this place have been gathered by the persevering efforts of Mr. Frank M. Smith of the College.
Between seven and eight years since Mr. Smith had his attention drawn to an unoccupied place of worship in the growing neighborhood of Hornsey Rise. It was known as Duncombe Road Chapel, and had been erected and used for a congregation of the “Free Church of England” order, but had passed into the possession of the Birkbeck Building Society and was “to let”. Our young brother sought out a few friends of the gospel in the vicinity, and, obtaining some promises of help, boldly hired the building, and by the divine blessing succeeded in the course of four years in gathering an earnest working church and congregation, who, with the generous help of other friends, were enabled to erect a commodious iron chapel and schoolroom in a better position, at a cost of £1,680, towards which we contributed £50.
During Mr. Smith’s ministry at Hornsey he has baptized one hundred and forty-three believers, and there are now one hundred and seventy in fellowship. The church is healthful and aggressive; it is, however, heavily weighted with debt, and deserves assistance.
XXXVI. —HAMILTON ROAD,NORWOOD.
Mr. R. P. Javan furnishes the following particulars of his work: — “Four years since, while a student in the Pastors’ College, I commenced preaching services in a mission room. At the first service there were not half-a-dozen persons present; the congregation grew, but very slowly.
After I had preached there for nine months, the friends urged me to settle down amongst them, and I complied with their request. The first year they promised me a salary of £80, to which sum Mr. Spurgeon added £20. The next year they promised me £90, and Mr. Spurgeon added £10 and contributed a further sum of £10 for general purposes. We rent the Paxton School Room for our meetings. We have had unusual difficulties to contend with, as our work is of quite a home missionary character. We are contemplating the erection of a chapel.” This interest is a weak one, but it has made a gallant effort, and has never drawn upon us when it could help itself. Its position is not convenient, and as yet there seems little hope of getting into a better place. Mr. Javan’s friends have wrought hard and done well, but experience proves that without a home of their own churches do not rise into a vigorous condition.
XXXVII. —OAKLANDS CHAPEL,SURBITONHILL. An eligible site having been presented to us by our kind friend, Mrs. Woodfall, the London Baptist Association gave £1,000 towards the erection of a chapel thereon. We opened it in July, 1874. For a time our rained helper, Mr. J. T. Dunn, undertook the work of gathering a church and congregation; but as we could no longer spare him, Mr. Baster, of our College, was invited to settle among the people, and became pastor in January, 1878. The work advances slowly but surely: there is now a Church of 70 members, and a good Sabbath-school.
XXXVIII. —ST.PETER’ S PARK,PADDINGTON.
Through the persevering labors of one of our former students, Mr. J.M. Cox, a church has been gathered and a chapel commenced in this new and roadless neighborhood. Mr. Cox began the work here by preaching in a barn, and after some time a church of 18 believers was formed. A shop and parlor were then fitted up as a meeting-room, and the little company migrated thither, and worked on until the present school-chapel was erected in 1875, at a cost, including the land, of £1,150, towards which £600 have been raised. We could not at first see any probability that Mr. Cox could carry out his plan; but his spirit is indomitable, and his courage boundless. We have felt bound to give him a measure of help. Still, the work is his own from the beginning to this hour. Certainly his self-denial, perseverance, and push have achieved far more than we expected. The present building is the basement upon which it is hoped ultimately to raise a chapel as the superstructure. The plan of using the basement as a temporary building is somewhat new, but it has been tried before and found to answer. The present number of believers in fellowship is 50.
XXXIX. —WYNNE ROAD CHAPEL,BRIXTON.
A little band of our Tabernacle friends maintained for some time a preaching station at a hall in St. Anne’s Road. In the early part of they secured the commodious but dingy iron chapel erected for the late Mr. W. Carter, and under the ministry of Mr. T. L. Edwards, one of our students, succeeded in forming a thoroughly working church, in which are some of the choicest of our own friends. The membership is now 120, last year’s returns showing a net increase of 41 persons. A considerable sum has been expended in purchasing, renovating, and decorating the building, which now presents a very different aspect from that of former days, one of our invaluable deacons having largely helped both with influence and money. The pastor and people are abundant in labors for the extension of the Redeemer’s kingdom in the neighborhood, especially in attracting young men and women to their well-conducted Bible-classes and special meetings, from which frequent additions are made to the church.
XL. —VICTORIA CHAPEL,WANDSWORTHROAD.
This is another of the London Baptist Association chapels, in the work of erecting which our beloved people at the Tabernacle took a large share.
We agreed to undertake the work if the Association would grant £1,000 towards it. While we were seeking restoration to health in the beginning of 1872 our friends raised a subscription to present us with the means of purchasing the freehold land. This helped us grandly. The chapel was opened in April, 1873, and Mr. Henderson, one of our students, was chosen pastor. From the first the Lord has owned and blessed his earnest labors. The church at the present time numbers 252 baptized believers.
Within twelve months it became necessary to erect schools and classrooms, and these have been built and paid for. This church is a great power for good in the neighborhood, and is diligently laboring to remove all debt from its handsome premises.
XLI. —PLAISTOW —BARKINGROAD.
The good work going on among the friends to whom Mr. Gillespie minister’s is best described in a letter he has lately sent to us: — “My Dear Sir, — On February 23rd, 1872, you sent for me to come and see you in your vestry. On going there I found you had company, four gentlemen whom I had never seen before, and who seemed to look me through. Yon then addressed me thus, ‘Gillespie, I want you to go down to Barking-road and preach for two or three Sundays, and if you don’t like the place, don’t stay; if you do, stick to it, I’ll help to support you. These gentlemen have come for you, and may God’s blessing go with you.’ The following Sunday I went to Barking-road, and did not like either place or people, the second Sunday I liked the people, and the third Sunday I thought I could like both place and people. They wished me to come for a few more Sundays, and as I saw signs of blessing, I consented. In two or three months’ time the chapel was nearly full, and several had been brought to the Lord. The blessing came in this way: the sons and daughters of several families were brought to the Savior, and at once I had gained the fathers and mothers. Ah, many times I have seen a whole family bowing before God, and one in particular, a very large family. One son had been their great trouble. He came to chapel, and the text, ‘God so loved the world,” (John 3:16) brought him to Christ. O what a blessed time that was for his family. The father took me by the hand, saying, ‘I thank God for sending you here, sir, my son is now alive.’ “I soon came so to like the people, that I felt I could not leave them, and thus the work went on till eventually I settled with them. The chapel got too small: what was to be done? Several began to pray about a new one, and after having made a few alterations in the shape of a small platform, and reducing size of vestries, to give a little more room for hearers, we saw that a new chapel we must have. But the money, where was that to come from? We could only raise about £80 a year, and £30 of that was to go for rent. I laid the matter before James Duncan, Esq., one day, and to my great surprise he said, ‘When you get £600 come to me and I will give you £1,000.’ We then set to work, and in six months’ time we had the £600 in cash and promises, Mr. Duncan, at a public meeting, put the cheque into my hand. I never had such a thing in my hand before, and never since. Towards the £600 you kindly gave us £100, and I must add that the first two years you gave me £50 a year, making in all £200. The new chapel was in course of erection, and everyone doing something towards it. They had besides to make up the £50 towards my salary. It was a pull, I can assure you, but God was blessing the word. “On June 21,1876, our new chapel was opened, and of course we all felt very grateful, though we were in debt about £2,500. The first year we exactly doubled the increase we had in the old place, and the work today is going on steadily. We started with a membership of 25, and have reached to 198. We are in debt, and more than we can well manage, but we shall get that down. Give us time and Christ’s presence. To our Lord and Master be the praise. — Yours sincerely, R. H.GILLESPIE.”
XLII. —MARKHOUSE COMMON,WALTHAMSTOW.
Among the various agencies by which our friends at the Tabernacle seek to extend the kingdom of Christ is the “Metropolitan Tabernacle Country Mission,” whose work consists in establishing preaching stations around London, and assisting young brethren who are endeavoring to plant Baptist Churches around London, by contributing towards the expenses of traveling, hire of rooms, etc. The members preach and pay, for each brother is expected to contribute towards the common fund. Several churches have already been formed through the efforts of its members, but we do not give a full account of them here, as they do not come within the scope of this report. We refer to this very useful Society here, because its first secretary, Mr. T. Breewood, who was the originator of the church at Markhouse Common, has been for some time in the College. The society was applied to by a few friends in the neighborhood of Walthamstow to assist in starting a new interests, and Mr. Breewood was sent; but the progress of the work was such as to necessitate his retirement from the Country Mission, which he had so well served for seven years. He gives the following particulars of his work: — “The work was commenced three years ago in a private house, in which we held regular services for ten months. Being compelled to look for a larger place we obtained the free use of an abandoned chapel in the neighborhood; on the first Sunday the congregation increased from 70, who used to meet in the house: to 170, and in a few weeks the 200 seats were occupied; and from then to the present the congregations have kept up well. We were formed into a church by elders Bowker, White, and Dunn in June, 1876, with 14 members, now we number 78. The Sundayschool has grown from one boy to 300 scholars, among whom a joyful work is going on.”
The Baptist church in this place has been identified with the College from its commencement. A Baptist friend, earnestly desirous that our principles should be represented in this rapidly increasing town, entered into arrangements with the Vice-President, as the result of which the Public Hall was engaged, and the present pastor, then a student, was sent down to commence services. From the first very satisfactory progress was made, and evident tokens of divine approval rested upon the work. About four months after the services were commenced a very cordial invitation was given to Mr. J. E. Martin to settle, with the view of gathering a church.
The church is now two years old, and numbers 31 members, the large majority of whom have been gathered in as the result of the services. In November last the new chapel was opened. It is a handsome building, seating about 250 persons, and already there are signs that the place is becoming too strait. The building cost nearly £1,400, a debt of only £300 still remains, and this it is hoped will be cleared off this year. There are two Sunday-schools in connection with the church, numbering together scholars. There are likewise organized two weekly Cottage Services, a Band of Hope, and so on, all of which are in a flourishing state.
This is one of the numerous instances in which a vigorous and selfsupporting church has been speedily raised in connection with the College, without whose initial aid, humanly speaking, it could never have existed.
XLIV. —GEORGE STREET,BROMLEY-BY-BOW.
In this spot a Christian brother, who was formerly a member of the Tabernacle, erected a chapel in 1856. Mr. Lainbourne, the pastor, writes to us: — “It is nearly five years since I accepted the pastorate of the church worshipping at George Street Chapel, Bromley-by-Bow, E., from which time the church dates its connection with the Pastors’ College. For two years previously there had been no settled minister, and the general results might be easily imagined; but to the glory of God be it said, that during the five years of our ministry the smile of our gracious God has been constantly upon us. After the first three years labors our number of members had increased threefold, and the building had become far too small to allow us to worship God with any degree of comfort or convenience. Being the property of a private friend, we were unable to enlarge it, consequently we were compelled to secure a large site, upon which we hope to erect a chapel to accommodate 1,000 persons, with schoolrooms for the same number of children. The foundation-stone of the schoolroom was laid on Monday, March 11th inst. This well accommodate 500 people, and we intend to use it for the present both as a chapel and school-room. The cost of this building will be £1,000: towards this sum we have in cash £600, with promises amounting to another £100. We have received the promise of between £300 and £400 towards the chapel itself, including £100 promised by our beloved President.”
This will be another new place of worship. The church is reported in the Handbook as numbering 200. Mr. Lambourne gives a very modest account of his labors. He is a brother admirably adapted to reach the class among whom he resides.
XLV. —PONDERSEND. We were asked by a few friends to assist them in raising a Baptist church in this place. Students were sent, and at length Mr. Cotton was chosen to take permanent charge. The church numbers 25, with 5 more about to be added: a hopeful beginning. The friends have a small chapel, and are working hard to erect another more suitable to their present and future need: this they hope to open in two months, and then the small place will be their schoolroom. We have promised to give help in proportion as the friends help themselves.
XLVI. —WOOLWICH —CHARLESSTREET.
Our former student, Mr. James Smith, now of Chatham, carried on a very useful evangelistic work in Woolwich until a church was formed, which settled down in Charles Street, where it still remains under the able pastorate of Mr. Wilson. The friends have purchased the chapel. The church now numbers 112.
XLVII. —PEOPLE’ S MISSION HALL,PECKHAM.
In Gordon-road, Peckham, our student, Mr. Linnecar, an earnest evangelist, fresh from the sea, has gathered a people together, fitted up an arch with his own hands, and formed a church of 41 members. Here is the nucleus of a hopeful community, which may the Lord multiply exceedingly.
We confess that our joy is great when we see the working people drawn to attend the means of grace and to take an interest in extending the Redeemer’s kingdom. Men like Mr. Linnecar seem to gather a congregation better than some of those who are more refined but have less energy. Of course his work is but a commencement as yet, and a railway arch is a poor makeshift; but, if the Lord will give his blessing, though the beginning be small, the latter end will greatly increase. Mr. Linnecar does a great deal of open-air work.
XLVIII. —PERRY HILLCHAPEL. Mr. Spurgeon has lately taken upon a long lease at a very small rental the school-chapel at Perry Hill, Catford Bridge, which stands at the rear of a fine plot of ground. Through the large-heartedness of friends on the spot who desired to see the gospel preached more fully in the neighborhood this exceedingly well furnished little building has been transferred to us, and is now a Baptist chapel, where a congregation is already gathered. Repairs to about £50 have been carried out at our expense. This is but a small outlay to secure such a property. As there is a large piece of ground in front which is taken with the building, it is hoped that ere long a goodly house will be built upon it. Our student, Mr. Greenwood, junior, has undertaken the task of raising a church, and he has met with remarkable success.
XLIX. —FONTHILL ROAD,FINSBURYPARK. In 1874 Mr. John Wilson, a former student of the College, commenced preaching in a small hall near Finsbury Park. It was indeed a day of small things, the preacher had not before been in the neighborhood, and did not know whether a congregation would be in the hall when he went to preach; some eight persons, however, came to the morning service, and in the evening the attendance was multiplied fourfold. Success had so far attended the undertaking that in March, 1875, an iron chapel costing £400 was opened, Mr. Tucker, of Camden Road Church, and others taking part in the services. From the first a measure of prosperity attended the labors of both, minister and people, but towards the close of the year 1876 Mr. Wilson mind was moved towards the higher Calvinistic line of doctrine and also to Strict Communion, and he judged it to be the honorable course to leave the people and begin elsewhere. This is certainly better than strife and ill will. Mr. Wilson left behind a Baptist church of some sixty members, with nearly two hundred scholars. The present minister, Mr. H. S. Smith, continues the work at Fonthill Road, and Mr. Wilson is preaching in the Holloway Road. We wish both the brethren abounding success.
Although the following cases of New Chapels are not so completely connoted with the College as the former, they have some relation to it, and yet more to the President of the institution, through the Tabernacle church and its societies, or through the Evening Classes.
L. —CHATHAM ROAD,WANDSWORTHCOMMON.
Here a chapel, accommodating 240, has been erected and paid for through the efforts of our two sons, C. and T. Spurgeon. This is purely a mission chapel, in the midst of a neighborhood greatly needing the gospel, but far from eager to hear it. It is a light in a dark place. We rejoice that our son Charles is now a student in the College.
LI. —NOTTINGHAM ROAD,UPPERTOOTING.
Chiefly through the consecrated energies of two brethren, members of the Tabernacle, a room was opened here some few years ago. A very pretty little chapel has since been built, towards which we subscribed £250; the people have given up to the full of their means in order to secure; a place to meet in where they might have a hope of gathering a congregation. Mr. Tredray, of our College, was for some months the preacher at present the little church is seeking a pastor.
The Tabernacle Country Mission has for some time been sending a preacher here, and at length Mr. Geale has succeeded in building a small chapel in Werter Road, in a good position in a new neighborhood. The new church numbers 42, and is growing hopefully. We aided this enterprise as far as we had the means and our Tabernacle friends joined heartily in it.
Here our Country Mission has rented a hall, gathered a congregation, and formed a church of more than 60 members, which prospers under the care of our brother Mr. May, who is a member at the Tabernacle. Thus there are still young plants taking root and branching out; all, we hope, are likely to be fruitful to the glory of God. They need, however. much tending, and some will need a good deal of water from the golden stream of Christian liberality if they are to become strong trees. May the Holy Spirit yet more abundantly water the whole of the trees of the Lord with “the river of God, which is full of water.”
CERTAIN CHURCHES REVIVED.
The resurrection and salvation of an old church is often a more difficult task than to commence a new one. They remind us of the man who used profanely to swear, “God mend me,” to whom a Christian man remarked, “It were better if he made you new.” In very many instances our young brethren have been remarkably successful in this work; but it is not easy to say much about it, for except the case is extraordinary, and altogether undeniable, there are always affectionate friends of the old cause and of the former ministers who feel greatly hurt at any statement which appears to bear hard upon them. To them, it may be, the new order of things may even be distasteful, for the noise and stir of large additions, and the introduction of new ways, causes them disturbance of mind, and is hardly counterbalanced by any joy at the manifest increase of numbers and development of resources. Therefore we confine ourselves to those instances in which the growth of the church seems to us at least to be specially remarkable. We have omitted several which might justly have been inserted, lest in any way we should raise a question: our brethren who find themselves unmentioned will not, we trust, take it as a slight, nor fancy that we underestimate their services to the Redeemer’s cause.
One of the earliest of our students was Mr. Alfred Searle, who, while in College, endeavored to raise a church in the heart of our great city, first at a little old meeting-house in the Old Bailey, thence removing with his little company to Shaftesbury Hall, in Aldersgate-street, where he ministered until invited to Vernon Chapel, Pentonville. He, however, fell ill, and after preaching a few times, fell asleep in Jesus. At this time the heavy liability upon Vernon had to be met, or the place to be sold, and lost to the Baptists. Sir S. M. Peto joined with Mr. Spurgeon in the endeavor to redeem the building and secure it to the denomination, This desirable object was accomplished, and knowing the, result thereof, we are unfeignedly glad.
Our brother C. B. Sawday, who was then a very young man, took his late fellow-student’s place, and the pews soon began to receive occupants, and the occupants to receive the word of life. This was in 1863. To few youthful pastors has so large a blessing been vouchsafed as to our friend’s early labors. In one year 198 persons were added to the church, and how many were converted then and in after years it would be hard to estimate, for the ministry has been remarkably useful in soul-winning.
A crowded chapel led to hiring the large hall of the German Gymnasium for Sunday services in 1867, and at length to the enlargement of Vernon, which is now a very commodious building, seating 1,300. This church of 650 members, with its schools and organization, is one of the most useful in London. We have both given help and granted a loan to this church.
ARTHUR STREET,KING’ S CROSS ROAD.
The church worshipping in Arthur-street Chapel has records of “a strange, eventful history’ of well-nigh a century and a half, as we learn from a little book compiled by one of the deacons for the information of his fellowworshippers; but as we have only space for so much of its history as connects it with our College work, we must pass over all but a few facts within our recollection. The chapel is within a few hundred yards of “Vernon,” where our beloved brother Sawday ministers; and its history is closely connected with that of “Vernon”; for about the year 1860 the church and congregation, with their pastor, Dr. Wills, were literally locked out of Vernon Chapel, owing to some unfortunate disputes about the ownership of the property, and they eventually erected Arthur-street Chapel.
Passing by the intervening years, we come to the period when the present pastor. Mr. H. E. Stone, entered upon the work at Arthur-street, in 1872.
At that period there was a debt of £900 on the chapel, and the church was in a very low condition, 38 names only being on the church book, of these not a few had absented themselves for upwards of two years. A great change soon took place, for many came to hear the word, faith came by hearing, and souls were saved; and now, notwithstanding the migratory character of the surrounding population, there are 333 believers in church fellowship, and the chapel, which will accommodate 800, is often well filled.
The position of the chapel has certainly had little to do with the popularity and success of the preacher; for so out-of-the-way is it, that a stranger must needs ask half-a-dozen times, even when close to it, ere he finds it, for it has been described as “next door to nowhere.” The pastor says he believes that very many have been induced to attend through hearing him preach at the theaters and in the open-air.
The interior of the building has undergone a very great change, spacious galleries having been erected and considerable improvements made, at a cost of about £900; and as the debt is now a little over £900, it will be seen that this large sum has been raised besides all necessary expenses of worship.
In the little book above referred to, the good deacon thus writes: — “Our present esteemed pastor, Mr. Stone, was formerly a student in Mr. Spurgeon’s College; and if there were not already so many notable proofs of the value of that noble institution, the present would more than suffice for the acknowledgment of the great debt of gratitude we owe to its founder.”
This church under the influence of ultra-calvinistic preaching had almost become extinct when, in 1865, we were waited upon by one of the few members to whom a heavy sum was due. We released him from his liabilities and saved the place from sale. Mr. J. S. Morris, a student of the College, went to preach in the chapel; his first audience consisted of six persons only. We aided by a draft of members from the Tabernacle, and gave considerable pecuniary help so as to remove the debt. Our friends were thus enabled to renovate the chapel and render it more comfortable.
The church soon became a power for good in that densely populated, and poor neighborhood. There were about 120 in fellowship when Mr. Morris removed to his present sphere at Leyton in 1866. Mr. H. Tarrant of our College is now the pastor and an earnest missionary work is carried on by himself’ and people in a place where it is greatly needed. What with its ecclesiastical heresies, and over-crowded lanes and courts, Westminster needs all the help that all its Christian churches can supply.
Mr. J. H. Barnard, while pursuing his studies with us, labored hard to reinstate the cause at Highgate. The church had been established about fifty years, and worshipped in a small old-fashioned building under an esteemed minister, who at length retired through old age. Mr. Barnard commenced to preach there in 1862. In 1867 the chapel was enlarged and modernized, in fact almost rebuilt, at a cost of £700, which sum the friends were enabled to raise when they returned to their comfortable meeting-house.
The friends are still favored with the ministrations of our dear friend Mr. Barnard, and, better still, with continued spiritual blessing. The church numbers 121 members.
KINGSGATE STREET CHAPEL,HOLBORN.
The church here has a history of nearly a century and a half, and has numbered among its pastors several Baptist worthies. The ancient meetinghouse was in Eagle Street, adjoining the present modern structure, which is dark and dreary to an almost impossible degree. The most noteworthy circumstance about this church at the time we were called to the rescue was an enormous debt. When our brother Mr. Burton became the pastor in April, 1865, the church was very low; he has labored long and well for his Lord, and has seen much prosperity. The debt has been reduced by £1,900, and £500 more have been expended in improving the property. From our Loan Fund the church has borrowed at different times £300. The pastor has received into fellowship about 700 persons. The population of the neighborhood is a very changing one, and church members are constantly being transferred to our suburban sanctuaries, so that the preacher, who is in poor health, feels much discouraged, and yet he need not be, for the souls are saved whether they stay with him or not. When Mr. Burton became pastor there were about 100 names on the books; now there are above three times that number.
The pastor, Mr. Tomkins, shall tell his own story. “The cause at Barking became connected with the College some six years ago, and was at first supplied by students from week to week. In the autumn of 1873 I was sent to preach, and continued to do so occasionally until the summer of 1874, when owing to the increase of congregation, and other signs of blessing, I accepted the pastorate, though the temporal reward is but small. The cause was then in a very low state, the chapel was small and the number attending few. They had never been able to support a settled ministry. “During the three years and a-half of my ministry the following work has been accomplished: — 1. A debt of £80 upon the schoolroom has been cleared off. The chapel has been enlarged to double its former size at a cost of about £200, all of which has been paid, our worthy President contributing £20. 2. The congregation has more than trebled, while the membership which then stood at 27 is now 102, most of these having been brought in from the world. The attendance at the Sabbath school has during the same time more than doubled. Our chapel is again crowded and we are about to re-enlarge at an outlay of £400. This estimate is for two vestries, new pews, and accommodation for about 150 more people. I may here mention that during the past two winters I have conducted services in a large hall on Sunday afternoons, which were attended by between two and three hundred people, and were much blessed. Altogether we have reason to thank God and take courage.
The following is taken from a circular issued by the church: — “The church and congregation meeting in Providence Chapel, Hackney Road, London, have increased to such an extent under the ministry of Mr. Cuff that there are now 200 more members on the church books than the present chapel will accommodate. About four years ago, in consequence of the crowded state of the chapel, it was decided to take the Shoreditch Town Hall for our evening services. This building holds nearly 2,000 people, and from the commencement to the present time has been well filled, and very often large numbers have to go away. “During the time of our pastor’s ministry 700 persons have joined the church, an old debt of £1,200 has been cleared off, about £1,000 per annum has been raised for the current expenses of the church, including pastor’s salary, Sunday-school, Dorcas Societies, Poor Funds, hire of Hall, and incidental expenses, in addition to which two large Mission Schools, numbering about 1,000 children, have been largely supported by our congregation. We have also a Christian Mission, consisting of about persons, who devote their evenings to preaching the gospel in the open-air during the summer months, and in the lodging houses and other places in the winter; also Tract Societies and other evangelistic agencies. Our School and Bible glass accommodation is quite inadequate to the requirements of our present position. “Under these, and many other circumstances that might be named, the church has unanimously resolved to build a large Chapel, to seat 2,500 persons; but, in order to accomplish this great work, a frontage had to be secured in the Hackney Road by purchasing several houses, four of which are already in our possession, and two others are agreed for. We have received from our own people, in cash and promises for this special fund, about £2,500, and in cash and promises from outside friends nearly the same amount, making a total of cash and promises received, up to this date of £5,000. “The new building will cost about £12,000, and, with purchase of houses, about £,4,000 more, making a total outlay of about £16,000. The entire plot of ground being freehold, the Committee earnestly, yet with confidence, commend their case to the thoughtful consideration of Christian people in all parts of the country, for they are deeply conscious that, unaided by a sympathetic public, they dare not embark in so great a work: and, therefore, they appeal to Christians of every name and denomination for help in this important undertaking.”
PECKHAM —PARKROAD. We do not mention this church because we had any share in founding it, but because under the ministry of our beloved student, Mr. Tarn, it has risen from a low and straggling condition to become a large and influential community. By the divine blessing everything is changed, for the Holy Spirit works mightily with the word. Mr. Tarn has sent us the following particulars: — “Two years ago, when I settled at Peekham Park Road, the church was exceedingly weak, and the chapel well nigh empty. The need of the church and district was its chief recommendation to me. The band of workers, though small, was united, earnest, and prayerful, and our efforts have been attended by copious and continuous blessing. The congregations soon became so large that we were compelled to erect galleries. Additional accommodation was thus provided for 300, at a cost of £620, toward which our beloved President contributed £10. This provision has, however, proved inadequate; all the sittings are appropriated, and seats are generally used in the aisles. During the past five years God has added to us souls, and every month, with one exception, we have been privileged to welcome new members. The fellowship of the Church has increased from 59 to 463. “In the Sunday-schools God has been pleased to bless us with corresponding increase. The two schools, with 620 scholars and teachers, have become five schools, numbering 1,489 scholars and teachers. We are now engaged in the erection of spacious schoolrooms for our home school, which contains 813 children. The cost of the new schools and the freehold site is £2,400, towards which we have received £1,160 in cash and £100 in promises. We have four mission stations where the gospel is regularly preached, and where manifold efforts are made to elevate men and win them to Christ. Two of our young men have become missionaries, one has accepted a pastorate in Lincolnshire, and four more are at present in the College. In every part of our widespread organization there is the throb of healthy life. All our agencies are well sustained, and during the last three years our income for all purposes has amounted to £3,606. “Further chapel enlargement is sorely needed. Our aggressive efforts are crippled for lack of room. We grieve that the accommodation is not equal to the anxiety for hearing the gospel. We are anxious to enlarge the chapel by adding to it the old schoolrooms, and thus we shall gain about 250 more sittings. The work is both pressing and promising. Will any of the Lord’s stewards help us thus to extend our sphere of usefulness in a district where earnest effort is needed, appreciated, and blessed? — T. G.TARN.”
Mr. J. H. Banfield, of the College, became pastor of the Union Church at Stratford in 1875. The cause had been established about twenty years, and the membership at the time of our friend’s settlement was 50 only.
Through the Lord’s blessing upon his labors, the church now numbers members. Towards the liquidation of a debt of £800 the friends have given and collected £350, including a gift of £20 from ourselves. The income of the church has also been more than doubled. We greatly rejoice in our brother’s prosperity.
Here the cause was so utterly reduced that the chapel was about to be sold, and must have been so, had we not taken upon ourselves the payment of the interest of the debt, and thus helped the almost extinct society at its lowest ebb. We have greatly rejoiced to observe that, after our College men had labored with but slender success, this church has been taken up by Mr. Edward Brown, brother of A. G. Brown, of the East London Tabernacle, and under his ministry the wilderness rejoices and the desert blossoms, as the rose. Though not of our College, Mr. Brown was one of our Tabernacle members, and it has been a delight to us to aid him in clearing away the incubus of debt.
OTHER LONDON CHURCHES.
Of other London churches among whom our College men have labored we can only give a passing notice, though in several instances a page or two might be filled with interesting matter.
GROVE ROAD,VICTORIA PARK.
— This is an Association chapel. Mr.G. D. Evans here gathered a church of 120 members, which, under the earnest ministry of Mr. W. J. Inglis, has subsequently increased to 318. Here we find a good chapel, a working church, and an efficient pastor, but there is a debt.
— We carried on this church when others had left it “minished and brought low.’ It had fallen on evil days, and our students could barely keep it going. Our good brother-in-law, Mr. T.C. Page, has both renovated the building and revived the church.
— We have had the honor to supply two pastors to this old-established and honored church. Under Mr. Williams of our College, the cause is enjoying unmistakable tokens of the divine favor.
— Mr. D. Russell has been the pastor here for fifteen years.
ALFRED PLACE,OLD KENT ROAD.
— This feeble interest has been furnished with preachers by us, but it is in a bad situation and deserted by everybody. We shall do our best for it. BEXLEY HEATH.
— Under the ministry of Mr. George Smith this church is increasing in strength, removing its burdens, and enlarging its borders.
— Mr. Edgley is cheered by an increased congregation, and trusts that the old church will renew its youth.
TALBOT TABERNACLE,WESTBOURNE PARK.
— Our well-beloved brother Frank White took up the work of Mr. Gordon Furlong, and by the divine blessing has built up a church of 230 members. This church is doing its utmost for the masses around.
— Mr. M. Cumming has for a year been pastor of this new Association church, and has been the means of greatly adding to the congregation and uplifting the cause.
— Mr. Morris of Romney Street was selected to raise a church here, in the Association Chapel. It is a difficult position. The church commenced in 1876 with 26 members and now numbers 58. JOHN STREET,BEDFORD ROW.
— We count it no small honor that our College should furnish one of the successors of Baptist Noel and Harrington Evans. From the peculiarities of the neighborhood our excellent brother, Mr. Collins, has a hard task before him; and we earnestly pray the Lord to send him his gracious help in a special degree.
SALTER’ S HALL CHAPEL,ISLINGTON — Mr. Bax is happily settled here, and one of the deacons writes us, “Our church is prospering. Our growth is not extraordinarily rapid, but I believe it is of a very substantial character.”
DACRE PARK CHAPEL,BLACKHEATH.
— We hold no very strong views as to open or strict communion, and we are glad that we always have in the College a few brethren of the sturdy school of old-fashioned Baptists.
Among these is Mr. W. Usher, who at Dacre Park is enjoying a very encouraging measure of success, with every omen of better times to come.
The membership is 115, of which number 73 have been added since Mr. Usher’s advent in June, 1875. WEST GREEN.
— Mr. G. Turner has been working since 1872 in the chapel which was purchased by the Association. The region is chaotic and “cut up” With railway and new roads. There are 108 members, and as the district fills up there will, by God’s blessing, be a strong and useful church.
SPRING VALE CHAPEL,NOTTING HILL — Mr. Honan’s church in this chapel is reported as numbering 53. WELLINGTON ROAD,STOKE NEWINGTON.
— This decayed church in chose Mr. Rawlings. He finds it uphill work, but he is not without encouragement.
NORWOOD NEW TOWN.
— Here Mr. Hobbs has supplied the pulpit of a society which maintains an undenominational position. Under his ministry it has so prospered that he is induced to remain. There are about 100 in fellowship.
— Mr. Vivian accepted this pastorate in 1874, and under his ministry the cause is built up. HARLINGTON.
— Mr. Crick settled here in 1876. Church numbers 174.
POTTER’ S BARN — Mr. Hart has been pastor here since 1876. PARSON’ S HINT,WOOLWICH.
— Mr. J. Turner, after successfully building a church at Tunbridge, has undertaken this church, for which we pray that its prosperity may return.
— This church has invited our worthy student, Mr. F. Jones, to settle among them. May the Lord revive the work by his means.
Thus have we ended our summary; not without regret at being compelled to be so brief. This hath the Lord done by the hand of his servants, and unto his name give we praise.
NON NOBISDOMINE. FLOODS IN THE STREETS.
“Rivers of waters in the streets.” — Proverbs 5:16. “Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” — Amos 5:24.
ON Thursday morning, April 11th, when we reached the Tabernacle, at eleven in the morning, we found the rooms of the basement covered with water, so that they could not be occupied. Our conference was unable to meet for dinner in the schoolroom, and was obliged to adjourn to another building. The papers, among many accounts of the flooded districts, thus speak of our near neighbors in the somewhat aristocratic region of Brixton: “The easterly gale which had been blowing since Sunday morning subsided on Wednesday night, and was followed by such a downpour of rain as seldom occurs in this latitude except in connection with summer thunderstorms. It was very heavy all through the night, and continued yesterday without much abatement through the early hours of the forenoon, until more rain had fallen in a few hours than the average rainfall for a month. At Brixton there was a serious flood, caused by the inability of the Effra river, which is nothing better than a covered sewer, to carry off all the water. It burst forth at all openings, and even forced itself upward in jets which are compared to the spoutings of a whale. The water rising with much rapidity, the inhabitants, who in most eases were sitting down to or preparing for breakfast, had barely time to escape from their breakfast rooms, when the water was upon them. Snatching up what came first to hand, they made the best of their way upstairs, and finding all efforts to save their property futile, gave up the attempt in despair. In Brixton-road, not alone the carriage way, but the footpaths were submerged, and in some places the flow of water was so great that the roadway and pavement were broken up by the rushing waters seeking to find an outlet, and in some instances the pavements were actually washed away. The main road itself was like a quickly-flowing river, and many of the side roads were also flooded. The water was in most places upwards of a foot in depth, and in many nearly two feet. Locomotion was exceedingly difficult, vehicles of all descriptions having to be drawn through the flood, with the horses nearly up to their knees in water, while with the tram-cars the water reached up to the step, and an extra horse was necessary to draw the car.”
When the Lord is pleased to open the windows of heaven and refresh the thirsty earful with plentiful showers, man in his boasted wisdom has so arranged the cities where he dwells that there is no room for the divine bounty, and a benison becomes a danger. His careful preparations in blotting out rippling brooks and water courses begirt with willows, and burying in the earth beneath arches of brick the once silvery streams, are all sources of peril to him; peril, too, from that which should have been his greatest blessing. The rain is good, but we have not room enough to receive it; we have space for our own filthiness if the heavenly rains will let us alone, but for “showers of blessings” our arrangements have left no receptacle, and they must drown us out, and stop our traffic, to gain even a temporary lodging-place. Time was when the Effra river would have carried the water down to the Thames without any greater inconvenience than a flooded meadow, or a garden swamped for an hour or two. Some living persons remember the Effra as a pretty brook with a charming walk by its side and overhanging trees. We have seen some pretty bits of scenery which an artist copied from this rural streamlet of days gone by. There were little rustic bridges here and there, and many a nook where lovers of quiet could sit down and meditate; but now there is no sign of the brook until you pass into Dulwich; almost throughout its entire length our modern civilization has transformed it into a covered drain. Confined within a dark arch of brick, the stream forgets its sunny days, and like a prisoner urged along the corridor of an underground dungeon pursues its dreary way. Alas, that man should have made human life to be so much after the same manner. Of green fields and fresh breezes how little do the multitudes of our toilers ever see or feel: of cheerfulness and content how little do many of our merchants and traders understand; and of sacred joy and consecrated delight the bulk of men know nothing whatever. Life comes to us, but too often we will not allow it to flow freely in holy content and joy, where the trees are flourishing and the birds singing among the branches, but we compel it to grovel underground in anxiety and unbelief.
Yet heavenly life cannot always be made to abide among the dead, just as the Effra when fed by showers from heaven would no longer brook its prison. It burst forth wherever a vent existed and forced ways of escape for itself where there were none before. Every now and then this happens in spiritual affairs and men behold the phenomenon with wonder and even with alarm. It was so in the age of Whitefield and Wesley, when the Lord opened the windows of heaven upon our land. What an outbreak there was! What a commotion and upheaval! The old pavements of conventionality were torn away, and the floods burst up through them.
Attempts were made to stop the stream, persecution was tried against the Methodists, they were denounced from the pulpit, threatened by mobs, and ridiculed as modern enthusiasts and madmen, and regarded as the offscouring of all things; but all this availed nothing, omnipotence was at work and malice could not hinder. The sacred flood would not be denied a channel, but found free course and God was glorified. Of course it stirred the mud and raised the foulness of the community to most offensive rage, but it cleansed as it rushed forward, and swept away the accumulated vices of dreary years. May the like happen again in our times, indeed we are not altogether strangers to such burstings forth of the living waters even now.
It were well if in individuals there were such floodings of the soul with the grace of God, that the divine life would break forth everywhere, in the parlor, the workshop, the counting-house, the market, and the streets. We are far too ready to confine it to the channel of Sunday services and religious meetings, it deserves a broader floodway and must have it if we are to see gladder times. It must burst out upon men who do not care for it, and invade chambers where it will be regarded as an intrusion; it must be seen by wayfaring men streaming down the places of traffic and concourse, hindering the progress of sinful trades, and surrounding all, whether they will or no. We want another universal deluge, not of destruction, but of salvation, so that the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
Would to God that religion were more vital and forceful among us, so as to create a powerful public opinion in behalf of truth, justice, and holiness. It will be a blessed day when all the streets of our land shall be flooded with grace. Amos in the text which we have quoted bids us aim at this, in the name of the Lord. The formalities of religion are of little worth compared with this, for the Lord says, “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.” “Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” He would have us exhibit a life which should purify the aged and sweep before it every obstacle; a life to be seen even in the streets, where men care least to have it. It is much to be desired that the Christian church may yet have more power and influence all over the world for righteousness and peace.
Something of it is felt even now, but not enough. The Church of Christ in England has more power to-day than it ever had before. Our country would have been plunged in war months ago (May, 1878), if it had not been for Christian men who have been the backbone of the opposition to the war party. Peace would not have been kept unbroken so long as it has been had it not been earnestly promoted by the prayers and labors of those who worship the Prince of Peace. In other matters, also, of social reform, and moral progress, the influence of true religion is felt, and it will yet be far more mighty. May the day come when the spirit of righteousness shall have complete control over those who govern, and direct our affairs, then shall judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
All will not go pleasantly even then, for many will be greatly vexed by such prevalence of right principles: their craft will be in danger, they will be greatly inconvenienced in their sins, they will be up to their knees in an element which they do not relish, and they will rave against it; but for all that it will be a blessing if God sends us such showers of grace as to become an irresistible flood. Come, mighty stream; send it, we beseech thee, O Lord: and let us live to see Ezekiel’s vision fulfilled. “Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.”
CLEAR THE ROAD
“Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones.” — Isaiah 62:10. “Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way: but let it rather be healed.” — Hebrews 12:13. “THE DAILY TELEGRAPH,” May 9, informs us that “a singular want of thought on the part of the Parisian authorities has been much commented on by strangers. Some days before the opening of the Exhibition a great many of the principal roads in the center of the city were partially closed for repairs, and at this moment many of them are almost impassable. This applies particularly to the opera district, where the Rue Auber, the Rue Scribe, and the Boulevard Haussman form a mass of unpaved ground covered with heaps of stone and sand, staked off with ropes against the public. Everyone acquainted with Paris is aware that the carriage way and footpath accommodation in this part of the town is insufficient for ordinary requirements, and he may judge of the inconvenience and confusion existing there under present circumstances.” Have not some whose business it is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ been equally negligent as to clearing the way of those who are coming to the light? In many cases doctrinal difficulties are overlooked, or by crude exaggerated teachings are even multiplied, so that the poor troubled heart is unable to travel the path of faith because of hard thoughts and doubtful questions which sorely perplex it. The ministers of Christ should often dwell upon the stumbling blocks which lie in the way of earnest seekers, and endeavor as far as possible to remove them, that simple minds may not be staggered. The language used by teachers is often so refined and oratorical that the common people do not understand it, and hence their way is blocked up “with heaps of stone and sand.” “We use great plainness of speech,” said the apostle, but his example is not followed in every case. Theological distinctions, crabbed definitions, and high-sounding phrases are often like the ropes with which the Paris footpaths are staked off against the public: they tend to hinder those who are in the right way. Minds are troubled with niceties which need never be raised, and perplexed with distinctions which need never be mentioned.
We know cases in which opportunities of Christian conversation are not offered, and the inquirer is not encouraged to bring his doubts and fears to those whose experience might assist him. In some places the kingdom of heaven sufferer violence, and only the very violent are able to enter into the professing church at all: the strait gate is made straiter than Christ left it, and the narrow way is almost entirely blocked up. This is not wisdom: free grace should not be preached as if it were the monopoly of advanced saints, but an open door should be set before the anxious sinner, and he should lovingly be pressed to enter it. What is the use of the house of mercy if those who would enter it are rather repulsed by hard speeches than assisted by affectionate invitations? It is said of one of old time, “They brought him to Jesus” let us zealously occupy ourselves by doing the same to all souls who ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward. God has made such a glorious exhibition of himself in Christ Jesus that it would be a sin and a shame if we should even in the least degree hinder one of the least of these who would behold it. C.H.S.
MORE GOOD NEWS FROM A FAR COUNTRY (CONTINUED FROM PAGE 225) BY MRS. C. H. SPURGEON.
“ON Monday evening, Jan. 14, tea and public meetings were held in the Flinders — street Baptist church to bid farewell to Mr. Thos. Spurgeon. who purposes returning to Victoria today by the steamer Aldinga . The tea which was spread in the church, was partaken of by upwards of four hundred persons, and the large public meeting held subsequently was presided over by Mr. G. S. Fowler, who referred in felicitous terms to the benefits of Mr. Spurgeon’s visit to South Australia and the widely experienced regret at his approaching departure. Suspended in front of the gallery was the word ‘Farewell’ worked in flowers.”
The above paragraph is taken from one of the many full and lengthy newspaper reports which have reached us of the doings and sayings of the good people of Adelaide on parting with our dear son. We shall not transcribe all the kind and loving things said on this occasion concerning both father and son, because we mean this paper to be a record of the young voyager’s own views and feelings, rather than a mere recital of “what folks thought of him,” but we think it a fitting opportunity to renew our expressions of hearty gratitude to all dear friends in the colonies, for the gracious, generous, tender kindness with which he has everywhere been received and entertained. “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again,” saith the Scripture, and our fervent prayer is that the Lord himself may reward those who have been so good to our boy, returning to them” good measure, pressed down, and running over” of spiritual blessing for the temporal mercies and comforts which they have so constantly lavished upon him.
We now give in his own words some details of the last few days in Adelaide. “The farewell meeting was one to he remembered. Knowing as I do your dislike for testimonials, etc., I am afraid you will think this one unnecessary; but the customs of this hospitable land would have been sadly infringed if some such outlet for kindly feeling had not been allowed.
Moreover, though there was a great deal of interest manifested in me, love for father underlaid it all, and made this expression of affection peculiarly gratifying. At the tea-meeting I walked about, shaking hands with everyone, and conversing with those who had anything to say. Words fail to tell of the heartiness of the people. They seem as sorry that I am leaving as if I hail been a pastor among them for years. I must have shaken hands at least; a thousand times. I know my hand ached enough, This parting was not altogether a happy one for me, for I was really grieved to have to say ‘good bye’ to so many dear friends. Their kindness overwhelmed me. I never expected so great a reward for the services I have rendered them.
Then came the speeches, which you will see reported in the papers, but I must just tell you one little thing. In the course of my speech, when talking of the results of my visit and their kindness, I mentioned how rejoiced father was, and read a short extract from his last precious letter. They were delighted, sat forward in their seats to listen eagerly, as they always do when the magic name is pronounced. Then I went on to tell how happy it had made my sick mother, and spoke thus till tears on their cheeks told me I had reached their hearts, and so I left them to be happy in having made my loved ones joyous. I tried to speak as cheerfully as I could all through, but really did feel ‘awfully sorry.’ The silver mounted emu’s egg inkstand which these loving friends presented to me is really very splendid. The egg is placed on silver ground with a couple of silver emus on one side and a native brandishing his spear over a slain kangaroo on the other, while let into the egg itself is a view in silver of two more emus. The receptacle for ink is surmounted by a silver cockatoo, and an appropriate inscription is at the base. Besides this the surplus of contributions was presented to me in a purse.”
This testimonial was subscribed for by the town and country churches in which our son had preached, and was a most delicate way of showing their appreciation of his services. Not content with this, however, some generous spirits proposed that a contribution to the “Pastors’ College” and the “Stock-well Orphanage,” would form a fitting memorial of the pleasant visit, and some time after the visitor’s departure £20 were forwarded through Mr. G. S. Fowler for these institutions. Hearty thanks to the kind donors!
During the eight weeks the dear boy was in South Australia, he attended and preached or spoke at twenty-four meetings, and we are sure it was in no spirit of self-glorification, but in humble thankfulness to God that he writes, “There is scarce a sermon I have preached but what some are blessing me for it. Oh! this is glorious! not the praise of men, but the smile of God! I tell you this only that you may share my joy.”
Bidding adieu with much reluctance to the friends who “accompanied him unto the ship,” he commenced the return voyage to Melbourne, and in a small overcrowded steamer — a head wind blowing all the way — “did not find it very enjoyable.” Nearing the end of the journey, an incident occurred which must be transcribed, as it gives an insight into some unique conditions of river traveling in Australia. “Reaching Port Philip Heads, we had a delightful sail up Hobson’s Bay.
But our journey was not to terminate pleasantly. Going up the river Yarra is never a desirable trip, but this time we were doomed to something extra in the way of ‘disagreeables.’ The stream is wonderfully narrow, so narrow that one is surprised that large vessels can navigate it, though in most places it is deep to the edge. Unfortunately for us, the tide was out, and as we proceeded cautiously up stream the harbor-master hailed us from his boat, and desired to board our vessel. This so much hindered us that we got ‘stuck,’ and only escaped by stirring up mud of the blackest and richest quality. The visitor brought us the bad news that a little higher up there was a wreck lying right across the river, and that it would be extremely difficult to pass. Alter a prolonged council, off we went again, and soon came up to a vessel run right ashore. Our pilot kindly offered to tug them off, but after a deal of pulling and straining the hawser broke and the steam ship Dawn was immovable. Not many yards on was the wreck of the Otago , a very fine vessel which had foolishly attempted to sail without ballast. While being towed down the river, a strong south wind caught her and toppled her clean over. There she lay — not exactly bottom upwards, for the masts rested on the other shore, but a sufficiently terrible impediment to our progress. It seemed impossible to pass her. Our captain stamped and — well — did not sing hymns, but a skillful pilot took us by.
The ‘fenders’ on one side rubbed the Otago’s hull, while we could easily have stepped ashore on the other. I never saw such a curious sight. A fine vessel wrecked in a tiny river! The escaped crew had erected tents on the bank — perhaps their position was better than that of most shipwrecked mariners, but I felt very sorry for them. All this maneuvering took up our time, and it was evening before we landed, instead of early morning.”
Safely returned to Melbourne, he meets with a glad welcome from former loving friends, and as it was too late in the week to make arrangements for services on Sunday, he takes a Sabbath’s holiday for the first time since leaving home , and he enjoys a “feast of soul.” “I was delighted,” he says, “in the morning with a really a first-rate sermon from Mr. Chapman, the new pastor of Collins’ Street Baptist Church, and in the evening I heard Mr. Jones, the Independent Minister. This was a true ‘Sabbath’ to me, and I feel all the better for the rest. Up to this date I have not missed preaching on a Sunday since I saw you, but I have no ambition to be able to say this always, and am sure I did right in embracing the opportunity of learning from others. I feel the honor of serving Jesus more, and, more, and pray for that full consecration, and that consuming zeal which God has given to my father.”
Alter a few days’ sojourn in Melbourne, we find him writing from “Como,” near Geelong, the residence of those same dear friends who showed to him and Mr. Bunning, such splendid hospitality in the “bush” at Quambatook.
In this letter also we have the first reference to the fearful drought which threatened to devastate the Colonies a few months since, but which the Lord in his mercy turned away by giving them at last “a plenteous rain.”
We think these extracts will be read with interest by our friends. “Como, Jan. 30, 1878. “What a blazing hot day! I must still at times confess to feeling weak, but I think this its due in great measure to the extremes of a variable climate.
When I tell you that last evening we were sitting round a fire, and today are afraid to expose ourselves to the scorching sun, you can understand that such changeableness is not conducive to constant health. However, as it is too hot to do anything like work, I will give you a description of the place from which I am writing, and the way to it. From the town of Geelong, a road extends, more mountainous if possible than the generality of roads in the neighborhood. For seven miles we journey on, and then turn to the right for a drive along a lane two miles in length. The only possible excuse for calling it a lane, lies in the fact that it is hedged by furze-bushes.
No sylvan shades, no rippling streams making music along the road, no banks of flowers — no bursts of song, nothing indeed that constitutes the loveliness of a lane in dear old England. The only passengers we meet are a few poor cattle, wandering in search of water. They have been turned out to provide for themselves, and are partially successful for they do not scruple to break down fences if a ‘water-hole ‘ is in view beyond. Along the lane, and above the hedges, we notice swarms of flies, so thick that, as the sun shines on them, they look like clouds of dust. See how the swallows enjoy this feast, and flit about with rapid, graceful wing! They are not quite like our swallows, not so pretty or so slim, but they are making havoc among the flies! Success to their endeavors, say I, for the flies are intolerable! Soon we enter a white gate, and draw rein before a cottage which overlooks Lake Connewarre. The garden is sadly scorched, but a well-wooded slope extends towards the water. ‘Ill weeds grow apace’ in water as well as on land, and this lake is a melancholy instance of the truth of the proverb. It is of large extent perhaps four miles long, and more than two across, but its depth is so inconsiderable that it is difficult to get it dear of weeds, There are several boats on it, and any quantity of black swans and a variety of game. The Barrow river flows through it, and connects it with the sea. The sand-hills on which Neptune spends his fury are visible in the distance, and cool evening breezes from the south bear plainly to our cars the dash of ocean billows. Altogether, Como and Connewarre have as much of the picturesque about them as most places I have seen in the Antipodes, but even if the place were only half as inviting as it is, I should be happy here, for I am once again among my noble and valued friends of Quambatook. I need not speak their praises — their love and kindness is for ever enshrined within my heart.” “It will always be for me a memorable fact that I visited Victoria at a time which will be a date of mark in its history. You may possibly have read of the political disturbances with which the land is agitated. Many are fearful of coming events, and dark forebodings are cherished by some. May the Lord direct the government to wise measures, and avert the threatened evil! Another distressing feature of the day is the dread of drought! We read of whole flocks up-country perishing, and of mail coaches having to make tracks in the scrub to avoid the carcases! Human beings must suffer unless rain comes soon. Even in towns supplied by reservoirs it is forbidden to water flowers or vegetables. The fruits suffer, that men may live. Last season was very dry, but this is drier still, and the most tantalizing part about it is that almost every any towards evening it looks as if it could not help raining. I have seen the clouds appear jagged, as though the precious liquid descended half way, while never a drop reached the parched ground. Never before have I realized so fully the misery occasioned by want of water. It has reached so sad a point that no one who has any feeling for the dumb creation can forbear to pray that the heavens may withhold their coveted treasures no longer.”
After taking services at Geelong on the Sabbath following this happy visit, we find him the next week in the company of new friends bound on an excursion to their home 35 miles “up country” They started “in a commodious buggy drawn by two strong horses,” and they expected to reach their destination by six o’clock in the evening. But after ten miles’ pleasant and comfortable traveling, one of the wheels of their conveyance was disabled, and then commenced a series of disasters and distresses which are very amusing in the detail, but which proved most trying to the patience and complacency of the unfortunate travelers. “The box of the wheel was in a fix,” says Tom, “and so were we,” and truly their position was not a cheering one — on a lonely country road, five-and-twenty miles from home, with a vehicle hopelessly broken down. Relief came after some hours of patient waiting in the shape of another carriage and horse, which one of the party had procured from a village five miles distant, but their trials were not yet ended, for thenceforward their progress was marked by a succession of difficulties which did not cease till home was reached late at night, and then both bipeds and quadrupeds were thoroughly knocked up. “A little colonial experience of which the usual remarks must be made. ‘Worse things happen at sea,’ and ‘Accidents will occur to the best regulated buggies.’“ The “home” to which the “way” had proved so disastrous, was a very happy and pleasant one and our son’s description of it gave us so much pleasure (perhaps we are partial!) that we give it at length in his own words: — “Warrambeen is a large sheep station. The homestead is not in the center of the ‘run,’ so portions of the property are many miles away from the house. The land is so unsuitable for cultivation, that Mr. A. is not as much annoyed by ‘selectors’ as some ‘quatters’ are.
You would almost wonder that the ground was good for anything at all.
Where the sheep get sufficient ‘feed’ is a puzzle to all ‘new chums,’ and I fancy it must puzzle the sheep too sometimes! ‘Is that grass?’ ‘Was it ever green?’ ‘Is existence possible upon such scanty fodder?’ In answer to such questions as these you are assured that ‘it is very good feed, they don’t want for anything to eat, — how to give them water is the great question’ and one soon discovers the sad truthfulness of the reply. Lake waterholes are empty, and dams that have never been dry here are without a drop. The poor sheep are lingering near where they have often drank, looking anxiously for water in the bed of the exhausted reservoirs. Silly sheep they seem, to stay where disappointment stares them in the face, yet are they wise to wait where water will collect when first it rains! The ‘home’ of Warrambeen really consists of three houses, first, second, and third — positive, comparative, and superlative! The first positively small, the second comparatively large, and the third superlatively commodious! In the smallest dwelling the owners of all three originally resided, but now its rooms have been done away with and it is used as a church. It boasts a pulpit too, which though of bush construction is quite ecclesiastical in appearance. In this ‘church in the house’ service is held every Sabbath evening, and though it is conducted by Mr. A., my dear father is the preacher. Once in a while the Presbyterian minister of Shelford leaves his people in the morning to minister here, and then C. H. S. preaches at Shelford. I am told these sermons are listened to with wonderful attention, and interest is sustained by them where it might otherwise suffer through incompetent supplies. To be able to keep a congregation fed so regularly and efficiently is no small blessing, and to have the wisdom to make use of such a privilege, is an example which many others would do well to imitate. But I must hurry on — there is not time to be dwelling now in the ‘courts of the house of the Lord,’ we leave the church reluctantly, but will return to it ere long, “The blackened roof of the old kitchen hard by, tells of long and smoky use. We reflect how many a yarn was spun by early bushmen round the glowing fire, when they returned at eventide to their hard-earned rest. Full many a sheep was sacrificed to roast before that fire, and the ashes on that hearth have baked many a cake of ‘damper.’ These weather-board houses, and rude constructions, tell of the ‘early days’ in the colony, and of the toils, and perils, and hardships which some have experienced, but which we are very well content only to hear about. ‘The second house is a short distance from the first in point of space, but a long way beyond it as regards size and comfort. It is now almost entirely fitted up for bedrooms, and the hospitality of its owner is so expansive and hearty that I urn told they are often filled with friends enjoying a visit up country. “The new house is built of a blue stone found in large quantities on the estate. It is, of course, all ‘ground floor, for though there is no lack of land on which to build, there is a great scarcity of the extra labor which would be required to erect storied dwellings. ‘Besides, who wishes to run up stairs, when stopping down will answer better?’ Fine dining and drawing rooms are here, and a nursery for the rising generation. Further back are more rooms, and a large ‘store, a regular shop with scales and appliances, and provisions of all sorts. A station store is an emporium of a most interesting nature, if there be any truth in the statement that ‘variety is charming.’ Hardware and soft goods things to put on, and things to put away, and all put by till they are wanted. . . . Let us look out now — alas, ‘the view is desolate. There is a garden just in front which, doubtless, could produce any quantity of vegetables in an ordinarily propitious season, but now it looks somewhat bare. Beyond, there are no trees, only some tiny shrubs, which may be trees some day, if the boards about them succeed in keeping the cattle off, and if the soil, and sun and rain permit. Everywhere is a wild waste, and were it not that in the winter a small stream runs by the garden, there would be the same lack of the picturesque all the year round.
Far, far in the distance are some hills blest with trees, but all around are dreary, sun-scorched plains.”
After writing out this “very dry” bit we must crave permission to lay down both letter and pen for a moment or two, while we refresh the eye of mind and body by gazing on the delicious verdure of the grass and the tender beauty of the waving trees visible from our own little window. The rain falls softly, and the trunks and branches of the oaks, limes, and sycamores show jet-black among the pale and lovely greens of the new-born foliage, — scarcely dense enough at present to conceal their beautiful interlacing.
Throw up the window! What a variety of delightsome scents and sounds fill the moist air! The songs of the blackbird and the “mavis” lose nothing of their liquid sweetness while the “clouds are dropping fatness,”’ the lilac blossoms bend beneath their load of fragrance, the guelder roses hang out their snowy balls for a shower-bath of cooling drops — shaken off again by every passing breeze, and the golden tassels of the laburnum droop till they kiss the forget-me-nots below them, and help to fill the sweet blue eyes with grateful tears for the welcome shower!
Though birds are the only living creatures to be seen in our small landscape, we think as we look on the fresh greensward that we can almost hear the low music of the cow bell and we find ourselves half unconsciously repeating some quaint lines we read the other day: — With tinkle, tankle, tinkle, Through fern and periwinkle, The cows are coming home; A-loitering in the checkered stream, Where the sun-rays glance and gleam, Clarine, Peach-bloom, and Phoebe-Phillis Stand knee-deep in the creamy lilies, In a drowsy dream; To-link, to-lank, to linkle linkle, O’er banks with buttercups a-twinkle, The cows come slowly home.
There! we are content! our dear friends in Australia will not find fault with us for praising up this dear foggy, misty Old England of ours, and we turn now with renewed zest; to hear more about the country which they rightly think “the fairest that e’er the sun shone on.” Our son continues his letter thus: — “Notice could not be given that services were to be held by Mr. Spurgeon’s son till Wednesday in the previous week, but this had made parties interested in the affair more zealous in informing friends and neighbors of the fact. Letters and post cards had borne the message in every direction for miles round that I should preach at Shelforal in the morning, and at Warrambeen (our host’s residence) at night. Quite a cavalcade left the house at 9:30 a.m. Horsemen and pony-boys, and men, women, and children, in every available buggy, the one which had broken down with us included. The songs of Zion and of Sankey rose above the tramp of horses, and the rattle of vehicles, and all were glad to go ‘with them that kept holy-day.’ Traps and horsemen were descried in the distance, and as the roads converged, our numbers were increased, and there was every prospect of a good congregation. The township of Shelford is a small one, and the district very thinly populated. We had driven over nine miles, and only passed one solitary hut, but the few inhabitants there are mostly Scotch, and therefore you will be prepared to hear that they have built a commodious and substantial kirk. The aisles were lined with forms and filled with people, and when I reached the pulpit I faced a very good audience. The omission of hymn singing was not pleasant to me, but I spake with great freedom to Christians on the text, ‘Ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the Lord your God giveth you’ (Deuteronomy 12:9). Rarely have I had more attentive hearers, and never a more blessed sense of ease and help in speaking than among these sons of Scotia who have wandered to the seclusion of Shelford, Victoria. I needed not to say a word about the collection, for the Lord had ‘opened their hearts;’ and as the little boxes at the end of long rods were passed from pew to pew the offerings were dropped in by cheerful givers, and the elders informed me, after thanks for preaching, that ‘the collection was very good.’ As men remounted horses, and ladies took their seats in buggies, the thanks of many caused me to feel deeply grateful to the Lord, who again bad graciously helped me. The evening service was held in the little church at Warrambeen, which I have before described to you. It was filled with people and we had indeed a good time. What a happy trip it has been. On leaving for Geelong, on Monday morning, my kind hosts ‘loaded me with benefits.’ They are greatly interested in our father’s labors of love, and some time back sent £100 to him through Mr. Bunning. God bless and prosper them!”
Soon after his return to Como, near Geelong, he is able to give the delightful intelligence that “the drought has broken up and the land has been refreshed,” and preaching the same evening at a small Primitive Methodist chapel near, he takes the appropriate text. “There is a sound of abundance of rain.” Preaching engagements seemed to come thick and fast upon him. He says — “There are so many causes to help that even now I find it difficult to attend to half the requests I receive.” On Sunday, Feb. 10, “the rain descended and the floods came. Driving nine miles to church that morning was anything but pleasant. A regular tropical down-pour, so that the dry ditches were soon over-flowing, and streams of water were rushing in every direction. We were very thankful. As the torrents descended our praises ascended, for on every hand the grass is springing up again, and we may hone the country is saved. There were very few people in Aberdeen Street Church that morning, but the ‘Master’ was there, and when we had all moved into the center seats of the building we enjoyed true fellowship, and listened with delight to a good sermon from Mr. Bunning. The weather cleared towards evening, but the atmosphere was oppressively hot and steamy, and anything but helpful to preacher or hearers. My text that evening was from Ephesians 5:8, and after the sermon a good number stopped to a delightful prayer-meeting, where my father mother, and brother were remembered before the throne.” Here, for the present at least, we must leave our “young wanderer,” lest we tire our readers with details which, though all-important and interesting to us, may not prove so engrossing to them; but we ask all who have thus far followed our dear son’s course with interest and pleasure to join us in praising and extolling the wonderful goodness and grace of the Lord to him. He has “led him by a plain path,” though he went forth “not knowing whither he went.” He has “guided him by his counsel,” for not a step has been taken without seeking to know his will. He has taught him to declare his truth, giving him “favor” in the eyes of all the people, and he has “kept him as the apple of the eye,” hiding him beneath the shadow of his wings.
NOTES As the weekly papers give the news of the churches, we reserve these Notes for matters relating to the work of the Tabernacle, and other special items. All else they will find in other periodicals. Monday evening, April 29. — Mr. Hudson Taylor, “the Apostle of China,” brought a number of his friends of the China Inland Mission to our prayermeeting at the Tabernacle, that the prayers of our church might be specially presented for eight missionaries who were to sail for China on the following Thursday. It was a touching service, especially moving all hearts when one by one the missionaries stood up and special prayer was presented for each one. With heroic self-denial our beloved brother, Mr. Taylor, sends back his own wife to take charge of some of the orphans saved from the famine: he will follow as soon as he can, but to tarry here without her on the Master’s business is right noble. Mr. Taylor gave some delightful instances of the way in which the Lord has heard his prayer in sending money and men, and also encouraged our hearts by proofs that the Holy Spirit is applying the gospel to Chinese hearts. Thursday afternoon, May 2. — The Baptist annual meetings of this year have been full of life and joy. They closed with a true love-feast, for about 450 ministers of the Baptist Union were entertained at dinner in the Tabernacle Lecture Hall, at the expense of the London Baptist Association.
The after-dinner addresses were thoroughly hearty and fraternal, and were followed by the Annual Meeting of the Baptist Total Abstinence Association, which was a large and enthusiastic gathering. We are glad to see that a majority of our own students, and indeed of all the men in our different denominational colleges, except those of Wales, are total abstainers. We never hear of characters being ruined, and dishonor being brought upon the cause of Christ, through a man’s drinking water. No man has a right to deny another his Christian liberty in this matter, but it is safest to feel quite free to do without.
COLPORTAGE, — The Annual Conference of the Colporteurs was held on Sunday and Monday, May 5 and 6, at the Tabernacle. Twenty-five of the Colporteurs selected from the eighty-six now employed, came up to London from their various districts to report progress, to renew old acquaintances and make new ones with their fellow-laborers, to consult with the committee as to past and future operations, and to receive such an inspiration for their work as these visits to head-quarters usually supply.
Though only commenced eleven or twelve years ago in a very small way, our Colportage Association has grown, by the blessing of God, until it now numbers eighty-six men, fully employed as Colporteurs, and eight who give part of their time as book-agents. It is impossible to tell how much good is effected by this means of spreading the truth, especially in the villages and country districts where the only enlightenment the inhabitants receive comes from the ritualistic clergyman’s Roman candle, but the following statistics will reveal something of the extent and success of the work.
During the year 1877, the average number of men employed has been about sixty-one, and they have distributed gratuitously 160,000 tracts, visited 500,000 families, and sold 84,147 books, and 239,758 periodicals, for which they received £6,651 19s. 10d., that amount being £743 18s. 1d. in excess of the previous year’s receipts. The total subscriptions for the year amounted to £3702 16s. 6 d., which included £545 5s. for the Capital Fund, and £1991 6s. 6d. local subscriptions. It is also worthy of remark that our men sell more than £100 worth of Bibles and Testaments every month. If Christian people only knew the value of this agency among our rural population we should never have to ask for subscriptions, but should treble the number of men at once. The president of the Association, C.H. Spurgeon, presided at the annual meeting in the Tabernacle, after having addressed the Colporteurs in one of the class rooms in the afternoon in a more private manner. We were glad to see so large an attendance, which evidences a growing interest in the society. Prayer was offered by two of the committee, our brethren Goldston and Pearce; the Report was presented by the honorary secretary, Mr. Fred A. Jones; the balance sheet was read by the honorary finance secretary, Mr. G. Gregory, and addresses were delivered by the general secretary, Mr. W. Corden Jones; Mr.J. Manton Smith, and five of the Colporteurs. The collection amounted to £23 10s. 6d., which, though very good, considering that there were two other collections in the same week, was very small compared with the need and the merit of the society. Probably some who were present did not like to give an amount so small as that which they had in their purses at the time and are waiting to send in heavy cheques. If so we trust they will not delay till they forget. Tabernacle friends will not be behind-hand and friends from a distance will not lag. The Report can be had of Mr. Corden Jones, Colportage Office, Metropolitan Tabernacle. Tuesday evening, May 7, the fifty-ninth Anniversary of the Congregational Home Missionary Society was held in the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street. Mr. Samuel Morley, M.P., was in the chair, and intimated pretty plainly what he and other influential “laymen” would do if the Congregationalists did not take some decisive step to declare the evangelical objects of the Union. We thank God that this step has been taken, and that it has been done with a heartiness and unanimity more significant than the deed itself. It was our privilege, at the Home Mission, to advise our brethren to imitate Cobbett, who said, “I not only speak so that I can be understood, but so that I cannot be misunderstood.” Our brethren of the Independent order will never, as a whole, go our lengths in old-fashioned Calvinistic doctrine: but we are delighted to believe that they are determined to abide by the verities of the common faith. A few noisy individuals, for ever clashing the “high-sounding cymbals” of their pretended thoughtfulness and culture, have led many to fear that Congregationalism would ultimately become another name for a lawless, creedless skepticism, but those fears are groundless; the sons of the Puritans are aroused, and have avowed the faith once delivered unto the saints. God bless the brethren, and send them a down-pour of his grace, that in the power of the Spirit the preaching of the gospel among them may greatly glorify the Lord. It was high time that something was done, and now that it is done we thank God and take courage, and feel that the Congregational Union has made a new departure, and will henceforth no longer be a place where Pantheists and Socinians will dare to say that they find themselves at home. Wednesday evening, May 8, the Annual Public Meeting of the Liberation Society was held at the Tabernacle, which was crowded in every part, the resolutions in favor of the policy of the society were carried with one dissentient, whom Mr. Henry Richard, M.P., seemed to be able to single out as “a D’Israelite indeed.” In nothing are Tabernacle friends more hearty than in the desire to free the domain of the Savior from the intrusion of Caesar, whether Caesar gives gold or makes laws. Liberal and Conservative are distinctions of small consequence to us, compared with those which arise out of the Church and State question. Thursday evening, May 9. — At the request of the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel amongst the Jews we preached at the Tabernacle, and made a collection on behalf of that society. We know neither Jew nor Gentile under the gospel, and are half sorry to have any effort made upon the lines of that ancient division; but yet if the house of Israel cannot be reached by ordinary ministries they must be sought by peculiar means: hence we say, “God speed the Society.”
— The annual breakfast of the College was held on Friday, May 10, after which short addresses were delivered by our brethrenW. Williams, Cuff, and J. Manton Smith. A meeting was afterwards held in the lecture-room, when the tutors spoke briefly, and the President gave an address on the birth, origin, history, and work of a Metropolitan Tabernacle student. All goes well. A considerable number of new men have been selected for admission next August, and spheres are being found for those whose time has expired. Two or three good men are needing positions, but these will be found for them in the Lord’s time. We merely mention the fact that vacant churches may know where to apply. We heartily wish that we could break up more new ground: friends living where a Baptist church is needed should apply to us. During the past month the following students have accepted pastorates: — Mr. Lyall, at Odiham, Hunts, and Mr. Jas. F. Foster, at Wick, N.B. Mr. Papengouth has gone to missionary work at Naples.
On Sunday afternoon, May 12, the annual sermon in the Tabernacle on behalf of the National, Temperance League was preached by the Rev. J.A. Macfayden, M.A. of Manchester, but for some reason or other the building was not nearly filled. What are the temperance men up to? Are they asleep?
Their great sermons will not help them unless they muster in larger numbers.
On Sunday evening, May 12, our seat-holders, at our request, stayed away from the Tabernacle and prayed for a blessing upon the strangers who were expected to occupy their places. Although the service is no longer a novelty, the building was crowded to its utmost capacity, and the singing, reverence, and general attention were all that could be desired. Our text was Matthew 5:45, “He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Very large numbers of all ranks were unable to obtain admission, for the building was packed. The officials tell us that the excluded ones pleaded hard for admission, and gladly enough would every one have been accommodated, but the laws of matter do not allow of two persons occupying the same space. What a mercy to find the multitudes willing to hear! How earnest should be our prayers for a blessing to attend all that is spoken!
At the same hour an open-air service was conducted in the grounds of the Orphanage by the members of the Tabernacle Evangelists’ Association, the orphans forming the choir. This is reported to have been a service of remarkable power.
On Tuesday evening, May 14, we again lent the Tabernacle to our Primitive Methodist friends for their annual missionary meeting, which we are glad to find was as large and enthusiastic as ever. The net increase of 149 to the membership of the denomination strikes us as being very small compared with other years, and also contrasted with the increase in the population. It is hardly as good as a decrease, for a decrease would be more likely to lead to earnest prayer and redoubled effort. May 17th, the ninth annual meeting of the Tabernacle Country Mission was held in the Lecture Hall, the Pastor presiding. A goodly band of friends mustered to tea, among whom were little bands from each of the stations. Good Mr. Bowker must have been cheered to see his young soldiers surrounded by their friends. The report read by Mr. Clough referred to the services held at Putney, Carshalton, Walthamstow, Tiptree Heath, St. Mary Cray, Kensal Town, Tooting, New Hampton, Teddington, Upper Caterham, Southgate, and Pope Street, near Eltham, and also to open-air services in other places. It was brief and full of matter. The year’s subscriptions amounted to £105 13s., and the expenditure to £105 2s. 10d., for which small sum a very large amount has been done by gratuitous laborers who want nothing but their expenses. This is one of the most profitable ways of spending money for our Master, and we are always glad to help. Short speeches interspersed with sweet song made up a happy evening and we came away feeling that the Lord’s work is prospering in every department at the Tabernacle, for which his name is to be magnified.
A friend who stepped into a City church the other Sabbath day found there a congregation of nine with twelve performers to carry on the worship for them, namely, minister and clerk, six choristers, organist, blower, beadle, and verger. Is this a profitable use of national property? This is by no means a solitary case: some City congregations are not quite so crowded.
The London City Missionary in the public-houses of Walworth writes to say that many coffee-houses in his district are supplied with The Sword and the Trowel monthly, and he adds, “these are highly prized by the proprietors and very many of their customers, and I believe much good is thus done inquiet, unostentatious manner. Neither the proprietors nor I know who pays for them, but I am told, ‘a kind lady leaves them every month.’” We know how part of the work is done, and any who wish to help can write to Mr. Bartlett, Metropolitan Tabernacle. The City Mission needs aid for the support of the Walworth Public House Mission, which may have to be given up if special funds are not sent for its support. It is a good work and should not be relinquished.
Mr. Morton, of Longton writes very affectionately concerning the death, by scarlet fever, of Thomas Page, one of our orphan lads who has been in his service and lived in his house. He says, “He died leaning on Jesus, leaving Behind him a good name. I am very pleased to bear testimony to the fact that he was in every sense a good lad, and had become as attached to us as one of our own. His abilities would have procured him a good position in life. He had just joined the church, and was very dear to a large circle of young friends. I have not merely lost a servant, but a friend.” We mourn with our friend, but his testimony is very comforting to us, and will, we trust, help to cheer those who have helped us to train the orphans for Jesus.
— We are delighted to see that our late student, Mr. Hamilton, is abundantly prospering in the upbuilding of a Baptist church in Cape Town. He now needs a new chapel and deserves to receive help from old England. At a bazaar which was arranged by his own friends the sum of £150 was cleared. We fear we shall see the good man over here collecting; it would be a deal better if we could send the money out and let him keep at his work. Certain foreign pastors use far too much of their time in gathering funds here. when they are wanted in their own field of labor; but they are not to Be blamed for the money is needed. It would be a grand improvement in the exercise of Christian stewardship if Believers gave without the need of pressure and personal calls, and so kept the missionaries at their work. When will that day arrive? Will our friends specially note that, the 19th of June is Mr. Spurgeon’s Birthday and will be kept as a fete at the Orphanage. Proceedings will commence at 3 in the afternoon . Particulars will be announced by bills.
This is a suitable time for sending in all moneys collected. Bazaar goods will also be very welcome.
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle: March 25th, seven; April 4th, twenty; 29th, nineteen; May 2nd, nineteen.
NOTICES OF BOOKS.
The Young Llanero; a Story of War and Wild Life in Venezuela. Thomas Nelson and Sons.
PRODUCED in Messrs. Nelson’s best style, and those who know what that is will comprehend that there is nothing better. The wood engravings are matchless. The story will be exceedingly fascinating to boys; but to our mind it lacks purpose, and we fail to see its use beyond amusement and a little instruction in natural history.
We beg here to express our deep sympathy with Messrs. Nelson under the heavy loss which they have sustained by their late disastrous fire. It will be a loss to the nation if the issue of their valuable works should be intermitted even for a few weeks. The Speaker’s Commentary: New Testament. Vol. 1 John Murray.
OUR opinion of the “Speaker’s Commentary” improves as it proceeds. It is undoubtedly a standard work, and adds considerably to our expository stores. It will be of less value to plain readers than many of the older commentaries, but to ministers it will be a book of constant reference and instruction. The best scholarship from among the bishops and other Anglican clergy has been employed upon the work, and the volume before us is worthy of its predecessors. The whole issue will be an honorable monument to the learning and piety of the latter half of the nineteenth century. Martin Luther, the Prophet of Germany. By the Rev. J. S.BANKS.
Wesleyan Conference Office, and 66, Paternoster-row.
OUR Wesleyan friends are very wisely exerting themselves to produce a literature of their own, and they have been remarkably successful in obtaining authors who write With popular ability. In the present life of Luther the writer, of course, always takes the Arminian side upon such questions as free will, and the like, and thus he finds an excellent opportunity for gently advocating the creed which he has espoused. Of this we do not, complain, but rather hold it up to imitation, only wishing that we could see the press pouring forth a stream of literature equally imbued with Calvinism. Mr. Banks writes exceedingly well. He has given a vivid sketch of Luther, and for general use we do not know of a better biography in so small a space. Wesleyan peculiarities occur so seldom that any Protestant may circulate the book, whatever his doctrinal views. The woodcuts are quaint and suitable. The Second Advent. By the Rev. J.BENNETT, M.A. James Nisbet and Co. THE author tells us that this book is the outcome of lectures delivered during Lent, and now “published at the request of those who heard them.”
We suppose that those who heard them considered them worthy of being preserved; but for ourselves, after attempting to understand them, we fail to see their value. Those of our readers — if we have any such — whose souls thrill at the mention of the seven vials and the four-and-twenty elders, will count us very heretical; but we can’t help it. The Literalist school of prophetic students will find here a book after their own heart! but practical, working Christians will think it much-ado-about-nothing. The Desert Path and the Heavenly Hope. By Mrs.HERBERT W.TAYLOR.
Houghton and Co. DEVOUT thoughts harmoniously expressed. Some of the verses are exceedingly sweet, and they have all the more charm about them when we remember that she who wrote them is now singing the new song before the throne. Songs of Zion, Harmonized Edition. By the Rev. J. H.WILSON, M.A.
Nelson and Sons.
THIS collection of hymns and tunes is an attempt, and a very successful one we think, to combine about a hundred and fifty of our grandest and sweetest time-honored “spiritual songs” with an equal number of the more modern melodies which have attained immense popularity since their introduction by our friends Philip Phillips, Sankey, and other singing evangelists. The harmonies introduced in this edition by Professor W.H. Monk are simple but good, and the tunes generally are well adapted to the hymns. Palissy, the Huguenot Potter: a True Tale. By C. L.BRIGHTWELL.
Religious Tract Society.
OUR young people cannot know too much about such heroes of the faith as Palissy, although we fancy there are nearly enough lives of him now.
The author has attempted to give an account of the facts which Palissy himself recorded, weaving them into a tale. In these days of revived Romanism we need to keep the evil deeds of Rome before our children’s eyes. Only the other day the daughter of a Baptist minister, quite a child, was decoyed into a Popish building on a Sabbath evening and baptized into antichrist without the father’s knowledge or consent. The rascals are busy, and we had need be on our watch. Triplicate Paper on Triunities. ByALFRED F.MORGAN.
Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row. THE author searches through all nature and providence for analogies to the three personalities in the Deity, and with much the same success, we think, as if they had been two or four. There is a short recommendatory preface by the Bishop of Manchester, more in reference to the design than to the success of the undertaking. It was reserved, in all probability, for the scheme of redemption to reveal to men and the whole intelligent universe the peculiar constitution of the divine nature. As without the Trinity there could be no redemption, so without redemption the Trinity could not be known and glorified.
NOTES MANY memories were awakened in our mind when we received a letter from the vicar of Isleham, Cambs., to inform us that the venerable W.W. Cantlow, lately the minister of Pound-lane Chapel, had suddenly died.
Between himself and us there existed this special bond, that on May 3, 1850, we were baptized by his hands into the name of the sacred Trinity in the river Lark, which is the Isleham baptizing place. We shall never forget rising early that morning at break of day for prayer, and then walking along the lonely country road in quiet meditation from Newmarket to Isleham to the house of Mr. Cantlow. His kindly smile greatly encouraged our trembling spirit. With holy delight he welcomed the youth, who desired to confess his Lord in the Scriptural fashion, and with many a loving wold he bade him be faithful unto death. In the Isleham vestry for the first time our mouth was opened in prayer in a congregation of adults; and in the extremely gentle and cordial companionship of the pastor we spent a very happy evening, which we recollect was very cold, so that a peat fire, whose white appearance we stilt remember, was needed to warm the room. Mr. Cantlow was for some time a missionary in Jamaica, and is mentioned three times in Hinton’s “Life of Knibb.” For thirty-two years this excellent man resided at Isleham, and was the pastor of the church till age enfeebled him, and he welcomed our worthy student Mr. J. A. Wilson as his successor. He was great at giving the soft answer which “turneth away wrath”; he was beloved by his people, and universally respected in the village.
His death serves as a landmark in our life, reminding us at forty-four that the days are long past since we were generally spoken of as “the boy preacher.” One correspondent kindly trusts that we shall be “strengthened under the infirmities of our declining years,” which kindly wish we gratefully acknowledge and lay by in store, but we hardly feel that it is quite seasonable at present. Mr. Stevenson, in “The Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, his Life and Work,” makes it out that we joined the Baptist church a year before we were baptized; but not so, we never dreamed of entering the church except by Christ’s own way; and we wish that all other believers were led to make a serious point of commencing their visible connection with the church by the ordinance which symbolizes death to the world, burial with Christ, and resurrection to newness of life. That open stream, the crowded banks, and the solemn plunge have never faded from our mind, but have often operated as a spur to duty and a seal of consecration.
From henceforth let no man trouble me, for he who first saved me, afterwards accepted me, spirit, soul, and body, as his servant, in token whereof this mortal frame was immersed beneath the wave. The outward sign has served to bring vividly before mind and heart the spiritual meaning, and therefore is it dearly loved, for his sake who both ordained the ordinance and himself submitted to it.
The church at the Tabernacle agreed at the last annual meeting to celebrate the Silver Wedding, or 25 TH ANNIVERSARY ofMR.SPURGEON’ S PASTORATE in the first week of January, 1879, if the Lord will. A committee has been formed to make arrangements for carrying out the festival in a proper manner, The Pastor having intimated his wish that an effort should be made to celebrate the occasion by obtaining funds for the Almshouses, there is to be a large bazaar held soon after Christmas. It would have been natural that a presentation to Mr. Spurgeon himself should have been a chief feature of the occasion, but he from the first objected to this, and desired that the poor of the church should have all the benefit by means of the relief afforded to the poor fund if the almswomen were no longer supported from it, as they have been hitherto. About £150 a year has now to be found for the alms-women, and Mr. Spurgeon feels that if he were removed this would be a burden upon the church which it might be unable to carry. Having built the additional almshouses, he wishes to see the additional endowment supplied. In case, however, any friends should not fall in with the proposed plan, they can devote their thankoffering to any object they may select, or they may give it to Mr. Spurgeon for his own personal use if such be their desire. Meetings for praise and prayer, and reunions of church-members, sermon readers, magazine-subscribers and the host of Mr. Spurgeon’s friends will be planned, and probably an account of the twenty-five years will be printed and published. From this time to Christmas iris hoped that many will think how they can contribute to the success of the celebration.
METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE EVANGELISTS’ASSOCIATION.
— Mr. G.E. Elvin, the secretary of the Association bearing the above title, has sent to us a paper containing many interesting particulars about the society, but as we have not room for it in extenso we have culled a few extracts to lay before our readers. The association has been in existence for about fifteen years, and its objects have been threefold, — to commence and maintain regular services at as large a number of stations as possible, to train young Christians tot the work of the evangelist and pastor, and also to carry on, wherever practicable, the work of evangelization in connection with existing churches, and under their authority, In all these three designs considerable success has been achieved. Services are conducted every Sunday in eleven different stations, while several brethren are engaged among the lodging-houses in the Mint and elsewhere. Many of the members of the association have entered the ministry, some after a course of training in the Pastors’ College, but as Mr. Elvin truly remarks, “the very mention of them indicates the weakness of the association; the best success it can have tends to impoverish it; the more it is able to train young men for the regular ministry, the more it is ‘minished and brought low,’ by its preachers leaving it for the College.” With pardonable pride he mentions our dear friends Mr. Orsman and Mr. Edward Leach as formerly occupying the position he now so ably fills, but he in a measure consoles us with the assurance that he is not likely to relinquish his post as secretary in order to become a pastor, or to enter the College, and that therefore if his life is spared he hopes to devote himself to the duties of his office for a goodly number of years. Long live the good man. O secretary, live for ever!
He says “the special distinctive work of the association for the past two years has been the effort we have made to help on the evangelization of London by means of the churches. Our pastor saw that the work must not be spasmodic, but perpetual, and that it must not be a thing outside the churches, but connected with them, and therefore, acting upon his suggestions, and under his sanction, and feeling that it was an agency of the largest church in the largest city of the largest empire of the world, and that therefore it ought to attempt great things, this association offered to the churches to send them approved men who should conduct special services in their own places of worship, with the view of awakening the unconcerned, and leading the anxious ones to the Savior.” It is gratifying to learn that numerous invitations have been received from churches, not only of our own denomination, but also belonging to the Independents, Presbyterians, and other bodies; and it is equally cheering to learn that the services have been so much enjoyed that from almost all the places invitations for a second visit have been sent, and best of all that “not a single series has been held without some sinners being brought to Jesus. . . . During the last winter our meetings have been more numerous and successful than at any previous time.”
Mr. Elvin asks us specially to mention the need of increased financial help, as the work of the Association is growing more rapidly than the frauds in its treasurer’s hands. The expenditure for the half-year ending March was £63 17s. 11d., the greater part of which was for rent, printing, postage, etc.; and on that date the balance due to the printer and treasurer was £5 1s. 4 d., and for rent of halls £16. We have been enabled to meet these amounts through the liberality of various friends, but it is very desirable that there should be a larger regular income to enable the work to be carried on in its ever-widening circle of usefulness and blessing. Mr. Elvin particularly requests that any donations and subscriptions that may be intended for the society, of which he is secretary, may be sent with an intimation that they are for the Metropolitan Tabernacle Evangelists’ Association, as otherwise, in mistake, they might be applied to the Pastors’ College Society of Evangelists, which supports our Brethren A. J. Clarke, J. Manton Smith, and J. Burnham; whereas his society consists of what are vulgarly called laymen , who are engaged in business, and require nothing but their traveling expenses. This is one of the cheapest and best of the many growing societies connected with the Tabernacle. We have allotted to it a few amounts which have been left at our discretion, and shall hope to do so in future as we are enabled by kind donors. We have received several letters from London ministers bearing testimony to the efficient services rendered by these earnest evangelists, and we feel confidence in inviting other churches to secure their aid. If only to break the monotony of their own regular work, our brother ministers would find these young evangelists a great relief to them.
On Tuesday evening, May 28th, the seventeenth annual meeting of the Bible-class formerly conducted by our beloved sister, Mrs. Bartlett, and since her death ably conducted by her son, was held in the Tabernacle Lecture Hall. About two hundred of the members of the class and their friends were present to tea, and a large number of others came for the public meeting, at which the pastor presided, and delivered an address of the history of the class, its efforts and successes, its ups and its downs. He also spoke of the importance of individual effort for the conversion of souls, and the influence of Christianity in the homes of true believers.
Sacred solos were sung by our Brother J. Manton Smith, and addresses were delivered By Sergeant Baily, of the Grenadier Guards, and by brethren Alfred J. Clarke, J. M. Smith, Townsend (the second student who has entered the College from the Orphanage), J. A. Soper, and E.H. Bartlett, the leader of the class, who closed a most interesting and comprehensive report of his labors by presenting to the pastor £48 4s. 1d., which had been contributed or collected by the class for the College. It was a very happy evening, and thoroughly worthy of the traditions of this famous class.
On Wednesday evening, May 29, about 2,500 persons were present at the Tabernacle for an evening of sacred song and addresses, by our evangelists and the evangelistic choir. The pastor took the chair, and opened the meeting with prayer; and after the hymn, “Come to Jesus” had been sung, spoke of the success which had rested upon the labors of our brethren, Clarke and Smith, notably at the Tabernacle last February. A large amount had then been expended for printing, advertising, free teas and the like; so that instead of sending up a contribution towards the College Evangelists’ Fund, as most churches that receive a visit had done, there was a deficiency of about £26, which would no doubt be cleared off that evening. The time then passed most pleasantly with solos, choruses, and anthems from “The Flowers and Fruits of Sacred Song,” Mr. Smith singing the solos and occasionally leading the congregation with his cornet, Mr. Frisby conducting the evangelistic choir, and Mr. Buckley accompanying. Each of the evangelists also spoke briefly of their work, their difficulties, their success, and their Savior. An interesting incident of the meeting was the presentation of gold watches to Messrs. Clarke and Smith by the pastor, in the name of himself, the deacons, the choir. and other friends, who desired to give them some token of their Christian love and esteem. The choir is in a very efficient condition and sings most sweetly. We notice that some churches get up concerts, secular or sacred, in which the attraction is mere music. Is this the mission of the church of Christ? Is this the fitting use of the precious talent of song? Surely the winning of hearts for Jesus is our work, and not the provision of amusement. Singing can be made pleasantly subservient to our grand aim, and most happy and attractive gatherings may be held without going into secular sing-song, and unprofitable entertainment. It is a good thing to keep our young people away from the demoralizing amusements around them, and to bring them under the Influence of the gospel by addresses and singing, of which the old, old gospel is the theme. This will have all the charms of music without the drawbacks which inevitably attend concerts, penny-readings, and the like.
On Monday evening, June 3, the annual meeting in connection with Mrs. Evans’ Home Missionary Working Society was held in the lecture hall.
This society makes garments for poor ministers and their families, and during the year has made many a heart to sing for joy by the boxes of clothing which it has sent out, of the value of £160. A little money goes a long way by the cutting and planning of our lady friends. Could not drapers, mercers, haberdashers, etc., at small self-denial to themselves, send on remnants, unfashionable pieces, and so on; for Christian ministers’ wives and little ones in country villages care little about fashion? This is a favorite society with us, and if our readers could see the grateful letters received they would not wonder that we prize its modest but useful labors.
More of this another time.
On Tuesday, evening, June 11, the annual meeting of The Spurgeon’s Sermons Tract Society was held in the lecture hall. After tea the chair was taken by Mr. C. F. Allison, and addresses were delivered by the chairman, and Messrs. Murrell, Charlesworth, Goldstone, Court. We were unable to be present, but we are informed on good authority that Mr. Allison made an excellent chairman, and that the meeting was a splendid one, full of life and power. He started the train of speakers and announced Mr. Murrell as the Pullman car, but not the sleeping car. Mr. Murrell made the speech of the evening, and, we are told, “brought down the house,” whatever that may mean, by the announcement that he had collected £20 among his friends towards the funds of the society. Eighty thousand of Spurgeon’s sermons have been circulated by this useful agency, which has thirty-seven depots in different parts of the country, and supplies every week districts containing 7,000 houses. The honorary secretary is Mr. Cornell, 60, Hamilton-square, King-street, Borough, S.E., who will be happy to receive sermons and contributions, and also the names of any friends who desire to start agencies in their own districts for the loan of the sermons which are everywhere welcomed, and are more certain to be read than ordinary tracts. This method of spreading the gospel has been remarkably owned of God. Friends who can afford to buy the sermons and lend them should do so on their own account, but those who have the time to circulate the sermons but no money to buy them should apply to this society, which will help them if it has the means to do so.
We wish the best success to the new evangelical paper, The Christian Signal. We do not wish to regard it in the light of opposition to existing papers, but as supplying a great lack. It was time that orthodox Christians of all denominations had some weekly medium for expressing their sentiments, and maintaining their principles. As Baptists we are well represented by two respectable papers, but the wider sphere of evangelism has no worthy representative. The Christian World with remarkable ability represents latitudinarianism, we only wish that we could see anything like the same vigor and talent employed in the defense of the good old cause. If ministers and Christian people who feel strongly on this point would promote the circulation of The Christian Signal, it would in due time become a powerful instrument for good. Other people have full liberty to advocate their own views, and we by no means condemn them for so doing; we therefore regret that something like personality is too apt to tinge the new paper, but we certainly should rejoice to see a thoroughly able penny journal which we could circulate without introducing our young people to dangerous errors.
COLLEGE — During the past month the following brethren have settled:
Mr. Hollinshead at Rattlesden, Mr. Stead at Worthing, and Mr. J.G. Wilson at South-end-on-Sea. In addition to this, Mr. Mead has accepted the call to Ecclesiastes Our friend Mr. Holmes, late of Belfast, has sailed for Ontario, and we bespeak for him the sympathy and confidence of our Canadian friends. Mr. Javan is removing from Hamilton Road, Lower Norwood, to Warksworth in Northumberland. The students are now absent upon vacation, but are to re-assemble on Tuesday, August 6th.
Some four-and-twenty new men are then expected to join the classes. We are still looking for places where new churches may be gathered, but By this we do not mean old places which everybody else has abandoned in despair.
— Mrs. Spurgeon is prepared to give “The Treasury of David,” or four volumes of sermons, to any poor ministers in Ireland who are in actual charge, and will apply to her for the grant. The offer applies to all Protestant denominations alike, and she is enabled to make it through the generosity of a princely donor. To make the amount go as far as possible, recipients will be asked to pay the carriage of the parcels, but they are not to send anything when they make their application: that will be a matter of subsequent detail. Ministers who read this notice will oblige by communicating the information to their brethren, and assuring them that their applications will be heartily welcomed. Mrs. Spurgeon hopes to give her friends some interesting particulars as to the fund next month.
— Since the Annual Meeting two additional colporteurs have been started; one at Crawley, Sussex, and the other at Hartford Bridge, Cramlington. It is to be hoped that the friends in the various districts who at present subscribe towards the support of the Colporteur will use every effort to continue the work during the widespread depression in trade which exists, as it is generally much easier to keep friends interested than to arouse their interest. It is encouraging to this Association that those who have tried the system of Colportage for the longest time are usually most satisfied with its valuable work and results, and anxious for its extension. The Secretary of one of our local Associations has kindly sent a copy of a resolution passed at the recent gathering, which was heartily adopted. It runs as follows, “That this Association, having heard the reports of the work done by the Colporteurs during the past year, would express its gratitude to God who has blessed the labors of its servants, and its esteem for the brethren engaged in Colportage; it would again commend this agency to the prayers and liberal support of the Churches,” etc. Our friends began with one agent, but continue adding to the number each year. Colportage needs only to be known to be valued and supported. The Colporteur scatters light in the dark places by the sale of Bibles and books of evangelical character, and useful and interesting publications. By his visits the mourner is cheered, and the fainting invalid comforted, while the dying who in many cases would not hear of Christ are pointed to him as the way of life. The last Annual Report is full of interesting cases of usefulness reported by the agents, which are only selected from a mass of letters on the same subject.
We ask friends to pray for the work, and to help us by contributions, and by making it known to others.
ORPHANAGE. — June 19th. The Forty-fourth Anniversary of the Pastor’s Birthday was kept as a fete at the Orphanage. The day opened with bright sunshine, which very speedily vanished, and the sky was overcast; a thick darkness followed, and very soon torrents of rain descended. No prospect could have appeared more gloomy; yet many prayers had been offered for the success of the day, and large numbers were looking forward to spending its hours in the Orphanage grounds in happy fellowship. Prayer was heard, the rain ceased, the day was above the average of days in this land of the weeping skies, and it concluded with abundant thanksgiving.
The afternoon was fine, and the company began to arrive in large numbers, among whom we specially noticed a large contingent of country friends, whom we were right glad to see. The work of hand-shaking taxed all the pastor’s strength, and the gifts for the Orphanage handed in to him needed all his wits and memory to keep a clear account. It was a time of joy and gratitude. At four o’clock an entertainment was given to the young folks, which the elder people appeared to enjoy. When this was over the friends sat about the grounds in groups to enjoy music and refreshments. At seven o’clock a large public meeting was held, which was presided over byG. Palmer, Esq., M.P. for Reading, who very heartily expressed his sympathy with the Orphanage, a sympathy which he has shown for many years in the most practical manner. On his departure the chair was occupied by Mr.T. Blake, the Baptist M.P. for Leominster, another beloved and hearty helper.
Mr. Willis, Q.C., who is a staunch Baptist, Anti-state-churchman, and Liberal, addressed the meeting with a forceful eloquence which abundantly proves his fitness for the House of Commons; and we take this opportunity of expressing our hope that the borough of Colchester will at the next election return him at the head of the poll Mr. Spurgeon, his father, his son Charles, Mr. J. Manton Smith, and Mr. Williams, of Upton Chapel, took part in one of the most lively and interesting meetings we have ever attended. The boys were specially jubilant, for a worthy gentleman and his bride who had been married in the morning sent £5 to be divided among them. The fete was a festival of Christian affection, and all day long there was a display of the loyal and fervent love of the church and people to their pastor, Such as can never be excelled. In remembrance of the quarrels and disputes in many churches, Such a scene was calculated to delight the Christian heart and compel the exclamation, “Beloved, how good and how pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” The Orphanage funds will be helped by contributions amounting to about £500, to which must be added the receipts of the bazaar, and the money paid for admission by nearly three thousand persons, who entered the grounds. The highest credit is due to Mr. Murrell and his volunteer staff of helpers, who conducted the heavy work of the refreshment department, and to Mr. Charlesworth for his capital programme. Dr. Barnardo’s band and Mr. Courtnay’s choir greatly enlivened the proceedings: the illumination of the grounds in the evening was exceedingly effective; and a splendid display of flowering annuals by James Carter and Co., of High Holborn, was a new feature, and a charming attraction. The pastor went home with a glad and grateful mind, praising God for his goodness, and feeling the ties which bind him to thousands of Christian friends fastening around his heart more strongly than ever.
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon — May 23rd, nineteen; May 27th, thirteen; May 30th, sixteen.
THE VINE OF ISRAEL.
NO. A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MARCH 30TH, 1911,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE,NEWINGTON. On behalf of the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews, ON THURSDAY EVENING, MAY 9TH, 1878. “Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine.”—Psalm 80:14.
IFEEL somewhat straitened on this occasion, because of the, specialty of my subject. I have been persuaded by the Society to preach on the behalf of the Jews, but my mind does not quite run in the direction which is prescribed for it. I have been so in the habit of preaching the gospel to everybody, knowing neither Jew nor Gentile, barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free, that the very recognition of anything like nationality and specialty is somewhat difficult to me. I do not think that the recognition of the distinction is wrong; nay, — I think it right, but it is so unusual that I scarcely feel at home. I would sooner, by a thousand times, take a text, and preach the gospel to sinners or to saints than discourse upon a special race; yet is it needful, and therefore let it be done; and I trust the Holy Ghost may make our meditation profitable. Assuredly, if there be any distinction which might be maintained, and I think there is none, for that distinction of Jew and Gentile seems to me to be wiped out and obliterated, — if there be any distinction, we may, at least, recollect that which lingeringly subsists between the seed of Israel and the nations, for God’s election of old fell upon then, and when the old world lay in darkness, gleams of light gladdened their eyes. To them belonged the oracles. They were long the sole preservers of precious truth, which they have handed down to us; and if through their unbelief we have taken their place, we cannot but recollect who occupied it for so many centuries, and we cannot but look with extraordinary tenderness and affection and earnest desire to that elder family when the Lord loved so long, and towards whom, methinks, his love still burneth, as shall be seen when the day comes in which he shall gather Israel again unto himself.
We shall view the prayer of the text, in its reference to Israel. “Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine.” The vine was peculiarly a type of Palestine and the Jewish nation. When this Psalm was written, the Gentiles were not in the psalmist’s mind, but only Israel. So let us speak of Israel now, and let us pray to God that he will return in mercy, behold in pity, and visit this vine, and the vineyard which his right hand hath planted.
I. First, let us reflect upon WHAT AN AMOUNT OF INTEREST SURROUNDS THIS VINE, — this chosen people. Brethren, Israel has a history compared with which the annals of all other nations are but poor and thin. Israel is the world’s aristocracy, and her history is the roll-call of priests and kings unto God. At the very beginning, what interest attaches to the planting of this vine ! The psalmist speaks of the Lord bringing the vine out of Egypt, and casting out the nations that he might find a trench wherein he might place Israel’s roots, that she might strike deep, and take possession of the soil.
But what wonders God wrought in the removal of Israel from the soil of Goshen, wherein her vine seemed to have taken deep root, until the wild boar of Egypt began to uproot her! Never can we forget what he did at the Red Sea. Even at the very mention of the name, we feel as if we could sing unto the Lord who triumphed gloriously, and cast the horse and his rider into the depths of the sea. What marvels he wrought all through, the wilderness, when he turned the rock into a pool of water, and made refreshing streams to follow his chosen along the burning sand! Neither can we forget the Jordan; our hearts begin to sing at the mention of the name, — What ailed thee, O Jordan, that thou wast driven back when the Lord’s ark led the way through the depths of the river, and the priests stood still in the midst, while all the hosts of his people passed over dry-shod? Neither can we fail to exult, as we think of the planting of the vine in Canaan. Saw ye not the walls of Jericho tottering in ruins at the sound of the ram’s horns when Israel gave her shout, for the Lord was in the midst of his people?
Therefore the sword of Joshua smote the Canaanites till they were utterly destroyed, the sun stood still upon Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, because the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man, working marvelously with his people, that he might settle them in the land which he gave unto their fathers, — the land which flowed with milk and honey.
When I think of such a planting, it seems to me that this vine can never be given up to be utterly burned with fire after wonders as these. It is not God’s fashion to cast away a people for whom he has done so much. The commencement of Israel’s national history is by far too good to close, as we fear it must, if we judge only according to carnal reason. An era brighter and more glorious must surely dawn, and the Lord must, bring again from Bashan, and lead up his chosen nation from the deaths of the seas. Once again he will make bare his arm, even he that cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon, and the whole earth shall behold all Israel, both spiritual and national, singing in one joyous song the song of Moses the servant of God, and of the Lamb. The very planting of the nation makes us feel the deepest possible interest in its welfare. O God, behold, and visit this vine, as the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted!
Let us reflect again upon the prosperity of Israel, and the wide influence which the nation exercised for centuries. I am keeping closely to the Psalm, which is really my text, for we are told that, after the planting of the vine, “the hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs unto, the sea, and her branches unto, the river.” No nation has ever exercised such an influence upon the thought of the world as the Jewish people have done. I grant you that some other nations exercised greater influence upon the world’s art and sculpture, and the like for Israel eschewed much of art and science, not greatly to her loss, especially since the reason, for it was so greatly to her gain. But the idea of one God, which the Lord had graciously written upon the hearts of his elect people, though it took many an age to erase the natural lines of idolatry which nature had imprinted there, — that idea of the unity of the Godhead is a treasure, handed to us by the seed of Abraham. The grand truths which were contained in type and shadow, and outward ordinance, and given to the chosen people of God, exercised a far more powerful influence over the world than, perhaps, most of us have ever dreamed. I feel certain that the religion of Zoroaster came from the Jews. I believe that much of whatever is pure in Eastern religions might be distinctly traced to the teachings of Moses, to gleanings of the Israelitish vintage which were carried to the nations through their commerce and intercommunication; perhaps directly and distinctly by the teachings of Jews who journeyed thither as exiles in captivity. The earth had become corrupt even in father Abraham’s time; and though, here and there, there might have been found goodly individuals like the patriarch Job, adhering to the simple worship of the one only God, yet, for the most part, the whole world was sunken in idolatry, and the light came, to it, and remains in it, gleaming strangely in the darkness, like flashes of lightning amidst the blackness of a tempest: that light came always, as I believe, by the way of Israel. The original light of tradition grew dimmer and dimmer, and threatened to die out, for in transmission from father to son its brightness was sadly beclouded with human error. But the truth retained much of its vitality and purity in the midst of Israel, and from, Israel it influenced the rest of the nations. In the days of Solomon, how proudly did the temple stand upon its holy hill, beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, the one Pharos of the, midnight, sea of humanity! That little country — we often forget what a very little district Palestine occupied, — was, nevertheless, the very queen among the nations. From far-off Sheba they came to hear the wisdom of Solomon and to other lands the rumor of his glory extended, and all his greatness was connected with the worship of God, for she who came from Sheba, came to hear all the wisdom of Solomon “concerning the Lord his God.” That little land thus influenced all lands, and transmitted far-off adown the centuries what was known of the ever-blessed God among the people. To me it seems so sad that she that sat over against the treasury should now be poor; that she that laid the daily showbread before the Lord should now be famished; that she that piled the temple, and brought the offering, should now turn away from the one only Sacrifice, and should these many days remain without priest or temple. Alas! poor Israel; our hearts take the deepest interest in thee, and we pray the, Lord to look down, and behold, and visit this vine, when we remember the days of thy glory, and all the splendor of the revelation of the Most High in the midst of his people.
Nor does the interest become one particle the less when we come to the time of Israel’s decay. She would imitate the heathen, and go aside to false gods; nothing could cure her of it. She was chastened again and again, and at last, it came to banishment, and the people were scattered. Alas, for the tears that Judah and Israel shed! What sea could hold them all? How were God’s people made to smart, and cry, and groan! Let the waters of Babylon tell how salt they flowed with Judah’s griefs. How could they sing the Lord’s song in that strange land? What a history of woe has Israel’s story been! And then, when they were brought back cured of idolatry, as, thank God, they most effectually are, there came an equally mournful decay; for formalism, the absence of all spiritual life, — the mere observance of outward ritual, came into the place of idolatry, and the people in whom all the nations of the earth were blessed had the Christ among them, but refused him. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Woe worth the day! Speak of it with sevenfold sorrow. He came for whom they long had waited — Israel’s hope, — and they refused him; yea, they crucified him. My tongue will not attempt to tell what came of it, when his blood was on them and on their children. Earth, never saw a more terrible sight than the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.
Then did they sell the ancient people of God for a pair of shoes, and the precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, were esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter. The enemy ploughed the holy place, and sowed it with salt, and the seed of Abraham were scattered to the four winds of heaven. Alas! the evil ceased not when the last stone was overthrown, but wrath followed the fugitives. Through many, many centuries Israel was persecuted — shame covers my face, — persecuted by those who called themselves Christians. The blood of Israel hangs in great gouts upon the skirts of Rome, and will bring down upon that thriceaccursed system the everlasting wrath of the Most High; for did they not grievously oppress the Jews in Spain and every other Catholic country, remorselessly hunting them down as if they were unfit to live; torturing them in ways that it were impossible for us to describe, lest your cheeks should blanch as you heard the horrible story? The men that were of the same race as the Christ of God were so hated by the professed followers of Jesus that no indignities were thought to be great enough, and no severities to be fierce enough, for execution upon those they thought to be the execrable Jews. Thank God, such persecution is over now, — let us hope for ever, at least in the Western world. The race would have been stamped out, however, if Rome’s tender mercies could have wrought their will. Go to the Ghetto to-day, in the Jews’ quarter in Rome, and see the church, as I have done, in which a certain number of Jews were compelled to hear a sermon, once in the year, leveled at their own race and faith, and over the door of which is written what from such a quarter is a wanton insult to them, “Unto Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” Verily it would be so eternally if the hands of Rome were the hands to be stretched out, when she encouraged if she did not command the racing of Jews in the Corso, and the pouring of contempt upon them in the rudest fashion. Israel would never worship images, saints, and virgins. Blessed were they as a nation for this thing at least, that they utterly rejected the idolatry of which Rome is shamelessly guilty. It were better far to be no Christian than to think Popery to be Christianity, for it is one of the vilest forms of idolatry that ever came from the polluted heart of man. Alas, poor Israel, what hast thou suffered! What tongue can tell thy woes? I feel, perforce, compelled to apply to Israel the language which Byron applied to Rome, when he called her “the Niobe of nations,” and reckoned all sorrows beside hers put petty misery: — “What are our griefs and sufferance? Come and see Jerusalem in heaps, and plod your way O’er steps of broken thrones and temples.” Look, too, on a princely people crushed under persecution, laboring and finding no rest. Princes were hanged up by their hand; the faces of elders were not honored. They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills. Then was fulfilled Jeremiah’s Lamentation, “How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed!”
But we will not end here, my brethren. The interest which we feel with regard to Israel, and which makes us pray, “Lord, visit this vine,” rises as we think of its future . I am no prophet or interpreter of the prophecies, but this much seems clear to me, that the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews, will have dominion over them, and they shall be converted, and shall own him to be the Messiah who was promised to their fathers, so doth the New Testament teach us as well as the Old. It seems to me that we may work for the conversion of Israel with the absolute certainty that, if we do not see it ourselves, yet it shall be seen; for the natural branches of the olive, which for a while were cut off, shall be grafted in again, and so all Israel shall be saved. The future of the Gentiles in the fullness of its glory can never be accomplished till, first of all, the Jews shall be ingathered. Ye shall have no millennia, day, or full brightness of Messiah’s glory, until yonder, by Jordan’s streams and Judah’s deserted hills, where once the Savior worked, and walked, and preached, the song shall yet again arise of Hallelujah to the God of Israel.
One thought more, and then I leave this paint of the interest we take in Israel; we must forever take a special interest in the Jews, because of them came our Lord. He was so completely a man that, one forgets that he was a Jew, and, perhaps, for the most part it is best that we should, for he is more a man than a Jew; but, still, “he took not up the nature of angels, but he took up the seed of Abraham.” Jesus is the Son of David. The Jews have a part in him, after the flesh which we have not; and, amid ads the privileges which we enjoy, we call wolf afford to, let them have everything that they can claim; and they can certainly prove a special kinship to him whom our soul loveth. Oh, if it were far nothing else but that our Savior was of the Jews, we ought to love them, and make them the subject of our prayers and of our earnest efforts! Surely the mention of that will suffice, and I need not say so much as one solitary word more. Interest in the Jews, indeed, is a very wide subject, and we have said enough for the present purpose.
II. NOW,SECONDLY,WHAT IS IT THAT THE JEWISH PEOPLE NEED? We have been exhorted by all the things to pray for this vine. What is it that is needed?
The answer of our text is, “Look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine.” A visitation from God is the one thing needful for Israel. For what purpose should God visit the Jews, then? I say, brethren, it is the one essential thing in order to give them spiritual life . Our acquaintances with the interior of the Jewish commonwealth at the present time is not very large, but some of us have observed that there are two sorts of Israelites.
Some are devout,-devout men, with some of whom it has been our privilege to have hearty fellowship in matters of common interest touching the things of God. When we have spoken together of the providence of God and of faith in the divine mercy, we have been much of the same mind.
In the late debate brought on by Colenso, we were able, in comparing notes, to feet the same zeal for the value of the Old Testament and for the glory of the ever-blessed God. Whether we were Christians or Jews, we were equally zealous to repel the infidel assaults of the famous master of arithmetic. We meet now and then with men whose sincerity and devotion we could not doubt at all: would to God that their sincerity led them to such the Scriptures, and to examine the claims of our Lord Jesus! Such men lament that many of their people seem to, have no religion, or — what is almost the same thing, — to have nothing more than the outward form.
Their being of the Israelite race is distinctly recognized, and never for a moment held back; the Sabbath is almost universally hallowed, for which let Israel put to shame many so-called Christian lands; much is done that is commendable, much which exhibits high integrity and uprightness; but yet be a large extent the race is sunk in worldliness and misled by superstition.
Oh, that God would visit the Jew, and ends him with an inquiring and unprejudiced heart, with longing after the God of his fathers, with a deeper reverence and a truer zeal for the glory of Jehovah!
The visitation of God may well be entreated that he would next grant enlightenment to his people, taking away the veil which has been cast over their eyes, and enabling them to see the true Messenger of the covenant.
There are thousands of Israelites today who only want to know that Jesus is the Messiah, and they would as gladly accept, him as any of us have done. It seems to us so strange that they can read the fifty-third of Isaiah, and so many other plain passages of the prophets and of the psalms, without seeing that the Man of Nazareth is the Christ of God; yet they do read, but the veil is on their hearts so that they do not perceive Christ in their interpretations. Alas, that the Son of righteousness should shine, and Israel should be in darkness! With many of the seed of Abraham there is an honest desire to receive whatsoever can be shown to be the truth of God.
If the Lord will touch, their eyes and remove the scales; what an enlightenment on the whole nation would follow! A nation would be born in a day. What joy for us, what honor to God, what happiness to themselves, if they might but be delivered from their present alienation! O God, thou alone canst do this; we cannot. All arguments seem to be in vain, but do thou behold, and visit this vine!
When the spiritual life of the nation shall have been revived, and there shall be an enlightenment of the intellect, they will only not the Spirit to work upon the heart. Even as the Holy Ghost has quickened and regenerated us, so must it be with them, for there is no difference between Jew and Gentile in this matter. The same regenerated work is wanted, — the same enlightening of the Holy Ghost; and if the Lord will do this, our hearts shall he exceedingly glad.
III. WHAT,THEN,CAN WE DO? We are great debtors to Israel, what can we, do for her?
Some people are always afraid of telling Christian people to do anything.
They mutter between their teeth, “The Lord will do his own work,” and they are afraid that they should be interfering with God’s prerogatives. Ah, my dear brethren, I am not afraid that some of you will ever do the Lord’s work, for you do not do your own; that part which you can do is neglected. Do not be so mightily frightened lest you should be too active.
It is God’s work to visit Israel, and gather out his people, and he alone can do it; but he works by means. What, then, would he have us do?
I answer, the first thing we can do is to pray for Israel. You believe in the power of prayer, do you not, my brother? Why, some of us can no more doubt the power of prayer than we can doubt the forge of a steam-engine or the influence of the law of gravitation, became to us the effects and results of prayer are everyday things. We are in the habit of speaking with God about everything, and receiving replies which to us are as distinct as if he had spoken to us with words. We can speak boldly in prayer to God concerning Israel. No nation can be nearer to God’s heart than the Jews.
We may be bold with the mighty God. We may open our mouth wide, for he will fill it. We may plead with him urgently after this fashion, — Wilt thou not glorify thyself by the salvation of the Jews? What couldst thou do that would more signally strike the whole world with awe than if thou went to turn this wonderful nation to the faith of Christ? Thou hast taught them the unity of the Godhead, thou haste burnt this truth into their very souls; now teach them the Deity of thy Son, who is one with thee. Bring them; to rejoice in the triune God with heart and soul, and all lands shall hear of it, and say with wonder, “Who are these?” Great God, were not these thy messengers of old? When thou wantest heralds, didst thou not look to Israel? Thou didst take James and John, and Peter and Paul. Thou wilt find such as these amongst them now, if thou wilt call them, — both boastful Peters and persecuting Pauls, whom thy grace can transform into mighty testifiers for the name of Jesus. Let us pray to God to do this. We can pray.
The next thing we can do is to feel very kindly towards that race. I know all that will be said about converted Jews, and I lament that there should have been grave occasion given in many instances; but, for my part, I have been glad of late to smart a little for the sake of my Lord. I have said, “Well, it was a Jew that saved me; and even if this professed convert should have a hypocritical design upon my purse, I had better be deceived by him that turn away an honest kinsmen of my Lord.” I do not marvel that there should be deceivers among the Jews, for have not we plenty of such in our churches, who, for the sake of loaves and fish and pelf, creep in among us, pretending to be followers of Christ when their hearts know nothing about him In all ranks and conditions of man, hypocrisy is sure to be found; but, for all that, we do not turn round and say, “The Gentiles are a bad lot. We will have nothing more to do with them, because two or three of them deceived us.” The Gentiles are always taking us in; we know they are, and still we have hope for them. And so must we always have hope towards Israel, and instead of thinking bitterly and speaking bitterly, we must cultivate kindness of spirit both to those who become Christians and to those who remain in unbelief. I, for one, thank God that this land has now for several years swept away the civil disabilities of the Jew. He is no longer a stranger in the land, but he settles down in the midst of us, and exercises all the rights of citizenship. May the kindness of feeling which has prompted this change, — and it came, I think, mainly from earnest Christians, — lead the Israelites to think kindly of our faith.
Another thing we can do, dear friends, and that is, to keep our own religion pure . I marvel not that Jews are not Christians when I know what sort of Christianity, for the most part, they have seen. When I have walked through Rome, and countries under Rome’s sway, and have seen thousands bow before the image of a woman carried through the streets, — when I have seen the churches crammed with people bowing down before pieces of bone, and hair, and teeth of dead saints, and such like things, — I have said to myself, “If I were a worshipper of the one true God, I should look with scorn upon those who bow before these cast clouts, and mouldy rags, and pieces of rotten timber, and I know not what besides. No, no, good Jew; join not with this idolatrous rabble; remain a Jew rather than degrade yourself with this superstition! If the Lord has taught you that there is an unseen God who made the heavens and the earth, and who alone is to be worshipped, — if you have heard the voice of thunder which saith, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is our God,’ stand you to that, and go not one inch beyond it, if the way before you invites to the worship of things that are seen, and the reverence of men who call themselves priests, and the whispering out of every filthy thought into a confessor’s ear. No, no, no, Israel; thou art brought very low, but thou are far too noble to become an adorer of crosses and wafers, and pictures and relics.”
Even in our own land there is a good deal which would not wish a Jew to regard as Christianity. To my mind, baptismal regeneration is about as glaring a piece of Popery as there is to be found in the world; and they can hear that lie publicly taught in England. Grievous, too, it is to my very heart that they may hear it among them who profess a purer form of faith than that of which we have spoken. Try, brothers and sisters, to keep Christ’s religion as Christ taught it. Purify it. Let it come back to its original form. Labor also to be Christians in ordinary life. If a Jew says, “I would like to see a Christian,” do not let him see a person full of superstitions. Let him see one who believes in the triune God, and who tries to live according to the commands of God, and who, when he talks about Jesus, lets you see the mind which dwelt in Jesus, the same mind bring in him. When once the Church of God shall bear a clear testimony to the truth of God both with lip and life, great hindrances will be taken out of the way of Israel. I know you say, “Well, Jews ought to know that we hold a very different faith from Romanists.” I know that you think so, but I am not able to perceive how the Jews are to learn the distinction, for Baptists are called Christians as much as we are. Their religion is dominant in some countries: it is prominent in every country. How is the Jew to know that it is not the religion of Christ? As he thinks that it is so, he declared that he will have nothing to do with it; and I for one cannot condemn him, but approve of his resolve. I only hope that, as the years roll on, we who worship God in sincerity, and have no confidence in the flesh, we who are saved by the faith which saved Abraham, who is our father after the spirit though not according to the flesh, that we, I say, may be able to bring this purer faith more clearly to the knowledge of Israel, and that God will lead his ancient nation to be fellow-heirs with us. We must keep our doctrine pure, and hold it individually with clean hands and a pure heart, or we have not done all that we can for Israel.
This being done, I will next say that we must each one evangelize with all his might . Do this not among Jews only, but among Gentiles also.
Wherever you are, tell abroad the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Do not live a single day, if opportunity serve you, without testifying concerning the love of God which is revealed in the cross of Calvary. Your prayer should be for the whole Church of God, “Behold, and visit this vine.” And as a large number of God’s elect ones are as yet hidden in darkness, let, us pray unto the Lord that he would visit this vine, and make these branches to spring out into the light, that on them also there may be rich clusters to his praise.
Brothers and sisters, we are ourselves saved, are we not? Come, ere you go away, let the question be put to you, Are you saved? Are you really believers in Jesus? Is the Christ formed in you? Have you realized that he is your Savior? Are you trusting him now? Will you live to him? Are you consecrated to him, spirit, soul, and body? If you are, that is the first thing.
If you are not, I cannot ask you to pray for Israel, or for anybody else, till first of all God has put a cry into your soul for yourselves. If you are saved, then let me ask myself and you, “Are we doing all we might for the honor and love of Jesus?” Sitting on these seats, might not many say, “We have not begun to live for Christ yet as we ought”? May the Lord quicken you!
There was a young man here, one Thursday night, when I closed with some such words as these, who derived lasting benefit from them. Or was a gentleman doing a large business, to whom it had never occurred that he might preach Christ. It did occur to him that night, and he went to the town in which he lived, and began to preach in the streets straightway. He is now the pastor of a large church, though he still continues his business; and his is an example to be imitated by many. I would to God that some young man might be quickened to feel that he must do something, for Israel perhaps, for Christ certainly. And you, sisters, may you feel a divine impulse upon you while you pray God to visit the vine which he has planned! May he also visit you, and make you fruitful vines unto his praise!
The Lord bless every one of you, for Christ’s sake! Amen.
AN INTERRUPTION IMPROVED.
A FEW WORDS SPOKEN BY MR. SPURGEON AT A PRAYERMEETING, WHEN A FRIEND HAD BEEN CARRIED OUT IN A FIT.
POSSESS your souls in quietness, beloved friends. When we are engaged in prayer, or in any other form of worship, interruptions may occur, especially in large assemblies. We cannot expect all nature to be hushed because we are bowing the knee. Permit not your minds to be easily distracted, or you will often have your devotion destroyed. Rather let us learn a lesson from a painful incident. I seemed to hear a voice in that pitiful cry of our friend, and it bade me have pity upon the many whose life is one long agony. Let that doleful moan awaken sympathy for thousands in the hospital and out of it who are grievously tormented. We are in good health, and are sitting in the midst of a happy company of our fellow Christians; let us be grateful that we have not been struck down to be carried out; amid the distress of anxious friends. Sympathy and gratitude are two choice emotions, and if both of these are aroused by the interruption we shall have gained more by it, than we can possibly have lost. Sympathy or fellow-feeling may well be excited by the sight or hearing of pain in our fellow-creatures. We may indulge it freely, for it is not only due to the sufferer, but exceedingly beneficial to the humane heart which feels it. Those who are never out of health themselves, and keep aloof from the poor and the sick, are apt to undergo a hardening process of the most injurious kind. It is a sad thing for the blind man who has to read the raised type when the tips of his fingers harden, for then he cannot read the thoughts of men which stand out upon the page; but it is far worse to lose sensibility of soul, for then you cannot peruse the book of human nature, but, must remain untaught in the sacred literature of the heart. You have heard of “the iron duke,” but an iron Christian would be a very terrible person: a heart of flesh is the gift of divine grace, and one of its sure results is the power to be very pitiful, tender, and full of compassion. You would feel all the greater sympathy with some afflicted ones if you knew how good they are, and how patient under their sufferings. I am delighted with the diligent way in which some of our tried sisters come out to religious services. When many in good health stay away from the meetings upon the most frivolous excuses, there are certain dear sick ones who are never absent. There is one among us who has marty fits in a week, but how she loves to be here! I beg her to sit near the door, for her fits may come upon her at any moment, but she is an example to us all in the constancy of her attendance. Have sympathy with all the sick, but especially with those who might be spoken of in the words applied to Lazarus, “Lord, he whom thou lovest is sick.”
I mentioned gratitude also, and I hope it will not be forgotten. Let the cry of pain remind us that we owe our Lord a song of thanksgiving for screening us from the greater ills of life, — consumption sapping the constitution, asthma making it misery to breathe, epilepsy tearing us to pieces, or palsy causing every limb to lose its power. Blessed be God for our limbs and senses, and for health which sweetens all. We shall never become too grateful; let us abound in thanksgiving.
This interruption speaks to us with a still deeper and more solemn tone.
Our friend is not dead, but might readily enough have been so. That cry says to me — “Prepare to meet thy God.” We are liable to death at any moment and ought always to be ready for it: I mean not only ready because we are washed in the blood of the Lamb, but because we have set our house in order and are prepared to depart. I feel it right when I lay my head upon my pillow to ask myself, “If I never wake on earth, is it well with my soul?” and then to reply, “Sprinkled afresh with pardoning blood, I lay me down to rest, As in the embraces of my God, Or of my Savior’s breast.” Could we now, dear friends, at; this moment resign our breath, and without further preparation crater upon the. eternal world? Breathing out the prayer, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,” could we now ascend from earth, made meet for the inheritance above? It should be so.
Everything about us should be in such order that if our Lord should come while we are in the field we should not wish to go into the house, but could depart at once. I agree with the great scholar Bengel that death should not become a spiritual parade, but should be regarded as the natural close of our ordinary life; the final note of the psalm of which each day has been a stanza. We ought so to live that to die would be no more remarkable than for a man in the middle of business to hear a knock at the street door, and quietly to step away from his engagements. There should be no hurrying for a clergyman to administer sacraments, or for a lawyer to write a hasty will, or for an estranged relative to make peace; but all should be arranged and ordered as if we kept our accounts closely balanced, expecting an immediate audit. This would make noble living, and do more for God’s glory than the most triumphant death scene. A friend remarked to George Whitefield that should he survive him he would wish. to witness his deathbed, and hear his noble testimony for Christ. The good man replied, “I do not think it at, all likely that I shall bear any remarkable witness in death, for I have borne so many testimonies to my Lord and Master during my life.” This is far better than looking forward to the chill evening or actual sunset of life as the time of bearing witness. Let us set about that holy work immediately, lest swift death arrest us on the spot and seal our lips in silence. Be faithful every day that you may be faithful to the end. Let not your lite be like a tangled mass of yarn, but keep it ever in due order on the distaff, so that whenever the fatal knife shall cut the thread it may end just where an enlightened judgment would have wished. Practice the excellent habit of Mr. Whitefield to whom I before referred, for he could not bear to go to bed and leave even a pair of gloves out of place. He felt that his Master might come at any moment, and he wished to be ready even to the minutest derails.
Now that disturbing incident is over, and we shall settle down again, all the more ready to unite in prayer and praise.
WE have been greatly cheered by receiving recently a letter from Belgrade accompanying copies of one of our sermons which has been translated into the Servian tongue, and sent to each of the twelve hundred priests and teachers in that country. The sermon selected is No. 1389, from the text, “Be of good comfort, rise, he calleth thee;” No. 279 also is being prepared for the press. The friend who sends us the information says that no Protestant preacher in Servian is in the country, and the Greek church is in an extraordinarily dead state. He speaks in the highest terms of Mr. Mijatovich. The translator, and asks for our prayers that this work may be made a great blessing, Will not our readers unite in the petition?
On Sunday, June 23rd, Mr. Henry Hutt, of Reading, brought sixty members of his Saturday Evening Bible Class to the Tabernacle, After the morning service Mr. Murrell provided them with a dinner in one of the College rooms, and in the afternoon they attended Mr. Charlesworth’s Bible class for young men, and afterwards partook of tea at the Orphanage.
At the tea-table they subscribed sufficient to maintain the orphans for one day, and presented the amount (£10 10s.) to Mr. Spurgeon in the deacons’ room at the Tabernacle before the, evening service. We are always receiving kindness from friends at Reading, and none are more welcome at the Tabernacle than they are.
Two of the most tempestuous Sabbaths we have ever experienced were the 23rd and 30th of June. What with dense darkness, tempest, and deluging rain it was wonderful that any one came forth at all, and yet there were the people, bent upon the worship of God. The numbers to £152. July 2 We were unable to preach at Mr. Abraham’s, near Whitney, according to promise, for the severe weather confined us to our bed. Our beloved father took the service, and so our place was well filled. We are quite afraid to make engagements since we are so often laid aside in the most painful manner, and disappointment is the result. We wish the Christian public would believe in our inability to preach every day, at least for the present.
No sooner was it known that we were going to Scotland on July 8th, for rest, than we received requests for sermons, not only from a large number of Scotch towns, and from places on each of the three lines of railway, but we were entreated just to make a few hours’ stay and preach in North Wales, as also on the Cumberland coast, which as everybody knows are both on the road to Scotland if you choose to make them so. How many pence we have been fined in the form of postage for replies to these insanely kind demands we will not calculate, but it is rather too absurd. We are told over and over again that we could stop two hours and go on by the next train; and this being done at a dozen places, when should we reach Scotland? This, too, when a man is out for a holiday!
Alas, the holiday itself had to be postponed for a while through continued ill health. Now, it may seem a very simple thing to write to these good people and say “No;” but it is not so. It pains us to refuse anyone, and to decline to preach is so contrary to all our heart’s promptings, that we had rather be flogged than feel compelled to do it. July 5. This evening a large and enthusiastic meeting was held in the College in anticipation of the Celebration of our Pastor’s 25th Anniversary. The ladies were present in great force, and cheerfully accepted the responsibility of preparing a Bazaar for the week after Christmas. The kind words and loving expressions used towards the Pastor furnished abundant evidence that everyone will enter heartily into this movement. Mr. Spurgeon was only able to be present for a short time, owing to his ill health, but his address and that of other friends met with the heartiest response. This celebration can on the evening of the 30th were sensibly only be a success by the spontaneous zeal diminished, and yet to a stranger the place of all friends of Mr. Spurgeon. A wedding, whether it be a silver one or a first one, is nothing without heart. This must be begun. continued, and ended with spirit, or left alone.
— On Friday morning, June 28, the President met the students in the lecture hall of the Tabernacle before they left for their summer vacation, and preached to them from Psalm 118:27. At the close of the sermon, which seemed to move the hearts of all present, the session was concluded with the observance of the Lord’s Supper, and a few appropriate farewell words from the President, who intimated that the vacation would terminate on Tuesday, August 6th, when he should be glad to meet the brethren, together with the new students, who would then for the first time enter the College. In the evening the Evening Classes of the College were brought to a close for another session by a tea, followed by a meeting in their rooms at the College. Mr. Spurgeon presided, opened the meeting with prayer, and having called upon Professor Fergusson to give the introductory remarks, preached a sermon upon consecration to the Lord. Mr. Kirk read the report in the absence of the secretary, through illness, and presented forty guineas from the members of the classes, for the College funds, a clear proof of the interest felt by the evening students, The report stated that there were three hundred names on the books, the average attendance being one hundred and sixty. One hundred and twenty new members had joined during the last six months, and their coming from all parts proved the need of such classes. The chairman thanked the brethren for their contribution after which addresses were delivered by Messrs. Juniper, Thwaites, Hustler, Fowler, and C. Spurgeon, and a very pleasant and profitable evening was thus spent. Young men who desire to improve their talents that they may employ them in the service of God are admitted to the classes without fee or reward. Out of these classes come numbers of workers in all departments of Christian service. There is room for more.
Application can be made to the secretary, Pastors’ College, Newington Butts. The next term will commence August 7th.
Most cheering news has been received from Mr. Blackie, of Calcutta, who is enjoying great prosperity, and also from our brother at the Cape, whose work is marvelously succeeding, ORPHANAGE.
— The following notice of a trip of the orphan boys was sent to us, and it gave us great pleasure to read it, but we did not dream of printing it. We have been over-persuaded by unwise friends, and now permit it to be inserted in the magazine, expecting to be condemned for egotism, and so on. If it will afford pleasure to any individual so to construe our weakness we must bear the rebuke; but the acts recorded are so very kind, and show such a fine Christian spirit on the part of many, that even though we feel unworthy to receive such generous esteem, we cannot help recording it to the honor of those who render it. Mr. Spurgeon’s Orphanage Boys in Beds.
Although the Stockwell Orphanage has been established some ten years, to many it is only known in name, and its claims for support are consequently not recognized by them. There is an idea in some quarters that Mr. Spurgeon is never in need of money to carry on his works, or if he is, he has only to mention the fact to his friends and admirers to provoke a golden shower. It is all very well when those who held this opinion contribute their quota, but when it is urged as an excuse for not giving at all it becomes an unfortunate fallacy. As Mr. Spurgeon requires for the support of his Orphanage £10 a day, and for the whole of his institutions some £300 or more every week, it will be seem how necessary it is to use all legitimate means to enlarge the constituency from which the supplies are drawn. That the funds have always been forthcoming proves the confidence of the public in his wise administration. It is a fact which should be widely known that Mr. Spurgeon not only does not derive anything from the institutions he directs, but has for some years contributed to the Lord’s work more than his official income as the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
The occasional visit of a choir of the orphan boys to country towns, in order to advocate the claims of the Orphanage, is a step in the right direction. The work becomes a reality to friends, their sympathies are aroused and help secured.
On Monday, the 8th July, Mr. Charles worth and Mr. J. Manton Smith left London with a choir of orphan boys, to give Services of Song at Luton and Woburn, in behalf of the Stockwell Orphanage. At Luton the large Plait Hall was the place of meeting, and through the exertions of Mr. Johnson Willis and the local ministers, a large audience assembled under the presidency of the Mayor, who, although a churchman and a Tory, made common cause with the promoters to ensure success. His speech was a generous testimony to Mr. Spurgeon and the usefulness of his labors. The meeting was enthusiastic throughout, the single fact that it was Mr. Spurgeon’s Orphanage being an important factor in the enthusiasm.
The boys sang well, and two of them gave recitations in capital style. Mr. Townsend, one of the old boys and now a student in the Pastors’ College, spoke with great feeling of his indebtedness to the institution, and Mr. Charlesworth gave an interesting account of the work.
To illustrate the catholicity of the institution he gave a denominational analysis of the first 400 cases admitted: Church of England, 124; Baptist, 93; Congregational, 47; Wesleyan, 44; Presbyterian, 9; Roman Catholic, 2; Plymouth Brethren,2; not specified, 79.
Luton being the center of the straw-hat manufacture, many present were connected with that branch of industry, and a few friends very generously offered to rig out the whole of the 246 boys at present in the institution with a brand new “straw yarner.” The announcement seemed equally pleasing to the audience as to the boys of the choir, who felt proud of having contributed towards this result. The Mayor, who expressed his pleasure at the appearance and conduct of the boys, invited them to visit his grounds the following morning for a strawberry feast, before proceeding to Woburn. Had the guests been members of the Town Council or provincial mayors their welcome could not have been more hearty. His worship was quite at home with the boys, and addressed to them a few kindly words, which were responded to by a chorus of ringing cheers. The boys also sang several of their pieces before leaving. At the rail way station quite a troop of friends, many of whom had entertained the boys, came to see them off, and many were the prayers breathed for the prosperity of the institution.
The route chosen to Woburn was via Dunstable, and although it involved a journey by road of some eight or nine miles it proved a source of pleasure to the boys, for the friends had provided wagonettes for the party. On reaching the station at Dunstable the Rev. H. W. Taylor, of Markyate Street, and a portly deacon met the boys, and having regaled them with ham sandwiches, lemonade, and jam tarts, accompanied them to their destination. It being the day for the annual treat of the Church Schools at Woburn, it was arranged for the boys on their arrival to have tea with the scholars in the vicarage grounds, the vicar kindly contributing towards the expenses. Before the hour announced for the meeting the people began to make their way towards the Town Hall with an alacrity which seemed to the writer somewhat unusual to the residents of a town which, since the old coaching days appears to have abandoned itself to somnolent contempt for modern progress in general, and railways in particular. As we walked through the quiet street in the afternoon, we were forcibly reminded of a chapter by Charles Dickens in his capacity as an “Uncommercial Traveler,” in which he describes a visit to a similar, and, for aught we know, the same old coaching town. He says “It was a hot day, and the little sunblinds of the shops were all drawn down, and the more enterprising of the tradesmen had caused their ‘prentices to trickle water on the pavement appertaining to their frontage. It looked as if they had been shedding tears for the stage coaches, and were drying their ineffectual pocket-handkerchiefs.” What hope we had of a meeting which should be a financial success was by no means stimulated by the remark of the hotel-keeper, that “Nobody’s got any money in Woburn”; but remembering that an hotel does not exist for the inhabitants of a town numbering a little more, than a thousand, all told, we concluded the statement inclined rather to conjecture than expressed a fact; and so we held on to our hope.
When we state that the Town Hall was well filled, and that some hundreds of people crowded round the outside during the progress of the meeting, the reader will gather that the town was stirred into interest, if not enthusiasm. The chair was taken by Lord Charles Russell, brother of the late earl, an earnest worker in the cause of religion, education, and philanthropy. The noble lord, for some years sergeant-at-arms, is well known the country round, and is held in high esteem for his Christian character and catholicity. In his opening speech his lordship remarked that when he was asked to preside he consented without a moment’s hesitation, Or, although he knew nothing about the Orphanage before, when he saw Mr. Spurgeon’s name as the President that fact was a sufficient guarantee that its affairs were wisely administered. He remembered hearing Mr. Spurgeon in the neighborhood some 20 years ago, and he quoted the text as being singularly appropriate to the present occasion: — “Do we begin again to commend ourselves, or need we as some others epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle (pointing to the boys), written in your hearts, known and read of all men.” The allusions to Mr. Spurgeon by his lordship during his speech, which breathed an earnest Christian spirit throughout, proved how all classes of the community esteem the President of the Orphanage. Here, on the same platform, stood a member of one of the highest families in the land, by whom his ministry had been enjoyed, and a number of poor orphan boys rescued by him from the perils of poverty, and receiving a Christian training which would mold their future life. His Lordship’s touching appeal for those whose condition implied the loss of home, will not readily be forgotten. Mr. Charles. worth gave a very interesting account of the origin and progress of the work. The boys, under the direction of Mr. Ladds, formerly a scholar in the school, sang with admirable effect a number of anthems and sacred songs, and rendered the choruses to Mr. Manton Smith’s solos. It was the universal testimony, from the chairman downward, that a more interesting and profitable meeting had not been held in Woburn. The friends who provided homes for the boys came forward at the for the night. Mr. John Clarke, a negative of Woburn, and who presided at the harmonium, was congratulated for his admirable arrangements to ensure such good success, and received the thanks of his fellow-townsmen for securing the visit of the Orphan boys. It should be stated that his lordship sent a kind invitation the following morning for the boys to walk through his grounds, and that His Grace the Duke of Bedford gave them permission to see over Woburn Abbey, a privilege greatly enjoyed by the boys and the friends who accompanied them, and also by your contributor, who was
ONE OF THEPARTY. Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon — June 20, nine; June 27th, twenty; July 4th, ten.