A RECORD OF COMBAT WITH SIN AND OF LABOR FOR THE LORD.
EDITED BY C. H. SPURGEON.
“They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the I trumpet was by me.” — Nehemiah 4:17,18 PREFACE ACONTEMPORARY remarks, “This is an eventful year for Mr. Spurgeon,” and his words are true. The reader must forgive us if in our own magazine we become autobiographical, and rehearse the story of the year 1879, in its hearings upon the work which has found a center in the Tabernacle. Its earliest, hours saw the Pastor a prisoner, unable to rise from the bed of pain, but meanwhile his ever faithful people were busy in creating a memorial of the Lord’s mercy to him and to them during their happy union of twenty-five years. Love was busy in a thousand ways, having its sweets.
A bazaar upon an enormous scale was carried out with enthusiasm, and was in all respects a very wonderful success. Never can we forget, the fervent affection displayed by an array of friends to one whose only justification for receiving such love lies in the fact that he loves in return.
The Pastor himself, much against his own wishes, was compelled to take a furlough of three months, during which his pain of body ceased, his spirits revived, and his mind recovered from a pressure which had somewhat overpowered it. The demands made upon head and heart by ministering to so great a congregation, and superintending so many forms of Christian work, will never be known except to him who feels them, and it is no wonder that sometimes the strain is too great, and mind and spirit sink into painful depression, from which there is no recovery but by rest.
We returned in April. The Conference of ministers who had been educated in the Pastors’ College met in May, and it was a joyous occasion. The presence and power of God were manifestly felt, and the meetings were consequently full of life and enthusiasm. The number of men who have passed through the College is 548, and of these 432 remain actually in the field and in the Baptist ministry. From the first we have given as good an education as the exigencies of the times allowed, but as the demand for ministers is not now so pressing, and the supply of students is also larger, we have been able to allow our young brethren a longer term of study, and the majority of them now remain for three years instead of two. We have never deserved the reproach of lowering the standard of ministerial education, for we bid out our life to raise it. We hope soon to sweep away the last rag or reason for the charge. The gospel and the Holy Spirit are with us far before human culture, but, when we have these, the more a man knows the better.
Soon after the Conference our beloved people presented us with a testimonial of £6,223 10s. 5d, which we had great pleasure in handing ever to trustees for the Lord’s work. Thus our Almshouses are now endowed, so that the support, of the aged sisters will never become a burden to the church. For this to be accomplished as a deed of love is pleasant beyond expression to our heart, and we trust it is well pleasing also to our Lord. If nothing else had been accomplished this would have been an eventful year.
On June 19 we were able to make a fair start with the Girls’ Orphanage , and this to us is the second great advance of 1879. Depression and disaster have been painfully felt in almost every quarter, and many charitable institutions have been advertising their abject poverty, but, to the honor of our gracious Lord, we wish to bear witness that never have our College and Orphanage been so well supported as during this trying season. By the first of October we had bought and paid for the “Hawthorns,” and were on the way towards the purchase of the intervening meadow, so that we are at this present able to report the ground in possession and almost paid for, f10 with seven houses promised, and many other helps. Well may we say, “What hath God wrought!” We know that all this entails upon us more responsibility, but we know also that God can and will give strength sufficient for the burden, and send supplies equal to the demand.
It is also a great joy to us that all the various agencies are well officered, and all properties are in the hands of fitting trustees. We are aided by business men whose watchfulness is stimulated by their love to Jesus and his work. A gracious tone pervades all, and the Holy Spirit is using every agency for the glory of God. Prayer is more fervent than ever. Unity and concord reign. All is well with us!
O that we could do more for Jesus! Our Colportage, which is a great blessing to thousands, does not yet increase to dimensions worthy of its value. It is no small thing to have seventy or eighty workers diligently engaged in spreading healthy literature and visiting the poor; but we ought to have four times as many, and would have them if the funds were forthcoming.
Our Evangelists have had the greatest success. Each one of the three has been made of God to be a mighty soul-winner, and this is reward enough.
Those who support them may rejoice right heartily.
If we might be so bold, we would beg our readers to increase the sale of this magazine and the weekly sermons. Such an effort, if successful, might produce great results. Souls might be saved, friends might be found for our work, and truth might spread.
O that we could do more for Jesus! Reader, do you not utter the same desire? He deserves to be made known where’er the sun pursues his daily course. Let us labor to publish his fame abroad. Brother, sister, do your own part, and help us, for Jesu’s sake.
Yours to serve through life.
Charles H. Spurgeon