UNDER THE APPLE TREE A COMMUNION SERMON BY C. H. SPURGEON.
“I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” — Solomon’s Song 2:3. CHRIST known should be Christ used. The spouse knew her Beloved to be like a fruit-bearing tree, and at once she sat under his shadow, and fed upon his fruit. It is a pity that we know so much about Christ, and yet enjoy him so little. May our experience keep pace with our knowledge, and may that experience be composed of a practical using of our Lord. Jesus casts a shadow, let us sit under it: Jesus yields fruit, let us taste the sweetness of it. Depend upon it that the way to learn more is to use what you know; and, moreover, the way to learn a truth thoroughly is to learn it experimentally. You know a doctrine beyond all fear of contradiction when you have proved it for yourself by personal test and trial. The bride in the Song as good as says, “I am certain that my beloved casts a shadow, for I have sat under it, and I am persuaded that he bears sweet fruit, for I have tasted of it.” The best way of demonstrating the power of Christ to save is to trust in him and be saved yourself; and of all those who are sure of the divinity of our holy faith, there are none so certain as those who feel its divine power upon themselves. You may reason yourself into a belief of the gospel, and you may by further reasoning keep yourself orthodox; but a personal trial, and an inward knowing of the truth are incomparably the best evidences. If Jesus be as an apple tree among the trees of the wood do not keep away from him, but sit under his shadow and taste his fruit. He is a Savior; do not believe that fact and yet remain unsaved. As far as Christ is known to you, so far make use of him. Is not this sound common sense?
We would further remark that we are at liberty to make every possible use of Christ. Shadow and fruit may both be enjoyed. Christ in his infinite condescension exists for needy souls. Oh, let us say it over again: it is a bold word, but it is true, — as Christ Jesus, our Lord exists for the benefit of his people. A Savior only exists to save. A physician lives to heal. The good shepherd lives, yea dies, for his sheep. Our Lord Jesus Christ hath wrapped us about his heart; we are intimately interwoven with all his offices, with all his honors, with all his traits of character, with all that he has done, and with all that he has yet to do. The sinner’s Friend lives for sinners, and sinners may have him and use him to the uttermost. He is as free to us as the air we breath. What are fountains for, but that the thirsty may drink? What is the harbor for but that storm-tossed barques may there find refuge? What is Christ for but that poor guilty ones like ourselves may come to him and look and live, and afterwards may have all our needs supplied out of his fullness?
We have thus the door set open for us, and we pray that the Holy Spirit may help us to enter in while we notice in the text two things which we pray that you may enjoy to the full. First, the heart’s rest in Christ — “I sat down under his shadow with great delight.” And, secondly, the heart’s refreshment in Christ — “His fruit was sweet unto my taste.”
I. To begin with, we have here THE HEART’ S REST IN CHRIST. To set this forth let us notice the character of the person who uttered this sentence.
She who said, “I sat down under his shadow with great delight,” was one who had known before what weary travel meant, and therefore valued rest; for the man who has never labored knows nothing of the sweetness of repose. The loafer who has eaten bread he never earned, from whose brow there never oozed a drop of honest sweat, does not deserve rest, and knows not what it is. It is to the laboring man that rest is sweet; and when at last we come, toilworn with many miles of weary plodding, to a shaded place where we may comfortably “sit down,” then are we filled with delight.
The spouse had been seeking her beloved, and in looking for him she had asked others where she was likely to find him. “Tell me,” says she, “where he feeds his sheep, and makes them rest at noon.” They told her to go and seek him by the footsteps of the flock, and they used these words, “Go thy way.” She did go her way, but after awhile she came to this resolution: “I will sit down under his shadow.” Many of you have been sorely wearied with going your way to find peace. Some of you tried ceremonies and multiplied them, and the priest came to your help; but he mocked your heart’s distress. Others of you sought by various systems of thought to come to an anchorage; but, tossed from billow to billow, you found no rest upon the seething sea of speculation. More of you tried by your good works to gain rest to your consciences. You multiplied your prayers, you poured out floods of tears, you hoped, by almsgiving and by the like, that some merit might accrue to you, and that your heart might feel acceptance with God, and so have rest. You toiled and toiled, like the men that were in the vessel with Jonah, when they rowed hard to bring their ship to land, but could not, for the sea wrought and was tempestuous. There was no escape for you that way, and so you were driven to all other way, even to rest in Jesus. My heart looks back to the time when I was under a sense of sin, and sought with all my soul to find peace, but could not discover it, high or low, in any place beneath the sky; yet when I “saw one hanging on a tree,” as the Substitute for sin, then my heart sat down under his shadow with great delight. My heart reasoned thus with herself — Did Jesus suffer in my stead? Then I shall not suffer. Did he bear my sin? Then I do not bear it. Did God accept his Son as my Substitute? Then he will never smite me .
Was Jesus acceptable with God as my sacrifice? Then what contents the Lord may well enough content me, and so I will go no farther, but “sit down under his shadow” and enjoy a delightful rest.
She who said “I sat down under his shadow with great delight,” could appreciate shade, for she had been sunburnt. D id we not read just now her exclamation — “Look not upon me, for I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me”? She knew what heat meant, what the burning sun meant; and therefore shade was pleasant to her. You know nothing about the deliciousness of shade till you travel in a thoroughly hot country; then you are delighted with it. Did you ever feel the heat of divine wrath? Did the great Sun — that sun without variableness or shadow of a turning — ever dart his hottest rays upon you, — the rays of his holiness and justice?
Did you cower down beneath the scorching beams of that great light, and say, “We are consumed by thine anger”? If you have ever felt that you have found it a wry blessed thing to come under the shadow of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. A shadow, you know, is cast by a body coming between us and the light and heat; and our Lord’s most blessed body has come between us and the scorching sun of divine justice, so that we sit under the shadow of his mediation with great delight.
And now if any other sun begins to scorch us we fly to our Lord. If domestic trouble, or business care, or Satanic temptation, or inward corruption oppresses us, we hasten to Jesus’ shadow, to hide under him, and there “sit down” in the cool refreshment with great delight. The interposition of our blessed Lord is the cause of our inward quiet. The sun cannot scorch me , for it scorched him. My troubles need not trouble me, for he has taken my trouble, and I have left it in his hands. “I sat down under his shadow.”
Mark well these two things concerning the spouse. She knew what it was to be weary, and she knew what it was to be sunburnt; and just in proportion as you, also, know these two things, your valuation of Christ will rise. You who have never pined under the wrath of God have never prized the Savior. Water is of small value in this land of brooks and rivers, and so you commonly sprinkle the roads with it, but I warrant you that if you were making a day’s march over burning sand, a cup of cold water would be worth a king’s ransom; and so to thirsty souls Christ is precious, but to none beside.
Now, when the spouse was sitting down, restful and delighted, she was overshadowed. She says,” I sat down under his shadow.” I do not know a more delightful state of mind than to feel quite overshadowed by our beloved Lord. Here is my black sin, but there is his precious blood overshadowing my sin and hiding it for ever. Here is my condition by nature, an enemy to God; but he who reconciled me to God by his blood has overshadowed that also, so that I forget that I was once an enemy in the joy of being now a friend. I am very weak; but he is strong, and his strength overshadows my feebleness. I am very poor; but he hath all riches, and his riches overshadow my poverty. I am most unworthy; but he is so worthy that if I use his name I shall receive as much as if I were worthy: his worthiness doth overshadow my unworthiness. It is very precious to put the truth the other way, and say, — If there be anything good in me, it is not good when I compare myself with him, for his goodness quite eclipses and overshadows it. Can I say I love him? So I do, but I hardly dare call it love, for his love overshadows it. Did I suppose that I served him? So I would; but my poor service is not worth mentioning in comparison with what he has done for me. Did I think I had any degree of holiness? I must not deny what his Spirit works in me; but when I think of his immaculate life, and all his divine perfections, where am I? What am I? Have you not sometimes felt this? Have you not been so overshadowed and hidden under your Lord that you became as nothing? I know myself what it is to feel that if I die in a workhouse it does not matter so long as my Lord is glorified.
Mortals may cast, out my name as evil, if they like; but what matters it since his dear name shall one day be printed in stars athwart the sky? Let him overshadow me; I delight that it should be so.
The spouse tells us that when she became quite overshadowed, then she felt great delight. Great “I” never has great delight, for it cannot bear to own a greater than itself, but the humble believer finds his delight in being overshadowed by his Lord. In the shade of Jesus we have more delight than in any fancied light of our own. The spouse had great delight. I trust that you Christian people do have great delight, and if not you ought to ask yourselves whether you really are the people of God. I like to see a cheerful countenance; ay, and to hear of raptures in the hearts of those who are God’s saints. There are people who seem to think that religion and gloom are married, and must never be divorced. Pull down the blinds on Sunday, and darken the rooms; if you have a garden, or a rose in flower, try to forget that there are such beauties: are you not to serve God as dolorously as you can? Put your book under your arm, and crawl to your place of worship in as mournful a manner as if you were being marched to the whipping post. Act thus if you will; but give me that religion which cheers my heart, fires my soul, and fills me with enthusiasm and delight, — for that is likely to be the religion of heaven, and it agrees with the experience of the inspired Song.
Although I trust that we know what delight means, I question if we have enough of it to describe ourselves as sitting down in the enjoyment of it.
Do you give yourselves enough time to sit at Jesus’ feet? There is the place of delight, do you abide in it? Sit down under his shadow. “I have no leisure,” cries one. Try and make a little. Steal it from your sleep if you cannot get it anyhow else. Grant leisure to your heart. It would be a great pity if a man never spent five minutes with his wife, but was forced to be always hard at work. Why, that is slavery, is it not? Shall we not then have time to commune with our best beloved? Surely, somehow or other, we can squeeze out a little season in which we shall have nothing else to do but to sit down under his shadow with great delight! When I take my Bible and want to feed on it for myself I generally get thinking about preaching upon the text and what I should say to you from it. This will not do; I must get away from that, and forget that there is a Tabernacle, that I may sit personally at Jesus’ feet. And, oh, there is an intense delight in being overshadowed by him! He is near you, and you know it. His dear presence is as certainly with you as if you could see him, for his influence surrounds you. Often have I felt as if Jesus leaned over me, as a friend might look over my shoulder. Although no cool shade comes over your brow, yet you may as much feel his shadow as if it did, for your heart grows calm; and if you have been wearied with the family, or troubled with the church, or vexed with yourself, you come down from the chamber where you have seen your Lord, and you feel braced for the battle of life — ready for its troubles and its temptations, because you have seen the Lord. “I sat down,” said she, “under his shadow with great delight.” How great that delight was she could not tell, but she sat down as one overpowered with it, needing to sit still under the load of bliss. I do not like to talk much about the secret delights of Christians, because there are always some around us who do not understand our meaning; but I will venture to say this much — that if worldlings could but even guess what are the secret joys of believers, they would give their eyes to share with us. We have troubles, and we admit it, we expect to have them; but we have joys which are frequently excessive. We should not like that others should be witnesses of the delight which now and then tosses our soul into a very tempest of joy. You know what it means; do you not? When you have been quite alone with the heavenly Bridegroom, you wanted to tell the angels of the sweet love of Christ to you, a poor unworthy one. You even wished to teach the golden harps fresh music, for seraphs know not the heights and depths of grace as you know them.
The spouse had great delight, and we know that she had, for this one reason, that she did not forget it. This verse and the whole song is a remembrance of what she had enjoyed. She says, “I sat down under his shadow.” It may have been a month, it may have been years ago; but she had not forgotten it. The joys of fellowship with God are written in marble. “Engraved as in eternal brass” are memories of communion with Christ Jesus. “Above fourteen years ago,” says the apostle, “I knew a man.” Ah, it was worth remembering all those years. He had not told his delight, but he had kept it stored up. He says, “Above fourteen years ago I knew a man in Christ Jesus, whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell, God knoweth,” so great had his delights been. When we look back we forget birthdays, holidays, and bonfire-nights which we have spent after the manner of men, but we readily recall our times of fellowship with the Wellbeloved.
We have known our Tabors, our times of transfigurationfellowship, and like Peter we remember when we were “with him in the holy mount.” Our head has leaned upon the Master’s bosom, and we can never forget the intense delight; nor will we fail to put on record for the good of others the joys with which we have been indulged.
Now, I leave this first part of the subject, only noticing how beautifully natural it is. There was a tree, and she sat down under the shadow: there was nothing strained, nothing formal. So ought true piety ever to be consistent with common sense, with that which seems most fitting, most comely, most wise, and most natural. There is Christ, we may enjoy him, let us not despise the privilege.
II. The second part of our subject is THE HEART’ S REFRESHMENT IN CHRIST.
“His fruit was sweet to my taste.” Here I will not enlarge, but give you thoughts in brief which you can beat out afterwards. She did not feast upon the fruit of the tree till first she was under the shadow of it. There is no knowing the excellent things of Christ till you trust him. Not a single sweet apple shall fall to the lot of those who are outside the shadow. Come and trust. Christ, and then all that there is in Christ shall be enjoyed by you.
Oh, unbelievers, what you miss! If you will but sit down under his shadow, you shall have all things, but if you will not, neither shall any good thing of Christ’s be yours.
But as soon as ever she was under the shadow, then the fruit was all hers. “I sat down under his shadow,” saith she, and then “his fruit was sweet to my taste.” Dost thou believe in Jesus, friend? Then Jesus Christ himself is thine; and if thou dost own the tree, thou mayest well eat the fruit. Since he himself becomes thine altogether, then his redemption and the pardon that comes of it, his living power, his mighty intercession, the glories of his second advent, and all that belong to him are made over to thee for thy personal and present use and enjoyment. All things are yours since Christ is yours. Only mind you imitate the spouse: when she found that the fruit was hers, she ate it. Copy her closely in this. It is a great fault in many believers, that they do not appropriate the promises and feed on them. Do not err as they do. Under the shadow you have a right to eat the fruit.
Deny not yourselves the sacred entertainment.
Now, it would appear, as we read the text, that she obtained this fruit without effort. The proverb says, “He who would gain the fruit must climb the tree.” But she did not climb for she says, “I sat down under his shadow.” I suppose the fruit dropped down to her. I know that it is so with us. We no longer spend our money for that which is not bread, and our labor for that, which satisfieth not; but we sit under our Lord’s shadow, and we eat that which is good, and our soul delights itself in sweetness.
Come Christian, enter into the calm rest of faith, by sitting down beneath the cross, and thou shalt be fed even to the full. The spouse rested while feasting: she sat and ate. So, O true believer, rest whilst thou art feeding upon Christ. The spouse says, “I sat, and I ate.”
Had she not told us in the former chapter that the King sat at his table? See how like the church is to her Lord, and the believer to his Savior! We sit down also, and we eat, even as the King doth. Right royally are we entertained. His joy is in us, and his peace keeps our hearts and minds.
Further, notice that as the spouse fed upon this fruit she had a relish for it.
It is not every palate that likes every fruit. Never dispute with other people about tastes of any sort, for agreement is not possible. That dainty which to one person is the most delicious is to another nauseous; and if there were a competition as to which fruit is preferable to all the rest, there would probably be almost as many opinions as there are fruits. But blessed is he who hath a relish for Christ Jesus! Dear hearer, is he sweet to you? Then he is yours. There never was a heart that did relish Christ but what Christ belonged to that heart. If thou hast been feeding on him, and he is sweet to thee, go on feasting, for he who gave thee a relish gives thee himself to satisfy thine appetite.
What are the fruits which come from Christ? Are they not petite with God, renewal of heart, joy in the Holy Ghost, love to the brethren? Are they not regeneration, justification, sanctification, adoption, and all the blessings of the covenant of grace. And are they not each and all sweet to our taste? As we have fed upon them, have we not said, “Yes, these things are pleasant indeed. There is none like them. Let us live upon them evermore.” Now, sit down, sit down and feed. It seems a strange thing that we should have to persuade people to do that, but in the spiritual world things are very different from what they are in the natural. In the case of most men, if you put a joint of meat before them and a knife and fork, they do not need many arguments to persuade them to fall to. But I will tell you when they will not do it, and that is when they are full: and I will also tell you when they will do it, and that is when they are hungry. Even so, if thy soul is weary after Christ the Savior, thou wilt feed on him; but if not, it is useless for me to preach to thee, or bid thee come. However, thou that art there, sitting under his shadow, thou mayest hear him utter these words: “Eat, O friend: drink, yea, drink abundantly.” Thou canst not have too much of these good things: the more of Christ the better the Christian.
We know that the spouse feasted herself right heartily with this food from the tree of life, for in after days she wanted more. Will you kindly read on in the fourth verse. The verse which contains our text describes, as it were, her first love to her Lord, her country love, her rustic love. She went to the wood, and she found him there like an apple tree, and she enjoyed him as one relishes a ripe apple in the country. But she grew in grace, she learned more of her Lord, and she found that her best beloved was a King. I should not wonder but what she learned the doctrine of the second advent, for then she began to sing — “He brought me to the banqueting house.” As much as to say, — He did not merely let me know him out in the fields as the Christ in his humiliation, but he brought me into the royal palace; and, since he is a King, he brought forth a banner with his own brave escutcheon, and he waved it over me while I was sitting at the table, and the motto of that banneret was love.
She grew very full of this. It was such a grand thing to find a great Savior — a triumphant Savior, an exalted Savior! But it was too much for her, and she became sick of soul with the excessive glory of what she had learned; and do you see what her heart craves for? She longs for her first simple joys, those countrified delights. “Comfort me with apples,” she says.
Nothing but the old joys will revive her. Did you ever feel like that? I have been satiated with delight in the love of Christ as a glorious, exalted Savior when I have seen him riding on his white horse, and going forth conquering and to conquer; I have been overwhelmed when I have beheld him in the midst of the throne, with all the brilliant assembly of angels and archangels adoring him, and my thought has gone forward to the day when he shall descend with all the pomp of God, and make all kings and princes shrink into nothingness before the infinite majesty of his glory. Then I have felt as though I must fall at his feet as dead at the sight of him; and I have wanted somebody to come and tell me over again the old, old story of how he died in order that I might be saved. His throne overpowers me, let me gather fruit from his cross. Bring me apples from “the tree” again. I am awestruck while in the palace, let me get away to the woods again. Give me an apple plucked from the tree, such as I have given out to boys and girls in his family, such an apple as this — “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Or this: “This man receiveth sinners.” Give me a promise from the basket of the covenant. Give me the simplicity of Christ, let me be a child and feast on apples again, if Jesus be the apple-tree. I would fain go back to Christ on the tree in my stead, Christ overshadowing me, Christ feeding me. This is the happiest state to live in. Lord, evermore give us these apples. You recollect the old story we told years ago of Jack the huckster who used to sing — “I’m a poor sinner, and nothing at all, But Jesus Christ is my all in all.” Those who knew him were astonished at his constant composure. They had a world of doubts and fears, and so they asked him why he never doubted. “Well,” said he, “I can’t doubt but what I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all, for I know that, and feel it every day. And why should I doubt that Jesus Christ is my all in all? for he says he is.” “Oh,” said his questioner, “I have my ups and downs.” “I don’t.” says Jack; “I can never go up, for I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all; and I cannot go down, for Jesus Christ is my all in all.” He wanted to join the church, and they said he must tell his experience. He said, “All my experience is that I am a poor sinner and nothing at all, and Jesus Christ is my all in all.” “Well,” they said, “when you come before the church-meeting the minister may ask you questions.” “I can’t help it,” said Jack, “all I know I will tell you; and that is all I know— “‘I’m a poor sinner, and nothing at all, But Jesus Christ is my all in all.’“ He was admitted into the church, and continued with the brethren, walking in holiness; but that was still all his experience, and you could not get him beyond it. “Why,” said one brother, “I sometimes feel so full of grace, I feel so advanced in sanctification, that I begin to be very happy.” “I never do,” said Jack; “I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all.” “But then,” said the other, “I go down again, and think I am not saved, because I am not as sanctified as I used to be.” “But I never doubt my salvation,” said Jack, “because Jesus Christ is my all in all, and he never alters.” That simple story is grandly instructive, for it sets forth a plain man’s faith in a plain salvation; it is the likeness of a soul under the apple-tree resting in the shade and feasting on the fruit.
Now, at this time I want you to think of Jesus, not as a prince, but as an apple-tree; and when this is done I pray you to sit down under his shadow.
It is not much to do. Any child, when it is hot, can sit down in a shadow. I want you next to feed on Jesus: any simpleton can eat apples when they are ripe upon the tree. Come and take Christ, then. You who never came before, come now. Come and welcome. You who have come often, and have entered into the palace, and are reclining at the banqueting table, you lords and peers of Christianity, come to the common wood and to the common apple-tree where poor saints are shaded and fed. You had better come under the apple tree like poor sinners such as I am, and be once more shaded with boughs and comforted with apples, for else you may faint beneath the palace glories. The best of saints are never better than when they eat their first fare and are comforted with the apples which were their first gospel feast.
The Lord himself bring forth his own sweet fruit to you. Amen.
“WHEN the word of God is truly written upon a man’s mind, and laid up in his heart, he will soon be declaring it and speaking of it to others. True grace seeks to diffuse and propagate itself. Naturalists observe that mules, and creatures that are of a mongrel race, do not procreate after their kind; even so false Christians are not for propagating and enlarging Christ’s interests. Such men are not warm, spiritual, and heavenly in their discourses, and aim not at increasing the number of believers. Andrew when acquainted with Christ calls Peter, and both call Nathanael, saying, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (John 1:41-45). John calls his disciples. As a hen when she hath found a worm, or a barleycorn, clucks for her chickens. that they may come and partake of it with her; so a man acquainted with Christ, who hath tasted that the Lord is gracious, cannot hold his peace, but must be calling his friends and relations to come and share with him of the same grace. The more men have of God the more will they use their spiritual riches for the benefit of others, and the more eager will they be to employ all opportunities for doing good.”
Reader, how does this brief paragraph bear upon you? It comes from the pen of an ancient master in Israel; let it lead you to self-examination.
Especially inquire whether you are of the mulish breed, for a sterile life is not a spiritual life. He who is never troubled for the souls of others has great cause to be troubled for his own.
INTERVIEWS WITH THREE OF THE KING’S CAPTAINS.
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
ACHRISTIAN man is the noblest work of God, especially a Christian man who has attained to fullness of stature, and has done eminent service for his Master. As in the presence of sublime scenery the renewed heart adores the Creator, and never dreams of worshipping nature itself, so in communion with a truly consecrated man the spiritual mind rises to a reverent acknowledgment of the Holy Spirit, whose workmanship is seen in all the saints, and the idea of hero-worship is banished from the mind. Within the last few days it has been our joyful privilege to meet with several of the excellent of the earth, and among them with three of “the King’s mighties,” worthy to be placed in the first rank.
First, we found a card upon our table bearing the name of J.HUDSON TAYLOR, and we were sorry to have been out, and so to have missed seeing him; but another opportunity occurred, and the last hour which this beloved brother spent at Mentone was consecrated by holy conference and earnest prayer for China in our pleasant parlor at Hotel de la Paix. Mr. Taylor is not a man of commanding presence or of striking modes of speech. He is not in outward appearance an individual who would be selected from among others as the leader of a gigantic enterprise; in fact, he is lame in gait, and little in stature: but the Lord seeth not as man seeth, his glance rearbeth to the heart. In his spiritual manhood Mr. Taylor is of noble proportions: his spirit is quiet and meek, yet strong and intense; there is not an atom of self-assertion about him, but a firm confidence in God and in the call which he has himself received to carry the gospel to China.
He is hampered by no doubts as to the inspiration of the Scriptures, or the truth of Christianity, or the ultimate conquest of China for the Lord Jesus; his faith is that of a child-man, too conscious of consecration to the living God, and too certain of his presence and help to turn aside to answer the useless quibbles of the hour. Affectionate in manner, and gentile in tone, our brother has nevertheless about him a firmness which achieves its purpose without noise. Simple as a child in his spirit, he pursues his design with prudent perseverance and determination; he provokes no hostility, but he almost unconsciously arouses hearty sympathy, though he is evidently independent of it, and would go on with his great work even if no one countenanced him in it.
Our conversation was confined to China, the work in China, and the workers in China. The word China, China, China is now ringing in our ears in that special, peculiar, musical, forcible, unique way in which Mr. Taylor utters it. He could not very readily be made to speak upon any other theme for long together; he would be sure to fly back to China. We believe that he dreams of chop-sticks, mandarins, and poor Chinese. We expressed our conviction that he was already growing a pigtail, and he did not deny the fact, but added further that he hoped soon to have on the Chinaman’s silk petticoat, and he seemed quite pleased to tell us that he was so like a Chinaman when fully arrayed that he was often taken for a native. Dear, good brother, this is one reason of your success, you become a Chinaman to the Chinese, and you will gain the Chinese. Your concentration of thought upon your one grand object shall, under the divine blessing, be your strength.
How greatly has the Lord blest this man in his apostolic labors for China!
We admire the great goodness of God therein, for what hope is there for that vast empire, unless it be laid upon the hearts of chosen servants of the Lord. Mr. Taylor has gathered round him men and women of the right order. Some of them would certainly have been refused by the missionary societies, as below their standard of education; but Mr. Taylor has seen in them precious qualifications which abundantly compensate for the absence of classical attainments. These, with holy daring, born of childlike faith in God, have penetrated the interior of China, and are planting churches as the Lord enables them. We like our friend’s plans and ideas, and, without making invidious comparisons, we feel free to say that no other missionary enterprise is so completely to our mind as the China Inland Mission. It is a great honor to the Tabernacle that the missionaries connected with Mr. Taylor almost always come to our prayer-meeting for a valedictory service, and it is one of the choicest pleasures of our life that their beloved President is to us as a dear and familiar friend. He is on his road to China, may the Lord preserve him and prosper his way, and may the Christian churches at home provide all the means for this apostolic service without the necessity of the hencured leader’s coming back to England for some time to come, for his presence on the actual scene of labor must be invaluable.
It has been a great means of grace to us in our exile not only to hear the venerable GEORGE MULLER, of Bristol, but to have three long interviews with him, besides uniting with him twice in the breaking of bread and in prayer. Mr. Muller has the look of personified order and simplicity: his appearance is equally removed from show and slovenliness. His face gleams with the quiet cheerfulness which comes of profound restfulness.
He believes God with great reality, and practically takes him at his word, and hence his peace is as a river. His faith has wrought in him great strength of purpose, so far as man is concerned, and something more than submission to the will of the Lord, for he evidently delights himself therein, and, through divine grace, has been made to move in accordance with it.
That which struck us most was his evident rejoicing in tribulations, for the only excitement which we noticed in him was at the mention of the trials of his early days, which gave such room for the display of the divine faithfulness. We do not mean that our friend desires trial, but we perceive that when it comes his heart is exceeding glad, and his glory rejoices, because the Lord is now about to reveal himself more fully, and to honor his divine name yet again. O that we could all learn this lesson and put it into practice.
Mr. Muller gives us more the idea of Enoch than any man we have ever met: he habitually walks with God. Hence his whole life is his religion, and his religion is his whole life. The delightful placidity of the pulpit is retained in the parlor, and the graciousness which is seen in the preacher is just as manifest in the friend. Some may, therefore, suppose that he has about him a somber air; far from it. He is as bright and happy as a dear, obedient child has a right to be when enjoying his Father’s love. He is no monk and could not be made into a gloomy recluse; the domestic affections are strong within him, and so also is his love to the brethren, and his desire for the good of all mankind. Nothing cold, austere, or hard has any place with this “man greatly beloved.” In our company he displayed to us a special affection, which we heartily reciprocate. We entertain for him a feeling of profound veneration; but in his intercourse with us his humility scarcely allowed him to perceive the fact, and there was an entire absence of anything like a sense of superiority, even of such as greater age and experience might naturally claim. Our communion was very sweet to the younger of the two; may the Lord grant to him a renewal of it. We were deeply humbled at the sight of our friend’s beauty of character; not that he said a single word by way of self-praise, but the very reverse, for his total absence of self-consciousness was a leading feature in his conversation.
Again and again he said, “the Lord can do without poor George Muller”; but even this was drawn out of him, for with him George Muller is just nothing, and the Lord is all in all. We cannot picture this man of God, he is too bright for our pencil. A soft, subdued light shines upon his image as we try to recall it, a reflection of the moral glory of the Master whom he loves; but mild as is the radiance, it prevents our sketching the man to the life.
With no flash of oratory, or brilliance of poetry, or breadth of thought, or originality of mind, George Muller is enabled to be one of the most useful of living preachers by his simply testifying to facts by which he has for himself proved the love and truth of God. His preaching is the gospel and nothing else. Of flowers of speech he has none, and we hardly think he cares for them; but of the bread of heaven he has abundance. With speculations he does not intermeddle, but the eternal verities he handles with practical, homely, realizing faith.
No doubts disturb the Director of the Ashley Down Orphanage; how can there be when he sees the Lord daily feeding his 2,050 orphan children in answer to his prayers? Modern thought and the higher criticism never trouble this happy man. He soars aloft. While earth-bound souls are distracted and tormented by the discordant voices of error, he hears the voice of the great Father in heaven, and is deaf to all besides. In his old age, still hale and strong, he ministers the word with ceaseless diligence, journeying from place to place as the Lord opens the doors and prepares his way. Free from all anxiety, he enjoys life to the utmost, and if it were right to envy any man we should certainly envy George Muller; we are not, however, under any necessity of so doing, for the same grace worketh in all the saints, and we have but to yield ourselves thereto.
The third choice brother with whom we took sweet counsel was Pastor
JOHN BOST, who is the founder and conductor of the Asylums of La Force.
Concerning his institutions we hope to speak another time; just now our subject is the man himself. It would be very foolish to compare one servant of the Lord with another in order to set one above the other, for the church is like the heavens in this, that one star differeth from another star in glory.
Each of these three brethren is of a distinct type: the same Spirit is in each of them, working out a different form of the one glory which Jesus has given to all his people We delight in them all, and do not intend by a single sentence of ours to suggest a comparative estimate of their worth.
We do not know whether George Muller has any humor, but John Boat has about as much of it as C. H. Spurgeon. Mr. Bost is a man of considerable dimensions, and addressing us he said, “You will see that there is a difference between me and Mr. Muller. George Muller is a great man and John Bost is a large man.” This was true, but not all the truth, for John Bost is great as well as large. Orphans, idiots, imbeciles, and epileptic persons are the objects of our friend’s loving care. It touched our heart to hear him speak of the deaf and dumb, and blind and lame, but more especially of the poor epileptics, who are his special favorites, because they suffer so greatly and involve so much weary watching and painful care. He has eight institutions: La Famille Evangelique for orphan girls; Bethesda for incurables, blind, and idiot girls; Ebenezer for epileptic girls; Siloam and Bethel for epileptic boys; Le Repos for invalid governesses, etc.; La Retraite for invalid servants, and La Misericorde for idiots and epileptics.
There are three hundred and sixty-six inmates in these eight abodes, and for all their wants John Bost is responsible. But we only mention these to introduce our brother himself. Here is a man after our own heart, with a lot of human nature in him, a large-hearted, tempest-tossed mortal, who has done business on the great waters, and would long ago have been wrecked had it not been for his simple reliance upon God. His is a soul like that of Martin Luther, full of emotion and of mental changes; borne aloft to heaven at one time and anon sinking in the deeps. Worn down with labor, he needs rest, but will not take it, perhaps cannot, for even at Mentone he was lecturing for his institutions, and melting us all by the story of his imbeciles and epileptics. We took the chair for him, and while we were offering prayer he was so moved that we feared he would not be able to restrain himself. We spent an evening with him, and found him full of zeal and devotion, and brimming over with godly experience, and at the same time abounding in mirth, racy remark, and mother wit. Comparing notes, we found Caesar and Pompey very much alike in joys and sorrows, high delights, and deep depressions. We could both admire and reverence the holy peace of our honored friend Muller, and we did not excuse our common infirmities, but we thought the author of the Book of Psalms was a better interpreter of our experience than our more equable and tranquil friend could ever be, and we concluded that it was a happy circumstance for us that our divine Lord was set before us as our exemplar, and not even the brightest and most heavenly-minded of his disciples.
How can John Bost be otherwise than troubled in spirit when he hears the cries of epileptics, and sees the horrible contortions into which they are thrown in their frequent fits? It cuts him to the heart to see the sufferings of the dear objects of his care, and many are his sleepless nights with such a charge around him. He is full of tender sympathies, and in consequence he has a great power over his poor patients, who love and revere him; but this costs him great wear and tear of heart, and often brings him very low. In temperament he is emotional, and loves intensely: we had all his heart very soon, and we shall retain it while we live, for ours is knit to him in brotherly affection. He is an original, and his plans of working and collecting money are not a feeble copy of another man’s. Here many have erred, for they have been ambitious to be like some notable person, and have ended in being servile copyists, destitute of all the force and excellence of their hero, and without virtues of their own. Bost is not a second Muller, as we had been told — he is John Bost, and nobody else, and differs as much from Mr. Muller as a rose differs from a lily. Even in the exercise of his faith he is unlike our venerated father of Bristol, and not only prays for the money which he needs, but uses ingenious means to obtain it. We are sure that Mr. Muller’s plan is best for him, perhaps in itself the best intrinsically; but Mr. Bost’s methods are in the main most admirable in every way; are certainly the best which in his circumstances he could follow, and possibly in some aspects the best for the majority of workers. The two brethren love and esteem each other very highly, and Mr. Muller has been greatly pleased with a visit which he has lately paid to La Force, though the sight of the epileptics was too painful for him, as it well might be.
Which of these three mighties do we place first? The question may not be answered, for it is an improper one; and even if it were allowable we are not qualified to reply. Who are we that we should judge the King’s servants, and especially such as these, whose feet we should feet it an honor to wash? We may, however, venture to say that if we had to apportion the precious stones to individuals, we would engrave the name of Hudson Taylor upon an emerald, pleasant and beautiful; that of George Muller upon a diamond of the first water, clear as crystal; and that of John Bost upon a ruby full of warmth and vividness. None can gather from this comparison which one we think of the highest value, since our researches among precious stones have enabled us to quote, if we had the space to spare, opinions of various jewelers in which each of these is adjudged to bear the palm for beauty, and there are priedess specimens of each gem.
Poor pieces of common clay are all these men by nature; their luster and excellence are entirely due to their common Lord, who counts them all his own blood-bought jewels. We delight in them as his workmanship, and feel it to be right to admire his grace in them. There has been too much of finding fault with God’s servants while they live, and of idolizing them after death; we resolve to see the Father in the children, the Master in the disciples, the Holy Ghost in the temples of God, and to give them our loving word while they live. It is a small matter to them what we think of them, but they will not be grieved at our glorifying God in them. We have it on our heart to say, — if such be the beauty of the separate gems, even here, where they are not without flaw, what must be the glory of our great High Priest who wears all the precious stones upon his resplendent breastplate, each one faultless, and all set in harmonious order, so that the brilliance of every one is increased by that of its fellows? Let us glorify him who has wrought all our works in us, and is alone worthy of all praise.
NOTICES OF BOOKS
SELECT POETRY FOR CHILDREN.
BY JOSEPHPAYNE.CROSBY, LOCKWOOD, AND CO., LUDGATE HILL.
THIS is the twentieth edition of a very fair selection of poems for juveniles and others. Recent revisions and additions have improved the collection, which now includes pieces by Coleridge, Cowper, Longfellow, Southey, Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott, Mrs. Hemans, the present Poet Laureate, and other less celebrated rhymesters. DISCOURSES.
BY JOHN GUTHRIE, M.A., D.D.,GLASGOW. HODDER &STOUGHTON.
THESE sermonswere printed by desire of those who heard them, and who wished for a memorial of their pastor while he was absent from them in search of health. The “Discourses” are divided into three parts, (1) six preached on special occasions, (2) five on difficult texts, and (3) seven miscellaneous. We are not at all surprised that the bearers of these sermons should have desired to possess them in this permanent form, for there is much in them to admire, especially those that are not controversial, and even these will find many approving readers, although no one will expect us to endorse such sentiments as the following: — “The Evangelical Union, now inaugurated . . . presents the only consistent basts for the universal call; and to this, unless the gospel is to be immolated on the stony altar of the Genevan creed, all must come.” . . . “That . . . there is endless existence predestined for any without one glimpse of hope, with only the settled and stony paleness of absolute despair, is a dogma which I for one will never consent to be dragooned into.”
A man who knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff will find some good corn here, but the unstable and unlearned will be wise if they leave the book alone.
TEMPERANCE HYMNS AND SONGS, FOR THE USE OF METHODIST BANDS OF HOPE AND TEMPERANCE SOCIETIES WITH TUNES. 66, PATERNOSTER ROW.
THERE is nothing in this book to limit its use to Methodist Bands of Hope and Temperance Societies, except, perhaps, the suggested short service for the opening and closing of the meetings of these useful organizations. It is pointed out that the use of this service is entirely optional. In our humble opinion the use of it is decidedly objectionable, for various reasons. Just fancy a number of rosy-cheeked, healthy, happy, temperance folk, old or young, joining in a “general confession,” which includes the statement, “There is no health in us”! This surely is a libel on teetotalism. Apart from this little piece of liturgy the book has our heartlest commendation. If these hymns and songs are well and widely sung, it will be proved that Bacchus has by no means all the best of the tunes.
ONCE UPON A TIME;
OR, THE BOY’S BOOK OF ADVENTURES. RELIGIOUS TRACTSOCIETY.
ADVENTURES indeed, and plenty of them — lost on the Alps, captures by brigands, attacks of robbers, and perils of Indians, in a French prison, on a rock: — we have, in fact, such a choice of adventures that every youth’s heart should be more than satisfied. We scarcely know of a book more likely to be read by boys.
THE suggestion of several correspondents that the Notes should become a complete diary of our proceedings we do not feel able to comply with. We fear that there would not be enough of interest in such a record. At the same time, we shall in future note more points of personal interest, as they are evidently looked for by our friends.
THE PASTOR was heartily welcomed at the Tabernacle on April 13. The loving congratulations of his affectionate people render his return one of the happiest events of his life. He finds the church in a healthy state of earnest activity, and in all departments the strain of his long absence has been well sustained, a cheering proof that the work at the Tabernacle is of the Lord, and is not dependent upon the life of any one individual. Some few matters of income are in arrears, especially the fund of the Colportage: this is not the result of the Pastor’s absence, nor of any failure of generosity on the part of friends at home, but of the general depression of trade throughout the country, which has diminished the sales of the colporteurs and also made it difficult for the local committees to keep up their guarantees. By the divine blessing everything will be in good sailing order before long. Thanks are rendered to many friends who urged a longer rest, but it could not be taken, for there was a real necessity for the Pastor’s return, and he could not have been easy to be longer out of the way. At the same time, the Pastor is not able to take any work beyond that which is due at home, and it will be in vain to press him to do so. On Wednesday evening, April 9, Mr. W. Jackson Wray, who had rendered us good service by preaching for us on two of the Sabbaths while we were away, again assisted us by delivering his popular lecture on “The Wisdom of A Esop,” in the Tabernacle, in aid of the special evangelistic services fund. Our son Charles presided, and at the close of the lecture expressed the hearty thanks of all present for the happy evening they had spent. As Mr. Wray had intimated that his subject had no end to it, the chairman hoped that it would be “continued in our next.” Here are two nuggets from Mr. Wray’s mine. The first bears the inscription, “To the worshippers of that uncalendered and monstrous hypocrite called Saint Monday”: — “Monday’s burden bravely borne, Tuesday’s labor’s easier done; Wednesday’s duties well fulfilled, Thursday’s trials are half killed; Friday’s griefs will be but small, Saturday’s wages then befall, And Sunday’s rest comes best of all.” The other is smaller, but equally valuable: — “If you your lips would keep from slips, Five things observe with care; Of whom you speak, to whom you speak, And how, and when , and where.”
— In answer to many prayers, we have received for Colportage work about £160. Now, this is a small installment of £1,000 which is needed to put the work into a sound condition, but it has sufficed to keep the society from absolute bankruptcy for the time being, and to keep alive our faith and our expectation. We do not abate our assurance that God will send means for his own work. Will our friends kindly read the article upon Colportage in this number of the magazine?
— During the past month Mr. J. S. Harrison has settled at Montague-street, Blackburn; Mr. H. Wood has sailed for New Zealand; Mr. E.G. Ince, for Australia; and Mr. N. Papengouth has been recognized as the pastor of the Chiesa Apostolica Cristiana, Naples. Mr. S.A. Comber, who has recently passed his second examination, leaves us to continue his studies at Edinburgh University as a medical missionary.
Mr. A. Greer has removed from Braunston, Northamptonshire, to Quorndon, Leicestershire; Mr. C. Chapman from Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire, to Maldon, Essex; Mr. I. Bridge from Rayleigh, Essex, to Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire; and Mr. G. Duncan from Frome to Oaks Lindley, Huddersfield.
Mr. A. F. Brown, of Fenny Stratford, has become co-pastor with the Rev. W. A. Blake, of Brentford. Mr. Robt. Spurgeon, of Sewry, India, has taken the place of the Rev. A. McKenna at Dacea; Mr. H. Bool, of River Hebert, Nova Scotia, has gone to Pugwash, Cumberland county; and Mr.W. Ostler of Fulton, Oswego county, has accepted an invitation to Morrisville, New York. The annual Conference will commence its meetings on Monday, the 5th inst. How happy should we be if our loving friends would implore a blessing upon the week of meetings! Especially let all the churches whose pastors will be present offer special prayers that the gathering may be greatly profitable to them. Mr. Phillips’ supper takes place on Wednesday, May 7. ORPHANAGE.
— Mr. Charlesworth has made a most successful tour with the Orphanage choir, and visited Witney, Stratford-on-Avon, Eveshham, Chipping Norton, Cambridge, and Waterbeach. To the zealous friends who in each town labored to make the services of song a success we are personally grateful. In some of these towns we have old allies, whose names are very dear to us, though we dare say their modesty would be shocked if we named them — we will try them for once and mention as a specimen Messrs. Abraham, Toller, and Apthorpe, — but indeed others have been equally earnest, and we bless God for such good friends.
During the first four months of this year the Orphanage choir and the headmaster have brought in £294 14s 3d. to our funds. The places visited, in addition to those mentioned above, have been Melton Mowbray, Leicester, Derby, Northampton, Highgate, Reading, Richmond, and Hitchin. In all cases the contributions have been very handsome. Reading, as usual, leads the way with £53 15s. 6d. This meeting grew out of the annual meeting of Mr. Hutt’s class; it was a very hearty one, and Mr. Sutton was so good as to write off to Mentone the cheering news before the meeting was over.
Our friends, Messrs. Marchant, of Hitchin, Crosier, of Melton, J.T. Brown, of Northampton, Bateman, of Leicester, and all the rest are most heartily thanked. Their expressions of sympathy, love, and esteem to us personally, when reported to us, went far to cheer us in our hours of depression. God bless all those who have helped at these happy gatherings, and all who mean to invite the boys at some future time.
All goes well at the Orphanage, and we are glad. Messrs. J. and J. King, of Saint Andrews, Norwich, have sent some marvelously beautiful banners for the Orphanage, and we hope that on June 19th, when the Pastor’s 45th birthday and the Orphanage Fete will be celebrated, these decorations will be displayed.
EVANGELISTS. — AS we stated in our “Notes” last month, Mr. Clarke was too ill to accompany Mr. Smith to Boston, Lincolnshire, and his place was therefore taken by Mr. Gwillim, one of our elders. The choice of a substitute was no easy matter, but the decision proved to be a thoroughly wise one. The services were commenced on Sunday, March 16th, in the Corn Exchange, where some five or six hundred persons assembled in the morning, and about fourteen hundred at night, while a local paper states that “the continuous stream of people sent away, unable to gain admittance, would have filled another building equally as large.” The week evening services had been announced to be held in our brother West’s chapel, but the success of the first day’s labors made it imperative that a larger meeting-house should be secured, and accordingly, application was made for the Primitive Methodist Chapel, West Street, which was readily lent, and quite crowded every night. On Sunday, the 23rd, about eight hundred persons were present at the Corn Exchange in the morning, and a very successful service for children was held at the Baptist Chapel in the afternoon. At night the service was conducted in the Corn Exchange, when, according to the authority before quoted, “it was thought that there could not have been far less than two thousand persons crammed into the building, and quite that number had to be refused admission. The marked attention of the people was ample proof that all enjoyed the service.” A collection was made in aid of the Evangelists’ Fund, and about one thousand of the congregation remained to the after meeting. The services were continued through the week in the Primitive Methodist Chapel, which was quite full each night, and were brought to a close on Friday, the 28th, by a tea and public meeting, at which twelve local ministers and one thousand people were present. Both evangelists were earnestly entreated to remain longer than the specified time, but Mr. Gwillim only was able to do so. “A working man,” who was unable to be present at the farewell meeting, sent 5s. to Mr. Smith as an expression of his gratitude to God for the blessings received through the services, and said that he hoped a hundred of God’s children would send the same amount to be forwarded to Mr. Spurgeon, to help to defray the expense of maintaining the evangelists.
A reference to our list of contributions to the Evangelists’ Fund will show how far this good example was followed.
Mr. Clarke was sufficiently restored to commence work with Mr. Smith at Bacup, Lancashire, on April 12th, but his health again broke down after preaching a few times, and we fear he will be obliged to take a longer rest.
About 800 Christian workers met together the first evening for prayer, the three Baptist choirs united in leading the singing, which seems to have quite charmed Mr. Smith; all the ministers gave up their week evening services and assisted the evangelists at every meeting, and as a natural consequence the chapels and mission halls in which they met were all densely crowded, and overflow meetings had to be held on several occasions. Our brethren expect great results from the unity and earnestness displayed at Bacup, and hope this good example will be followed elsewhere.
This month and next Messrs. Clarke and Smith have engaged to visit various towns in the West Riding of Yorkshire. We fear, however, that we must find some other preacher to accompany Mr. Smith, for Mr. Clarke appears to be utterly disabled. Trouble about funds is heavy enough, but the sickness of our beloved friend is a heavier trial. Brethren, pray for us that in this, also, God may be glorified. Mr. Burnham, our second evangelist, has discovered that a man who intends to “do the work of an evangelist,” as it ought to be done, must be prepared to have all his powers strained to their utmost. Towards the end of March, like Mr. Clarke, he was completely exhausted. His “labors abundant,” with extra anxiety and traveling, in consequence of his father’s death, necessitated a rest, for which arrangements had not been made, and compelled him to leave to local brethren the conclusion of what had been up to that time a most successful series of services at Bures, and Sudbury, in Suffolk. He was, however, sufficiently restored to give an evening of sacred song at Mill-street Chapel, Bedford, on March 31, and another at Murkyate Street, on April 1; and on Monday, the 7th ult., was able to commence a three weeks’ engagement in Cornwall. This brother works alone, and feels an urgent need for a companion in the service. Two and two is a Scriptural rule, but we cannot send out more men till friends take up the cause.
METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE EVANGELISTS’ASSOCIATION.
— This is the society which employs voluntary, or, as they are commonly called, lay agents. Mr. Elvin has sent us a copy of his half-yearly financial statement, the particulars of which are as follows: — Balance in hand, Sept., 1878, £2 0s. 10d.; donations from various friends, £97 9s.; contributions from two chapels visited, £2 10s.; collections at meetings, £6 4s. 9d.; sale of tracts, £2 16s. 9d.; profit on tea meeting, etc., £5 1s. 3d.; making the total receipts for the six months £116 2s. 7d. The expenditure for the same period has amounted to £96 0s. 3d. for rent of halls, gas, printing, postage, stationery, advertisements, traveling expenses of evangelists, etc. The balance in hand at the end of March was £20 ls. 8d.; but as £11 14s. 6d. was due to the printer, and £24 was nearly due for rent, in addition to the regular expenses of carrying on the work of the Association, it is evident that additional contributions will be very acceptable just now. Mr. Elvin’s address is 30, Surrey Square, Walworth. S.E.
A new mission station has been opened in Upper Ground-street, Blackfriars, through the liberality of Mr. Shand, the fire-engine maker, who has set apart a large room in his factory, and fitted it up for the use of the Association. We thank this gentleman right heartily, and trust his good example will be followed by many other employers in various parts of our great city. Since writing this, we learn that Mr. Ross, of the Old Kent-road, has done the same, and a great blessing has rested upon the meetings held in the room which he has fitted up. TO YOUNG MEN IN LONDON. — A class for Christian workers of all denominations is held in the Glass Room of the Tabernacle every Saturday evening, from seven to nine, to assist in training the Lord’s servants for more successful work. The brethren of the Country Mission and Evangelists’ Association meet at this class, and it affords an opportunity to godly men to discover fields of usefulness, and prepare themselves for them. Our esteemed elder, Mr. George Goldston, is the president.
— Dr. Blaikie in a recent letter to us says of Dr. Livingstone, “I had in my hands the other day one of your sermons, very yellow, it lay embedded in one of his journals — had probably been all over Africa — and had in Livingstone’s neat hand the simple words ‘very good.’ Would you like it?” Our reply, as the reader will guess, was an urgent request that we might have the yellow relic.
The Religious Tract Society kindly favors us with the following extract from a letter from a member of the Servian Government, in reference to our sermon “Come and Welcome,” which has been published in Servia. “Mr. Spurgeon’s sermon, ‘Come and Welcome,’ continues to be much read and appreciated. The Dean of Thabatz writes to thank me that I have procured for Servian Christians such most valuable reading; and also adds that he has never read anything more edifying and more ‘ filling the soul.’
A copy found its way to the State Prison of Posharevatz, and I am informed has been there read with much enjoyment, even by some men who have been pronounced infidels. An old gentleman belonging to the highest rank of our society took the opportunity of an evening party in his house to read the whole sermon to the ladies and gentlemen present. I am mentioning to you all these details, believing them to be hopeful signs of coming harvest, and feeling myself happy and thankful to our merciful Father that the first seed, which by the instrumentality of your committee has been thrown in the earth of Servia seems to bear with it God’s blessing.” The Sheffield Telegraph charges us with having prayed the Lord to remove the Beaconsfield ministry from power. Not that it can report that we actually said as much, but, being able to read our heart, it is sure that it knows our honest meaning, and so it paraphrases the few harmless words which we employed. Be it so, Mr. Critic. Your imputation as to our public prayer was most unjustifiable, but you very correctly read the wish of our inmost soul. Our nation once regarded justice and humanity, but its present rulers care little for these things so long as they can annex and conquer.
We once hoped that peace was the favorite policy of England, but now Britannia thrusts her fist into everybody’s face, and recklessly provokes hostility. The present ministry has sent the nation back half a century as to its moral tone; and it has laid up in the records of divine justice a sad amount of retribution, which is even now, in a measure, being meted out to the land. Parties are of small consequence to us, but wholesale slaughter brought about by unrighteous plundering ought not to be passed over without remonstrance. A true patriot desires, above all things, to see his nation do justly and love mercy, for only in such a course of action can it expect the favor of heaven. Believing all this, it is our prayer that God may forgive the present belligerent ministers and either remove them from their offices or reverse their policy. The Sheffield Telegraph thinks that praying upon such matters is a very profane course of procedure, and favors us with a sage admonition, for which we render all the thanks which it deserves. We have long ago ceased to draw a boundary for our religion: we believe that it should enter into everything, and affect all our relationships. If we could not pray over our politics we should doubt their rightness.
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle. — January 31st, seven; February 27th, twenty; March 13th, eleven; March 27th, twelve; April 3rd, thirteen.