WHAT IS IT TO WIN A SOUL?
A COLLEGE LECTURE, BY C.H. SPURGEON.
IHAVE already insisted upon instruction and impression as most needful to soul-winning, but these are not all — they are indeed only means to the desired end. A far greater work must be done before a man is saved. A wonder of divine grace must be wrought upon the soul far transcending anything which can be accomplished by the power of man. Of all whom we would fain win for Jesus it is true, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The Holy Ghost must work regeneration in the objects of our love, or they never can become possessors of eternal happiness. They must be quickened into a new life, and they must become new creatures in Christ Jesus. The same energy which accomplishes resurrection and creation must put forth all its power upon them; nothing short of this can meet the case. They must be born again from above. This might seem at first sight to put human instrumentality altogether out of the field; but on turning to the Scriptures we find nothing to justify such an inference and much of quite an opposite tendency. There we certainly find the Lord to be all in all, but we find no hint that the use of means must therefore be dispensed with. The Lord’s supreme majesty and power are seen all the more gloriously because he works by means. He is so great that he is not afraid to put honor upon the instruments he employs, by speaking of them in high terms, and imputing to them great influence. It is sadly possible to say too little of the Holy Spirit; indeed, I fear this is one of the crying sins of the age; but yet that infallible word, which always rightly balances truth, while it magnifies the Holy Ghost, does not speak lightly of the men by whom he works. God does not think his own honor to be so questionable that it can only be maintained by decrying the human agent.
There are two passages in the epistles which, when put together, have often amazed me. Paul compares himself both to a father and to a mother in the matter of the new birth: he says of one convert, “Whom I have begotten in my bonds,” and of a whole church he says, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” This is going very far; indeed, much further than modern orthodoxy would permit the most useful minister to venture, and yet it is language sanctioned, yea, dictated, by the Spirit of God himself, and therefore it is not to be criticized. Such mysterious power doth God infuse into the instrumentality which he ordains that we are called, “laborers together with God;” and this is at once the source of our responsibility and the ground of our hope.
Regeneration, or the new birth, works a change in the whole nature of man, and, so far as we can judge, its essence lies in the implantation and creation of a new principle within the man. The Holy Ghost creates in us a new, heavenly, and immortal nature, which is known in Scripture as “the spirit,” by way of distinction from the soul. Our theory of regeneration is that man in his fallen nature consists only of body and soul, and that when he is regenerated there is created in him a new and higher nature — “the spirit,” which is a spark from the everlasting fire of God’s life and love; this falls into the heart and abides there and makes its receiver “a partaker of the divine nature.” Thenceforward the man consists of three parts, body, soul, and spirit, and the spirit is the reigning power of the three. You will all remember that memorable chapter upon the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15., where the distinction is well brought out in the original, and may even be perceived in our version. The passage rendered, “It is sown a natural body,” etc., might be read, “It is sown a soulish body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a soulish body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is soulish; and afterward that which is spiritual.” We are first in the natural or soulish stage of being, like the first Adam, and then in regeneration we enter into a new condition, and we become possessors of the life-giving “spirit.” Without this spirit no man can see or enter the kingdom of heaven. It must therefore be our intense desire that the Holy Spirit should visit our hearers and create them anew, — that he would come down upon these dry bones, and breathe eternal life into the dead in sin. Till this is done they can never receive the truth, “For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” A new and heavenly mind must be created by Omnipotence, or the man must abide in death. You see, then, that we have before us a mighty work, for which we are of ourselves totally incapable.
No minister living can save a soul, nor can all of us together, nor all the saints on earth or in heaven, work regeneration in a single person. The whole business on our part is the height of absurdity unless we regard ourselves as used by the Holy Ghost, and filled with his power. On the other hand, the marvels of regeneration which attend our ministry are the best seals and witnesses of our commission. Whereas the apostles could appeal to the miracles of Christ, and to those which they wrought in his name, we appeal to the miracles of the Holy Ghost, which are as divine and as real as those of our Lord himself. These miracles are the creation of a new life in the human bosom, and the total change of the whole being of those upon whom the Spirit descends.
As this God-begotten spiritual life in men is a mystery, we shall speak to more practical effect if we dwell upon the signs following and accompanying it, for these are the things we must aim at. First, regeneration will be shown in conviction of sin. This we believe to be an indispensable mark of the Spirit’s work; the new life as it enters the heart causes intense inward pain as one of its first effects. Though nowadays we hear of persons being healed before they have been wounded, and brought into a certainty of justification without ever having lamented their condemnation, we are very dubious as to the value of such healings and justifyings. This style of things is not according to the truth. God never clothes men until he has first stripped them, nor does he quicken them by the gospel till first they are slain by the law. When you meet with persons in whom there is no trace of conviction of sin, you may be quite sure that they have not been wrought upon by the Holy Spirit; for “when he is come he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”
When the Spirit of the Lord breathes on us he withers all the glory of man, which is but as the flower of grass, and then he reveals a higher and abiding glory. Do not be astonished if you find this conviction of sin to be very acute and alarming; but, on the other hand, do not condemn those in whom it is less intense, for so long as sin is mourned over, confessed, forsaken, and abhorred, you have an evident fruit of the Spirit. Much of the horror and unbelief which goes with conviction is not of the Spirit of God, but comes of Satan or corrupt nature: yet there must be true and deep conviction of sin, and this- the preacher must labor to produce, for where this is not felt the new birth has not taken place.
Equally certain is it that true conversion may be known by the exhibition of a simple faith in Jesus Christ. You need not that I speak unto you of that, for you yourselves are fully persuaded of it. The production of faith is the very center of the target at which you aim. The proof to you that you have won the man’s soul for Jesus is never before you till he has done with himself and his own merits, and has closed in with Christ. Great care must be taken that this faith is exercised upon Christ for a complete salvation, and not for a part of it. Numbers of persons think that the Lord Jesus is available for the pardon of past sin, but they cannot trust him for their preservation in the future. They trust for years past but not for years to come, whereas no such subdivision of salvation is ever spoken of in Scripture as the work of Christ. Either he bore all our sin, or none; and he either saves us once for all, or not at all. His death can never be repeated, and it must have made expiation for the future sin of believers, or they are lost, since no further atonement can be supposed, and future sin is certain to be committed. Blessed be his name, “by him all that believe are justified from all things.” Salvation by grace is eternal salvation. Sinners must commit their souls to the keeping of Christ to all eternity; how else are they saved men? Alas, according to the teaching of some, believers are only saved in part, and for the rest must depend upon their future endeavors. Is this the gospel? I trow not. Genuine faith trusts a whole Christ for the whole of salvation. Is it any wonder that many converts fall away, when, in fact, they were never taught to exercise faith in Jesus for eternal salvation, but only for temporary conversion? A faulty exhibition of Christ begets a faulty faith, and when this pines away in its own imbecility, who is to blame for it? According to their faith so is it unto them: the preacher and possessor of a partial faith must unitedly bear the blame of the failure when their poor mutilated trust comes to a break-down. I would the more earnestly insist upon this because a semi-legal way of believing is so common. We must urge the trembling sinner to trust wholly and alone upon the Lord Jesus for ever, or we shall have him inferring that he is to begin in the spirit and be made perfect by the flesh: he will surely walk by faith as to the past, and then by works as to the future, and this will be fatal. True faith in Jesus receives eternal life, and sees perfect salvation in him, whose one sacrifice hath sanctified the people of God once for all.
The sense of being saved, completely saved in Christ Jesus, is not, as some suppose, the source of carnal security and the enemy of holy zeal, but the very reverse. Delivered from the fear which makes the salvation of self a more immediate object than salvation from self, and inspired by holy gratitude to his Redeemer, the regenerated man becomes capable of virtue and is filled with an enthusiasm for God’s glory. While trembling under a sense of insecurity a man gives his chief thought to his own interests; but planted firmly on the Rock of ages he has time and heart to utter the new song which the Lord has put into his mouth, and then is his moral salvation complete, for self is no longer the lord of his being. Rest not content till you see clear evidence in your converts of a simple, sincere, and decided faith in the Lord Jesus.
Together with undivided faith in Jesus Christ there must also be unfeigned repentance of sin. Repentance is an old-fashioned word, not much used by modern revivalists. “Oh,” said a minister to me one day, “it only means a change of mind.” This was thought to be a profound observation. “Only a change of mind”; but what a change! A change of mind with regard to everything! Instead of saying it is “only a change of mind,” it seems to me more truthful to say it is a great and deep change — even a change of the mind itself. But whatever the literal Greek word may mean, repentance is no trifle. You will not find a better definition of it than the one given in the children’s hymn: — “Repentance is to leave The sins we loved before; And show that we in earnest grieve, By doing so no more.” True conversion is in all men attended by a sense of sin, which we have spoken of under the head of conviction; by a sorrow for sin or holy grief at having committed it; by a hatred of sin, which proves that its dominion is ended; and by a practical turning from sin, which shows that the life within the soul is operating upon the life without. True belief and true repentance are twins: it would be idle to attempt to say which is born first. All the spokes of a wheel move at once when the wheel moves, and so all the graces commence action when regeneration is wrought by the Holy Ghost.
Repentance, however, there must be. No sinner looks to the Savior with a dry eye or a hard heart. Aim, therefore, at heart-breaking, at bringing home condemnation to the conscience, and weaning the mind from sin, and be not content till the whole mind is deeply and vitally changed in reference to sin.
Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of, and his conversion is a fiction. Not only action and language, but spirit and temper must be changed. “But,” says some one, “grace is often grafted on a crabstock.”
I know it is, but what is the fruit of the grafting? The fruit will be like the grafting, and not after the nature of the original stem. “But,” says another, “I have an awful temper, and all of a sudden it overcomes me. My anger is soon over, and I feel very penitent. Though I cannot control myself, I am quite sure I am a Christian.” Not so fast, my friend, or I may answer that I am quite as sure the other way. What is the use of your soon cooling if in two or three moments you scald all around you? If a man stabs me in a fury it will not heal my wound to see him grieving over his madness. Hasty temper must be conquered, and the whole man must be renewed, or conversion will be questionable. We are not to hold up a modified holiness before our people, and say, You will be all right if you reach that standard. The Scripture says, “He that committeth sin is of the devil.” Abiding under the power of any known sin is a mark of our being the servants of sin, for “his servants ye are to whom ye obey.” Idle are the boasts of a man who harbors within himself the love of any transgression.
He may feel what he likes, and believe what he likes, he is still in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity while a single sin rules his heart and life. True regeneration implants a hatred of all evil, and where one sin is delighted in, the evidence is fatal to a sound hope. A man need not take a dozen poisons to destroy his life, one is quite sufficient.
There must be a harmony between the life and the profession. A Christian professes to renounce sin, and if he does not do so, his very name is an imposture. A drunken man came up to Rowland Hill one day, and said, “I am one of your converts, Mr. Hill.” “I dare say you are,” replied that shrewd and sensible preacher, “but you are none of the Lord’s, or you would not be drunk.” To this practical test we must bring all our work.
In our converts we must also see true prayer, which is the vital breath of godliness. If there is no prayer you may be quite sure the soul is dead. We are not to urge men to pray as though it were the great gospel duty, and the one prescribed way of salvation; for our chief message is, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is easy to put prayer into its wrong place, and make it out to be a kind of work by which men are to live; but this you will, I trust, most carefully avoid. Faith is the great gospel grace; but still we cannot forget that true faith always prays, and when a man professes faith in the Lord Jesus and yet does not cry to the Lord daily, we dare not believe in his faith or his conversion. The Holy Ghost’s evidence by which he convinced Ananias of Paul’s conversion was not, “Behold, he talks loudly of his joys and feelings,” but, “Behold, he prayeth”; and that prayer was secret, heart-broken confession and supplication. Oh, to see this sure evidence in all who profess to be our converts!
There must also be a willingness to obey the Lord in all his commandments. It is a shameful thing for a man to profess discipleship and yet refuse to learn his Lord’s will upon certain points, or even dare to decline obedience when that will is known. How can a man be a disciple of Christ when he openly declines to obey him?
If the professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows his Lord’s will but does not mean to attend to it, you are not to pamper his presumption, but it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved. Has not the Lord said, “He that taketh not up his cross, and cometh after me, cannot be my disciple”? Mistakes as to what the Lord’s will may be are to be tenderly corrected, but anything like willful disobedience is fatal; to tolerate it would be treason to him that sent us. Jesus must be received as King as well as Priest, and where there is any hesitancy about this, the foundation of godliness is not yet laid. “Faith must obey her Maker’s will As well as trust his grace; A pardoning God is jealous still For his own holiness.” Thus you see, my brethren, the signs which prove that a soul is won are by no means trifling, and the work to be done ere those signs can exist is not to be lightly spoken of. A soul-winner can do nothing without God. He must cast himself on the Invisible, or be a laughingstock to the devil, who regards with utter disdain all who think to subdue human nature with mere words and arguments. To all who hope to succeed in such a labor by their own strength, we would address the words of the Lord to Job, “Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him?” Dependence upon God is our strength, and our joy: in that dependence go forth and win souls.
BE NOT DISCOURAGED WORK for Jesus, when it is done as it ought to be, makes great demands upon the mind and heart. Mere jog-trot routine can keep on by the year together without much wear and tear, and without much result; but when a passion for souls is felt, and the entire being strains its utmost powers in pleading with men, the case is altered. A sermon or an address which sensibly moves the audience makes a large demand upon the heart’s blood of the soul: as a rule, it not only costs an ardent preparation, and a vehement rush of emotion during delivery, but it tells upon the whole system when it is over, and drains from it much of its force. An express train may put on the continuous brake, and pull up in a short space, but a heart in tremendous action cannot stay itself. For hours, and even for days, the whole man feels the momentum of a thrilling appeal, his soul continues to rise with the theme when his voice is silenced, and when this ceases there is sure to be a reaction, which frequently takes the form of a sinking equal to the previous rise. If not well watched, despondency will grow out of this, and the best workers for God will find themselves weak, weary, and tempted to shun the service. This is to be dreaded, and every means must be used to prevent it. Brethren, one who knows by experience what is meant by a downcast spirit, produced by ardent service, would warn you against bringing it upon yourselves. There is need of vehement service, and there must needs be a great draught upon the strength of truly useful men and women, but there is no necessity for our running down too low — in fact, we must not do so, or our usefulness will be marred. We must be careful to guard against monotony of thought, for this eats as doth a canker. We must not dwell so exclusively upon our work and its responsibilities, nor even upon the souls of men and their danger: we must remember more distinctly our Lord and his grace and power to save us and our hearers. We must remember the victories of the cross as well as the ruin of the fall. Even our Lord Jesus did not always reflect upon the destruction of Jerusalem, or he would have stood weeping over it all his life, and have accomplished nothing for mankind. Let us give the mind a wider sweep, and consider the glories of grace as well as the sorrows of sin. Great joy will help to repair the damage of great work, and with a due measure of rest between, we may hope to go on cheerfully from year to year, till our great Master shall call us home. C.H.S.
Monday evening, Oct. 27, a large number of the members and friends of the London Open Air Mission attended the prayer-meeting at the Tabernacle. Although suffering from considerable pain at the time, we gave an address, which we hope will be useful to those for whom it was specially intended. It was a great pleasure to meet our admirable friend, Mr. John Macgregor of the Rob Roy, and to see that he and Mr. Kirk and Mr. Kirkham have around them some manly brethren who are not likely to let the gospel sound cease from London’s streets and parks. Thousands of men and women will never hear of Jesus unless it be through open-air preaching. They are strangers to our places of worship, and perhaps if they were to enter them they would not feel at home; and therefore the Savior must find them in the highways and hedges, or they will perish for lack of knowledge. Alas, that ever this should be in the land of Bibles and of churches! Could not more young men preach in the square of the city, or in the roadway of the town, or on the village green? This thing will not soon be overdone. Of this there need be no fear. Even in the winter there are days when it is safe to preach outside, and not a day should be lost.
On Friday evening, Oct. 31, the Annual Meeting ofMR.BARTLETT’ S CLASS was held in the Lecture-hall, under the presidency of the pastor.
Addresses were given by Messrs. H. Varley, W. Williams, T. Lardner, and the Chairman; and Mr. Bartlett presented to the pastor £56 12s. 1d. as a year’s contributions from the class for the College. He explained that this was only a portion of the contributions of the members, as they had also raised for the Testimonial Fund £117 13s. 3d.; for the Girls’ Orphanage £29 11s. 3d.; and for the afflicted and necessitous £16 5s. 9d. Add these together, and they show what a women’s class can do. These are not rich ladies, but humble Christian women, and they do this in addition to their regular subscriptions as seat-holders and church-members. It is noble of them. Such is the general spirit and liberality of the Christians at the Tabernacle, and the result is an abundant blessing. We are sure that among our generous people the promise is fulfilled: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing.” The blessing comes both in temporals and in spirituals. Our friends, as a rule, are more prosperous than any other set of people of the same rank in life; and we have noticed that, speaking broadly, we have felt far less of the pressure of the times than any other people. There is much suffering at present — more than we ever knew before — but yet all along the Lord has in temporal things fulfilled his own promise that the liberal soul shall be made fat. Mr. Bartlett’s class is not so numerous as in the palmy days of his venerated mother, but it still remains a great power for good; and connected with it are most useful agencies, which are far more developed than they were in the earlier days of the class. More is done by the class, even if the numbers are less. Yet there is room for zealous efforts to enlarge.
On Monday evening, No v. 3, the Annual Meeting of the RICHMOND STREET MISSION was held in conjunction with the Tabernacle prayermeeting.
A large number of workers and friends of the Mission had previously taken tea in the schoolroom, at the close of which the pastor presented to Mr. Dunn a very handsome clock and pair of vases as a token of love and esteem from his co-workers at Richmond Street. Never was a testimonial better deserved. In a previous number of the magazine we inserted a paper describing the Richmond Street work, and therefore we will not enlarge here; but it would have done any minister’s eyes good to see the staff of workers connected with this mission, quite enough in number and strength to manage a large church, and all full of the holy, loving, practical spirit with which the Lord has anointed our brethren. It was well done of them to show their love to their leader; envy and faultfinding make enterprises weak, but in hearty love is our strength.
LONDON BAPTIST ASSOCIATION. — Monday Evening, Nov. 10, being the occasion of the meetings for United Prayer and Communion of the Associated Churches, there was a goodly gathering of the pastors and many of the members of neighboring churches at the Tabernacle. PastorJ. A. Spurgeon presided, and Pastors Chettleborough, J. A. Brown, Knee, Williams, Millard, Cope, and T. C. Page offered prayer during the service.
Pastor J. A. Spurgeon gave an address upon the presence of Christ with his people founded upon the Lord’s words — “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you,” and, “Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me be with me.” The address, though brief, was full of teaching, comfort, and power, and was manifestly guided of the Spirit of God to prepare the hearts of God’s people for the opening up of the truths concerning the supper itself by our beloved brother, Dr. Stanford, who spoke, as he only can, from “What mean ye by this feast?” Sweetly did he discourse upon the passover and its teachings. Our correspondent adds that the only word he could find in which to express the feelings of the believers present were, — “How sweet and awful is the place, With Christ within the doors.”
— Mr. H. T. Peach has accepted the pastorate of the church at Rugby; and Mr. Ince, who sailed some months since for Australia, has become pastor of the church at Echuca.
Mr. S. A. Comber, one of our Medical Missionary Students, informs us that he obtained half the “Coldstream” scholarship at the Edinburgh Medical Mission. We have three brethren now studying at Edinburgh, and one at the Charing Cross Hospital, London, and we devoutly hope that these will all become medical missionaries of the best order. We shall be greatly disappointed if one of them should fail to go abroad.
Mr. W. H. J. Page, of Calne, has accepted an invitation to the pastorate of the church at Lower Sloane-street, Chelsea: Mr. M. Morris, of Spennymoor, is removing to Monkwearmouth; Mr. C. L. Gordon, of Nailsworth, to Longhope, Gloucestershire; Mr. W. F. Edgerton, of Beccles, has gone to Gamlingay; Mr. J. Hutchison, of Shipston-on-Stour, to Swan-wick and Riddings, Derbyshire; and Mr. A. E. Spicer, of Hayle, to Shelfanger, Norfolk. It is painfully within our know. ledge that many ministers must remove because their people cannot find them with bread to eat and raiment to put on. Farming has been so bad that some of our country churches will have to be dependent on lay-preaching, and yet they greatly need pastors if they are to survive the antagonistic influences brought to bear upon them by the Establishment. At this moment we are daily meeting with heart-rending cases of poverty: worthy men doing a good work have to leave their spheres through absolute starvation. Rich Christians ought not to permit this. Mrs. Spurgeon could tell them where many a ten-pound note could be used with grand effect.
Mr. W. Stokes, of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, whose health has suffered through hard work and bereavement, has returned to England for awhile, and Mr. Batts has gone to take charge of his church during his absence.
Mr. Hamilton’s friends at Cape Town treated Mr. Batts most handsomely when he left them for his new temporary sphere of labor, sending him off with their hearty esteem and with tokens of their Christian liberality. We are gratified with everything which this Cape Town church does.
— At one of our recent prayer-meetings at the Tabernacle, Mr. Fullerton gave an account of the work of Mr. Smith and himself at Stafford. He said before they went there they had several letters telling them what a hard place it was to reach, but they did not take much notice of them, for the same thing was said of every other place. They were told that Blackpool was a hard place because it was a seaside town, that Blackburn was a hard place because the inhabitants were principally millpeople, that Stafford was a hard place because the people were all in the shoe trade, and now they were assured that Scarborough was a hard place because it was such a fashionable town. However, the Lord had been with them at Blackpool, Blackburn, and Stafford, and they felt certain he would accompany them to Scarborough also.
The faith of the Evangelists in their Master, their message, and the means he has taught them to use, was well founded, for the day after they commenced at Scarborough we received from Mr. Mesquitta and Mr. Adey, the ministers of the town, the following telegram: — “Glorious time yesterday. Chapels full. Albert Hall overflowing. Three thousand at circus.”
A week later the report from one of the ministers was — “We expect today to have to shift our quarters to more commodious premises for the noon meetings, at which we have had every day 500 of the best Christians in Scarborough, drawn from the ranks of the Society of Friends, and the Evangelical churches, as well as from our Nonconformist places. We have had to alter our advertisements, to burn our handbills, to run short of books, to cover our posters, and, finally, to engage the large circus for nearly all our meetings, with the certainty of its being vastly too small for us God has given us a very rich blessing. The thing is growing. An excellent spirit pervades the town just now. The season is over: people are more at liberty, and everything seems to fit in a providential manner. We love the men very much, and are the joyful witnesses of their faithful testimony. Fullerton fastens with an iron grasp on primary truths, and makes them fall like axes at the roots of the trees. There is great variety in his subjects, as well as methods. A sermon of his on ‘Regeneration,’ delivered apparently without over-strained effort, could hardly have been excelled by Jonathan Edwards for the awful sense of solemn need produced in the first half of the discourse, or for the sweet relief which came to us when he led us to the serpent uplifted in the latter part of his most textual exposition. I am wearying you, but I must in justice to Mr. Smith say that his pathos and simplicity, together with his gifts of music and song, seem to complete the equipment — well, of this apostolic pair of preachers. I begin to wish that we all went in twos, for these preachers preach to each other. They are not eremites like us, but brethren. — Yours most truly,WM.THOS.ADEY.”
It is exceeding cheering to find that Mr.BURNHAM’ S visit to aristocratic Leamington was owned of God in a similar manner, though on a smaller scale. Each evening there were some inquirers, “young men and maidens, old men and children,” many of whom entered into liberty. Pastor Williams writes: “There were, we trust, some cases of genuine conversion of those who had hitherto been quite indifferent to the claims of religion, while others in whom the good work had been begun have been brought to decision, and the members of the church have rejoiced in the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.”
From Leamington Mr. Burnham went to Markygate Street, of which not much can tie said, as little or no preparation had been made for the services. Bedford was much better prepared, and consequently more blessing was received. The help of several neighboring brethren had been secured, which was very providential, for Mr. Burrtham had caught such a violent cold that he could hardly sing at all. Many inquirers were seen, some went away rejoicing, and in three distinct cases the evangelist was cheered by hearing of conversions resulting from his previous visits to Wootton and Ridgmount. During November Mr. Burnham has held services for a week at Thetford, and a fortnight at Burton-on-Trent and neighborhood; and this month he has engagements at Naunton, near Cheltenham; and Meliford, Suffolk.
— Several successful services of song have been given by the Orphanage Choir recently, but our “Notes” have to be made up before full reports can reach us. We are, however, deeply grateful to all friends who have thus helped to care for the fatherless and the widow. Last month we asked for £1,000 to pay for the paddock for Girls’ Orphanage, and at the time we left we had received nearly £250. Will the rest be sent in soon? No news could be more cheering to us during our retirement. Christmas at the Orphanage. — Will our kind helpers bear in mind the fact that although the President is obliged to be away at Christmas-time, the orphans will look for their plum-pudding and roast beef all the same? As there will, for the first time, be orphan girls as well as boys to share the festivities at Stockwell, we hope that the usual gifts will he supplemented by additional contributions that there may be no lack of good things.
Donations should be sent to C. Spurgeon, junior, Nightingale Lane, Balham; and provisions, etc., for the children to Mr. Charlesworth, Stockwell Orphanage, Clapham Road. Throwing off the “we” of the editor, I, C. H. Spurgeon, now an exile for my health’s sake, very earnestly ask that the dear children may not suffer through me. Send in your generous gifts as usual, pay off the amount still needed for the Girls’ Orphanage ground, and let the Stockwell house of mercy make merry and be glad. If so, I shall have a telegram, and keep merry Christmas too.
We must again remind our readers that the next quarterly meeting of the collectors for the Orphanage will be held on Friday, Jan. 9th, 1880, when Mr. J. J. Headington has kindly promised to give one of his first-class dissolving view lectures. All the collecting cards should be sent in on that occasion. We wish we could increase the number of friends who collect for us; it would do them good to undertake the work, and we should be personally obliged to them for their help.
— The generous offer of H. M. has not yet met with any response. The secretary reports that here and there district committees are intimating that they cannot find the amount for their agents after this year.
We believe that if some Christian lady or gentleman in such districts would personally take the matter up, in almost every case the £40 would be collected.
When the districts send us the £40 we have still a considerable amount to make up to complete the men’s salaries, and for working expenses. Times are dull, and we suppose we must be content to let the sail-furling go on, though we had a hope that our friend H. H.’s offer, for which we are very grateful, would have led to something practical. Meanwhile, boys are learning to read, and in many parts of the country they will be supplied with nothing but injurious literature, because the colporteur does not come round; many sick folk will be unvisited, and certain poor congregations will be uncared for, because the man with the books is discharged. We do not survey the prospect with pleasure, but having done our best to stir up our fellow-servants we now leave the matter in the great Master’s hands. Any information desired can be had of the Secretary for Colportage, Mr. W.C. Jones, Metropolitan Tabernacle.
METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE COUNTRY MISSION.
— Mr. Bowker sends us the half-yearly balance-sheet of this most useful work, which was fully described in a recent number of the magazine. The treasurer commenced with a balance of 7s. 11d. in hand, and he has received from donations £59 11s. 3d., subscriptions £13 18s. 6d., collections at mission stations, annual meeting, etc., £18 10s. 2d., making a total of £92 7s. 11d. The expenses of the half-year have amounted to £91 16s. 3d., so that immediate help is wanted if the mission is to be preserved from breaking its excellent rule, “never to be in debt.” We can vouch for it that no money can be spent more economically, and it all goes for direct preaching of the Word, which is the one thing needful for these evil times.
— Mrs. Spurgeon has for some time been largely occupied with supplying books to clergymen of the Church of England whose stipends are too small to allow them to purchase them. The amount of kindly feeling which has been expressed is very pleasing, and we regard this opportunity of spreading evangelical truth as a peculiarly valuable one, which should be largely used. Keeping watch at home all alone, our beloved finds great solace in the kindly words of friends who send her help for her chosen life-work. Its present interesting phase should command the prayers and sympathies of all our friends.
PERSONAL NOTES. — A friend in Scotland sends us the following note, with a contribution to the Orphanage which had been entrusted to him by “a widow”: “She is a constant reader of your sermons. She was under deep conviction for some years, and it was through the reading of your sermons that light shone in upon her soul and she now rejoices in the liberty of Jesus Christ her Lord. She has peace, joy, and hope through him. She received a small legacy through the death of a friend, and she desires to give a part of it to some of the institutions under your care as a token of gratitude for the benefit she has received from your sermons.”
Mr. Cuff sends us some notes which he picked up in a lonely part of Galloway after the Baptist Union meetings. He rode from Glasgow to Lockerbie with an old man who had traveled ninety miles to hear our sermon in St. Andrew’s Hall. With tears in his eyes he said, “I got a shake o’ his han’; God bless him.” Explaining his enthusiasm he said, “A hae read aw his sermons, and a hae them aw bun in half-calf.” Mr. Cuff tells us he cannot give us the Scotch. but it was simply beautiful. The sermons had been untold blessings to him in his lonely village.
Mr. Cuff called to see an old man nearly ninety years of age. He is still able to read, so a friend had lent him a volume of our sermons. On calling to exchange it for another he found him reading it through a second time, giving as his reason, “A gude story is nae th’ waur o’ bein’ twice told.’:
This aged saint finds great joy in reading the sermons not only to himself, but to his daughter and grandchildren.
Mr. Brown, of Twickenham, has also been in the far north, distributing some of our sermons which have been translated into Gaelic. He says, “It would have done your heart good to have seen the pleasure with which they were received; and in many cases the glad surprise of the good folk to be able to read your sermons in their own mother tongue.” He suggests the translation of more sermons into Gaelic, and of a small number into the Irish. We should like to have it done. Our hands are full; some brother worker might take the matter up, and, we should rejoice.
A reader of The Sword and the Trowel, together with other cheering news, relates that a nephew of hers was anxious about his soul’s salvation. He was in Wales at the time, but a fellow-workman sent him from Australia a newspaper containing one of our sermons, which was the means of his conversion. The title of the sermon was “The Wicked Man’s Life, Funeral, and Epitaph.” (No. 200.) This is another remarkable instance of the sermon going round by Australia in order to reach a man in our own land.
Messrs. Partridge and Co. have published a little eight-paged tract by Mr. Cheyne Brady, entitled, “The Fox-Hunter.” It describes a man who had gone far into sin, but whose conscience had been aroused by seeing upon a windowpane these words, “Prepare to meet thy God.” Convinced of his sin, he cried for mercy, but for awhile he sought it in vain. Mr. Brady thus relates what followed: — “Several days passed thus, when his eye caught a notice, that in a certain village, sixteen miles off, Spurgeon was to preach that evening. He said to himself, ‘I’ll go and hear that man.’ He ordered his horse, and rode sixteen miles in order to hear something which might perchance give his wounded spirit relief. The text was, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ ‘Doubtless,’ said Spurgeon, ‘there are some young men before me who are weighed down with sin and misery, and wanting rest (at the same time pointing here and there). Have you tried the Blood, brother? Have you tried the Blood? The blood of Jesus Christ which cleanseth us from all sin.’ The conscience-stricken sinner was melted under this appeal; he was convinced of his state as a sinner, and that as such eternal death was his doom. But God by his Holy Spirit enabled him to see that Jesus Christ died for his sins and shed His blood in his stead. He saw the remedy for sin and uncleanness — the precious Blood of Christ. He believed in the Lord Jesus and was saved, and left the chapel born again, — a new man in Christ.”
The following note speaks for itself: “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, — Having found peace and joy after reading one of your sermons in the Christian Herald on ‘The Approachableness of Jesus,’ after having had many years of darkness and doubt, please to accept the enclosed for the Orphanage as a thankoffering to the Lord for deliverance. With more to follow, from a lover of Jesus.”
Publishers are rather too much in the habit of quoting the remarks made in our Review Department as if they must necessarily be every one the personal production of the editor. Now, we beg to give notice that to quote as from The Sword and the Trowel is fair and right, but to begin with “Mr. Spurgeon says” is not always truthful. We do write the major part of these notices, and we are responsible for them all, but we could not in propria persona get through so many books, and therefore many of the reviews are by other hands. Especially must we confess that the heaps of tale-books are not personally perused by us; we would sooner break stones. As folks will have these religious fictions we do our best to let them know which of them are well-intentioned, but we do not advise the reading of them to any great extent. A little pastry may be all very well (our slow digestion suggests that the less the better), but to live upon it would be to generate dyspepsia and all sorts of ills; even so, an interesting story nowand- again may be a relief and a pleasure, but a constant course of such reading must injure both mind and heart. From the quantity of fiction which we have lately received we should think that its perusal needs no encouraging, and little repression might be healthy.
Subscribers to our various works will please to observe that this month’s accounts are only made up to Nov. 14, and therefore if their donations are omitted it will be because they arrived after that date, and they will be sure to find them acknowledged in the January number. Our leaving England made it necessary to shorten the account, so that we might complete the magazine before leaving.
The following is the list of preachers at the Tabernacle during our absence: — Sunday, Nov. 16, C. Spurgeon, jun.; 23, J. Jackson Wray; 30, W.P. Lockhart. Dec. 7, morning, A. G. Brown; evening, J. A. Spurgeon; 14,J. Jackson Wray; 21, E.G. Gange; 28, E. Herber Evans. Jan. 4, morning,J. Jackson Wray; evening, J. A. Spurgeon.
METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE COLPORTAGE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT.
COMMITTEE MR. C. P.CARPENTER.MR. S. R.PEARCE. MR. F.CARPENTER.MR. W.PAYNE. MR. G.GOLDSTON.MR. J.PASSMORE,JUNR. MR.LLEWELLYN.MR. C.WATERS. MR. W. J.MILLS.MR.WOOLLARD. MR. C. F.CARPENTER.MR. C.MURRELL. MR. T.MILLS.
HON. FINANCE SEC.
REV. W.CORDEN JONES.
THE objectof this Association is the increased circulation of religious and healthy literature among all classes, in order to counteract the evil of the vicious publications which abound, and lead to much immorality, crime, and neglect of religion.
This object is carried out in a twofold manner: — 1st. — By means of Christian Colporteurs, who are paid a fixed salary, and devote all their time to the work, visiting every accessible house with Bibles and good books and periodicals for sale, and performing other missionary services, such as visitation of the sick and dying, and conducting meetings and open air services as opportunities occur. This is the most important method, enabling the Colporteur to visit every part of the district regularly.
The average total cost of a Colporteur is from £75 to £80; but the Committee will appoint a man to any district for which £40 a year is subscribed, if the funds of the Association will permit. 2nd. — By means of Book Agents who canvass for orders for periodicals, and supply them month by month; these receive a liberal percentage on the sales to remunerate them for their trouble.
The second method is admirably adapted to the requirements of districts where the guaranteed subscription for a Colporteur cannot be obtained.
Shopkeepers or other persons willing to become Book Agents may communicate with the Secretary. The Association is unsectarian in its operations, “doing work for the friends of a full and free gospel anywhere and everywhere.” Cheques may be crossed London and County Bank; and Post Office Orders made payable to W. C. JONES, at the Chief Office, St. Martin’sle- Grand All communications should be addressed to the REV.W.CORDEN
JONES, Colportage Association, Pastors’ College, Temple Street, St. George’s Road, London, S.E.
METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE COLPORTAGE ASSOCIATION.
TWELFTH ANNUAL REPORT.
IN presenting their Twelfth Annual Report, the Committee of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Colportage Association acknowledge afresh the great goodness of God in permitting them to continue this valuable evangelistic effort during another year, with so many tokens of the divine blessing continually attending the labors of the Colporteurs.
But, although there has been much to cheer in the results of the work itself, considerable anxiety has been experienced in providing the necessary funds for its prosecution. This difficulty arose partly from the general commercial depression which has affected the subscriptions of nearly every philanthropic effort alike, partly from a smaller amount of sales than might ordinarily have been realized by the addition of thirty new Colporteurs to the staff, and in a great degree from the absorption of capital in furnishing a supply of stock to each of these new agents. The President of the Association, the Rev. C. H.SPURGEON, in an earnest appeal on this subject recently issued, writes: — “Some time ago, when we had fifty Colporteurs, and little or no capital to work with, we made an appeal and funds were given. Now there are eighty-two Colporteurs, and the stock is too low to go on with, paying cash. Any other way of acting is difficult and unsound in principle, and therefore we need another £1,000 capital. Moreover, as the sum paid by each district is not sufficient to support the man and pay the working expenses, we have to depend in part upon sales of books; but owing to the general depression, the sales are greatly diminished, and so each district is worked at a heavier loss. This demands larger amounts in the form of subscriptions, or we shall run dry. Of late donations have been very few, and our exchequer is at the lowest ebb. A great work is done by the Colporteurs both in gospel preaching, temperance lecturing, tract distributing, and sick visiting, no less than 75,000 families being visited monthly. This is the Lord’s work, and we are now in a real difficulty. Here is room for faith, and our faith looks up to God for immediate help. We cannot think that it is His will for us to stay this work, which He is greatly blessing. The silver and the gold are the Lord’s, and He can move a single donor to send us £1,000 if He pleases, or He can raise up many friends to make up the amount. If any donors to the Orphanage or the College have adjudged the Colportage to be of secondary importance, we assure them it is not so. It is doing a grand work for the Lord in benighted districts, and we love it by no means less than any other of our institutions.” The Committee call special attention to the fact that Mr. SPURGEON assures all “that he regards the work of this Association as second to none of the important agencies connected with the Tabernacle,” and they trust that Mr.SPURGEON’ S urgent appeal for funds, now so much needed, will be promptly and liberally responded to.
It is a hopeful sign of the success which has attended the efforts of this Association, and others now engaged in the same work, that public attention is increasingly directed both to Colportage itself and to the glaring evils resulting from the reading of low sensational and debasing literature now so prevalent, and which it seeks to supersede by circulating good and interesting moral and religious books and periodicals. From the lips of Judges on the Bench, in the daily newspapers, and by great and good men whose words should carry, weight with them, testimony is continually borne to the terrible evil of bad literature and the need of some suitable agency to deal with it.
The Earl of SHAFTESBURY, at a recent meeting of the Religious Tract Society, said: — “Look at the state of popular literature; look at the immense efforts that are made in various quarters and by various parties for the dissemination of literature, the most insidious, the most attractive, the most foul in principle and design, and yet the most deceptive that ever was composed by the hand of man, or that ever issued from man’s foul heart. I have long been acquainted with it.” After directing attention to the artful manner in which foul and wicked ideas are thus conveyed, the Earl continues: — “They are written with so much astuteness, so much care, that I defy any lawyer that ever was, or any lawyer that is, and I defy, moreover, any lawyer that ever shall be, to be able to draw up a clause in an Act of Parliament which could put down such literature as that. There are no means of putting it down by law or force. It must be put down by public opinion; it must be put down by example; put down by exhortation; put down by bodies like the Religious Tract Society.”
To meet this evil the Metropolitan Tabernacle Colportage Association was commenced nearly thirteen years ago, and although at first the Agency was very little known, and the funds at the disposal of the Association only enabled it to employ a few men, yet even the efforts of these few earnest laborers were crowned with such blessing that they became the pioneers of a little army of workers now increased to over eighty in number.
Associations of Christian churches and of Christian men of various denominations, Town Missionary Societies, and even Sunday Schools have their Colporteurs, and bear willing testimony to the good resulting from their labors. The Bible and good healthy literature are scattered broadcast. the homes of all who are accessible are visited for the sale of books, while the sick and dying are specially cared for, and in addition to this the gospel of salvation through the cross of Christ is proclaimed in a simple way in the cottage, in the village chapel, and on the village green. With regard to the actual working of the past year, it has been with considerable difficulty that the Association has been continued on the extended scale reached by the liberal aid given by two friends last year, to start thirty additional Agents, so that the net number of Agents at present at work shows no actual increase on that of the preceding year, owing mainly to the difficulty in getting local subscriptions for the purpose.
The Committee take this opportunity to express their regret that Rev. F. A. JONES has found it necessary to relinquish the position of Hon. Secretary. and to record their high appreciation of the value of the services which he rendered to this Association so long and so faithfully.
A perusal of the brief, but very interesting, facts, culled from the Agents’ letters and journals, in the following pages will give the best idea of the nature and success of their work.
But attention is also called to the following figures which represent a vast amount of diligent and self-denying labor: — Tracts distributed gratuitously, 162,000; total amount of sales effected, £8,276 0s. 4d. in about 927,000 separate publications; number of visits paid, 926,290. This amount of sales, though smaller than it might have been in more prosperous times, is £1,325 2s. 21/2d. in excess of the previous year.
The subscriptions for the year have amounted to £4,148 15s. 53/4d., including £212 10s. to the Capital Fund, and £3,052 4s. 101/2d. for Districts.
Subscriptions to the General Fund are still urgently needed, both to meet the necessary working expenses, and to supplement the deficiencies continually arising in most of the Districts.
It is desirable again to remind friends that the works of no evangelical denomination are excluded when ordered through the Colporteur, and the Colporteurs themselves are members of the Presbyterian, Congregational, Baptist, and Methodist Churches. The preaching services which the Colporteurs conduct are not confined to any, but extend to all branches of Christ’s Church willing to utilize Colportage in the extension of the Kingdom of God.
From the generally acknowledged efficiency and economy of this work, from the great need which exists for it in a reading age like the present, and from the large spiritual blessings resulting from Colportage, it is much to be desired that greater interest should be manifested, and that, its admirable agency should be adopted and supported by the Church to a much larger extent than hitherto.
EXTRACTS FROM THE COLPORTEURS’ JOURNALS AND LETTERS.
The unsectarian character of the work may be plainly seen in the following Report, which affords a sample of the way in which the Colporteur aids various branches of the Church. After describing his survey of the District, he says: — “I saw a great need for some one among them, and I set myself to work to try to get people to an almost empty chapel, and by the help of God I have been successful in getting the place almost full, and over thirty have professed to find the Lord; I have not confined my labors exclusively to them. I have preached for the Wesleyan Methodists several times and spoken on their platforms at about all their public meetings. I am engaged in visiting and trying to sell my books every day, and I have meetings every night after I get home; Monday, Mission Service, 7 till 8; Bible Class, 8 till 9; Tuesday night, Prayer Meeting; Wednesday night, Mission Service; Thursday night, Preaching; Friday night, Prayer Meeting; Sundays, preach for Baptist friends (every alternate); I am also on the Wesleyan Methodist plan for this quarter; in fact, I am willing to labor and do with all.” The following extracts are left to speak for themselves.
BLESSING ON THE BOOKS READ: — “Sold a poor woman ‘Seven Wonders of Grace.’ She had lately lost her daughter by death. Was informed on a former occasion that she had got great good from reading Mr. Spurgeon’s Sermons, especially from one entitled ‘The Soul’s Anchor.’ She was also very fond of the Tracts I used to leave at her house.”
OPEN AIR MEETINGS.
“First visit. — Went round to the cottages, gave notice of a meeting to be held on the green in the evening. People were very busy haymaking, but at 7 o’clock I took my stand on the green, opened my pack before me and commenced singing one of Sankey’s hymns. The children soon came round, and a good number of people followed. I told them my business, that I carried the Word of God from village to village, that I had some Bibles, Testaments, and good books with me, and if any wished to buy they could do so at the close of the service. Sold four Bibles, five Testaments, besides Sankey’s Hymn Books, picture books, &e. Was asked to go again; have been three times, each time holding an open-air meeting. The last time took as much as 17s. 4d. for Bibles, etc. I trust the good work is being blessed to many.”
TEMPORAL DEPRESSION AND SPIRITUAL REVIVAL.
“I am happy to say that although things seem at present to bear rather a saddening aspect with regard to trade, etc., in the district, yet there is quite a stir among the people, and the religion of Christ is now being inquired about and sought after with more diligence and earnestness than I have witnessed before, since I have been here. The places for worship in almost all the villages are attended well, and in some places we cannot find room to seat them, so that several are obliged to stand. I spend a good deal of time as I have opportunity in encouraging every good desire, and also warning the unthinking as I call with my books. I often feel very tired when I reach home after I have been holding a service some miles from where I reside, but my heart feels light as I know that I have been trying to do my Master’s work, especially as I see that he is blessing the humble effort to many weary hearts. One old lady who has recently lost her husband, told me when I called yesterday that my last visit was the means of blessing to her soul. I am often encouraged by hearing this or something similar in the district. To God be all the glory.” The following cases of conversion show that the Agents are much used in their simple preaching of Christ: —
NOTES FROM A JOURNAL.
“Leave home this morning for S— M— , calling at one home I am addressed in this manner, ‘I am so glad to see you, it does me so much good when you call, and reading those nice books, which I have bought of you, has enlightened my mind and led me to see that in Christ is my only hope.’ After some conversation, I sell to her, ‘The Wonderful Works of Christ’ and ‘The Bible and Newspaper.’ Then proceed. “To day here I sold but few books, yet found many anxious about their souls. One woman addressed me in this manner, ‘You told us pretty plainly last Sunday night what we were,’ to which I answered, it is no use me telling you that you will go to Heaven in an unconverted state, for you will not, she then exclaimed, ‘Oh if I were to die as I am, where should I go to?
I said, to Hell, for ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ After further conversation, I leave here and go on, calling from house to house, until night comes on. Then have service in the Chapel. After service, a girl of about fifteen years, came forward expressing a desire to speak to me; she said, ‘I want to tell you that I have found Christ.’ I asked ‘When?’ ‘Whilst you have been preaching.’ I said, then you can make the words of the text yours, ‘will trust, and not be afraid.’ ‘I can’ she replied, with a beaming countenance. “My sales are small; discouraged by this, I am almost faint, until I call at one house, and am met with, ‘I did so want to see you.’ I inquired, what for? ‘Oh,’ said the speaker, who was a woman, ‘I can see my way clear.’ I had no reason to inquire where to, for the expression of her countenance told as plainly as words could. I said, ‘Then you can realize your sins forgiven, and Christ to be your Savior.’ ‘Yes,’ she emphatically replied, ‘and it’s all through you.’ After more questioning, selling her a book, and commending her to God, I got up to leave; she said again, ‘I am so happy, and it’s all through you.’ Telling her to give God the glory, I left. “Other cases of a like character have come under my notice. The people generally are more ready to receive me, and many doors, which for a long time were shut, are now opened.” The Agent who reports the following has been very useful among the afflicted. “It is with much gratitude to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that I have been spared through this another quarter. It has been the most trying I have had, temporally, but I am glad to say it has been the most encouraging, spiritually, for many have given me the opportunity of speaking a word for Jesus, which trust will prove a blessing to them. I visited a poor man very ill, early in December, who has been a drunkard for years; his home was the picture of misery; his six children had never been to a school; his wife could not read a word; and it was one of the most wretched places I have ever seen. I went to the house to ask the poor woman to let me see her husband; she did so, and finding him very ill I read the Word of God, and spoke a few words to him, but he was too ill to say anything. I then prayed for the Spirit to give life to His own Word. I gave the woman a shilling, told her I would come again the next day. I did so, read and prayed with him again; he then got a little better and lingered on, but God has blessed His own Word to the salvation of his soul. It was very hard work to get him to listen to God’s Word, but God has blessed the labor. Many have helped him in his illness through a word I have spoken for him. One lady has done a good deal for him, and the home is a changed place altogether, and the poor man is a happy believer in Jesus Christ. “Another man, a farmer, about fifty years of age, was brought to Jesus by a prayer meeting I held with a few others, and his wife told me it was through my prayer. I went to see him the next day, had a long talk with him, he wept much, and is now a happy man. He comes to all the means of grace he can, and seems much blessed, which before he would not come to, and for this I bless God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and take courage, and go on my way rejoicing, praising the Lord for His goodness unto the children of men. Five others have signed the temperance pledge, and thus I feel good is being done, though my sales are not so good as I would like, yet I believe better days are coming for the spread of the truth, when they will take a greater interest in reading; it is very dark yet, and much to be done for the souls of the people and the glory of God.”
INCIDENTS BY THE WAY.
“Work of January. Families visited, 1015. Total number of Books and Mags., 730. During the month there has been, and not without cause, much complaining of poverty and hardship, and hundreds saying, ‘We can hardly get money for bread, leave alone books,’ and I have then endeavored to impress many a one with the blessed fact that though money may be and is undoubtedly scarce yet mercy is abundant; for the Lord is plenteous in mercy and His mercy endureth for ever. Times too have been somewhat hard for Colporteurs. Often of late have I had, through the coldness of the weather, to think of, ‘Who can stand before His cold?’ and four limes especially have I had as it were forced upon my memory this passage, — ‘The wicked stand in slippery places ‘as I have fallen heavily enough to knock the breath out of me almost, but thank the Lord my bones kept whole. We have learned of some Colporteurs that they have been in peril from robbers; happily I have not been so attacked, but I have been in perils of a ‘dawg’ (dog), which I am thankful to say hurt my person less than he hurt my coat, for he tore the tail of my overcoat completely off. And thus we were obliged to consider, ‘Beware of dogs.’ But for all this we will not care if we may but be the means of rescuing souls from the dogs of hell.”
USE OF A TRACT.
“I have great reason to believe that God is still blessing my feeble efforts. A few days ago I called at a house, and asked if I could sell them a book. The wife said ‘Yes, we want a Bible for the little girl, for she is going to the Sunday School. I have five children, but have never sent them to chapel, neither to a Sunday School, but you gave me a tract some time ago and it told me of my duty as a parent to my children. I have brought them up without ever thinking about their precious souls. I felt so condemned, and I resolved to send them to the Sunday School. There are three old enough to go, so I will buy a Bible every month till they have one each.’ I trust that by the grace of God she will also be awoke to a sense of her true state as a sinner.”
VISITATION OF THE SICK.
“My labors are still being blessed by the Lord. One old man bore testimony with his dying breath to the blessings he had received through my visits.
When I first visited him he seemed in utter darkness and I could not get him to say much; but after visiting him several times he became very anxious about his soul. One day he asked me if those who had not been members of any church below could enter the one above. I then referred him to the thief on the cross, and showed it was by faith, not by works, and I told him to get hold of Christ and He would save him. Next time I called he was dead and buried. His wife told me that he blessed me with his latest breath. He said he saw it all clear and light, and that he had hold of Christ and did not mean to let Him go.”
“My labor in pulpit has also been much blessed. I have now started meetings once a fortnight at a village where they never had week-night services before. Here I get a large congregation, and have got several young men to write essays and read them; then I pass a few remarks upon them and give them a few words of encouragement, and then hold a service. At another place they would not have more than one service in three months if it were not for the services I hold there, their own pastor being very ill, and too poor to get supplies. I have preached for three different denominations within twenty-four hours. One young man told me his father (who had been a professor of Christianity, but had not been to a meeting for years) was coming to hear me preach next time I was there. At another place where I had been preaching in the afternoon and evening I had to go into a house for my overcoat and leggings, as it was raining and I had to walk six miles to town. The old gentleman took me by the hand and said that he was glad that I preached with such earnestness and plainness, and he hoped what I had said would prove a blessing and warning, and then he made me a present of half-a-sovereign, Several people have told me there have been people to hear me preach who never go to the services at any other time. There are some people who come three or four miles to my week-night services. At another place one man met me at the foot of the pulpit stair, took my hand in his, and told me of the blessing he had received from my sermon.”
VISIT TO INFIRMARY.
“If I happen to have a Sunday without any appointment I visit the patients in the infirmary. One young woman there told me that she was very much blessed by my words, and thanked me very much. She also said that if it was not for me, weeks would pass without them hearing a prayer or the Scriptures read.”
BACKSLIDER RESTORED THROUGH A TRACT.
“The most encouraging fact I can relate in respect to my work here, at this time, is about a woman with whom I had some conversation the other day.
About twelve months ago I mentioned to you about calling at, a house in my district, when I gave the woman a tract, which she took, and bought a Bible. It was rather singular the heading of the tract was a text of Scripture, and that the text of Scripture was the means of her conversion some years ago, but through marrying an unconverted man she gradually left her chapel and became a very wicked character. She lived in this state for nearly eight years. Through my visit she went to chapel; she has attended regularly ever since; she has influenced her husband to attend as regularly as herself, who had not been for years. She told me the other day he has become quite a changed man, for he never gets drunk, neither does he swear at her as he used to do. I have every reason to believe that she has been brought back to the Lord, and the husband is seeking the Savior.”
PERSEVERANCE IN VISITATION REWARDED.
“There is a farm in my district at which I have called from the first, but could never gain admission. As I hate anything bordering on slander, I never mentioned it to anyone. There were two dogs, one each side of the entrance gate, large fierce animals, so that it was impossible to enter near the door. One of the family would come to the gate, and with a rebuff and a sneer refuse to take a tract or hear what I had to say. I called thus for about ten months, at last was determined to give it up as useless, when about Christmas I heard that a gentleman of position in the neighborhood, who is doing much for the cause of Christ, had determined to place one of Spurgeon’s Sermons in each house in the neighborhood, but on going to this farm, however, he was repulsed and insulted. Nothing daunted, however, he went to the house of one of the laborers at this farm, and asked him to bring it over next day. The man did, but the sermon was thrown back, and he was nearly discharged for bringing it over. Had not my informant added the following, I should not think anything about the place any more, save in my prayers, but when I heard that the father had died about a twelvemonth ago, with all the terrors, of a lost soul, saying that he would not, could not die, he dared not face the Judge after sinning against him all his life, etc. This made me determined that if the remainder of the house should be lost it would be no fault of mine. So, after a prayer, I selected a suitable tract, went to the house, passing between the dogs, defending myself as best I could with my pack, went to the door, where I was met by one of the family who had often repulsed me, but she did not do so this time, but took with a faint nervous smile the tract I offered her, taking it, however, with such trembling hands, and with such agitated frame, as if she was taking her death warrant to read. I thought it would not be wise for me to say much on that occasion, so I soon left, thanking God that the house which had been closed against all servants of Christ so long had for once, however, been opened to one of the humblest of them, and I pray that God may not only cause the door of the house to be opened to receive His servants, but that the hearts of its occupants may be opened to receive Himself, and save them with an everlasting salvation, and make them His own children for His name’s sake. Amen.”
LOCAL REPORTS BY FRIENDS IN THE DISTRICTS.
STOW-ON-THE-WOLD AND ASTON BLANK DISTRICT.
“The progress of the work during the past year encourages your Committee to lay before the subscribers and the public a brief statement of what has been done by the earnest and persevering efforts of the Colporteur. He has been able to hold 123 religious services, either in the open air, in cottages, or other places of worship: pay 300 visits to the sick and aged, and gratuitously distribute 2000 tracts; 200 Bibles and Testaments have been sold, and 340 monthly subscribers obtained for Magazines, such as Sunday at Home, Leisure Hour, and British Workman.
The total amount realized by sales, £130 Isaiah 6d. “The circulation of so large an amount of highly moral and religious literature is pleasing evidence of the growing intelligence of the people in the villages of the district where it is chiefly circulated, and the large attendances at the services held show that the cottagers are not indifferent to the preaching of the gospel. “The Colporteur’s Journal furnishes abundant proof that the conversations by the wayside and addresses in the Cottage Meetings are producing a lasting impression on the minds of many of the persons with whom the Colporteur comes in contact.”
COATE AND LEAFIELD COLPORTAGE ASSOCIATION.
“Perhaps there is no agency so calculated to reach the masses of the people as this. Much has been done, but more remains to be done to direct sinners to the Savior. It is more needed now than at any former period to counteract Romanism, Ritualism, Rationalism, and the pernicious literature so cheaply and widely circulated in the present day. The work is carried on in an unsectarian spirit among all Evangelical denominations, in promoting the sale of books and periodicals of a healthy character, and performing the useful offices of a Missionary, in going from house to house and village to village, and visiting the sick and dying, as well as conducting religious services of a simple kind. “The sales during the year have been 80 Bibles and 80 Testaments, Bound Books. (various) 1,380, Magazines, 1,660. Visits to homes, 10,630; Tracts distributed, 11,800; Services and Addresses, 123; Amount received for Books, £103 18s. 6d.”
HOME MISSION REPORT OF WILTS ASSOCIATION.
“In accordance with the resolutions passed at our last Annual Meeting the chief work of the Mission this year has been in the direction of Colportage, and the reports received from the various brethren employed in this work abundantly confirm the wisdom of this course. A very much larger portion of the districts included within the bounds of the Association has been worked, and that in a more efficient manner than would have been possible in any other way with the limited funds at our disposal. This will be seen from the fact that 116 villages have been visited regularly, and others occasionally, by the brethren in the four Colportage districts. Nearly preaching services have been held by these brethren, besides many other meetings of various kinds; sales have been effected amounting in value to nearly £500; large quantities of tracts have been distributed; and much good work has been done in the way of house visitation, and personal conversation with the people.” “This year the amount devoted to Colportage has been £100, and the statements already made, and the extracts from the reports which follow, not only justify this expenditure, but excite regret that more funds are not available for the extension of the work. Mr. King’s labors have been remarkably prosperous throughout, and the last year has been one of the best. He has visited about 30 villages every month; has sold books and magazines to the value of over £181 — a larger sum than in any year; has preached the gospel about 200 times, delivered 19 Sunday School addresses, conducted 18 Communion services, and taken part in 23 tea meetings.”
Four Colporteurs are laboring in connection with the Wilts Association.
Space forbids a separate notice of each.
THE STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE TRUSTEES.
C. H. SPURGEON, PRESIDENT.
J. A. SPURGEON, VICE-PRESIDENT.
MRS. A.HILLYARD.WILLIAM HIGGS. WILLIAM OLNEY.WILLIAM C.MURRELL. JOSEPH PASSMORE.THOMAS R.PHILLIPS. WILLIAM MILLS.THOMAS H.OLNEY. THOMAS GREENWOOD. B.WILDON CARR.
HON. CONSULTING PHYSICIAN.
HENRY GERVIS,ESQ., M.D.
HON. CONSULTING. SURGEON J.COOPER FORSTER, Esq., F.R.C.S.
HON. CONSULTING OPHTHALMIC SURGEON.
J. C.WORDSWORTH, Esq., F.R.C.S.E.
W. O.HINCHLIFFE, Esq.
MEDICAL OFFICER WILLIAM SORER, Esq., M.R.C.S.E., L.S.A.
VERNON J.CHARLESWORTH SECRETARY.
TENTH REPORT, 1878-9. (TWELFTH YEAR.)
THIS Orphanage, originally founded by the self-sacrifice of Mrs. A. HILLYARD — an esteemed sister in the Lord — is conducted by C. H. SPURGEON, assisted by his brother, and a body of Trustees, and is purely undenominational in its character. Destitute Fatherless Boys, between the ages of six and ten, are selected by the Committee, thus avoiding the evils of the voting system. They are located in separate houses under the care of matrons, and are not distinguished by a uniform dress, which, in so many cases, becomes a grading badge of poverty.
The great object is to train the boys in the fear of the Lord, and at the same time to provide them with an education which shall fit them to take good positions in the world.
The growth of the Institution will be seen in the following table of figures:— Report Date Annual Admissions Total Admissions Annual Removals Total Removals In Residence 1 From Aug., 1867, to March, 154 154 6 6 2 From April, 1870, to March, 42 196 7 13 3 From April, 1871, to March, 38 234 9 22 4 From April, 21 255 15 37 218 1872, to March, 5 From April, 1873, to March, 36 291 38 75 6 From April, 1874, to March, 63 354 42 117 7 From April, 1875, to March, 28 382 29 146 8 From April, 1876, to March, 46 428 52 198 9 From April, 1877, to March, 51 479 47 245 10 From April, 1878, to March, 48 527 38 283 Of the 38 boys who left during the year, 25 were sent to situations: 4 were returned to their friends; 7 were dismissed on the re-marriage of their mothers, and 2 were removed by death. F12 The following tables show the wide area from which the boys have been received: — LONDON Balham 5 Kensington Barnsbury 2 Kentish Town Battersea 4 Kilbum Bayswater 5 Kingsland 2 Bermondsey 45 Lambeth Bethnal Green 2 Lewisham Bloomsbury 2 Limehouse Borough 6 Marylebone Bow 11 Mile End Brixton 16 Newington Camberwell 18 New Cross Camden Town 2 Norwood Chelsea 4 Notting Hill Clapham 3 Peckham Clapton 1 Pentonville Clerkenwell 5 Pimlico Dalston 1 Poplar Deptford 3 Shoreditch Dulwich 1 Soho Finsbury 1 Southwark Hackney 10 Spitalfields Haggerston 1 Stepney Hamtnersmith 1 Strand Hampstead 2 Streatham Holborn 5 Stockwell Holloway 5 Stoke Newington Homerton 2 St. Luke’s Hornsey 1 St. Pancras 3 Horselydown 4 Walworth Hoxton 5 Wandsworth Islington 12 Westminster Kennington 3 Whitechapel TOTAL Of the 392 boys received from London-Lambeth, Bermondsey, Walworth, and Southwark furnish a contingent of one-third, the remaining 60 parishes sending the rest.
Bedfordshire, Bedford 1 Devonshire, Bedford Berkshire, Reading 4 Devonshire, Devonport Berkshire, Slough 1 Devonshire, Exeter Buckinghamshire, Winslow 2 Durham, Stockton Cambridgeshire, Cambridge 1 Essex, Barking Cheshire, Chester 1 Essex, Boxted Derbyshire, Derby 1 Essex, Braintree Essex Colchester 2 Middlesex, Arlington Essex Dunmow 1 Middlesex, Barnet Essex Coggeshall 1 Middlesex, Ealing Essex Ilford 1 Middlesex, Finchley Essex Leyton 1 Middlesex, Hampton-Wick Essex Leytonstone 1 Middlesex, Harrow Essex North Woolwich 1 Middlesex, Hendon 1 Essex Paglesham 1 Middlesex, Hounslow Essex Walthamstow 1 Middlesex, Whetstone Essex Witham 2 Norfolk, Holt Gloucestershire, Bristol 3 Northamptonshire, Northampton Gloucestershire, Gloucester 1 Northamptonshire, Brackley Gloucestershire, Painswick 1 Northamptonshire, Oundle Gloucestershire, Stroud 2 Northamptonshire, Thrapstone Hampshire, Lymington 1 Nottingham, Retford Hampshire, Christchurch 1 Nottingham, Sutton Hampshire, Romsey 1 Oxfordshire Banbury Hampshire, Winchester 1 Oxfordshire Chipping Norton Herefordshire, Ledbury 1 Oxfordshire Kidlington Hertfordshire, Redbourne 1 Oxfordshire Witney Hertfordshire, St. Alban’s 1 Rutlandshire, Uppingham Kent, Charlton 2 Somersetshire, Bath Kent, Chatham 2 Somersetshire, Taunton Kent, Deal 1 Suffolk, Aldboroug Kent, Eynsford 1 Suffolk, Ipswich Kent, Gravesend 3 Suffolk, Southwold Kent, Greenwich 8 Surrey, Addlestone Kent, Maidstone 2 Surrey, Bletchingley Kent, Margate 4 Surrey, Croydon 4 Kent, Northfleet 2 Surrey, East Moulsey Kent, Ramsgate 1 Surrey, Kingston Kent, Sittingbourne 1 Surrey, Sutton Kent, Woolwich 2 Sussex, Bournemouth Lancashire, Ashton-under- Lyne 1 Sussex, Brighton Lancashire, Birkenhead 1 Sussex, Hastings Lancashire, Bolton 1 Warwickshire, Coventry Lancashire, Liverpool 2 Wiltshire, Chippenham Lancashire, Morecambe 1 Wiltshire, Warminster Lincolnshire, Boston 1 Wiltshire, Wroughton TOTAL WALES Wales, Blaenavon 1 Wales, Hay Wales, Llanelly 1 Wales, Swansea Wales, Haverfordwest 1 TOTAL 5 SUMMARY London Country Wales Ireland TOTAL Ninety-two provincial towns, representing 29 counties, have participated in the benefits of the Institution by sending 128 boys.
We subjoin a denominational analysis showing the catholicity of the Institution: — Church of England Baptist Congregational Wesleyan Presbyterian Roman Catholic Brethren Moravian Bible Christian Not Specified TOTAL 527 The following letter from the mother of one of the boys is a sample of many, and by which we are cheered and encouraged: — Rev. C. H.SPURGEON, My dear Sir, — For more than six years you and Mr. Charlesworth have, as far as it has been possible, occupied a father’s place towards my boys Charlie and Willie. They have had in the Orphanage the advantage of a home; their matron has been a mother to them, and Mr. Charlesworth has, I feel sure, sought in every way to study their welfare with all the interest of a father; while it is your genial and affectionate spirit which has inspired all who have had them in their charge. There are very many indeed who thank God with me for raising you up to be a father to the fatherless, and when we think that this is only one part of your good work, we join in earnest prayer that you may long be spared to make manifest the Spirit of Christ in your abundant labors of love.
When my boys first went to the Orphanage I felt an objection to their going, but the spirit of true love which moves you quite prevents anything being so much as thought, I believe, much less said or done, that can make any mother object to have her children under your care. Charlie has just left to take a situation you have obtained for him, and I take this opportunity of writing my thanks to you. He has been well taught and made self-reliant, and, so to speak, he has been kept like himself; the boys, I mean, are not made all alike. His writing is excellent, and his arithmetic he does better than many boys of his age. You have even, Sir, made a traveled gentleman of him, and so fitted him I believe to make a good position for himself. I have every reason to hope that he will give full satisfaction to his employers, and am satisfied that he will himself always look back to his school days at the Orphanage with pleasure and gratitude. I send enclosed a P.O. Order for £1. This is only a trifle to what I would give if it were possible.
Believe me, my dear Sir, Yours respectfully and sincerely, II. —DOMESTIC.
Each year deepens our conviction that the system of the cottage is superior to that of the barrack, and we are glad to find that it is growing in favor on all hands. We take the following extract from a report, made by order of the House of Commons, on the “Home and Cottage System of Training and Educating the Children of the Poor,” by F. J. Mouat, Esq., M.D., Local Government Board Inspector, and the late Captain J. D. Bowly, R.E.
It is peculiarly valuable as coming from each a source, and it will, we trust, encourage our subscribers: — “The Stockwell Orphanage. — The Stockwell Orphanage, founded by the Rev. C. H Spurgeon, is an institution of a higher order than the reformatories and pauper schools, and is not an industrial school properly so called. It is devoted to the education and training of fatherless boys, and is supported entirely by voluntary contributions in money or kind. The feature which caused us to visit it with reference to the present inquiry is that it is based on the family system, there being eight separate houses, in each of which resides a group of about thirty boys under the special charge of a matron. Each house contains dormitories for the boys, and apartments for the matron, also a lavatory, and the usual offices; but the meals are taken in a general dining hall, and cooked in a general kitchen; an arrangement which doubtless conduces to economy, but which is to some extent a departure from the ideal family system. “The boys’ houses are arranged in a continuous terrace, each house being separate from the next by a party wall as in an ordinary street, the schoolrooms are on a third floor over a portion of the terrace, and are commodious and airy. The standard of education is high, as one of the avowed purposes of the institution is to get the boys ‘to take good positions in the world.’ There is a general play-hall and swimming bath, and it was stated to us that nearly every boy was able to swim. “The standard of health is high; there is no general contagious disease in the school, and infectious fevers, when they occur, are easily prevented from spreading by early isolation, in the convenient detached infirmary standing at the south-east end of the playground. “The institution has been ten years at work, and the boys placed out in situations during that time have, as a rule, turned out well “In many respects, this excellent school affords no ground of comparison with pauper institutions; but the point to be specially noted is that the family system, even in the modified form here adopted, is stated to have been productive of undoubtedly good effects, not only as regards the formation of individual character, but also as conducing to a high standard of bodily health.”
Family worship is conducted twice daily, before the morning and evening meals, by the Head Master and his assistants, the service being taken occasionally by the President, or a member of the Committee, or a visitor to the Institution who may happen to be present. The Word of God is read and expounded, hymns sung, and prayer offered, and the whole of the boys repeat a text selected for the day. A service is conducted for the elder boys every Wednesday evening, when addresses are given by ministers and other friends.
On the Lord’s-day morning the elder boys attend the service at the Tabernacle; a second detachment is accommodated at the Wynne Road Chapel; and a suitable service is conducted for the rest at the Orphanage, by Messrs. Bartlett and Daniels. Mr. W. J. Evans still superintends the Sunday School in the afternoon, assisted by a large staff of earnest teachers, and Mr. C. Carpenter presides over the Evening Service. All these good friends, who labor with commendable zeal to win the children to Christ, have been connected with the Institution from its commencement. By these arrangements the members of the staff, who are with the boys all the week, find a welcome relief, while the influence of our earnest voluntary’ helpers is of the most salutary kind. At the recent Scripture Examination of Sunday Scholars, our boys gained two prizes, also nine first-class and eight second-class certificates. Those boys who give evidence of a change of heart are formed into a “Young Christians’ Band,” and meet twice a month. At the present time there are fifty in full membership, one hundred having been enrolled since the commencement.
During their term of residence in the Institution all the boys are total abstainers, no alcoholic liquors being allowed except by order of the doctor, but 152 are pledged abstainers at the present time, with the approval of their friends, and form a Band of Hope.
The annual meeting, under the presidency of Geo. Palmer, Esq., M.P., was held in June to celebrate the President’s birthday, and the annual excursion took place in August, when all the boys and the staff were taken to Brighton for the day.
During the Midsummer holidays friends were found to entertain several of the boys, who but for such generous kindness would not have been able to leave the Institution for a change. Will not others do the same this year?
The holidays commence August 1st.
The Christmas season was a joyous time, friends from all parts of the country kindly sending, as usual, all sorts of good things for the boys. Mr. William Harrison sustained the precedent of former years by sending a box of figs for each boy, and was again the medium for conveying 240 new shillings, fresh from the Mint, from a friend who chooses to be known only by his initials, “J. D.” It was a cause of deep regret that the President was unable to be present, but he was worthily represented by his honored sons, Messrs. Charles and Thomas Spurgeon. The old boys mustered in good force, and were the heroes of the day. Through the kindness of the President each of the members of the staff received a useful present, and “Christmas at the Orphanage” will always be a precious memory to all who participated in its festivities. An Old Boys’ Association has been formed, and meetings are held every month. In this way the bond of union is maintained, and the young men become mutually helpful to each other.
It is a joy to us to know that many of our old boys are members of churches, and that a goodly number are engaged in Christian work. Mr.R. S. Latimer, the first of our boys admitted to the College, and now Pastor of the Church at Willingham, reports the progress of the good work under his care. Mr. C. W. Townsend is studying for the ministry at the present time, and gives promise of future usefulness. These facts inspire our grateful songs. Will the reader pray that we may yet see greater things?
III. —EDUCATION. In the system which we pursue we aim rather to give a useful than an ornamental education, and the results achieved justify the methods adopted and the subjects selected. Several large and well-known firms have taken a number of our boys, and report favorably of their ability, conduct, and progress. The head of one firm, who built the “Merchant’s House,” addressed the following letter to the President: — May 25th, 1879.
My DearMR.SPURGEON, Many thanks for enclosing in your letter the tract about little Dicky.
I have read the account with much interest and with a thankful heart that I have been blessed with means to erect the “Merchant’s House,” and that it should have given shelter to such a “Lamb of Christ’s Flock.” I am equally thankful for the heart to have done it, as for the means.
I notice the cost of maintaining the thirty orphans which the house shelters, and feel that I should like in future to provide for one, so long as enabled to do so. I enclose cheque £25 for one year, and your secretary will please remind me yearly should I forget to send it.
I think our firm has had quite a dozen of your orphan lads in our counting house, and I am very pleased to testify that we have never had better behaved, nor better trained lads, nor better educated lads for commercial purposes. I am not aware of a single one of them turning out badly, but on the contrary quite satisfactory. I thought you might be gratified to have this testimony.
With kind regards, I am Yours truly,MERCHANT.
The Schools have been efficiently maintained during the past year, and the progress of the boys in the subjects of an ordinary English education is alike creditable both to teachers and pupils. The extra subjects are French, Drawing, and Music. Two French classes are conducted gratuitously by Madame Blim, an accomplished French lady, who devotes two afternoons a week to her classes, and one is presided over by Mr. Goodchild. Mr.F. G. Ladds, formerly a boy in the Orphanage, and now one of the teachers, continues the instruction in vocal music, and we have been able to turn the musical abilities of the boys to good account in giving Services of Song in behalf of the Institution. During the year, under the direction of the Head Master, meetings were held in the following places and the net sum of £466 19s. 7d. realized: — Bradford, Bedford, Camberwell, Cambridge, Chipping Norton, Derby, Evesham, Hitchin, Highgate, Lee, Lewisham, Luton, Leicester, Middlesborough, Melton Mowbray, Nottingham, Newport, I.W., Northampton, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Reigate, Ryde, Richmond, Reading, Surbiton, Stockton, Southampton, Stratford-on- Avon, Witney, Waterbeach, Woburn, and West Cowes. Our thanks are tendered to all the good friends who have made the necessary arrangements for the meetings and so hospitably entertained the little singers. We trust these examples will be copied by others, so that the claims of the Institution may be brought before the people in all the large towns. As the meetings are of an evangelistic character, the friends in every instance have spoken of themselves as debtors for the services rendered. It is a pleasant way of helping and advertising the Orphanage, and, at the same time, it is beneficial to the places visited. About 100, holding music certificates, furnished a contigent of the Tonic Sol-fa and Band of Hope Choirs at the Crystal Palace Festivals.
In March last we presented 178 boys for Examination in Freehand, Geometrical and Model Drawing, in connection with the Science and Art Department, but the returns have not yet come to hand.
During the year the general health of the boys has been excellent. When it is understood that many of the boys are the children of parents who have died from hereditary disease, we think it speaks well for the sanitary condition of the Institution that we have not to record a larger number of deaths, and that, in many instances, children who were exceedingly delicate on entering have become comparatively strong and robust. We owe a debt of gratitude to our medical staff and to the matron of the Infirmary for their skillful exertion in behalf of all who are placed under their care, but above all would we bless the Lord, “Who healeth all our diseases” and whose name is “Jehovah-Rophi” — the Lord, the Healer!
V. — MODE OFADMISSION.
Applications for the admission of children should be addressed in writing to the Secretary, and full particulars given. If the case appear eligible, a form of application is sent, the questions on which must be answered by the applicant, and the form returned as soon as possible. The slightest untruthfulness will necessitate the immediate rejection of the case. After the case is entered on the list of candidates, the Trustees, as soon as convenient, appoint a visitor to make personal inquiries into it. Should these be satisfactory, the child appears before the committee and the doctor, and, if duly elected, enters the Institution as soon as there is room.
As the number of most necessitous candidates is largely in excess of our accommodation, the Trustees issue forms of application very sparingly, as they consider it unwise to encourage hopes which are not likely to be realized. Friends, who are only acquainted with the case in which they are specially interested, must not be surprised at its rejection by the Trustees, if it is proved by them to be less necessitous than others. The election of children not being determined by subscribers’ votes, the Trustees endeavor to maintain the strictest impartiality while considering the claims of the various applicants, and the greatest need has the loudest voice with them.
In every case the following certificates are required: (A) of the marriage of the parents, (B) of the death of the father, and (C) of the birth of the child, but they must not be sent until they are applied for. The cases of illegitimate children are not within the scope of the Institution, and friends are requested not to write pleading letters, for the admittance of such children is not permitted by the trust deed.
Applicants are requested not to call upon the Trustees privately, as they are bound not to attend to them otherwise than officially. Cases are considered on their own merits, and derive no advantage from personal solicitation.
Mr.SPURGEON cannot personally see any applicants, and should not be written to. All letters on this business should be addressed to the Secretary, Mr.CHARLES BLACKSHAW, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, London, S.E.
The Orphanage is open for the inspection of the public on the afternoons of Tuesday and Thursday in each week. At other times an order is necessary, which can be obtained of Mr.SPURGEON, or any of the Trustees. The Visiting Day for the friends of the inmates is the First Wednesday in every month, between the hours of 2 and 5.
VI. —FUNDS. It would be impossible to enumerate all the presents sent by generous friends, but they have been duly acknowledged every month in the Sword and the Trowel. They are all received with gratitude, and we take this opportunity of repeating our thanks. It is a cause of grief to us when friends do not receive a prompt acknowledgment of their gifts. but in almost all instances where this has occurred the donor has failed to send name and address with the parcel. We are too grateful for any help, however small, to risk giving pain or offense to those who remember us, and we respectfully request to be informed of the transmission of presents at the time, and their receipt shall be duly acknowledged.
The principals of a ladies’ boarding school and their pupils keep up their admirable custom of making shirts for the boys. If their generous contributions are supplemented by working associations and private friends, the supply will always be equal to the demand. We commend this example to young ladies, for besides doing good service to the orphans, they will themselves profit by acquiring the art of shirt making.
The Orphanage Acre at Waterbeach produces more than the average yield of flour and potatoes, under the skillful farming of our friend, Mr. Toller.
Another farmer, in Kent, has sent us a portion of his potato crop, and several millers have forwarded a sack of flour occasionally. Puddings and potatoes form such important articles of diet that we shall be glad if other Christian farmers will remember our 250 hungry boys from time to time. A good friend at Reading has dedicated a pear tree to the Orphanage, and proposes to send either the fruit or the money realized by its sale.
The work of caring for the widow and the fatherless is specially mentioned by the Holy Spirit as one of the most acceptable modes of giving outward expression to pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, and therefore the Lord’s people will not question that they should help in carrying it out. Will it need much pleading? If so, we cannot use it, as we shrink from marring the willinghood which is the charm of such a service.
No collector shall ever draw a commission from us for dogging unwilling subscribers, nor will we press and squeeze niggard gifts from reluctant hands. The work is carried on in dependence upon God, and as His blessing evidently rests upon it, we are confident the means will be forthcoming as the need arises. While commending the work to our heavenly Father in prayer, we deem it right to lay before the stewards of His bounty the necessities and claims of the Institution.
The sum of TWELVE POUNDS per day is required, in addition to the revenue of the Capital Fund.
All moneys should be sent direct to C. H.SPURGEON, Nightingale Lane, Balham, S.W., other presents to VERNON J.CHARLESWORTH, Head Master, The Orphanage, Stockwell, London, S.W. N.B. — All letters requiring an answer must contain a stamped and directed envelope.
A PLEA FOR THE ORPHAN AND SPECIALLY FOR THE STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE.
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
WHAT more blessed work than to make the widow’s heart to sing for joy?
Even the world’s poet blessed the man who had “a tomb of orphans’ tears wept over him” — what nobler memorial could he have? To snatch poor boys from the depths of poverty, and often from the defiling influences of the streets, to supply their needs, and train them for the Lord Jesus, is one of the noblest of Christian labors — who would not wish to share in it?
Money spent in superfluities can never yield a thousandth part of the pleasure which flows into a Christian heart from acts of benevolence.
Too often do we forget the need which is in the world because it does not come under our own eye, and so we miss the joy of aiding to alleviate it.
There is crushing distress in a thousand homes: the bread-winner lies cold in the grave, the bread is scant on the table and hardly earned, the widow is sickening under toil beyond her strength, and the children are pining for lack of bare necessaries, though before their father’s death they never knew a want. Bitter is her woe, and the world’s heart is cold, to whom shall the widow turn? Where shall the fatherless find a helper? Where but with God, and those who love Him? Jesus would clasp the little ones in his arms if he were here, and bid the widow weep no more; his disciples should do in his behalf what he would personally do if he were still among us in person.
Some call adopt an orphan child, and be all the happier for having done so; if they have no family of their own they may by so doing win a domestic joy of whose sweetness they little dream. Others can give personal aid to the poor hard-working mother, and many more can assist in maintaining institutions which provide for the little “fatherless bairns.”
We plead now for nothing which can strengthen a party, or promote our own personal comfort; no sectarian aspiration or political ambition mingles with this purely philanthropic work, and therefore our earnestness is unchecked by the suspicion that a sinister motive can be imputed to us.
Ours it is without fee or reward to care for these little ones, for Christ’s sake, and in so doing to add a happy burden to our life, which is a busy one at all times. We feel, therefore, that we may speak boldly.
The objects of our care are not far to seek; there they are at our gates — widows worn down with labor, often pale, emaciated, delicate, and even consumptive — boys half-famished, growing up neglected, surrounded with temptation! Can you look at them without pity? We cannot. We will work for them, through our Orphanage, as long as our brain can think, and our pen can write, and our heart can love; neither sickness nor weariness shall tempt us to flag in this sacred enterprise. Our brethren in the trusteeship will watch the expenditure, and plan to use all our funds economically; and our master and teachers, and matrons and friends, will hold on in loving zeal to bless our poor lads; but a few cannot do all, we must have a host of helpers, they must be partners with Simon, sharers in the pleasurable exercise of benevolence. Ought we ever to have an anxiety about funds? If our management be approved by Christian people should we ever have to spend a moment in raising money?’ The work is of the Lord, and therefore the Lord’s people should take their share in it. Shall we have to ask in vain for loving co-operation? No, there are many who will give, or collect for the work. The rich will contribute of their abundance and the poor will give of their little store. Active ladies collect for us, and children in Sabbath-schools send their pence, and one way or another the large family suffers no lack. God will see to his own work, and though we do not follow the plan of sitting still and waiting without action, but rather stir up the minds of the Lord’s stewards by way of remembrance, yet we are sure that he who feeds the ravens will give his children bread.
Friends wishing to leave money to the Institution are particularly requested to employ the exact terms of the following FORM OF BEQUEST: — I Give and Bequeath the sum of........................................ pounds sterling to be paid out of that part of my personal estate which may by law be given with effect for charitable purposes, to be paid to the Treasurer for the time being of the Stockwell Orphanage, Clapham Road, Surrey, and his receipt shall be a sufficient discharge for the said legacy; and this legacy, when received by such Treasurer, to be applied for the general purposes of the Orphanage.
THE GIRLS’ ORPHANAGE BY C. H. SPURGEON.
IN our Address at the presentation of the late Testimonial, we disclaimed all personal credit for the existence of any one of the enterprises over which we preside, because each one of them has been forced upon us. “I could not help undertaking them,” was our honest and just confession. This is literally true, and another illustration of this fact is now to come before the Christian public. Several of us have long cherished the idea that the time would come in which we should have an Orphanage for Girls as well as for Boys. It would be hard to conceive why this should not be. It seems ungallant, not to say unrighteous, to provide for children of one sex only, for are not all needy little ones dear to Christ, with whom there is neither male nor female? We do not like to do such things by halves, and it is but half doing the thing to leave the girls out in the cold. We have all along wished to launch out in the new direction, but we had quite enough on hand for the time being, and were obliged to wait. The matter has been thought of, and talked about, and more than half promised, but nothing has come of it till this present, and now, as we believe at the exact moment the hour has struck, and the voice of God in providence says, “Go forward.”
The fund for the Girls’ Orphanage has commenced, and there are about a dozen names upon the roll at the moment of our writing. The work will be carried on with vigor as the Lord shall be pleased to send the means, but it will not be unduly pushed upon any one so as to be regarded as a new burden, for we want none but cheerful helpers who will count it a privilege to have a share in the good work. We shall employ no collector to make a percentage by dunning the unwilling, and shall make no private appeals to individuals. There is the case; if it be a good one and you are able to help it please do so, but if you have no wish in that direction our Lord’s work does not require us to go a begging, like a pauper, and we do not intend to do so.
The reason for commencing the Girls’ Orphanage just now is twofold: first, that the esteemed founder of the Boys’ Orphanage has at this time sent us £50, as a first stone for the new institution. Considering the hardness of the times and the great efforts which our friends have lately made in other directions we thought it well to let the £50 lie still, but at the presentation of the testimonial we could not help adding £50 to it. This gave the project a measure of publicity, and a friend on the same occasion handed us a cheque of £50, and since then two other donors of the like sum have spontaneously come to the front and sent in their cash. A generous deacon has also added £100, and another friend £10. Could we refuse it? Who would wish us to return the money and tell the donors that we could not undertake the work? We have now therefore £366 6s. in hand, and beside that we have the promise of £500 from an esteemed brother, who wishes his name to be unknown, and £25 from another friend. Here then we have the nest eggs, and we feel sure that they will not long lie alone.
At the very same time at which we began to move in this matter it pleased God it, his providence to put within our reach the house and grounds known as the Hawthorns, at which we had looked wistfully some years past. A few years ago this house was to be sold, and the trustees of the Boys’ Orphanage attempted to purchase it at the auction, but the price was run up to several hundred pounds beyond its value. On June 6th this house was again to be sold, and we bought it for the exact sum which we had proposed to give on the former occasion. There is only one paddock between its garden and the Orphanage grounds, and by the goodness of God and the kindness of its owner we hope that this meadow also may one day become ours, its owner and his lady’ being among the first five donors of £50. Should that field ever become ours we should be able to make the Orphanage into a complete square by erecting similar buildings to those which are there already. This must be a work of time, but it is something to have a place whereon to put our fulcrum and apply our lever. We believe that the Lord has led us forth by a right way, that we might go to a city of habitation. We have purchased the house and grounds for the Girls’ Orphanage, but, as we have already said we have only about £360 in hand with which to pay for it; and we are specially desirous that when the time shall come for the absolute payment of the entire sum we may be able to count out the whole £4,000. That time will be here in a few days, but time is not an object with the Possessor of heaven and earth. We have never been in debt yet, nor have we had a mortgage upon any of our buildings, nor have we even borrowed money for a time, but we have always been able to pay as we have gone on. Our prayer is that we may never have to come down to a lower platform and commence borrowing. If this land had not been put up to auction there and then we should have waited until we had received the purchase price from our great Master’s stewards, but as the site was so extremely desirable, and as the purchase had to be made at once or not at all, we thought it wise to secure it at once. We cannot think that we erred in this. None of our beloved counselors and fellow-helpers think so, but one and all advised the step. The money for the payment must come from somewhere, and the questions now to be answered are — Where is the money? Who has charge of it at present? Who feels called upon to send it? The silver and the gold are the Lord’s, and he has but to incline his servants to apportion some of their Lord’s money to this particular work and the thing will be done. If they can do better with their substance by all means let them do so, but if they count us faithful we are prepared to accept this further trust and do our best with it.
It has often happened that we have been unable to assist widows in necessitous circumstances with large families, because there did not happen to be a boy of the special age required by the rules of our Boys’ Orphanage. There were several girls, but then we could not take girls, and however deserving the case, we have been unable to render any assistance to very deserving widows, simply because their children were not boys.
This is one reason why we need a girls’ orphanage.
Everywhere also there is an outcry about the scarcity of good servants, honest servants, industrious servants, well-trained servants. We know where to find the sisters who will try to produce such workers out of the little ones who will come under their care.
We have succeeded by God’s grace and the diligent care of our masters and matrons in training the lads so that they have become valuable to business men; why should not the same divine help direct us with the lasses, so that domestics, and governesses, should go forth from us as well as clerks and artisans? We believe that there are many friends who will take a special interest in the girls, and that there are some whose trades would more readily enable them to give articles suitable for girls than those which are useful to boys.
Here is a grand opportunity for Christian people with means to take their places among the first founders of this new institution, and if they judge that such a work will be good and useful, we hope that they will without fail, and without delay, come to our assistance in this fresh branch of service. We cannot afford to lose a single penny from the funds for the boys, but this work for the girls’ must be something extra and above. You helped Willy and Tommy; will you not help Mary and Maggie?
It is very needful to add that foolish persons often say, — Mr. Spurgeon can get plenty of money and needs no help. If all were to talk in this fashion where would our many works drift to? Mr. Spurgeon does get large sums, but not a penny more than the various works require, and he gets it because God moves his people to give it, as he hopes, good reader, he may move you. We have no personal end to serve, we do not directly or indirectly gain a single penny by the Orphanage, College, or any other societies over which we preside; neither have we any wealthy persons around us who are at a loss to dispose of their property; but four hardworking church keeps continually consecrating its offerings, and our friends far and near think upon us. Our treasury is the bounty of God, our motto is,THE LORD WILL PROVIDE.
Past mercy forbids a doubt as to the future, and so in the name of God we set up our banners.
One word more, we shall from this date be daily wearied with applications for matrons’ situations, and with requests to take orphan girls at once. To one and all we must say —WAIT. We will let you know when you may apply. Our notice will be public enough. Do not cause us needless labor.
Wait till the good friends have started us, and then we will attend to you.
We pray for SUCCESS TO THE GIRLS’ ORPHANAGE AT STOCKWELL!