GOOD CHEER FROM PAST AND FUTURE SERVICE.
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
“And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go clown, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.”—Acts 23:10—13.
From the midnight whisper of the Lord to Paul we may draw forth sweet encouragement. Those of the Lord’s children who have been engaged in his work and are called to suffer in it have here a special word of consolation. Paul had been in a great tumult, and had been roughly rescued from the wrath of the people by the chief captain, who saw that otherwise he would be pulled in pieces. Paul was like the rest of us, made of flesh and blood, and therefore liable to be cast down: he had kept himself calm at first; but, still, the strong excitement of the day had no doubt operated upon his mind, and when he was lying in prison all alone, thinking upon the perils which surrounded him, he needed good cheer, and he received it.
The bravest man may find his spirit sinking after the battle, and so perhaps it was with the apostle.
In these words let the reader note the Good Cheer that came to Paul in the dungeon. This consisted, first, in his Master’s presence: “The Lord stood by him.” If all else forsook him, Jesus was company enough; if all despised him, Jesus’ smile was patronage enough; if the good cause seemed in danger, in the presence of his Master victory was sure. The Lord who had stood for him at the cross, now stood by him in prison: the Lord, who had called to him out of heaven, who had washed him in his blood, who had commissioned him to be his servant, who had sustained him in labors and trials oft, now visited him in his solitary cell. It was a dungeon, but the Lord was there; it was dark, but the glory of the Lord lit it up with heaven’s own splendor. Better to be in a gaol with the Lord than to be in heaven without him. The harps above could make no heavenly place without Jesus; and Jesus being there, the clanking fetters and the cold pavement of the stony cell could not suggest a sorrow. “The Lord stood by him.” This shall be said of all who diligently serve God. Dear friend, if you are a worker for the Lord Jesus, depend upon it he will not desert you. If in the course of your endeavors you are brought into sadness and depression, you shall then find it sweetly true that the Lord stands by you. Did you ever forsake a friend who was spending his strength for you? If you have done so, you ought to be ashamed of yourself; but I think I hear you say, indignantly, “No, I have always been faithful to my faithful friend.” Do not, therefore, suspect your Lord of treating you ungenerously, for he is faithful and true. All your former helpers may desert you; Sadducees, Pharisees, and scribes may all set themselves to oppose you; but with the Lord at your right hand you shall not be moved. Cheer up, desponding brother, “God is near thee, therefore cheer thee, Sad soul!
He’ll defend thee when around thee Billows roll.” The next comfort for Paul was the reflection that the Lord’s standing by him proved that he knew where he was, and was aware of his condition.
The Lord had not lost sight of Paul because he was shut up in the common gaol. One is reminded of the Quaker who came to see John Bunyan in prison, and said to him, “Friend, the Lord sent me to thee, and I have been seeking thee in half the prisons in England.” “Nay, verily,” said John, “that cannot be; for if the Lord had sent thee to me, thou wouldst have come here at once, for he knows I have been here for years.” God has not a single jewel laid by and forgotten. “Thou God seest me” is a great consolation to one who delights himself in the Lord. Many and diverse are the prisons of affliction in which the Lord’s servants are shut up: it may be that the reader is lying in the prison of pain, chained by the leg or by the hand, through accident or disease; or perhaps he is shut up in the narrow cell of poverty, or in the dark room of bereavement, or in the dungeon of mental depression; but the Lord knows in what ward his servant is slut up, and he will not leave him to pine away forgotten, “as a dead man out of mind.”
The Lord stood by Paul despite doors and locks: he asked no warder’s leave to enter, nor did he stir bolt or bar; but there he was, the companion of his humble servant. The Lord can visit his chosen when nobody else could be allowed to do so, because of contagion, or from fear of exciting the fevered brain. If we come into such a peculiar position that no friend knows our experience, none having been tempted as we are, yet the Lord Jesus can enter into our special trial and sympathize in our peculiar grief.
Jesus can stand side by side with us, for he has been afflicted in all our afflictions.
What is more, that part of our circumstances which we do not know ourselves, Jesus knows, and in these he stands by us; for Paul was not aware of the danger to which he was exposed, he did not know that certain Jews, to the number of forty, had banded together to kill him; but he who was his shield and his exceeding great reward had heard the cruel oath, and arranged to disappoint the bloodthirsty ones. Reader, the Lord knows your troubles before they come to you; he anticipates them by his tender foresight. Before Satan can draw the bow the Preserver of men will put his beloved beyond the reach of the arrow. Before the weapon is forged in the furnace, and fashioned on the anvil, he knows how to provide us with armor of proof which shall turn the edge of the sword and break the point of the spear. Let us therefore sing with holy boldness,—”In the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.” How safe we are, for Jehovah hath said, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” With joy let us draw water out of these two wells of salvation: the Lord is present with us, and he knows us altogether. Putting the two thoughts together, we may hear him say to our inmost souls, — “I, the Lord, am with thee, Be thou not afraid!
I will help and strengthen, Be thou not dismayed!
Yea, I will uphold thee With my own right hand; Thou art called and chosen In my sight to stand.
Onward then, and fear not, Children of the day!
For his word shall never, Never pass away.” When the Lord Jesus came to Paul he gave him a third reason for courage.
He said, “Be of good cheer, Paul: for thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem.” There was much comfort in this assurance that his work was accepted of his Master. We dare not look for much joy in any thing that we have done, for our poor works are all imperfect; and yet the Lord sometimes gives his servants honey in the carcasses of lions which they have themselves slain, by pouring into their souls a sweet sense of having walked in integrity before him. Before the great day of reward the Lord whispers into the ear, “Well done, good and faithful servant “; or he says openly before all men, “She hath done what she could.” Herein is good cheer; for if the Lord accepts, it is a small matter if men condemn. The Lord says to Paul,, “Thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem.” The apostle had done so, but he was too humble to console himself with that fact till his Lord gave him leave to do so by acknowledging the brave deed. Perhaps, dear friend, by this little book you shall be made to remember that you have borne witness for Jesus, and that your life has not been altogether in vain. It may be that your conscience makes you more familiar with your faults than with your services, and you rather sigh than sing as you look back upon your Christian career; yet your loving Lord covers all your: failures, and commends you for what his grace has enabled you to do in the way of witness-bearing. It must be sweet to you to hear him say, “I know thy works; for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept; my word, and hast not denied my name.”
Be faithful to your Lord, dear reader, if you are now in prosperity; for thus you will be laying up a store of cheering memories for years to come. To look back upon a well-spent life will not cause an atom of legal boasting to an experienced believer, but it will justly create much holy rejoicing. Paul was able to rejoice that he had not run in vain, neither labored in vain, and happy are we if we can do the same. If it be right for us to chasten our conscience on account of omissions, it must be lawful ground for thankful joy that our heart condemns us not, for then have we confidence towards God. If we fall into straitened circumstances it will be a comfort to be able to say, “When I was rich I freely used my wealth for my Lord.” If we are ill it will be a satisfaction to remember that when we were in health we used our strength for Jesus. These are reflections which give light in the shade, and make music at midnight. It is not out of our own reflections that the joy arises, but out of the witness of the Holy Spirit that the Lord is not unrighteous to forget our work of faith and labor of love.
A fourth comfort remained for Paul in the words, “As thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at; Rome.” The Lord would have us take comfort from the prospect of future service and usefulness. We are not done with yet, and thrown aside as vessels in which the Lord hath no more pleasure. This is the chief point; of comfort in our Lord’s word to the apostle. Be of good courage, there is more for you to do, Paul; they cannot kill you at Jerusalem, for you must, bear witness also at Rome.
Brace yourself up, O weary, working brother, for your day’s work is not over yet, and your sun cannot go down till, like Joshua, you have finished your conflict with Amalek. The old saying is trite, “You are immortal till your work is done.” Possibly not one-half of your work is even begun, and therefore you will rise again from sickness, you will soar above depression, and you will do more for the Lord than ever. It will yet be said of you as of the church in Thyatira, “I know thy works, and the last to be more than the first.” Wycliffe could not die though the malicious monks favored him with their best wishes in that direction. ‘: Nay,” said the reformer, “I shall not die, but live, and declare all the evil deeds of the friars.” The sight of rogues to be exposed roused his flickering life, and revived its flame.
Disease could not carry off Melancthon because he had eminent service yet to do, side by side with Luther. I have admired the way in which the great Reformer dragged his coadjutor back to life by assuring him that the great work needed him, and he must recover. “He devoutly prayed, ‘ We implore thee, O Lord our God, we cast all cur burdens on thee; and will cry till thou hearest us, pleading all the promises which can be found in the Holy Scriptures respecting thy hearing prayer, so that thou must indeed hear us to preserve at all future periods our entire confidence in thine own promises.’ After this, he seized hold of Melancthon’s hand, and said, ‘ Be of good courage, Philip,YOU SHALL NOT DIE.’“ He prayed his friend back from the mouth of the grave, and sent him on his way comforted with the truthful prediction that he had yet to bear more testimony for the truth.
Surely there is no restorative from sickness, and no insurance for continued life, like the confidence that our task is not done, and our race is not ended.
Godly Whitefield, when smitten with a dangerous illness, rose again to renew his seraphic activities after his death had become matter of daily expectation, it is said, in connection with this event, that shortly after his recovery a poor colored woman insisted on having an interview with him.
On being admitted, she sat down upon the ground, and, looking earnestly into his face, said to him in broken language, “Massa, you just go to heaven’s gate, but Jesus Christ said, Get you down; you must not come here yet, but go first and call some more poor negroes.” And who would not be willing to tarry here to win more poor negroes for Jesus? Even heaven may be cheerfully postponed for such a gain.
Come, then, ailing and desponding one, there is no use in lying down in despair; for a life of usefulness is still in reserve for you. Up, Elijah, and no more ask to die; for God has further errands for his servant. Neither the lion nor the bear can kill thee, O David, for thou hast yet to fight a giant and cutoff his head! Be not fearful, O Daniel, of the rage of Babylon’s drunken king, for thou art yet to outlive the rage of hungry lions. Courage, O thou mistrustful spirit; thou hast only run with the footmen as yet, thou shalt yet contend with horses and prove more than a match for them, wherefore lift up the hands that hang down. “Thou must stand before Caesar”; a divine decree ordains for thee greater and more trying service than as yet thou hast seen. A future awaits thee, and no power on the earth or under the earth can rob thee of it; thereforeBE OF GOODCHEER. LOOKING UNTO JESUS IN every enjoyment, O Christian, look unto Jesus; receive it as proceeding from his love, and purchased by his agonies. In every tribulation look unto Jesus; mark his gracious hand managing the scourge, or mingling the bitter cup; attempering its severity; adjusting the time of its continuance; and making it productive of real good. In every infirmity and failing look unto Jesus, thy merciful High Priest, pleading his atoning blood, and making intercession for transgressors. In every prayer look unto Jesus, thy prevailing Advocate, recommending thy devotions, and “bearing the iniquity of thy holy things.” In every temptation look unto Jesus, the Captain of thy salvation, who alone is able to lift up the hands which hang down, to invigorate the enfeebled knees, and make thee more than conqueror over all thy enemies. Bat especially when the hour of thy departure approaches, when thy flesh and thy heart fail, when all the springs of life are irreparably breaking—then look unto Jesus with a believing eye. Like expiring Stephen, behold him standing at, the right hand of God, on purpose to succor his people in their last extremity. Yes, when thou art launching out into the invisible world, and all before .thee is vast eternity—then, oh then, look unto Jesus, and view him as .the only “way” to the everlasting mansions.—James Hervey.
RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION IN FRANCE WE are all familiar with the repressive measures adopted recently by the French Government towards the Educational Institutions of the Romish Church in France. It is not surprising that English adverse criticism should have been plentiful. Looking at French action from the English standpoint, we may easily find room for dissent. Liberty in England is the growth of centuries. She has become so strong as to be able to hold her own against all comers. She can afford to give ample room and verge to her enemies.
She needs to take no precautionary measures. If her hands were bound with new cords she would burst them asunder as burnt flax. If the iron gates of bondage were shut upon her, she would lift them from their hinges and stride away with them to her own realm. She is the dominant power, and therefore in England we need not suppress institutions that in their spirit are opposed to liberty. We can afford to leave them pretty much to themselves. They grow in an alien soil. The air is too sharp and keen for them to come to their tropical luxuriance, and we are not likely to be overshadowed by them. And though we consider that even in this native home of freedom Romish institutions, like all others, should be subject to the supervision of the State, and be compelled to let in upon their darkness the peering glance of Liberty whenever she pleases, we can afford to leave them unsuppressed. We stand on our white cliffs, therefore, and look across the Channel at the action of our neigh-hours with an unfavorable eye.
But this is unjust. The state of things in France is different flora that which prevails in England. The French are beginning to perceive that, with them, freedom is still immature; and, until she arrives at her strength, must be protected against her natural and implacable enemy the Romish Church.
Their formula of liberty, equality, and fraternity must not be permitted to delude them into the sophism that liberty, equality, and fraternity must be accorded to Rome. These priceless possessions must be so held as to be secured. The murderess of liberty must not have liberty to accomplish her fell deed. Liberty does not mean the right to destroy liberty. The Romish Church avails herself of the national cry, and claims liberty in France, although if dominant she would not give liberty to France. She employs the watchword of the opposite camp to obtain the key of the position she assails. Liberty! cries she.:But the French are awaking to the conviction that they must not give up common-sense under the magic spell of three syllables. If they would defend the fortress of freedom they must not put the key into the hands of the foe.
This determined attitude of French opinion has been the slow growth of the present century. Amongst its most powerful promoters was Edgar Qainet, a name less known than it deserves to be in England. One of the greatest French thinkers of this century, he devoted his life to the cause of liberty, and to the moral elevation of France. The government recognized his power, and appointed him professor at Lyons, and afterwards in the College of France., His brilliant lectures showed the general decadence and comparative ruin of Southern Europe to be the work of the Jesuits—the direct result of the counter-reformation inaugurated by Loyola. He aroused such enthusiasm on. the one hand, such rage on the other, that the government compelled him to resign; and in 1851 he was one of the’ great champions of freedom exiled from France by the coup d’etat. During this exile of nineteen years he wrote some of his finest works. The little work before us, “The Religious Revolution of the Nineteenth Century,” is the introduction to his life of Marnix de Sainte-Aldegonde, the friend of William of Orange, and one of the founders of the Dutch Republic.
Pointing out that the English Reformation preceded the English Revolution, and was at once its cause and guarantee, Quinet lays his finger on the weak point of the French Revolution. It was not preceded by a religious revolution, and it did not lay its foundation in the religion of the people. It committed the mistake of treating all religions as alike, and as alike opposed to freedom, and herein it was unjust and suicidal. All religions are not alike. There is one that proclaims itself the foe of all the rest, and glories in its incompatibility with modern freedom. Had the French Revolution recognized the freedom-loving churches, and welcomed their aid in its war against the church of despotism, it would have succeeded. But by making war on all religion it raised against itself the spirit of religion, and fell.
To secure enduring freedom in France, she must first be delivered from Rome. While France is Catholic, she cannot be permanently free. But while the Jesuit institutions are permitted to work unhindered, she will remain Catholic. Quinet holds that it is idle to expect that Romanism in France will cease of itself under the spread of education. “The real education of a people is its religion. Good or bad, vigorous or decrepit;, it is religion that penetrates into the depths of the people, bringing them life or death.” It is an illusion to think that this great church will disappear “at the sound of a few wise words and some excellent advice. What are all the systems laid down in books, and scattered here and there by a few hands, compared with the authority able to surround a nation on every side? While this authority is standing, your philosophical treatises, your warnings, your lessons, your pamphlets, welcomed with applause by a few in the upper crust of the nation, remain ignored by the masses, who only see, hear, and respect the church with which day and night they come in contact. It was this thought that destroyed for me all the joy of teaching in the days when I was permitted to live amidst a crowd of friends in the College of France. I never quitted this living atmosphere without saying to myself, ‘Beyond these walls speech, life, is not understood. I have only to cross this threshold, and I shall enter again that opaque, tenebrous mass from which not a single echo of my words will return.’“ A baneful superstition can be rooted up only by removing the superstition itself from the eyes of the people. Men easily detach themselves from that which they no longer see. It was thus the Roman church itself destroyed Paganism. Constantine recognized in the church a new instrument of domination, and grasped it for his own purposes. “A shipwrecked mariner could not have thrown himself with more impetuosity upon a plank in midocean than the despots of the Decline and Fall seized hold of the unity of the church, hoping thereby to save their empire, breaking up in all directions. The imperial soul of the Caesars passed into the church, and it grew old at once by many centuries.” Then was promulgated the decree of extinction against paganism, “LET SUPERSTITION CEASE!” The very temples were razed to the ground. The legions were sent against the stones. “The old religion, until then tranquil and supreme, suddenly found itself surprised, surrounded, struck down, ruined, and utterly crushed out of existence.” Such action, tempered, of course, by the modern spirit of humanity, of justice, of equity, is the action needed, according to Quinet, to overthrow the tyranny of the Romish Church in France. Her own weapons must be turned against herself. “Worn-out religions resemble those old trees that are nothing but bark. They go on vegetating and casting their shadow over the soil until the day comes that a flash or’ lightning, or the axe of the woodcutter, strikes them, and they fall a heap of dust.”
And there is reason for accelerating this fall. The Romish Church is a poisonous upas tree, striking all under its branches with moral and political death. Very vividly our author states this fact: “As far as experience yet goes, there has been no time nor place in which the Catholic Church has been allowed to remain with unfettered hands by the cradle of Liberty, but what in a short time Liberty has been found stifled in its swaddlingclothes.”
And yet the modern spirit—equal rights to all—a spirit which cannot be too sincerely commended, may betray the unwary into the danger of losing their own while the inveterate robber of human rights exists in the midst of the nation. To quote again from Quinet:— “Wherever, being in authority, Catholicism meets with Liberty, it swears to destroy it, and as a matter of fact it does destroy it. In return, wherever, being in authority, Liberty meets with Catholicism, it swears to respect it.
Overthrown Liberty raises Catholicism up again, craves for it quarter. Can this arrangement last for ever? Honest Brutus!” exclaims Quinet, “magnanimous dupe! are you going on for ever raising up your fallen enemy? for it is you who are always reopening the way for Antony. You wish Antony to mount the platform and make his speech, and should anyone better informed oppose it, your voice it is that cries to the crowd, ‘ Silence! listen to the noble Antony!’ But I answer, ‘Take care! Antony will ruin you, if you do not ruin Antony.’“ Yes; popery will ruin liberty if liberty does not ruin popery.
In order, then, to allow liberty breathing space to grow and become powerful, Catholicism must be for a time restrained. Then, when the change is pretty well complete, it will become possible to slacken the rein, to restore the common right, and reopen the door, as in England and America, to the Catholic church without incurring too great a peril.
Our author meets the theory of those who persuade themselves that the loss of the temporal power disables the papacy from working more harm:—” There are two men in the pope, the prince and the pontiff; whenever the prince has been driven away the pontiff has always led, him back again by the hand. If the Reformers had been half-hearted, and had contented themselves with merely tearing the temporal power from the Papacy, their work would soon have come to an end. The spiritual would very quickly have got repossession of the temporal. The keys of St. Peter would in a short time have brought back the sword.” Against this spiritual force of the church all the beliefs that have struggled against Rome must be enlisted. “I should appeal,” says Quinet, “to every oppressed belief, every persecuted church, every temple that can show its martyr. It is not only Rousseau, Voltaire, Kant who are with us against the eternal oppressor, but also Luther, Zwingle, Calvin, Marnix, Herder, Channing, and a whole legion of minds who in their day fought the very enemy who now blocks up our road. All these great mental athletes will find a place in cur ranks.’.... No one,” he says elsewhere, “can read Marnix to the end and believe any longer in Catholic dogma. It will become for him as the site of a church that has been demolished and abandoned to the whistling and laughter of the winds; a final form of paganism exposed in all its nakedness; the scattered remains of another Diana of the Ephesians. and above these ruins, the conscience of modern humanity, courageously seeking, examining, and tracing out for itself a return to God and Liberty through the Gospel.”
Quinet draws a terrible picture of what would happen if Catholicism were victorious. His closing appeal to his country is stirring, and should be influential. “What, then, ought to be done? I have told you. I repeat it, since you have not heard me. Come out of the old church, you, your wives, your children. Come out, while there is yet time, before she has herself walled up the gate. Come out by every open way, in order that you may not perish of pauperism, moral or physical. I would that the nations should come out in crowds from the old church by the thousand doors which the modern religious spirit has opened up in the walls of Christendom. The way is open; it is simple, it is wide, it is multiple enough to suit itself to the liberty of everyone. Choose as you will! What do you fear? The obstacles are conquered, the way is sure, it has been proved by thousands of men and many nations before you. There is no need to wait for a prophet, a revealer. The modern ages have broken open the door and made wide the breach. It is only now a question of following in the footsteps of those who have been emancipated before you. Of what are you afraid? You have remained here the last of all. What delays you? What are you. waiting for?
Onward, men, advance, and come out!”
God grant that such appeals as these, wrought out by powerful reasoning, enforced by cleat’ historical example, illumined by brilliant illustration and wit, sharpened by cutting sarcasm, driven home by soul-impelling earnestness, may not be lost upon Quinet’s countrymen. Ah! and in these days of insidious popery in the Established Church, there is reason for their being deeply pondered even in free Protestant England.
DURING this month we have issued a little work entitled “Be of Good Cheer,” and no sooner was it out than we received the following memorandum from Edinburgh, headed, “The voice of all the colporteurs of the Religious Tract and Book Society of Scotland, sent with the general secretary’s heartiest concurrence:— “Good Cheer . By Mr. Spurgeon. 1s.
First Notice. “Thank you, Mr. Spurgeon. Every one of us colporteurs will gladly be legs to you in going from house to house to get upon the sick couch your kind and wise, ‘ Be of Good Cheer, from the Master himself.’ We have all been much concerned about your protracted illness, and welcome the book all the more that you tell us that it is the fruit of that long illness happily now closed. We gladly’ give a home to your dove coming at last with her oliveleaf, and thank God on your behalf.”
We accept this as a happy omen for our little book, and feel deep gratitude to the kind friends who have sent us such cheering words. They will be glad to know that health has returned, and strength is gradually coming back.
In the providence of God several choice spirits have been removed from the circle of our friends. Lady Lush, whom to know was to love, has fallen asleep in Jesus, amid the tears of many. Specially bitter is the grief of the poor, to whom she was a generous friend. Just before her departure she sent a message to us to the effect that “If it had been God’s will to spare her to work a little longer for him, she would have been very willing, but to depart and be with Christ was far better, and she could only look forward with joy to the home she had so nearly reached.” May our gracious God comfort her honored husband and her family, and console her pastor and the church under their serious loss.
Nor can we forget Sir Charles .Reed, from whom we received a note which was not delivered till after his death. We keep it as a mournful proof of the frailty of human life, for in it he proposes to call at Norwood, but ere he could pay the visit he was called home to our heavenly Father. He will be greatly missed from the London School Board, and from many committees where his presence was of the utmost value. In the Christian society of London his decease will make a great breach. He took the chair at the Stockwell Orphanage meeting in June, 1879, and it was a singular circumstance that our portraits appeared together in “Men of Mark” for that month.
Just as we are making up the magazine our friend, the Rev. W. Mortey Punshon, LL.D., is being carried to the grave. Had it not been for a cruel east wind we should have been at the grave; indeed, we were preparing to start when it was urged upon us that i: would be a very sad thing if the funeral of one minister should be the death of another It may serve to show coming generation how Christians, with all their differences. loved one another in the year of grace 1881 if we here print a letter which we received from this man of God. some three months ago. It was never meant for the public eye, but was the genuine outflow of a loving heart. Little did we dream that the hand which penned it was so soon to be still in death. “Tranby, Brixton Rise, S.W., “January, 1881. “My dear Sir and Brother—The papers tell us that the 10th will be a memorable day to you, and amid hosts of greeting friends my wife and I (than whom you have none truer, though our love can rarely exhibit itself but in wishful thought and prayer) would fain express our good wishes in a line. “We trust there is good foundation for the rumor which has lately reached us of great and permanent improvement in Mrs. Spurgeon’s health; and we pray that if it be the Lord’s will, you may be continued to each other in happy fellowship until the ‘silvern’ shall have become ‘golden’ by the lapse of years. “Like most of God’s anointed, it seems as if you are to be made ‘meet by consecrated pain.’ May the Refiner sit always by the furnace! You know that the fire will never be kindled a whit too fiercely, nor burn a moment too long. “There are many, whom you know not, who thank God, in these times of rebuke, for your fidelity to the old gospel, and who watch you with solicitude and prayer. “Wishing for Mrs. Spurgeon and yourself happiness, and the blessedness which is better, the Lord’s unutterable peace, long and useful lives, and the ‘abundant entrance’ at last, “I am, in my wife’s name and my own, “Yours very affectionately, W.MORLEY PUNSHON.”
We invite our readers to pray for the bereaved family, and specially for that sorrowing lady whose name is blended with that of the dear departed in the loving letter which we have ventured to print.
Our plan for sending out evangelists to India remains where it was. We hope that it will not end in mere words. Mr. Brown has reached Calcutta, but will there be no others to follow? That must now rest with the Lord’s stewards, and with the men who feel called to go.
We have letters from the Cape of Good Hope. The work needs pecuniary he]p just now. The chapel must be paid for, and a considerable sum is needed for that purpose. Perhaps, also, two masters are more than the people are able to support. We should be right glad to forward speedy help: it would be money profitably laid out.
We have republished the sermon upon “Christian Baptism,” delivered by Mr. Hugh Stowell Brown, at the opening of the Tabernacle. It is a very powerful plea for Believers’ Baptism, and it is issued in a neat form for one penny by our publishers.
MRS.SPURGEON’ S BOOK FUND.
— Our dear wife’s Report has sold so well that it has been needful to print a second edition. Many have written to say that its perusal has been a means of grace to them; they could not have said anything more cheering. The little book can still be had of our publishers for sixpence.
Her work in helping poor ministers is specially needful at this time, for the depression in the agricultural interest has rendered it very difficult for village churches to support their ministers. Small salaries have to be cut down, and many men of God are left with incomes below starvation point.
Let all be doubly generous in this hour of need.
On Tuesday, April 5, the Annual Butchers’ Festival was held at the Tabernacle, and from all we can learn it seems to have been the largest and most successful meeting of the kind that has ever been held. We are informed that there were 2,000 men present, in addition to between and 400 master butchers and their wives; and that the provisions consumed on rue occasion included nearly three-quarters of a ton of meat, seven and a half hundredweights of carrots, eight hundredweights of bread, more than a quarter of a ton of cake, a pailful of mustard, 40 lbs. of tea, 200 lbs. of sugar, 80 lbs. of butter, and 130 quarts of milk. Mr. Murrell, as usual, superintended the work of preparation and distribution.
The chair was occupied by W. S. Caine, Esq., M.P.; addresses were delivered by Mr. Charles Spurgeon, Mr. Henry Varley, Mr. William Olney, Dr. Barnardo, and Ned Wright; and Mr. Frisby’s choir rendered good service by singing at intervals during the evening. We are sure our friend, Mr. Varley, who is the founder of this festival, must be pleased with the large attendance of the men, but he expresses his intense desire to see more fruit from it. Let us pray God to bless the addresses to the conversion of many of the butchers.
Friends in or near London who know of districts needing’ the gospel will oblige by letting us know. The thing to be desired is a hall or large room which we could hire, and a few true-.hearted friends to form a nucleus. Our city grows faster than our churches. Except strenuous efforts are put forth London will become more and more heathen. Baptist friends would find us ready to aid them with preachers, and in every other way within our power; but we cannot tramp over this vast metropolis and make a personal survey. Our brethren should try to raise churches near their own abodes if there are none, or if those which exist are not really gospel-loving churches.
TO ANONYMOUS DONORS.
— Towards the end of January we received from “L. M. N.” the first half of a £5 Bank of England Note, but no indication was given as to the object to which it was to be applied, and the second half has not yet come to hand, although the first was acknowledged as requested in the Christian Hearld.
During the past month we have received through the International Money Order Office an order for £5 from Germany without any intimation as to the sender’s wishes concerning it. Will the donor kindly say how the amount is to be appropriated?
Our best thanks are also given to a lady who has presented £110 to be allotted among our various enterprises, and to another friend who on four succeeding Sabbaths has added altogether £150 to the weekly offering for the College.
— Mr. J. Kemp is removing from Bares, Suffolk, to Burnley, Lancashire; and Mr. W. W. Haines from Eye, Suffolk, to St. Leonard’s, Sussex.
Another member of our Conference, Mr. Alexander Macfarlane, of Wooster, Ohio, U.S.A., has” gone home.” he had won for himself a high position among his brethren, but ere he had completed his thirty-seventh year he was suddenly removed, another victim to this exacting age.
Without meaning to censure any one, or to blame the church over which he presided, one of the ministers who officiated at the funeral exercises said, in effect, “During all these two years since he came among you he should have had only rest . He was given none, and there! (pointing to the noblest form among them all) you have the result!” A local paper says of him, “As a pulpit orator, he was highly gifted; and, as such, was a marked man of the times. It may be truly said that but few men of his age, in the land of his choice, could be ranked as equal to him in this particular .... The love and esteem of his church, and of other churches in our city, and of the citizens generally, were made manifest by the large attendance at his funeral, which took place from the church where his voice while living had so earnestly and eloquently proclaimed the glad tidings of the gospel to his fellowinert.”
We are glad to hear that Mr. H. R. Brown has safely reached Calcutta, on his way to Darjeeling; and that Mr. Lyall is much better, and hopes soon to return to his work in Africa.
Mr. T. A. Carver leaves the College for Widnes, Lancashire, with our earnest prayers for his success. Will all applicants for admission to the College kindly note that we shall not be able to receive any more students during the present year? We greatly regret that we should have had to keep them waiting so long, but it is now clear that there will be no vacancies for months to come. Sometimes students are hastened away from us before their studies are complete, for the churches stand in need of them; but at other times it happens that there is less demand,, and so the men abide longer with us: the last is the case at this present time.
— We have received the following report of the closing services by Messrs. Smith and Fullerton at Halifax:— “These evangelists brought to a close last Monday the series of services they have held in this town, having labored here altogether about six weeks. A farewell tea was provided in the schoolroom of the Trinity-road Chapel, to which about four hundred persons sat down, and most of these had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Fullerton and Mr. Smith. After tea there was a crowded meeting in the chapel to hear farewell addresses from the brethren. Mr. Smith, according to request, gave his experience of how he was led to Christ, which was listened to with lively interest. Mr. Fullerton gave a most appropriate and earnest address on three words—’ One thing I know,’ ‘One thing I do,’ ‘One thing I desire’; each of which was based on a passage of Scripture. An opportunity was given at the meeting for anyone to tell of good received during the special services. Several persons spoke. ]During the meeting the Rev. W. Dyson, of North Parade Baptist Chapel, and the Rev. J. Parker, M.A., of Trinity-road, spoke. Mr. Parker said that all expenses had been met by the free-will offerings of the people, and that, moreover, there would be a sum of not less than £100 to send as a thankoffering to Mr. Spurgeon’s Evangelistic Fund. This elicited loud cheers, and the audience, with much heartiness, joined there and then in singing ‘ Praise God from whom all blessings flow.’ The tone of the meeting was inspiriting, and very encouraging throughout. “The last preaching service conducted by the Evangelists was held on Sunday night, in the Drill Hall. This spacious room was crowded, and the service was a fit crowning of the work. The sermon was a most impressive one, Mr. Fullerton setting before the people ‘Life’ and ‘Death,’ and with much pathos entreating them to ‘choose Life’ Deuteronomy 30:19.) At the close there were many inquirers, and the hearts of all Christian workers present were made to rejoice, as they had good evidence that many were being ‘ born again.’ “The total number of inquirers who have come forward is about two hundred; but we believe even this only represents a small proportion of the good accomplished. The churches of the town thus cannot fail to be numerically strengthened, and many Christians have been revived. “The idea of sending out evangelists thus is, to our mind, an excellent way of ‘ Launching out into the deep’ to let down the net for a great draught of fishes. The settled ministry is not in the least interfered with, but is materially helped, and the pastors are quietly left in their own spheres, with nothing to trouble them but an increased flock The evangelists have during the past month commenced at Sheffield a series of services which promise to be the most successful they have ever held. The town has been divided into five districts, in each of which a fortnight is to be spent, and the closing meetings are to be held in some large central spot. The ministers have heartily welcomed our brethren, who find that their visit has been preceded by a week of prayer all over the town, which has already witnessed the earnest of a great blessing.
Mr. Burnham continues his Yorkshire campaign with many signs of the Lord’s presence. In Horsforth, especially, his visit has produced the most blessed results. This month, from the 8th to the 13th, he is to be at Walthamstow; 17th to 20th, Rushden, Northamptonshire; 22nd to 27th, Bedale and Masham, Yorkshire; and 29th to June 3rd, Salterforth and Earley, Yorkshire.
— Our cash list reveals the fact that the “tour in the east” made by Mr. Charlesworth and the orphan boys during the past mouth has been financially a success, and many kind letters and appreciative newspaper reports assure us that the institution has many faithful friends in the Eastern Counties, and especially in the city and towns just visited. To all sympathizers and helpers we tender our heartfelt thanks.
A friend from Cambridge has written to ask how much it will cost to furnish one of the new houses for the orphan girls. He proposes to undertake this work if we let him know the cost. This is a noble proposal.
It comes just as this page is being completed, and we cannot answer the inquiry for the moment; but we will do so next month. Meanwhile, we thank our Cambridge friend, and hope that he has started the fashion. Will not five others compete for the other houses? We must now beg our friends to begin preparing for a Bazaar at Christmas, to provide funds for completing the Girls’ Orphanage: dininghall, infirmary, etc. All hands to the work. This should be a grand effort of all in every place who love our Orphanage work .PARCELS SHOULD BE SENT TO THE STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE, and not to Westwood, or the Tabernacle.
Annual Fete.—It may be well thus early to notify to all country friends that, as the President’s birthday comes this year on a Sunday, the annual fete will be held on Wednesday, June 22nd, when that portion of the new buildings for girls which will then be complete will be formally opened, and other interesting matters attended to. COLPORTAGE.
— The Annual Meeting of the Colportage Association is fixed for Monday, May 16th, at the Tabernacle, when the President, C.H. Spurgeon, will preside. Revs. R. H. Lovell, of Leytonstone, and H. Sinclair Paterson, M.D., will address the meeting, and several of the colporteurs will give an account of their labors. About twenty of the men will attend a conference preceding the meeting. Will our friends muster strongly at the annual meeting, which will certainly be one of great interest?
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle.— March 25th, sixteen; 28th,:four; 31st, eleven.
INAUGURAL ADDRESS DELIVERED AT THE SEVENTEENTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE ASSOCIATION, BY C. H. SPURGEON, PRESIDENT, ON TUESDAY’, MAY 3RD, 1881.
INEVER needed help more than now, and never felt so utterly unfitted to give the key-note to the Conference. As you grow more numerous, more gifted, and more experienced, I feel more and more my unworthiness to stand foremost and lead your ranks. However, I will trust in God, and believe that he will, by his Holy Spirit, send a word that shall be encouraging and quickening. Years ago an eccentric judge, known as Judge Foster, went upon circuit in extreme old age during a very hot summer, and on one of the most sultry days of that summer he addressed the grand jury at Worcester in some such terms as these,—” Gentlemen of the Jury, it is very hot, and I am very old; you know your duties very well; go and do them.” Following his example, I feel inclined to say to you,— “Gentlemen, here you are assembled, I have many infirmities to bear, and you will have great difficulty in bearing with my talk; you know your duties; go and do them.” Action is better than speech. If I speak for an hour I shall scarcely be able to say anything more practical— you know your duties, go and do them. “England expects every man to do his duty” was the rousing signal of Nelson; need I remind you that our great Lord expects every one of his servants to occupy until he comes, and so to be a good and faithful servant? Go forth and fulfill your Master’s high behest, and may God’s Spirit work in you the good pleasure of your Lord. Those who truly serve God are made to feel more and more forcibly that “life is real, life is earnest,” if it be indeed life in Christ. In times of great pain, and weakness, and depression, it has come over me to hope that if I should again recover I should be more intense than ever; if I could be privileged to climb the pulpit stairs again, I resolved to leave out every bit of flourish from my sermons, preach nothing but present and pressing truth, and hurl it at the people with all my might; myself living at high pressure, and putting forth all the energy that my being is capable of. I suppose you, too, have felt like this when you have been laid aside. You have said to yourselves, “Playtime is over with us, we must get to work. Parade is ended, now comes the tug of war. We must not waste a single moment, but redeem the time, because the days are evil.” When we see the wonderful activity of the servants of Satan, and how much they accomplish, we may well be ashamed of ourselves that we do so little for our Redeemer, and that the little is often done so badly that it takes as long to set it right as we spent in the doing of it. Brethren, let us cease from regrets, and come to actual amendment.
A great German philosopher has asserted that life is all a dream. He says that “it is a dream composed of a dream of itself.” He believes in no actual existence, not even in his own; even that he conceives to be but a thought.
Surely some in the ministry must be disciples of that philosophy, for they are half asleep, and their spirit is dreamy. They speak of the eternal truth as though it were a temporary system of belief, passing away like all other visions of earth. They live for Christ in a manner which would never be thought of by a person who meant to make money, or to obtain a degree at the university. “Why,” said one of a certain minister, “if I acted with my business as he does in his ministry I should be in the Gazette within three months.” It is an unhappy thing that there should be men calling themselves ministers of Christ to whom it never seems to occur that they are bound to display the utmost industry and zeal They seem to forget that they are dealing with souls that may be lost for ever or saved for ever, souls that cost the Savior’s heart’s blood. They do not appear to have understood the nature of their calling, or to have grasped the Scriptural idea of an ambassador for Christ. Like drowsy wagoners, they hope to get their team safely home, though they themselves are sound asleep. I have heard of ministers who are most lively when playing croquet or cricket, or getting up an excursion, or making a bargain. It was said of one in my hearing, “What a fine minister he would have been if he had only been converted.” I heard it said of a very clever man, “He would have been a great winner of souls if he had only believed in souls; but he believed in nothing.” It is said of the Russian peasants that when they have done their work they will lie on the stove, or around it, and there sleep hour after hour; and there is a current opinion among them that they are only awake when they are asleep, and that their waking and working hours are nothing but a horrible dream. The moujik hopes that his dreams are facts, and that his waking sufferings are merely nightmares. May not some have fallen into the same notion with regard to the ministry? they are asleep upon realities, and awake about shadows; in earnest about trifles, yet trifling about solemnities. What God will have to say to those servants who do their own work well and his work badly I will not attempt to foreshadow. What shall be done to the man who displayed great capacity in his recreations, but was dull in his devotions? active out of his calling, and languid in it? The day shall declare it. Let us arouse ourselves to the sternest fidelity, laboring to win souls as much as if it all depended wholly upon ourselves, while we fall back in faith upon the glorious fact that everything rests with the eternal God.
I see before me many who are fully aroused, and are eager in seeking the lost; for I speak to some of the most earnest spirits in the Christian church—evangelists and pastors whose meat and drink it is to do the will of their Lord. But even these, who are most awake, will not differ from me when I assert that they could be yet more aroused. My brethren, when you have been at your best you might have been better. Who among us might not have had greater success if he had been ready to obtain it. When Nelson served under Admiral Hotham, and a certain hum her of the enemy’s ships had been captured, the commander said, “We must be contented: we have done very well.” But Nelson did not think so, since a number of the enemy’s vessels had escaped. “Now,” said he, “had we taken ten sail, and allowed the eleventh to escape when it had been possible to have got at her, I could never have called it well done.” If ‘re have brought many to Christ we dare not boast, for we are humbled by the reflection that more might have been done had we been fitter instruments for God.
Possibly some brother will say, “I have done all that I could do.” That may be his honest opinion, for he could not have preached more frequently, or held more meetings. Perhaps it is true that he has held enough meetings, and the people have had quite enough sermons; but there might have been an improvement in the spirit of the meetings, and in the sermons too. Some ministers might do more in reality if they did less in appearance. A Bristol Quaker—and Quakers are very shrewd men—years ago stepped into an alehouse and called for a quart of beer. The beer frothed up, and the measure was not well fillet. The Friend said to the landlord, “How much trade art thou doing?” “Oh,” he answered, “I draw ten butts of beer a month.” “Do thee know how thee might draw eleven butts?” “No, sir; I wish I did.” “I will tell thee, friend; thee can do it by filling thy pots.” To any brother who says, “I do not know how I can preach more gospel than I do, for I preach very often,” I would reply, “You need not preach oftener, but fill the sermons fuller of gospel.” The Savior at the marriage feast said, “Fill the water-pots with water.” Let us imitate the servants, of whom we read, “They filled them up to the brim.” Let your discourses be full of matter, sound, gracious, and condensed. Certain speakers suffer from an awful flux of words; you can scarcely spy out the poor little straw of an idea which has been hurried down an awful Ganges or Amazon of words.
Give the people plenty of thought, plenty of Scriptural, solid doctrine, and deliver it in a way which is growingly better,—every day better, every year better, that God may be more glorified and sinners may more readily learn the way of salvation.
I shall now commend to you for the perfecting of your ministry five things, which should be in you and abound. You remember the passage which says, “Salt, without prescribing how much.” There is no need for limiting the quantity of any of the matters now commended to you. Here they are— light, fire, fat/h, life, love. Their number is five, you may count them on your fingers; their value is inestimable, grasp them with firm hand, and let them be carried in your hearts.
I. I commend to you most earnestly the acquisition and distribution of
LIGHT. To that end we must first get the light. Get light even of the commonest order, for all light is good. Education upon ordinary things is valuable, and I would stir up certain loitering brethren to make advances in that direction. Many among you entered the College with no education whatever; but when you left it you had learned enough to have formed the resolution to study with all your might, and you have carried it out. I wish that all had done so. It is a great; advantage to a minister to commence his public life in a small village where he can have time and quiet for steady reading: that man is wise who avails himself of the golden opportunity. We ought not only to think of what we can now do for God, but of what we may yet be able to do if we improve ourselves. No man should ever dream that his education is complete. I know that my friend Mr. Rogers, though he has passed his eightieth year, is still a student, and perhaps has more of the true student spirit about him now than ever: will any of the younger sort sit down in self-content? We shall continue to learn even in heaven, and shall still be looking deeper and deeper into the abyss of divine love: it were ill to talk of perfect knowledge here below. If a man says, “I am fully equipped for my work, and need learn no more; I have moved here after having been three years in the last place, and I have quite a stock of sermons, so that I am under no necessity to read any more,” I would say to him, “My dear friend, the Lord give you brains, for you talk like one who is deficient in that department.” A brain is a very hungry thing indeed, and he who possesses it must constantly feed it by reading and thinking, or it will shrivel up or fall asleep. It is the child of the horse-leech, and it crieth evermore, “Give, give.” Do not starve it. If such mind-hunger never happens to you, I suspect you have no mind of any consequence.
But, brethren, see to it that you have in a sevenfold degree light of a higher kited. You are to be, above all things, students of the Word of God: this, indeed, is a main point of your avocation. If we do not study Scripture, and those books that will help us to understand theology, we are but wasting time while we pursue other researches. We should judge him to be a foolish fellow who, while preparing to be a physician, spent all his time in studying astronomy. There is a connection of some kind between stars and human bones; but a man could not learn much of surgery from Arcturus or Orion. So there is a connection between every science and religion, and I would advise you to obtain much general knowledge; but universal information will be a poor substitute for a special and prayerful study of the Scriptures, and of the doctrines contained in the revelation of God. We are to study men and our own hearts; we ought to sit as disciples in the schools of providence and experience. Some ministers grow fast because the great Teacher chastens them sorely, and the chastening is sanctified; but others learn nothing by their experience, they blunder out of one ditch into another, and learn nothing by their difficulties but the art of creating fresh ones. I suggest to you all the prayer of a Puritan who, during a debate, was observed to be absorbed in writing. His friends thought he was taking notes of his opponent’s speech, but when they got hold of his paper, they found nothing but these words, “More light, Lord! More light, Lord.” Oh, for more light from the great Father of lights!
Let not this light be only that of knowledge, but seek for the light of joy and cheerfulness. There is power in a happy ministry. A lugubrious face, a mournful voice, a languor of manner,—none of these commend us to our’ hearers; especially do they fail to attract the young. Certain strange minds find their happiness in misery, but they are not numerous. I once had a letter from one who told me that he came to the Tabernacle, but as soon as he entered he felt it could not be the house of God because there were so many present, and “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” When he looked at me he felt sure that I was unsound, for I should not look so cheerful in the face, neither should I be so bulky in person, if I belonged to the tried people of God.
Worst. of all, when he looked round upon the congregation, and saw their happy countenances, he said to himself, these people know nothing about the depravity of their hearts or the inward struggles of believers. Then he informed me that he wended his way to a very small chapel where he saw a minister who looked as if he had been in the furnace, and though there were but eight persons present, they all looked so depressed that he felt quite at home. I suppose he sat down and sang— “My willing soul would stay In such a frame as this, And sit and sing herself away From everything like bliss.” I felt glad that the good man was enabled to enjoy a little comfortable misery with his brethren. I did not feel at all envious; nor do I think that such a ministry of misery will ever draw to itself a number that no man can number. The children of light prefer the joy of the Lord, for they find it to be their strength.
Get plenty of light, brethren, and when you have obtained it give it out.
Never fall into the notion that mere earnestness will suffice without knowledge, and that souls are to be saved simply by our being zealous. I fear that we are more deficient in heat than in light; but at the same time that kind of fire which has no light in it is of a very doubtful nature and cometh not from above. Souls are saved by truth which enters the understanding, and so reaches the conscience. How can the gospel save when it is not understood? The preacher may preach with a great deal of stamping, and hammering, and crying, and entreating, but the Lord is not in the wind, nor in the fire—the still small voice of truth is needed to enter the understanding, and thereby reach the heart. People must be taught. We must “Go, and teach all nations,” making disciples of them; and I know of no way in which you can save men without teaching on your part, and discipleship on theirs. Some preachers, though they know a great deal, do not teach much, because they use such an involved style. Recollect that you are addressing people who need to be taught like children; for, though they are grown up, the major part of our hearers, as to the things of God, are still in a state of childhood; and if they are to receive the truth it must be made very plain, and packed up so as to be carried away and laid up in the memory. Therefore, brethren, give forth much holy instruction.
Some give little instruction because of their involved style; but; many fail for other reasons; mainly because they aim at something else. Talleyrand defines a metaphysician as a man who is very clever in drawing black lines upon a black ground: I should like to draw black lines upon a white ground, or else white lines on a black ground, so that they could be seen: but certain preachers are so profound that no one understands them. On the other hand, have you not heard sermons with great oratorical display about them, and nothing more? You have looked on while the angel wrought wondrously. The preacher has been like Blondin on the tightrope, and as we have looked at hint we have trembled, lest he should never reach the end of his lofty period. Yet he has balanced himself admirably, and moved along in his elevated position in a marvelous manner. When all is over your mind is unsatisfied; for these acrobatic feats of rhetoric do not feast the soul. Brethren, we must not make it our aim to be grand orators.
Certain men are eloquent by nature, and it is not possible for them to be otherwise than oratorical, any more than for nightingales to help singing sweetly: these I do not blame, but admire. It is not the duty of the nightingale to bring down its voice to the same tone as that of the sparrow.
Let it sing sweetly if it can do so naturally. God deserves the best oratory, the best logic, the best metaphysics, the best of everything; but if ever rhetoric stands in the way of the instruction of the people, a curse on rhetoric; if any educational attainment or natural gift which we possess should make it less easy for the people to understand us, let it perish. May God rend away from our thought and style everything which darkens the light, even though it should be like a costly ‘veil of rarest lace. May we use great plainness of speech that gospel light may shine out clearly.
At this time there is a great necessity for giving much light, for a fierce attempt is being made to quench or dim the light, Many are scattering darkness on all sides. Therefore, brethren, keep the light burning in your churches, keep the light burning in your pulpits, and hold it forth in the face of men who love darkness because it favors their aims. Teach the people all truth, and let not our distinctive opinions be concealed. There are sheepstealers about, who come forth in the night, and run away with our people because they do not know our principles,—the principles of Nonconformists, the principles of Baptists, or even the principles of Christianity. Our hearers have got a general idea of these things, but not enough to protect them from deceivers. We are beset not only by skeptics, but by certain brethren who devour the feeble. Do not leave your children to wander out without the guardianship of holy knowledge, for there are seducers abroad who will mislead them is they can. They will begin by calling them “dear” this, and “dear” that, and end by alienating them from those who brought them to Jesus. If you lose your members, let it be in the -light of day, and not through their ignorance. These kidnappers dazzle weak eyes with flashes of novelty, and turn weak heads with wonderful discoveries and marvelous doctrines, which all tend towards division and bitterness, and the exaltation of their own sect. Keep the light of truth burning, and thieves will not dare to plunder your house.
O for a church of believers in Jesus who know why they believe, in him; persons who believe the Bib]e, and know what it contains; who believe the doctrines of grace, and know the bearings of those truths; who know where they are and what they are, and who therefore dwell in the light, and cannot be deceived by the prince of darkness. Do, dear friends—I speak specially to the younger sort among us —do let there be plenty of teaching in your ministry. I fear that sermons are too often judged by their words rather than by their sense. Let it not be so with you. Feed the people always with knowledge and understanding, and let your preaching be solid, containing food for the hungry, healing for the sick, and light for those who sit in darkness. (TO BE CONTINUED.)
THE ENORMOUS GOODEBERRY NOW is the season for paragraphs in the newspapers concerning gooseberries which are twice as large as possible. The wonderful information fills up a corner, and gratifies the lovers of the marvelous, besides illustrating a style of writing which is by no means rare even among religious people.
We have been surprised to hear of” a great work” in a place where many intelligent residents never heard of any “work” whatever. Accompanied by a plea for funds we have seen narratives which have been written by excellent persons in which the descriptive adjectives may have been accurate if judged by the standard of their writers, but were certainly inapplicable to the matter in hand from any ordinary person’s stand-point.
We thought when we read the article that a whole neighborhood bad been convulsed if not converted; but on inquiry of City-missionaries and Biblewomen we found that nothing particular had happened,—at least, nothing so special as to cause excessive transports to the most hopeful.
We wish certain brethren could be taught to speak within bounds. The common slang of the day talks of things as “awful,”” magnificent,” “splendid,” and so forth, and this seems to have been imported into religious reporting. It is mischievous, however, and tends to damage the best of causes. When Christian people find things overstated they lose confidence, and in the case of men of the world it is worse, for they use the exaggeration as material for jests. It is always better to be under the mark than over it when we are describing good works in which we have had a hand. We must not put into print those sanguine ideas of things which our hopeful minds create in our excited brains. The cause of truth can never be aided by a deviation from truth. We may win applause at a public meeting or excite admiration in individuals by highly colored descriptions; but the time comes for investigation, and when. the coloring vanishes we are sure to be held in disrepute by those whom we deceived. The whole business of exaggeration is wrong and must never be tolerated in ourselves or encouraged in others: even the suppression of discouraging facts is a doubtful piece of policy, and policy is always impolitic in Christian work.
Brethren who are rather apt to puff, let us whisper in your ears—leave the monstrous gooseberries to the newspapers, and speak every man truth with his neighbor.
— THE SEVENTEENTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE of the Pastors’ College Association commenced on Monday afternoon, May 2, when a prayer-meeting was held at the College. A large number of the ministers and students assembled for tea at Salters’ Hall Chapel, Baxter Road, Islington, by invitation of Pastor A. Bax and his friends. They were a happy party, and their hosts made them even more so. In the evening the chapel was well filled for a public meeting, at which the president, C.H. Spurgeon, took the chair. Addresses were delivered by Mr. W.Y. Fullerton, and Pastors W. Pert-man, Herne Bay; C. Spurgeon, Greenwich; and C. A. Davis, Bradford. It was a living meeting with real spirit in it, a happy omen for the rest of the week. Simultaneously with this gatherings, prayer-meeting was held at the Tabernacle, led by the Vice-President, J.A. Spurgeon, when earnest prayers were offered for a blessing upon all the engagements of the week.
On Tuesday morning, May 3, about an hour and a half was spent in praise for past mercies, and prayer for future favors. The fire burned as soon as it was kindled, and within half an hour hearts began to glow, for the heavenly flame was among us. The President appropriately referred to the deaths of Pastors Charles Hill, T. Colville, and A. Macfarlane, and prayer was presented on behalf of their bereaved relatives. Letters were read from brethren still spared, but suffering; and also the communications from Australian and Canadian pastors, which will be found in the report, at the end of the present magazine. Very touching were the prayers for the sick and absent: heart-work was going on. Shortly after noon the President commenced the delivery of his inaugural address, the first part of which appears in another page. At its close, and after a brief recess, the Conference business was transacted. Amongst items of general interest the following only need be mentioned,—the names of thirty-two students who have been in the College for six months were added to the Conference roll; and certain other names, for various reasons, were removed from the list.
The report of the Assurance community showed that the receipts had been £58, and the payments £65 17s. 6d.; the deficiency of £7 17s. 6d. being met by the President and the Treasurer, C. F. Allison, Esq., who was heartily thanked for his management of the fund, and requested to continue his services during the ensuing year. It was agreed that Monday, June 20th, in the present year, should be observed as far as possible as aDAY OF UNITED PRAYER by all the churches connected with the Conference. The President earnestly entreats the brethren to take this in hand in downright earnest.
Dinner was provided at the Tabernacle each day under the care of Mr. Murrell and his assistants. All the commissariat arrangements of the week were most satisfactory. On Tuesday, after tea at the Orphanage, the evening was profitably spent in listening to the singing of the orphan boys, and addresses upon the Liberation question by Pastor G. Duncan, Oakes Lindley, Huddersfield; and the Rev. J. Guinness Rogers, B.A. Very hearty and joyous was the spirit which prevailed at every gathering.
On Wednesday morning, May 4, a considerable time was devoted to prayer on behalf of evangelistic effort, in anticipation of the addresses to be delivered upon the subject, “How to win souls, and evangelize England.”
Pastors A. G. Brown, East London Tabernacle; C. B. Sawday, Vernon Chapel, Pentonville: H. E. Stone, Nottingham Tabernacle; and W.Y. Fullerton spoke upon the topic selected, as did also the following members of the Baptist Union Evangelistic Committee:—Mr. Win. Olney, Revs.W. Sampson, J. T. Wigner, and W. Penfold Cope; and the Rev. H.L. Wayland, D.D., of Philadelphia. It was a morning well spent. No man could fail to be aroused to more earnest action. Much agony of heart was felt by some of the speakers as they described the sad condition of the masses, and expressed their fears that they were not even now reached in their lowest depths by any known agency. There was much good, practical talk, and we hope that something will come of it to the glory of God and the benefit of the people.
In the afternoon the subscribers and friends met for tea, after which the Annual Meeting was held under the chairmanship, first, of John Houghton, Esq., of Liverpool, and afterwards, of the Rt. Hon. W. McArthur, M.P., the Lord Mayor. Prayer was offered by the Rev. W. Brock. The President summarized the report for the year, and addresses were delivered by the two chairmen, George Palmer, Esq., M.P., Dr. Wayland, Mr. J. Manton Smith, and Pastors T. G. Tarn, Cambridge; J. G. Wilson, Southend;G. Simmons, New Malden; and W. Hobbs, Lower Norwood. At nine o’clock the visitors adjourned to the Tabernacle Lecture Hall, where Mr. Murroll and his co-workers had once more prepared with great taste the supper given by Mr. Spurgeon and two friends. After the collectors had passed round the tables, the President was able to announce as the total of donations and promises, £2,166, a higher amount than had ever been reached before. The doxology was sung as an expression of gratitude for this signal favor, and the large company dispersed, thankful for the share they had been permitted to take in providing for the Tabernacle “school of the prophets” for another year.
On Thursday morning, May 5, after a season of devotion, the Vice- President delivered an address founded upon the words, “Daily shall he be praised.” (Psalm 72:15.) Pastor T. Harley, John-street Chapel, Bedfordrow, then read his carefully-pre-pared paper upon “The witness of the Old Testament to Christ,” which was followed by an interesting discussion upon the position of scientific men toward the Word of God. The President announced that Mrs. Spurgeon had hoped to see the brethren, but not being well enough to do so, she had sent them a book, “In Prospect of Sunday.” The following resolution was carried by acclamation, and the President requested to convey it to his afflicted wife:—” That our sincere, and tender, and hearty thanks be presented to Mrs. Spurgeon for her thoughtfulness of us, and for her wise choice of a book so likely to be useful to us.”
In the afternoon a large number of friends met for tea, and afterwards the Tabernacle was nearly crowded for the annual public meeting. C.H. Spurgeon presided, and reported the progress of the College during the past twelve months. Mr. Frisby’s evangelistic choir led the singing, which consisted of several fine old-fashioned tunes, and addresses were given by the Vice-President, and Pastors H. Bradford, Brixham; J. Wilson, Woolwich; and W. Hailstone, Birmingham. Mr. Bradford’s story of the Lord’s work among the sailors at Brixham ,thrilled the whole audience, many of whom, no doubt, joined in the earnest prayer offered by PastorW. Anderson, Reading, that a similar blessing might be poured out upon other churches. At the close of the meeting the ministers and students repaired to the lecture-hall, where Mr. Murrell was again prepared to entertain them in the usual sumptuous fashion. The President being too weary to stay, the Vice-President took the chair, and, after prayer, reminded the brethren that in July next the College will have been in existence for a quarter of a century, and that as there had been a pastoral silver-wedding and a domestic silver-wedding celebration, so it had been thought well to take advantage of the absence of the President to consider the desirability of arranging for the commemoration of the College Silver Wedding. It was unanimously resolved, “That we have a memorial of our College Silver Wedding, and that the form the memorial shall take be decided upon by a committee composed of the tutors of the College, Pastors A. G. Brown, Cuff, .W. Anderson, Gange, Geo. Hill, M.A., Medhurst, and Tarn, and any others whom they think it wise to add to their number.”
On Friday morning, May 6, after prayer by several brethren and the President’s father, our venerable but youthful friend, Professor Rogers, delivered a special farewell address upon the words, “Christ also,” founding his remarks upon the passage” Ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). Mr. Rogers has prepared for the press all the addresses delivered by him at our annual Conferences, and we have arranged for our publishers to issue them as soon as possible in a neat volume, which will, we hope, secure a wide circulation. After a brief interval the brethren assembled for worship, and the President preached a short sermon from the text, “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Then followed the communion, and our closing psalm sung as usual by the whole assembly standing with hands linked, in token of our holy brotherhood. At the dinner-table, our faithful Remembrancer, Pastor F.H. White, informed us that the contributions to the College funds from the ministers and students had greatly exceeded last year’s amount, pastors having collected or given £561 9s. 11d., to which the students had added £124 17s. 9d., whereas the total sum reported last Conference was only £516 16s. 11d. Thanks were then heartily given to all friends Who had not been previously remembered, and in reply Mr. Murrell and Revs.W. Sampson and John Spurgeon spoke, the doxology was sung, and the benediction pronounced, and so ended what all must have felt was a time of unbounded mercy and blessing.
Mr. Spurgeon was able to be present all the week, but on Saturday he was over-taken by a rheumatic affection of the heel, which prevented his being able to stand, and so for one Sabbath he was debarred the privilege of preaching. The attack, however, passed off in a few days, and he was again upon his feet. The strain of such meetings from morning to night upon one who leads them is no small matter, and it is not wonderful that a frail body should somewhat suffer as the result.
— Mr. W. W. Blocksidge, having completed his course with us, will shortly settle at New Brompton near Chatham. This district contains 24,000 inhabitants, with church and chapel accommodation for less than 3,000, and no Baptist Chapel at all. The only place that could be obtained for a preaching-room was a hall holding 120 people, and there, in spite of many inconveniences, services have been held for more than two years. A church has been formed, which numbers between i0 and 50 members. A site for a chapel has been purchased, and after paying for the land about £200 in cash and promises remains as the nucleus of a building fund. A schoolroom and vestries will probably be erected first, and we shall be glad to receive contributions in aid of the work. We do not know of a district which offers a more hopeful field. Will not the Lord give the word to certain of his stewards to send on the amount needed for a place of worship for this hopeful band of believers?
Mr. A. McCaig has accepted the pastorate of the church at Streatham. Mr. G. Samuel is removing shortly from Penge to Aston Park, Birmingham; Mr. T. Hagen from Great Yarmouth to Coalville, Staffs; and Mr.S. Skingle from Mossley to Retford, Notts.
We have been very pleased to be able, through the kindness of a friend, to send help to Mr. Hamilton to assist him in his arduous undertaking at Cape Town. He has our entire confidence and affection, and we believe that the Lord by him has done a great work, and will do yet more. It will afford us the utmost delight to send more help to this truly missionary brother.
— Messrs. Smith and Fullerton continue at work in Sheffield.
One of the ministers of the town sends us the following report of the services held up to the present time:— “We are happy to report that the mission of our friends, Messrs. Fullerton and Smith, is most manifestly growing in favor and power, and bids fair both to rouse the churches connected with the movement, and to reach large numbers outside all the religious communities. “The evangelists came to Sheffield on the 10th April, in response to a cordial invitation from all the Independent, Baptist, and Presbyterian ministers in the town. The first fortnight was devoted to Attercliffe, a densely populated district. Here the members of the churches took up the work with great enthusiasm—early morning meetings at seven o’clock were crowded, and throughout a deep spirit of earnestness and expectancy was maintained. Already there is reason to believe that the results will fully justify the faith that has been in such vigorous exercise. “From the 24th April to the 12th May the effort has been confined to the center of the town. With the exception of two or three days during which our friends were absent in order that they might attend the College Conference, all the meetings have been well attended: on many occasions the largest chapel in the district, holding about twelve hundred people, has been quite full. “The Song Services given on Saturday evenings have become great favorites. It is evident that soon none of our chapels will be large enough to hold the crowds that flock from all parts of the town. “On Sunday, 8th inst., a meeting for men only was held in a chapel seating nearly twelve hundred: a copy of the Postman was promised in exchange for the ticket of admission, as an additional help in getting the place filled.
However, when the time came, the stream of men from all directions dispelled all fear—the chapel was crowded—Mr. Smith’s happy face and cheerful address, together with some good-tempered drilling in the singing and chorus, at once won the hearts of all, and admirably prepared the way for the direct appeals of the gospel which came after. “At the close, when the men were asked about another meeting in that place, voices from the pews immediately responded that they must have a larger place. On Sunday last (15th), the Albert Hall was secured. Tickets were issued for about two thousand seats for men, and about one thousand for women. Long before the time for beginning the meeting the hall was crammed, and hundreds clamored for admission. An overflow meeting had to be improvised in a lower room, into which very quickly over three hundred men and women were packed, so that probably some three thousand five hundred were brought together to listen to the gospel at those meetings. Next Sunday we intend arranging the meeting for men only: there can be no doubt the hall will be crowded. Our friends have already gained a firm grip of the attention and of the hearts of the working men of the town. “On Sunday evening the work was begun in a suburban district at Glossoproad Baptist Church. People began to flock to the service at 5.45. Before 6.30 the church, which is returned to seat eight hundred, by the aid of forms and extra seats, contained about one thousand two hundred: an overflow meeting in the schoolroom had to be begun, into which, however, only about two hundred and fifty could be got: we have reason to believe many must have been turned away. Nearly all the congregation remained to the prayer-meeting at the close, and the attention throughout the whole service was most impressive, while proofs of deep feeling were very often to be seen. “There are yet four other districts of the town to be visited. We believe the movement is growing in depth as well as in breadth. Already there have been many most marked proofs of the Holy Spirit’s working; but we trust these have only been as the droppings before the shower about to fall. “The noonday prayer-meetings have been well sustained from the first. Of the special meetings for children and for women, we have not time to write. In them at the peculiarly rich adaptation of our friends to their special work has been shown; and, better than all, the Master’s presence has been felt. May God’s fullest blessing rest upon our town is our united prayer.”
Mr. Burnham has been prosecuting’ his work with his usual zeal and success, and this month, after being with us at the Conference, and holding services in Waltham-stow, returns to carry on his Yorkshire campaign.
Mr. G. W. Linnecar, “: the Sailor Evangelist,” asks us to say that he is willing to give three days each month to evangelistic effort in connection with our brethren’s churches. He would prefer to visit seaside places. His address is—-2, Myrtle Villas, Bellenden-road, Peckham, S.E. He is a rough and ready brother, well fitted, by God’s blessing, to get at the hearts of sailors.
ORPHANAGE.—-Just as we are making up the “Notes” we hear that another little lad has passed away from the infirmary. We have for some time expected this, and can only regard it as a happy release.
Mr. Charlesworth and a choir of the boys have been for a brief tour in South Wales, visiting Newport, Cardiff, and Bridgend, and have had a most enthusiastic reception. They are not home at the time we write, and therefore we cannot give details of their visits. Special Notice.—The Annual Fete will be held on WEDNESDAY,JUNE 22nd, when the girls’ houses will be open for inspection, although we hardly expect that any of them will be quite complete. It would greatly cheer us to see many friends from the country. Refreshments are provided on the ground, so that they can spend a long afternoon and evening at the Orphanage. If the Lord should move some friends to be doubly generous just now, so as to finish off the building of the Girls’ Orphanage, we should indeed be rejoiced.
We have now ascertained that the cost of furnishing the four center houses will be about £250 each, and the two end houses. which are much. larger, £460 each. Samuel Barrow, Esq., who rendered us such admirable service in the building of the Girls’ Orphanage, has now placed us under further obligation by generously promising to furnish his house, “The Olives.” Mr. Rickett has also paid the noble sum of £1,000, which it was estimated that “The Limes” house, without the schoolroom above, would cost furnished; and £2,220 has been either paid or promised by the trustees for the building and furnishing of their house. Then we have the inquiry from Cambridge, to which we alluded last month, which we hope will lead to the furnishing of another house; but to make sure we must now ask for sufficient to furnish the two larger houses and one smaller one—this will certainly require £1,200. Then will follow the dining-hall, girls’ infirmary, and other buildings, towards which we have one donation of £1,000 which was reported before. This is a noble beginning, but a large sum will be needed.
The Lord’s arm is not shortened:, and he will surely send the whole amount required.
As soon as possible a meeting of the ladies who are likely to help the Bazaar at Christmas will be held, and in the meantime will all friends work away vigorously, so that the whole affair may be carried through With the same hearty zeal which has been displayed all along/, even to this present time ‘: If all over the country ladies will work for this Bazaar, we shall finish the Orphanage at a stroke, but it must be taken up on all hands or it will not succeed. We shall be glad to hear from ladies who would take stalls.
— The Annual Meeting of the Colportage Association was held at the Tabernacle, in connection with the usual prayer-meeting, on Monday evening May 16. More than thirty of the colporteurs had spent the previous day in prayer and conference with the committee, and on Monday afternoon they were addressed by Mr. Spurgeon upon the requisites to success in the spiritual portion of their work. A large number of friends assembled for the public meeting, at which Mr. Spurgeon presided: addresses were given by the Revs. H. Sinclair Paterson, M.D., and R.H. Lowell, and several of the colporteurs related interesting incidents that had occurred in connection with their work. During 1880 the 79 colporteurs employed by the Association have sold 7,80i Bibles, 10,675 Testaments, 96,073 bound books, 9,041 packets of texts, and 272,698 magazines; and they have also visited 630,993 families, and conducted 6,745 religious services. This is one of the best of our enterprises, and deserves to receive ten times its present support. It is one of the cheapest and best ways of spreading the gospel in the dark parts of our land. What can we say to interest Christian people in it? If it does not from its own intrinsic merit win sympathy no words of ours will do it.
— A friend living in Surrey writes as follows:—” We hold meeting for the preaching of the Gospel in our drawing-room every Sabbath evening, as there is no place of worship here but the church, which is Ritualistic. All are made welcome at our service, but it is principally attended by the poor. We sometimes have an evangelist, or other preacher, but when we are unable to secure the services of such I read one of your sermons. Recently I selected No. 1,211, (‘The Hospital of Waiters visited with the Gospel,’) and about the middle of the sermon, as I was reading, I looked up, and caught such a beaming glance from a woman whom we knew to be under conviction of sin that I felt perfectly sure that she had found peace; and on the following Tuesday she wrote and told Mrs. — that it was so, and that it came to her at the time I noticed her looking up.”
Another friend, in Middlesex, writes:— “Last week I was visiting in our village among the poor, and entered the room of poor old needlewoman, a godly soul. As she cannot get out much to the services of the church I advised her to read your sermons as a source of comfort; and joy’ She then told me that for the past twenty years she has earned a bare pittance With her needle, often and often finding herself on the Saturday with only threepence to carry her on until Monday. Feeling the great blessing your sermons were to her she would lay out her store thus—ld, sermon, ld. bread, and ld. tea, ‘ and,’ said the good woman, ‘ I would not have changed places with the Queen when I got into the cream of the sermon, and I often forgot to eat my bread.’ After the sermons have accumulated, although a feeble soul, she has gone about distributing them so that others might share the blessing with her.” The following cheering note comes from the United States:—-” It will refresh your heart to learn that a beloved pastor in this country (whose teaching and preaching are a striking contrast to the vapid utterances of the humanitarians and sentimentalists who abound in all our cities,) received through your ministry some years ago a very great blessing. He visited England, and planned to hear all the men of note in London. On his arrival he happened to learn that you were to speak one afternoon in the neighborhood of his hotel. That sermon did him so much good that he followed you around, and during his six weeks in London heard no other preacher. Your vindication of God’s grace, and advocacy of his sovereignty in salvation, and your clear presentation of faith and assurance so filled him, and confirmed his own views of divine truth that he returned to his own country strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. He often speaks of that visit, and I have heard him frequently thank God/or your ministry. He is truly a witness to the sufficiency of the Atonement, and a noble opposer of that science falsely so-called which belittles the word of Revelation. I refer to Dr.—, of — author of —-., &e. He was too modest to introduce himself.”
A minister in St. Petersburg sends us the following:—” By your sermons, etc., you are having a part in the great work of spreading Christ’s kingdom both in St. Petersburg and in the interior. You are well known among the priests, who seem glad to get hold of your translated sermons, and, strange to say, I know cases in which the Censor has readily given consent for your works to be translated when he has been reluctant respecting many.”
Another friend in the same city, who distributes our sermons, says that he gave one recently to an old Russian pope, or priest, who called upon him one Sunday while engaged at family prayer, and tried to sell him some pork. He says that he will get all the other sermons that are translated, and give them to as many popes as he can find access to.
The Rev. Joseph Cook, the Boston Monday Lecturer, has been at the Tabernacle twice during the past month, and on the 31st of May is to be there again, when he is to deliver his last lecture in London on “Certainties in Religion.” On Sunday afternoon, May 1, Mr. Cook preached the annual sermon at the Tabernacle under the auspices of the National Temperance League; and on Tuesday Evening, May 10, he delivered his popular lecture entitled, “Does death end all?” In the absence, through illness, of his brother, Pastor J. A. Spurgeon took the chair. All bear testimony to the force of Mr. Cook’s testimony to the orthodox faith. He has done good service in the United States in defense of the gospel, and he comes to us with the commendation of ministers concerning whose soundness in the faith no question can be raised. We might not endorse every expression used by Mr. Cook, but of his intense’, earnestness for the old-fashioned gospel we have the fullest evidence, and of his ability to defend it against philosophical skeptics we have abundant proof. From his own lips we have had the clearest testimony, not only to the gospel, but to that form of it which is known as thoroughly Calvinistic.
The style in which meetings are reported in the American press is often of the most telling kind. Often when we have been reading Transatlantic papers our feeble pen would have blushed at its own ineffectual attempts if it had not been too much covered with ink. Here is an extract from the -Examiner and Chronicle which ought not to die: in addition to the local news it contains such rich morsels that it makes good reading for people who do not know Cleveland, or its Baptist Social Union, or the pastor who is so likely to be kidnapped if he be too publicly exhibited.
Rev. W. C. P. Rhodes also pleased eye? one by a thoughtful speech on “The Baptists—one in feeling, and one in work.” As we were, coming out we met one of his parishioners. “That was art excellent address,” said one. “How does that compare with his ordinary work?” “Well,” he answered, “I will tell you a little incident. When the Convention met at Dayton, some time since, our pastor preached the sermon. At the close of the service a gentleman from Cincinnati came up to one of our members, and said, ‘ Can he do like that every time? ‘ ‘Yew,’ was the reply. ‘ Well, you had better not show him around much, or you will lose him.’“ Here are a few of his thoughts—” The city church can well afford to send out aid to these weak country fields, for many of its future deacons are to come from among those country boys. It will only be as when the heart sends forth the blood to all parts of the body, to receive it purified back: from the lungs again.” “We need to stand together. A hundred churches may be working apart, each building its own monument, and they may be only like the isolated stones of a cemetery. But let them all work together, and they will be raising a temple to the great God, complete in all its parts.”
Of course the chief attraction of the day was Rev. Dr. Broadus, of Louisville, Ky., that master of public address, when he feels well. We add this latter clause, because it is true of every master of public address.
Beecher says “a man can’t preach with a peg in his boot, whoever he is.”
We have heard Beecher himself when he was positively dull. We have read the same testimony concerning Webster; and Paul once put a man to sleep, so that he tumbled out of the window. Some of us can do that now. It is a dangerous experiment, however, as unfortunately we do not possess Paul’s power to bring him back to life again if he gets killed.
Dr. Broadus evidently had on his old shoes, however, yesterday. Not a peg in them. tie could not have done better if he had been positively barefooted.
He felt well. So did all the rest of us. His theme was “An investment that pays big dividends.” That is—that was the sign in the shop window intended to call in customers, selected and hung there, not by the Doctor, but by the Committee who invited him. The real stock on hand which he dealt out was “The advantages of college education.” Of course, we can give no just synopsis. The truth is, a really effective speech never can be reported. It is like fireworks on the fifth of July—the powder all out of them. We might as well try to show our country friends what the ocean is by taking spoonful home.
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle.— April 25th, nineteen; 28th, fifteen.
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PASTOR’S COLLEGE BY C. H. SPURGEON. 1880-81.
ON inquiring ‘the other day for the secretary of one of our largest societies I was informed that he had gone to the ‘sea-side for a month, in order that he might have quiet to prepare the. report. I do not wonder at this if he has aforetime written many descriptions of the same work, for every \,ear increases the difficulty unless a man is prepared to say the same thing over and over again. Very few can, like Paganini, perform so admirably on one string that everybody is charmed with the melody. The task grows still harder when the year has been peaceful and successful. It has been truly said, “Happy is the nation which has no history,” because it has been free from changes, wars, convulsions, and revolutions; but I may remark, on the other hand, unhappy is the historian .who has to produce a record of a certain length concerning a period which has been innocent of striking events, making bricks without straw is nothing to it. The Pastors’ College has of late maintained the even tenor of its way, knowing little of external attack and nothing of internal strife. Regular in its work, and fixed in its purpose, its movement has been calm and strong. Hence there are no thrilling incidents, painful circumstances, or striking occurrences with ‘which to fill my page and thrill my reader’s soul. Gratitude writ large is about the only material at hand out of which to fashion my report. ‘“ Bless the Lord, O my soul” is my one song, and I feel as if I could repeat it a thousand times.
The College started with a definite doctrinal basis. I never affected ‘to leave great questions as moot points to be discussed in the Hall, ,and believed or not believed, as might be the fashion of the hour. The creed of the College is well known, and we invite none to enter who do not accept it. The doctrines of grace, coupled with a firm belief in human responsibility, are held with intense conviction, and those who do not receive them would not find themselves at home within our walls. The Lord has sent us tutors who are lovers of sound doctrine, and zealous for the truth. No uncertain sound has been given forth at any time, and we would sooner close the house than have it so. Heresy in colleges means false doctrine throughout: the churches: to defile the fountain is to pollute the streams. Hesitancy which might be tolerated in an ordinary minister would utterly disqualify a teacher of teachers. The experiment of Doddridge ought to satisfy all godly ,men, that colleges without, dogmatic evangelical teaching are more likely to be seminaries of Socinianism than schools of the prophets. Old Puritanic theology has been heartily accepted by those received into our College, and on leaving it they have almost with one consent remained faithful to that which they have received, The men are before the public in every part of the country, and their testimony is well known.
This Institution has now reached its twenty-fifth year, and its object, spirit, and manner of work remain the same. It was intended from the first to receive young men who had been preaching for a sufficient time to test their abilities and their call to the work of the ministry; and such young men have been forthcoming every year in growing numbers. Some bodies of Christians have to lament that their ministry is not’ adequately supplied:
I know of one portion of the church which is sending up to heaven bitter lamentations because as the fathers depart to their rest there is scanty hope that their places will be: filled; but among the Baptists the candidates for the ministry are, if possible, too plentiful. This is a new state of things, and is to be interpreted as indicating growth and zeal. Certainly the applicants are not tempted by rich livings, or even by the prospect of competent support; or, if they are, I take abundant pains to set before them the assured truth that they will find our ministry to be a warfare abounding in long marches and stern battles; but equally notable for meager rations. Still they come, and it needs a very hard heart to repel them, and to refuse to eager’ brethren. the drill and equipment which they covet so earnestly. If it were wise to increase the number of students, another hundred of suitable men could at once be added to those who are already under tuition.
From the commencement our main’ object was to help men who from lack of funds could not obtain an education for themselves. These have been supplied, not only with tuition and books, gratis, but with board and lodging, and in some cases with clothes and pocket money. Some very successful brethren needed everything, and if they had been required to pay they must have remained illiterate preachers to this day. Still, year by year the number of men who are ready to .support themselves in whole or in part has increased, and, I believe, that it is increasing and will increase. As a college we have had to struggle with a repute based upon falsehood and created by jealousy; but this has not injured us to any great extent; for men come to us from America, Australia, and the Cape, and applications have frequently been made from foreign countries. German students have attended our classes during their own vacations, and members of other colleges are usually to be seen at our lectures. The Institution never deserved to be charged with giving a mere apology for an education; and if ever that reproach could have been justly cast upon us it is utterly undeserved now that the time of study has become more extended, and a fuller course of training has thus become possible. Scholarship for its own sake was never sought and never will be within the Pastors’ College; but to help men to become efficient preachers has been and ever will be the sole aim of all those concerned in its management. I shall not, in order to increase our prestige, refuse poor men, or zealous young Christians whose early education has been neglected. Pride would suggest that we take “a better class of men,” but experience shows that they are not better, that eminently useful men spring from all ranks, that diamonds may be found in the rough, and that some who need most pains in the polishing reward our labor a thousandfold. My friends will still stand by me in my desire to aid the needy but pious brother. and we shall rejoice together as we continually see the ploughman, the fisherman, and the mechanic taught the way of God more perfectly, and enabled through divine grace to proclaim in the language of the people the salvation of our God.
During the past year about 120 men have been with us; but as some have come and others have gone, the average number in actual residence has averaged one hundred. Of these a few have been with us three years, and more have entered upon the third year. The rule is, that a man’s usual period terminates at the end of two years, and his remaining longer depends upon the judgment formed of him. Certain men will never get beyond an English education, and to detain them from their work is to repress their ardor, without bestowing a compensatory advantage. In other cases, the longer the period of study the better. Probably the third year is to many a student more useful than the other two, and he goes forth to his life-work more thoroughly prepared. I could not lengthen the course in former days, when churches tempted the brethren away before the proper time, as they too often did. They told these raw youths that it was a pity to delay, that if they left their studies souls might be saved, and I know not what besides;; and some were induced to run away, as Rowland Hill would have said, before they had pulled their boots on. If I constrained them to remain, the good deacons of the eager churches thought me a sort of harsh jailer who locked up his prisoners, and would not give them up at the entreaty of their friends. One wrote and bade me loose the brother, for the Lord had need of him, and I would have let the young man go if I had thought that he was one of the donkeys to whom the passage referred.
That a number of brethren may have entered upon their ministry prematurely was no fault of mine, but of those who tempted them to quit their classes too soon. However, there have been periods, in which there is a lull in the demand of the churches for ministers, and then we have been able to retain the men for a longer season. Such a time is passing over us just now, and I do not regret it, for I am persuaded it is good to give the brethren a longer space for preparatory study.
A short time ago I was compelled to look up to God for special direction in the matter of tutors. Our honored friend, Rev. George Rogers:, grew old, and the question was how would his place be: supplied. Many years ago I said of him what I could repeat with loving emphasis at this moment: “This gentleman, who has remained during all this period our principal tutor, is a man of Puritanic stamp, deeply learned, orthodox in doctrine, judicious, witty, devout, earnest, liberal in spirit, and withal juvenile in heart to an extent most remarkable in one of his years. My connection with him has been one of uninterrupted comfort and delight. The most sincere affection exists between us, we are of one mind and one heart, and what is equally important,. he has in every case secured not merely the respect but the filial love of every student.” The time came when, at eighty years of age, the veteran saw fit to retire, but he did it with such grace that not a jarring word or thought arose out of it; and then the Lord heard prayer and showed how the work could still be carried on efficiently. Mr. Gracey, a most able classical tutor, became the principal; Mr. Fergusson cultivated other branches of service; and Mr. Marchant, of Hitchin, one of our own home-born men, took the juniors, and has proved himself in all respects fit: for the office. Mr. Rogers comes up once a week to give a cheering word, and the other three tutors work together in happy harmony. The change has been gently made, and the train has almost imperceptibly glided from the old rail to the new: our venerable friend is missed exceedingly in many ways; but still God has wonderfully prepared others to continue Mr. Rogers’ work so much in his own spirit and manner that all of us unite in praising God that the alteration which has taken place has involved so little change.
I have been very ill through the greater part of the past year, and hive therefore been unable to give so much personal service to the College as I have usually done. This has been a sore trial to me; but it has been much alleviated by my beloved brother, J. A. Spurgeon, the vice-president, who has looked after everything with great care; and I have also been greatly comforted by the knowledge that the tutors are as deeply concerned about the holy service as ever I can be. It has been my joy to learn that the College was never in a better state in all respects than now, and that the men under training give promise of becoming useful preachers. I have had very little weeding work to do on my coming back to my place, and those whom I have removed were not chargeable with any fault, but their capacity was questioned by the tutors. All through the year this painful operation has to be carried on, and it always causes me much grief, but it is a necessary part of my official duty as president. Young men who come to us loaded with testimonials, are occasionally found after a while to be lacking in application, or in spiritual power; and after due admonishment and trial they have to be sent back to the place from whence they came; others are as good as gold, but their heads ache, and their health fails under hard study, or from lack of mental capacity they cannot master the subjects placed before them: these must be kindly, but firmly, set aside: but I always dread the task. This thinning-out process is done with conscientiousness under the guidance of the tutors; but this year there has been little need of it, and I have rejoiced in the fact, since frequent depression of spirit has made it undesirable to have much trying work to do. I am glad to say that very rarely have I had to deal with a case of moral failure. Bad young men have crept in among us, and no men are perfect; but I have great comfort in seeing the earnest and prayerful spirit which has prevailed among the brotherhood.
Foremost among our aims is the promotion of a vigorous spiritual life among those who are preparing to be under-shepherds of Christ’s flock.
By’ frequent meetings for prayer, and by other means, we labor to maintain a high tone of spirituality. I have endeavored in my lectures and addresses to stir up the holy fire; for well I know that if the heavenly flame burns low nothing else will avail. The earnest action of the College Missionary Society has been a source of great joy to me, for above all things I desire to see many students devoting themselves to foreign work. The Temperance Society also does a good work, and tends to keep alive among the men a burning hatred of England’s direst curse.
We need the daily prayer of God’s people that much grace may be with all concerned in this important business; for what can we do without the Holy Spirit? How few ever pray for students! If ministers do not come up to the desired standard, may not the members of the churches rebuke themselves for having restrained prayer on their account? When does a Christian worker more need prayer than in his early days, when his character is forming and his heart is tenderly susceptible both of good and evil influences? I would beseech all who have power with God to remember our Colleges in their intercessions. The solemn interests involved in the condition of these schools of the prophets compel me to entreat, even unto tears, that the hopeful youth of our ministry may not be forgotten in the supplications of the saints. For us also, who have the responsible duty of guiding the minds of these young men, much prayer is requested, that we may have wisdom, love, gentleness, firmness, and abounding spiritual power. It is not every man who can usefully influence students, nor can the same men have equal power at all times. The divine Spirit is needed, and He is given to them that ask for his sacred teaching.
In Great Britain 355 former students are preaching the word, some in the more prominent pulpits of the denomination and others in positions where their patience and self-denial are severely tested by the present depression in trade, and the consequent inability of rural congregations; to furnish them with adequate support. The College has reason to rejoice not only in the success of her most honored sons, but in the faithfulness and perseverance of the rank and file, whose service, although they are little noticed on earth, will receive the “well done” of the Lord.
This Institution is not alone a College, but a Home and Foreign Missionary Society. Our three Evangelists have traversed the land with great diligence, and the Lord has set his seal to their work. Messrs. Fullerton and Smith work together, and God has given them marvelous success;. Mr. Burnham journeys by himself, singing and preaching with much blessing, while Mr. Parker and others are most usefully occupied in preaching the word from place to place.
It is my greatest pleasure to aid in commencing new churches. The oftener brethren can create their own spheres the more glad shall I be. It is not needful to repeat the details of former reports;, but many churches have been founded through the College, and there are more to follow. I announced at the beginning of this enterprise that it was not alone for the education of ministers, but for the general spread of the gospel, and this has been adhered to, a part of the income being always expended in that direction.
A very considerable number of Pastors’ College men are to be found at the Antipodes. I cannot forget that there I have a beloved son; but next to that in nearness to my heart is the fact that so many of my’ spiritual sons are there, prospering, and bringing glory to God. It was with no little delight that I received the following letter from some of them. Readers must kindly excuse expressions of affection which are so natural from friends; I could not cut them out without destroying the spirit of the letter. I rejoice with all my heart in the abounding success, of Mr. A. J. Clarke, who was for years the companion of Mr. J. Manton Smith as the College Evangelist, nor less in all that has been achieved by many others in the various colonies of the southern world. But- here is the letter. “Melbourne, Victoria, “Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, “2nd November, 1880. “Honored and Beloved President, “A number of former students of the College being met together at this metropolis of the Antipodes, it was most heartily agreed that we should send you an expression of our warm love. For truly we can say that instead of distance or even time causing any abatement of love towards you personally, or towards the Institution which we may with truth style our alma mater, we find it intensified and hallowed. “The meetings of the Victorian Baptist Association are now being held in this city, which has brought most of us together; but the Melbourne Exhibition has brought to us brother Harry Woods, from South Australia, and brother Harrison, from Deloraine, Tasmania. Our brother A.J. Clarke’s house is the rendezvous for all the brethren, and the cheery hospitality of himself and wife prove them to be called to the episcopate.
Though all the brethren, so far as we know, have had blessing this year, some of them wonderfully so; yet our brother A. J. Clarke, here at West Melbourne, has experienced a year of toil and harvesting, in which we all rejoice, and which exercises a stimulating effect upon all who hail from ‘the College.’ “When a number of us were bowing in prayer together, we felt how thoroughly you would have been with us in spirit, as we prayed that we might oppose, in the might of God, the awful world-spirit of this region, and that our souls might be kept wholly loyal to king Jesus, having no ‘ fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.’ “Finally, beloved servant of God, we hail you in the name of our Triune Jehovah! No words of ours can express our personal obligation to you. But by fidelity to Christ and to truth, by manifesting that we have caught the spirit of burning love to souls which burns in your own breast, and by serving to our utmost ability, and to the last day of life, in the kingdom and patience of Jesus, we hope to show that all your care and that of the tutors and friends of the Tabernacle has not been ill-bestowed. We remain, “Yours in the bonds of eternal love,
“WM.CHRISTR.BUNNING,GEELONG;WILLIAM CLARK,BALLARAT; ALFRED J.CLARKE,WEST MELBOURNE; H. H.GARRETT,BRIGHTON; HENRY MARSDEN,KEW; J. S.HARRISON,DELORAINE,TASMANIA;HARRY WOOD,SADDLE-WORTH, S.AUSTRALIA; F.G.BUCKINGHAM, MELBOURNE.”
Similarly in Canada the Lord has been with those who have gone from the College. My dear brother, S. A. Dyke, of Toronto, has been a right valiant leader of the band. Singularly enough, this friend, now called “Endowment Dyke,” has been the means of succoring Woodstock College, raising for it an endowment which will make it a permanent institution, to which the Canadian churches will hopefully look for a supply of educated ministers.
My brother, J. A. Spurgeon, during his visit to Canada, formed a branch of our Conference there, and from it the annexed loving epistle has lately come. “567, York-street, London East, Ontario, Canada, “April 6th, 1881. “Beloved President,—We, the members of the Canadian branch of the Pastors’ College Brotherhood, herewith greet you lovingly (and our brethren, through you) on the occasion of your Annual Conference, which we hope may surpass even the best of bygone gatherings, in all holy joy and such spiritual refreshing as may fit all for more abundant service. “Need we say how deeply we feel for all the sufferings by which our President is made to serve, the while we gratefully recognize ‘ the peaceable fruit’ of those sufferings in such enriched utterances as we have lately read. We love our dear President as of yore, remembering days of prayerful tryst in which we heard him sigh and groan his longings for our course. “During another year we have been ‘ kept by the power of God,’ and used in service; and although we are in some cases separated even here by many dreary miles of continent, we still hold and are held to and by the old-day kinnedness; and, better still, ‘ the form of sound words.’ “We ‘ shake hands across the vast,’ loved President and brethren, and wish you every joy in Conference. “For the Canadian Brethren, “Yours affectionately, “JOSEPH FORTH, “President for 1881 of the Canadian Branch of the “Pastors’ College Brotherhood.”
A point of great interest, to which I hope the Lord may turn the attention of many of his servants, is ‘that of English evangelists for India. Mr. Gregson, the well-known missionary, has urged upon me the great utility of sending out young men who should preach the gospel to those in India who understand the English language, whether British:, Eurasian, or educated Hindoo. He advises that the men should be sent out for five years, and therefore be subjected to no remark should they return at the end of that period. He thinks it probable that they would acquire a language and remain abroad as missionaries, but if not, they would be missionary-advocates on their return home, and arouse among our Churches fresh enthusiasm. It is believed that in many cities churches could be gathered which would support these men as their ministers, or that at least a portion of their expenses would be found on the spot. I have determined to enter upon this field as God shall help me; and Mr. H.R. Brown, who has been for years the pastor of the church at Shooter’s-hill, has reached Calcutta, on his way to Darjeeling in the hill country. If the Lord shall prosper him there, I hope he will live long in that salubrious region, build up a church, and become the pioneer of a little band of evangelists. Our native tongue is sure to spread among the educated Hindoos, and hence many a heathen may be brought to Jesus by evangelists who do not understand any of the languages; of the East; and meanwhile our countrymen, too often irreligious, may be met with by divine grace, and find Christ where the most forget him. I hope many friends will take an interest in this effort, and assist me to carry it out. Funds have come in as they have been needed; but apart from a legacy, now nearly consumed, the ordinary income has not been equal to the expenditure of the year. The balance at the banker’s is gradually disappearing, but I do not mention this with any regret, for He who has sent us supplies hitherto will continue his bounty, and he will move his stewards ‘to see that this work is not allowed to flag from want of the silver and the gold. With a single eye to his glory I have borne this burden hitherto, and found it light; and I am persuaded from past experience that he will continue to keep this work going so long as it is a blessing to his church and to the world. I am greatly indebted to the generous donors at the Annual Supper, and quite as much to the smaller weekly gifts of my own beloved congregation, which in the aggregate, have made up the noble sum of £ 1880. Here I cannot refrain from mentioning the name of Mr. Murrell, who looks after the weekly offering with a zealous care which has much to do with its healthy condition. I am sorry to say that a considerable legacy left to the College will in all probability be lost through the law of mortmain. This is a great disappointment; but if one door is shut another will be opened. Friends who mean to remember the Pastors’ College in their wills are requested to follow the form which we have printed in this Report. Those who become their own executors have the pleasure of making sure that their money is used as they desire, and while the intricacies of law remain-— and there seems little hope of their removal — this is the safest course to follow.
Into the hands of Him who worketh all our works in us we commit the Pastors’ College for another year.
ONCE moreit is a pleasure to report continued stead), work amongst all the classes. No special features of interest can be mentioned, as, now that we are working upon lines matured by past experience, the more regularly and smoothly the whole proceeds the better for future results, but the more difficult it is to make a present report which is not a mere repetition of former ones. At the same time our belief in our plans and aims is intensified by the success which attends them.
We do not believe that the Pulpit has lost its legitimate power, or that the Pastoral Office is beginning to decline in its influence. Mere officialism is dying out in the respect and confidence of the people; but the true preacher is left with his sphere of influence widened rather than diminished; whilst our churches were never more in need of trained leaders than they are today.
We address ourselves, therefore, with renewed energy to two distinct branches of preparation; we seek to instruct: as to the delivering of truth in public, and then further to train for future guidance of the church in her more quiet and private fellowship and service. In this latter department of preparation lies the secret of much: power or weakness in the after life of the pastor, as. distinguished from the preacher; we have, therefore, kept ever in mind the strong necessity of our young brethren taking part in all our prayer-meetings, occasionally attending our church-meetings, constantly helping in our varied platform meetings, and watching in general all the departments of work as now existing in the huge agglomeration of services, charities, etc., which encircle the Tabernacle as the center of their influence and the mainspring of their order and power. Our recruits are drilled in the camp itself, and amidst all the exercises of actual and successful spiritual warfare. Special lectures are given on the points of church government and procedure, so that no man need be altogether at: a loss how to act in the emergencies of church discipline and care. Without being ]inked to a church for “apprenticeship,” as some have desired, we think we secure the essential benefit of such a special training in the plan we have such unusual facilities for applying at the Pastors’ College. “Nothing succeeds like success,” and the “successful operations of the Tabernacle church are a magnificent school for all students to work in and acquire the methods and precedents to quote and apply in coming years.”
We are not anxious to train “lords over God’s heritage,” but we are more than a little wishful to secure for the flock shepherds well skilled in the conduct of all things affecting her health and progress. A bishop’s true power is to be able to “overlook” with wisdom and discretion his portion of “the fold,” so as to see that all his; followers are well guided, and their necessities duly relieved, and all church affairs “done decently and in order.” Despite all efforts, a growingly larger portion of the members of our churches slips away from our oversight, and we are constrained to think that more care must be given to retain as we’ll as to gain our young converts. Alive to this imperative necessity, we are glad to be able to make a prominent feature of our College work this pastoral training of our students.
The other tutors will report as to their departments of study; but judging from the monthly conference of the Staff, when each individual student’s work for the past month is reported and discussed, the result of the year’s study will be, if anything, beyond the average as to thoroughness and extent. The winter has been a trying one, and the health of our young brethren, despite our extra care and expenditure as to clothing, etc., has suffered, though happily but few have been laid aside for more than a brief space. The spiritual tone 6f the College is good, and the adhesion of the men to the “old doctrine” is as loyal and enthusiastic as ever. We march, but only after “the pillar of cloud and fire,” bearing the old ark of a covenant which needs living men’s shoulders, and not a state chariot, for its progress: men singing “The Lord ,of hosts is with us; Not unto us, not unto us, but unto His name be all the praise.”
MR. GRACEY’S REPORT DEAR MR.PRESIDENT,—At the return of another Anniversary it will be cheering to you and to your many friends; to know that the College was never in a more vigorous condition. I use the term “vigorous” not in respect of the physical health of the brethren, for in that particular we have suffered somewhat, as you yourself have suffered much. Some of our most promising students have been laid aside for a time, much to their own and their tutors’ regret. But i use the word “vigorous” in reference to the spirit and diligence with which the brethren have labored to attain the chief end of the Institution. It is a rare thing to have to admonish any man for remissness in his duties, rarer still for neglect, and rarest of all for want of conformity in general behavior with the ministry of the Gospel. The one or two who have been advised to reconsider their choice of a calling have not received the advice on account of defects in morals, or religion, or laboriousness, but: owing to an unsuitableness of gifts for a continuous pastorate. Even these, however, as others in like case have done, may live to show that their tutors did not rate them sufficiently high.
It is a sign of that unfailing Divine favor that has from the beginning rested upon the College that for all who are ready pastorates keep continually opening up. There is no glut of seniors on the top benches who cannot find churches willing to receive them. This fact: is at the present time the more noteworthy for two reasons: First, because of the general depression throughout the country which has in many instances crippled the resources of the churches. The second follows as a consequence: ()wing to narrowed means several settled pastors have been obliged to seek a change; and to such straitened brethren all applications from the churches have been for some time referred in preference to those still in college. To the honor of the latter it must be said that they have not only yielded assent to this arrangement, but have also most generously acquiesced in it. Nor have they suffered by the abnegation, as the result shows.
Such abnegation is but one of the many signs of the devotedness to the service of the Savior, whatever form that service may present, which I believe animates the brethren. They do not ask where they may have the highest salaries, but where they may be most useful. It is the earnest desire of all to keep this spirit uppermost; and all true lovers of the Institution will join their prayers to those of the brethren, that the College may be kept with single eye seeking “the things of Christ.” In our methods of study little alteration has been required. The chief thing sought has been to give a thorough grounding in the various subjects. Of the men at present in College, some have had a superior education before entrance, the majority have had a fair mercantile training, and the cases are few—every year becoming fewer—where men have had to begin with the mere rudiments. That the different studies are all tending in the right direction we have daily proofs in the trial sermons and in the discussions.
And if, perchance, a brother’s efforts may have taken a wrong bent, there is in these open displays abundant opportunity of setting him on the true track.
In my own separate classes there has been most gratifying progress. The seniors have been working very hard at Plato and Homer, Horace and Virgil. Of the three divisions of Hebrew, the first has carefully read through thirteen chapters of Genesis, and from the first to the eighteenth Psalm. In the Greek Testament we have been critically reading the Epistles of Peter, the Epistle to the Romans, and the Acts of the Apostles. In the lectures on Theology which I have been delivering to the whole College, I have been much encouraged by the close attention with which they have been received. And as at the end of each section of the lectures examinations have followed, I have had good evidence that the subjects have been thoughtfully considered. My general plan has been to exhibit, as far as possible, every question under a Biblical light. My effort has been, instead of avoiding difficulties, to render help in overcoming them, and to show that in presence of a skeptical and denying age, we have the very best grounds for maintaining a fearless front. In these respects it is assuredly believed among us that the gospel committed to our charge is the only truth that can give real rest to the heart of the world, that it is supported by the strongest of reasons, and that it supplies the most effectual incentives to Christian life and work.
Believe me, dear Mr. President, Yours very truly, D.GRACEY.
The other tutors have sent us reports, but as our space is limited we will only add the following letter from our aged friend, Mr. Rogers, who in a few sentences gives a review of the whole matter.
LETTER FROM REV. GEORGE ROGERS.
DEAR SIR,—You have requested me to send you a review of the College, as I have seen it, for the next Report. The brief notice will compel me to be brief in my reply. It is not needful that I should relate the remarkable series of providences by which, for many years, I was training myself for I knew not what; or the not less remarkable coincidences by which I was brought into connection with your College. A college indeed it could not at that time be called, nor ,could it have been supposed by either of us that it would ever rise to the dignity of that appellation, and much less to its present position amongst the Nonconformist Colleges of the present day.
In no college has there been less of man and more of God in its origin and increase, and in the peculiarity of its constitution. All its attending circumstances and its successful results have shown that the Lord had need of it. The health and help given me for a long period in my connection with it, in declining years, and the enjoyment with which my whole work, if work it can be called, has been discharged, has been from the same wonder-working hand. The real and prayerful interest which I have taken in your welfare and your work has not been without its encouraging and salutary influence upon me, and not the less for its being. concealed by me rather than expressed. All the College surroundings: have been pleasant and profitable. It might have appeared to some,. and perhaps justly from their point of view, that there was one serious drawback to my qualifications for the position I was called to occupy,. and I must confess that I have felt some diffidence on that account, and less entitled to the entire confidence of the community to which you belong. I cannot say that I have felt as a fish out of water, though I may have been looked upon as such by others. There may have been’ a good providence even in this. This also cometh from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. If I have been in my own element, and felt more at home than I could have been elsewhere, it is because of my thorough sympathy with the great gospel truths, for the dissemination of which, and, may we not add, preservation of which, this College has been instituted and sustained. For this purpose it was greatly needed beyond all that could have been foreseen by man.. for this end it has been Divinely sanctioned and blest. The many hundreds that have gone from us have borne, and are still bearing, a faithful witness to the truth as it is in Jesus. They are not ashamed, even in the present age, of the old gospel; but still find it to be the “power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. It is on this account that the Pastors’ College has received. unusual sympathy and support; and on this account it still appeals to all who, next to their own salvation, earnestly desire the salvation of their fellow-men, and have confidence in the old gospel as absolutely needful for that end. It has the double claim upon the faithful and true, for ‘what it does not teach and for what it does teach. It has already been blessed to the conversion of thousands; but these, we trust, will prove to be but the dew of its youth. In my occasional visits, I have been pleased to observe that its prosperity, with respect both to students and tutors, is well sustained. It is an honor to have been connected with such an institution.
May everyone who shall hereafter be similarly situated feel as I do, that he receives more honor from the Institution than he can possibly confer upon it.
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 Pastors’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, 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 College.