COLPORTAGE ASSOCIATION FOURTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT.
Fourteen years have now elapsed since the formation of this Association, and the Committee desire to record their gratitude to God for enabling them to continue this work until now with almost uninterrupted progress, and followed by moral and spiritual results the importance of which cannot be over-estimated.
On account of the continued trade depression of the last few year it was deemed desirable for the present to direct special attention and effort to the consolidation of the position already attained by the Association, rather than to seek its rapid extension by any extraordinary, methods. 16 new districts, however, were started, and 79 occupied during the past year, but as several have from various causes been discontinued the number of Colporteurs now employed, 73, is nearly the same as reported last year.
The continued and even increased necessity for the work are abundantly confirmed both by the reports from the various districts and from the recent utterances of eminent men in various positions who are well able to judge.
In a recent sermon on “Books:” the following striking passage appears —” The printing press is the mightiest agency on earth for good or evil. The position of a minister of religion standing in his pulpit is a responsible position, but it does not appear so responsible a position as that of the editor and the publisher. Men die, but the literary influences they project go on for ever. I believe that God has made the printing press to be a great agent in the world’s correction and evangelization, and that the great final battle of the world will be fought, not with guns and swords, but with types and presses, a gospelized and purified literature triumphing over and trampling under foot and crushing out a corrupt literature. God speed the cylinders of an honest, intelligent, aggressive, Christian printing press!”
To wage this warfare against pernicious literature is the work in which this and kindred Associations engage. The printing press produces the peaceful weapons and ammunition, while the Colporteur is the Christian soldier who carries them into the conflict. He fires not at random, but selecting his ground and opportunity aims at the enemy now a Bible or Testament, then an attractively illustrated periodical or interesting book, or failing to find a purchaser will present a tract with a word in season, accompanied by silent prayer. The accompanying reports speak of many peaceful victories thus won. The circulation of hurtful periodicals and books is immense, but the Association thankfully records that during the past year it has put into circulation a total of 396,291 books and periodicals to the gross value of £7,577 7s. rod., while no less than 630,993 visits to families have been made by the Colporteurs, who have also conducted 6,745 religious services, besides frequently praying with the sick and dying.
The Colporteurs are frequently told that but for their visits a large number of the people upon whom they call would be entirely neglected by any of the ordinary methods or agencies employed. The Committee therefore, while thanking those friends who have helped them in the past, urgently plead for increased support in this good work. The profit upon the sales renders it an economical agency, but as in many of the districts most needing the work of the Association the sales are small, from the poverty of the people, the additional outlay can only be met by Subscriptions to the General Fund, which are very much needed, both to sustain existing efforts and to commence new ones.
The Committee again desire to express their obligations to the Religious Tract Society for liberal assistance in the supply of Books and Tracts on very advantageous terms, also to the British and Foreign Bible Society for similar favors.
REPORTS FROM SUPERINTENDENTS, ETC., IN DISTRICTS.
— The Rev. D. W. Purdon writes: “The colporteur sticks to his work like a limpet to the rock. Patiently, perseveringly, and I believe very prayerfully he goes on, increasingly acceptable among those among whom he labors, and in every way satisfactorily to those whose eyes are interestedly on him and his work:. “I see that during the past 11 months he has sold Bibles, 94, Testaments, 14O; Books over 6d., 4,011; Books under 6d., 936; Magazines, 2,721; Packets, Cards, etc., 320. Total, 8,222. And he has visited 773 families; held 78 services; and distributed 4,620 tracts. “Now, considering the character of his sphere, and the times we have been passing through, I consider this a good 11 months’ work, which speaks for itself. I cannot say more.”
FRITHAM NEW FOREST DISTRICT.
— R, W. S. Griffith, Esq., of Lyndhurst, who has had some years’ practical experience of the working of Colportage, writes:—I can only say that we have a very active and earnest colporteur—he works hard and finds a great pleasure in his work, carrying a smiling face to al houses he visits, and finding almost without exception a cordial welcome everywhere: he has a very simple but impressive manner of stating gospel troths, and his visits are, I am sure, calculated to awaken a desire for holy things in many hearts; it has been so in several cases that I have heard of, leading through Divine grace to a decided conversion. He is doing a good work, and we all like him. “The year, too, has been but a poor one in a very poor neighborhood, and those who know’ the district best are most surprised at the fact that (£80) to £100 are spent annually by the people in good literature. Magazines are in greatest request, the attractions of a good. illustrated magazine for 6d. quite overcoming those of the ordinary 6d. book. “If am more than ever convinced of the immense practical usefulness of the Colportage work, and if I could advise anyone looking’ out for some branch of work for the Lord which he would aid, I would unhesitatingly say—’ Choose a district as yet unoccupied and send your subscription to the Association, so that a colporteur might be sent to work there.’ Mr. Bellamy, the colporteur, visits 700 or 800 families every month, and takes two or three cottage services every week, and while I am writing he has gone in his donkey cart about seven miles to take a service this evening, he will hardly get back till 10 or 11 o’clock. Hoping this year may prove, by God’s blessing, a very encouraging one to all your men.”
The WORCESTERSHIRE COLPORTAGE ASSOCIATION, which employs four Colporteurs. J. s. Hanson, Esq., Treasurer, writes — “ I hope the Association is going on prosperously: if all were as satisfied about the usefulness of the work as we are, they would soon find the means to increase the number, till the land was filled with colporteurs.” We cull the following from the Annual Report of the same Association. “When it is remembered that our agents are Christian men, who constantly keep distinctly before them the direct personal spiritual welfare of those they visit; losing no opportunity either on roadside or in cottage, of pressing home the great need each soul has of salvation, and pointing to Christ as the only and sufficient Savior; and that with this; object in view they visit I89 villages every month, and are brought into personal contact with from 150 to 200 persons each day; we obtain some idea (though by no means exhaustive) of the almost unlimited opportunity this Society has, through its four colporteurs, of presenting the glad tidings of salvation to the tens of thousands of people who inhabit our villages.”
COATE AND LEAFIELD COLPORTAGE ASSOCIATION, Rev. B. Arthur, Secretary.— “In presenting the fifth report, your Committee are happy to say that the progress of the work during the past year is highly gratifying.
The effects of a free and liberal circulation of tracts, with the sale of the word of God and religious books, with periodicals and works of a highly moral character, are very visible. In many cases they have supplanted the pernicious Police News, The Boys of England and many other similar publications. Pleasing inquiry is being made by the people, and many have been induced to attend some place of public worship. The Committee have pleasure in bearing testimony to the earnest and persevering labors of their present colporteur, Mr. J. Hook. During the year the sale of books and periodicals amounted to £ 103 15s. 8d. Many religious services have been held, either in the open air or in cottages, or places of divine worship. The usual visits have been made to the sick and aged, and instruction been given to the young in the Sunday School. The colporteur’s journal furnishes proof that the visits, with conversations by the way-side, are productive of good.”
NORTHAMPTON ASSOCIATION, Secretary, Rev. W. I. Mills. Extract from Report. —” We begin with Bulwick Lodges. Here the work of the Colportage and evangelizing is still combined, and we believe that the dissemination of the word of God and pure literature during the week, and the preaching on the Sunday, mast be attended with great good. “Mr. Hornsey wrote in December last:— ‘In the Chapel the word preached was much blessed the first summer I was here, the place was crowded— soon, however, the screw was put on, and the second summer the attendance fell off wonderfully. This past summer there was a fair attendance, and lately it has been better, the average being 24 or 26, sometimes over 30 adults in the evening, but the afternoon service is poorly attended. The seals to my ministry are some who have been born again, some quickened in the divine life, and others awakened to a sense of their need of a Savior. And now for those upon whom the screw was put, these I visit in their own homes in my rounds; here is where the work of a colporteur lies, according to my idea, for with my pack on my back, or in my hand, I have an excuse (if one is needed in the 19th century’) to call at all the houses in the villages; and here, I may say, eternity alone can reveal the good done by the tract given, read and blessed! God only knows of the scriptures read to the sick, of prayers offered at the bedside of the afflicted and those appointed to death, of the word spoken to the relations or attendants, of words of cheer and comfort spoken to the brethren and sisters in Christ, who are cast down, phases of whose life none but the colporteur can see! If you ask me, have you been blessed in this work?
Have the results justified the outlay? I say yes, yes, yes! But there is what is called the untabulated results, opposite which we will put the Wall done, good and faithful servant, and the heavenly reward.’“
SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION, Secretary, Rev. J. Hasler. Extracts from Report.— “The work of colportage continues to employ the greater part of the funds of the Association, and the area in which this work is carried on has not only been maintained, but extended. Another district has been formed, and is occupied, that of Andover. There are therefore now seven colporteurs engaged, who are working in the following districts— Downton, West Medene, Lymington, Poole, Salisbury, Quarley, and Andover. In some, if not all, of these districts, the universal depression in trade has had an untoward influence upon one part of the work of your agents—their sales—the amount of those sales is not so large as it otherwise would have been. In other respects, however, and to which their sales are intended to be auxiliary, the work of your colporteurs still yields results that afford increased encouragement, and also call for devout thankfulness. In the Downton district there have been four distinct cases of conversion, a mother and her daughter through reading the book entitled “Saving Faith,” and two young men through reading other books. There is also good reason to believe that the reading of books and sermons supplied by the colporteur has had something to do with the change of a clergyman in the district, from decidedly Ritualistic to decidedly Evangelical views. “Sunday newspapers have been given up in some cases, and publications such as Sunday at Home, Weekly Welcome, and the Boy’s Own Paper purchased instead With respect to the sale of Bibles it may be mentioned as an interesting fact that since his residence in this district the colporteur has supplied 150 vols. of Cassell’s Family Bible. He has conducted services on the Lord’s Day, and he himself says that he has never seen so much good resulting from his work as; he has seen this year; it has been the year of his greatest encouragement.”
Other Associations employ the colporteurs with satisfaction and success, but space forbids further extracts from their reports. Several private and unsolicited letters have been received affording valuable testimony to the value of colportage. In one we read “I have been a Christian worker in this neighborhood for 40 years, and I fearlessly say no money has been better spent than that by your Committee in keeping the colporteur here to labor with us.”
Rev. J. Richards of Winson Green wrote:—” I see the colporteur frequently, and am exceedingly gratified by his devotion to his work, he really works hard and well. He is one of the most acceptable evangelists engaged in preaching in cottages and in the open air in this neighborhood, the people are delighted with his singing the gospel too. He attends the Total Abstinence Meetings to sell his books, and has a table for his use, and in doing so makes himself personally acceptable to the people.”
The following are extracts selected from the Colporteurs’ letters, and will, it is hoped, be read with interest:—
SALE OF BIBLES AND TESTAMENTS.— “My sales in Bibles and Testaments for the last quarter exceeds the sales at the two depots of the Bible Society here for the whole of the last year. I think this comparison shows conclusively that the right way to sell the books is to take them to the homes of the people.” “During the past twelve months I have sold 239 Bibles, and I229 Testaments. Thank God for past success, but I shall not be satisfied until I can see a portion of the Word of God in every house in my district.” “I have found out three houses entirely without the Word of God, but I did not let them remain so. One of the women said she could not afford the money for a Testament, but after I talked to her the little daughter said, ‘ Mother, I shall ,>pen my little bank and pay for it,’ so she took it when the little child paid for it. She had been married seven years, and never had God’s Word in her possession all that time.” “September.—Sold more of God’s Word this month than any month since I have been in the work, thirty Bibles and over forty Testaments. God’s Word must and shall prevail; it cannot return unto him void, because it is a living Word, coining from the ever living Say/our.”
PREVALENCE OF EVIL LITERATURE AND ITS CURE.— “Was told of a young female (a governess) who sat in bed reading by candle-light some of the most filthy, low, vulgar, pernicious papers, so bad indeed that the woman was ashamed to tell me what they were; succeeded in supplying her with a good magazine.” “My work is still progressing favorably. Several boys at a boarding-school, who used to read bad papers, now take Young England and Excels/or from me. The mistress told me that she was very glad these papers had come out, as her boys used to be so fond of bad ones before.” “In one village which I visit there are several infidel books, and several persons have turned, infidels through reading them. One is a very intelligent, quiet young man, and two were Methodist local preachers.
Packets of infidel tracts are being sent into the villages; this makes me feel more than ever the pressing need of Colportage to counteract this evil work.” “I am glad to report that through a customer I have succeeded in getting a young woman to take the Girl’s Own Paper, instead of . (a trashy paper).
She was so delighted with it that she lent it to another young woman, and I expect more orders.” “The wife of a man who has three children, and only earns 9s. per week, had taken in a weekly penny paper, full of empty stories. She asked me to get a number of them bound, but I told her they were not worth it, and if she loved her children she must not encourage them to read such trash as that. Persuaded her to take in the Sunday at Home.” “A young man upon leaving this district has requested me to post his good books direct to him. This is a case wherein I have succeeded in substituting a religious periodical in place of a pernicious penny novel, and the subscriber expresses pleasure and profit in the change.” “My word shall not return unto me void.”
CONVERSIONS THROUGH BOOKS, &C.,SOLD.
— The number of conversions reported by the colporteurs through the books sold is too large to print the cases in detail; the following, however, are a fair sample of others:— “Saying Faith,” R. T. S.—” Two persons have been led to the Savior through reading this book—a mother and daughter. I sold the book to a Christian woman, she read it, and lent it to one of her neighbors who was ill. Through reading it she was led to trust in Jesus as her Savior, as was her daughter, who had left service to nurse her mother.” The book was then sent on to another daughter, hoping that by its perusal she may share the same blessing. The same colporteur speaks of a third case of conversion from reading the same book.” “The Home Beyond,”
HATCHARDS.—” A farmer to whom I had previously sold The Home Beyond, when I called again said, ‘What a beautiful book that Home Beyond is. I read it, and sent it to a relation of mine, who was very ill, first wasting away in consumption, and without having a hope in Christ.. She read the book I had sent, and it was the means of leading her to the Savior of the lost, and by being able to die a peaceful and happy death she testified that she had truly embraced the Savior.’“ The following books are noticed as having been instrumental in conversion wink, some more and some less:—” Alleine’s Alarm,” “A Savior for You,” “Better than Gold,” “Baxter’s Dying Thoughts,” “Come to Jesus,” “Child of Jesus,” “Grace and Truth,” “God is Love,” “Home Beyond,” “Light for Dark Hours, Morning by Morning,” “Pike’s Persuasives,”” Pardon and Peace,” “Saving Faith.”
GRATUITOUS TRACT DISTRIBUTION AND ITS RESULTS.
— Many thousands of evangelical tracts are given away by the Association, and most of the colporteurs report that people receive them readily, and that numerous cases of conversion have resulted from their distribution. Two cases are appended:— “I was showing my books to a gentleman one day, he had a little tract in his hand entitled ‘ Taken by Surprise.’ I offered this to a lady who was passing by, and she accepted it. Bless the Lord, it was the means of awakening her to a sense of danger, insomuch that she could not find rest until she found it in Jesus. She is now believing and rejoicing in his great salvation.” The Pipe Light — ”Some time ago I held an open air meeting at one of our villages during the dinner hour of the workmen, as I was not permitted to enter the mill. After speaking some time, I sold several small books, and gave away about 200 tracts. One of the men screwed the tract up and threw it away, but picked it up again, and put it into his pocket, thinking it might come in to light his pipe. At tea time, however, having nothing else to read, he resorted to the despised tract. It was headed ‘ Stop the Clock.’
Before he had finished reading it, he trembled from head to foot, and pleaded with God for the forgiveness of his sins; from that moment, he tells me, he has felt a changed man.” Mr. Spurgeon’s Sermons.—As usual, many of the colporteurs have met with instances of the great usefulness of these sermons, both in the comfort and instruction of believers and in the salvation of sinners. A few reports are given:— “About twelve months ago, a friend of mine leaving for America took a good supply of Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons. I also kept up correspondence, sending other sermons. Having now returned, he speaks of the blessings the sermons were to him and others while there, where the preaching is quite perfection in the flesh. One of these sermons sent was 1507-8-9, and was the means of the conversion of one woman, and of stirring up others to find perfection only in Christ Jesus.” “In soliciting orders, one woman asked me if I carried any of Mr. Spurgeon’s works, and when told that I did, seemed pleased; bought several of his writings, telling me that although she had been a member of a Christian church for years, she never saw the gospel in its true light until she read one of Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons. It was not until then that she saw Jesus to be her only Savior and could rejoice in Him as such.”
Speaking of a young woman who had been in much darkness and perplexity about spiritual things and seemed to despair of mercy, a Colporteur writes “But when I was there in January I sold her Mr. Spurgeon’s ‘ Loving advice for anxious seekers’; when I called next month I could see by her countenance that there was a change for the better. She then told me that God in His mercy had blessed that sermon to her, that it seemed as though Mr. Spurgeon must have known of one exactly like her, for every word suited her case exactly.”
Other cases occur of a similar character, and an instance is reported where the reading of Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons by a Ritualistic clergyman “it is believed had something to do with his change to decidedly Evangelical views.”
VISITATION FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE.—”June 14 passed on to another house, where I had visited a man before, he said, I have to thank God you called to speak to me about my soul. I feel now that I am a changed man, my desire is to live ,::o Jesus whom I have long despised. Prayed with him, leaving him trusting in Jesus.”
The following is extracted from a report from our Bro. Matthews of Eversham, who was a valuable colporteur and was called to his rest beloved and respected by all who knew him. September, 1880.—Another said, “I am very glad you ever came to my house with your visits and books, I feel now that I can fully trust in Jesus as my only Savior. Many are sick and brought low by pain; I advise them all fully to trust in Jesus the great Healer both of body and soul, and I hope through the work clone, a few are resting their all on the rock which is ‘ Christ in you the hope of Glory.’“ Another colporteur writes “One case of conversion I would refer to which has come under my notice. I spoke to a young servant girl about six months ago on the subject of salvation, urging very much the importance of a full and present decision for Jesus, and of not resting upon anything short of a knowledge of sin forgiven. On calling again three months afterwards, I asked her if she was still seeking or whether she had found the Savior. She replied ‘Oh! I have found peace in Him, it was on my birthday in December.’ She is about to join a Christian church.”
VISITATION OF THE AFFLICTED.—”A man who is dying said, ‘ I am so glad to see you again; do pray beside me, for I have found much happiness through your prayers. The “church parson” has been to see me, and gave me a bottle of wine and read some prayers out of a book, but, indeed, I would rather have your prayers than all he did.’“ “After paying several visits to a sick man I found him near to his end. Told him of a Savior, but he did not seem to be able to trust his all upon Him.
On going that round next time I found that he had passed away, but was pleased to hear that he had accepted the Savior. He spoke of me and would have liked to have seen me.”
AMONG THE QUARRYMEN — “ On my visit in October I went as usual amongst the working-men in the granite stone quarry, and just where I was standing I heard a bell ring loudly, and all at once I saw about sixty or seventy men running towards where I was standing.—Just what I wanted!
I found that the bell signified the firing of a shot in the quarry, hence danger. Now they came around the colporteur—listened eagerly to the gospel and bought freely of my good books, nearly emptied my knapsack and nearly filled my pocket with coppers. Previous to this I was very weary because of my heavy load of books. How good of the Lord to direct me to the right place at the right time! I came away with a light heart and a light load and offered up my little: prayer ‘ Lord, bless those good books and those few words spoken to the good of the men’s precious souls.’“
PRAYER UNDER THE HEDGE. — “The old man was standing up the sunny side of the hedge on the roadside. I went to him; and on offering a tract he said, I cannot read; I then spoke to him of sin and death, of salvation, and the Lord Jesus. I appealed to him as to a dying man, beseeching him to prepare to meet the good God whom he had been living without these upwards of eighty years; he trembled as one shivering on the brink of eternity and fearing to launch away, which according to the nature of things I assured him he must soon expect to do. Down aside the hedge we both got on our knees, and with liberty of soul earnestly besought that the converting grace and power of the Holy Ghost may be poured upon him that he may be enlightened and saved. Knowing now where he lives I shall hope, if God spares him and me, ere long to see him again and to see him saved of the Lord.”
PREACHING THE GOSPEL FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE. — “I have much encourage-merit in the Colportage Work. I find some of the people very willing to hear the word of God. Some days I have had what I should term a Cottage Meeting. Where I have found four and five people in one house, I have read, prayed, and sang for about an half-hour. Passing on to another house, where I have found another group, I spent another half-hour. I have had five, some days six, little Meetings with the people; at such times the Master has been with us, and much good has been. done.”
VISITING IN THE HOSPITAL.—” What changes we have! Several have died just lately, whom I expect to meet on the heavenly shore. Dear W. H., whom I visited in the Hospital, has passed away, leaving his testimony behind him. Mrs. M., too, after a lingering illness, has gone to be with Jesus. Also, Mrs. S., buried this afternoon. How joyful it will be to meet these again to whom God has made me a blessing.”
ADDRESSING THE COLLIERS.
— October 2nd.—” Gave a short address to a company of Colliers; was received with welcome and delight. Spoke to them about the leper going to Jesus. Told them that we had hearts diseased by sin and wicked works:, and they needed cleansing. That we could not do anything to merit our salvation, but we could plead the merits of Jesus Christ, and that he was as willing to cleanse them as when he cleansed the leper, if they opened their hearts to receive Him. They expressed gratitude for speaking to them, and thanked me very much; said I had clone them good. Since then two of them have joined the Salvation Army. I believe I have been instrumental in God’s hands of their salvation; they thanked me for going.”
THE COLPORTEUR’ S SABBATH.—” Visited about 50 homes with tracts, and spoke a few words where I could. Sunday School,2.30, gave an address to teachers and scholars. Preached at a Lodging House at 5.30 and at Gospel Hall 6.30 and again in the Market at 8.35; then visited some sick people.” “On Sundays I always endeavor to get among the groups of men at the corners, and wait on them at closing time, coming out of the public-houses, to present them with a tract, and persuade them to observe the Sabbath; not only have I been successful with individuals, but in two cases, of which I have heard, whole families have been induced to attend regularly the means of grace on the Sabbath ,day. To God be the glory.”
WORK IN LONDON COURTS. — “Thursday, February 17th. Weather, damp, gloomy, and uncomfortable without, and the scenes witnessed within the homes of the people were not any more inviting, for visiting many of the courts in Mount Street I came across many families living in a state of the greatest wretchedness, dirt, and squalor imaginable. The cottages are in a damp, dilapidated, and tumble-down condition. It is indeed wonderful to me how people manage to live under such circumstances. It is of course trot little that I can do in the way of selling in such places. Still my reception is not bad for such a neighborhood: having sold a copy of J.W. Kirton’s interesting little temperance story entitled Buy your own Cherries, in one of these cottages, on my last visit, the purchaser, as I was passing down the adjoining street to-day, sent out to me for another copy—the first having evidently made some impression in that court. In another of these courts I one day read the parable of the prodigal son to two or three apparently eager listeners. In the center of my district are the Columbia Buildings belonging to the Baroness Burdett Coutts. They contain eight blocks of tenements and are occupied by 188 families of the poorer class, which are visited consecutively by me.”
MAKING SALES ON LONDON BRIDGE.—”November 30th. Coming over London Bridge with a load of books from the Tabernacle I happened to be glancing at the new number of the Sword and Trowel for December, I was accosted by a man (a stranger) in a cart, who asked me if I had a copy to dispose of and he would buy i:; I sold him the one I had in my hand, and asked him to become a regular subscriber, to which he consented and gave me his name and address. It is thus possible to make sales in the busy crowded thoroughfare of this great city as well (though by no means as readily or frequently) as in the quiet roads and lanes of a Devonshire district.”
PREACHING SERVICES BY THE COLPORTEUR.—-According to their ability and opportunity many of the colporteurs are regularly engaged preaching the gospel both in the open air and as “supplies” for various denominations. Much blessing rests upon this which may be called the extra work of a colporteur. A few reports are given of this department of service:—
CONVERSION WORK.—” The preaching of the Word has been much blessed this last few months. One poor woman told me in a meeting that the Lord had made her so unhappy about her soul that she could not work.
She then went down on her knees, and prayed as best she could, and the Lord had showed her the difference between believing about Christ and believing in Christ, which I had been talking about the last Sunday. She said, ‘I have been trying to get Christ and heaven by doings, but now I see it is a done work, and I can say I am in Christ and Christ in me.’ Two others have just been brought to know the Lord, and several drunkards have become sober men, who a little time ago would curse the name of such a man as myself.” “There are many things to encourage me. My speaking at the chapel and Sunday-school, and other places, is very acceptable. The congregations have increased, and a greater earnestness is manifested by those who love the Lord, and it has been our joy to hear the cry of the penitent sinner for mercy. One man, in good circumstances, came to me at the close of a Sabbath evening service, and asked to be remembered in prayer. I visited him the next day, and talked and prayed with him, and I believe he is now a saved man. He is very regular at the week-night service, and. it is good to hear him pray. We have three stand proposed for membership, and another was crying for mercy last Thursday night in the meeting, and I believe the Spirit of God is working upon the hearts of several others.” “In my last report I gave a description of eight villages lying east of my district. There is still a great awakening going on at —, especially among the congregation of the Baptist Chapel. Seven have been baptized and added to the little church there. I preach in this chapel one Sunday per month, and one of the above ‘was brought to a knowledge of his state by nature, and through the goodness of God sought and found peace, and is now rejoicing in Christ, through the blessing of God on my preaching. I have had people attribute their conversion to my prayers before, but this is the first fruit of my preaching.”
Besides these specially religious services, many of the colporteurs give special attention to temperance work, and some have been the means of reclaiming many drunkards.
THE COLPORTEUR AND TEMPERANCE.—”I am pleased to inform you that the book John Ploughman’s Pictures has been the means of leading one man to give up the drink, and since that has joined the Congregationalists, and he wishes me to tell Mr. Spurgeon that he owes his conversion to God through reading that book.” “When I called there first I found they were a lot of drink-loving beings, but a moral change has been going on among them. One, on reading the book Happy Homes and How to Make Them, gave up smoking at once, and right glad was I to find that two of them had signed the pledge. When I called there, in December, one of them told me he spent on an average 7s per week on liquors. Owing to the snow I could not get there in January, but when I called in February, although they were busy, and could not stop long, they told me with evident pleasure that they still kept their pledge.
Will the committee help me to pray for the other, who still holds to the evil? This is manifestly moral reform caused by reading.” “Through the kind invitations of Capt. Smith I have given three temperance addresses to the’ soldiers at Hurst Castle, when several friends came from the neighboring villages and the Isle of Wight, and each time the large gunroom was so crowded that several had to stand the whole of the time; many have since signed the pledge, and the Captain told me he is sure they have done a deal of good, and hoped he should see me there again. I have also held a Bible class there, at which the Captain and a great number of soldiers and several of the lighthouse men were present. Thus I am led to ‘ Thank God and take courage.’ “On entering a public-house I found several men drinking. I begun to talk to them of the necessity of being decided for Christ. The landlady came and sat down with the men; I then tried to show them what the Savior had done for them and how He loved them; the landlady wept like a child; it seems as if they can stand as many oaths and curses as can be put upon them, but, thank God, they cannot stand to be told of the love of Jesus without feeling uncomfortable, especially the baser sort of people. I find that the name of Jesus has a power when everything else has failed: angels and men before him fall and devils fear and fly. “Another very interesting case was one day in going to a village. Just as I got to the village there came a dreadful storm of thunder and lightning and rain, and the first house I came to was a public house. I ran into this house for shelter, and found it full of men drinking and gambling, with much swearing. I had not been in many minutes before one asked me what I had to sell; I at once put my pack on the table and showed what I had. They soon gave ,over swearing, and I spoke to them and tried to sell them a book each. I sold one John Ploughman’s Talk and another at a shilling, and a few little books, and a number left the house before I did and went home in the rain; when the rain gave over a bit I started for home without calling at any more houses. I came home with a light heart, though wet through with water.”