A RECORD OF COMBAT WITH SIN AND OF LABOR FOR THE LORD EDITED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
“They which builded on the wall, and they that hare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.”—Nehemiah 4:17, 18.
THROUGHOUT another year of grace I have enjoyed monthly communion with my readers, and I hope the fellowship has been as pleasant to them as to myself. Eighteen years have now seen me engaged in the happy service of preparing the magazine. It does not seem to be so long. It would not be easy for me to estimate how much of gratitude I owe for so great a privilege. This last twelve month has slipped away as silently as a ghost: it “Seems but a score of days, all told, Or but a week or two at most, Since our last New Year’s song we trolled, And lo! that New Year now is Old.” The comfort is that the flying months have not gone by unimproved; they have had wings, but they have had hands too. We have co-operated in holy service, — we, editor, writers, and readers; and the results are such as are tangible to all; works which will survive both the workers and the age in which they lived. Around the editor has gathered a church of actual hearers, and then a far greater church of readers, and the gathering has been, not an assembly of idlers, but a convocation of workers for the Lord.
The preface, then, for the volume of 1882 must be a recapitulation of the labors of the year. The College has been so well sustained that its income will fully meet its expenses, which is an improvement upon the former year. Many brethren have gone forth from it, both to home and foreign fields, new churches have been formed, and new chapels erected for their housing, and the year has shown distinct and solid progress. At the present moment this Institution is supporting, in whole or in part, several brethren who are gathering congregations, and thus it continues to be what it was designed for at the beginning, — a home mission, attending to the necessities of the people to the utmost of its power. If more openings occur the College men are ready to enter in, and do the work of the Lord. Never was the institution so well furnished with men for pioneer work, — men of whom, under God, we expect great things. The Evangelists are doing splendid service: the Lord has been with them in every place to which they have gone. Able and venerable ministers who have attended their meetings bear joyful testimony to the power which attends their addresses; and hundreds of professed converts remain in their wake, witnessing to the power of the gospel which was preached by them.
It is on my heart to add to their number one, if not two more. The evangelist in India, Mr. Harry Brown, is doing well; and of the two brethren in Spain the same is true. The Colportage work does not grow as to the number of laborers, but increasing evidence is forthcoming that, as far as it goes, it fills up an important vacuum in small villages and hamlets. It is to the country what the City Mission is to the town, and the fruits which are known unto the Lord are a rich reward for all the effort and cost expended. I groan to think we cannot do at least twice as much in this direction. It is an enterprise which so commends itself to my judgment that I marvel that it is not one of the favorite objects of beneficence; a live man going from door to door, selling good books, and praying with the sick, and anon preaching on the green, or in the schoolroom, gathering up hearers for the chapels, and forming temperance societies — why, it is the surest, cheapest, and most varied form of ministry! The Orphanage has seen more of its buildings opened, and more girls received, and meanwhile health has been sustained among the children, and a fine moral and religious tone has been kept up. Funds have come in as needed: there has always been a shot in the locker, and a happy freedom from care has blessed the President and Trustees. The Book Fund pursues its quiet holy work under Mrs. Spurgeon’s daily care, feeding those who feed others, putting, at least, a few books on hundreds of pastors’ shelves. Some eight thousand ministers of various denominations have thus been aided. Our Unpaid Evangelists and Country Mission have kept up to the mark, and preached the gospel of Jesus in all sorts of places: some of my readers helping to pay the expenses which even unpaid service necessarily involves. The Tabernacle Loan Tract Society, and the Spurgeon’s Sermons’ Tract Society are both doing nobly, the latter giving out supplies to societies which are formed all over England for circulating the sermons from house to house. Conversions are abundantly recorded to God be glory.
During the year I have issued a volume entitled Farm Sermons’, which has obtained much favor in the eyes of my country friends, and I have had the joy of completing Vol. VI. of the “Treasury of David .” This work has been reprinted in America, and has there met with a large demand, as it deserves, for it is brought out in admirable style. I have almost finished Vol. XXVIII. of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit sermons, which will then number 1,696. What a privilege to have issued week by week such a lengthened series of discourses! I know not how to express my gratitude.
Dear friends, I thank you all for your generous help. To many of you I am personally indebted, and have had opportunities of expressing my obligations by letters. Others I shall never know on earth, but I hope to meet you in heaven, and joy with you in the triumph of truth, and the victory of love. Let us go on anew with growing zeal and confidence. The old gospel is not dead, neither does it sleep. The doctrines of grace are not extinct, as some say they are: they will yet come more clearly to the front, and have the sway. God grant it speedily.
Two favors I would beg: the first is, that you will all daily pray for me; and the second, that you will increase the number of subscribers to this magazine, which I heartily endeavor to make worthy of a large and appreciative constituency.
Yours very heartily, C. H.SPURGEON.