“EVER THIS OUR WAR CRY! VICTORY!
“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors: and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” — Isaiah 53:12.
OUR great concern is concerning Christ. “For him shall constant prayer be made.” It does not much matter what becomes of us, the common soldiers, so long, as our great Guard could defy death for themselves, but were over anxious about the emperor, so every loyal soldier of Christ feels that the one question in the present conflict is, “How goes it with the King?” Is he crowned? Is he exalted? Is he winning his way among the sons of men?
Brothers, it may be that our star is waning. Does it matter, if his sun is reaching its noon? It may happen that the company with which we are associated is not so much to the front as it used to be, and the regimental flag is in the rear, but what of that? Let us do the best we can to retrieve its honor; but, after all, the main consideration is the royal standard. Where is that? “Let my name perish,” said Whitefield, “but let Christ’s name last for ever.” Such a feeling should actuate us all. What are we, my brethren, and what is our father’s house? What if ten thousand of us should fall merely to fill a ditch for him to march over? What if he took the whole of us and crushed us to the dust, if he were lifted an inch the higher, it were none too costly sacrifice for such a One as he is, who has redeemed us unto God by his precious blood.
Our first and last concern is about the result of our great warfare in regard to Christ; and my text will be consoling to your hearts in proportion as you are consecrated to Christ. If you are a worker for Jesus, and your heart is tremulous for the cause of God, — if you feel dismayed at times, and often anxious about the progress of the kingdom, — such an assurance as this will be like a voice from the Comforter himself. It is the Father who speaks, and he says concerning the Well-beloved, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.”
I. The first truth taught us here is that THE VICTORY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ISSURE.
Sure, first, because these words are a diving promise ; and every word of promise that comes from God is established. “Hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” If God has said, “I will divide him a portion,” that portion shall be divided. If the Lord has declared that he shall divide the spoil with the strong, who is he that shalt keep him back from the prey? We might have doubted if this word had been a prediction as to the probabilities of the life of this religion or of that; we might have supposed that the religion of Christ would be crushed out by rougher faiths that could use the carnal weapon, or that its exceeding spirituality might cause it to wither away in an atmosphere so uncongenial.
We might, I say, have had seine trembling before of the ark of the Lord if this had been a mere inference or opinion; but we have none now; for as surely as this book is the infallible Word of God, so surely must Christ win the day. As surely as God cannot lie, so surely must he upon whom the Lord laid the iniquity of men, rise from all his sorrows to a glorious victory.
The text is a promise placed very singularly in connection with facts which have been accomplished. We are told that Christ shall divide the spoil with the strong, but that promise is set side by side with the declaration that he is “brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Just as surely, then, as that part of the prophecy is fulfilled in which Christ suffers, so surely shall that be fulfilled in which he triumphs. You have no doubt whatever about his being taken from prison and from judgment, about his making his grave with the wicked and with the rich in iris death. Well, the same book and the same chapter which contains the prophecy of those sorrowful facts contains this prophecy that he shall divide the spoil with the strong. Therefore the ultimate victory of Christ is made sure by a divine promise.
Notice, moreover, that it is the Father himself who here puts forth his hand to guarantee the victory . He writes, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great.” “I will do it; I will see that he conquers; I will see that he has the reward of his labor. My own right hand and my holy arm shall so be with him that he shall tread down his enemies, and he shall take from them mountains of prey.” Who is this that saith “I will divide him a portion?” It is he at whose voice the earth trembles. “The pillars of heaven’s starry roof Tremble and start at his reproof.” When he says “I will do it,” who shall stay his hand or resist his will? God, the everlasting Father, has staked his honor and his glory upon the success of Christ. I make bold to say that if Christ win not the world, and if he be not crowned King of kings and Lord of lords, it is not Jesus that is dishonored so much as the Great Father by whom he was ordained, sent, and anointed. The stain would not only be upon the manhood but upon the Godhead too; for God himself appointed the Lord Jesus, and said of him — “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He must see the Messiah through with it. It; is the pleasure of the Lord that is in his hand, and that pleasure must prosper there, or else God’s name would be dishonored. How sure I am that; Jesus will win the victory.
I am delighted to notice a change of expression in the next sentence. The Son of God himself also puts hand to the work of ultimate victory . Read the text again. “Therefore will I divide him a portion,” “and he shall divide.” God gives him the victory, and he takes it himself. The Father grants it, and the Son grasps it by his own right hand. The glorious Jehovah cries, “He shall divide,” and the ever-blessed Son of the Highest as a conqueror comes forth actually to divide the spoil. Oh, my brethren, Jesus is as gentle as a lamb; but I might say of him as they of the Red Sea said of Jehovah, “The Lord is a man of war: tits Lord is his name.” This Lamb is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and who shall stand before him when he goes forth to war? Who shall rouse him up? They that came against him to take him in the days of his humiliation stumbled and fell when he uttered the words, “IAM”; and if the fall power of that “IAM” had been let loose upon them they had not merely staggered to their falling, but each man among them had stumbled into his grave. It is he that stilled the waves upon Genessaret: it is he that ruled the powers of the deep, and made the devils fly at his bidding: if he putteth his hand to the battle, woe to those that strive against him! The defeat of Christ! Laugh the idea to scorn. Nay, the thorn-crowned Prince is victorious. Well spake the apostate Julian in his dying moments, “Nazarene, thou hast conquered.” All his foes will have to own it. In the day of judgment trembling, and in the lowest pit of hell despairing, they shall acknowledge his supremacy. The despised and rejected of men with rod of iron shall break his enemies in pieces; yea, he shall break them in pieces like potters’ vessels. “Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, O ye judges of the earth: kiss the Son, lest he be angry and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
That is the first thing, then; the Christ will conquer. It is a divine promise; its fulfillment is guaranteed by the Father, it will certainly be achieved by the Son.
II. Secondly,THE VICTORY IS AS GLORIOUS AS IT IS SUITE: “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great .” The great King rewards our Champion . You have heard of great champions who have been knighted on the battle-field by their sovereigns: deeds of special prowess have been thus rewarded. Others, amid the acclamations of their troops and while yet their hands were unwashed from gore, have been crowned on the field only because or their superior valor and the decisive nature of the battle. Now, what is it to be knighted or crowned by kings or nations? It is as nothing. But to be crowned of God!
For God himself to give the reward in the light of eternity! What must such a victory be? I trow that many an act which man applauds is despised by the Most High, and many a fierce fight that has stirred the heart of nations, and made the poets ring out their hymns for centuries, has been not only despicable but abominable in the sight of the Most High. But when God rewards, what must be the glory of the achievement! And here we have it:
God, even the Father, the selfsame one whom it pleased to bruise his Son, when he made the iniquity of us all to meet upon him — that selfsame God who knows all things, and weighs all things aright, and is the very source and soul of honor, he shall crown our Lord Jesus. Must it not be a glorious victory? He has crowned him; he is crowning him; he shall continue to crown him; for thus it is written, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great.”
The glory of this victory may be seen, next, not only in the reward coming from so high a source, but from its being manifestly a great reward in the esteem of men, since our Lord is to have “a portion with the great.” It is difficult to say what makes a great man. When I look over the lists of great men some of them seem to me to be very little; but still men have among themselves a sort of standard by which to measure, and they say of such and such persons that they are “great.” From different points of view they are so. Now, Christ is to have a portion with the great. Perhaps you have been grieved to see how certain ungodly men in these times make nothing of Christ; like Herod, they set him at nought; but these people are mostly very second-rate individuals, of small account even among their own order.
Almost all intelligent men, even if they do not accept all that Christ says, agree that he is a great man, and many confess that there never was such another man as he. There have been skeptics whose admiration of Christ has been extreme. I, for one, cannot understand how any honest mind can do other than reverence his marvelous character and the grandeur of the truths which he has revealed. He is great, inexpressibly great, and the day will come, must come, is every day coming nearer, when Christ will be seen even by his enemies to be supremely great. His cross to-day towers o’er the wrecks of time, and he himself rises before my faith’s vision so much above all the sons of men, that; I see all philosophies, theories, and human dogmas crouching at his feet. His victories are not victories among pigmies, but victories among the great, such as shall make all men see that he himself is the greatest of the great My brethren, think for a minute what a battle Christ has waged with all the powers of evil; with all the wit, and craft, and unbelief, and pride, and lust of man; with all the foul devices, and cruelties, and wickednesses of the devil, and all the principalities and powers that obey his bidding; and with death and all that goes with it, and shall come of it. Against all these he has set the battle in array, and over all these he has triumphed, so that he divides the spoil with the great. Thy adversaries, O Prince Emmanuel, are not such as a common warrior might rout; they are foemen worthy of thy steel. What desperate tugs they gave thee when they forced the bloody sweat from out thee in the moment of thy sternest wrestling; but thou hast flung them to the ground, and trodden down strength.
Of course this language can only be used as speaking part of the truth, because the portion which God has given to his dear Son indisputably greater than the greatest things that earth can hold. I take it that the question that Christ has come to answer is the greatest question that ever moved eternity. The work that Christ has come to do is the grandest work that ever stirred the ages. It is God’s work and God’s question. How shall evil be driven out of the world? How shall justice, without a stain, smile on a sinner? How shall God be seen as the holy One with all the glory of his character manifested, receiving to his bosom the guilty sons of men? The grandest work that e’er was done of God himself Christ has come to perform, and not only has he his portion with the great, but of all the great he is the greatest, and his portion is above their portion. They are not to be mentioned in the selfsame day.
Notice, too, that a part of the description of this victory represents the Lord as himself dividing the spoil “with the strong .” Not merely with great enemies did Christ wrestle, but with strong powers. I might give you a hundred illustrations of this, but I prefer to give you one. When the Lord Jesus Christ came into my heart — came to battle there — he did, indeed, divide the spoil with the strong, for I was strong-willed, and desperately set on mischief, and for a while I was in the hand of a strong despair, out of which it seemed impossible that I should escape. The bands which held me were of iron, tough as steel, hardened in the fires of hell; and yet this day I am his, for he has won me, and taken the prey from the mighty. I have been just now to see. our venerable Elder White. He is dying. I looked at his venerable beard as he sat up in the bed, and I looked at the bright face that shone above. it, and I was charmed at the joyful sight. He said, “I have no trouble; I have not a troubled thought; I am the happiest man in the world; I am going home, and I rejoice in it; though I am perfectly satisfied to wait.” Death is just nothing at all to him. Just like a dear sister who went from us some time ago: when I went to see her, you might have thought she was going to be married, she was so happy in prospect of departing.
Charles Wesley once said, “They may say what they will about Methodism, but our people die well.” That is my comfort: our people die well, they die gloriously triumphant in the Lord. When I think of it I can see how my Lord divides the spoil with the strong. Death comes and he says, “That is mine.” He has taken the poor, wrinkled body; and Christ smiles, and lets him have it; for he takes for his share the soul, the life, and as he bears him off he takes the best part of the spoil. He has left death the husk, but he has himself’ secured the kernel. Yea, the day will come when he will take the body, too, out of the custody of death; for not a wreck or a rag of all his saints shall remain in the domains of death. There is a resurrection of dead bodies as well as an immortality of spirits. Glory be to Christ. In this way, here and hereafter, he divides the spoil with the strong. Strong is death, but stronger still the omnipotent Son of God.
There is another aspect under which we may speak of the glory of Christ’s victory; he will share it with his people. The second paragraph of the text is, “he shall divide the spoil with the strong.” That is, he will divide it out, and allot portions to all those who came to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Just as David after Ziklag when he had taken the prey from the Amalekites, sent portions all round to his friends in Judah, so when the King Eternal takes the spoil, he will give a share to you and to me, if we have been faithful to him. There shall be a portion e’en for us whom the Lord made strong for himself in the day of battle. Does it not make your heart laugh to think of it? Jesus wins the victory, but he will not enjoy it alone; he will glorify his people. Even the sick folk that go not down to the battle shall have their share of the spoil; for this is David’s law, and the law of the Son of David, that they that abide with the stuff shall share with those that go down to the fight. He will give to each faithful sufferer or worker a portion of the prey. Make haste, O champion, make haste to give to everyone of us a prey of divers colors, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil!
III. Thus we have seen that Christ will win the victory, and the victory will be glorious . Now let us declare, thirdly, that THE RESULTS OF THIS VICTORY WILL BE VERY SUBSTANTIAL Let me remind you that, in consequence of what our Lord has done, myriads of souls will be redeemed . How many will escape from sin and death and hell to live for ever is not revealed. We have every reason to believe that a number that no man can number, out of every nation, and people, and kindred, and tongue, shall praise their redeeming,; Lord.
Christ’s death will not spend its force in the conversion of here and there one, but he will see of the travail of his soul and’ will be satisfied; and we are convinced that no little thing’ will satisfy him. The great result of our Lord’s death will be the eternal salvation of myriads untold.
Next to that will be the overthrow of every form of evil which now reigns in the world, and the extermination of religious falsehood, vice, drunkenness, war, and every horrible mischief born of the fall and of human depravity. Christ will conquer these, and there shall be new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. For ever and ever boundless honors shall be given to Christ for his victory over every force of evil. The seed of the woman shall trample on the serpent.
As the result of Christ’s death Satan’s power will be broken . He will no longer go forth to rule among the nations. Death also will hate lost its dominion over the sons of men . The Son of David shall restore that which he took not away. More than our first father lost shall Christ bring back. There shall be glory substantial to himself in the lives of his people on earth, in their deaths, and in their lives for ever.
Glory shall be brought to God of a new and unusual kind. A light will be shed upon the character of God which, so far as we know, could not have come to us by any other means except by the death of the Only-begotten.
Hallelujahs louder than before shall rise up before the throne. Praises shall ascend unto God such as creation never produced, “for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed as unto God by thy blood, and we shall reign for ever and ever.”
Now, my brethren, do not get into a state of fright and fear about the Christian religion. Do not go to your chambers and sigh, “Everything is going to the bad, and we shall be all eaten up by the devil.” Nonsense!
There is a stronger arm yet than that black arm of Satan. In God’s eternal goodness resides a power and majesty that cannot be found in the infernal malevolence of the devil. I know which is the winning side, — I am sure of it. Though we may drearily imagine that things go amiss, and fancy that the vessel is ready to break up and become a wreck, she will enter the harbor yet with all her cargo safe, and from every wave that tossed her and every wind that beat upon her she shall derive eternal advantage. Courage, brethren, we are not beaten, and we are not going to be beaten. We are succeeding all along the line. Shout victory, universal victory, from stem to stern of the good old ship. Not a foe has been able to live upon her deck.
Give the enemy’s black hull another broadside. When you think that the crew of the Black Prince are about to board us, grasp your pikes and give them a warm reception. This good ship bears the red cross at her masthead, and shall never be taken, but shall win the victory as surely as God lives, and his Sort lives who has risen from the dead.
IV. So I Close with this last remark:THE WHOLE OF THIS VICTORY RESULTS FROM CHRIST’ S OWNWORK. Lend me your best attention for two or three minutes, because this is the pith and marrow of it all: “Therefore will I divide him a portion” — that is logic. Why this “therefore”? What is the argument? Christ shall divide with the strong because —. How does it run? “Because his doctrinal teaching is singularly in keeping with the progress of the age”? I have heard that observation, and smiled at it. “Because his gospel is preached with such remarkable eloquence and singular clearness”? Indeed, No. Why, then, will Christ win the victory? The answer is — “Because he hath, poured out his soul unto, death. ” If God himself deigns to take upon himself our nature, and in that nature pours out his life like a libation even unto death — if, I say, he thus pours out his life, it is impossible to conceive that he will be defeated. Blasphemy may imagine it, profanity may speak it, but truth abhors the idea that Jesus can be baffled. A dying God! it is an in. accurate expression, yet I know of no expression that is so accurate — God putting himself into human form, so as to be capable of suffering and death, cannot suffer and die in vain. He must, he shall, he will win that for which he died.
He must reign, because he has poured out his soul unto death.
Listen again, here is the second reason: “He was numbered with the transgressors ;” this is mentioned secondly, as if there was something even more in that than in the first. To die is wonderful condescension; but for the pure and holy One to deign to be numbered with the transgressors, and stand as if he had transgressed himself, though transgress he never did, nor could — I say this is more wonderful. If .Jesus did that, then he must win the victory. When I am dispirited, where do I find encouragement? Where the stars of Bethlehem burn, and where men make merry on their Christmas days? Nay, their mirth is weariness to a heavy heart. I will tell you where I go for comfort — to Gethsemane, to Golgotha, to the garden, and to the tomb. Christ cannot have suffered there in vain: Christ cannot have been despised, slandered, and actually numbered with transgressors, and all for nothing. It cannot be: it cannot be. Death and hell, ye can defeat armies of men, but the Crucified treads you down. When our Champion of the pierced hand comes to the front the battle no longer wavers. We glory in his death and in his making common cause with transgressors. But this is not all; it is added, “And he bare the sin of many .” This denotes his actual and literal substitution — his acting as the sin-bearer. This is something more than being numbered with the transgressors; he actually takes the sin of the transgressors, and bears their burden upon his own shoulders by a wondrous system of substitution which is easier to be believed than to be explained. Because he did this he must conquer. He must conquer. Sin cannot be victorious if Jesus has carried it on his shoulders and hurled it into his sepulcher. If the darkest days were to come, and all the churches of Christ were to be extinguished, if there were left only one Christian, and he as good as dead by reason of weakness, yet might he believe that God from the dead would raise up seed unto his Son, and fulfill his covenant and keep his word. It must be so. The offering of Christ’s soul for sin secures to him a seed for ever.
And lastly, there is this fourth reason given — “He made intercession for the transgressors .” I can conceive you praying, my dear friend, and God’s not hearing you; but if the man who was despised and rejected should say, “Rise, poor suppliant, rise and I will take thy place;” and if the Blessed and Beloved of the Father, whose eyes are as the eyes of the morning, and whose lips are as lilies dropping sweet-smelling myrrh, kneels down and prays, “My Father, by my blood, and wounds, and agony, save this sinner;” why, it must be done! And if he says, “Father, give me those whom I have redeemed,” it must be done, And if he pleads, “Father, keep them by thy word,” it must be done. And if he prays, “Father, make them one as we are,” it must be done. And when he shall ask, “Father, give them power and victory,” it must be done. And when he shall ask, “Father, let my servants all become champions, and send them forth, east, west, north, and south, against idolatry, and infidelity, and popery, and clothe them with the Holy Ghost,” why then it must be done! The power of Christ’s intercession is irresistible. Queen Mary reckoned the prayers of John Knox to be worth many regiments; but what shall I say of the prayers of Jesus, the Son of God? They are with us to-day. While we are sitting here, and troubling our minds about the Lord’s work, and saying, “What shall we do?” and, “What will come of it?” and all that — Jesus is pleading. Hush, till your hearts leave off beating — till not a thought is heard! You may hear him saying, “Father, I will.” Here is the power of the church. The plea of Christ with authority before the throne is the majestic force upon which the church depends. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
Wherefore pluck up courage. Jesus will yet win. You weak, faint-hearted ones, rejoice. The victory is sure, not because of anything you are, or of anything you can do, but for Jesus’s sake. In the name of the Lord we set up our banners. Hallelujah!
NOTES WE have devoted so much space to the Report of the Bazaar and Orphanage that our other notes this month must be very brief. The daily and weekly papers have kept our readers and the general public so well informed of our movements that there is little left for us to mention. Only again we bless the Lord, and thank our friends for all the generous help received for the Orphanage.
MRS.SPURGEON’ S BOOK FUND.
— The Report of Mrs. Spurgeon’s Book Fund for the past year is now ready, and can be obtained through any bookseller. The price is the same as last year, 6d., or post free 7d. What shall we say of this gracious narrative? With sweet simplicity it tells a story of divine love: showing how the weak one has been made strong, and the sufferer useful. Surely it will encourage many a sad heart, and rouse many a joyous one to greater care for the Lord’s servants. We may give extracts next month, but, meanwhile, we should much prefer that friends should get the Report for themselves. It is well written, and we highly commend it.
What! a husband recommend his wife’s works? Yes, and it is Scriptural to do so. Is it not written, “Her husband also, and he praiseth her”?
OUTRAGES ON THE JEWS.
— All our sympathies are aroused for the Jews who are being brutally treated in Russia. One is made to blush for the name of Christian when we see it mixed up with murder, plunder, and ravishment. The long catalogue of Russian atrocities is enough to move a heart of stone. That followers of the Lord Jesus should hound to the death the nation from which he sprang, according to the flesh is a strange perversity of ignorant zeal, which all true believers should deplore day and night. Let the house of Israel know assuredly that all real followers of Jesus of Nazareth desire the good of their nation, and lament their persecutions.
We pray that Israel may accept the Messiah whom we reverence, but we cannot hope that this will be the case while so much wrong-doing is perpetrated against them.
On Christmas-day , 1881, the Pastor again occupied his pulpit after an absence of six weeks. The following day he had the great pleasure of once more presiding at the Orphanage Christmas festivities, when, thanks to the generosity of friends from far and near, all went merry as a marriage-bell.
On Wednesday evening , December 28, a large and enthusiastic audience welcomed the Pastor home to the Tabernacle after his holiday. Addresses were delivered by Pastors C. It. Spurgeon, J. A. Spurgeon, C. Spurgeon, R. H. Lovell, W. Cuff, H. Varley, and W. William’s; and Messrs. J.M. Smith, W. C. Murrell, and W. Olney. One result of the meeting was that the Weekly Offering for the College was made up to £1,881 for the year 188l. This constant giving is a perpetual pledge of affection. What would the College do without it? for most people forget the old love — the College, to help the new one. — namely, the Orphanage. This thing ought ye to have done, but not to leave the other undone. Is it not as good a work to train a minister as to educate an orphan?
On Monday evening , January 2, 1882, the Prayer-meeting at the Tabernacle was made an occasion for inviting neighboring ministers to unite in thanksgiving and supplication, in accordance with the arrangements made by the Evangelical Alliance. Pastor C.H. Spurgeon presided, and there were also present Pastors J. A. Spurgeon, S.H. Akehurst, J. E. Crackmell (who gave an account of his visit to the United States and Canada), J. A. Griffin, D. A. Hersehell, J. Locke, J. Maxchant, and G. M. Murphy.
— Mr. C. G. Croome has settled at Nelson, Lancashire; and Mr. W. A. Wicks, at Moulton, Northamptonshire, the church of which Dr. Career used to be the pastor. Mr. B. Brigg also leaves us to devote himself entirely to his important charge at Drummond-road, Bermondsey. Mr. J.E. Moyle, who came to us from Canada, has returned to the Dominion, where he hopes soon to find a suitable sphere.
Mr. C. Hood has removed from Nuneaton to Gosford-street, Coventry; and Mr. E. Small, from Markyate-street, to Birchington. Mr. W. Stokes, who came home some tune since from Port Elizabeth, has become pastor of the church at Winchester. Mr. H. F. Adams, whom the Canadian ministers have been unable to “ordain” on account of his open-communion principles, has left Lewis-street, Toronto, and accepted the co-pastorate of the church at Quebec City, under the care of the Rev. D. Marsh.
Mr. J. G. Potter sends us an interesting account of his arrival at Calcutta, and his interviews with the whole of our College men in India. He has been appointed to the mission-station at; Agra, under the superintendence of Mr. Jones.
We have also received a cheering letter from Mr. H. Rylands Brown, which we hope to publish in full next month, as it contains an account of his recent evangelistic tour among the tea-planters of the Darjeeling district.
Our brethren in the country may be glad to be informed that the conference this year will probably be held in the week commencing April 17, i.e., the week preceding the Baptist Union meetings.
The Evening Classes in connection with the College recommenced on the 17th ult. After twenty-one years of service in this useful field, Mr. Fergusson has asked us to allow him to retire from the work, which will in future he under the superintendence of Mr. S. Johnson, who will be assisted by Mr. Bowers.
— Messrs. Smith and Fullerton commenced a series of services at South-street Chapel, Greenwich, on Sunday, the 15th ult. Our son Charles sends us the following note of the opening meetings: — “Dearest Father, — It is with great joy I send you a word about the dear brethren, Fullerton and Smith. They commenced work at Greenwich on Sunday, 15th Jan. Good preparation had been made, for we had a week of prayer-meetings before they came, when several of the neighboring ministers gave addresses. Each time from seventy to two hundred persons attended, and on Thursday quite five hundred gathered. The workers had been busy circulating handbills from house to house, and as many as 15,000 were thus disposed of. On the Sabbath the congregations were, as they are wont to be, praise the Lord, food, the only difference being an afternoon service for children. Brother Smith, with his usual tact, held over 1,500 little ones, collected from four Sunday-schools, spell-bound by song and speech. This service did some of the old boys and girls good as well as the youngsters, and already conversions have taken place. During the week each evening there has been an increasing attendance, and the work is growing in interest and blessing. Personally I thank God for the arrival of these two brethren in Greenwich, and especially as they are laboring at South-street as their head-quarters. I will report further later on. “With love, “Your son, “CHARLIE.”
After they have finished at Greenwich the evangelists will go to Mr. Knee’s church at Peekham-park-road, afterwards to Chelsea, and then to Mr. Charrington’s, Dr. Barnardo’s, and Mr. Fellowes’.”
Mr. Burnham is engaged this month for Gamlingay, Morley, and Ossett.
ORPHANAGE—Collectors’ Meeting. — Will all our collectors kindly note that the next meeting for bringing in their boxes and books will be held at the Orphanage on Friday evening , March 3, when the President hopes to be present.
— Our honored friend, Dr. Culross, of Glasgow , sent us the following cheering note just as we were returning from Mentone: — “My dear Mr. Spurgeon, — In connection with Adelaide Place Church there is a ‘Domestic Mission,’ which, among its various operations, distributes a thousand of your sermons every week to a thousand families in some of the poorer districts of the town. There are seventy persons, chiefly young people, though there is a sprinkling of grey hair among them, who take part in this work. They have found it a good plan to leave the sermon one week and to call for it the week following. By this means a thousand sermons per month, by division into four, get distributed to a thousand families per week. I need not say that they are welcomed very much by the various receivers. It is difficult to trace results, but judging from what is said to the distributors God’s cause is being effectually served. We are going to have a social meeting of those among whom the sermons are distributed, and expect about a thousand to attend. We have not room for more. The date is fixed for 17th January, 1882. We shall remember you gratefully that evening. I thought I would say all this to you instead of sending a Christmas card. Wishing you and yours the blessings of eternal goodness, “Yours faithfully, “JAIKES CULROSS.”
The following is an extract from a letter which has come to hand from Mr. Wm. Tolmie just as the “Notes” are being made up:— “My dear Mr. Spurgeon, — Dr. Culross insists that I shall write you this time, which I have very much pleasure in doing. The Soiree (to which he referred in his recent letter to you) of the readers of your sermons, and others connected with the Brown Street Mission of Adelaide Place Church, was held on Thursday last, and was attended by from six to seven hundred.
Testimony was borne to the pleasure and benefit derived from the sermons; and the meeting enthusiastically authorized the sending of a letter to you expressive of gratitude therefor, and of the hope that you may be long continued in health and strength to carry on the various departments of your noble work.” A correspondent has forwarded the subjoined letter:— “Sir, — Having yesterday traveled from the North in company with a clergyman who labored for many years in the South of France, and who is now residing here, our conversation turned to the relating of anecdotes about ministers. I mentioned that I had heard you in Exeter Hall in 1854 or 1855, when he told me the following, and, as I thought it would interest; you, I now give it as he related it. He said — “‘In 1866, Mr. S. came to Paris, and, as he could not preach in French, many of my friends, who had gone long distances to hear him, were disappointed. At the request of a good many of my own congregation and other friends, I went to Paris, and took copious notes of the different sermons. When I returned I was pressed to give these sermons in French.
When it became known that I was to do so, great crowds came to hear me.
By way of introduction I just asked them for the time to fancy I was Mr. Spurgeon, as I wished to try and deliver them with the same effect as he had done. “‘A few years after that a lady called on me, and wished to be admitted as a member of the Protestant Church of which I was the pastor. I asked her what had led her to think of this. She replied that a few years ago she, along with other Roman Catholics, had gone to hear a man who had been in Paris, and was to give a translation of “Spurgeon’s sermons.” She followed closely the sermon from the text, “I am the good Shepherd,” and had thus been awakened. She added also that she had never again seen this man, nor had she been able to hear of him.’ “I may add that, of course, the clergyman soon informed her that he was that person.”
A constant subscriber in Edinburgh supplies us with another testimony to the usefulness of our sermons when issued as advertisements in the Australian newspapers: — “About seven years since an Australian clergyman was about to preach at the morning service on a gold-field. He found waiting outside the-door ,of the wooden church a man who spoke to him: saying he wanted work for Christ. His story was simply this:—He had been a shepherd, and, whilst minding his sheep in the bush, had taken out a newspaper to read whilst they were feeding. A sermon by Mr. Spurgeon happened to have been inserted, but which had to be paid for as an advertisement by some Christian brother. The man, who had been careless and indifferent regarding his soul, read the sermon over, and then again and again. The result was that he surrendered his soul to the Savior, and was soon rejoicing over sins forgiven, He then wanted work for his Lord and Master.
The clergyman took him into the Sunday-school held before the morning service, and gave him a class. The man’s zeal was soon conspicuous, and ere long he became the superintendent. He was clear-headed and hardworking, and latterly on another gold-field has preached the gospel as a catechist in the Church of England.”
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle. — December 29, eleven.
A MEDITATION IN THE LONGEST PSALM EXPOSITION OF VERSES 89 TO 96.
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
FOR EVER, OLORD, thy word is settled in heaven. 90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. 91 They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants. 92 Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. 93 I will never’ forget thy precepts: for with them thou hurst quickened me. 94 I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts. 95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies. 96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad. 89. “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven .” The strain is more joyful, for experience has given the sweet singer a comfortable knowledge of the word of the Lord, and this makes a glad theme. After tossing about on a sea of trouble the Psalmist here leaps to shore and stands upon a rock.
Jehovah’s word is not fickle, or uncertain; it is settled, determined, fixed, sure, immovable. Man’s teachings change so often that there is never time for them to be settled; but the Lord’s word is from of old the same, and will remain unchanged eternally. Some men are never happier than when they are unsettling everything and everybody; but God’s mind is not with them. The power and glory of heaven have confirmed each sentence which the mouth of the Lord has spoken, and so confirmed it that to all eternity it must stand the same, — settled in heaven, where nothing can reach it. In the former section David’s soul fainted, but here the good. man looks out of self and perceives that the Lord fainteth not, neither is weary, neither is there any failure in his word. The verse takes the form of an ascription of praise: the faithfulness and immutability of God are fit themes for holy song, and when we are tired upon this shifting scene the thought of the immutable promise fills our mouth with singing. God’s purposes, promises, and precepts are all settled in his own mind, and none of them shall be disturbed. Covenant settlements will not be removed, however unsettled the thoughts of men may become; let us therefore settle it in our minds that we abide in the faith of our Jehovah as long as we have any being. 90. “Thy faithfulness is unto all generations .” This is an additional glory:
God is not affected by the lapse of ages; he is not only faithful to one man throughout his lifetime, but to his children’s children after him, yea, and to all generations so long as they keep his covenant and remember his commandments to do them. The promises are ancient things, yet they are not worn out by centuries of use, for faithfulness endureth for ever. He who succored his servants thousands of years ago still shows himself strong on the behalf of all them that trust in him. “Thou, hast established the earth, and it abideth.” Nature is governed by fixed laws; the round globe abides in its course by the divine command and displays no erratic movements: the seasons keep their predestined order, the sea obeys the rule of ebb and flow, and all things else are marshaled in their appointed order. There is an analogy between the word of God and the works of God, and specially in this that they are both of them constant, fixed, and unchangeable. God’s word which established the world is the same as that which he has embodied in the Scriptures; by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and specially by him who is emphatically THE WORD.
When we see the globe keeping its place and all its laws abiding the same, we have herein assurance that the Lord will be faithful to his covenant, and will not allow the faith of his people to be put to shame. If the earth abide; if the spiritual creation will abide; if God’s word suffices to establish the world surely it is enough for the establishment of the individual believer. 91. “They continue this day according to thine ordinances .” Because the Lord has bid the universe abide, therefore it stands, and all its laws continue to operate with precision and power. Because the might of God is ever present to maintain them, therefore do all things continue. The word which spake all things into existence has supported them till now, and still supports them both in being and in well-being. God’s ordinance is the reason for the continued existence of creation. What important forces these ordinances are! “For all are thy servants.” Created by thy word they obey that word, thus answering the purpose of their existence, and working out the design of their Creator. Both great things and small pay homage to the Lord. No atom escapes his rule, no world avoids his government. Shall we wish to be free of the Lord’s sway and become lords unto ourselves? If we were so, we should be dreadful exceptions 1o a law which secures the well-being of the universe. Rather while we read concerning all things else — they continue and they serve, let us continue to serve, and to serve more perfectly as our lives are continued. By that word which is settled may we be settled; by that voice which establishes the earth may we be established; and by that command which all created things obey may we be made the servants of the Lord God Almighty. 92. “Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in miter affliction .” That word which has preserved the heavens and the earth also preserves the people of God in their time of trial. With that word we are charmed; it is a mine of delight to us. We take a double and treble delight in it, and derive a multiplied delight from it, and this stands us in good stead when all other delights are taken front us. We should have felt ready to lie down and die of our griefs if the spiritual comforts of God’s word had not uplifted us; but by their sustaining influence we have been borne above all the depressions and despairs which naturally grow out of severe affliction. Some of us can set our seal to this statement. Our affliction, if it had not been for divine grace, would Lave crushed us out of existence, so that we should have perished. In our darkest seasons nothing has kept us from desperation but the promise of the Lord: yea, at times nothing has stood between us and self-destruction save faith in the eternal word of God. When worn with pain until the brain has become dazed and the reason well-nigh extinguished, a sweet text has whispered to us its heart-cheering assurance, and our poor struggling mind has reposed upon the bosom of God. That which was our delight in prosperity has been our light in adversity; that which in the day kept us from presuming has in the night kept us from perishing. This verse contains a mournful supposition — “ unless,” describes a horrible condition — “ perished in mine; afflictions,” and implies a glorious deliverance, for he did not die, but live to proclaim the honors of the word of God. 93. “I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me .” When we have felt the quickening power of a precept we never can forget it. We may read it, learn it, repeat it, and think we have it, and yet it may slip out of our minds; but if it has once given us life or renewed than; life, there is no fear of its falling from our recollection. Experience teaches, and teaches effectually. How blessed a thing it is to have the precepts written on the heart with the golden pen of experience, and graven on the memory with the divine stylus of grace. Forgetfulness is a great evil in holy things; we see here the man of God fighting against it, and feeling sure of victory because he knew the life-giving energy of the word in his own soul.
That which quickens the heart is sure to quicken the memory. It seems singular that he should ascribe quickening to the precepts, and yet it lies in them and in all the words of the Lord alike. It is to be noted that when the Lord raised the dead he addressed to them the word of command. He said, “Lazarus, come forth,” or, “Maid, arise.” We need not fear to address gospel precepts to dead sinners, since by them the Spirit gives them life.
Remark that the Psalmist does not say that the precepts quickened him, but that the Lord quickened him by their means: thus he traces the life from the channel to the source, and places the glory where it is due. Yet at the same time he prized the instruments of the blessing, and resolved never to forget them. He had already remembered them when he likened himself to a bottle in the smoke, and now he feels that whether in the smoke or in the fire the memory of the Lord’s precepts shall never depart from him. 94. “I am, thine, save me .” A comprehensive prayer with a prevailing argument. Consecration is a good plea for preservation. If we are conscious that we are the Lord’s we may be confident that he will save us’., We are the Lord’s by creation, election, redemption, surrender, and acceptance; and hence our firm hope and assured belief that he will save us.
A man will surely save his own child: Lord, save me. The need of salvation is better seen by the Lord’s people than by any others, and hence their prayer — “save me”; they know that only God can save them, and hence they cry to him alone; and they know that no merit can be found in themselves, and hence they urge a reason fetched from the grace of God, — “ I am thine.” “For I have sought thy precepts.” Thus had he proved that he was the Lord’s. He might not have attained to that which he desired, but he had through life studiously aimed to be obedient to the Lord, and hence he begged to be saved even to the end. A man may be seeking the doctrines and the promises, and yet be unrenewed in heart; but to seek the precepts is a sure sign of grace; no one ever heard of a rebel or a hypocrite seeking the precepts. The Lord had evidently wrought a Treat work upon him, and he besought him to carry it on to completion. Saving is linked with seeking, “save me, for I have sought”; and when the Lord sets us socking he will not refuse us the saving, lie who seeks holiness is already saved: if we have sought the Lord we may be sure that the Lord has sought us, and will certainly save us. 95. “The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies .” They were like wild beasts crouching by the way, or highwaymen waylaying a defenseless traveler; but the Psalmist went on his way without considering them, for he was considering something better, namely, the witness or testimony which God has borne to the sons of men.
He did not allow the malice of the wicked to take him off from his holy study of the divine word. He was so calm that he could “consider”; so holy that he loved to consider the Lord’s “testimonies “; so victorious over all their plots that he did not allow them to drive him front his pious contemplations. If the enemy cannot cause us to withdraw our thoughts from holy study, or our feet from holy walking, or our hearts from holy aspirations, he has met with poor success in his assaults. The wicked are the natural enemies of holy men and holy thoughts; if they could they would not only damage us but destroy us, and if they cannot do this to-day they will wait for further opportunities, ever hoping that their evil designs may be compassed. They have waited hitherto in vain, and they will have to wait much longer yet; for if we are so unmoved that we do not even give them a thought their hope of destroying us must be a very poor one. Note the double waiting, — the patience of the wicked who watch long and carefully for an opportunity to destroy the godly, and then the patience of the saint who will not quit his meditations, even to quiet his foes. See how the serpent seed lie in wait as an adder that biteth at the horse’s heels; but see how the chosen of the Lord live above their venom, and take no more notice of them than if they had no existence. 96. “I have seen an end of all perfection .” He had seen its limit, for it went but a little way; he had seen its evaporation under the trials of life, its detection under the searching glance of truth, its exposure by the confession of the penitent. There is no perfection beneath the moon.
Perfect men, in the absolute sense of the word, live only in a perfect world.
Some men see no end to their own perfection, but this is because they are perfectly blind. The experienced believer has seen an end of all perfection in himself, in his brethren, in the best man’s best works. It would be well if some who profess to be perfect could even see the beginning of perfection, for we fear they cannot have begun aright’ or they would not talk so exceeding proudly. Is it not the beginning of perfection to lament your imperfection? There is no such thing as perfection in anything which is the work of man. “But thy commandment is exceeding broad.” When the breadth of the law is known the notion of perfection in the flesh vanishes’ that law touches every act, word, and thought, and is of such a spiritual nature that it judges the motives, desires, and emotions of the soul. It, is far too broad for us to hope to cover all its demands, and yet it is no broader than it ought to be. Who would wish to have an imperfect law? Nay, its perfection is its glory; but it is the death of all glorying in our own perfection. There is a breadth about the commandment which has never been met to the full by a corresponding breadth of holiness in any mere man while here below. The law is in all respects a perfect code, and each separate precept of it is far-reaching in its hallowed meaning. We may well adore the infinity of divine holiness, and then measure ourselves by its standard, and bow before the Lord in all lowliness, acknowledging how far we fail short of it.
THE HARBOR OF REFUGE.
SINCE I have been watching the sea a wind has sprung up, and suddenly the ocean is dotted with ships. This little town has a harbor, and trading vessels of small tonnage evidently expect a storm, for here they come. Like sea- fowl borne on white wings they are flying for the harbor. Differing in their tacking, yet it is evident that they are all making for one spot. How beautiful it is to see them enter the haven, cast anchor, and rest! O that our fellow men were equally wise as to spiritual things! A thousand signs betoken the approaching tempest; they know there is a place of refuge, will they not hasten to it? They will suffer loss, nay, they will be wrecked totally, if they try to weather the last dread storm; the harbor is free, there is time to reach it, there is ample room within its shelter; why will they refuse the safety? Ah me; this is cause for tears. Are my fellow-creatures mad? Do they despise Jesus, the appointed haven of souls? Do they so despise him as to perish to show their contempt? My God, help me to mourn for them, if I cannot persuade them, and do thou give them understanding enough to accept their own lives.
NOTES WE give notes of even the smaller meetings at the Tabernacle, because many friends like to know everything about the work, and also because hints may then be thrown out as to church work, — hints which may be useful to young ministers. On Thursday evening, Feb. 2 , the members of the Youths’ Bible-class at the Tabernacle were invited to a tea at the College by Mr. Pearce, the superintendent of the Sunday-school. At the close of the meeting the Pastor arrived, and in the name of the class presented to the leader, Mr. Thomas Heyland, a morocco leather writing-desk and a lamp. Under this brother a large class of youths has been gathered, and many of them have been led to decide for the Lord Jesus. In our school are several teachers, both male and female, out of whose classes scores have been called by divine grace into the liberty of the gospel. On Friday evening, Feb. 3 , the annual meeting of the Tabernacle Church was held, when the senior Pastor was glad to be well enough to preside.
There was a thick fog outside, and some of it penetrated into the interior of the building; but the warmth of Christian affection and enthusiasm which prevailed throughout the whole meeting prevented anyone from feeling much of its influence. It was a huge, happy family gathering of brethren and sisters in Christ, who had met to hear and tell what the Lord had done for them and by them during another year. Both the pastors, and several of the deacons and elders spoke, the annual balance-sheets of the Church and College were presented and approved, and the following statistics: — Increase, by baptism, 279; by letter, 68; by profession (i.e., those who have been previously baptized), 35; total, 382. Decrease by dismission, 144; by joining other churches without letters, 34; by emigration, 7; by removal for non-attendance, 56; exclusions, 3; withdrawal, 1; deaths,70; total, 315- leaving a net increase of 67, and making the number of members on the books 5,310. Special gratitude was expressed that, notwithstanding the general depression, and the pastor’s long illness last year, the finances of the church had been well maintained, and that in addition so large a sum had been raised for the Girls’ Orphanage. The happy burden of the church lies in the great number of its poor. Although about £1,000 had been distributed among the poor members, yet more could have been usefully employed upon cases of deep distress. Any friends who wish to be sure that their money would go really to the Lord’s poor might aid this fund.
We have more than our fair share of poverty, and this is a blessed charge, but it would be painful if means were not forthcoming for its relief. There is still a considerable draw upon the church funds for the alms-women, for we have not found that the amount provided by the Pastor’s endowment is sufficient for the old ladies to live upon. A few more hundreds would put this institution beyond want. Thus it is clear that good investments for the Lord’s money are still to be had.
On Monday evening , Feb. 6, the monthly missionary prayer-meeting was held at the Tabernacle, under the presidency of Pastor J.A. Spurgeon.
Several representatives of the China Inland Mission were present, including three sisters and one brother who were about to sail for China. Prayers were offered by several brethren for mission work in general, and specially for those who were leaving for the foreign field, and addresses were delivered by Messrs. Baller, McCarthy, and Macgregor. We cannot withhold our tribute of admiration for the work of Mr. Hudson Taylor and his brethren in China. The work is so great that it needs a hundred times the number of missionaries now employed; but still, much has been done, and hopeful beginnings have been made in many cities in the interior. Oh that God’s people would lay the work to heart!
On Monday evening , February 13, the annual prayer and communion service in connection with the Lambeth Auxiliary Sunday School Union was held at the Tabernacle, in conjunction with the usual prayer-meeting.
The chair was occupied by the Pastor, who has been the President of the Auxiliary for the past year. Prayer was offered by representatives of various schools, and the President delivered an address upon Jesus — the teacher’s subject, model, helper, and reward. At its close the communion was enjoyed by several hundreds of teachers and friends. It was a holy convocation, and the Lord was in the midst of us. The leaflet issued by Mr. Spurgeon to the teachers is reprinted in this month’s magazine; a copy was given to every teacher connected with the Lambeth Auxiliary.
At various Monday evening meetings public thanks have been rendered for answers to prayer notified by persons for whom petitions had been presented. This is a great stimulus to prayer.
— Mr. G. Simmons, who has retained the pastorate at New Malden while attending the College classes, leaves us at the close of the present session, to devote himself entirely to his pastoral work.
During the past month, Mr. M. Mitchell has sailed for Calcutta, en route for Mr. Haegert’s medical mission among the Santhais. We have paid for his outfit from our fund for Indian evangelists. May the Lord make this brother a blessing among the heathen.
Mr. H. Charlton, formerly of Malden, is going shortly to Queensland, where he hopes to find a church to which his ministry will be acceptable and useful. Mr. T. Hatrington has removed from Oxford, New Zealand, to Invercargill.
Writing to us on January 16, our Bro. Hamilton, of Capetown, says: — “ In a month’s time I hope our new chapel will be open. What a glorious day that will be to me after having striven for over five years for the result!”
We trust, therefore, that by this time the labors of this honored brother are rewarded, although a considerable sum will still be needed before the building will be out of debt.
The following letter from our late student, Mr. John Downing, is so full of good cheer that we must print it here, in order that those who have helped us to train pastors and evangelists may share our joy, as they deserve to do:— “Brisbane, Queensland, “5th Dec, 1881. “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, — I feel impelled to let you know how the Lord has been working in Brisbane of late. In March last I had a run down to Tasmania, and came back to Victoria with Harrison, who was in College at the same time as myself, and who was then on the way to join Isaac for Evangelistic work. I asked Harrison to come on up to Queensland, and after working down south, i.e., in Victoria and N.S. Wales, he and Isaac arrived here in August. The first meetings were under severe disadvantage; the evangelists were unknown It was the annual exhibition week, and people were mad after the young princes just arrived in the “Racchante,” but souls were saved, and the news spread so that at the next place between one hundred and fifty and two hundred went forward for personal conversation, and, as a consequence, the Christian enthusiasm steadily rose. The third church could not hold the throngs, and when anxious souls were asked to come into the vestries, they did at such a rate as to fill them to overflowing, and this continued for nearly three mouths. Harrison’s last meeting in any church was held in mine, and never before has such a crowd gathered there; every seat was more than full, every available inch of standing-room was occupied, and the overflow contented themselves with listening outside the open windows. When the preaching was over we could not get the people away, they wanted eternal life, and would not go without it. To my knowledge, there are scores upon scores professedly saved. Many have received assurance of faith; churches have been roused; pastors and other workers have been cheered, and the whole tone of religious life heightened. Harrison’s Sundayafternoon meetings in the Theater Royal, too, were, numerically, a big success, though, through the lack of accommodation for personal dealing, very many slipped through our fingers. Except when your son Thomas was here, I have never seen such packed meetings. I might say that when he was here, fifteen months ago, we took advantage of his presence and preaching to begin theatermeetings in the only place we then could get, a little pokey, cockroachy hole, holding about four hundred. Through his instrumentality, and in the teeth of much prejudice, the place was filled, and from that has sprung a regular Sunday-evening theaterservice in a new theater, holding over fifteen hundred, and which, when Harrison preached there last, was so packed that hundreds could not get in. Jesus of Nazareth has been passing by, and eyes once blind now see him, while the communion of soul granted to his people has been blessedly close and choice. The manifestations of the Spirit’s power which have come under my own notice have been remarkable, this is one — We had finished a meeting, and the inquirers had gone into the vestries. I felt very happy, and commenced to sing while the people were going away. Many stopped, and joined in the verse, ‘Glory, honor, etc.’ One fraelooking young fellow stood laughing while we were singing, .but, before we had finished, his stiff neck bent, and he broke down, fairly making a dash for the vestry in which were the anxious souls.
At another meeting, several young Christians were in the church, praying for the anxious, who had filled the vestry. An ungodly young man did not want to leave his companion, and remained.
While someone was praying, suddenly there burst over the solemnity of the meeting great sobs as if one were dying of grief.
The Holy Spirit had come in convicting energy upon him; he has since shown by his consistent life that he is a new creature. He has applied for baptism; and there have been many cases somewhat similar. The work is still going on, and fresh cases of conversion are coming to light. “I am anxiously expecting Thomas Went from the Tabernacle, and purpose having more special meetings when he arrives. Harrison is a grand fellow; everyone regretted his leaving us. He is a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost; may he long be spared for the Lord’s service on earth. “I do not know how any of the other men are getting on save by far-off report. I am five hundred miles from the nearest, eleven hundred from any of the others. Wherever your son Thomas goes he carries a blessing, and is received very heartily, first for his father’s sake, and the next time none the less so for his own. I wish he might be the flying angel of the everlasting gospel for the Colonies. Whichever way his Master will use him will be wisest and best. “Praying day and night for blessings upon yourself and kind Mrs. Spurgeon, “I remain, “Ever gratefully, yours, “JOHN DOWNING.” “P.S. — From what I can glean I believe the churches will be increased through Harrison’s visit by upwards of two hundred who have been savingly converted.”
Mr. K. McCullough also sends us a cheering report of his work at Longford, Tasmania, where he ministers in one of the “Tabernacles” built by our generous friend, Mr. Gibson. A year ago a church was formed of twenty-seven members, and since then twenty-six have been added, in spite of opposition.
Just as the “Notes” are being made up, tidings have reached us of the death, at Ventnor, of our Brother D. Morgan, formerly pastor of the church at Luton.
On Thursday, Feb . 9, the Vice-President presided at the formation of a new church, consisting of twenty members, at Sundown, Isle of Wight.
The room in which the services have been held up to the present time is quite inadequate to the needs of the work, so that a building of some kind must speedily be erected, A few friends have promised liberal help, and doubtless other amounts will be forthcoming as the scheme is unfolded. We hope many who know Sundown will be willing to assist this effort to provide a place in which evangelical truth may be preached and the ordinances practiced as they were delivered. The building of a Baptist chapel for Sundown is now an object near our heart, and we hope to see it carried out. Several other places are rising, and among the rest Mr. Hobb’s chapel, in Gipsy-road, Norwood, deserves immediate assistance. We take special interest in the building, as it is somewhat in our own region.
On Friday afternoon , Feb. 10, the, half-yearly meeting of the Students’ Missionary Association was held at the College. The President occupied the chair, and. after the report had been read, and the officers elected, Mr. Matthews, who was on his way to America to join the Teloogoo Mission, gave an interesting account of his call to the work. He was followed by the Rev. Burman Cassin, M.A., Rector of St. George the Martyr, Southwark, who delivered an excellent address upon mission work. The students had at tea the company of our London brethren, who had met to make the necessary arrangements for the Conference and afterwards held a meeting under the able chairmanship of W. Haig Miller, Esq., the author of “The Culture of Pleasure,” etc. The speakers were Revs. W. William’s, (Upton Chapel), Anderson (Allahabad), J. McCarthy (China Inland Mission), and A. Haegert (Bethel Santhal Mission), all of whom spoke with considerable power and unction.
— The following letter further describes Messrs. Smith and Fullerton’s services at Greenwich: — “Dear Father, — I send with the greatest pleasure this condensed report of the special services. The meetings have been well attended throughout, and often the place has been too small. Grouping the different classes together, I must mention the children first. Every Saturday afternoon, at three o’clock, the chapel has been packed with little ones, all eager to hear their friend Mr. Smith. Even on that dreadful foggy day over five hundred found their way to the meeting. In all, five services for the boys and girls have been held, and on one occasion sixty received book pries for having written out one of Mr. Smith’s addresses. Next came the special meetings for men only and women only. Three of each of these have been conducted by the brethren, and if preference is to be shown to either it must .be to the men’s meeting, on account of their numbers being larger, though if the babies had been reckoned up with their mothers the gatherings might have been about equal. It was good to be at all these, for the Master was there. The ‘ Song Services’ have proved wonderfully attractive, overflowing congregations gathering each Saturday, and good as come through the singing of the gospel. Many that never go to any religious service have been constrained to come to these. But the best is to come last. On Sundays we have hardly known what to do with the ,crowds of people. Chapel and schoolroom have both been crammed, until we have had no more room. It does not end here, though. God has been moving in our midst, and by his Spirit converting many. Some most interesting cases have been met with, and there are more to follow. I am rejoiced to say that the prayer-meetings are -full of power. Before I forget it, let me mention that we had a seven o’clock gathering on Feb. 2, when about four hundred came together. Areal work has been done, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that two such workmen as these brethren have been to Greenwich. ‘God bless them both ‘ is my hearty prayer. I must tell you a good deal more than I can write. “With filial love, “I am, your Boy, “Charlie. “P.S. — The last meetings were the best, and as the result of all I send a bona fide thankoffering of £55.”
On Sunday Feb . 12, the evangelists commenced a month’s services at Peckham Park Road.
Mr. Burnham has recently paid his third ,visit to Sheepshed, where his labors have been once more highly appreciated and richly blessed. A cheering report of his services at Gamlingay has also reached us. Wherever he goes the churches are revived, back-sliders are reclaimed, the careless are aroused, and souls are saved. This month he goes to Shoreham, Sussex; and Watton, Norfolk.
— We trust all our collectors will make an effort to bring in the contents of their boxes and books on Friday evening, .March 3. After tea the President hopes to take the chair, and Mr. J. William’s Benn, of the Royal Polytechnic, will give his popular sketching entertainment, entitled, “Notes on Noses, and those who wear them.” Now that we are increasing the number of girls, we shall be glad to secure the help of many fresh collectors.
Mr. J. T. Dunn furnished us with a list of several hundreds of persons who contributed goods for the Richmond-street Mission stall at the Bazaar; but, as we explained last month, we were unable to publish it. He wishes us, however, specially to mention that parcels were received from the Cape of Good Hope, the Rescue Society’s Home, Bethlehem Hospital, Guy’s Hospital, the Hospital for Incurables, and last, but not least, Balmoral Castle. He has also paid in £15 10s. 6d. for additional contributions, making the total receipts from the stall under his charge £443 9s. 6d.
The following letter came safely to hand with 25s. for the Girls’ Orphanage Building Fund:— “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, — My heart is filled with joy as I read of the success of the Bazaar, and I bless the name of the Lord who moves the hearts of his people to will and to do of his good pleasure. I have read the account with tears of joy, and am ashamed of having done so little, although that little has been done with self-sacrifice; but I have read of the one who gave the tenth part of her savings in the bank, and you said, ‘ Oh, that others would do the same! ‘That prayer is answered; I have done so; and pray that God may lead many to follow who have their thousands. “I have sent you an order for £1 5s., that is, the tenth part of what I have in the bank. I have through grace saved it; or it might have gone in drink. “I have given God more than a tenth part, and do every week; but what is that when I think what it cost my Master to save my soul?
My all is nothing worth. “Dear sir, if you should use this with the hope of others following, please not to let my name go with it: I want no man’s praise. “I have sent you 10s. annually; but with God’s help I will send double for the time to come. “Yours in the Lord, “APOOR GARDENER “With 16s. 6d. a week.”
Such instances of consecration are too touching to be allowed to pass without notice.
After we had printed this month’s cash-lists we received the following letter, which speaks for itself: — “Cardiff, Feb. 16, 1882. “Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, “Dear Friend, — Desirous of sharing in the Christ-like work which you have so lovingly undertaken for poor orphan girls, I have decided to enclose you a cheque for £250 for their and our adorable Master’s sake, and towards the several thousands you still, I understand, need to pay for their Orphanages. Now, upon condition that you can get nine other friends to give, in the course of this year, £500, I will increase my £250 to the same amount.
With cordial Christian regards and best wishes, “Yours very truly, “R.CORY, Jun.”
Since the accounts were closed Mr. Samuel Barrow has sent us his promised contribution of £250 for furnishing “The Olives,” the house erected and paid for through the generosity of himself and his friends.
We have received and perused with much gratitude the first annual report of the Reading Young Ladies’ Working Party for the Stockwell Orphanage. This new device of our ever-generous Reading friends has been adopted in consequence of our naming one of the houses for girls “The Reading House,” and as the result of one year’s work they have already dispatched to the Orphanage two parcels containing 118 garments for the children, two Scripture quilts, 34 sheets and pillow cases, and scrapbooks. The working meetings are held monthly at the residence of our constant helper, Mrs. James Withers, whose daughter is the secretary of the society.
— During the past month new districts have been commenced at Tewkesbury and Thornbury, in Gloucestershire, where we trust that the newly-appointed colporteurs will prove useful and successful in their important work. Other openings, too, are in prospect, which will make an increased demand upon the general fund of the association. This is already nearly £300 in arrear as compared with the previous year. As it is from this fund that all deficiencies in working the districts are made good, the power of the association for maintaining and extending this useful agency is entirely dependent upon the success or failure of the general fund, and we, therefore, earnestly appeal for the needed help. It should be remembered that some districts which most need the work spiritually cost the Association more to work than others where the receipts are larger. Is there not some wealthy friend who will send a special gift to supplement the small amount yielded n the poorer districts? Without entering into details of circumstances, reports are in possession of the Association which will testify of numerous people and places visited who are not reached by any other agency, of souls won for Christ, both by the books read and the services conducted by the Colporteurs. The annual report is in preparation, and will give full particulars. In the meantime, will friends specially’ remember and supply the lack of funds? — W.CORDEN JONES, Secretary.
— The annual meeting of teachers and workers was held at the Mission-rooms on Wednesday evening, Feb. 15th. About seventy sat down to tea, and at the meeting afterwards about one hundred workers were present. Mr. J. T. Dunn presided. Fifteen reports were read from the secretaries and others engaged in the different works carried on at the Mission. Almost every department of Christian labor is represented here, including a Sunday-school, Raggedschool, Children’s - services, Mothers’ - meetings, Young-men’s Bibleclass, Band of Hope, Pure Literature Society, Tract Society, Penny Bank, Evangelists’ Association, Mutual Improvement Society, etc.: etc. The amount of work done for the Lord at this Christian beehive is really astonishing, and the Master is honoring the faithfulness of his servants in an especial manner. They all seek as the supreme object of their endeavors the glory of God and the salvation of souls. In most of the reports individual instances were mentioned of God’s favor being shown. The Mission has already done a noble service in the neighborhood where it is situated, and knowing him. on whom they depend, the teachers and workers engaged in this work are expecting greater things than these, and a more extended sphere of usefulness in the future. They have indeed much cause for thankfulness.
GREEN WALK MISSION.
— The death of our brother, Mr. Bennett, is a great and grievous loss to this most useful work. Prayer is desired that others may be raised. up that this blessed service for teeming Bermondsey may not flag.
PERSONAL NOTES. — A correspondent in Yorkshire sends us the following characteristic note: — “A young man in this neighborhood, who had been brought up as a Congregationalist, was got hold of by the Ritualistic party, and made into a Churchman, and induced even to go to confession to one of the vicars in —. He fell ill, and consumption set in. When death stared him in the face he found no comfort from his church creeds and practices, and at last turned with disgust from his spiritual advisers. Having heard much of you, and. no doubt at times seen your works, he told his father he should like to read some of them. His father was only too glad to hear this, and at once procured a copy of your “Morning by Morning.” He found here just what he wanted, and through the reading of this book, and the conversation he had with a Christian friend, he was able to say with confidence, ‘I know whom I have believed,’ and he died in a sure hope. He said to his father once or twice that he got more good from your books than from aught else he read.”
We are glad to find that the letter of Dr. Culross, in last month’s Magazine, referring to the distribution of our sermons, has already suggested to others the desirability of commencing similar work. Any friends who wish to circulate the sermons as loan tracts, can obtain a regular supply of them, in return for a small subscription, by applying to the Secretary of the Spurgeon’s Sermons’ Tract Society, Mr. C. Cornell, 60, Hamilton Square, Borough, London, S.E., who will be glad to receive contributions to assist in defraying the cost of the sermons. At the present time he has more applications for grants than the funds in hand will enable him to meet.
We were very delighted recently to hear of a singular case of conversion through one of our sermons. Last “Derby day” we were preaching in Essex, and a gentleman, who was on his way to Epsom to attend the races, seeing the announcement of the service, determined to be present, lie came, the word was blessed to the salvation of his soul, and not long ago he fell asleep in Jesus.
One of our church-members writes as follows: — “ Dear Pastor, — I thought it would gladden your heart to hear of another soul brought to Jesus through reading your sermons. A tract distributor from Chelsea Chapel, some two or three years ago, called at the house of an invalid, but was constantly told not to leave her tracts, for the man would neither read them nor allow anyone to come in to see him. She, however, persevered, and one day left one of your sermons, which he read, and told his wife to tell the woman that, if she had got any more of that sort, she might leave them, which of course she was pleased to do. He has continued reading them, and now is rejoicing in Jesus. He tells the distributor that it is all through those sermons.”
A liberal helper of our work, in sending contributions, says: — “You may remember the initials. My husband has sent pieces of calico to the Orphanage, also when at — he gave you three five-pound notes. He would say I ought net to tell you this, but I have often thought I should like to write to you, knowing that it gives you great pleasure to hear you have been the means of blessing to any soul. My husband lived in London for fourteen years as a draper’s assistant, and when he went was a gay, worldly young man. He was sent for to come home to see his sister, who was very ill, and died. Her death made a great impression upon him, and on his return to London he thought he must attend some place of worship. the first Sunday he started, not knowing where to go, but seeing a number of people going into a large building, thought he would go in. Need I say it was the Tabernacle, and that he was ever after a regular attendant. The word that seemed most blessed to him was preached by you front the text, ‘Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro?’ He was baptized by Mr. J.A. Spurgeon, and I am thankful to say is a very consistent Christian. He has been in business here more than ten years now, and the Lord has indeed blessed him in basket and in store, and I am also pleased to add that he has given him a liberal heart. Of course he takes a great interest in your great work.”
A Middlesex policeman writes: — “Before going on duty one evening last November, as I sat talking with my wife respecting a sergeant, who was sick at the police-station, with no one to tell him of Jesus. I felt condemned that I had not spoken to him. The Lord told me to take him some of your sermons, which had been preached about sixteen years ago. One of them was blessed to him; he was led to pray, and after seeking about ten days he found Jesus, to the joy of his soul. He has been baptized by our pastor, and is now very busy telling his friends what the Lord has done for him. One woman who lives at the police-station has found the Savior, and her husband is anxiously seeking the Lord.”
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle:—February 2nd, twenty-one.