THE magazine is demanded, and the Editor can scarcely think two consecutive thoughts. He has an idea, and then a pang, a sigh, and the idea has flown out of reach, like the boy’s butterfly. Or if he gets the pretty thing, he beats it to pieces in his eager effort, and it is no kroger worth the having. A sword and a trowel are poor things to work with when one tosses to and fro in bed. Will not our kind readers first excuse us if the number should be dull, and next prevent the consequences of such dulness by setting more than usual store by such things as we have, considering what they cost us? We could not postpone the affliction, or we would have had the magazine first, and the gout afterwards; but the sickness waylaid us, and stopped us just when the hour for labor had arrived. If it were only a matter of legs and arms we would manfully bear the pain at the extremities, and carry on our work; but the essence of our mischief is the brain, and, with the foe penetrating our head-quarters, it; is not easy to carry on the war. Our comfort is that our Lord and Master will not expect more of us than we can render, and we may surely hope that his children will be moved by the same compassion. Friends of many years’ standing, you will sympathize with one whom you have so often cheered; and if he be weak, your love will be all the stronger. When he was a lad, it was from his little wallet that the Lord and Master fed you with loaves and fishes marvelously multiplied; and now that he is older, and can hardly lift even the little. breakfast-basket of his younger days, you will pray that the.
Master will not stint the feast because he weakens the servitor. If we were; dead God could glorify himself by us, and so he will now that we can say no more than — “ To will is present with me; but how to perform that which I would I find not.” — C. H.S.ESSENCE OF A BIBLE SOCIETY SPEECH BY. C.H. SPURGEON.
SCATTER the Bible without stint, strew the sacred pages “thick as leaves in Vallambrosa. Put it into the hand of prince and peasant, leave it in the waiting-room and the car, give it to the skeptical philosopher and the unsophisticated child.;’ In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand.” Spread the Scriptures till they are as universal as the light, as all-pervading as the air, as all-refreshing as the dew.
To that end I commend the British and Foreign Bible Society as a great means of disseminating the word of God in all quarters of the globe. We have our own conscientious difference with this Society on a certain point; but that can never prevent our co-operating with it to the utmost of our power where the one object is to keep the Holy Scriptures before the public eye, and within the reach of all mankind.
Of course, we are not so superstitious as to believe that the mere dispersion of Bibles must do good, whether they are read or not. Our hope is that they will be read, and that the Holy Spirit will lead many to study them to their souls’ eternal benefit. Apart from this, there is no special benefit in putting a Bible to sleep in every bedroom, and a well-dressed copy to be on parade in the drawing-room; neither is there any great; thing done when you can sell a Bible for sixpence;, and a Testament for twopence. But we look for this, and have no reason to reckon upon disappointment — place the Bible within every man’s reach, and see what will come of it.
What is the Bible to us that we should wish to spread it throughout the habitable earth? The answer is a large one. First, it is to us the umpire of truth. Let the umpire be where he can be heard. The Scripture is our court of appeal; let it be open to all comers. Every man must have an anchorage for his faith; even for his unbelief he needs some form of hold-fast. The disputer of this world believes in himself, and so he ends the matter. The Roman Catholic finds his anchorage in the infallibility of the Pope, and submits his reason to the traditions of his church. You and I find our anchorage in the infallibility of Scripture. The Holy Ghost moved holy men of old to write this Book, and we believe that every word of it is inspired, and that if we could get absolutely the exact words in which it was written at the first, we should have a book as perfect, certain, and immutable as God himself. We know that in any one version of it there may be minor errors of copyists, which could not have been avoided unless a miracle had been wrought every day for thousands of years; but, allowing for that, we hold that the volume containing the Old and New Testaments is God’s revelation of himself to us in words, — a revelation positive and clear.
Hence it is that we desire every living man to read it. We desire to see truth triumphant, and error defeated; and therefore we scatter the Bible. We would see the divided church once more purged of heresics, and united in one Lord, one faith, and one baptism; and therefore we scatter the Bible. If this book be the test of truth, those who are the children of truth are the most deeply concerned to see it brought to the front. “This is the judge that ends the strife, Where wit and reason fail.” Let us proclaim the judgments of this judge in all places. To me one text of Scripture is worth seven years of argument. Fathers, schoolmen, reformers, Puritans, bishops, and even ecclesiastical courts are nothing in comparison with this oracle of God.
The test-book should be accessible to every man. No one should be allowed to go abroad into an atmosphere loaded with superstition and skepticism without bearing the antidote with him. We Should not merely provide it for him when he seeks it, but we should suggest his use of it by’ furnishing an abundant supply. Every man should be able to judge of the truth and value of the teaching of the pulpit and the press by having in his hand the law and the testimony by which all must be judged.
Brethren, the Bible is to us, next, the storehouse of truth. It not only helps us to judge what is truth, but it tells us what truth is. Shall we not wish that all our neighbors should possess such a treasure? Will we allow one poor wandering gipsy or street-beggar to be without the book which makes wise the simple? The marvelous fullness of Holy Scripture reminds me of certain of our coal-mines. Coal is found upon the surface, and it gladdens the cottager’s hearth, without costing him labor in coming at it. Even thus there are truths in the Bible which are conspicuous to every reader, and are learned without study or research. When the surface-coal is gone, the miners dig down till they come to another seam, and the same thing is done many’ times: they go further into the bowels of the earth, and they find still more treasure. In such mines there is no exhaustion; so long as the expense of the descent can be borne, the enterprising digger may go far down under the bottom of the mighty sea, and still find full veins to reward him. Men exhaust a coal-mine, but; they will never work: out the Biblical mine, nor come to the end of the truth that is in God’s word. I do not know what truth is not in the Bible. A band of eminent men once taught that all science is to be found in the Bible: they conceived it to be a thesaurus of philosophical and physical truth, as well as of theological truth, and they said that all discoveries which are made externally by science might have been made within the inspired volume if we had looked for them. They asked if the circulation of the blood was not taught by Solomon long before Harvey’s day, and if the rotundity of the earth and its position in space were not clearly indicated? All things were and are known to that great Author who inspired the writers of this book, and it is small wonder if his omniscience betrays itself. When our very wise men have discovered all they can, it may be that their wisdom will become sufficiently prudent to look up to the foolishness of God; but as yet the foolishness of God is wiser than men — the book in which God conceals the secrets of nature is yet too bright for mortal eye.
Every stray hint in the Bible is of value, but evidently it was written chiefly to teach us moral and spiritual truth, to teach us the truths that concern our relation to one another, and to God. Upon those subjects it gives us everything we require. There is no subject upon which it does not treat, or if there be a subject upon which it is silent, it teaches us that God having nothing to say upon it, we ought to have nothing to ask. This marvelous book says all we want to know, and ought to know, in every case.
What a storehouse it is, since a man may continue to preach from it for five-and-twenty years, and still find that there is more to preach from than when he began to discourse upon it! What pyramids of books have been written upon the Bible, and yet we who are students find no portion overexpounded, but large parts which are scarcely touched. If you take Darling’s Cyclopaedia, and look at a text which one divine has preached upon, you will see that dozens have done the same; but there are hundreds of texts which remain like virgin summits, whereon the foot of preacher has never stood. I might almost say that the major part of the word of God is in that condition; it is still an Eldorado unexplored, a land whose dust is gold.
This is a tempting subject. The word of God is the great Popular Educator, the treasure-house of wisdom and knowledge, and surely, we, who desire to see around us a holy, happy, instructed people, must most anxiously desire that all men should read and believe, and understand the message of the Lord.
Next, far and wide disperse the Holy Word, because it is the great exemplar of morals. To whom shall we go for help in this matter, if we forget this thrice-holy Book? The common novels of the day are sorry teachers of morality; they teach a great deal more of immorality. The religious fiction of the day is little better: it is either goody-goody, teaching men and women how to be babies, or else it is suggest-ire of doubts which minister weakness to the soul. And what are all the essays and the theories of reviewers? What are all the tomes of the sages, and the gatherings up of centuries? London would become a field of blood if its only force for the maintenance of law, order, and right were found in the current literature of the period apart from the Bible and religion. The Scriptures give us a perfect law, and fix its commands upon the firm foundation of God’s claim to man’s obedience. It reveals to us the perfect example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and gives us the most powerful motives for copying that example, by attracting our love to him on account of his life and death on our behalf.
It supplies virtue with courage, and gives zeal to justice. If we would create a thoroughly moral people, it can only be done in connection with the diffusion, belief, and practice of the Scriptures. The spread of sound morals is an absolute necessity of good government, especially in our great cities. Sin is a political danger. But; the people’s morals cannot he cared for except upon the basis of religion, and there is no religion but that of the cross. Banish religion,, and you destroy virtue. We will not say that no infidels have been moral, but we do say this, that unknown to themselves they were: under influences which sprang out of religion and its outgrowths, and so they were not fair specimens of what atheism alone would produce. Go to France in 1797, and see what happens to a nation when the sacred volume is removed and its teachings are derided: there the gospel of Pandemonium brought forth its Millennium, and anarchy’ created upon earth the express likeness of hell. If you would settle the pillars of order upon the basis of liberty, let the word of God be in the hands of all your citizens; and if you would go on to build an enduring empire, which shall be a temple of blessings to all mankind, let the sacred page be every day more studied, better understood, and more heartily practiced.
Holy Scripture is not only the teacher of morals, but it is the great enforcer of truth. Other books tell us the truth, but this puts us in love with it: they instruct us, but this converts us. That is a fine instance which is told of Junins, who had been for years an infidel. His father persuaded him to come home, and, being grieved at his opinions, begged him, for the love of his father, to read the New Testament. He said he would read it once; and here is his testimony concerning it: “When I opened the New Testament I first fixed my eyes on that august chapter with which St. John begins his Gospel: ‘ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ I read part of the chapter, and was soon convinced that the divinity of the argument, and the majesty and authority of the style, did far excel all the eloquence and art of human writings; my whole body trembled, my mind was astonished, and I was so affected all that day that I knew not where or what I was. O my God, thou wast mindful of me, according to the multitude of thy mercies; and in pity broughtest home thy lost sheep into thy fold.”
The word not only contains the truth, but it distills a certain secret unction by which that truth penetrates the heart. The Spirit of God is usually pleased to bless the word of God to the conversion of men. It is a selfevidencing book, proving its own inspiration by its effect on the soul. I find when I question people about their conversion that it is almost always a text of Scripture that God has blessed to that end. I may have expatiated on the text in my sermon, but the main instrument which the Lord has employed has been the passage itself. It is God’s word, and not our comments upon it, which he usually blesses to the conversion of men. Have you not all felt, who know the Lord, that a wondrous charm is in the word of God, by which men are gently led to the Savior? Was it not by one touch of Scripture that the scales were made to fall from your eyes, and you saw the light? Lex lux: the law is light. The Bible itself is a preacher, yea, an army of preachers in one; its silent tongue has more eloquence in it than all the tongues of all God’s ministers; and often those who have not been led to faith by human voices have heard in the Bible the “still, small voice” of God himself, and bowed before the throne of the Most High. If you want sinners converted and souls saved, spread the sacred Scriptures.
You cannot tell where God will bless them; sow them beside all waters.
Let us spread the Holy Scriptures also, and perhaps chiefly, because they are the very throne of Christ. I hate to hear Scripture and Scriptural doctrine made into a great stone to roll at the door of the sepulcher of a dead Christ. This may be done by teaching a creed, and forgetting the living personality of our Lord. I have heard of Christians whose principal talk is about “the church.” God bless the church! But it is not the chief object of our affection. Christ — Christ crucified — ,must ever stand first.
I have joined the society of “know-nothings “; not the American “knownothings,” but the old Pauline know- nothings; for I determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified. Those who are of that persuasion will be sure to love the word of God, for it is full of Jesus. “The Scriptures are the swaddling-bands of the child Christ Jesus;” so St.
Augustine used to say. The Scriptures are those beds of choicest flowers where he, is ever present: — “He feedeth among the lilies.” This is the garden where he delighteth to walk. In the Scriptures, as in the Temple, everyone speaks of his glory. All the prophets and apostles point to him, and with one voice cry, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” The ivory palaces of inspiration are fragrant with cassia and myrrh, and all that myrrh and holy perfume; come from the presence of Christ in the midst of them. Oh! you who love the Incarnate Word, spread the inspired word which does him honor. Oh! you that feel that he loved you and gave himself for you, if you desire to bring him an acceptable sacrifice, spread the word of God all over the world, till every creature shall read the glowing page.
Last of all, let us spread the Bible, for we have no idea how greatly it is the consolation of the afflicted , and the comforter of the poor and troubled. It nourishes the souls of the famished ones. I know many persons who cannot get out to a place of worship, for they have been bedridden for many years; but the Psalms of David, and the blessed words of the Savior, such as, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye, believe in God, believe also in me,” have been their daily food.
I have heard it whispered by some of God’s people sometimes, “We know not where to get the gospel. We have a preacher, but he is a dry bone; there is no marrow in him, for there is no Christ in his preaching.” When you hear a sermon that has no Christ in it, you are to by pitied: if you hear that man again it is your own fault, and you will deserve to be blamed. I would not give a man a second chance to preach me a Christless sermon. “That is hard,” say you. If a man were to advertise that he could make bread without flour he might add? “but I will never do it.” It may be so, but let us judge by an analogy. When I get the idea theft a gentleman believes in a gospel in which Christ is not first and last I leave him alone in his glory. Christ must be all in all, or the gospel is not preached. When people live in a region where an adulterated gospel is served out, what a blessing it is that they can go and get the bread of life at first hand from their Bibles!
If you live in a region where the milk is watered down, the best thing is to keep a cow of your own: to have your own Bible is like keeping your own cow; from it you get “the sincere milk of the word.” And what a blessing it is to be able to have God’s word at so small a cost! Time was when your forefathers would have given all they were worth if they could have had such a treasure. You have it in all your houses; therefore take care that you have it in your hearts.
When we think of the many, many poor people in this great city of ours that suffer very much, and yet are happy because they live on the word of God as their daily manna; when we think of the many who are full of diseases, whose very bones decay, and yet are joyful and sing all day long because the holy promises are their comforters; when we think of the many that are almost homeless, scarcely knowing where to lay their heads, and are, nevertheless, supremely blessed through the grace of God, we cannot but adore the sacred Scripture, which is the meat and drink of their souls.
Take the Bible away! You might as well strike the sun from the firmament, or dry up all the rivers and springs.
I was sitting under a beech-tree in the New Forest some time ago, thinking and meditating on that tree. The beech is a very wonderful tree, exhibiting many curious habits and growths. If any tree has intellect it is the beechtree.
I was meditating upon my friend the beech, and looking up through the interlaced branches and enjoying the shade, when I saw a squirrel up in the tree, and I said to myself, “Ah, I do not value this tree as the squirrel does. He knows the trunk avenue, and calls it his High Street, and then he knows all the branch streets, all the little thoroughfares, and the nooks where he can hide himself away. This tree is his town, and he almost counts the leaves as he runs about it. Moreover, he has a little store of nuts somewhere in his own private bank, and this tree is a sort of mother and father and general provider for him. He can tell me what sounds it makes at midnight, and what creaking of the branches he hears when the storm is out; for this tree is his world, it is everything to him.”
Now, we ministers go to the Bible for our texts, and value it for that purpose; and ordinary readers go there, and see much of poetry, and much that is interesting and instructive in it; but the poor sinner, heavy-laden with his sins, how precious it is to him when first it reveals his Savior, and afterwards, when he is worn and weary with the cares of life, how precious is the Word to the believer when it assures him that his bread shall be given him and his water shall be sure. We do not know the value that one line of Scripture has in the eye of one of God’s saints whom that Scripture has sustained. Whenever you give a Bible, you bestow a priceless treasure upon the man who receives it; therefore, go on with your contributions, and do all that you can to spread the word of God. The Bible is not Christ, but it points to him: you may not rest in your Bibles as though they could save you, but you must go to Christ himself for salvation; but still, when you have once believed in the Lord Jesus, set about leading others to him, and how can you do this more surely than by seeing to it that the Scriptures are scattered everywhere? Farewell.
— We have been obliged to cancel all our engagements to preach or speak for various friends and societies, as we find that we cannot hope to fulfill them, and to accomplish our ever-increasing church and homework, without running the risk of being frequently laid aside altogether. It would be a great comfort to us if we could be spared from extra public service until we have the necessary strength for it. The work that we rarest do grows so rapidly that we are unable to undertake anything additional without either neglecting that which has the first claim upon us, or else, by attempting too much, being compelled to do nothing but lie and suffer excessive pain, with its consequent weakness of body and depression of spirit. For some time before we were taken ill, it was a daily burden to refuse all sorts of applications, presented either in writing, or by deputations. Those who could not possibly write their business, and therefore forced an interview, those who waylaid us at odd corners and inconvenient times, those who bored us with twenty requests to do the same thing, when we told them that it was not possible, have our richest blessing for the chastisement which they alone have brought upon us.
On Monday evening , March 6, the annual meeting of the LADIES’
BENEVOLENT SOCIETY was held in the Tabernacle Lecture-hall, PastorC. H. Spurgeon presiding. Addresses were delivered by the chairman. Pastor J. A. Spurgeon, and Messrs. W. Olney, B. W. Carr, M. Llewellyn, J.T. Dunn, and J. W. Harrald. The report, in addition to detailing the work of the past year, contained special references to the many workers of the Society who had been called home since the last anniversary, and alluded to the pressing need of new friends to fill their places. The poor are still with us in great numbers, but those who are able and willing to help this and other kindred societies for their relief are not so plentiful. It may be that there are some ladies who would be glad to be employed in this Christlike mission of benevolence. If so, we can promise them a hearty welcome at the working-meeting which is held on the Thursday after the first Sunday in each month in the Ladies’ Room at the Tabernacle.
On Wednesday evening , March 8, the members of the ADULT MALE BIBLECLASS held their annual tea and public meeting in the Tabernacle Lecturehall.
Much sympathy was manifested when it was announced that our beloved pastor was unable to take the chair. A kind note from him to the president, Elder Perkins, expressed his own disappointment that a sudden attack of his old enemy made bed his only resort. Mr. W. Olney kindly volunteered to preside. The gathering, both at the tea and public meeting, was much larger than on any former occasion, and the interest was well sustained throughout. The chairman spoke of his deep sympathy with such classes, and the secretary described the work: of the class during the last twelve months; also its present state, and its hopes for the future. The subjects discussed had been very varied in character, practical rather than speculative, and had been well taken up by the class, showing generally diligent study of the word. The attendance had been good, the largest number present being one hundred and forty-eight, the average one hundred and six each Sabbath. The weekly prayer-meeting, though not always large in numbers, has been ever characterized by a devout and earnest spirit. The president with gratitude referred to his twelve years’ connection with the class, during which the spirit of love and unity that had prevailed had been a bond of strength, while many backsliders had been restored, seekers directed, and a full and free salvation through a living Savior proclaimed to all. Two recent and interesting eases of the conversion of casual visitors were also mentioned, and several members of the class spoke of the benefit they had received. Many others had been fitted for more extended Christian work by increased acquaintance with the word, deepened piety, and the opportunity given them of using and improving their gifts. A sum of £23 in aid of the Pastors’ College, together with £25 in addition to £27 already given to our dear Pastor, to help him in spreading the gospel in India, is ready to be presented to the Pastor personally when our heavenly Father in his goodness restores him again to us.
During the evening a token of continued love and esteem for the; President was shown by the gift of a pair of pretty ornaments matching a timepiece previously given, and also a handsome black’ marble timepiece to our beloved Brother W. Geen, the secre-taw, who has rendered loving and valued service to the class, bat who, to the regret of all, is about to leave us, hoping to renew his health in his native air.
The meeting was closed with an earnest prayer by our venerable Brother Bowker.
On Wednesday evening , March 15, the inaugural meeting of the
METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE TOTAL ABSTINENCE SOCIETY was held in the Lecture-hall, which was crowded to its utmost capacity by an enthusiastic audience. Pastor C. H Spurgeon, who has accepted the office of President of the Society, had promised to preside, but being too ill to leave his bed, he had to content himself by writing the following letter:— “Dear Friends,—I am exceedingly sorry to be absent from this first meeting to form the Tabernacle Total Abstinence Society. The worst of it is that my head is so out of order that I cannot even dictate a proper letter. I can only say, ‘Try and do all the better because I am away.’ If the leader is shot down, and his legs are broken, the soldiers must give an extra hurrah, and rush on the enemy. I sincerely believe that, next to the preaching of the gospel, the most necessary thing to be done in England is to induce our people to become total abstainers. I hope this society will do something when it is started. I don’t want you to wear a lot of peacocks’ feathers and putty medals, nor to be always trying to convert the moderate drinkers, but to go in for winning the real drunkards, and bringing the poor enslaved creatures to the feet of Jesus, who can give them liberty. I wish I could say ever so many good things, but I cannot, and so will remain, yours teetotally, “C. H.SPURGEON.”
The duties of the Chairman were very efficiently performed by PastorJ. Clifford, M.A., LL.B., and addresses were delivered by Messrs. A.E. Smithers (the secretary of the Society), J. W. Herreld, J. T. Dunn,W. Stubbs, W. Hill, J. W. Goodwyn, J. McAuslane (of the Pastors’ College), and John Taylor (Chairman of the National Temperance League). A recitation, entitled,’ “The Drunkard’s Fire-escape,” was ably rendered by Mr. John Ripley; solos were sung by the Misses Price and Stubbs, and a choir of girls from the Tabernacle Band of Hope, and of boys from the Orphanage, sang at intervals during the evening. At the close of the meeting, upwards of one hundred persons signed their names in the pledgebook.
The explanatory statement, read by the secretary, informed the audience that the work had been established upon a distinctly religious basis, and that it would be carried on as a Gospel Temperance Mission. A committee has been formed, with representatives from most branches of the church, and meetings are to be held, for the present at least, every Wednesday evening, at eight o’clock, in the glass-room under the Tabernacle. Further particulars can be obtained of the secretary, Mr. A. E. Smithers, 120, Newington Butts, S.E. COLLEGE.
— Our esteemed friend, Professor Gracey, has been obliged, in consequence of ill-health, to rest from his College duties during the whole of the past month, and several of the students have been more or less unwell, so we have judged it expedient to have a longer Easter vacation than usual. The students reassemble on Monday, April 17, the day on which the Annual Conference commences. Will all our friends pray that the meetings of the week may be full of spiritual life and power, and productive of great blessings to both pastors and people? Yet another name has been removed by death from our Conference-roll. Our former student, Mr. R. Makin, who has been ]aid aside from pastoral work for the last three years, was recently stricken ,flown by typhoid fever, and suddenly called to his rest and reward, leaving a widow and six children to mourn his loss. “Who’ll be the next?”
— Our Bro. H. Knee sends us the following cheering report of Messrs. Smith and Fullerton’s services at Peckham Park Road:— “It is with unfeigned gratitude to our gracious God that we record the manliest blessing which has attended the labors of our brethren, Fullerton and Smith, at Park-road Chapel, Peckham. From many overflowing hearts rise the ancient words, ‘ The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.’ “For a considerable season prior to the commencement of the Mission earnest prayer was offered, with the distinct view of seeking from the Lord a preparation for the work, and the expected blessing. Had we nothing but the experience of the past few weeks to convince us of the fact, it would be no problem with us as to whether prayer is heard; we know it, and have seen it. Constantly of late have we heard from parents, teachers, and others, such words as these — ‘ I prayed for the salvation of my dear ones, and now, thanks be to God, they are rejoicing in Christ Jesus.’ Others, with tears in their eyes, testify of their own souls’ salvation, and many who have long known the Lord are conscious of a marked quickening of their spiritual life. ‘ Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance when it was weary.’ “The services were commenced on Sunday morning, February 12th, by the usual service in the Chapel, and continued until the evening of March 5th.
From the first the attendance was good, and the expectation evident; and as the meetings progressed both numbers and interest increased, until the crowd and the desire to hear the word were without a parallel in the history of the church. “On Saturday afternoons, meetings for children were conducted by Mr. Smith, and certainly we have never seen children listen more attentively than they did at each service. Although the chapel was packed, and many of the audience very young, Mr. Smith, by his inimitable way of telling well-known and well-worn Bible stories, succeeded in holding them all spellbound until the close of the service. The lessons and spiritual suggestions were not forgotten, the gospel was simply and earnestly enforced, and we expect fruits from these meetings in days to come. “The Song-services on Saturday evenings were most extraordinarily successful; the chapel was crowded to its utmost capacity, and many were unable to obtain admission. The brief, bright addresses of Mr. Fullerton, and the hearty singing of Mr. Smith, aided by a large and efficient choir, made the meetings immensely popular. “On Sunday afternoons meeting were held for men only, and the chapel was again well filled in every part. We shall not quickly forget the sight, nor will any of those present be likely to forget the earliest words addressed to them by the evangelists. “Meetings for women only were held on Wednesday afternoons, and these were quite equal to the other meetings in numbers and in interest. “Of course the Sunday evening services have been the largest, the commodious lecture-hall close by has been crowded, as well as the chapel, the pastor taking the overflow meeting, and Mr. Smith singing in both places. On the last Sunday, in addition to the other three meetings, a service was held at seven a.m., and the chapel was well filled, whilst the occasion proved a precious prelude to the after engagements of the day. “After each evening meeting a prayer-meeting was held, the greater part of the congregation remaining, and much power being manifested. “It is early yet to speak much of results, but we have already witnessed many cases of real conversion. Like Barnabas, we have ,seen the grace of God, and are glad, and we expect there is much more to follow. “No words of ours are needful concerning the fitness of our two dear brethren for their special work, their ability is pre-eminently conspicuous.
That they have the ear of the masses, concerning the irreligiousness of whom we hearse much, and that the power of the Holy Spirit crowns their labors with true success, are two facts which, without further comment, we commend to the earnest consideration of those older brethren who are angry, and will not go in for such a mission as that which it has been our privilege to take part in, and our delight to describe. Most earnestly do we at Park Road continue to pray that a similar blessing may attend our brethren’s labors wherever they may go.”
On Sunday, March 12, the evangelists commenced a series of services at Chelsea, in connection with our Brother Page’s church. The report of the first week’s meetings gives promise of great blessing.
Mr. Burnham asks us to mention that he has removed to 24, Keston-road, East Dulwich, S.E., and to intimate that he is fully engaged for September, October, and November; but that he has a few weeks vacant in June and July if brethren are desiring his services.
— The collectors’ meeting, on Friday evening, March 3, was a great success. After presenting the contents of their boxes or books to the gentlemen who sat at the receiving-office, and making an inspection of the new buildings, the collectors partook of tea in the dining-hall. At the meeting afterwards, in the same place, the President occupied the chair, and thanked all who had helped in any way in the work of caring for the widow and fatherless. A choir of girls then sang one of their school pieces very sweetly, and at its close Mr. Charlesworth introduced the Stockwell Orphanage Hand-belt Ringers. He explained that less than a fortnight before that evening he had purchased a peal of bells, for which he hoped to make an appeal to those present, and a friend had kindly taught four of the boys a little of the art of campanology. The young performers then stepped forward, and rendered two selections of music in a style that promises well for the future if they continue to learn as rapidly as they have done during their first week’s tuition; and, as a consequence of their excellent playing, several contributions were given at once to defray the cost of the bells. The principal item in the program, however, was the sketching entertainment by Mr. J. William’s Benn, entitled “Notes on Noses, and those who wear them.” This gentleman has a marvelous facility for almost instantaneous drawing, and very wonderful ace the effects produced by his dexterous fingers. With a few rapid strokes he depicts upon paper representations of most of the prominent types of noses, and in humorous, but always wise and sensible, language keeps his audience interested in the science which he has studied so well. Mr. Benn is a public benefactor, for he has struck out a line of amusement for the people in which there is nothing that can possibly do harm, while there is a great deal that will benefit those who go to hear what he has to say upon the noses that he sketches in their presence.
Personally we are very grateful to him, for his services were voluntarily and gladly given to the Orphanage. Before closing the meeting the President announced that the contents of the boxes and hooks brought in during the afternoon had amounted to £130, in addition to which many friends had forwarded by post the sums they had collected. if there are, either in London or in the country, any ladies or gentlemen who would like to become collectors, a box or book will be at once forwarded on receipt of a postcard announcing their wishes, addressed to the Secretary, Stockwell Orphanage, Clap-ham Road, S.W. COLPORTAGE.
— The following extracts from Colporteurs’ Reports give some idea of what a valuable agency Colportage is to reach individuals with the gospel: — (1) “A whole family has been blessed through my instrumentality. A young man who was very reckless and wicked was brought to Christ at my Bibleclass.
He went home and confessed it to his father and mother. His mother and one sister have given their hearts to the Lord, and another sister, upon whom I called the other day, told me how anxious she was to find Christ. I prayed with her, and I feel sure that she is now a Christian, and all in the family, if not yet saved, are now seeking after salvation.” (2) “One place to which I go is a laundry where there are several women, besides the family, which is a large one. They always ask me for a little service of singing, reading, speaking, and prayer. Two have given their hearts to the Lord, and I have good hope of the others. I sell a good number of books and monthly magazines here.” (3.) “I cannot record any direct conversion arising from books, etc. sold, but am persuaded that the many books and magazines sold by your Colporteur have tended, during a long period of spiritual dearth, in some measure to keep alive the grace in the hearts of many, and ofttimes to produce deep impressions and convictions of sin in others, and I feel that the improved condition of many has been largely caused by their reading of good books. I find I have sold during the year 118 Bibles, 192 Testaments, 2,644 books of various prices, 12,784 monthly magazines, 623 packets of books and cards, and 715 almanacs. All this good reading will and must have a great influence on the minds and hearts of the people.” (4) “The Lord has blessed my services to two poor souls this quarter, and I hear that others are seeking the Savior of winners. I have conducted about 26 services this quarter, some of which have been in the open-air, which have resulted in some going to the house of prayer who used to loiter in the street.”
The General Secretary adds that similar cheering reports have been received from most of our 72 Colporteurs, and addresses to us the following note: — “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, — Can anything be done to increase our General Fund? So far this month the amount received is only £7 16s. We slowly, but surely, spend our capital in the working of the Districts unless the General Fund keeps up. Our home expenses were about £20 less last year than the previous one. If you will kindly apportion to us as much help as possible, when you have the opportunity, we shall feel very grateful. We are not run aground yet, but shall soon drift that way unless the tide comes to our rescue. We must either have increased funds, or give up some of the districts. — Yours very sincerely, “W.CORDEN JONES.” “March 13th, 1882.”
— We continue to receive tidings of souls saved through our sermon preached last “Derby day.” Here is an extract from one of the letters bringing us the good news:— “Mr. Spurgeon, dear Sir:, — I have much pleasure in telling you that my niece (nineteen years of age) heard you preach here last June, and through that message was led to Christ. She is now with him.. I only knew of this a week or two ago, when waiting upon her in the night. We had sweet talk together of Jesus and his love, and she then told me how it was she came to him just as she was. I am very glad to tell you she came when there was a prospect of her getting better .”
One of our former students, in sending a contribution for one of our institutions, says: — “My next item is to inform you that your Sermon, No. 1609 (‘Faith: What is it? How can it be obtained?’), has been blessed in setting a soul at liberty.
The person is a married woman of good character. Prior to her marriage she was servant in a Popish family, where all manner of expedients were resorted to to make her enter their community. Amongst other things they took her Bible from her, made her attend mass, etc., and, when they found they could not: prevail, treated her so unkindly that she left her situation and came home. The loss of her Bible first caused her to prize it, and led her to realize somewhat of its ‘value, a feeling she has never lost, though that is years ago. Three years since a serious illness made her thoughtful and uneasy about her state before God. Then, a year ago a sermon of Mr. Talmage’s, in The Christian -Herald, broke her down, and made her completely wretched. All she read, heard, and did only made her burden, the heavier. One day, however, I put your sermon, No. 1609, into the hands of her mother, who found it to be marrow and fatness to her soul.
She read it once, twice, thrice, and found it improve on closer acquaintance, so that on my next visit, a fortnight after, she begged it, and has it still, and prizes it highly, I can assure you. Having drunk a good draught of its sweet contents herself, she passed it on to her daughter, who also read it, and was greatly struck therewith, but could not understand it the first time, so she read it again, and again, and then came the ‘Jubilate Dee’, for the night of weeping had given place to the morning of joy, and this poor, sorrowing, burdened one found the Savior. Her testimony did me good to hear. It was so clear, joyous, and unassuming. Now this friend is before the Church as a candidate for baptism. Though personally I had no hand in this work, save as I delivered the sermon that God blessed, my heart is as glad as if the Lord had given me the honor; and you, dear sir, I know will be only too glad to put the crown on the Savior’s brow. You preach to a large congregation about here. It is my privilege to visit some two hundred homes every fortnight with your sermons. One of our members has a few also for a district I cannot very well take, as the other occupies much time. Most people gladly receive them, and only a few refuse them. After we have done with them they go to the Baptist minister at B____, who distributes them amongst his people. We do not forget you in prayer; remember us sometimes.”
A friend in Dorset , who reads our sermons at the village services which he conducts, writes that recently the Lord was pleased to bless the word to a young man, who is now rejoicing in his Savior. The sermon read on that occasion was, “Vanities and Verities,” No. 1379. He also adds: — “ Last Sunday evening I was in another village, and two of God’s children came to me, after the service, to say how much the word was blessed to their souls. One old saint especially remarked that she did not know when she had been so lifted up. The subject was, ‘For whom is the gospel meant?’ (No. 1,345). So you see, my dear sir, that God is pleased to bless the word, not only as it falls from your lips, but years after, when it is read by other people.”
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle. — Feb. 23, twenty-one; Feb. 27, eleven; March 2, eighteen.
SPURGEON’S BOOK FUND BY C. H. SPURGEON.
AFRIEND sent us a book entitled “Witty Inventions.” There is genius in the title: it excites curiosity, and sets one’s mouth watering. We opened the book, and were at once taken with one of its sententious utterances. It contented, satisfied, satiated, nauseated us. We had enough and more than enough in a single line. Henceforth these “witty inventions” are cast to the moles and to the bats. The author obtained our attention under false pretences. Here is the sentence, “The best sermon is that which is least studied.” This is an invention certainly, but not a witty one. It is as false a statement as was ever coined. Sermons which have been studied with some degree of care are often the cause of torture to their hearers; but to suppose that the case would be altered if our ministers diverted us with impromptu harangues is absurdity itself. The harvest may be small with all our ploughing, but it would be nothing at all if the feet of the ox quite forsook the field. As well might we say that the best dinner is that which is least cooked, or that the best room is that which is least furnished, as that the best sermon is that which is least studied.
Let every preacher give diligent attention to reading and meditation; let him become wise that he may teach the people knowledge. Let him be much in his library and his closet. Let him use all the help he can. But how is the preacher to prepare his discourse without aid? Keep the man without books, and what is he to do? Happily, few of us have long labored at making bricks without straw; but there are such bondsmen among us, and for these we would arouse sympathy. Alas, the little library, which was the preacher’s pride in his unmarried days, has been gradually dissolved into bread and house-rent, he scarcely knows how. Ask the good man, and he will tell you how small was the market-value of “The Saint’s Rest,” and how little he raised upon “The Rise and Progress.” Yes, Matthew Henry went too, and with it the last chance of his sermons being worth hearing. In one case we heard of a minister’s family, in which a twopenny homiletical magazine, which had been taken to help “father” in getting his sermons, was given up because the few coppers could not be spared, for the famine was sore in the land. We are sore pained for the lack of food and raiment for the sake of the good man and his household; but our grief for the scarcity of books arises out of a wider sympathy, for we think of his congregation. It is pitiable to think of the poor preacher, bowed down with cares, cudgelling his brains (none too many to start with), and finding nothing as the result. Had he been born to lead cattle to the pasture his lot had been enviable, for now he has to lead his flock to a desert, and as they gather about him they look up and are not fed.
It is not everybody who sympathizes with a minister in this need, and yet it is one of the keenest forms of poverty. We feel a kinship with any man who shares our concern for those afflicted in this direction, and we feel personally grateful to anybody and everybody who puts a good book on a minister’s shell It is therefore one of the delights of our life that our beloved wife has made ministers’ libraries her great concern. The dear soul gives herself wholly to it. You should see her stores, her book-room, her busy helpers on the parcel-day, and the wagon-load of books each fortnight. The Book Fund at certain hours is the ruling idea of our house.
Every day it occupies the hand and heart of its manager. The reader has scant idea of the book-keeping involved in the book-giving; but this may be said,—the loving manager has more than six thousand names on her lists, and yet she knows every volume that each man has received from the first day until now. The work is not muddled, but done as if by clockwork, yet it is performed with a hearty desire to give pleasure to all receivers, and to trouble no applicant with needless inquiries.
It is no small satisfaction to us to know from countless testimonies that the seven-and-twenty volumes of our sermons are a quarry, out of which are digged or hewn discourses for pulpits of every denomination. These tomes placed in manse libraries will do more for the spread of the gospel than any other agency known to us. Where could books be placed to such advantage? Those who desire to see the orthodox faith maintained in the land can hardly employ a better agency. The blessing is that the volumes are eagerly sought and joyfully received. The Report of the Book Fund, which has been lately issued, is as good as any of its predecessors. It is a good sixpennyworth for size, and worth far more if judged of by its contents. Few will read it through with dry eyes.
We were going to quote largely from it, but upon second thoughts we think we will not, but will urge our readers to buy the neat little book for themselves. Oar publishers will be happy to send it post free for seven stamps. The Report is full of precious pieces which deserve quotation, but we will only transfer a single passage in which the continued need of the work is earnestly stated. We let it tell its own tale, and pray our readers to heed it. “A lady, writing to me the other day, said she ‘supposed the ministers were nearly all supplied now’! Never was surmise more unwarranted and incorrect. The work is as urgent and important as ever, and the necessity for it as great and pressing. Did anybody ever hear of a preacher possessing as many books as his heart craved for? I never did; and I think such a state of contentment must be well-nigh impossible; for the more a man studies and enlarges his mind the more he hungers and thirsts for knowledge, and seeks to add to his stores; and the intense delight he takes in his few precious volumes is a constant incentive to add to their number. I am daily receiving letters from pastors to whom I made grants three or four years ago, whose mental craving, more stimulated than satisfied by the books previously given, is now urging them to seek further appliances for the development of thought and intellect. These good men might truly say — ‘My hunger brings a plenteous store, My plenty makes me hunger more.’ They tell me with pleasing emphasis of the exceeding value and blessing of my former gifts, and they draw thence a plea for a renewed consideration of their needs. It would be, indeed, a hard heart which would refuse them, and with the coveted treasures at command send them empty away. Help in pulpit preparation, refreshment of spirit in times of deep depression, stimulus to private devotion, assistance in pastoral duties, — all these blessings, and many more, are enfolded in the precious pages bestowed by the Book Fund, which as truly bless a minister’s soul as they enrich his library. But although so many of God’s poor servants have had reason to thank him for the help afforded them in this important matter through the agency of the Fund, my ambition is by no means satisfied with the present attainments of my work. There are still hundreds of men in the ministry whose stock of books is totally inadequate to their needs, and who, though painfully conscious of their famishing condition, are unable to procure the ailment which would nourish their souls, and promote their spiritual and mental growth. If the Book Fund only ministered to the necessities of these long-settled pastors, its work would be useful and important; but there is the fact to be considered that our colleges of all denominations are constantly sending forth their young recruits to the battle of the Lord; and these are seldom, if ever. “thoroughly furnished” for the warfare which they seek to accomplish. To aid all these needy ones, to supply all these longing souls, would without doubt require both more means and more management than this quiet little service and its happy servant; can ever hope to command; but with this high aim in view, according as God prospers us, so do we deal forth our treasures lovingly and gladly till they be exhausted.”
“THENS” OF LEVITICUS BEING A PRAYER-MEETING ADDRESS BY C. H. SPURGEON IN the twenty-sixth chapter of the Book of Leviticus there are three “THENS,” which will afford us instruction if the Spirit of God will shine upon them. Turn to the passage and read for yourselves. We have first the
THEN of promise and threatening repeated several times. The children of Israel were not to make an), graven images, nor to set up any images made by others, nor to bow to those already set up, but to keep clear of idolatry in every shape, and worship only their great invisible God, Jehovah, whose Sabbaths they were to keep and whose precepts they were to obey; and then the Lord says, “Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.” Very rich are the blessings which the Lord lavishes upon an obedient people; peace and plenty, conquest and communion, are the portion of believers whose hearts are chaste towards the Lord.
But should Israel refuse to hearken to the Lord, the chastening would be terrible indeed.
Listen to these verses from the fifteenth to the eighteenth. “And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall he slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.
And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.”
Is not this first “then” a very terrible one? But this is not all; more sorrows are added if their sins be multiplied. Read verses 23 and 24: “And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.” Here we have stroke upon stroke to break a hard heart. Nor even there does the judgment rest. Hear again the word of the Lord — “And it’ ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.” Brethren, read these words with holy trembling: they are written not for strangers but for the seed of Israel, and for us also who are grafted in unto the true olive. Those who are written in the eternal covenant will find it a hard thing to sin against the Lord their God. The utterly ungodly often go unpunished in this life, for their punishment is reserved for the world to come, where the due reward of their deeds shall be meted out to them for ever and ever; but the Lord dealeth far otherwise with his own, whose transgressions he hath blotted out. These are absolved in their relation to him as a Judge, but as children they come under his fatherly discipline, and out of love to them he causes them in this life to smart for their sins if they break the law of his house. As our covenant God the Lord is jealous. He is no Eli who ruins his sons by indulgence, but he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Very heavily has the Lord chastised some of his children. I ask you not to judge of one case by another, nor suppose that all the family must needs be scourged in the same measure. The Lord speaks of the Church as having compassion and making a difference, and he in mercy makes differences in discipline, because real differences of character exist. Certain of the Lord’s beloved ones were happily led to Christ in their early days, and therefore know nothing of those sins which are the torment of others; when these are kept by divine grace from all inconsistency the rod is little needed, and few clouds darken their path; but there are others of rougher mould and sadder experience, who smarted much at their first conversion, and having wandered again are brought back with heavy chastisements, and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. The Lord may be dealing in discipline with some among you, and if so, you will smart indeed, for the heavenly Father never plays with the rod, but uses it in real earnest. It may be that sorrow of heart consumes your eyes, and your strength is spent in vain: a blight from the Lord seems to have fallen upon you both in temporal and in spiritual things; you sow, but you do not reap; you labor and obtain not. A faintness is in your head, so that the sound of a shaken leaf doth chase you, and you have no power to stand before your enemies: Sin and Satan, doubt and desolation triumph over you, and you flee when none pursueth. To you it has happened as in the nineteenth verse, “I will break the pride of your power,” for now you find no spiritual power within you, even power in prayer is gone, and all around you is barren; God hath made your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass. Ah me! you are in a woeful plight, for your strength is spent in vain, and your plagues are multiplied according to your sins.
It comes to this, my dear brother, that you are to be driven from your sins.
God is “avenging the quarrel of his covenant,” as he solemnly says in verse twenty-five. Read that word and mark it. It is an awful thing to have God walking contrary to you; and yet he told you that he would do so if you walked contrary to him. What else could you expect? If you are his dear child he will be much grieved if he sees you act like a traitor; if you have leaned upon his bosom as a favored friend, he has a greater interest in you; and he cannot therefore endure to see you polluted. The dearer you are to God, the more angry will he be with you when you sin. The more he loves you, the more determined will he be to drive out the evil, and rid you of the abominable thing which his soul hateth. A judge when he is sitting upon the bench may feel a great indignation against a robber, or a murderer, yet he does not show it, but calmly condemns him to suffer the penalty of the law.
See that judge without his robes, acting as a father at home: his child has transgressed, and now he is really angry, and shows far more sharpness towards his child than towards the offender. He who spoke in cold measured tones to the gross criminal now speaks severely, and with heat of spirit to his own offending boy. You all understand it; his wrath is of that kind which grows out of the truest love, a love which cannot suffer evil in its darling object. The child does not think his father loves him much when he makes him tingle and smart beneath his strokes, but we who are wiser understand that “herein is love.”
When God chastens you, my brother, yield at once, and yield completely. If you do not, you may take warning from this chapter, for the Lord puts his threatening before you three times over, “And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.” The old Roman judges when they passed along the streets were attended by lictors, and these lictors carried an axe bound up in a bundle of rods, to signify this, that offenders should first be beaten with rods, but if these rods were of no use they should be slain with the axe. I beseech every soul that is under the striving influences of the Spirit, or suffering from the trials of Providence, to hear at once the warning voice of the rod; for those who will not hear the rod must feel the axe. The Lord useth great discretion and deliberation, for he doth not afflict willingly: when little will suffice he will smite but little. If men humble themselves under his mighty hand he will exalt them in due time; but, if they refuse and rebel, he will smite them more and more, till he has chastened them seven times for their sins. “Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.” We have known some men lose all their goods before they have turned to their God. Diseases, accidents, sicknesses have followed each other in quick succession, and hardly would they repent when they were all wounds and bruises and putrefying sores. Death has rent away their darlings; lovely children have been followed to the grave by their yet more precious mother; and hardly’ then has the proud spirit broken down. It has seemed as if Pharaoh was alive again, and the plagues were being repeated. Alas, in some cases there has even been a hardening as the result of affliction; the man has accused God of harshness, and has refused to turn to the chastening hand. Ah, me! what sorrows such are preparing for themselves. Those whom the Lord means to bless he will go on smiting till they bow before him, and make a full surrender.THEN, when they continue to rebel, then when they still harden their neck, then when they will not hear the rod, then when they cleave to their idols and depart from the Most High, then he will make them to pine away in their iniquity and will set his face against them.
We are glad to come to the second THEN of wise and penitent action . In the fortieth verse of this chapter we read, “If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their un-. circumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity. Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will. I remember; and I will remember the land.” They were brought very low: they were even driven out of their land to perish among the heathen; and God seemed utterly to have cast them of, but he declares that even then he would remember his covenant and restore them, if they would turn from their iniquities, — their turning from iniquity would be the turning-point of their affairs; the end of woe, and the dawn of hope.
I beg you to look at the call of mercy, and see when judgment will stay its hand. They were first to “confess their iniquity,” and then would come the mercy, but not till then. O you chastened ones, are you prepared to acknowledge your transgressions, and your doings which are not good?
They were to confess their trespass, their own peculiar trespass, whatever that might be; their hearts were to search out sin, confess it and mourn over it; then would forgiveness come, — -there can be no pardon till this is done. We must take sin to ourselves before God can put it away from us.
Next, their heart was to be humbled: see the forty-first verse — “ If their uncircumcised hearts be humbled.” Proud sinners cannot be pardoned sinners. If we are not submissive there are more plagues in store. They were to be lowly, and then they would be cleansed from sin. Humility dates the hour of comfort. Observe, also, the peculiar point, that they were to accept the punishment of their iniquity, by which, I suppose, is meant that they must see their sorrow to be the result of their sin, and must own that it was a just infliction, a natural fruit of their own conduct. We are to have no quarrel with God, but to own that we deserve all that he has put upon us, and that if he should cast us into hell itself he would be just then, may we look for grace. If a child should say, “Father, you do well to punish me, for I deserve it,” the father would put up the rod, for it would have wrought its cud; and when a soul has been sore broken, till it sobs out in its agony, I deserve thy rod; “I deserve thy eternal wrath, O God,” then, then, then it is that the Lord accepts the repentance, and looks with an eye of mercy upon the contrite one.
The third THEN will be observed in the forty-second verse. “Then will I remember my covenant” — “Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.” “Yet for all that,” he mentions all their sins, and he says in the forty-fourth verse, “Yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.” Now, fellow-sinner, when the Lord has brought you down to accept the punishment which he has laid upon you, then will he remember his covenant, that old and glorious covenant of grace which was made with faithful Abraham, which, better still, is made with every believer in the person of the Lord Jesus Abraham was the father of the faithful, and the covenant is made with all the faithful, with all the trusters, and God will remember it towards them.
What is the tenor of it? “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.’: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” This is the covenant of grace, and oh! it is a blessed thing when God remembers it on our behalf, for then he remembers no more the iniquities of his people. Poor sinner, though he has hunted you down and pursued you in his fierce anger, though conviction has broken you as a lion tears its prey, though you fear that the Lord has cast you away from all hope of grace, and outlawed you from all hope, yet if you accept your punishment, then you, even you, shall sing of pardon fought with blood. “Then ” when you are proud he will smite you; “then,” when he has smitten you, you are to accept your punishment; “then,” ‘when you have accepted your punishment and confessed your sin, the Lord will remember his covenant, and forgive all your iniquity. Observe well the three steps: chastisement when you are wrapped up in your iniquities; genuine submission when you feel the chastisement; and full covenant blessing when your submission is fully made. If any of us are now smarting, may we hasten there and then to full confession, and may we then receive restoration and comfort. God is very punctual, may he never find us procrastinating.
God grant that we may be kept from sin, or if we fall into it, may he deliver us from its power; and if one of these thens happens to us, may the others follow in merciful succession.
Facts and Theories as to a Future State . By F. W.GRANT, New York.
Cathcart, 20, Fourth Avenue. OF all the books written in defense of the Scriptural doctrine of future punishment as against current theories this is the most complete, exhaustive, and conclusive yet to hand. Every new view is examined and then demolished: universalizm and annihilation are both proved to be unscriptural: whilst the propounders of them, from Farrar to Dobney, from Edward White to Samuel Cox, are subjected to a logic scrutiny, such as makes them destroy one another. It is essentially a student’s book, and we trust is the last word in this almost interminable controversy: it is time we taught the Scriptures rather than the brainspinning of men. Green Pastures and Still Waters . Psalm 23. By J.DENHAM SMITHS. J.E. Hawkins.
THE literature of the 23rd Psalm would make a library of its own: and yet here is another book on the same theme, and no unworthy one. Mr. Smith has his own way of looking at truth, with which we do not always agree, and yet there is in him so much of loyalty to Jesus, and sweetness of speech about him, that we forget the man in the master, and revel instead of reviewing. There is unction, beauty, mellowness, and freshness of treatment here that fairly wins us, and the little volume must go on to our shelves. It has our best commendation. Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers . Nisbet and Co. THESE are no ordinary religious “snatches,” in the form of daily portions, for believers. The author’s vessel does not hug the coast of ordinary experience, but launches out into the deep waters of confident trust, assured faith, and intense consecration. Every paragraph tells of an experimental fellowship with Jesus and a closeness of intercourse which fit it for becoming the guide and adviser of others. Certainly there is here no milk for babes, but strong meat for those who are of full age. Pulpit Talent, etc . Literary Varieties by HORACE BUSHNELL, D.D. R.D.
WHILST in some of these papers, especially the one on “Christian comprehensiveness,” there is much of teaching with which we cannot agree, yet in others there is a fund of fresh, bright, powerful truth that compels our admiration and assent. The two papers on the preacher’s qualifications and work are about as fresh and suggestive as anything that could be said on such a well-worn theme; and the student or preacher would be dull indeed who is not quickened thereby. With careful and discriminating reading these papers cannot but do good.
Many times we meet in American newspapers with our own name adorned or disfigured with a doctor’s degree. In a periodical we see month after month an extract from
Rev. C. H.SPURGEON, D.D.
We like the prefix quite as well as the affix, that is to say, we detest them equally. Robert Robinson wrote in his journal “wondered how any man could be so silly as to call me reverend.” Shall we not all wonder in some more rational condition of our brains at a great many things which we now admire?
The Treasury of David is now being reprinted in New York by Messrs.
Funk. It is a great venture for a publisher, but the enterprise of this pushing house has in this ease been abundantly rewarded. May a blessing rest on our work, as it Will now be read by thousands of American pastors. We are making rapid progress with volume 6.
A firm is advertising certain pictures with a recommendation from Mr. Spurgeon, but Mr. Spurgeon has never seen the aforesaid pictures: the articles of which he spoke so highly were a number of very handsomely illuminated texts, and his words ought not to be applied to other articles.
On Friday evening , March 17, the annual meeting of the Tabernacle Sunday-school was held in the Lecture Hall. owing to the absence, through illness, of the President, Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, the chair was taken by the Right Hon. the Earl of Shaftesbury, K.G., who referred, in his address, to the priceless value of Sunday-schools, giving instances of the benefits to the young.
Mr. Pearce, superintendent, reported that there are now in the school scholars; of whom 299 are over 15 years of age, 108 are church members, 36 having joined during the past year. There are also 109 teachers, including officers, all of whom are church members: such only being admissible according to the rules of the school. The sum of £136 6s. has been raised for missionary purposes, in addition to £50, collected in Mr. Wigney’s Bible-class, for Chinese missions, and £184 hs. ld. realized by the Sunday-school stall at the bazaar for the Girls’ Orphanage. The Prayermeetings, Preparation-class, Children’s Services, Library and Magazine Department, Young Christians’ Association, Dorcas Society, and Band of Hope are all in a prosperous condition, and, above all, there have been evident signs of the presence and blessing of God. One of the scholars, a little girl of seven summers, was seized in the early part of the year with inflammation of the heart. On her dying bed, she said, “Father, I want to sing you ‘There is a green hill far away!’“ He was a stranger to the love of Jesus, but from that time a change began in him, and two months ago he came before the church for membership. Another friend, who has attended the school for seventeen years, has just found the Savior. We bless God for the early and latter rain.
Addresses were given by Pastors J. A. Spurgeon, and W. William’s, of Upton Chapel, and Mr. T. Brain, of the Sunday School Union.
The Sunday-school Choir, conducted by Mr. Wighey, gave a selection of pieces during the evening from the service of song entitled “Under the Palms.”
These paragraphs refer to the one school in the Tabernacle; we are happy to say that there are several other schools belonging to our church, and that altogether they contain more than 6000 scholars.
On Sunday afternoon , April 16, under the auspices of our newly-formed Total Abstinence Society, Mr. R. T. Booth delivered a Gospel Temperance address in the Tabernacle. The building was nearly crowded, and the immense audience listened to the appeals of this earnest evangelist with great attention, many being moved to tears by the pathetic story of his own reclamation, and the thrilling narrative of his efforts to rescue others. He has not by any means labored in vain, for since last September, when separate registers for new abstainers, and for old teetotallers who have donned the blue ribbon, were commenced, 150,000 fresh pledges have been obtained at his meetings. His motto is truly “Jesus only.” He implores Christians to become abstainers for Christ’s sake, he entreats abstainers not to rest satisfied without faith in the Savior, and he pleads with drunkards to sign the total abstinence pledge, and at the same time to trust for salvation, to the blood of the Lamb.
This work, so far as we have been able to judge of it by the reports in various papers, and the testimony of friends who have taken part in the meetings, has our full sympathy. The only hope of permanently reclaiming drunkards, and saving the church and the nation from the evils of intemperance lies in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This fact is fully recognized by the leaders of this movement, and the enforcement of it in all their addresses goes far to account for the marvelous success which has crowned their labors. When we hear of tens of thousands in one town signing the pledge, and taking the blue ribbon, and learn that scores of public-houses, and even breweries, have been closed for want of customers, we thank God that at last the victory is being won, and we pray that the complete overthrow of the evil traffic may be speedily accomplished.
Our Tabernacle Society continues steadily to prosecute the work for which it was organized. The weekly meetings have been so well attended that they have had to be transferred to the large Lecture-hall, and the number of pledges has been constantly increasing. On the Tuesday evening following Mr. Booth’s address, Mr. W. Noble, of the Hoxton Town Hall, paid a visit to the Society, and as the result of his earnest advocacy of Gospel Temperance eighty person, signed the pledge, and one hundred put on the blue ribbon, in addition to one hundred and sixty who had signed the pledge at the close of Mr. Booth’s address on the Sunday afternoon.
— Since our last notice Mr. J. W. Campbell has settled at Arbroath, N.B., and the following brethren have removed:-- Mr.H. Bradford, from Brixham, to Princes-street, Northampton; and Mr. W, Hillier, Mus. Doc., from Wingrave, to Bartholomew-street, Exeter; and Mr. W. Compton. late of Brighton, has accepted the pastorate of the Union Church, Cosport.
— Of course, the great College event of the past month has been the EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE PASTORS’COLLEGE ASSOCIATION — a matter which, now that all is over, demands a jubilant song of praise. The meetings were commenced, as usual, by a gathering for prayer at the College, on Monday afternoon , April 17, after which about two hundred of the pastors and students partook of tea together at Southstreet Chapel, Greenwich, by the kind invitation of Pastor C. Spurgeon and his friends, who gave the brethren a most hearty reception. All must have felt at home among such warm-hearted hosts. In the evening the spacious chapel was crowded for the public meeting, at which the President of the College, C. It. Spurgeon took the chair. Addresses were delivered by the Chairman, Pastors R. F. Jeffrey (Folkestone), F. J. Feltham (Winslow),S. H. Akehurst (Arthur-street, Camberwell), and N. Dobson (Deal), Mr.A. G. Everett, a student still in the College, and Pastor C. Spurgeon, who presided when his father had to leave the meeting in order to husband his strength for the following day. The collection for the College funds realized £15. At the same hour the Vice-President, J. A. Spurgeon, conducted the usual prayer-meeting at the Tabernacle, at which prayer was presented by several of the brethren, and addresses were delivered by Pastors T.W. Medhurst (Lake-road, Landport), and W. F. Stead (Worthing). Altogether, the meetings of Monday augured well for the success of the week; and, looking back upon the whole Conference, we eau distinctly trace a constant widening of the stream of blessing right to the close, when it had become a mighty spiritual torrent, which fairly carried us away, until many of us could scarcely tell whether we were in the body or out of it.
On Tuesday morning, April 18, the first hour was occupied with grateful thanksgiving to the Lord for past mercies, and earnest wrestling for fresh favors at his hands. The President then delivered his inaugural address, founded upon the text, ,’When I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10). As we hope to publish the address in the Magazine it is only necessary to say here that it was said by many that the speaker was an illustration of his own subject, for in his weakness he was made strong for the important task upon which he was engaged. After a brief recess the brethren reassembled, and transacted the business of the Conference. The principal items of public interest are the following:-The President appropriately referred to the deaths of Brethren H. H. Garrett, D. Lyall,R. Makin, H. Marsden, and D. Morgan; the names of eighteen students who have been for more than six months in the College were added to the Conference-roll, and certain other names were, for various reasons, removed. Mrs. Spurgeon, though unable to be present, gave to each minister a book which she hoped would be useful in suggesting thoughts and subjects for sermons, and a hearty vote of thanks was unanimously accorded for her kindness. C.F. Allison, Esq., reported the last year’s receipts from the College Mutual Assurance Community. Each man pays 5s., and then at the death of a wife receives £10, and £5 at the death of a child, and this to poor men is a great help in the time of sorrow and of necessary expense. Through the goodness of God the deaths had been so few this year that a surplus remained. Mr. Allison was very cordially thanked for his management of the fund, and asked to continue his services during the present year, and the balance in hand was carried forward to meet possible claims in the future.
MONDAY,JUNE, 19, the President’s birthday, was fixed as the day to be set apart for special united prayer by all the churches connected with the Conference. It is much wished that this would be more generally noted when the time comes. A letter, which is printed in full in the report at the end of the present Magazine, was read from the Canadian branch of the Pastors’ College Association, and also a communication concerning the work of the brethren in Australia, from Pastor A. J. Clarke, West Melbourne, in response to which the President was desired to send a hearty message of loving greeting, not only to the brethren in the Dominion and at the Antipodes, but to all the members of our holy brotherhood throughout the world. In fulfillment of this desire, and dropping for the moment the editorial “we,” I, C. H. Spurgeon, hereby, “with mine own hand,” carry out the wish of the assembled brethren.
On Tuesday evening, instead of the usual soirie , Mr. Charlesworth’s Songservice entitled “Valor and Victory” was given at Stockwell Baptist Chapel, by the kind permission of Mr. Maclean and his friends. Addresses were delivered by the President, and Pastors E. J. Edwards (Dover), and W. J. Mayers (Bristol), and the musical portion of the service was ably rendered by Messrs. Chamberlain, Mayers, Parker, and J. M. Smith, the orphanage choir, and the Southwark Choral Society, under the efficient leadership of Mr. John Courtnay. During an interval between some of the pieces the Stockwell Orphanage Campanologists delighted the audience with an exhibition of their powers of manipulating their peal of handbells. It was a soul-stirring evening. These Song-services are a charming means of grace, and are adapted greatly to bless both believers and such as are out of the way.
On Wednesday morning, April 19, after a short season spent in prayer, Pastor A. Bax, of Salters’ Hall Chapel, Islington, read a paper on “Expectation in our work.” This led to an interesting and profitable discussion, which was followed by another paper on “The element of personal character in ministerial work,” read by Pastor George Hill, M.A., of Leeds. As we hope, month by month, to place before our readers all the papers read at the recent Conference we will not refer to them at length here, but it is our firm conviction that we have never had a better quartette of essays, and that the men who can write such productions are quite able to hold their own against an equal number of representatives of any other school of the prophets. We do not boast of them, but we do magnify the grace which has enabled so many of our brethren to occupy important posts in the field of Christian service, and to fill their positions with everincreasing credit to their alma mater.
In the afternoon, the subscribers and friends of the College met for tea, and afterwards assembled in the lecture-hall for the annual meeting. George William’s, Esq., nobly fulfilled the duties of chairman; prayer was offered by Mr. S. Thompson; the President and Vice-President described the work of the College during the past year; Pastors F. H. White (Talbot-road Tabernacle), and C. B. Sawday (Vernon Chapel, Pentonville), referred to the connection between the College and the Young Men’s Christian Association; Mr. J. M. Smith and Pastor C. Spurgeon spoke of the blessing that had rested upon the labors of the evangelists; and Mr. Harry Wood gave a thrilling and touching account of the work of various brethren in Australia, where he hopes after a little while again to preach with the same success which has attended his efforts hitherto. At 8:45 the large company adjourned to the Tabernacle lecture-hall, to partake of the supper given By the President and two friends, and provided by Mr. Murrell and his coworkers.
Mr. Spurgeon stated that there would be no drinking of toasts, but he expressed his heartiest thanks to the chairman for presiding, and in the name of the whole assembly wished him long life, prosperity, happiness, and all other good things. The total amount promised or contributed -it the supper-table, together with the donations of friends unable to be present, was £2,150. This amount would not have been reached had not the chairman been generous in the highest degree; finding that the amount was for the moment below £2,000, he volunteered a, second hundred guineas, and this awakened the zeal of others, and carried us up to this large amount. Thursday, April 20, was another season of high spiritual enjoyment. First came, as usual, a short devotional service: next the Vice-President delivered his address founded upon the words, “He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, is God.” (2 Corinthians 1:21) Then Pastor C. A. Davis, of Bradford, read the paper entitled, “How Jesus trained his preachers,” which is printed at the beginning of this magazine; and after a brief but useful discussion, Pastor W. B. Haynes, of Stafford, read his wonderful paper on “The essential nobility of our ministry.” We think all our brethren will agree with us, especially when they remember that this paper had to be written under sore domestic affliction and expected bereavement, that while every brother has done gloriously, Bro. Haynes has a special claim upon our gratitude.
In the evening, after a large number of friends had taken tea with the ministers in the schoolroom, the annual public meeting was held in the Tabernacle, which was almost crowded. Several of our sweet singers charmed us with their melodious music; the President and Vice-President again shared the pleasant duty of presiding, and presenting the report for the year; and addresses were given by Mr. Harry Wood and PastorsA. Bird (Sandown) and C. T. .Johnson (Longton, Staffs.). Each brother had a tale to tell that brought tears of joy to our eyes, and feelings of thankfulness to our hearts, as they proclaimed what the Lord had done by them and by others through the preaching of the gospel. At the close of the meeting the ministers and students were entertained to supper in the lecture-hall, when again all toast-drinking was omitted, and sentiments of gratitude to the tutors of the College and the deacons of the Tabernacle church were expressed by chosen speakers and acknowledged by the Vice- President and Mr. B. W. Carr.
The Friday in Conference week is always the great day of our Feast of Tabernacles, and this year has been no exception to the rule. At the suggestion of the London committee, Pastor E.G. Clange, of Broad-mead Chapel, Bristol, was asked to relieve the President by preaching to the brethren, and most heartily did he accept the responsibility, and right nobly did he justify his brethren’s choice. He took for his text the oft-quoted words, “He that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs. 11:30), and preached from them a sermon that none could hear without devout thankfulness and solemn heart-searching, and that all who heard will remember with delight and profit for many a day to come.
At the communion-table the President gave a short address, founded upon the words, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not: I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am ,’dive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” At the close of the sacred service the whole assembly stood, as usual, with hands linked in one unbroken chain, in token of the bond that binds us together, and sang Psalm 122.
During the farewell dinner the President called Mr. Murrell to the front of the platform, and after referring to his great services to the College, read the following address, which the brethren desired unanimously to present to him, appropriately illuminated and framed, together with some suitable memento of their hearty appreciation of his devotion to their interests: — “Pastors’ College Eighteenth Annual Conference, April, 1882. “It was unanimously agreed ‘that the warmest thanks of the assembled brethren be given to our ever-zealous and indefatigable friend, WilliamC. Murrell, Esq., deacon of the church at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, for his most efficient and oft-repeated services for the College, not only in connection with the care of the weekly offering every Lord’s-day, but especially during the period of our Annual Conference. For many years our comfort has been secured and our enjoyment promoted by’ the arduous labor and admirable skill of our good brother in providing for our personal refreshment, as also in carrying out the arrangements for the annual supper to the subscribers of the College. We gratefully recognize and appreciate our friend’s unique powers, which are so freely and continuously consecrated in a sphere so peculiarly his own. We wonder at and admire the successful manner in which he has uniformly secured the material comfort of our meetings, and we thank hint with all our hearts. 5fay the great Provider of all good, who ‘will not allow even a cup of cold water to be bestowed in vain, refresh our esteemed brother in all spiritual things as richly as, like a good deacon, he has helped to serve ore’ table. To .’him and his family we wish health and all needed good for many years, that he may still minister to the necessities of the saints, and himself enjoy that meat which endureth, to everlasting life. — Signed for the Conference.”
Mr. Murrell feelingly acknowledged the gift, and expressed the great delight he had in serving the brethren, and in helping the President in any way. Our faithful Remembrancer, Pastor F. H. White, then reported first 178 pastors had collected or contributed, during the past year, £499 1s. 6d. for the College funds. A few earnest closing speeches were made expressive of esteem and affection for the President and Mrs. Spurgeon, the Vice-president, the tutors, the deacons, and- all helpers, and the Eighteenth Annual Conference was fittingly closed with the doxology and the benediction.
The President feels that he cannot close these Notes without a personal acknowledgment of his deep gratitude to the Lord, who so graciously heard the many prayers presented on his behalf, and who not; only enabled him to occupy his post right through the Conference, but made the excitement and enthusiasm of the holy gathering minister to his more speedy recovery, so that instead of being, as he feared, exhausted by the week’s engagements, he was even stronger at the cud than he had been at the beginning of the meetings. Nor can he forget the loving words and affectionate bearing of all the brotherhood, nor the generous hospitality of those who entertained the ministers, nor the liberality of the liberal donors, nor any of the kindnesses innumerable which have been showered upon him. Of all men he is the most in debt to his brethren, and to his God.
— Pastor W. H. J. Page sends us the following report of Messrs. Smith and Fullerton’s services at Chelsea: — “A series of meetings, unexampled in the history of Chelsea Chapel, has been conducted here from March 12th to April 2nd, by our beloved brethren, Messrs. Fullerton and Smith. Mr. Fullerton was no stranger at Chelsea, and memories of his former visit awakened great expectations for the present one; and we now thankfully record that, notwithstanding special difficulties and unexpected hindrances, the success of the effort has been very great. Our chapel is large, and by no means easy to fill, but to our great joy it has been filled again and again during these services. We have also, abundant testimony that the gospel preached and sung has been blessed to many. Christians have been revived and cheered; backsliders have been restored; and others have been aroused and saved. A special blessing has rested upon some of our senior classes, and many of their members have, we trust, been brought to decision. “Possibly we should have still greater results to speak of but for what has seemed to us a succession of adverse providences, which have certainly affected the work. It was with great regret that on the first Sunday we heard of Mr. Spurgeon’s illness, and that Mr. Fullerton would take his place at the Tabernacle in the evening; and our regret was deepened when the continuance of that illness deprived us of our brother’s presence on the following Sunday. We could not refuse to spare him to serve one whom we so much love, however great the loss might be to us. Then on the Wednesday of the see(red week, just after a most delightful and profitable meeting for women only, our dear friend was suddenly summoned to Ireland by the death of his mother. The announcement of his departure at the evening meeting was a great shock to all, and much sympathy was expressed. The necessary result, too, was that on the third Sunday he was again away from us. During his absence Mr. Smith carried on the meettugs, with the kind and valued help .of Mr. Charlesworth and Mr. Chamberlain, and we rejoice to know that the labors of each were made useful.. “It was originally intended to close the mission on Saturday, April 1st, but in consideration of the disappointment which marty had experienced in failing to hear Mr. Fullerton, arrangements were made with Mr. Charrington for our brethren to stay the, following Sunday at Chelsea. On this day rite chapel was thrice tilled with people, and it was a day of much power and blessing:; though to many of us it was clouded by the illness of our beloved deacon, Mr. S. Edwards, who died the same night. Thus, all through, our joy has been tinged with sorrow, and we have had to exercise faith in the wisdom of the overruling hand which has arranged events so contrary to our wishes. Notwithstanding all, we review the services with joyful gratitude, and anticipate permanent fruits from them.”
— The Secretary asks us to mention that the annual meeting will be held at the Tabernacle on Monday evening May 8, when Mr. Spurgeon hopes to preside, and to distribute the prizes promised to the Colportents last year. Dr. Donald Fraser has kindly promised to address the meeting, and about twenty of the Colporteurs will be present, several of whom will give accounts of their work.
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle: — March, 30, nineteen.
REPORT OF THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE.
BY C. H. SPURGEON. 1881-82 THE Pastors’ College completed its twenty-fifth year at the end of last July,. That quarter of a century of College: history has not been without its trials of faith and labors of love, but it has been specially notable for the goodness and lovingkindness of the Lord, to whom be glory for his faithfulness and grace. Those who saw the commencement of the institution will not be without wonder that it has survived so long, and those who befriended it in those early clays will not be without gratitude that it has remained true to its holy purpose, and has been so greatly prospered in accomplishing it. late sought to promote the earnest preaching of the gospel of our fathers, and we have not failed. Its beginning, however, was small, and open to severe criticism, and few spared it; yet it had its ardent friends. Dr. Campbell, who attended one of the earliest annual meetings of the College, thus wrote of it: — “This College, in all points, is an exceedingly interesting affair. It is a thing by itself; there is nothing to be compared with it in these islands. It shows its founder to be the very incarnation of the spirit of ecclesiastical revolution; perhaps we should rather say, it shows him to be a singular ecclesiastical originality.
Not satisfied with things as now existing in colleges, and guided by his strong instincts, he determined, in a happy hour, to create something for himself. His habit has been, from the first, to do things in a new way.
Heedless alike of novelty and antiquity, he desires the useful, and is never satisfied till he has found it. In nothing has he studied singularity for its own sake. He has simply given himself up to the inspiration of his own genius, which has led him, here,, and there, and yonder, to do this, and that, and he has always been successful. He acts in everything as if he had been the first actor, and as if this were the first age of Christian society, with neither ancestry nor precedent. What is good? What is better? What is best? This point settled, to work he goes, and he rests not till the object has been accomplished.”
The worthy doctor has long since gone to his rest, but had it been possible for him to have remained among us he would have seen something much more extraordinary in the continuance of the institution than in the commencement of it. It is very easy to plan and project, very easy to inaugurate with a flourish of trumpets, and very easy to push forward for a few years in a novel track; but to plod on through half a lifetime in the selfsame form of effort — this is the work, this is the difficulty. To God’s grace alone we give honor as we see the work of our hands established upon us, and behold our College happy and prosperous after all these years. Old friends have fallen asleep, tutors have retired through very age, youths whom we called students are now in the prime of life as ministers, and the founder himself is weakened by repeated sickness till he feels but half his former self; but as the days of a tree are the days of this College, and the church shall long enjoy the fruit thereof. Dwelling in its own freehold building, gathering hundreds to its Annual Conferences, and having brave sons in all quarters of the globe, the College can say, “The Lord hath been mindful of us, he will bless us.”
There is little need to enlist the sympathy of our readers for our object, for all are now agreed that preachers of the gospel are all the better for being men of education. Time was when an educated ministry was looked upon by certain of our brethren as a questionable blessing, indeed it was thought that the less a minister knew the better, for there was then the more room for him to be taught of God. From the fact that God does not need man’s wisdom it was inferred that he does need man’s ignorance; indeed, some seemed to be leaning to the opinion of the Mohammedans, who have long considered idiots to be inspired. Many devout persons doubted whether the preacher should study at all; they looked upon books as “dead men’s brains,” and conceived of all knowledge as of a thing which necessarily puffeth up. The venerable Daniel Jackson, a Baptist minister of Indiana, said, at the Conference of churches held in 1880, that “he had a lively recollection of the obstacles placed in the way of study and mental improvement in connection with his first pastorate. He had no books, and no money wherewith to buy them, and there was a strong prejudice among his parishioners against human learning; but he saved twenty dollars out of wedding-fees and the like, went fifteen miles to purchase a Commentary on the Bible, came home with his treasure at night, when it was dark, that it might not be seen, kept it secreted in a private apartment, and never ventured to bring it out and read it without setting his wife to watch at the door, as a sentinel, to give the alarm when anyone came. A visitor, alas! of the gentler sex, at last discovered the poor offending book, and reported that the minister studied out his text! The news flew like lightning. If he had had the small-pox packed away in his bookcase the consternation could not have been greater; the whole parish, with one of the deacons at the head, was up in arms. His ministry, it was felt, could no longer be a ‘ Holy Ghost Ministry.’ He had to leave, and seek a new sphere of toil; but he did not abandon his Commentary. Now, thank God,” said the minister, “young men may read Commentaries, and get a College training, for the sunlight of knowledge has risen with effulgent beams upon the denomination.”
This depreciation of learning was a natural recoil from the folly which magnified education into a kind of deity; as though it could take the place of the Spirit and power of God. It was supposed that none but doctors who had passed through the schools could possibly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ; and yet these were the very last persons to undertake the blessed service,—they were too much engrossed with their own disputations and imaginings. The result of such idolatry of human scholarship was injurious to the last degree; the free utterance of the word was hampered, and the dead letter of pretended learning crushed out the life and energy of Christian zeal. Greater folly has been found in the schools than out of it. Unlearned men may have injured religion by the wild-fire of their injudicious zeal; but pedantic and pretentious scholars have far more seriously imperilled it by the lukewarnmess of their latitudinarianism, and the chill of their doubt. Human learning is, after all, only another form of human ignorance, touched up with an extra coat of the varnish of conceit; for what does mart know when he knows all that he can himself discover? What does he know that is worth knowing unless he be taught of God? Above all, what can he know of eternal truth unless the eternal Spirit shall instruct him? Yet, for all this, the inference that ignorance is better than knowledge is a false one. Neither untutored confidence, nor learned diffidence (:an take the place of the Spirit; but when a man has once submitted held and heart and tongue to the supremacy of the Holy Ghost, all other things may be added unto him without fear of injury, yea, with the hope of great advantage to himself and others; and the more he knows, especially of matters which concern the Scriptures, the better will he be able to bring forth things new and old out of his treasures.
We believe that the Holy Spirit has greatly used the preaching of unlearned men; but, as a rule, it ‘has been mainly among their own class, for whose position and modes of thought their own mental! condition gave them special adaptation. The Lord selects means suitable to the end which he has in view, and it is tolerably clear that to reach a generation in which education is becoming general, his wisdom will probably select men who will not drive away their hearers by glaring ignorance of the simplest rules of correct speech. The Lord in sovereignty speaks by whomsoever be pleases, be he polished or rude; but we perceive that, as of old the nations heard the gospel in their own tongue, so now ranks and classes of men hear it best from those of their own standing, and the age of Board Schools will not be likely to listen to the preacher whose lack of knowledge even the boys and girls discover in an hour. Our beloved Charles Stanford, in a recent address, put this matter in an exceedingly plain and practical light.
He says:—”When God gives you a rare plant, you cultivate it, and thus show your sense of its value. Creation is not in your power, but culture is; and it is not his way to do for man what man , — an do for himself. So, as to the gift of ministers. When, in answer to our fervent cries, the right men are given, and, in the days of their youthful promise, ‘discerners of spirits’ point them out to us, of course we show our thankfulness by caring for their education. It would be a bad policy and a burning shame, after the Lord of the harvest has sent forth laborers into the harvest, if, owing to any thrift or indolence of ours, they go to work with blunt sickles and broken scythes. Ministers, like other workers, must have the needful training and development; the same kind is not wanted for all.; but each one should have what is wanted for the particular time he has to live in and the particular post he has to fill Directive hints are given to us in the Acts of the Apostles. Paul, not Peter, was sent to Athens, to Corinth, to Rome, and to the ancient centers of intellectual intensity, — that is, an educated man to an educated people. Let us respect the Divine order, and act on the old lines. These considerations have growing force. You fathers have already sent your sons and daughters to the best schools, because you know that, in the technical sense of the phrase, they have been born into an educated world, and you would have them fitted to fill their own fair place in it. It would break your hearts to see them forsake you on Sundays. Having been educated, you are surely glad for them to have pastors who are naturally likely to gain their ear and win their confidence, before the), are decided for Christ, that they may continue under their ministry until, by the grace of God, they are first converted and then confirmed. For their sakes, even more than for your own, you will glorify God for pastors who, in the quaint, fine phrase of Puritan antiquity, are ‘the poor gentlemen and scholars of Jesus Christ.’“ When we: think of the value of a well-instructed minister of the gospel, and of all the beneficent institutions which are sure to spring up around him, we sometimes think the work of training ministers to be superior to all other services done to the Lord and his church. We wonder not that Colleges should be liberally supported, but the rather we marvel that more lovers of the Lord do not devote their substance to this superior purpose, in which the deed is done more fully unto the Lord himself than in almost any other fom of good doing. Orphanages are excellent, but nature itself teaches us to care for the fatherless, and even the profane will unite in such a work; but to educate a man, who shall thereby become the fitter preacher of the word of God, is a service in which only the nobler spirits will take an interest, and that interest will hinge upon the glory of the Redeemer and the salvation of immortal souls. To build a meeting-house, to found a school, to commence a village-mission, to scatter pure literature — all these are admirable; but in equipping a pastor you have set in its place the motive power which will effect all these and a thousand other grand designs. Those who helped the poor boy Luther to pay for his learning made a grand investment of their monies. The possibilities which lie around one single preaching man of God are such as may make the College Lecture-hall one of the most solemn spots beneath God’s heaven.
In our Institution for these twenty-six years men have gathered around their tutors to learn further the meaning of the Scriptures, and the art of imparting that meaning to others. All sorts of studies have been pursued with the one design of helping the men to speak plainly the word of salvation. Great attention has been paid to the art of speaking. There have been frequent discussions, impromptu speakings, and sermonizings in class.
Care has been taken to inculcate proper pronunciation, delivery, and action. These matters are, as a rule, neglected, and many who were intended to be speakers are taught a little of everything except the art of elocution. Indeed the removal of personal, oratorical defects has been passed over by our Universities as though it were beneath notice, and that, too, in the case of men whose profession demands the perfection of ability in speech. In our case mutual criticism has produced a friction, which has been found of great value in wearing off rough edges which else would have been in future years injurious to the preacher. At the same time we have ever endeavored to cultivate the devotional spirit, without which the fluent speaker is but as sounding brass. Many a time have we heard the student say at the close of his term that he was as thankful for spiritual improvement as for mental growth. It has been a mingled anxiety and delight to all concerned to keep the School of the prophets in such a condition that the Lord of the prophets might never be absent, and the Spirit of the prophets might never be grieved. We have had many a hallowed season in fellowship as fellow-workers in this grand enterprise, and these have been auguries to us of blessings to be given when we should be separated far and wide, by mount, and stream, and sea, occupying each one his station among the heralds of the Cross. One in heart within the College, we look to be one in the truth which we shall deliver; knit to each other by sacred ties, we expect to labor in life-long unity; and fired by the celestial flame of the Spirit, we hope to be consumed in the common service.
During all these years we have been greatly encouraged by seeing the large number of men who come forward eager to become more efficient preachers of the gospel. They are informed that poverty will, in all likelihood, be their portion; but this they make no account of so long as they may preach Christ to their fellow-men. It may be supposed by some that the College unduly tempts men into the ministry, and is likely, therefore, to bring out a swarm of preachers of doubtful value; but it does nothing of the kind. Its first demand — that a mart should already have preached the word for two years with a measure of success,-shuts the door in the face of large numbers who thought that a College would make them preachers, and they are surprised to find that they must be made by another hand before we can have anything to say to them. The difficulties encountered by those who apply turn off man\, more; for the delays are often long and the inquiries many, and the halfhearted grow weary, and accept more lucrative employment, or resolve to abide as they are. We refuse numbers of men for different reasons, and among them are not a few who nevertheless enter our ministry, thus showing that they will become ministers one way or another, whether we will help them or not. Either our judgment is greatly at .fault, or else churches have keener eyes for discovering ability than we have been favored with, for we are often surprised to see men chosen as pastors whose replies to our questions indicate powers of the slenderest kind. This will ever be in the Baptist denomination a fact which has its dark and also its bright side: the liberty of prophesying is evidently well maintained, and we are glad it is so. After students are admitted to the College we occasionally have doubts of their fitness, and upon the unanimous judgment of the tutors, we feel bound to dismiss them; and here again we note with some concern that a considerable proportion find pulpits, and so occupy the post of teachers with a training of the poorest kind. We do not say that the churches are wise to choose these brethren, neither may we say that they are unwise, for it is not our duty to judge them, and they have a right to select their own pastors, and probably know best who will suit them; yet this goes to show that it is not the College that is responsible for these men becoming preachers, for they do it in the teeth of our opposition and protest. It would be a great pity if we had the power to stop them, for why should the judgment of any one man, or any set of men, be supreme? As the matter is thus left to forces beyond our control, what is to be done? The simplest way is to give education as widely as we can, use our best judgment in selection, and leave the result with the great Head of the Church.
NUMBER OF BRETHREN WHO HAVE BEEN EDUCATED IN THE COLLEGE Number now in our ranks as Pastors, Missionaries and Evangelists Number without Pastorates, but regularly engaged in the work of the Lord Number not now engaged in the work (in secular callings) Number Medical Missionaries and Students Number Educated for other Denominations Number Dead — (Pastors,36; Students, 5) Number Permanently Invalided Number Names removed from the List for various reasons, such as joining other Denominations, etc. 60 These last are not: removed from our list in all cases from causes which imply any dishonor, for many of them are doing good service to the common Lord under some other banner. We are sorry for their leaving us, and astounded that they should change their views upon Baptism; but this also is one of those mysteries of human life which are beyond our control.
Among the many good men and true, there are certain names which are known throughout our whole denomination as men of power and influence.
It is invidious to make a selection, but we cannot refrain from blessing God for men who hold leading positions, and hold them well. London will not soon forget Archibald Brown, Cuff, Sawday, Bax, William’s, Frank White, and others. Bristol rejoices in our Brother Gange, Reading in Anderson, Cambridge in Tarn, Bradford in Davis, Leeds in Hill; and many another town can tell of its successful pastor who hails from the Metropolitan Tabernacle College, and is a power for good in all the district round about.
Boasting be far from us; but we may rejoice in God, who has bestowed gifts and graces upon men for the accomplishment of his own designs, and we will not therefore refrain from saying that among the successful workers of our day our College men have held their own, and stand second to none. Many could we mention who have done splendid service in founding, reviving, enlarging, and establishing churches; but time would fail us to make a record of individual successes. Among the many of our brethren unknown to fame there are apostolic men who, for Christ’s sake and the love of his church, bear the thousand ills of penury without a murmur, and labor on in the midst of their poor congregations, having no reward but the smile of the Great Father in heaven. Of such men ,,re would glory. It is a sad pit)’ that any servant of the Lord should be in want; but it is to the honor of the church that, if men are wanted for positions where want is inevitable, hundreds are ready to leap into the gulf.
All this while the funds for educating and maintaining the men have always been forthcoming, — the free-will offerings of the Lord’s people. The income has never caused us any great anxiety. From an accountant’s point of view the ordinary income is at least £ 1,000 bellow the expenditure; but usually a large legacy falls in just when the exchequer runs low, and this makes up for deficiencies till the time comes round for another special amount. If this is the Lord’s way of sending supplies, it is sure to be the very best, and we most thankfully accept it. At the present moment our stock is short; but a considerable legacy is due under the will of the late Mr. John Edwards, and a portion of the amount will be spent in this direction. No other part of the Lord’s work is drained to keep the College going; its sources are fresh springs, and its streams are a clear gain to Christian philanthropy. Most of the men need to be lodged and boarded as well as instructed, and in many cases even clothes, washing, and other personal expenses have to be found. A growing number are able to bear their own charges; but we shall never forget that a main object of the College is to help poor men, rich in gifts, but unable to pay for an education. Are there not many brethren and sisters who will count it an honor to join us in this blessed work? There have always been “partners with Simon,” and the firm is capable at this time of great enlargement, for many old partners have lately gone home. The Lord will surely find us other helpers; possibly the reading of these pages may work in that direction.
During the year we have considerably diminished the number of our students, because there is a general impression that the Baptist churches at home are not, just now, in need of more fresh men. We have therefore lengthened the average period of study, and also refused many whom we would otherwise have taken, while of those accel)ted a number are under bonds to enter upon foreign service. At this moment churches find it difficult to obtain thoroughly able and efficient pastors, and yet if it is known that a pulpit is vacant a hundred candidates apply for a hearing, — - the same hundred with slight variation applying in every case year after year. Hence an outcry is raised that the ministry is overstocked, whereas it might better be said to be encumbered with unsuitable men. When men find that their gifts are not suitable for any one business they usually turn their hands to something else; but, alas, it often happens that when a man has failed in the ministry in more places than one, he does not lay the blame on his own unfitness, but upon the place, or the people, or the deacons, and he perseveres with the heroism of a martyr, or, as some say, with the obstinacy of a mule, in attempting to fulfill in some other quarter an office for which he has not the capacity. Such men block up the passages of the ministry, bring the work into difficulties, and the office into contempt. You may track their movements by the devastation they have made. Where their foot has stood the cause has never prospered. They are now without pulpits, and the calamity has its consolations. How far these me.n are to be considered we will not judge; but we heartily wish they would consider the matter themselves, and resolutely turn to secular callings in which they might be useful to their fellow-men. Meanwhile we will endoavour to avoid making a hard case any harder. We rejoice to take into the College brethren already in the ministry, who feel their need of more study; by this means we have helped a poor church to keep its minister, the preacher has obtained an education, and the number of men to be supported in the ministry has not been increased. We have also been glad to receive brethren who resolve to build on new foundations, and to create spheres for themselves. This is being attempted successfully by our men at this time in several instances. These two points we have so largely attended to that any surplusage of would-be pastors does not largely lie at our door; indeed, we look upon the fact that some are out of harness as one of those inevitable evils which come out of the stern law of the survival of the fittest, —a law which all the compassion in the world can never alter. Men who undertake what they can only inefficiently perform are sure to suffer, and the only remedy for their distress is the correction of their primary mistake. We are among the first to compassionate all such; but we can do little to amend an ill which in the nature of things requires a more radical cure.
Our great longing is for the College to be growingly helpful to the glorious work of Missions. The great field of the world is still uncultivated, and the Master bids us pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into hisharvest.
Oh that they might be sent forth in bands! We have made some progress in this direction since, our last Conference, and we are right glad of it. The Missionary fire burns steadily on our altar; many students are dedicating themselves, and we are full of hope as to the future.
Here are a few notes as to INDIA, where the Baptist Missionary Society has long spent the great part of its strength:
Just previously to the meeting of the Conference last year, Mr. H. RYLANDS BROWN left our shores for Darjeeling, to labor among the English-speaking residents and visitors at that health-resort. He has been doing real missionary work by visiting the houses of the tea-planters and others scattered over the district. What his ultimate destination may be does not appear; but he is in God’s hands, to be guided as the Lord sees well.
Mr. J. G.POTTER, having been accepted by our Missionary Society for work in India, left us at the close of last year. He is now stationed at Agra under the superintendence of Mr. Jones. This beloved brother diffused such a missionary spirit throughout the College while he was resident with us that we have large expectations of what the Lord will do by him on the field of service.
Mr. W.MITCHELL, having heard our esteemed brother, Mr. A. Haegert, give an account of his labors among the Santhals, and plead for help, offered to cast in his lot with our friend, and left us in February to join the little band in Santhalism. May the best of blessings rest on that hopeful enterprise.
At our last Conference we were somewhat saddened, as we thought of our dear friend, Mr. Stubbs, being forced to retire from the field; now we rejoice that three have gone to that land, while our brethren, R.SPURGEON, W.NORRIS, and G. H.HOOK have been preserved it,: health, and enabled to do good service for the Master.
Here, perhaps, is the place to notice that our brother R.MAPLESDEN, who left us to take the oversight of the Baptist Church at Madras, has accepted from the American Baptist Missionary Union a call to work among the Teloogoos.
As to AFRICA, which has set before the churches an almost illimitable field, we have a little to report:-- In the early part of last year our devoted brother Mr. D. Lyall was obliged to leave the Cameroons, West Africa, his health having become seriously affected in that terrible climate. After a short stay in England he believed his health was sufficiently restored to permit of his resuming the work so dear to his heart. Though warned that such a course would cost him his life, his ardent spirit could not be restrained, and he went back, and in a few short months was called from his labor in the “dark continent” to his rest in the presence of the King. He has left a widow who is anxious to go back to the work. Our dear sister is a splendid Christian woman, and we hope the Society will enable her to return.
Mr. J. H. Dean, who went from the College to the University of Edinburgh to study medicine, in order the more fully to equip himself for missionary work, went last year to Blantyre, in Central Africa, where the Established Church of Scotland has a mission-station. We have several other brethren studying as medical missionaries, but the difficulty is to get them out into the field.
Mr. J. H.WEEKS has recently gone, under the auspices of our Baptist Missionary Society, to join the brethren on the Congo River.
Mr. A.BILLINGTON, having been accepted by our dear friend Mr. H.G. Guinness for service in the Livingstone Inland Mission, is now at the Banana Station, at the mouth of the Congo River.
We hear that Mr. and Mrs.RICHARDSON, of Bakundu, are compelled to seek change of climate and rest: we hope and pray that they may soon be able to go back to their poor Africans. We cannot detain the reader by surveying every part of the world in detail, nor can we give an account of all our brethren who are laboring from Britain to Japan; but it is certainly a great delight to see them in increasing numbers toiling on in every land for the advancement of the kingdom of our Lord. Do not all our helpers share the joy? May the Lord grant them their portion of it.
From the CANDIAS branch of the Conference we have received the following communication: — “The Canadian Branch of the Pastors’ College Conference, “To the Pastors’ College Conference, London, England. “Beloved President and Brethren, “We greet you in the name of our common Lord. We rejoice in the opportunity afforded you of meeting together to revive former memories, to hold sweet fellowship with each other, and to discuss themes of importance touching the work of our Lord and Savior in the world. “At our annual meeting, held in the City of Toronto in October last, we freely discussed the advisability of sending one of our number to represent us at the Annual Meeting at the College. Concerning the desirability of such a course there was perfect unanimity, and, but for two principal difficulties, probably a brother would have been with you this year. But, in the first place, the time at which the Conference is held is peculiarly unfavorable for crossing the Atlantic, and, secondly, the expense is more than most brethren could well afford. “We felt disposed, unitedly, to undertake to bear half the expense of our deputation, but even then some brethren could barely undertake the other half. “We would rejoice exceedingly if it were possible for you to appoint the meetings for some time after the middle of May — indeed, any time during the summer. If that can be done, we are hopeful that an arrangement may be made whereby we could have the privilege of meeting with you, from year to year, in our regular turns, a privilege we greatly long for, and would exceedingly enjoy. “On the whole, all the brethren in Canada are comfortable and useful, and, we need scarcely add, feel deeply interested in the welfare of our beloved President, the Tabernacle, the College, and the brethren of the Conference. “May the Master’s presence be in your gatherings, and his choicest benedictions rest upon your proceedings, and when it is well with you, remember us in this far-off land. “By order and on behalf of the Canadian Branch, “ROBERT LENNIE, President. “JAMES GRANT, Secretary.” “Dundas, Ontario, Canada, March, 1882.”
We would assure our brethren that we received their letter with great delight, and that in return we wish them the richest prosperity. We quite agree with them that it will be a grand day when their numbers will be so increased that a delegate can be sent over without any burdensome expense. We should indeed welcome such a representative, not only from the Canadian brethren, but from each little group of scattered ones over the whole earth. Meanwhile the Conference at home will welcome the Canadian epistle with the utmost enthusiasm.
From AUSTRALIA we have most cheering communications from Mr. Clarke, of West Melbourne. The brethren seem to be upon the whole exceedingly prosperous; but we greatly regret the unexpected loss of the two valued brethren, H. H. Garrett and H. Marsden: the first fell as the victim of a railway accident, but the second bowed before that fell disease, consumption. For a while he gathered strength, and we hoped that he would master the disease; but even the fine climate of Australia could not save him. These brethren have not, however, been called home without having left behind them sufficient evidence that they were called of God to their work, for they had been greatly blessed by him in the doing of it.
We cannot forbear to mention the princely liberality of Mr. and Mrs. Gibson, of Perth, Tasmania, who have built two Tabernacles at Longford and Deloraine, and are generously fostering two churches in them. In every way these dear friends have showed exceeding kindness to our son, Thomas Spurgeon, and to all our sons of the College. May they see Tasmania covered with Baptist churches, all flourishing as a garden of the Lord.
Mr. A. J. Clarke, at West Melbourne, has continued to enjoy a rich. blessing, to see a large increase to his church, and to be the means of great blessing to his brethren. Messrs. Harrison and Isaac have been visiting many of the churches on an evangelistic tour, and our Australian letters speak of great numbers of conversions. Our son Thomas, in. Auckland, New Zealand, has not only entered upon a happy pastorate, but also upon the labor and care of erecting a new chapel, the old one being a wooden erection, and all but ruinous. It is a matter of necessity to build, and the friends will be glad of such help as the generous may feel disposed to render.
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.
— The work commenced in Cape Town by our highly esteemed brother W.HAMILTON, like the most of such enterprises, has had its time of trouble, but now that the new chapel has been opened, we hope that brighter days await it. If only Mr. Hamilton’s energies are continued we have no fear. He has accomplished marvels, and has often made our heart to sing for joy. We wish it were in our power to send him larger help, especially at this moment when the new chapel calls for funds.
Mr.MANN,WHO went out to relieve Mr. Hamilton, will remain till he sees him restored to health, and will, then, in all probability, return to us.
During the past year Mr. W.HOBBS has, with great energy, conducted the enterprise of building a new chapel at Gipsy Road, Norwood. It will cost with the ground about £,4,500, and our right worthy brother has obtained from many friends a large part of the cost.
Messrs.BLACKABY &BLOCKSIDGE commenced a work at New-Brompton, near Chatham, and gathered together a persevering, faithful people. Mr. Blocksidge has lately had the sole charge of the church, and has displayed most praiseworthy diligence. By hard struggling, and much help, they have erected a chapel-schoolroom upon which only a small debt remains. Land is secured in front for building a larger chapel when the church becomes sufficiently strong. By means of this and other efforts a large population has been supplied with the means of grace.
At Mitcham , Mr. A. E.CARTER has, together with his brother, built a small chapel, and commenced a hopeful work.
At Sandown , during the last few months, Mr. A. Brad has gathered the nucleus of a Baptist church, and is now proceeding to erect a suitable building. We were not represented in the town, and many friends who love the pure and simple gospel found that it was more accessible in the Church of England than among certain Nonconformists, and wished therefore to see a church of our faith and order, to which they could resort for spiritual food. Will friends who visit Sandown encourage this growing interest?
Mr. H. J.MARTIN is endeavoring to raise a church at Bracknell, Berks, and Mr. W.WELBY PRYER, is working under the superintendence of PastorJ. A.SPURGEON in the hope of forming a branch church in Croydon.
At Hornchurch, Essex , a new chapel will soon be built for the people who have been collected by Mr. E.DYER.
For this the working plans are prepared, and we hope soon to receive estimates.
Thus good steady advance is being made. Had we more means, we could found many new churches, for London grows at such a rate that new neighborhoods spring up on a sudden, and in each of these we find a few friends ready to unite for the Lord’s work, and where we find none there is all the more need to begin preaching the word. All that can be spared of the College income will go to the work of extension, but there is need of enlarged liberality. It will be a dreadful calamity if future ages should curse the present generation for allowing all the land to be built over, and reserving no spaces for places of worship. It looks like dooming a region to hopeless heathenism if we allow every foot of soil to be covered with houses, and reserve no site for a meeting-place for the hearing of the gospel. To pull down houses to create sites is a work so costly that the idea is seldom entertained, the only chance seems to be to buy the land while yet it is bare, and even then it is a hard struggle to put up the meanest structure for divine service. We often think that, if the Lord’s people were but half sincere in their professions of love to his cause, we should never have to plead for a penny for London, for the necessities of this great city would stare men in the face, and force them to supply the awful want of the growing population.
EVANGELISTIC WORK among the Churches has been carried on diligently and successfully during the past year. Our two brethren,FULLERTON and
SMITH, are singularly adapted for this useful work; in fact, their power and adaptation seem to increase from year to year. It would be impossible to give even an outline of their year’s services. Letters appear in The Sword and the Trowel monthly testifying to the fact that wherever they go a cloud of blessing seems to hover over them, and showers of mercy descend upon the places which they visit. They have during the past year been at Sheffield and neighborhood; Shoreditch Tabernacle; Vernon Chapel, Pentonville; St. John’s Wood Chapel; Metropolitan Tabernacle; South Street Chapel, Greenwich; Peckham Park Road Chapel; and Lower Sloane Street Chapel, Chelsea. This work has become almost entirely selfsupporting, for the friends at each place send up a freewill offering sufficient to cover expenses. If at any of the places the contribution should happen to be very small the deficiency has been made up by the extra gifts from more favorable spheres of action. How many souls have been converted and added to the church by this agency during the year we will not venture to guess, for we feel a fear of attempting to number the people; but the day of judgment will reveal that this has been one of the most useful agencies employed in modern times.
During a great part of last year Mr.BURNHAM was occupied, under the auspices of the County Association, in visiting a considerable number of the smaller towns and villages of Yorkshire; and since the last Conference he has also conducted evangelistic services in Waltham-stow, Rushden, Holbeach, Leighton Buzzard, Watton, Southwell, Win-slow, Gamlingay, Sheepshed, New Shoreham, and Burnley, in addition to spending the whole of the month of September in earnestly laboring amongst the hop-pickers in Kent. We continue to receive the most cheering reports of this good brother’s work. Almost all the churches visited tell of saints cheered, sinners saved, the careless aroused, and backsliders reclaimed; and wherever it is possible the), arrange for a second and third visit from the evangelist.
Mr.PARKER also has gone to many places, preaching and singing the gospel, and many profess to have received the saving word from his lips.
We hope to enlarge this part of our operations, and take on more evangelists, but we must only move as God moves. We doubt not that if the men are forthcoming means will be found for their support.
To God be all the glory of a great work thus roughly sketched by one to whom each line has been a labor by reason of weakness, who therefore claims pardon for the broken and abrupt style. — C. H.S. VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT THE usual course of study has been steadily pursued for the past year with quite average results. Some slight alteration in our staff has been made, and we shall miss for the future our long-tried coadjutor, Mr. Selway, who has given for many years his able lectures on the applied sciences. His post is taken by the Rev. F. R. Cheshire, who bears a high reputation for his Lectures under the Government at South Kensington. Mr. Fergusson having retired from the Evening Classes, we are glad to fill up his place with the efficient labors of Mr. S. Johnson, and his helper, Mr. Bowers, who, we trust, will enable many young men to lay the foundations of a solid education. Our number is not quite equal to former years, and perhaps this will enable some of the brethren already in the field to exchange their spheres of labor with more facility, or to find new positions if they no longer occupy their former ones. Our efforts are directed to a yet more prolonged and complete course of study, and, we think, with encouraging success. The spirit of prayer and earnestness in College work continues unabated, while the missionary zeal of the brethren is, we rejoice to say, augmenting. Happily we see no signs of any abatement in the love of our young brethren to the old doctrines and principles of our denomination. We desire to train up no band of bigots; but we urge a definite creed and a rigid discipline for our churches, and first of all in our church-leaders. We tolerate no vacillation, and desire to rear no disciples of mist and fog. “We believe, and therefore we speak.” The hearty cooperation of our brethren in the ministry, our former students, warrants us, we think, in the belief that our system commends itself to their judgment after testing it in the field of active service, while their acknowledged success is a surest proof and highest reward. We still need picked men, and only those who are such as candidates, for our School of the Prophets.
May the Lord of the harvest continue to thrust many such into His vineyard, and to him shall be all the praise.JAMES A.SPURGEON.
MR. GRACEY’S REPORT.
IN rendering an account of the past year, I have to make the happy confession that there is no one feature demanding special attention, so uniform and steady has been the diligence in every department of study.
The demeanor of the students has been such as befits those who have “given themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
For the tone of earnestness, intelligence, and spirituality pervading the College there is much reason for gratitude. Through the continuous favor of the Head of the Church, zeal for conversions has suffered no abatement amongst us, whilst every endeavor has been made honestly to meet the large and varied requirements of the pastoral office. Of these things the sermons read weekly for criticism, and the evangelistic efforts put forth, afford substantial proofs. The General Classes for test sermons and for discussions, at which all the tutors are present, have been well sustained. I have continued my course of Lectures on Theology, and kept up the study of Hodge’s “Outlines,” “Homiletics,” and “Church History.” The Seniors have been engaged in the exegetical and grammatical study of the Greek text of the Acts, the Epistle to the Ephesians, and the Epistle to the Hebrews; and have read in connection herewith Trench’s “Synonyms of the Greek Testament.” In Hebrew the Seniors have been reading in the Psalms and in the Book of Genesis, the latter of which the Juniors are beginning.
In the Senior Classics the subjects have been Lucian’s “Dialogue” and the “Oedipus Rex” of Sophocles; the 6th Book of Virgil’s “AEneid,” and “Cicero De Senectute.” D.GRACEY.
MR. FURGUSSON’S REPORT DEAR MR.SPURGEON, — At your request I forward to you a few facts connected with that department of College work you have placed under my care. My work falls naturally under the following heads — Biblical Studies, Ethics and Philosophy, and English.BIBLICAL STUDIES.
— The nature of our work in this department will at once appear when I mention its two branches and their respective text-books — Blackie’s “Bible Geography” and Angus’s “Bible Handbook.” By means of the first we travel (availing ourselves of the most recent researches in Asia of travelers and scholars), especially over the ground made sacred by the grace of God, the deeds of Christ and the work of Patriarch, Prophet and Apostle. Here the men are trained form for themselves, to the mind’s eye, a map which, without book or sheet, they can carry to the pulpit, prayer-meeting, or platform; and on this mental map they are soon able to set down in a certain place and give a local habitation to the momentous transactions of that Book in the exposition of which their lives are to be laid out, spent, and exhausted. By means of the Handbook to the Bible they are introduced, through a style at once crisp, rigid and graphic, to the great themes of their life-work, — exposition and Biblical criticism Judging from the amount of work done this year, the sustained application required in doing it, and the verve and energy revealed in the discussion of the subjects suggested, they have left me little to desire. Should our men carry into their ministry the same hunger for Bible knowledge, the same energy in turning it to account, and still keep unspoiled the same sensitiveness of soul in appreciating the fine touches of the Spirit in His delineation of truth, they must and they will excel in the great business of soul-winning. I ,:an safely assert that, if they are determined — and I know they are—to carry the same enthusiasm into their life-work, their people will not be found among those who, to escape the monotony of the modern pulpit, are now clamoring around the doors of museums, art galleries, and Sunday leagues.
ETHICS AND PHILOSOPHY.
— In this department our great aim has been in as clear and as simple manner as possible to acquaint the men with a common-sense view of the phenomena of the human mind. Our whole teaching here has been in complete subordination to the grand principle of all our College work — the divine art of winning lost souls to the Lord Jesus Christ. Our every effort here has been to avoid making the men gaunt moralists on the one hand and philosophic somnambulists on the other. The entire drift of our labors has been to bring the men face to face with that stern and real person — the hun-ran soul; that poor fallen majestic creature, the soul of man; and to deepen their sympathies with its sorrows, struggles, hopes, and fears; and to strengthen by all that is strong in the gospel of God its resistance to being snuffed out by the apostles of the materialism of modern science; to help it in every way to maintain its protest against being considered a blood relation of the ape or the oyster; and to increase its loathing towards the last and vilest insult offered to it when it is asserted that its life and potency may be found amid the simmering stews of modern chemistry. As soul-winners our men enter the College; as soul winners they study; and as soul-winners they go forth to their work, therefore, as far as in us lies, our efforts in this department have been directed — if you will allow the figure — -to acquainting our men with the anatomy of the suffering soul. Yes, Sir, to cleave to the soul, to feel for the soul, and to ease the soul is a noble work, a Godlike work, and we all believe that is our work — our only work. Judging from the souls already saved through the agency of the: men from our College in the field, we have our reward in so teaching and studying the phenomena of the human heart and mind.
ENGLISH STUDIES —A mere enumeration of the class-books used in this department of our work will so far explain its nature as to render detail unnecessary. They are these:—Fleming’s “Analysis of the English Language;” for practice in analysis, “Paradise Lost;” Angus’s “Handbook of English Literature;” “Reid on the English Poets;” “English History;” and the preparation of monthly papers on given themes. Our great aim in this part of our work is to help those of our men who, though possessed of plenty of brain and plenty of soul, are suffering from the calamity of a neglected education, or of none at all. They are not allowed to leave this part of their studies until we are satisfied they have secured a commonsense grasp of the principles and capabilities of their mother-tongue. And here also we have our reward in beholding many of our men triumph over all the evils of a neglected education, and succeed in clearly translating into a sound and brawny Saxon style the story of Jesus crucified, the wisdom of God and the mind of Christ, a style which the Holy Ghost, through them, has, deigned to use in bringing many sinners to the feet of Christ. A.FERGUSSON.MERCHANT’S REPORT.
DEAR MR.SPURGEON, — Your request for a short account of my Classes during the past year reaches me while away from home. I am, consequently, unable to avail myself of some references which would have helped me to speak more particularly of work done immediately after last Conference. The Middle Classes left me shortly after the commencement of the year, and have since been reading with Mr. GRACEY.
The Second Juniors, after finishing both the Latin and Greek Delectuses, have for some months past been reading Cornelius Nepos in the former language, and Xenophon’s “Anabasis” in the latter. Good progress has been made by almost all the brethren in these classes, and the more difficult constructions have been overcome with more than usual readiness. Careful attention has been given to the grammar of both languages, and especially to parsing.
We have gone through nearly two books of Euclid, and though this is generally regarded as “a dry subject,” the interest in it has grown from the first, and the work has been well done. The First Junior Class is getting on well with Latin, but has not yet advanced far in Greek. On two afternoons of the week, throughout the year, I have taken an Elementary Class for students newly entered, in order that beginners might be helped over their early difficulties in the dead languages, with as little hindrance as possible to their studies in English subjects. The conscientious character of the work done during the year has been very gratifying, and, above all, the earnest tone of piety pervading the prayers in our various meetings encourages us to believe assuredly that the good hand of our God is still with us. May the dear College prosper more than ever.
Yours very sincerely, F. G.MARCHANT.
DISPENSING WITH THE GOSPEL MRS.PARTINGTON uttered more of the truth than she thought when she said: — “ Dear me, nothing don’t do me so much good as to go to church Sunday morning, and hear a precious minister dispense with the gospel!”
Yes, dear soul, that is exactly what some of them do: they give us anything and everything but ,the glad tidings of salvation, and then they wonder that their chapels become empty. Yet it does not do to say as much, or you will have a hornet nest about your ears. Of course they preach gospel, that is to say a gospel, if not the gospel. What is the difference? Only the indefinite for the definite article, only sand instead of rock, only opinion in the place of truth.
The worst of it is that hearers now-a-days put up with it. There seems to be little left in the land of the discriminating spirit. Mien tolerate error in their ministers, grumbling at first and consenting to it afterwards. Many do not know chalk from cheese in these times, and so long as the language is musical and the ideas are pretty, their preacher may teach anything short of atheism and they will drink it in. What a clapping a man gets at a public meeting if he will only harp on the string of liberality and say that we are all alike, and that our views are only different aspects of the same truth: black is a shade of white, and white a milder tone of black! In times gone by a few sermons without the gospel in them would have brought down a storm about his reverence’s head; but now he is admired as a man of fresh thought, and takes leave to make up his theology as he goes along. No one challenges him, or if a bold brother does so he is called a bigot, and snuffed out.
Surely this state of things cannot last. Someone will bear his protest and ere ate a stir, or else the whole thing will rot into contempt. If there be a gospel let us have it and nothing else. There are not two gospels: which is the genuine article? This we demand. This we would have not now and then, but always as the standing dish, the daily provision of the House of the Lord. If any man shall withhold the truth, or give us the counterfeit of it, he shall answer for it with his head; for by trifling in this matter the souls of men are placed in jeopardy, and the Kingdom of Christ is hindered.
Blessed is he who dispenses the gospel, but cursed is he that dispenses with it. C.H.S.
HOW TO KEEP ABREAST OF TIMES.
“YOU haven’t time to read much, but want to keep up with the At times in religious matters,” says the Congregationalist, and adds, “well, there is no; a religious book in the world so closely up to the times as the Bible is; nor one so well adapted to the wants of a man pressed for time. You can read a verse in a minute that will feed your soul for a day.” Try it, and see what a blessed truth that is. None are so truly learned, so fresh in utterance, so rich in teaching as those who draw from the pure well of Scripture, and present the waters to mankind just as they draw them. God’s own mind is ever far ahead of all mental science, and his thoughts high above our noblest thoughts.
NOTES IT was resolved by the Pastors’ College Conference that Monday, June 19, should be observed as a special day of prayer by our churches. Will it not be well to make this something more than a form? Why not unite in earnest, wrestling prayer? There are urgent topics. Think of poor Ireland, of persecuted Israel, of our crowds of drunkards, infidels, and backsliders.
We cannot do without the Divine blessing. What might we not do with it?
If all the churches are like that at the Tabernacle, they are certainly in daily, pressing need of help from on high.
On Lord’s Day evening , May 14, after the usual services, a special meeting was convened for prayer for Ireland. The Lecture Hall was filled, and the cries were fervent. What is to be done for this country but to seek the help of God? Oh, that the gospel had sway among her people! This, and this only, can cure her ills.
On Thursday, May 4, Mr. Spurgeon was able again to occupy his pulpit at the regular lecture. The attendance on Thursday evenings is remarkably large; but there is room for more. If our friends knew that they could readily obtain seats, would they not speedily make the Thursday congregations as large as those on the Sabbath? Service begins at o’clock, and all who come will be heartily welcomed.
— Since our last notice, Mr. A. G. Everett, who has been greatly blessed in reviving the church at Dorking, Surrey, has accepted the pastorate there. Mr. F. G. Kemp leaves the College shortly to settle at Boringdon, Herts; and Mr. Robert Wood takes charge of the church meeting in St. George’s Hall, Ramsgate. Mr. J. Bateman has removed from Leicester, to Harston, Cambs; and Mr. J. W. Nichol, from Gos-berton, to West Park Street, Chatteris. Mr. John Clarke has completed his course of study at Glasgow University, and obtained the degree of M.A. He is now anxious to be engaged in pastoral work.
In response to a request from the church at Toowoomba, Queensland, for a pastor, we have selected Mr. W. Higlett, who has just completed his College course with us, and he has arranged to sail in the Orient steamer Potosi, which leaves London on June 1st. Mr. J. Blaikie, who was obliged to resign his charge at Irvine, North Britain, through all-health, has secured berths for himself and his family in the same vessel. We trust that he will soon find a suitable sphere in Australia, and that both our brethren will be very useful at the Antipodes.
Tidings of several of our brethren abroad have reached us during the past month. Mr. W. Mitchell has arrived at his destination in Santhalistan: and Mr. S. H. Weeks has reached his station at San Salvador, on the river Congo, Africa. He has already had several fevers, but he hopes soon to become accustomed to the climate, and to be able to prosecute his work without further hindrance from that cause.
The following letter, intended for the Conference, arrived about a week too late, but we insert it here that all our brethren may see it, and remember in prayer their comrades who are battling bravely against the idolatry and superstition of India: — “East Indies, March 20, 1882. “Beloved President, Vice - President, Tutors, and Brethren, — From this distant part of our Master’s vineyard we send our united love and greeting, praying also that your gatherings in Conference may be seasons of ‘refreshing from the presence of the Lord.’
Scattered over this vast continent of India, and engaged in work as varied as the language we have to employ, we still feel united to each. other, and to you, by the blessed associations and memories of our beloved College. Three of us have to labor in English, one in Telugu, one in Hindee and Hind stani, and one in Bengalee and Mussulmani-Bengalee; and yet we have but ‘one Lord, one faith, and one baptism’ to declare to these different races. Our spheres of labor are very far apart. One of us is in Madras, one in Agra, two in Calcutta, one in Bachergunge, and one in Darjeeling. In each of these places idolaters, or followers of the false prophet, abound. ‘At Athens, Paul’s spirit was stirred in him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry; ‘ and we often feel the same; yet we desire to be stirred up to far greater devotion in our work and zeal for our Master. Everything here tends to deaden, and depress, unless we are constantly conscious of our Savior’s presence and help. Could we meet with you in Conference we feel it would be the means of arousing and quickening us; but it will help to cheer us greatly to know that these few words will reach you, and that we have your sympathy and love. “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may run, and be glorified (in India) even as also it is’ with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and evil men, for all have not faith. But the Lord is faithful. In Him is our trust, for ‘ Pie must reign,’ and every form of idolatry and error must ultimately perish. “With intense love to you all, and especially to our revered President, we remain, faithfully yours in Christ, “Robert SPURGEON, Barisaul. “William NORRIS, Calcutta. “G. H. HooK, Lall Bazar, Calcutta. “R.W.MAPLESDEN, Ongole, Madres Presidency. “JAMES G.POTTER, Agra, N’.W.t’. “H.RYLANDS BROWN,Darjeeling, Himalayas.”
— Since the Conference Messrs. Smith and Fullerton have been holding services at Mr. Charrington’s large Assembly Hall in Mile End Road, and at the Edinboro’ Castle. Of the meetings ion the latter place, Dr. Bernardo writes the following cheering account: — “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, — The visit of our dear friends, Messrs. Fullerton and Smith, to the Edinboro’ Castle has indeed been a season of unmistakable and wonderful refreshment from the presence of the Lord. I think I may say without doubt that Christ-inns have been quite as much refreshed by their ministry of word and song as have the unconverted been awakened and led to decision. Of course in a Mission like ours, differing in some points from ordinary chapel services, Evangelists have to work in a harder field. We have practically after-meetings, inquiry meetings, and the like, at every service. The chief aim of all our services is directly evangelistic; the nets are always being let down to enclose the fish for whose capture we labor. So, when your dear friends carne to us, their efforts were necessarily without that item of novelty which in many ordinary places of worship they would possess. Notwithstanding this, however, the meetings have been well filled from the first, and on Sundays we have been crowded beyond anything we have ever known from the beginning of our mission at the Edinboro’ Castle until this day. It was a delightful sight, and one which I am sure you would have rejoiced in, had you seen it, to behold that old music-hall at the back of the once-celebrated gin-palace — a hall at one time desecrated by every device the devil could conceive to allure and retain his votaries, verily a citadel of Satan, — thronged in every part, packed so that outside every door and window the huge crowd of faces, still in the distance, could be seen all eagerly listening to the gracious words which the Lord had given his dear servants to utter in their hearing. ‘ Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.’ The message of salvation has, indeed, won its way to many hearts. Men and women, and even children, for whom we have hoped and prayed for years without seeing hitherto any results to our prayers and labors, have been led to decision. The outside working class, the lower laboring population, have also been attracted in large numbers, and of these many have been savingly impressed, and led to the Savior’s feet. To him we ascribe all the glory and the praise! “But what cheers me, perhaps, more even than this, is the tidings that reach me from one of our institutions, recently opened for the benefit of a muchneglected and needy class. “Youths and young men, between 17 and 21 years of age, crowd our common lodging-houses, and, because of their age, are disqualified for admission to any existing institution. Many of these poor fellows are honest and industrious, and would gladly do anything to get occupation; but the fact that they live in a lodging-house, and have no other home or friends, and no proper clothing to make them look respectable, is all against them in the struggle for employment which takes place daily in this great city. At that period in life when our young men are looking forward to the future with the brightest prospects, these poor fellows stand with life behind them, already a lost battle. To give them a helping hand is all I could do, and that I resolved to do, and so a great house was opened for their reception in the Commercial Road, where we call give them labor, and test them for three or six months, to ascertain their capacity, their character, their willingness, and the like. A little while ago, after much prayer, we opened this house, admitting about 30 lads of the ages I have mentioned, the majority of whom were the roughest and the most desperate-looking fellows I have ever tried to assist; all of them absolutely coming from the common lodging-houses. You may imagine my fears lest an outbreak might take place among them, lest a quarrel would lead to blows, which would eventuate in some riot threatening a loss of reputation. We entered the work with much prayer and much trembling, and God has mercifully given us answers such as we never expected. Our dear brethren, Messrs.
Fullerton and Smith, have been permitted to reap among them, all unconsciously to themselves, a wonderful harvest. These young men attended many of the services, and, in addressing the common crowd, words were uttered which entered their hearts as arrows. The King’s enemies were wounded, some of them unto death, only to be healed by the message of the gospel, which kills, and makes alive. A prayerful spirit has broken out all over the house, deeply-revived spiritual life is enjoyed by all of my helpers in the home; prayer, reading the Word of God, and an earnest desire to do their duty thoroughly and conscientiously, are the chief features of almost all the lads, and we are now in hopes that every one will be brought to a definite decision ere we send them forth upon their life’s work. For this blessing we have mainly to thank dear Fullerton and Manton Smith. Others, of course, have perhaps sown, but they have been permitted to reap. Again I write, to God be all the glory and all the praise! “I send this account to you, not merely because I hope it will interest and cheer you, if you have time to read it, but also because I felt it would be ungrateful in the highest extent if I received so much good through the means of your evangelists, and did not at least return to you, as the human agent that meed of thanks which must encourage you amid some of the burdens you have to bear. ‘ The Lord bless dear Mr. Spurgeon ‘ will, I am sure, be a prayer which will often ascend from my people who, have been blessed under the labors of your evangelists. “There is one matter, however, which troubles me. We are not rich nor can we impose collections upon our people. A few collections in the ordinary course have to be taken up, but the proceeds are absolutely needful for the work at the Castle. I cannot, therefore, do as some have done, send you largely from our stores towards the maintenance of these and others whom you are sending forth in the gospel, but I ask you to accept the enclosed very small cheque as some proof of the desire I have to thank you in a more practical manner if I had trot the means. — Gratefully and faithfully yours in the gospel,THOS. J.BARNARDO.”
This letter was accompanied by a cheque for thirty guineas for the funds of the Society of Evangelists, for which we are extremely grateful.
On Sunday, the 21st ult., Messrs. Smith and Fullerton commenced a series of services at Trinity Chapel, John Street, Edgware Road; and on the 11th inst. they go to the help of our brother Bax, at Salters’ Hall Chapel, Baxter Road, Islington.
During the past month Mr. Burnham has held services at Burnham, Essex; and Trowbridge; and this month he is to visit Charlton Kings (for the fourth, time); Ash Yale, Aldershot; Sandy, Beds.; and Walton, Norfolk.
These are all places where our brother has previously been so much blessed that the friends desire his services again. Pastor J. Kemp sends an interesting report of Mr. Burnham’s visit to Burnley just before the Conference.
— Annual Fete. Will all our collectors, and other friends, in town and. country, kindly take notice that the annual fete will be held at the Orphanage on Wednesday, June 21st i/ We hope large numbers. of our ever-generous supporters will come and see for themselves the progress that has. been made with the additional buildings for the use of the girls, and help us to celebrate our forty-eighth birthday by liberal contributions for the maintenance of this holy work of caring for the widow and the fatherless. Full particulars of the day’s proceedings will be duly announced in the usual. way.
Several friends have recently helped the Orphanage in a manner that calls or special notice, and we mention the matter here in the hope that others may be moved to follow the noble examples which have been set by these liberal souls, who have devised liberal things. The following letter was only intended for the President’s eye, but the spirit of loving consecration that breathes in it is so rare and precious that he must put it on record to the praise of the God who has moved the donors to plan and carry out such a deed of whole-hearted generosity: — “Rev. C. H. Spurgeon:—My dear Sir, Through the loving-kindness and tender mercy of our heavenly Father, in graciously enabling us to carry out our purpose, my wife and myself have the joy of asking your acceptance of the enclosed £350 for the orphans. “For a long time it has been my desire to devote (D. V.) to the Lord’s work the whole of the salary I might receive in my fiftieth year. The amount enclosed is therefore my year’s wages as a commercial traveler, with something in addition lest we have been slack in giving in the past. “Left fatherless and motherless myself when only about two years old, and brought up out of compassion by my nurse, the Lord has indeed been my helper and friend. For all his ceaseless mercies, and especially that we and our daughter have been brought to know something of the riches of his love in the Lord Jesus Christ, we offer him in the persons of the little ones of his family this token of our grateful love. “Please do not publish our names. The Lord knows them, and that is enough. ‘Simply say ‘A year’s salary from a Commercial Traveler,’ and it may be that some one else may do the same. “The Lord bless you more and more, and speedily restore you to health. With our warm Christian love, believe me, “Yours very sincerely, “______” The Orphanage has been benefited under the will of the late Mr. John Edwards to the amount of £900 during the past month. We have received from another donor a box full of silver plate, which he hopes will bring £30 to £40 to the Orphanage funds; and a gentleman who read the article on the Orphanage in the May number of the “Sunday at Home,” sent a donation of £100.
While Mr. Duncan S. Miller and the Royal Poland Street Hand-bell Ringers were in Philadelphia, they gave an entertainment to the Bethany Schools and Mr. Wanamaker’s employees on condition that a contribution should be sent to our Orphanage. The meetings were very successful, and in fulfillment of the contract we have received from Mr. Wanamaker a draft for £20, for which we heartily thank him and the scholars at Bethany, and our good friends the ringers.
Three youths in Scotland have found out a novel way of helping us. With their father’s permission they collected all the suitable books in their home, and formed them into a circulating library, for the use of which each member of the family paid a small weekly sum. They then secured fresh subscribers and additional books, and now, as the result of less than six months’ efforts, they lave sent us twenty-five shillings for the Orphanage, with the promise of a larger amount next time.
— The Annual Conference and Meeting of the Colporteurs was held on Sunday and Monday, May 7th and 8th. Meetings for prayer were held on Sunday morning and afternoon, during which the men related their experiences in the, work, which were very cheering, one of them alone reporting that one hundred had professed conversion during the year in connection with his labors. On. Monday afternoon, in the absence of the President, the Vice-President, J. A. Spurgeon, gave an encouraging address to the colporteurs.
The public meeting: in the Tabernacle was the best ever held. Dr. Bernardo and Dr. Donald Fraser delivered very powerful addresses, and several colporteurs also interested the people by their simple statements of work accomplished for Jesus.
A new feature in the proceedings was the distribution of prizes given by Mr. Spurgeon for the largest sales during the year, which were awarded to the following colporteurs:
Class I., for the largest sales during the past year: —:Mr. J. Smith, Nottingham, £5; Mr. E. Garrett, Uxbridge, £3; Mr. J. Taylor, Ross, £2.
Class II., for the greatest increase on the previous year: — Mr. Robert Hall, Ilkeston, £5;:Mr. L. Eyres, Cambridge, £3; Mr. C. Morgan, Castleton, £2.
Reports, collecting cards, or boxes, and all information may be had on application to the Secretary, Mr. W. Corden Jones, Temple Street, St.
George’s Road, Southwark, to whom also subscriptions may be sent.
We invite special attention to the annual report of this useful agency, which is printed at the end of the present magazine.
— We have received from Golcar the following pleasing testimony to the usefulness of our sermons: — “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, — You may perhaps remember me waiting upon you in December last, to inform you that in connection with our church we had five hundred of your sermons in circulation in the village, and that some cases of conversion had resulted therefrom. Since then we have increased the circulation to upwards of one thousand, which seventeen or eighteen of our female friends circulate weekly or fortnightly, and several other cases of conversion have been reported, besides great help and encouragement to inquirers, especially from your sermon ‘Only trust Him, only trust Him’ (No. 1635). We have not had a churchmeeting without candidates since last November, and at every one of them lately your sermons have been mentioned as having been greatly blessed to them. I recently visited a good churchman in the village, who was on his dying bed, and he expressed his joy at reading one of them which was left by one of the distributors, and begged me to get him a copy to preserve, as it had been so blessed to him. Since then, however, his happy spirit has gone to its reward. Scarcely any in the village now refuse them, though some did at first, and some who attended no place of worship accept them, and express their gratification to the distributors for the loan of them. “I would, from experience, strongly’ recommend all our churches to adopt the use of them in this manner, as they have indeed proved to be most useful and blessed in our history. “Your very truly, “WILLIAM HIRST.”
Our late student, Mr. Harry Wood, who has been for some time in Australia, has written the subjoined interesting account of the reception of the sermons in that region: — “During my visit to the different colonies it was very cheering to hear the people speak of our beloved President, and the blessing that had followed the reading of his sermons by saint and sinner alike. “There are one or two instances which I cannot forbear to relate. When visiting the Thames Gold-field, in New Zealand, a dear friend acquainted me with the following story, which will not only cheer the Pastor’s heart, but will encourage all who are engaged in distributing his sermons. There were three young men who were working at the diggings. They were living together in a tent. One Sunday morning it was raining very hard, and they could not get out; the hours were long, and they knew not what to do to kill time. One of them asked if he should read one of Spurgeon’s sermons, as he had several in his box, perhaps put there by a godly mother, lie made no pretense to be religious or serious any more than his companions, but they agreed that he should read it to pass the time. Before they got through the sermon the Spirit of God convinced them of sin, and it was ultimately the means of leading all three of them to the Lord Jesus Christ. “When in South Australia I met a well-to-do farmer, who, on hearing that I had come from the Pastors’ College, informed me that a sermon by our President from the text ‘ He that believeth on him is not condemned,’ (John 3:18,)was blessed to the salvation of his soul. He is now one of the most energetic Christians I have met with, and is doing good service in one of the Baptist churches. Many such instances could be given. The sermons are also a great blessing to small churches that are without pastors. In my travels I have met with many little flocks without an under-shepherd. The question has been asked, ‘ How do you keep together?’ The answer has been to this effect, ‘ One of the deacons reads Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons morning and evening,’ and in this way they have been sustained till God has sent them a man. We do well to praise God for giving our Pastor a voice to reach the ends of the earth, and for the great blessing God continues to give both to the preached and printed word. This should stir us up, not only to more earnest prayer, but to more earnest effort in the distribution of these messengers of mercy all over the world. “I hope I shall see the day when colporteurs from the Metropolitan Tabernacle will be seen to carry the word of God to the settlers in the Bush of the Australian Colonies as they do to-day in the country villages of England.”
A friend in Minnesota , writing to Mrs. Spurgeon, says, “You will be pleased to. hear that out in this Western country, and. in this village of six hundred inhabitants, Mr. Spurgeon’s books are much valued. I have seen them in several houses here. In the Wesleyan minister’s a volume or two of sermons,’ and ‘John Ploughman’s’ productions. In another house ‘Morning by Morning.’ In another, that of an old saint, aged seventy-five, ‘ The Saint and His Savior,’ which he esteems as very precious, saying, with emphatic tone, when he speaks of it, ‘This is Mr. Spurgeon’s first book, and he has written many since, but never one to surpass this,’ though the dear old man has not read a tithe of Mr. Spurgeon’s publications.”
Mr. Chowrryappah sends us from Madras a copy of our “Evening by Evening,” which he has translated into Tamil, and is selling to native Christians under cost price at twelve annas (ls. 4d). He has also translated some extracts from our works, and issued them as tracts. He says that kind friends in England enabled him to accomplish this work, and he is now anxious to procure additional funds so that he may translate and publish “Morning by Morning” also. This is a good work. Though five hundred copies may appear to be a small issue, it is a great thing to get the book translated, for it will then be ready for use when in happier times thousands will need a Christian literature. We are thrice happy in seeing our works thus scattered among many nations. May the Lord send the increase.
SPURGEON’ S SERMONS’TRACT SOCIETY: — Since we inserted a note in reference to this Society in a recent number of the magazine, the secretary has received several applications for grants of sermons, but no contributions to pay for them. He is continually hearing of eases of conversion resulting from the distribution of the sermons as loan tracts, and if he only had increased funds, could largely extend the Society’s operations. Friends who are looking for a good investment of their Lord’s money might do worse than send a donation to Mr. C. Cornell, 60, Hamiltom-square, Borough, S.E.