INAUGURAL ADDRES AT THE EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE ASSOCIATION, APRIL 18, 1882.
BY C. H. SPURGEON. (Concluded ). HITHERTO we have been going round the text, after the example of Rowland Hill; now let us come fairly up to it. “When I am weak, then am I strong.”
I. Here is, first, ADEPRESSING EXPERIENCE.
“When I am weak:” when is that? Truly, we are so always. Is there ever a time when the strongest Christian is not comparatively weak? But there are seasons when we are consciously weak. Take Paul’s case as an illustration. He had been caught up into the third heaven, but he could not bear revelations so well as John, who had enough of them to fill a book, and yet was never elated by them; but Paul was not so well qualified to be a seer, for he was more at home with arguments than with visions, and therefore when he saw a vision he set great store by it. He kept his secret for fifteen years; but it was such a very remarkable thing for him, and so much out of his own natural line of things, that the tendency in him was to be exalted by the abundance of the revelation; and therefore the Lord sent, not Satan, but “a messenger of Satan,” a mean, despicable spirit, not to fight with him with sword and buckler, but to “buffet him,” as boys do their playmates. Have you never had an insignificant thing to vex you, like a fly buzzing around you? Have you not felt the trial to be intensely worrying, and yet meanly trifling? You could have girded yourself to meet a lion, but this trouble was a mere yelping cur, and it irritated you to the last degree, and inflicted a pain upon you. Paul does not describe his trial as the cut of a sword, else he would have bound it up; it was only the prick of a thorn; he could scarcely see the cause of the pain, or he would have taken a needle and extracted it; but it was a little thorn which had buried itself in the flesh, and festered there.
This was Paul’s worry, and it was sent to keep him humble. Paul might have gloried in wrestling with the devil; but this was a wretched business.
To grapple with a great temptation, and to hurl it to the ground, has a grandeur in it which inspires you; but it is very different when you are assailed by a thing so small that you despise yourself for taking notice of it, and yet it frets your soul. You say to yourself, “How weak I am! Why am I thus irritated and disturbed? If anyone else made half this fuss about a little thorn I should say, ‘You ought to know better’; and yet here am I, a preacher of the gospel, greatly tried by a trifle, and beseeching the Lord thrice to take it away from me, for I cannot bear it.” Do we ever get into such a condition? I wish that at such a time we would confess our abject weakness and cast ourselves upon God, for then should we be made strong.
This festering of the thorn does not afflict us all, because it does not happen to all to see visions; but many servants of God are made to feel their weakness in another way, by an oppressive sense of responsibility.
Brethren, I speak to you as unto wise men, who will not misunderstand me. I hope you will always feel your responsibility before God; but do not carry the feeling too far. We may feel our responsibility so deeply that we may become unable to sustain it; it may cripple our joy and make slaves of us. Do not take an exaggerated view of what the Lord expects of you. He will not blame you for not doing that which is beyond your mental power or physical strength. You are required to be faithful, but you are not bound to be successful. You are to teach, but you cannot compel people to learn.
You are to make things plain, but you cannot give carnal men an understanding of spiritual things. We are not the Father, nor the Savior, nor the Comforter of the Church; We cannot take the responsibility of the universe upon our shoulders. While vexing ourselves with fancied obligations we may overlook our real burdens. I could sit down and meditate until I felt the responsibility of the whole south of London upon my back, and this would render me unable to look after my own church.
What is the practical result of making yourself, as one man, responsible for the work of twenty men? Will you do any more? Will you do it any better?
I saw a horse this morning which was pulling at a three-horse load. How he tugged! How he strained himself. I thought to myself, there is a good horse being ruined. His master ought to take off part of his load, or else put more horses to pull with him. Does our Lord and Master treat us in this fashion?
No; we overload ourselves. We get tugging away as if the salvation of the world depended upon our straining ourselves to death. Now, I do not want you to get away from feeling a due measure of responsibility; but then you are not God, and you do not stand in God’s place; you are not the rulers of providence, and you have not been elected sole managers of the covenant of grace; therefore do not act as if you were. But, dear brethren, having said this much by way of caveat, lest I should lead any of you to despair, let me now say, — have we any of us fully felt the measure of our responsibility? If there be one such here, let him speak; but I shall not believe him. We have not done what we should have done, what we could have done, nor what we ought to have done, nor what we will yet do in God’s strength. Perhaps we have worked up to the full of what was expected of us in quantity, but how about the quality? It may be we have attended quite enough meetings, and delivered quite enough sermons; but then, has this been done in an apostolic spirit, and night and day with tears have we warned men and pleaded with them as in the sight of God? Our responsibilities, when they are thoroughly felt, crush us, and then are we weak indeed; but this weakness is the road to strength. “When I am weak, then am I strong.”
And do we not often feel weak in the sense of utter unfitness for being ministers at all by reason of our sinfulness. Paul said of his calling to the ministry, “Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.” We can say it too; yet sometimes we feel as if we would speak no more for Christ, and we should sink into silence were it not that his word is as a fire in our bones, and we cannot refrain. Then we think we will go away into the far West, and in some log cabin teach a few children the way of salvation, for we do not feel fit for anything higher. Our shortcomings and our failures stare us out of countenance, and then are we painfully weak; but this also is the highway to strength: “When I am weak, then am I strong.”
Sometimes we grow depressed and weak because our sphere of labor seems specially difficult. This is not the time to dilate upon the peculiar trials of our pastorates. Ministers in London could tell a tale that would astonish you, for they see things which are their burden day and night: As for our country brethren, what some of them have had to put up with!
They cannot move the deacons and the church at all, but perhaps the deacons wish to move them; they cannot get at the people, and though they preach their hearts out they preach to empty pews. If we could only put certain men into the positions which their brethren faithfully occupy under great discouragement, they would know themselves better, and leave off boasting, and instead of finding fault they would wonder that so much has been accomplished under such circumstances. By that way also we become strong: when Goal makes us feel that our work is impossible to us without his aid then are we driven to his strength.
Some of you are quite alone as to the helpful fellowship of kindred spirits.
This is a trying deprivation, and may well depress you. Beside this, many of you are poor, and you hardly know how to support your families. As I listened to the prayer of the brother who led our devotions just now, and remembered what he is suffering, and how he has actually worked in the harvest-fields, with working men, so that he might earn his bread and preach the gospel, I felt that I could rejoice in him. Still I know that poverty often makes a man feel sadly weak; when his children are without shoes, and the wife’s dress is nearly worn out, and he knows not where any more are to come from, his heart sinks within him. In addition to this, it may be that reproach comes undeservedly. A scandalous story from the father of lies may be forged against you, and you may be quite unable to defend yourself. You fear lest in trying to erase the blot you might spoil the page. Hearts are broken over this matter. Oh, how weak a man becomes when this is the case; he may half feel himself guilty after having heard the accusation repeated again and again, although all the while he is as pure as the driven snow. This brings a weakness which may paralyze a man. Oh to be strong in the Lord at such times.
I suppose you do not think that I ever get dried up, and find it difficult to say anything fresh in my sermons, and yet so it is. Think, dear brethren: I have more than twenty-seven volumes of sermons in print! It grows harder to say anything new as those volumes increase. Where will the next sermon come from? is the question we have asked ourselves again and again; we have feared that we could not keep up the supply, and we have felt our own weakness to a terrible degree; but this, also, is the way to strength. So prepare yourselves, my younger brethren, to become weaker and weaker; prepare yourselves for sinking lower and lower in self-esteem; prepare yourselves for self-annihilation, and pray God to expedite the process.
Certain-brethren know nothing of this experience, they are not weak at all; but despise such confessions. Have you never met with preachers who can keep on and on; and though they never did say anything and never will, yet they never know what it is to be weak. They are just as able to-day as ever they were. I have heard of an old Scotch preacher, whose divisions were very numerous, and whose subdivisions were almost innumerable; so one day the people, one by one, went away, until at last the boy took the keys up and said to him, “You can lock the church up when you have done.”
Some are so very long in saying nothing, and are so surely emptying their places, that it would be wise to hand them the keys so that they might retire when they are quite through. As for some of us, we are consciously feeble, and when we prose we know it. We come out of the pulpit at times feeling that we are less fit than ever for the holy work. Oar last sermon we judge to be our worst, and frequently for that reason it is our best; we grow, and among other growths we grow downwards.
We shall go on feeling less fit, and still less fit, and all the while becoming more suited to be used of the Lord. I know one who said the other night, when she was reading, that it seemed as if her eyes had dropped out. The truth was her spectacles had fallen off. Go on losing your spectacles, and be sure that you get rid of all those holy tones and whines, and grotesque methods, and stiffnesses and mannerisms, which are not your eyes, but only shockingly bad spectacles.
II. I conclude by speaking upon THE BLESSED EXPERIENCE.
“When I am weak, then am I strong.” How is it, and how can it be? Well, first, it is when I am weak that I am sure to flee to God for succor and help. The little coney mentioned by Solomon was a poor, puny creature, and yet he baffled the sportsman. Learn a lesson from him. “The conies are a feeble folk; yet make they their houses in the rocks.” Brethren, because I cannot think, I hide behind a doctrine which God has thought out for me; and because I cannot invent a hypothesis I hide my soul in a self-evident fact; and because I cannot even be consistent with myself, I get behind the plain teaching of the text, and there I abide. It is wonderful how strong a man feels in such a hiding-place. When you cannot lay a stone, and cannot lift a trowel by yourself, then you rosy begin to build for God, for he will make you a worker together with him, your feebleness will be linked to the eternal strength, and then the wall will rise with speed. “When I am weak, then am I strong.”
Next, we are strong when we are weak because we gain our strength by prayer, and our weakness is our best argument in supplication. Jacob never conquered until he limped, nay, until he fell. When the sinew shrank the suppliant triumphed. When you are engaged in prayer, plead your strength, and you will get nothing; then plead your weakness, and you will prevail. There is no better plea with divine love than weakness and pain; nothing can so prevail with the great heart of God as for your heart to faint and swoon. The man who rises in prayer to tears and agony, and feels all the while as if he could not pray, and yet must pray — he is the man that will see the desire of his soul. Do not mothers always care most for the tiniest child, or for that which is most sick? Do we not spend the greatest care upon that one of our children which has the least use of its limbs? and is it not true that our weakness holds God’s strength, and leads him to bow his omnipotence to our rescue?
There is another strength in weakness which it is well for us to have. I believe that when we French in conscious weakness it adds a wonderful force to the words we utter. When Mr. Knill went out to distribute tracts among the soldiers, he tells us that there was one wicked man who said to his comrades, “I will cure him of coming to us with his tracts”; so when a ring was made around the minister and the blasphemer, he cursed Mr. Knill with awful oaths. Hearing these profane words Mr. Knill burst into tears, and said how he longed for the man’s salvation. It was years after that he met that soldier again, when he said, “I never took notice of your tracts, or of anything that you said; but when I saw you cry like a child I could not stand it but gave my heart to God.” When we tell our people how we are hampered, but how much we long for their souls’ salvation; when we ask them to excuse our broken language, for it is the utterance of our hearts, they believe in our sincerity, for they see our breaking hearts, and they are moved by what we say. The man who grinds out theology at so much a yard has no power over men; the people need men who can feel — men of heart, men, weak and feeble men, who can sympathize with the timid and sorrowful. It is a blessed thing if a minister can weep his way into men’s souls, or even stammer a path into their hearts. So, brethren, do not be afraid of being weak, — “When I am weak, then am I strong.”
Besides this, another form of strength comes of weakness, for by it our sympathy is educated. When you and I become weak, and are depressed in spirit, and our soul passes through the valley of the shadow of death, it is often on account of others. I preached one Sabbath morning from the text, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” and though I did not say so, yet I preached my own experience. I heard my own chains clank while I tried to preach to my fellow prisoners in the dark; but I could not tell why I was brought into such an awful horror of darkness, for which I condemned myself. On the following Monday evening a man came to see me who bore all the marks of despair upon his countenance. His hair seemed to stand upright, and his eyes were ready to start from their sockets. He said to me after a little parleying, “I never before heard any man speak in my life who seemed to Know my heart. Mine is a terrible case; but on Sunday morning you painted me to the life, and preached as if you had been inside my soul.”
By God’s grace I saved that man from suicide, and led him into gospel light and liberty; but I know I could not have done it if I had not myself been confined in the dungeon in which he lay. I tell the story, brethren, because you sometimes may not understand your own experience, and the perfect people may condemn you for having it; but what know they of God’s servants? You and I have to suffer much for the sake of the people of our charge. God’s sheep ramble very far, and we have to go after them; and sometimes the shepherds go where they themselves would never roam if they were not in pursuit of lost sheep. You may be in Egyptian darkness, and you may wonder why such a horror chills your marrow, but you may be altogether in the pursuit of your calling, and be led of the Spirit to a position of sympathy with desponding minds. Expect to grow weaker, brethren, that you may comfort the weak, and so may become masters in Israel in the judgment of others, while in your own you are less than the least of all saints.
More than this, I believe that my text is true when a man becomes weak through love to the particular place in which he is called to labor.
Suppose a brother placed in the midst of a dense, poor population, and he feels the responsibility of his work and the misery of souls around him until it gets such a hold upon him that he cannot escape from it. He tries to think of more cheerful subjects, but he cannot shake off the nightmare of the people’s poverty and sin. It is with him by day, and it is with him by night; he hears the crying of the children, and the wailing of the women; he hears the sighing of the men and the groans of the sick and dying, and he comes to be almost a monomaniac in his desperate zeal for his own part of the great field of service. Yes, that man may kill himself with anxiety; but meanwhile it is evident that he is the man whom God has sent to bless the people. He will go on thinking and praying and planning, until at last he will hit on a method which outsiders may judge to be as odd as the man; but he will carry it out, and the whole district will be the better for it. Oh, it is a blessing when God casts a godly man into the middle of a mass of misery, and keeps him there. It may not be a pleasant thing for him, but it will bring a sevenfold reward in the end. I am glad that Howard felt that he must go through all the prisons in Europe. He had a comfortable home of his own, and yet he must roam through France, and Germany, and Russia, poking his nose into every pestilential dog-hole where prisoners were to be found. He makes himself familiar with the unimaginable horrors of dungeon life, and suffers fevers born of the jail-filth. He has a choice nose for the worst atmosphere; the fouler it is the more needful that he should breathe it, for he has a passion for the discovery and destruction of prison cruelty. He comes home, and writes a book upon his pet subject, and then, after a little while, he is off again, and at last he dies a martyr to the cause he has espoused; yet it was worth while to be a Howard who could live and could die to rescue his fellow-men. Mr. Howard, it is because you are so very weak, and suffer so much from prison-on-the-brain, that you are strong; you will accomplish reforms while others are talking of them. I dare say there were some who said, “These things muse be gradually ameliorated by the progress of better principles, and we must try new notions by degrees.” Yes, this gradual reform is a prudent idea, but then Mr. Howard is such a weak-minded man that he goes raking up horrible stories; and insisting upon it that murder by imprisonment must cease at once. Brethren, may you become weak in like fashion, — almost out of your minds with restless resolve to save souls. If you break loose in an absurd way, and set the chill proprieties a-trembling, and the imbecilities ridiculing, it will cause me great joy. Little do I care if you become fools for Christ’s sake. When our weakness verges upon fanaticism it may have all the more power about it. Mr. Plimsoll did nobly when he stood up and pleaded against coffin-ships; but he was never so strong as when he lost himself, and broke the rules of the House in the ardor of his passion. It was very weak of him, but in that weakness lay his strength. Give us more of the speech which comes of a burning heart, as lava comes of a volcanic overflow. When the truth conquers us we shall conquer by the truth.
Weakness is strength, once more, because often a man’s sense of weakness arouses the whole of him; whatever there is in the man then comes out, it makes the man intense in every part. Certain small animals are much more to be dreaded in fight than larger beasts, because they are so active and furious that they bite fifty times while the greater ones are opening their mouths. A man might almost as well face a hyaena as a rat or a weasel, because these lesser creatures are all alive, and so intent on the attack, that they fight with their whole bodies; claws and teeth are all at work, and thus they become strong through that sense of weakness which causes them to use every atom of force which they possess. Have you never seen a great man, perhaps a Doctor of Divinity, concerning whom you have felt how mighty he is? We all acknowledge his strength; but what does he accomplish? A far smaller man full of grace and ardor, and all alive in working for the Lord, achieves much more. The conscious littleness of the man makes him live intensely unto God, — “When I am weak, then am I strong.” Because I cannot do much, therefore I will do all I can. Because I have little power, therefore I will use all the power I have. Do not the tradesmen say that “a nimble ninepence is better than a lazy half-crown”? I am sure it is so. A sense of weakness may bestir us to a bravery which else we had not known. Look at our country ages ago, when Spain tried to destroy her. See the Invincible Armada! Huge ships burden the sea, and Papal warriors are speeding to the prey. England must do her best. On the one side is Spain, mistress of empires, and on the other is a poor little island, with a brave queen it is true, but with an army and navy slender to the last degree. The monster ships are off Plymouth; here they come, like a half-moon, or like jaws opening to swallow us up. What is happening in Britain? Why, everybody is preparing for the battle, and every man and every woman on the island will fight to the death. All the seafaring folk are on the alert. Our sailors in their diminutive vessels are hovering round the huge galleons, waiting for an opportunity to strike a blow, and the opportunity comes. “Look how the Lion of the sea lifts up his ancient crown, And underneath his deadly paw treads the gay lilies down.” God watches over England. He blows with his wind, and the sea covers the Armada, and Spain is smitten and England is saved. It was a sense of weakness that moved the valor of our forefathers, and stirred the saints to cry to God for help. Go to, ye mighty ones, ye are not strong. Come ye up, ye weak ones, to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty, for ye are strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
And this, last of all, is the reason why we are strong when we are weak, namely, because the sacrifice is being consummated. When was Christ strongest but when he was weakest? When did he shake the kingdom of darkness but when he was nailed to the tree? When did he put away sin for his people but when his heart was pierced? When did he trample upon death and the old dragon but when he was himself about to die? His victory was in the extremity of his weakness, namely, in his death; and it must be the same with his trembling church: she has no might; she must suffer, she must be slandered, and derided, and so the Lord will triumph through her.
The conquering sign is still the cross. Wherefore, brethren, let us be perfectly content to decrease even unto the end, that our right royal Lord and King may gloriously increase from day to day. Amen.
THE LITERATURE OF THE GALLOWS IT seems shocking, almost ludicrous, to speak of a young man going through a course of reading as a preparation for the gallows, and yet it is literally true that impure reading has, before now, landed its victim on the last stage of the road to ruin. In the year 1829 a murderer named Stratford was executed at Norwich, and the following is the testimony, given at the time by a Christian friend who visited the convict in prison: Again and again he assured me that his falling into vicious and criminal practices was the consequence of his having imbibed mental poison from bad books — and the same assertion he repeated to several other persons. An infidel publication, long since notorious for its fatal influences over the human mind, became the companion of his private hours. He read it, and adopted its principles. He rejected the Holy Scriptures, looked upon their contents as a cunningly devised fable, and to use his own expressions, gave up his faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus was he left without compass or rudder, whereby to steer his course aright through the ocean of life.
NOTES WE have inserted portraits of two of our evangelists, in order that friends may not forget their work of faith, or cease to plead for a blessing upon them. Never were two men better fitted for their work, nor more thoroughly devoted to it. They are engaged for some months ahead; but we would encourage friends to seek their services, for they are ready to preach the gospel wherever a door is opened.
Mrs. Spurgeon is exceedingly busy with her distribution of books to poor ministers, a work fraught with untold blessing. She wishes us to remind friends that she cannot attempt to supply preachers with books if they are in trade, or have good incomes. Her business lies with those who give all their time to the ministry, and at the same time are so ill-remunerated that they cannot afford to purchase books. If those who are ineligible would kindly not apply, it would save the distributor much trouble, and the great pain of having to refuse.
With much pleasure we note that Canon Wilberforce has made a gallant attempt to clear the Church of England from complicity with the liquor traffic. Personally he is doing all that can be expected of any man, namely, getting rid of licenses as they fall in. No one can expect the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to do more; but we hardly dare to hope that they will do as much. Evidently, the Archbishop and other commissioners will be all the better for a little stirring of their consciences. It will be an unspeakable blessing to them if the subject is kept before the public mind, and thus gently brought under eyes which are none too eager to perceive troublesome facts. Corporations are slow in being reformed, and for them to reform themselves is a thing so rare that we might almost say that it never occurred, and never will. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” We shall see what we shall see.
On the evening of September 10 we shall, God willing, have the Tabernacle open for all comers, according to our custom once a quarter. We observe that an American paper wittily says, “Let not Spurgeon’s people be proud of leaving their seats to strangers in the evening once in a quarter, for in our country we have thousands of persons who do the same every Sunday night in the year.” We are grateful that we cannot say so of our people.
Though the habit of half-a-day worship is extending in many quarters, it does not come nigh to us.
On Wednesday, Aug. 16, the ministers of the Surrey and Middlesex Baptist Association dined at “Westwood,” by invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Spurgeon, and afterwards held a conference on the work of the denomination in the two counties. All who were present seemed to feel the urgent necessity for further aggressive efforts, and it is hoped that something practical will result from the interchange of opinion.
The two counties of Surrey and Middlesex, apart from London, are low down in our Baptist statistics, and indeed in all Nonconformist work. The churches are nearly all feeble, and are holding their own with great difficulty; hence, they have very little strength to spare for founding new interests. The London Association contains all the large churches, and the few who form the new Association have a huge task before them, and outward strength altogether out of proportion to the demand upon it. They need an evangelist of their own to go through all the towns and villages preaching the word, but how is he to be supported? Oh, that some wealthy brother would make these counties his own district! If the two appear too much, let one be taken up. Comparatively little money would be needed, and great results might be anticipated. We offered the friends £50 for the next year towards an evangelist, and we hope others will come forward and help also. There are places in Surrey which are far more discouraging than Zululand or Tartary, and yet present most urgent calls for gospel effort.
On Friday evening, Aug. 11, a meeting of South London ministers and church-officers was held in the Tabernacle Lecture-hall, for the purpose of conferring with Mr. R. T. Booth respecting his approaching Gospel Temperance Mission. Pastor J. A. Spurgeon, who has recently become a total abstainer, and has been elected one of the Vice-Presidents of the Tabernacle Temperance Society, presided. After a short address by the chairman, and a statement by Mr. Smithers, the Secretary, as to the arrangements already made or contemplated, Mr. Booth spoke briefly, but earnestly; and the rest of the evening was occupied with suggestions as to the best means to be adopted to secure the success of the Mission. Mr. Andrew Dunn took the chair, when Mr. James Spurgeon had to leave for another meeting, and at the close of the Conference the committee met to carry out as far as was practicable the recommendations that had been given.
The list of services, at all of which Mr. Booth hopes to speak, is as follows: — Sunday afternoon, September 3rd, at 3; Monday evening, 4th, at 8.30; Tuesday, 5th, at 8; Wednesday, 6th, at 5.30 (for children and young people only), and at 8 (for adults); Thursday, 7th, at 8.30; Friday, 8th, at 8; Saturday, no meeting; Sunday, 10th, at 3 and 8.15; Monday, 11th at 3.30 (for women only), and 8.30 (for all); and Tuesday, 12th, at 7.30, great farewell meeting. Every day during the Mission, with the exception of Saturday and Sunday, a mid-day prayer-meeting will be held at 12.30.
Contributions in aid of the expenses of the Mission will be thankfully received by Pastor C. H. Spurgeon.
— During the past month Mr. J. H. Grant has accepted an invitation from the church at Gold Hill, Bucks; Mr. E. B. Pearson has settled at Providence Chapel, Hounslow; and Mr. E. Richards has become pastor of the church at Lerwick, Shetland, where he will labor in connection with the Baptist Home Missionary Society of Scotland.
Mr. J. W. Comfort has removed from Ossett to Bromsgrove, Worcestershire; and Mr. E. A. Tydeman, from Devonport, to Zion Chapel, Bacup, Lancashire.
Mr. J. E. Moyle, who returned to Canada on the completion of his college course, has settled at St. Andrew’s, Quebec; and Mr. R. Holmes has removed from Ayhner to become Mr. Dyke’s successor at College Street, Toronto.
Mr. A. Fairbrother sailed on the 24th ult. for Auckland, New Zealand.
The summer session of the College was commenced on Tuesday afternoon, August 8, when the tutors and students assembled at “Westwood” for devotional exercises and social enjoyment. Twenty-three “freshmen” were introduced to their brethren, and heartily welcomed to the benefits of the institution; and addresses were delivered by the President, Vice-President, and Professors Rogers, Gracey, and Fergusson. Tutors report the new men as an exceedingly hopeful band. The Lord make them all faithful preachers of the word. The College work is the most important of all the labors that have been entrusted to our oversight by the great Master, and our heart is set upon it more and more. Let not the Lord’s stewards forget the portion for the school of the prophets, for to her rising men, now in training, the church looks for her future leaders. Our teaching has distinct and definite doctrines as the groundwork of everything; we do not upon that matter give forth any uncertain sound.
— Mr. Burnham goes this month to labor among the hoppickers in Kent. In response to his appeal for contributions towards the extension of the work, we have received the following amounts: — Mrs. Higham, 2s. 6d.; M.M., 10s.; Readers of Word and Work, £10; A.M., Scotland, 5s. This we beg most gratefully to acknowledge. It shows that there are a few good people who care for the poor Londoners in the hopgardens.
Messrs. Smith and Fullerton, having completed their twelvemonth’s mission in London, are now resting preparatory to starting on their autumn tour in the south-west of England. We hope our friends in that region will be ready earnestly to back them up. AUCKLAND TABERNACLE BUILDING FUND.
— Mr. and Mrs. Spurgeon beg to acknowledge, with heartiest thanks, the receipt of the following contributions for their son’s new Tabernacle at Auckland, New Zealand: — Mrs. C. Parker, 10s.; Mrs. Smith, 1s.; M. C. H., £5; A widow, 12s.; Mrs. M. E. White, 3s.; Miss Farmer, 10s.; Mrs. Dix, £I0; Mr. Calder, £5; A friend, 10s.; Mrs. A. G., £2; Mr. W. R. Fox, £5; Lydia, per J. T. D., 2s. 6d.; Mrs. Virtue, £5; Mrs. Joseph Williams, 10s.; A friend, £1. There must be many more friends of our son who are intending to help: will they please quicken their pace, and cheer us thereby? A box will be going early in September. As the bazaar is to be held at Christmas, any goods to be sent must be off at once, for even now the time is short. Goods must not be later than the 15th of September, and the earlier the better. The members of the Old Tabernacle at home should be the first to help the New Tabernacle in Auckland. They cannot have forgotten young Thomas whom they were so pleased to hear. Let him not imagine that he has slipped out of the memories of those at home.
ORPHANAGE. — Notice to Collectors. The next quarterly collectors’ meeting will be held at the Orphanage on Friday evening, October 13, when all collectors are earnestly requested to bring or send their boxes or books, with the amounts collected for the institution. With girls to provide for as well as boys our needs are greatly increased, and all collectors should do their best. Double quick is marching time just now.
— During the past month nothing has transpired that deserves special note in the work of the Colportage Association, though the usual labors of the colporteurs are still full of encouraging incidents. To understand the value and importance of the work thoroughly it is necessary to go down into the localities, and see and hear what is being done. The secretary has recently visited two of the districts, and reports progress which calls for much thankfulness. At Woodham Walter, in Essex, where Mr. Keddie is at work, a nice village chapel has been erected, mainly through the labors of the colporteur, and the pulpit is supplied chiefly by him. The first anniversary liar just been held. After a sermon by the secretary, Mr. W. Corden Jones, a crowded meeting was held in the evening at which the colporteur was supported by Congregational, Wesleyan, and Baptist friends. It was reported that some of the worst characters in the neighborhood had been converted, one of whom got up at the close of the meeting and confessed that it was through the labors of the colporteur that he had been blessed. The locality is sparsely populated, but the chapel is crowded on Sunday evenings. During the week the colporteur, who has been supplied with a donkey and cart by local friends, visits the villages for eight or nine miles round, and sells a considerable quantity of good literature, besides visiting many sick folks.
The other district visited is Bower Chalke, situated in the midst of the lovely Wiltshire downs. Here a small Baptist church subscribes nobly towards the support of the colporteur, who has to walk through the whole of his wide district, and is much respected.
After a sermon in the afternoon by the secretary, a tea-meeting was held in a large barn. The tables having been cleared the audience took their seats in the “bay,” and a wagon was wheeled on to the “floor” for a rostrum for the speakers, when addresses were delivered upon colportage work. Some £15 a year more is required to enable the Association to continue this needy district. Most of the supporters are laborers, and do well. Will any wealthy friend send a special subscription, so that the district may be continued beyond the present year? Visitors to the sea-side will find some of our colporteurs at work on the beach and we hope will encourage them by purchasing good and interesting books. Great Yarmouth, Ryde, Cowes, and Ventnor all have Colporteurs. All applications for the appointment of Colporteurs, and subscriptions or donations will be gladly received and acknowledged by the Secretary, W. Corden Jones, Colportage Association, Temple-street, St. George’s-road, Southwark.
PERSONAL NOTES.— A Baptist minister writes to us as follows: — “You ought to be a happy man. When in Scotland some time ago I got lost in a Glen-something. The folk there had never heard of the late lamented Beaconsfield. Happy is the people that is in such a case! They had no notion of Gladstone; but you should have seen them wake up when I mentioned your name. They had a sort of knowledge of that name, for they read your sermons, and fetched a lot out to show me that they did so. I assure you I never saw any man’s works with such signs of use upon them.
There was no kirk in the glen, so on Sundays they got together and had a service, the scholar of the place reading the sermon. One very old man said he ‘Wad shoost gang on his twa bonds and knees a’ the way to Glasguh to get a sight o’ ye.’ I doubt if he could have done half a mile any way, but there was a look in his eye that you would have been comforted to see.”
A Christian man, who used to attend our services at the Surrey Music Hall, recently felt moved to read the sermons on the green of the village where he lives, and in the adjoining town. With the help of a few friends he has conducted a full service at each place on Sunday afternoons and evenings.
In the village he has gathered from 200 to 300 people together, and in the town his congregations have ranged from 400 or 500 up to 900 or 1,000.
He says that the people have been very attentive, and that from the many encouraging expressions he has received he is sure God is blessing the work. His great regret is that he did not commence the effort before. When the weather gets too cold for open-air services he hopes to secure a large building in which to continue the reading of the sermons through the winter. Are there not many other places where those who have been blessed by the reading of the sermons might with great advantage to many people carry on similar services?
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle. — July 27, eighteen; August 3, eleven.