OUR SABBATH SERVICES IN THE HOTEL THE genius of the gospel is the “free Spirit” of the Lord. The Lord Jesus has not multiplied precepts and ordinances as to his worship, as though we were still under the law; he has preferred to leave his people to the motions of the Holy Ghost within them. It does not appear to us that there is any positive command as to the time for the observance of the Lord’s Supper, so that believers are bound to attend the table once in each month, or upon every Lord’s-day. Yet, if we regard apostolic precedent, it seems clear that the sacred feast was observed often, and that it was usual to meet to break bread on the first day of the week. We prefer, therefore, without judging our brethren, to keep to the apostolic practice. Law or no law, what was found good for early saints will, we feel sure, be good for us.
Away upon the Continent, we use on the Sabbath morning such means of grace as we can find: sometimes these are admirable, frequently they are all but intolerable. Be these as they may, our wont is to meet with three or four, or twelve, or twenty, as the case may be, and to remember our Lord’s death, showing it forth in his own pre-scribed manner. There is no need to prepare a sermon, the bread and wine are text and discourse all ready to hand. Simple prayer, and suitable song, with the reading of the word, make up a complete service, requiring no laborious study, always preserving its freshness, and evermore bringing before the mind the most weighty of all themes.
Our audience in our sitting-room at the hotel has varied from twelve to twenty, but there has been no variation in the faithfulness of our Lord to his promise to be with his waiting people. The seasons have been exceedingly sweet and profitable, and we have praised the great Father’s care who has spread for us such a table in the wilderness.
After the breaking of bread we have usually had a meditation, and we have been glad to take our turn as spokesman with a brother minister, whose sojourn in the same hotel has been the means of much comfort to us. As several of the guests at the table were invalids, as in fact the sojourn of each one at Mentone had in almost every case a connection with personal or relative affliction, the meditations were usually of a consolatory character, and touched upon the special trial of sickness. It was thought well to preserve a brief memorial of one of these choice seasons, and a ready scribe was found who made notes of the good word which was spoken on January 18th, 1880, by our brother Mr. G. Buchanan Ryley, pastor of the church meeting in Hanover Chapel, Peckham, which church was once presided over by the well-known Dr. Collyer.
Supper being ended, Mr. Ryley selected for his text John 11:15 — “I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe .”
He said from the latter part of the chapter we gather that four days elapsed between the actual death of Lazarus and the time when the Lord stood by his burial-place, and that afternoon the preacher’s desire would be to explain the reason why Jesus permitted his dear friend to die. There was evidently a deliberate intent on the part of Christ to let Lazarus die; his words could have no other meaning than that he kept away from Bethany in order that Lazarus might pass for awhile into the unseen world. This gives to the faithful heart a strong standing ground in any time of trouble and care: the trouble, the care, the sickness, or the death that might almost break our hearts becomes in a measure illuminated when once we can recognize that it is of the Lord’s allowing, the Lord’s willing, and even at times of the Lord’s doing. This abstention of Jesus from going to Lazarus is built on some such truth as this — that the presence of Jesus with his friends somehow or other wards off death. We do not affirm that no one could die in the presence of Christ, though it is clearly stated in the gospels that, whenever he came in contact with death, death ceased to be; and even when he himself was on the cross the two malefactors did not die so long as there hung between them the breathing Son of God. Spiritually the Lord’s presence has already robbed death of its old meaning, and practically destroyed it. He that believeth in him shall never die. But some one may say “Do you not profess that the Lord Jesus is with his people at all times and in everything? Did he not himself say, ‘ Lo, I am with you to the end of the ages? ‘ Why, then, these troubles and cares, these pains and agonies. these losses and crosses? What is the difference between the believer and the worldling?” In answering these questions by the expressions found in the text the preacher laid down two propositions — first, that faith in Jesus is a greater good than sorrow and death are evils; and, second, that sometimes faith in Jesus is wrought out by the sufferings and sorrows of Christ’s people.
Lazarus is dead; that is sad and weary for Mary and Martha, and Jesus himself when he stood by the grave “groaned in spirit,” and “wept.” Yet he says, “I am glad that I was not there.” Sad as the death was, the disciples’ faith was of more importance, and for their sakes the Lord permitted the sorrow to come. The Savior’s rejoicing did not arise from any lack of sensitiveness to sorrow and trouble; never did any one feel for men and women in grief and pain as he did; but he knew that spiritual life is a far greater good than bodily suffering and death are evils, and therefore he was glad that he was not at Bethany to save Lazarus from dying, for that death was to infuse new life into the faith of his followers. Better that Lazarus should die, better that Mary and Martha should know a little of the heartbreak than that eleven apostles should lack one degree of intense faith in him who is the resurrection and the life. Better, too, that the people of God should suffer than that the world should miss the opportunity of our thereby witnessing to the power of divine grace in the hour of trouble.
Better, too, that the Lord Jesus himself should suffer the infinite agonies of Calvary than that his people should lose the blessings of redemption, and be outcasts for ever. This truth sheds a wondrous light upon Christian suffering, and shows how we may even have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. Does not Paul speak of filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church?
Christ’s sufferings are in a class by themselves when we consider the vicarious character of them, but our afflictions are lifted up to something of the level of those of Jesus when they are made the means of blessing to others, even as the Father made his Son’s sufferings the means of blessing, strengthening, vivifying, and faith-reviving to his covenanted people.
The Lord Jesus Christ rejoices even in our suffering when it promotes faith in himself. He not only wanted his disciples to be perfected in faith, but he was glad when by another’s sufferings their faith was strengthened and raised to a higher level. When suffering is thus received as the chosen means for the sanctification of souls, it is no longer a cause of grief, it is no more to be looked on as a misfortune, but is rather to be welcomed as God’s chosen way of working for the edification of his church, the promotion of his kingdom, and the glorifying of his Son. What is the explanation of those wonderful words of Isaiah, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief”? It is not that the Father had delight in the sufferings of his Son in themselves, but it pleased him to put him to grief that thereby his prodigal ones might be brought home. In like manner the same Lord who rejoiced that he was not there wept as he stood by the grave-side. It is that blessed union of the divine and human that makes us fall on our knees and adore him, and at the same time makes us take him to our heart of hearts as the brother born for adversity.
Notice, said the preacher, that the Savior’s joy is more on our account than on his own. He was glad for his own sake, yet he was unselfish in his very joys, just as he was in his sorrows. He said to the daughters of Jerusalem, “Weep not for me “; so here he rejoices, not for his own sake, but for the sake of his disciples. He knew, as we have never known, what the value of faith in him as the resurrection and the life really is; and therefore he rejoiced that he was absent when Lazarus was sick, because the end of that sickness and death was the strengthening of the faith of his disciples, and so for the advancement of the glory of God. This gladness of Jesus is a grand plea with Christians. What higher, better, sweeter, intenser motive can we urge than that of pleasing Jesus, gladdening his heart, and giving him joy? And this, over which he rejoices, has been made to run side by side with our spirit’s perfecting. He rejoices over the faith that makes us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. This will give a new meaning to our being by-and-by welcomed into the joy of our Lord. If we accept suffering as the Father’s way of liking us into closer union with himself, and as the Savior’s appointed means of making us adorn his doctrine, and glorify himself, we shall not only minister comfort to our own hearts, and to those dear to us, but we shall gladden the heart of Jesus. In pleading with sinners nothing is more mighty than such an argument as this, — believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will gladden him whose heart we broke on Calvary; you can compensate him for his sufferings; you can make him glad that ever he died. To such work are we called. May God help us to respond. Amen.
Our engraving represents Mentone a few years back. Since it was drawn a breakwater has been carried out and a harbor has been formed, so that vessels lie in the corner near the old tower. The old town, however, with the Corniche road running along below it, remains the same as ever, and the rocks, which look like gigantic frogs or crocodiles, are as they were in those days when Mentone was a mere village. The wood-block gives a very fair idea of our winter’s shelter.
JOHN ANGELL JAMES AND THE HUNDRED AND THIRD PSALM THE value and beauty of family worship in the time of bereavement are illustrated by an incident in the life of the Rev. J. A. James, which has almost a touch of the sublime. It was his custom to read at family prayer on Saturday evening the hundred and third psalm. On the Saturday of the week in which Mrs. James died, he hesitated, with the open Bible in his hand, before he began to read; but, after a moment’s silence, he looked up and said, “Notwithstanding what has happened this week, I see no reason for departing from our usual custom of reading the hundred and third psalm, — ‘ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name.’“ What must be the effect upon a household of such a scene!
What a picture is thus presented of holy resignation and thankfulness! The greatest sufferer recognizing, as the head of the family, the hand that has smitten his home and made it desolate, and in the depth of his sorrow blessing the name of the Lord! — From “Christian Home Life.”
BE A WHOLE MAN AT EVERYTHING JOHN JOSEPH GURNEY wrote to his son, “Be a whole man at everything. At Latin, be a whole man to Latin; at geometry or history, be a whole man to geometry or history; at play, be a whole man to play; at washing and dressing, be a whole man to washing and dressing; above all, at meeting, be a whole man to worship.” We would earnestly enforce the good Quaker’s advice. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. God deserves to be served with our very best. When we put forth all our powers we shall do none too well; therefore, whatsoever we do let us do it heartily. Be a whole man in praying, preaching, teaching, giving, hearing, or praising. It is a silly thing to make two bites of a cherry, and our whole manhood is really so small a thing in the service of God that to divide it is absurd.
ON BEING IN TIME.
PUNCTUALITY is one of the minor moralities, but it is one which every young man should carefully cultivate. The very smallness of the virtue makes its opposite vice the less excusable. It is as easy to be in time as it is to be five minutes late when you once acquire the habit. Let it be acquired by all means, and never lost again. Upon that five minutes will depend a world of comfort to others, and every Christian should consider this to be a very weighty argument. We have no right to cause worry and aggravation to others, when a little thoughtfulness on our part would prevent it. If the engagement be for twelve o’clock, we have no authority to make it 12.5, and by doing so we shall promote nobody’s happiness. That odd five minutes may create discomfort for ourselves throughout the entire day, and this perhaps may touch the sluggard a little more keenly than any less selfish consideration. He who begins a little late in the morning will have to drive fast, will be constantly in a fever, and will scarcely overtake his business at night; whereas he who rises in proper time can enjoy the luxury of pursuing his calling with regularity, ending his work in fit season, and gaining a little portion of leisure. Late in the morning may mean puffing and blowing all the day long, whereas an early hour will make the pace an easy one. This is worth a man’s considering. Much evil comes of hurry, and hurry is the child of un-punctuality.
The waste of other people’s time ought to touch the late man’s conscience.
A gentleman, who was a member of a committee, rushed in fifteen minutes behind the appointed hour, and scarcely apologized, for to him the time seemed near enough; but a Quaker, who happened also to be on the committee, and had been compelled to wait, because a quorum could not be made up to proceed with the business, remarked to him, “Friend, thou hast wasted a fall hour. It is not only thy quarter of an hour which thou hast lost, but the quarter of an hour of each of the other three; and hours are not so plentiful that we can afford to throw them away.” We once knew a brother whom we named “the late Mr. S____,” because he never came in time. A certain tart gentleman, who had been irritated by this brother’s unpunctuality, said that the sooner that name was literally true the better for the temper of those who had to wait for him. Many a man would much rather be fined than be kept waiting. If a man must injure me, let him rather plunder me of my cash than of my time. To keep a busy man waiting is an act of impudent robbery, and is also a constructive insult. It may not be so intended, but certainly if a man has proper respect for his friend, he will know the value of his time, and will not cause him to waste it. There is a cool contempt in unpunctuality, for it as good as says, “Let the fellow wait; who is he that I should keep my appointment with him?”
In this world matters are so linked together that you cannot disarrange one without throwing others out of gear; if one business is put out of time, another is delayed by the same means. The other day we were traveling to the Riviera, and the train after leaving Paris was detained for an hoar and a half. This was bad enough, but the result was worse, for when we reached Marseilles the connecting train had gone, and we were not only detained for a considerable time, but were forced to proceed by a slow train, and so reached our destination six hours later than we ought to have done. All the subsequent delay was caused through the first stoppage. A merchant once said to us, “A. B. is a good fellow in many respects, but he is so frightfully slow that we cannot retain him in our office, because, as all the clerks work into each other’s hands, his delays are multiplied enormously, and cause intolerable inconvenience. He is a hindrance to the whole system, and he had better go where he can work alone.” The worst of it is that we cannot send unpunctual people where they can work alone. To whom or whither should they go? We cannot rig out a hermitage for each one, or that would be a great deliverance. If they prepared their own dinners, it would not matter that they dropped in after every dish had become cold. If they preached sermons to themselves, and had no other audience, it would not signify that they began consistently seven minutes behind the published hour. If they were their own scholars, and taught themselves, it would be of no consequence if the pupil sat waiting for his teacher for twenty minutes. As it is, we in this world cannot get away from the unpunctual, nor get them away from us, and therefore we are obliged to put up with them; but we should like them to know that they are a gross nuisance, and a frequent cause of sin, through irritating the tempers of those who cannot afford to squander time as they do. If this should meet the eye of any gentleman who has almost forgotten the meaning of the word “punctuality,” we earnestly advise him to try and be henceforth five minutes too soon for every appointment, and then perhaps he will gradually subside into the little great virtue which we here recommend. Could not some good genius get up a Punctuality Association, every member to wear a chronometer, set to Greenwich time, and to keep appointments by the minute hand? Pledges should be issued, to be signed by all sluggish persons who can summon up sufficient resolution totally to abstain from being behind time in church or chapel, or on committee, or at dinner, or in coming home from the office in the evening. Ladies eligible as members upon signing a special pledge to keep nobody waiting while they run upstairs to pop on their bonnets. How much of sinful temper would be spared, and how much of time saved, we cannot venture to guess. Try it.
SLAVISH TIMOROUSNESS IN PRAYER APETITIONER once approached Augustus with so much fear and trembling that the emperor cried, “What, man, do you think you are giving a sop to an elephant?” He did not care to be thought a hard and cruel ruler.
Sometimes when men pray with a slavish bondage upon them, with cold set phrases, and a crouching solemnity, the free Spirit of the Lord may well rebuke them. Art thou coming to a tyrant? Does he want slaves to grace his throne? Holy boldness, or at least a childlike hope, is more becoming in a Christian. The believer is not for ever to be wailing out misereres, but he may with delight draw near to him whose delight it is to draw near to his people.
NOTES GOD has made us our own governors in these British Isles, for, loyal as we are to our Queen, we practically are Caesars to ourselves. We are now called upon to exercise one of the privileges and duties which go with liberty, let no man be negligent in it. Every God-fearing man should give his vote with as much devotion as he prays. Vote for those whose principles denounce needless war, and whose watchword is justice at home and abroad. For temperance, thrift, religious equality, and social progress let the Christian vote be one and indivisible.
We are delighted to hear that Mr. Sampson, of Folkestone, is to become secretary to the Baptist Union. We are truly sorry for Folkestone, since it will suffer a great loss by his removal; but Mr. Sampson is the man for the position, and. indeed the only man who struck us at once, the moment his name was mentioned. If the brotherhood will once for all lay aside all differences, and go in heartily for real work for Jesus, something may yet come of THE UNION.
Our heart was always with our late secretary, Mr. Booth, and though we are rather hard to please, we feel quite an enthusiasm for Mr. Sampsom. Not that we had any hand in his selection, for we carefully abstain from any connection with the ecclesiastical politics of the denomination; but we admire the choice of the committee, and. would ask our Baptist readers to seal it with many prayers for Mr. Sampson’s success.
We are pleased to call attention to The Missionary Herald and the Juvenile Missionary Herald, of the Baptist Missionary Society. Of old these productions were always solid and usually sleepy, but now they are admirably conducted, abundantly illustrated, and thoroughly readable. Our mission deserves the liberal aid of all Christian people, for its tone and spirit are right, and a blessing will come of it. On Monday evening, March 8, the Annual Meeting of THE LADIES’
WORKING BENEVOLENT Society was held in the Tabernacle Lecture hall.
Addresses were delivered by Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, who presided, and Messrs. B. W. Carl J. T. Dunn, and J. W. Harrald. The amount given to the poor by this Society during the year was slightly under £100. The pastor expressed an earnest desire to see the amount greatly increased, and lamented that the ladies of the congregation did not more humorously take up the work. Churches which lie in the thickly populated parts of London suffer greatly from the loss of the personal services of the wealthier members. Families best able to help the poor remove into the suburbs, and the ladies naturally join societies near their own homes, and thus the mother church is unable to do the work expected of it. At the Tabernacle this evil is not crushingly felt, but still it operates de-pressingly. Sundayschools can scarcely find teachers from the same cause. The better educated are leaving the poorer people to themselves: is this right?
— During the past month Mr. R. Smathers has settled as pastor of the church at Whitehurch, Hants. Mr. D. Bruce has removed from Peterhead to Forres, N.B.; and Mr. M. Cumming is leaving New Burner to take the oversight of the church at Bury St. Edmunds.
Early this month Mr. W. Mann will sail for Cape Town, to reinforce our devoted Brother Hamilton.
We are glad to learn that Mr. and Mrs. Stubbs have reached Allahabad in safety, and received a most hearty welcome from the church and congregation, who had furnished their pastor’s house throughout in readiness for his reception. Mr. Norris and his family and Mr. Hook were also reported “all well,” as far as Malta.
Our son Thomas sends us good news of his companions. Mr. McCullough has commenced preaching at Longford, and Mr. Harrison at Deloraine, Tasmania, “with many encouraging tokens;” and our noble friend, Mr. Gibson, is preparing to build chapels in both places. Mr. H Wood has settled at Saddleworth, South Australia; and Mr. H. Marsden, late of Mansfield, has reached. Melbourne in safety.
Mr. C. Dallaston, of Christchurch, New Zealand, reports the addition of sixty-nine members during the year, and informs as that services have been commenced in the south part of the city, where it is hoped a church will soon be formed.
The church at West Melbourne thanks us very heartily for having sent such a suitable pastor as Mr. A. J. Clarke, our late evangelist` Already a gracious revival has commenced, forty-four having been added to the church, the weekly prayer-meetings are very largely attended, and the school-chapel is so crowded that it has been decided to start a fund for build-Lug a Tabernacle to hold 1,250 people.
The Annual College Conference will be held in the week commencing Monday, April 19. There will be a public meeting at the Shoreditch Tabernacle that evening, and another at the Metropolitan Tabernacle the following Thursday evening, April 22, at both of which the president hopes to take the chair.
All our enterprises, but especially the College, will sustain a great loss in the death of Mrs. Ann Tyson, of Norwood, whose continual bounty has been shown for many years in helping our various works. She leaves the residue of her estates to the Orphanage and the College, but the property is charged with some ten annuities, which will prevent any large assistance coming immediately to either institution. We lose in her a faithful friend, of whom we never asked even as much as a farthing, for she watched the work with earnest care and gave to it with unprompted eagerness, regarding it as the joy of her life to help her pastor in the service of the Lord. Her husband, who was taken home some years ago, was of the same mind, and for the help which they have both rendered to us we shall feel eternally grateful to God, and we shall fondly cherish their memories.
MESSRS.SMITH AND FULLERTON IN BRADFORD.
— Messrs. Smith and Fullerton have spent a month in Bradford, in connection with the church at Zion Jubilee Chapel. It has been a time of great and solid blessing, and has resulted, we believe, in the conversion of hundreds of persons.
They came to the town on Saturday, February 14th, and held a preliminary meeting of Christian people the same evening. The following day they conducted the two services in the chapel, and Mr. Smith addressed in the afternoon a great meeting of Sunday scholars, five schools being gathered together in the spacious building.
Meetings were conducted every evening except Saturday during the following week, the chapel being filled; and on the next Sunday seventy teachers and scholars gathered to an early prayer-meeting, and the throng at the regular services was so great that hundreds were unable to gain admission. An extra crowded service was held by Mr. Smith in the afternoon.
During the succeeding week the nightly throngs were greater than ever, and on Saturday the evangelists gave a song service entitled, “From Egypt to Canaan,” two thousand people being assembled in the chapel to hear it.
The next day the tide of interest was found to be still rising. It seemed as though the whole city was come together to hear the word of God. The chapel was filled at seven in the morning, and. very solemn was the feeling when the pastor requested prayer for one of the members, from whose’ deathbed he had just come, and who was at that moment passing away into eternity. At half-past ten the building was again thronged; at three in the afternoon St. George’s Hall was filled with scholars and. teachers, an overflow meeting being held in Old Sion Chapel, close by. At 6.30 the chapel was again crowded, an overflow meeting being held in the school and lecture rooms; and at eight o’clock St. George’s Hall was thronged with a vast multitude, many being unable to get in.
During the next week hundreds had to be turned away from the crowded chapel; and on Saturday St. George’s Hall was thronged to a second song service, in-spiriting in the highest degree, entitled — “Valor and victory,” in which the Christian life, in its martial aspect, was vividly set forth before the listeners.
The following Sunday, which was the last in the series, was a wonderful day. The chapel was thronged at seven in the morning and again at 10.30.
At three the communion service was held, and 1,200 communicants gathered around the Lord’s table; 576 of them being representatives of other churches of 12 denominations in the town, including the Church of England, and of churches’ in 29 other towns in various parts of England.
At a quarter to six the doors were opened again and in ten minutes the chapel was packed so that the doors had to be closed. Then St. George’shall was once more thronged, 5.000 people hanging on the preacher’s lips as he set before them life and death and bade them “choose life.”
The closing week was spent in meetings at two other Baptist chapels in the town, which were greatly blessed; in a converts’ meeting held at Sion Chapel, at which 400 persons professed to have been led to Christ during the month; and in a great tea meeting in celebration of the pastors’ settlement at Sion Jubilee Chapel, at which about 1,400 persons sat down.
The daily noon prayer-meetings during the month have been seasons of refreshment, the gracious influences and glorious results of the inquirers’ meetings will never be forgotten; the whole town has been affected, as may be seen from the fact that the converts are persons connected, with other congregations in Bradford, besides that at Sion Chapel.
On two Saturday afternoons the evangelists held services in the neighboring town of Shipley.
It only remains to add a word concerning our beloved brethren themselves.
Mr. Smith conducts the singing with his cornet in a delightful manner, and his solos have been almost as greatly blessed to the arousing and conversion of sinners as the preaching of his coadjutor. Mr. Fullerton proclaims the gospel with surpassing dearness and wealth of illustration.
His forcible sermons are saturated with Scripture. Their solidity and fullness go far to ensure the reality and permanence of the work wrought by them. “If the truth shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Our beloved brethren go from us with our unfeigned admiration and affection. God has anointed them for a great work, and the honored church at the Tabernacle, from which they are sent to their blessed work, may thank God on every remembrance of them. — C. A. Davis, Pastor.
Mr. Burnham’s substitute, Mr.PARKER, was very successful at Rawtenstall. The chapel was crowded, and about twenty young people were brought to the Savior. After the evangelist left the services were continued with local help.
Mr. Parker afterwards conducted a fortnight’s services at Moor-lane, Preston, when a large number professed to be converted.
Mr.BURNHAM was sufficiently restored to go to Southwell, Nottinghamshire, from the 8th to the 14th ult. Pastor J. H. Plumbridge thus writes of his visit:-”Although Southwell is a hard town to move, I believe it has been thoroughly stirred by this effort. The week evening services were well attended, and on Sunday evening we had to provide extra sittings.
Best of all, the Lord was with us. The word has been blessed to many, and several are now rejoicing in the Savior.
The following are Mr. Barnham’s engagements for the present month:— March 30 to April 4, Minchinhampton; April 5 to April 11, Lock’s-lane, Frome; April 12 to April 18, Wedmore, Somersetshire.
Messrs. Fullerton and Smith commence .at Northampton March 21, for a fortnight, and then open a campaign at Wrexham.
— The Association is now beginning to regain some of the ground lost last year by the discontinuance of so many districts. Guarantees of £40 a-year have been received for the following new districts, to which colportents have either been sent, or will be shortly, namely: — Church Gresley, Staffordshire; Chariton-le-Moor, Oxford-shire; Birchington-on- Sea, Kent; also Deptford, where the Bible carriage alluded to last month will be worked. We thank all our friends who have thus aided in the extension of this important agency. Further applications from other districts will be very gladly considered, and appointments made as far as funds will allow. The object of the association is to help all churches without distinction, whilst the aim is to be an aggressive evangelistic agency, both by counteracting the baneful effects of evil literature by the sale of the Word of God, and books and periodicals in harmony with its teachings, as well as by the direct personal appeals of the Colporteurs. That these objects are largely realized the continual reports from the districts abundantly prove. The work is a very economical one, the profits on sales making it partially self-supporting, but it still requires liberal aid, in the form of subscriptions and donations to the general fund, which will be thankfully received, and may be sent direct to the Secretary, Sir. Corden Jones, Pastors’ College, Temple Street, London, S.E.
— Another dear lad has been called home to heaven during the past month. Mr. Charlesworth will tell the story of his happy life and triumphant death in next month’s magazine, but we refer to it now to call attention to the new list of contributions, which we publish in the present number, for THE GIRLS’ORPHANAGE BUILDING FUND. A week before little Bray died we visited him, and received from his own hands his store of savings towards the new buildings. As we took the four shillings for “Bray’s Bricks,” and the same amount from “Brays Friend,” we felt that they were the first installments of the £8,000, which we shall want for the first block of buildings for the girls. We reckon that the “Hawthorns” and the adjoining meadow have now been paid for, and that we have received in addition sufficient to defray the cost of the fixtures, furniture, and alterations of the house which is now used for the Girls’ Orphanage. We shall be glad to have a large part of the cost in hand by June 19, when we hope the foundation stones of the new buildings will be laid. Friends wishing to have collecting cards or boxes brought in on that day can be supplied with them by applying to the Secretary, Stockwell Orphanage, Clapham Road. We see our way to £4,000 out of the sum which will be required. As yet we have no tenders, but hope next month to give the details; and, meanwhile, we trust our beloved helpers will be estimating how much each one should personally send. The Lord will provide for this also.
A GEM FROM MRS. SPURGEON’S BOOK FUND REPORT (* We were unable to give all this Report in The Sword and the Trowel, and therefore we struck out many passages which were excellent, but not exactly necessary in a summary. This passage, however, is too good for any of our readers to lose: at least, we think so, and we speak here as an editor, and not merely as a husband. — C. H. S.)
ACURIOUS little incident happened lately during a time of prolonged sickness. At the close of a very dark and gloomy day, I lay resting on my couch as the deeper night drew on, and though all was bright within my cozy little room, some of the external darkness seemed to have entered into my soul, and obscured its spiritual vision. Vainly I tried to see the hand which I knew held mine, and guided my fog-enveloped feet along a steep and slippery path of suffering. In sorrow of heart I asked, “Why does my Lord thus deal with his child? Why does He so often send sharp and bitter pain to visit me? Why does tie permit lingering weakness to hinder the sweet service I long to render to His poor servants?” These fretful questions were quickly answered, and though in a strange language, no interpreter was needed save the conscious whisper of my own heart. For awhile silence reigned in the little room, broken only by the crackling of the oak-log burning on the hearth. Suddenly I heard a sweet soft sound, a little, clear, musical note, like the tender trill of a robin beneath my window. “What can that be?” I said to my companion, who was dozing in the firelight; “surely no bird can be singing out there at this time of the year and night!” We listened, and again heard the faint plaintive notes, so sweet, so melodious, yet mysterious enough to provoke for a moment our undisguised wonder. Presently my friend exclaimed, “It comes from the log on the fire!” and we soon ascertained that her surprised assertion was correct. The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music from the old oak’s inmost hear! Perchance he had garnered up this song in the days when all went well with him, when birds twittered merrily on his branches, and the soft sunlight flecked his tender leaves with gold; but he had grown old since then, and hardened; ring after ring of knotty growth had scaled up the long-forgotten melody, until the fierce tongues of the flames carne to consume his callousness, and the vehement heat of the fire wrung from him at once a song and a sacrifice. Ah! thought I, when the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us, then indeed are we purified, and our God is glorified! Perhaps some of us are like this old oak log, cold, hard, and insensible; we should give forth no melodious sounds were it not for the fire, which kindles round us, and releases tender notes of trust in him, and cheerful compliance with his will ‘, “As I mused, the fire burned,” and my soul found sweet comfort in the parable so strangely set forth before me!
Singing in the fire! Yes I God helping us, if that is the only way to get harmony out of these hard, apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than before.
TO THOSE WHO ARE HAPPILY MARRIED OR HOPE TO BE SO A PLEA BY C. H, SPURGEON, WE do not write for those people who are married but not mated. When a cat and a dog are tied together they seldom sorrow much at the prospect of separation. When marriage is merry-age it is natural to desire a long life of it; but when it is mar-age the thought of parting is more endurable. Mr. or Mrs. Naggleton will be sure to put on mourning should one or other of them decease, but the garb of sorrow will be all the sorrow he or she will know; the black will soon turn brown, if not white, and the weeds will probably give place to flowers. We address ourselves to those who have the happiness of being joined together by wedded love as well as by wedlock. We write for happy husbands who are able to say with Mr. Robert Walker, a clergyman of the Church of England, who lived in the seventeenth century: “I owe the deepest acknowledgments to God for the constancy of our mutual affection. If we sometimes differed in small matters, we never once disagreed, or once closed our eyes in sleep in thirty-nine years and seven months in discontent or dissatisfaction on either part.” We hope that there are many yet alive upon the face of the earth who could understand Mr. George Muller’s picture of his married life. “Our happiness in God and in each other,” he says, “was indescribable. We had not some happy days every year, nor a month of happiness every year, but we had twelve months of happiness in the year, and this year after year.
Often and often did I say to the beloved one, and this again and again even in the fortieth year of our conjugal union — ‘ My darling, do you think there is a couple in Bristol, or in the world, happier than we are?’“ We write for all those young couples who, having begun prudently, and in the fear of God, are looking forward, as they may, to a life of domestic peace and: satisfaction: we feel sure that we shall have their ear upon our tender topic. We write also for those who in the middle passage of life, with the children all round them, find the Lord very kind to them in providence, filling their hearts with thanksgiving for the bliss which arises out of their happy married life. We shall have a worthy audience if all happy husbands and delighted wives will do us the favor to listen to the end of our ditty.
Mr. and Mrs. Caudle may do as they like about it.
It is a very painful reflection that in proportion to the happiness of the marriage union must be the sorrow of the separation which sooner or later must occur. “Till death us do part” is the limit to the relation, and that limit must be reached sooner or later. “The parting pang unspoken, unspeakable,” must be felt. It is in reference to that matter that we seek a hearing, and especially for all those bereaved ones to whom the loss is that of the husband and the household’s head. Can the reader put himself or herself into the condition of the new-made widow? She is convulsed with overwhelming grief as she stands by the beloved body of her husband, the body from which the life has just fled. What sorrow! What agony! All the supports of religion will now be needed; faith in God must put forth all its strength, and call in divine succors to produce hearty resignation. Now it will be seen why the Holy Spirit has condescended to take upon himself personally the office of Comforter, for the urgent need of consolation and the great difficulty of communicating it, manifest his kindness and his wisdom in himself espousing the cause of the afflicted. He can meet the case, and he alone. Friends will come in with tender words and sympathetic tears, but the void is great, and the blank is terrible. Those only can enter into the trial who have passed through it themselves. It well behoves those who still retain their beloved partners heartily to pity, console, and assist those whose hearts bleed beneath the separating stroke. We will not trust our pen to ask for sympathy from true Christians; it would seem an insult: let it freely flow.
Widowhood alone is a sufficient sorrow, but much more remains. The orphans — for that is the new name for her children — come clustering about their mother. Some are too young to know their sorrow; ochers of them know it, but scarcely apprehend its import, and of those who have the clearest perception of their loss there may be none able to give her real help. Her children are fatherless, and who shall tell all that is included in that word. She had hoped that the father would have aided her in bringing up the little household, of which he was the mainstay, prop, pillar, priest, and king. The little community is now like a ship without a captain, tossed upon the perilous deep. She is all alone, as to comfort and succor, a dove without her mate; and yet she is not alone as to responsibility and anxiety, since she has around her a full nest for which she alone must care. Brothers and sisters and friends see her difficulty, but as a general rule they are either powerless to help, or else they readily discover an excuse in their own expensive families, and in the burdens which they themselves have to carry. The possession of children may in some lights be regarded as a comfort, but alas! to the poor widow it is a bitter increase of sorrow. What can she do without the bread-winner? How can a woman’s feeble frame sustain the whole burden of a household? The most pitiable case of all is where another little one is added shortly after the husband has been laid in the silent tomb. Benoni, the child of sorrow, is born, and often born to a hard, hard lot. What a rush of anguish overwhelms the mother of such a progeny!
When the surviving parent is possessed of some little property, or the couple have been able to make provision for death, the grief is not lessened, but its consequences are greatly lightened. Poverty on the back of bereavement is terrible. We ask our friends who never knew what it was to lack a meal or a garment to put themselves in the condition of the woman who suddenly finds herself with five, six, or seven children round about her to provide for, and no means whatever of so doing. What is before her?
What a gulf yawns at her feet! If she were alone in the world she might gird up her loins, and by stern toil might gain a scanty dole of daily bread; certainly she could not do more, for female labor is worse remunerated than that of slaves. But what can she do with all these children clinging to her skirts? She cannot leave the baby, and the other helpless little creatures, and she cannot do anything with them upon her knees. .Even if she could leave the family, it is highly probable that she knows no form of handicraft, and could not find work if she did. All her time, her strength, and her ability were taxed to keep the house together when the husband brought home his wages: how can she now become the bread-winner into the bargain? Here and there a woman in good health and gifted with superior energy can fight her way, but what can an average widow do? She looks to the right and to the left; every door is closed, she aces no way except to utter want. Friends suggest what might have been done under certain circumstances which are not her circumstances. Very wise people propose to her sheer impossibilities. The kinder sort talk of a subscription to set her up in a business of which she knows nothing: if nothing comes of it, she is no great loser, for little businesses in unskillful hands usually mean a hard struggle, failure, and debt. Her husband’s employers and other friends help for a time, and then the temporary aid ceases, but the real battle is not over. The more hardhearted say that she ought to exert herself: she is exerting herself, and is ready to drop with exhaustion. In a short time the lack of necessaries frequently brings her into such a condition of weakness that she is scarcely able to perform the household duties which her family requires of her, and her spirits sink at the prospect of that slender household being utterly dissolved. Her wedding ring is pawned; she will soon be without house or home for herself and children; and then, where shall they go? There is the “blessed” shelter of the workhouse — we say blessed, but that is not the word we mean; the thoughtful reader shall change it at his pleasure. If she is of gentle descent, and has been respectably brought up, the very mention of the place is a horror of horrors to her. Possibly, her father and mother are both dead, or else in their old age they are almost as straitened as she can be. She was once accustomed to send them a little help in her better times, and she knows how useless it is to look to them now for any material assistance. Perhaps one or two of the elder children can go out to earn a little, although they are thereby deprived of the education which they ought to receive, and are driven too early into the world by that necessity which knows no law. In many instances there is not even this alleviation, no child can earn a farthing, and one, if not two, may be sickly or deformed, so as to need incessant care.
Alas, poor mother!
Even after all is done with the elder children, three, four, or five tiny mites still remain with the delicate mother, who has no means of support for them. What can be done for them? We cannot leave them to the cold streets! What can be done for them? Now, gentle readers, married readers, happy readers, you who are going down the hill of life together arm in arm, you who are rejoicing in the middle of life to see your family about you, and you who are enjoying the early days of the married state with the sunshine fall in your faces — we appeal to you. If you will help us, we can provide for one or two children, and take them under our care at the
There we have a family of 250 boys, and we hope ere long to have the same number of girls. When there is a vacancy we shall be delighted to fill it up with one of these youngsters. There will be food and raiment and Christian nurture, and in a few years there will be suitable situations, and to that extent the mother’s burden will be lightened. Will you have a share in the good work? Happy is the man who can build an orphanage at his own expense, endow it and maintain all the children at his own cost, but as we cannot many of us do this, we can club our shillings and pounds and bank-notes, and do it as a joint-stock company, and share the dividend of benevolence. As an acknowledgment of our indebtedness, the great Giver of all good asks of us that we should remember the sorrowful. We who are happy couples may count it but the payment of a pepper-corn rent if we give liberally towards the support of orphans. Widows and orphans need no advocates with us, our hearts are at once open to their needs. The case of the widow might have been ours, and our children might have been in the same plight as hers. They may be in such a case even yet, for all we can tell; for reverses of fortune are not unusual, and we, too, may leave behind us fatherless children who will have need of the kindness of the generous. Such an overwhelming evil might seem a righteous retribution upon us if in our happier days we had refused assistance to the needy. Some of us are not inclined to run the risk of such a penalty, nor will our thoughtful readers tempt such a stroke of providence.
Did we hear an objection whispered? Did a critic observe that married people should make provision for their families by life insurance? We quite agree with the remark, and believe that it is a sin for those who have the means to pay for insurance to neglect making that needful provision.
Persons with a fair income ought not to spend all that they have, and leave their children to be taken care of by other people. It is not common honesty for them to do so. Yet, even in the most unpardonable case of unthrift, who is to be made to suffer for it? Are the children to be left to run wild in the street, and to suffer hunger and cold and nakedness because of the improvidence of their dead father? Is it any business of ours to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children? If any think so, we did not write these lines for them. We would not waste our time upon them. We regard them as eligible candidates for the hangman’s post, and we fancy they would take to it con amore if the situation were vacant. However that may be, in many instances which have come under our observation little or no blame could be imputed even by the most severe to the departed parent.
We know several cases in which what appeared to be ample provision was made by life-insurance, but the father’s disease was that of slow decline, and during the long period of his illness, in which he could earn nothing, all his savings were consumed, and the life-insurance policy was mortgaged up to the very hilt, so that there was absolutely nothing for the frugal wife to begin her widowed life with. In an instance which has lately come before us, the young people began by endeavoring to purchase from a Building Society the house in which they lived. To do this they lived with the utmost frugality. They were earnest Christian people, and thorough temperance folks into the bargain. The husband had every expectation of rising in his position, and he was a young man who richly deserved to do so: but upon him there fell the hand of consumption: employers were considerate for a time, but ere long the situation had to be vacated, the income stopped, and nothing could be done but to eat the house over their heads. When even the furniture was melting away the good man died, and the wife, who had never wasted a farthing in her life, found herself, with health enfeebled by her long watchings, utterly destitute, and a family to feed. Fault there was none, of sorrow there was an overflowing cup. We confess that if we had the heart of a flint, and the lynx eyes of a professional detector of impostors, we could not discover in many of the cases that come before us a point as large as a pin’s head upon which to fix blame. There is in the painful circumstances absolutely no raw material which can be fashioned into an excuse for denying a contribution.
We have heard it objected to Orphanages that the children are dressed uniform]y, and in other ways are made to look like paupers. This is earnestly avoided at the STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE, and if any friend will step in and look at the boys and girls, he will have to put on peculiar spectacles to be able to detect a shade of the pauper look in countenance, garments, speech, limb, or movement.
Another fault that has been found is that the boys and girls by living in one great institution are unfitted for domestic life in small families. There is probably much truth in this allegation, but at Stockwell we have labored to avoid it by dividing the children into different families, which are located in separate houses. The lads do the domestic work: there is a matron to each house, and no servants are kept, the lads do all, and thus become as handy as young “But,” it is said by some one, “there is such a deal of trouble in getting a child into an orphanage, and the practice of canvassing for votes is very laborious to the widow, and in many other ways objectionable.” We are of much the same opinion, and we heartily wish that everybody else would think in like manner. There is a good deal to be said for the plan of election by votes given to subscribers, and if it is not the best possible way, it has nevertheless served a very useful turn, and many institutions have been founded and successfully carried on under that system. Still, we shall be glad to get rid of it, and supply’ its place with a more excellent way. We have found it possible to leave the choice of the orphans with the trustees, who are pledged to select the most destitute cases. In the STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE no canvassing can be of the slightest use, for the trustees personally, or through appointed visitors, examine each application, and endeavor to allot the vacancies where the need is greatest. They do not deviate from their rules under pressure or persuasion, but as much as possible exercise impartiality. Even if the child is not received, the mother, having been put to no expense, is not a loser, which is far better than for money to be laid out without the end being gained.
We have tried to answer for our own institution, leaving managers of other orphanages to speak for themselves, as they can do, and ought to do. We shall be glad to hear that our readers have sent subscriptions to any of the numerous excellent institutions in the United Kingdom, and we shall be personally grateful if they will inquire into the character and claims of the Stockwell Orphanage, and give it at least a portion of what they can spare.
Just now we are building the Girls’ Orphanage, and there is a call for £5,000 by June 19th, or as near that day as possible. It is of little use to ask every subscriber to The Sword and the Trowel to give a sovereign, for people seldom give uniformly in great numbers, but we earnestly wish it might be so, that through this one appeal the money would come in. It will do so if the Lord touches all hearts by these our words written under an olive tree at Mentone, where our thoughts seldom left our dear life-work.
It would be a great relief to a mind which is more than enough burdened, and very apt to sink. Loving eyes will read these lines and think over the suggestion, and feel that the Girls’ Orphanage must not be made a matter of toil, but be done at a leap, through the liberality of many. While we are writing, a friend, finding her balance in the bank to be on the right side, has sent in £100. Heart, be of good cheer!
The Institution receives Fatherless BOYS AND GIRLS, between the ages of and 10.
It is supported by VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS and by the revenue from the Capital Fund, which yields less than one-fourth of the income required.
It is conducted on the COTTAGE SYSTEM: each home is presided over by a godly matron.
It is UNSECTARIAN. Children are received, irrespective of their denominational connection, from all parts of the United Kingdom.
That the most NEEDY,HELPLESS, and DESERVING may secure the benefits of the Institution, candidates are SELECTED by the Committee, and are NOT ELECTED by the expensive and objectionable process of polling the Subscribers.
NoUNIFORM DRESS is provided, but the children’s garments differ, in order that no peculiar garb may mark the children with the badge of poverty.
The children receive a plain but thorough ENGLISH EDUCATION ANDTRAINING.
The supreme aim of the Managers is always kept in view — to “bring them up in THE NURTURE AND ADMONITION OF THE LORD.”
THE WORLD’S WINTER SUN ASUMMER’ S sun, even when beclouded, yields more comfort and warmth to the earth than a winter’s sun that shines brightest. The comforts of the Spirit at their lowest, are far superior to the joys of the world at their highest pitch. When saints are mourning, their inward peace is still superior to that of worldlings, when their mirth and revelry overflow all bounds.
Lord, I had rather take the worst from thee than the best from thine enemy.
Only do thou graciously shine within me, and let mine outward condition be as dull as thou pleasest.
PRAISE OF MEN THE youthful worker is very apt to be exalted should he receive a little praise, and there are many injudicious persons who are ready to lavish eulogiums upon any young beginner who seems to be at all promising.
How many these foolish talkers have seriously injured it would be hard to say. It may be well to whisper in the young man’s ear that very little store is to be set by the approbation of those who will praise a youth to his face; they are mostly fools, and sometimes knaves. “There are that kiss and kill,” say the cautious Italians. When a man with a loud mouth praises me, I have good reason to be wary in my dealings with him. The boa-constrictor first covers its victim with saliva, and then swallows him; and we have known serpents, of both sexes do the same with young preachers. Beware of the net of the flatterer, and the bait of the maker of compliments. Human opinion is so changeable, and even while it lasts it is of so mixed a character, that it is virtually worth nothing at all. We all remember how the men of Lystra first offered to worship Paul, and then within an hour began to stone him. Who cares to run for a crown which melts as soon as it wreathes the winner’s brow? The flash of a wave, or the gleam of a meteor, is not more fleeting than popular applause.
Besides, if we are applauded by some, we are sure to be obnoxious to others, and it is well to set the one over against the other. It is related of Mr. Kilpin, of Exeter, that, going through the streets of that city, he heard a person say of him as he passed, “If ever there was a good man upon earth, there goes one.” This was elevating, but in the next street the effect of this praise was counteracted by Mr. Kilpin’s hearing another bystander exclaim, “If ever a man deserved to be hanged, that fellow does. He makes people mad with his preaching.” The victim of unwise compliments has only to walk into another room, and hear how roundly certain persons are abusing him, and he will find it a very useful tonic. It is never summer all over the world at one time, and no public person is being everywhere esteemed. Probably it is well for the interests of truth that excesses in judgment are relieved by their opposites.
Another consideration is suggested by experience, namely, that praise is exceedingly weakening. If we allow ourselves to feel its soft and pleasant influence, it lays us open to feel the caustic and painful effects of censure.
After a judge had passed sentence upon a certain prisoner, the foreman of the jury that had convicted him began to compliment his lordship upon the remarks which he had made, and the term of imprisonment which he had awarded, but the judge at once stopped him, knowing well that if he had allowed himself to be praised by one jury, he would be liable to be blamed by another. If we are pervious to one influence, we shall be subject to its opposite. We are quite sure to be slandered and abused, and it is well, therefore, for us to have a somewhat thick skin, but if we listen to commendation it makes us tender, and deprives us of that which might have been like armor to the soul. If we allow ourselves to be charmed by the tinklings of flattery, we shall be alarmed by the harsh notes of detraction. We must either be proof against both influences, or against neither.
A man who becomes dependent upon the opinions of others lays himself open to contempt. It is impossible to think highly of a person who fishes for compliments. To value esteem so much as to go out of our way after it is the surest possible way to lose it. When we consider how unevenly the human hand holds the balances, we may feel but small concern when we are weighed by our fellow-men. If we consider how infinitely precious is the divine regard, we shall live to gain it, and so shall rise above all slavish consideration of the opinions of our fellows. What said the wise apostle Paul? “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am i not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 4:3,4.)
Individuals there are abroad who can suck in any measure of praise, and retain a large receptiveness for more: they take to it, and thrive in it, like fish in water. You may choke a dog with pudding, but you could never satiate, nor even satisfy, these people with praise. To such we tender no advice, for to bid them shun praise would be as useless as to urge the ox to forsake the pasture, or the ass its master’s crib; such persons are, however, of small worth as a general rule. We have known exceptions. We remember well a man of admirable parts, and real graces of character, who was, nevertheless, ridiculously vain; but he was manifestly eccentric, and had to be left as a lot out of catalogue: the rule is that the vain are worthless, and to them the epigram might be applied — “Of all speculations the market holds forth The best that I know for a lover of pelf, Were to buy Balbus up at the price he is worth, And sell him at that which he sets on himself!”
C. H. S.
A JOURNEY TO MENTONE WITH MR.
SPURGEON BY JOSEPH W. HARRALD. * Our companion has made such really readable notes that we cannot withhold them from our readers. The most is made of everything.
Monday, November 10th, 1879, the daily tidal train to Folkestone left Charing Cross Station amid the ringing of bells in many a church steeple, and the cheering of thousands of London’s good people; but whether this rejoicing was caused by the fact that Mr. Spurgeon and some one else were starting for Mentone, or because the new Lord Mayor was riding in his state carriage through the City, must be left to the individual judgment of each reader of these lines. The Editor of The Sword and the Trowel kindly suggested that his traveling companion should take notes of any objects of interest that might, he met with, and afterwards transcribe them for insertion in his magazine; the result being what is here published. The pressure of numerous duties prevents the presentation of anything more than extracts from the entries in our diary, but this may be an advantage to some readers, for if they find the notes uninteresting they will not have to wait until the end of a long chapter before they get the moral of each incident, or the teaching of any illustration, but they can leave off at any part without destroying the connection. If these who read what we have written have only half the joy that we have had in meditating upon the scenes which we have witnessed, and above all, if any word here recorded may, through the blessing, of God, comfort even one of his children, or attract one sinner to his feet, we shall be more than repaid for the effort we have put forth in preparing this paper.
Nothing of particular note occurred on the journey between London and Folke-stone, except that we then read an article which had appeared on the previous day in a weekly paper which had selected as No. 5 of “Eminent Radicals out of Parliament,” one well known to readers of The Sword and the Trowel, viz., “CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON.” One sentence in this exceedingly friendly notice is so striking an illustration of the Word of God that it deserves to be quoted and preserved. The writer says, “My heart is entirely with this pure-minded, unsophisticated believer, but my unsanctified head will not, alas! follow it. I go to the Tabernacle and I admire the vastness of the audience, the simple, unconventional eloquence of the preacher, the pith and mother-wit of many of his sayings; but, on the whole, the phraseology, if not strange, is almost meaningless to me, and I return to my place about as little edified as if the good man had been talking in some dead language to which I had no key.” Surely, no man has ever afforded a better illustration of the words of Paul:— “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Of the passage across the Channel the less we say the better will it be for our reputation, but we well remember that long before we reached Boulogne we were heartily sick of the whole affair, and looked with eager longings for the moment when we should exchange the Imperium of the Steamship Napoleon III. for the Libertas of the terra firma of Republican France. Mr. Spurgeon told one of the sailors that the road wanted mending, and that a steam roller was needed to smooth the path of the sea, but in our humble opinion it was the steam roller that. did all the mischief.
A good night’s rest, however, soon set all right, and put us in proper trim for pursuing our journey as far as Paris, which we reached on the evening of Nov. 11. Nov. 12. — After several hours’ refreshing sleep, and a visit to the salle-amanger, we spent a few hours in visiting the historical sights of the fair capital of France. We first surveyed the Church of the Oratoire, which is the principal Protestant church in Paris; and then went into the Church of St. Germain l’Auxerrois, from the tower of which the tocsin was rung for the massacre of St. Bartholomew on August 24, 1572. We also saw the window from which Charles IX. looked out upon the dread scene of bloodshed, crying, “Kill! kill! kill!” As the terrible drama reappeared before our mind’s eye we could not help praising God that within sight of the very spot where the work of death began on that dark night, the descendants of the murdered Protestants now meet to worship God as their forefathers were not permitted to do. Two other buildings are photographed upon our memory — Notre Dame and the Sainte Chapelle.
The latter vision of beauty should be gazed upon by every human eye, for it can never be described as it deserves to be; but in “The Metropolitan Church of Our Lady” we saw several objects that can be more easily pictured. We were most of all pleased with what was shown to us in the treasury. The value of a martyr to the church of which he was a member appeared in a new light as the sacristan exhibited and explained the choice relics of the three archbishops who have been killed in Paris within the last twenty years, or thereabouts.
In this holy place we picked up an illustration or two. We noticed that before certain doors were opened, and the gold and silver and precious stones therein were exposed to view, the attendant very carefully closed one window and opened another, and rolled up one blind and pulled down another, so that the light should fall at just the right angle to set off to the best advantage the treasures committed to his charge. We thought to ourselves, — here is a lesson for all preachers and teachers of the truth.
The treasures we have to display are far more valuable than those at Notre Dame, then let us take care that we always exhibit them in the best possible light.
From the room where we had seen bullets and bits of the backbones of bishops, and other equally precious things, we were conducted into an inner sanctuary, the very sanctum sanctorum of the place. Here we were permitted to gaze upon vestments gorgeous enough to make ten thousand man-milliners turn green with envy, and we also saw the choicest, and most precious relics that had from time to time been presented by pope, prince, or emperor. We were informed that the best of the treasures had. been stolen by the Communists during their reign of terror, and our informant seemed most of all affected by the fact that, even where the gold and silver cases had been left behind, the thieves had run off with such invaluable relics as “a piece of the real cross” on which our Savior died, and “a portion of the crown of thorns” which was put upon his head. Mr. Spurgeon said that he thought this was a very kind action on the part of the Communists, and that it would be well if more people would imitate them, and remove crosses and thorns whenever they found them, for there would still be far too many left for the peace of this poor world. For a time we could scarcely understand the intense animosity of our venerable guide towards the Communists, but it became quite clear when he told us that they had taken him prisoner, and threatened to kill him when they pillaged the church. In like manner, any man who has been led captive by the devil at his will, and who has been under condemnation through sin, may be expected, when he is set at liberty, to speak in strong terms of the cruel power which for a while held him in bondage. The children of God, too, when wicked men would rob them of the precious treasures of truth committed to their care, may well be pardoned if they use great plainness of speech when describing the attempts that have been made to steal from the saints any portion of the faith once delivered to them by the Lord Jesus and his apostles.
Nov. 12-13. — Our long ride from Paris to Mentone occupied us nearly thirty hours, in consequence of the break-down of a luggage train on the rails we bad to pass over soon after leaving’ Paris. The first part of the journey was in the night, and therefore little or nothing of note was to be seen, although we passed many places of historic or mercantile fame, such as Fontainebleau, with its memo-ties both of the splendor and shame of the kings and emperors who have resided there since Louis Vii. built the castle in 1162; Montbard, the residence of Buffon the naturalist; Dijon, the center of the trade in the wines of Upper Burgundy; Macon, sweet sound in the ears of lovers of the wine of that name; and other towns of less importance or interest. About six o’clock in the morning we were at Lyons, the second city of France, and the chief seat of its silk manufactures, and also the place at which the roaring, rolling, rushing, rapid River Rhone first becomes navigable.
Shortly after leaving Lyons we had a magnificent view of the rising of the sun, and a little later passed Vienne, the town to which, according to Eusebius, Pontius Pilate was banished after his return from Judaea to Rome. In another half hour we were at Valence, the ancient town which Louis XII. erected into a dukedom for the infamous Caesar Borgia. We delight more to recollect that it was one of the headquarters of Protestantism in the dark days of persecution. Close by stood the Castle of Soyons, now in ruins, which was once a stronghold of the Calvinists, who by means of it held the key of the Rhone, and intercepted the communication between Lyons and the south, until the castle was captured and demolished by the Prince of Conde. A little further on we passed Montelimart, the birthplace of Daniel Chamier, the Protestant pastor who drew up the edict of Nantes for Henry IV. It is worth mentioning that about nine miles distant is the village of Allan, where the first white mulberry tree was planted in France. It was brought from Naples in 1494, and from this place has spread all over the south of France, where the culture of the silkworm is now one of the chief sources of agricultural industry and prosperity. The mulberry tree is the model of what a Christian should be in self-denial; it lives only to be stripped, it exists solely for the benefit of others. “None of us liveth to himself.”
For some hours we had been traveling through some of the principal vinegrowing districts of France, but we must confess that at first the appearance of the vines, of which we had heard so much, greatly disappointed us. Remembering those which we had seen in our own beloved native land, we were surprised to find acres upon acres of ugly, low, straggling, twisted sticks, that, in winter at least, did not make the slightest pretension to beauty. The more we thought of our first impressions the more clearly did we see how fitting was the simile that our blessed Master used when he said, “I am the true Vine.” Many who looked upon him saw no beauty in him that they should desire him, and, alas! we must admit that for a long time we were as blind as they. In our eyes he had no form nor comeliness, and he was only as a root out of a dry ground.
But now, since we have tasted of the new wine of his love, our eyes have been opened, we see that he is altogether lovely, and we declare that none can be compared to him for beauty or for glory, there are none so fair as he; he is chiefest among ten thousand. How sweet a thought it is that he who said to his disciples “I am the Vine,” also added” ye are the branches”! We must not marvel if we too are despised, for the branches must expect no greater honor than the stem received. Our highest glory is to be as he was. May all of us who are in him remember and exemplify his gracious words. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
About nine o’clock we saw the ruins of the castle of Mornas, from which the Huguenot leader, Baron des Adrets, forced the popish prisoners whom he captured to leap down upon the pikes of his soldiers who were stationed below. We shudder as we think of such a terrible way of settling religious questions, but when we remember all that the Protestants had to endure from their Romish persecutors, we are not surprised that at last they were goaded to madness, and committed deeds that appear to us horrible to the last degree, though they were at the worst only mild measures of selfdefense compared with the cruelties and enormities that were perpetrated upon them. Happy are we that our lot is east in a more favored time, and that we have such a goodly heritage! But let us never forget that our privileges were many of them purchased with the blood of those who counted not their lives dear unto them, but cheerfully laid them down rather than surrender the truths that holy men had taught them as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. May we be as, faithful in these favored days as they were in the dark ages in which they lived! May we be the worthy sons of noble sires!
As we passed Orange, we thanked God for the city of refuge to which so many of our brethren in the Lord fled when the blood-hounds of the Papacy were on their track; this little town, with the principality surrounding it, having belonged to the Protestant princes of Nassau, who successively held it until the death of William III, when the king of Prussia claimed it, and handed it over to the kin,, of France in exchange for territory elsewhere. At Avignon, once the country-seat of the popes, and afterwards the residence of the and-popes in the days of the great schism, we smiled at the practical proof of the papal fallibility which was afforded by the back-handed blessings which the opposing, nontiffs sent to their Roman rivals, who returned the compliment in language about as forcible and elegant as that of a Billingsgate fish-woman, or an infuriated costermonger. Our guide-book reminds us that John Stuart Mill died here in 1873, and was buried in the cemetery.
At Avignon, and indeed for some time before, we saw specimens of the olive, though they were very small trees compared with those we afterwards become so familiar with in and around Mentone. One advantage of their diminutive size is that it is tolerably easy work to trim them into a pretty and uniform shape, a task which would be quite impossible with the grand old trees of the Riviera. Just so is it with Christians; if they are to be trimmed and fashioned according to the best models of true spiritual beauty, they must be taken in hand while they are young and pliant; it will be too late if we wait till their habits and peculiarities have become unalterably fixed. A twig can be bent at will, but an old, gnarled, knotted trunk cannot be made straight. An olive branch can be trained with very little effort, but a full-grown olive will “gang its ain gait” whoever may say it nay, or try to prevent it.
The next place of special interest was Tarnscon. which is said to have received its name from Tarasque, a dragon that infested the borders of the Rhone, and lived upon human flesh, until it was overcome by Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. The tradition is a very silly one, yet it is possible to learn a lesson from it. According to the story, Martha conquered the monster with no other weapon than the cross, and made him a prisoner with her girdle. Truly, we can defeat the old dragon with nothing so well as with the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; the very sight of the cross will make him cower down like a whipped cur, and then with the girdle of truth which we have about our loins we can bind him fast, and lead him forth as our conquered and captured foe. The devil can never hurt us while we fight him in the name of Jesus the crucified, and we are quite safe as long as we tie him up to the Word of God. This Jerusalem sword and strong cable will effectually prevent him from doing us, and others who are similarly armed, any mischief; only let us always keep to these weapons, for there are none like them, and he who tries to make others for himself, or to borrow from men those that they have manufactured, will certainly smart for it in the day of battle with the great adversary. Anyone who wishes to know what became of Martha’s brother and sister may like to learn that, according to tradition, Lazarus went to Marseilles, and the three Maries and “their servant Sarah” landed on the Island of Camargue, near Arles, when they were driven by persecution away from Palestine, and afterwards Mary Magdalene left them, and lived and died at St. Baume, near Aubagne.
Soon after leaving Aries we came to the vast stony plain called the Crau. It is 30,000 acres in extent, and is covered with rolled boulders and pebbles.
According to Aeschylus, these stones were hurled down from the sky. by Jupiter to furnish artillery for Hercules in his combat with the Ligurians.
The greater portion of the Crau is a semi-desert, but under the stones which cover it grows a short, sweet herbage, which the sheep accustomed to the locality obtain without much difficulty. They literally pick up a living where we could see nothing but shingle and sand. So, in the wilderness of this world, the Lord’s sheep and lambs find food where the natural man cannot perceive it, and he who of old led his people through the desert by the hand of Moses and Aaron will take care that all who are purchased by the precious blood of his dear Son, the great Shepherd of the sheep, shall want no good thing on earth, and afterwards shall all pass under the rod, to show that not one of them is lost, in the day when they enter the heavenly fold to go no more out for ever. Have all the readers of this magazine the marks that will be looked for in that day? If not, let them seek to have them imprinted at this moment by him who said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Each one who has these marks may say, with the full assurance of faith, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” The cultivation of the Crau is gradually extending eastwards. Murray says, “Every portion of it which can be reached by irrigation is exceedingly fertile, producing vines, olives, almonds, mulberries, and corn.” Another writer says, “The meadows I viewed are among the most extraordinary spectacles the world can afford, in respect to the amazing contrast between the soil in its natural and in its watered state, covered richly and luxuriantly with clover, chicory, rib-grass, and Avena elatior.” The irrigation is effected by means of a canal thirty-three miles long. The difference between the barren portion of this desert and the part that has been reclaimed is an exact picture of the contrast between a man in his natural state and another who has been renewed by grace. When the purifying and life-giving Word of God courses through our whole being, like the canal runs through the Crau, the desert of our heart begins to rejoice and blossom like the rose, and soon it becomes as beautiful and fruitful as a well-watered garden.
Long before we reached the Crau we heard and felt, even in our comfortable sleeping-car, enough of the dreaded mistral wind to make us appreciate the precautions that are taken to protect gardens, vineyards, houses, and sheepfolds from its furious blasts. Sometimes a high wall or fence is erected as a shelter from this cruel blast, but in many instances a long line or square of cypresses, standing like giant sentinels, gives complete immunity from harm to everything placed under their protection.
What a beautiful image do these trees afford of the true arbor vitoe, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Man who is a “hiding-place from the wind and a covert from the tempest”! When we are sheltered behind him we are at all times safe “From every stormy wind that blows. ” The cypress, too, in another aspect is the emblem of the Savior, and also of his disciples. Whether it stands alone upon the mountain side, or is found in company with its fellows, its desire always appears to be to get its head as near heaven as possible. Surely this upright tree is the pattern of the upright man. Let others grovel as they will, his continual aim, even while upon the earth, is to rise as near his God as grace can enable him to do, and when he is made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, the change will not be so great for him as for those who “grovel here below,” for already he lives on high and has his conversation in heaven. He talks with God as a man talks with his friend, and walks with God as one who wants no other company, and finds his heaven begun below in the foretaste of the bliss of the better country.
Through the delay at the earlier part of our journey we reached Marseilles just too late to go on by the train which we ought to have caught, and consequently, we had to wait some time, and then proceed by a slow train which called at almost every station on the line. The mistral was blowing so fiercely at Marseilles that we did not dare to put so much as our noses outside the station, and therefore had to content ourselves with what we could see of this important city from the railway. From our point of view, the most interesting object was the Church of Notre Dame de la Garde.
This building is held in the highest veneration throughout the Mediterranean by the sailors and fishermen and their wives, who here have not only come to pray for success when starting out to pursue their callings, but on their return have come again to give thanks for preservation and prosperity. The walls of the church are covered with the offerings of those who, in answer to prayer, have been delivered from shipwreck, accident, peril, or disease; and one corner is filled with cast-off crutches, the gifts of grateful cripples, and with pieces of rope by which men have been saved from drowning. Many Christians might with profit imitate these poor Romanists, and when they have received any deliverance from the hand of God set up a memorial of his goodness in the house of the Lord. How often when ten are cleansed only one of them returns to give glory to God for having healed him!
A ride of about two hours brought us to Toulon, the fortifications of which we had seen long before we reached the station. As we saw the ugly, frowning fortresses, and other works of defense we felt that, strong as they were, they could not afford such protection as every believer has in Christ Jesus. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it, and are safe.” Hidden away in the Rock of Ages, and guarded by Omnipotence, the feeblest saint can sing with joy: “Should earth against my soul engage, And hellish darts be hurled; Still! can smile at Satan’s rage, And face a frowning world.” In consequence of the delay at Marseilles we had to pass through some of the finest parts of the road after sunset, instead of seeing them as we ought to have done by bright daylight. We might just as well have been traveling through a desert for anything that we could see, and worst of all, we were in a double sense in the dark, for the conductor of our car, expecting to be at Mentone before sunset, was not provided with oil for the lamps in the carriage. This twofold darkness, while speeding through such a lovely land, reminded us of the condition in which many pass through this world, ignorant of the beauties by which they are surrounded because they are spiritually in the dark. It is a very paradise through which they are journeying, they cannot but perceive its loveliness, for “Dark is all the world before them; Darker still eternity.” Cannes of course brought to mind Lord Brougham, who lived and died there, and the adjacent islands of Honorat and Marguerite awakened useful memories of the holy preacher and his loving sister, whose names the islands still bear. The student of history will remember that Marguerite was the prison of the Man in the Iron Mask, and in more recent times of Marshal Bazaine.
Our slow train occupied an hour in getting from Cannes to Nice; another hour elapsed before we reached Monaco and Monte Carlo, “where Satan’s seat is “; and so by the time we reached our hotel at Mentone it was nearly midnight. What we saw and learned during our stay in this sheltered sunny spot must be left for a future paper if’ the Editor does not think we have quite exhausted the patience of his readers by what we have already written. We cannot help adding the following stanzas from Violet Fane’s poem “Sunny South,’ that our readers may realize something of our feelings before and after we reached Mentone: — “Against the windows sleet and snow Beat, as determined to the last To bear me company: I passed Bleak sandy tracts where dwarfish pines And stunted olives, tempest-stirred, Swayed desolately to and fro. “But by-and-by, by slow degrees, Chili nature thawed to greet the dawn; The clinging frost and snow were gone, The sky beamed blue behind the hills, The birds were singing on the trees. “The sun rose gaily; all the earth Seemed warm again with love and spring, The olive leaves swayed glistening With silv’ry luster, and the rills Leapt frost-freed to a brighter birth. “A thousand scented southern bairns The zephyr wafted to my brow; The orange hung upon the bough, The almond flowered fair beneath The tufted majesty of palms. “The wavelets of a tideless sea Crept softly to the rosy shore,— The overhanging mountain bore Myrtle and mignonette and heath And fragrant tangled bryony. “‘Twas then I felt my soul revive; The winter chilled my heart no more; I looked upon that sunny shore And said, ‘ I come to life and love, — I come to thee to love and live.’”
NOTICES OF BOOKS
A Paper for the People. Passmore and Alabaster.
AFIRST-RATE little paper for giving away. Each number is an improvement on its predecessor. It is only one halfpenny, and ought to be scattered thick as autumn leaves. The Biblical Museum ByJAMES COMPER GRAY.
Old Testament. Vols. VI. and VII.
Psalms to Solomon’s Song. Elliot Stock. WE are right glad to see this admirable work nearing completion. It must be a great boon to those students of the Bible whose libraries are small. A great deal of useful exposition is given in small compass, and for a small price. Mr. Gray has labored well and wisely, and he will have his reward in the gratitude of thousands. The Stars of the Reformation: being short sketches of eminent Reformers.
By J.MILTON SMITH. S. W. Partridge and Co. THIS book is calculated to keep alive the Protestant feeling of the country wherever it has survived the choking smoke of Ritualism. It is the sort of volume to place in a Sunday-school library, or to give to young men and women. The engravings assist in attracting attention to the history, which is very well written. That a second edition should be so soon called for is a cheering fact; but we shall not be at all surprised if the book should even reach a seventh edition, for 3s. 6d. is a reasonable price, and the volume is prettily got up and well illustrated. The more of such records the better. The Union Jack: Tales for British Boys. Edited by W. H. G. Kingston Griffith and Farran.
THIS strikes us as being the very thing that was wanted to cope with the shamefully bad literature which is prepared for boys. Mr. Kingston is a master in the art of writing boys’ stories; he would have written “Robinson Crusoe” if Defoe bad not happened to have done it before him. The style of this paper, the order of the wood-cuts, and the whole spirit of the thing exactly suit its object. Other papers have been too good for the lower class of boys, but this condescends to their weakness, satisfies their love of sensation, and withal gives them wholesome reading instead of garbage.
We do not recommend the paper for our own homes, but as a substitute for the bad papers which have such influence over the lower order of youths. It would not be so good for them if it were better. It suits the class it aims at, and for that very reason is hardly the thing for good and gracious youth. A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: critical, doctrinal, and homiletical. By J.P.LANGE, D.D. Vol. III.
Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark.
WITH this volume the English issue of Lange’s great Commentary is completed, and all ministers and students are deeply indebted to Dr. Schaff and the Messrs. Clark for so great a boon. The several volumes differ in value according to the ability of the various authors and translators, but we could not spare one of them. It is well that the publishers will now sell separate volumes at 15s., for thus a poor minister may purchase a volume or two when be picks up a windfall; but our younger men who are not yet compelled to devour the library in the nursery ought to possess themselves of the complete set as soon as possible. Homiletically, these commentaries are of high value. Often by a single sentence they will start the mind and give it a push along a line of thought, and this is the chief thing that most of us need. The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living and Dying. By Jeremy TAYLOR, D.D. Edited by Rev. F. A. Malle-son, M.A. Ward, Lock and Co. AN exceedingly cheap edition of this famous work. No one expects us to review the book at this time of day, or else we might say that it is not altogether sound in its teaching, and needs to be read with discretion. Its poetry is unrivaled, but its gospel light is somewhat dim.
NOTES We greatly rejoice that the Government of bluster and invasion has received its dismission from the British people, and we now urge all those who have power in prayer to ask for special guidance for those who will succeed it. Much wisdom will be needed, and we trust it will be given.
The Missionary Prayer Meeting at the Tabernacle on Monday evening, April 5, was a season of unusual power. Mr. W. Mann, who has since sailed for Cape Town, was present, and asked the prayers of the friends for the work in South Africa.
Mr. N. Rogers, who has been pastor of the church at Stratton, near Swindon, is obliged, on account of the state of his own health and that of his wife, to go to Australia. Will friends on the other side of the globe be on the look-out for the Steamship Liguria, which should reach Adelaide on or about June 26th? Mr. Rogers’s removal is much regretted by his people at Swindon. There was no alternative but to see his with sicken before his eyes, or to seek a milder climate. We commend him to our many friends in the southern world, and we trust he will be very useful among them.
Mr. T. L. Edwards, of Wynne Road, Brixton, is removing to the church at Wellington Street, Luton; Mr. G. J. Knight, late of Chelsea, is about to take the oversight of the church at Trinity Road, Tooting; and Mr. J.A. Soper has left the Fast End Conference Hall to become the pastor at Lordship Lane, Dulwich. Mr. J. Easter, having completed his College course, has settled at Bridestone, Suffolk.
The Annual Conference is being held just as the Magazine is in the hands of the printers, but we shall hope to give our readers a report of the proceedings next month.
The Quarterly Collectors’ Meeting was held at the Orphanage on Tuesday, March 30. The President, C. H. Spurgeon, was in the chair, and there was a good attendance of collectors and friends. A little over £100 was sent by post or brought in on the day. During the evening the boys and girls sang and recited, the President gave a report of the progress of the Girls’ Orphanage Building Fund, Mr. Nicholas, Secretary of the Earlswood Asylum, delivered his interesting lecture on “Dogs,” and Mr. Courtenay and the Southwark Choral Society gave a selection of vocal music in their usual first-class style. We believe that everybody was delighted with the meeting. Special Notice to all friends of the Orphanage. In consequence of June 19th falling on a Saturday this year, we hope to hold our ANNUAL FETE on the following Tuesday, June 22. We give timely notice in order that all our friends, both far and near, may arrange, if possible, to be with us at the laying of the foundation stones of the new buildings for girls. If we could see the larger part of the needful funds it would be indeed a happy day for us. Why should it not be so?
— The work of the Colportage Association continues to move a little in the desired direction, and we are glad to report the addition to our list of two new districts — one being in Preston, Lancashire, and the other at Malmesbury, Wiltshire. There is a good opening for work in both districts, and friends have come forward to guarantee £40 a-year towards the support of the colporteur. May a rich blessing accompany the new efforts. Subscribers should, however, remember that for every new man we take we need £20 over and above the guaranteed amount.
The annual meeting is fixed for Monday, May 3rd, when the president, Pastor C. It. Spurgeon, will preside; and Dr. Manning, Secretary of the Religious Tract Society, will give an address. There will also be the addresses of the colporteurs themselves, which are always full of interest.
About twenty-five of the agents will be brought up from their respective districts, and. will meet for conference and prayer with the committee, and other friends, on the previous day, when we hope for much spiritual blessing. In the meantime, our General Fund needs the generous help of all our friends. Contributions will be thankfully received by the secretary, from whom full information may be obtained. The annual report for 1879 will also be sent to any address on receipt of a halfpenny postage stamp.
Address Mr. W. Corden Jones, Secretary, Colportage Association, Pastors’ College, Temple-street, London, S.E. EVANGELISTS.
The general election has somewhat interfered with the movements of the Evangelists during the past month, but on the whole much good work has been done. On March 20 Messrs. Smith and Fullerton started at Northampton. It was deemed an unfortunate time for special services, but at the end of the first week Mr. Spanswick’s chapel was not large enough, and an adjournment to Mr. Brown’s larger building took place. This was quite crowded, even on the day of the election, when many were kept indoors out of fear of riots. The Afternoon Bible Readings gradually grew in size and power, and were blessed to many. During the fortnight that the Evangelists were in the town several waverers decided for Christ, and some backsliders were restored. A correspondent writes to us: — “The amount of good done by their simple but deeply spiritual services only the Searcher of hearts can know, but from the lively interest manifested in them all, I have no doubt a rich blessing will be the result, and many, many in this wicked town will be brought to the Savior.”
On Sunday, April 4, services were commenced at Wrexham, where about a dozen churches united in the work. No less than seven meetings were held on the first day in both Welsh and English chapels. As the election fever was at its height, and an invitation had been received from Brymbo, a mining village close by, for the Evangelists to go there, two evenings were spared for the purpose. The pastor of the church, Mr. J. Davis, thus writes of the services: — “Eager crowds thronged the chapel each evening, every available place being occupied. On Tuesday afternoon a children’s service was conducted by Mr. Smith. About 300 children came together; the singing was lively, and the discourse of Mr. Smith was listened to with rapt attention by both young and old. The beautiful style in which the singing was conducted by Mr. Smith throughout the services by means of his silver cornet, as well as the clear, powerful, and effective preaching of Mr. Fullerton, will, we trust, lead to the quickening of the churches in the district, and to the salvation of souls. The congregations were composed of three classes — (1) Englishspeaking peoples (2) Welsh people, but able to appreciate the English preaching; and (3) a few Welsh people unable to understand the English tongue. The latter would come, and they seemed to enjoy themselves wonderfully. It was with surprising delight that the whole audience (especially those unable to understand the English) listened to Mr. Fullerton on Tuesday evening read his text, “Behold,! stand at the door, and knock,” in Welsh, pronouncing the words with almost the accuracy of a thoroughbred Welshman. We are only sorry that we did not get more than two nights. However, we had the treat, which we will never forget, and the privilege of hearing the Evangelists in our own village for two nights. Our prayer for them, wherever they go, is ‘ God bless them, and make them a blessing to thousands.’” Mr. Fullerton tells us that he and his co-worker have received good news from Rhyl, which they visited for three days just before Christmas. No result was apparent at the time except that the people were interested, but the ministers of the town took up the work, and now over a hundred persons, and according to. one report several hundreds, have joined the various churches in the town.
This month Messrs. Smith and Fullerton are to be at Smethwick, Smallheath, and. Leamington. Just as we go to press we hear that the Bradford churches are sending to us the magnificent contribution of £144 14s. 3d. towards our Evangelists’ Fund as an acknowledgment of benefit derived from the visit of Messrs. Smith and Fullerton.
On Good Friday and Easter Sunday Mr. Burnham preached at Sandy, Beds. The services were well attended, and some inquirers were spoken with at the close. The Evangelist was greatly cheered by the news of several cases of conversion as the result of his visit in Oct., 1878, of which he knew nothing at the time. From March 30 to April 4 Mr. Burnham was at Minchinhampton, and there also he met with some who had been blessed during his previous visit although he did not then know of it. The town was full of excitement about the elections, and the congregations were therefore not so large as they would otherwise have been, but a few inquirers remained after the services. Of the following week’s work at Frome Pastor J. J. Dalton writes: “Though we have returned a Liberal member to the House of Commons the people are very conservative in their notions of propriety, and do not like to be disturbed. It was with some hesitation that they fell in with the idea of receiving a ‘singing preacher,’ yet for several weeks previous to our brother’s appearance our fervent petitions had been that great good might be accomplished. We have not been altogether disappointed in our expectations, but have cause to rejoice that ‘ the arm of the Lord hath been revealed’ in our midst. Several other public meetings being held in the town on the same evenings affected our congregations, but on the last evening, notwithstanding the annual missionary sermons being preached at other chapels the same evening, our congregation was large, sinners were convicted, souls saved, and saints refreshed and greatly stimulated. Could we have retained our brother for another week we believe much greater blessings would have been the result.”
Mr. Burnham’s engagements for May are — 3rd to 9th, Watton, Norfolk; 10th to 16th, Winslow, Bucks; 17th to 24th, Naunton and Guiting; and 25th to 30th, Charlton Kings, near Cheltenham.
— An esteemed brother, an evangelist, sends us the following notes of instances he has met with of the usefulness of our sermons. We insert them that glory may be given to God, to whom it all belongs, and that friends may be encouraged to seek still further blessings.
Our correspondent gives dates and places, which we judge it better to omit. (1.) A few years since my father hated the name of Spurgeon, not from any personal knowledge of him, for he had never seen or heard him, but from a deeply-rooted prejudice against “dissenters,” of whom he regarded Mr. Spurgeon as the very worst. Some time after my conversion I came to London. A few weeks later my father was up for a few days, and wishing to see me, I proposed Sunday morning as my only convenient time, and the Metropolitan Tabernacle as a mid-way meeting-place. I so arranged that we met there just as the crowds were flocking into the building. As I guessed would be the case, seeing such crowds pressing in, my father could not resist the temptation to follow. Passionately fond of singing, he was quite overcome, and wept under the opening hymn — “All hail the power,” etc. Thus the way was prepared for what followed. “Deep calleth unto deep” was the text. So impressed was my father by that sermon, that from that Sunday he took in the sermons weekly until the time of his death.
Of the particular sermon, “Deep calleth unto deep,” (No. 865,) he purchased many and lent them to his neighbors. From that time there was no man in his estimation like the preacher, and for some time before his death the weekly sermon was his only spiritual food. He did not die triumphantly as an experienced Christian, but peacefully passed away, assuring all teat he had now no fear of death: and I am thankful to testify that what light and peace he had came through the Metropolitan Tabernacle Sermons. (2.) A very popular and useful evangelical clergyman passed to his reward a few years ago. At the height of his popularity, when traveling through Kent, he happened to leave his small bag at a certain railway station. After the train was gone a porter found the bag, and brought it to the stationmaster, whose duty it was to open it, and search for some mark of ownership. All that the bag contained was Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons, well worn, and marked here and there. An hour later came a telegram, saying, “Kindly forward to — the bag left by the Rev. _____ (3.) Some time since, when laboring at S, in conversation with my host — the only stationer in the place — I inquired if he had many readers of Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons. He replied, “Only two; one a Ritualistic churchwarden, and the other a Roman Catholic priest.” Right glad was I to find the sermons read by such un-likely persons. May God bless them. (4.) At in , a good old Christian informed me that he was led to publicly confess Christ by hearing Mr. Spurgeon. Many years since, he was sitting in the gallery as a spectator during the Lord’s supper at the Tabernacle, when the pastor, addressing a few words to spectators, looked straight at him, and said, “You ought not to be there; this is your place, at the table with God’s people; having yielded your heart to Him, why longer remain outside?” The old man returned to his country home, and at the very first opportunity was baptized, and joined the church of Christ in that place. (5.) At E the most useful pair in connection with the Baptist church informed me that they were both awakened, and gradually led into the light, and then convinced of their duty to be baptized and unite with God’s people, all by reading. Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons, although they have never seen nor heard the preacher. (6.) Recently at B — , in reply to the question, “Are you a Christian?” I received the following answers” Oh, yes; bless the Lord, I have known him these twenty years! I found him under Mr. Spurgeon’s sermon on Jonah, which he preached here twenty years ago. That was the only time I ever saw or heard him. (7.) At N, a young man informed me that he had not seen Mr. Spurgeon, but that he had a deep affection for him, for his sermons had shown him his lost condition, and led him to trust in Christ; and the weekly issue of the sermon was his weekly feast. (8.) At the same place, an old man came up to me and said, “You know Mr. Spurgeon, do you not?” “Yes.” “Then, will you give my love to him?” “What name, sir?” “Oh, Mr. Spurgeon will not know me by name, But by and by he will know me, for I shall know him and make myself known to him; he is my spiritual father. Twenty years ago I heard him at Aberdare.
The word woke me up. I struggled against it for a whole year; and at last grace conquered me. My wife and I have ever since been members of the Baptist Church at A _____; and my two daughters are both in church fellowship.”
A clergyman of the Church of England, writing to Mrs. Spurgeon for a grant of books, says: — “Your husband has, by the publication of a most useful book, Commenting and Commentaries, done more than a little in forming my taste, and adding to my desire for books. This book was my consulting guide while at college, and has been of great service to me since in using the libraries of friends, and in making purchases.” We are glad of this testimony, for the work cost us great labor and expense, and it is not known as it should be.
A Baptist minister in North America, writes: — “ Mr. Spurgeon’s writings have done more for me than the writings of any other uninspired man.
Indeed, his influence is felt the wide world over. In the back-woods of this island a dying man the other week confessed that his soul had been impressed and enlightened by a sermon published in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit; while Baptists out here speak of ‘ praying for Mr. Spurgeon’ as a special duty. I have ‘also discovered that preachers of other denominations are using these sermons, from introduction to conclusion, and after the service it is somewhat amusing to find the volume under the seat of the sleigh.”
The following touching epistle comes from far-away Florida: — “My dear brother in Christ, — Once upon a time a wealthy man, who owned many gardens, sent one of his gardeners to water the plants. The gardener went and adjusted the hose, turned the tap, and watered them far and near. Many of them were near him, but far away in a corner of the garden, farthest from the gardener, was a frail flower, that had long been pining for the refreshing showers. The gardener, not knowing its need, nevertheless turned the hose in that direction, and the drooping plant revived and bloomed afresh to delight all who chanced to come near it, and it loved the master and the instrument, though the latter was unknown. “Several weeks ago I lay ill, far away from London, in the wilds of Florida.
Weak and faint-hearted I lay pondering on the strange providence of the Master when one of your sermons was placed in my’ hands. The refreshing shower revived me and gave me fresh hope and courage, and I rose from my sick couch to strive still more earnestly to gain access to the hearts of those by whom I am surrounded, and to-day, in a small class that I have formed out here in the wilderness, the Lord made his presence felt, and blessed us with an awakening that I have never seen here before, and tears of repentance were shed by many. I was so full of joy and gratitude to God that I felt,. indeed I longed, to let you know that your influence as an instrument had even, reached this place.”
We have received a quaint letter from Michigan, from which we take a few extracts: — “ I have read your sermons many years, they are marrow and fatness to my soul. Toil on, O servant of Jesus. You gave me a pretty good lesson in your sermon entitled ‘The Dromedaries’ (No. 1504). I enclose you twenty-five dollars to buy ‘ straw’ for your dromedaries; I leave the word’ barley’ for such persons as the lady who gave £20,000. I have just been reading John Ploughman’s Talk. I think you are pretty tough on us slow folks, but if we all could keep up with you don’t you think the world would run off her track in less than twenty-four hours?”
The following cheering testimony reaches us from the province of Quebec:— “My dear Sir, — Since reading a sermon delivered by you a long time ago on the text ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt he saved’ (No. 293), and in which you set forth the great sin of unbelief, I have felt a strong desire to write to you and strengthen your hands by letting you know that your labor is not in vain, as I for one can testify to the great good derived from that and other sermons of yours. My father, before we left Scotland seven years ago, always got your sermons, as well as your Sword and Trowel, and having derived great benefit from them he carefully put them away. About a year ago my brother sent me a few of those old sermons, which I read, and glory be to God, opened my eyes while reading that sermon, and since then I have found peace in believing.”
A friend in Sydney writes as follows: — “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, — It seems natural when help is given to acknowledge it, and I hope, therefore, you will not think that I am taking a liberty in writing to thank you for the great assistance you have been to me personally through the medium of two of your published sermons. “The two sermons I refer to were entitled ‘Prayer perfumed with praise’ (No. 1469) and ‘ Mistrust of God deplored and denounced’ (No. 1498).
By reading these I have been led to exercise faith in a way never thought of before, and as a result have experienced a confidence sufficient to secure a long-desired blessing of a very practical kind, and though the responsibility attaching to such new circumstances is great, the assurance given that I shall be upheld according to his word, and not be ashamed of my hope, is far greater. “Allow me, then, to thank you on my own behalf, and also on the part of another, for the blessing your sermons have been.”
A sister in Christ in Victoria says:— “My dear Sir, — I have often felt inclined to write you these last twelve years. At that time I lost a darling boy; everything seemed dark, and nothing brought me any comfort. The Word of God, that had been my stay through many similar trials, was all darkness to me. A friend brought me one of your sermons, and asked me to allow her to read it. At first I refused, but at last consented. I forget the title, but it was that everything was ordered by God — no chance. I felt all the time my friend was reading afraid to breathe. I could only say,’ Go on, go on.’ When she had finished it I leaped from my couch, and said, ‘ All is right, thank God, my dark mind is all light again.’ I have had similar trials since, and many other trials, but I could say from my heart, ‘ Thy will be done, it is all right. At this time my husband ordered your sermons monthly, and we still continue to do so.
Every Sunday evening we read one of them aloud for all to hear, and afterwards I send them into ‘the bush.’ My dear sir, go on and preach what you feel. It has often been a great comfort to as that you seemed to feel just as we felt.” “The son of red Kaffirs or raw Kaffirs” sends us the following note from Port Elizabeth, South Africa:— “Dear Sir, — I don’t know how to describe my joy and my feelings in this present moment. We never did see each other face to face, but still there is some thing between you and me which guided me to make these few lines for you. One day as I was going to my daily work I met a friend of mine in the street. We spoke about the Word of God, and he asked me whether I had ever seen one of Mr. Spurgeon’s books. I said, ‘What Mr. Spurgeon is that? One of the independent ministers in London?’ and I said, ‘No, I never saw such a book in my life.’ He said he bought it from the bookseller. I asked the name of the book, and he said it was the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, and I went straight to the shop and bought one. I have read a good bit of it. On my reading it I arrived on a place where Job said, ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.’ I am sure I can’t tell how to describe the goodness you have done to us, we black people of South Africa. We are not black only outside, even inside; I wouldn’t mind to be a black man only in color. It is a terrible thing to be a black man from the soul to the skin; but still I am very glad to say your sermons have done something good to me. May the Lord bless your efforts, and prosper your work. May it please him to gain many sons into his glory through you as his instrument, not only in London, but also in Africa.”
From Denmark we have received a most interesting communication, from which we extract the following: — “ Through twelve of your sermons, which are translated into Danish, I and my household have this winter been acquainted with your Christian announcement, and we thank you for every clearing and edifying word. We seceded from the Established Church a year ago, because we have so evidently seen the tragical consequences of the connection between the Church and the State, and we could not possibly act contrary to the conviction forced upon us by the reading of the New Testament, viz. the incorrectness of the infant baptism.”
Two missionaries in one of the isles of Greece write: — “ We read every Sunday a sermon; many times it is one of .your sermons. Last Sunday the one we read was ‘The Good Samaritan’ (No. 1360). It made a deep impression on our minds. Your sermons are to us like rain upon a dry land.
We have no church to attend, and no friends to associate with.”
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle. — March 18th, fourteen; 25th, thirteen;. April 1st, fourteen.