THE SIXTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT, 1882.
THE object of this Association is the increased circulation of religious and healthy literature among all classes, in order to counteract the evil of the vicious publications which abound, and lead, to much immorality, crime, and neglect of religion. This object is carried out in a twofold manner: — 1st. — By means of Christian Colporteurs, who are paid a fixed salary, and devote all their time to the work, visiting every accessible house with Bibles and good books and periodicals for sale, and performing other missionary services, such as visitation of the sick and dying, and conducting meetings and open-air services as opportunities occur. This is the most important method, enabling the Colporteur to visit every part of the district regularly.
The average total cost of a Colporteur is from £75 to £80; but the Committee will appoint a man to any district for which £40 a year is subscribed, if the funds of the Association will permit. 2nd. — By means of Book Agents who canvass for orders for periodicals, and supply them month by month; these receive a liberal percentage on the sales to remunerate them for their trouble.
This second method is admirably adapted to the requirements of districts where the guaranteed subscription for a Colporteur cannot be obtained.
Shopkeepers or other persons willing to become Book Agents may communicate with the Secretary. The Association is unsectarian in its operations, “doing work for the friends of a full and free gospel anywhere and everywhere.” Cheques may be crossed London and County Bank; and Post Office Orders made payable to W. C.JONES, at the Chief Office, St. Martin ’s-le- Grand. All communications should be addressed to REV. W.CORDEN JONES, Colportage Association, Temple Street, St. George ’s Road, Southwark, London, S.E. IN presenting the Sixteenth Annual Report, the Committee desire to record their deep thankfulness to God for the amount of work which the Association has been enabled to accomplish through its Colporteurs during another year, and that in so many instances their labors have been crowned with manifest blessing.
The number of districts occupied has been 79, as compared with 78 in the preceding year. Eight of these were new; but as 13 had to be discontinued because of the failure of local subscriptions, only 65 men were actually employed at the close of the year. While the Committee deeply regret this reduction, they did not feel justified, with the funds at their disposal, in working districts where no adequate assistance could be obtained towards the total cost, but trust that many other localities will be found where £40 a-year can be raised for a Colporteur.
But, although the number of men was rather less, the actual results ‘were considerably in advance of previous years. The gross value of sales by Colporteurs was £8,038 2s. 2d., being an increase of £364 18s. 8d.; but, besides this, sales by Book Agents, etc., amounted to £214 7s. 9d.
Considering, however, that a large proportion of this amount was realized by the sale of Magazines and Books varying in value from a halfpenny to sixpence, an amount of minute and persevering labor is evident, which it is difficult to estimate, either in its wide-spread area or in its far-reaching moral and spiritual results. The following statement will furnish some further illustration of the extent of the work: — 152,085 Books were sold; 290,373 Magazines; 620,850 visits to families; 7, x49 Services conducted; 74,000 Tracts given away. So considerable a quantity of thoroughly reliable literature, embracing Bibles and Testaments and many books which faithfully present the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having been purchased, and therefore probably read, cannot but have a powerful influence for good upon the readers; and numerous cases of conversion to Christ are reported as resulting therefrom.
But it should be remembered also that, in connection with their business of bookselling, the Colporteurs constantly visit so many thousands of homes as Christian Missionaries, and that they have, in a simple way, given so many Gospel Addresses.
There can be no doubt that this appeal to the eye of the mute, yet eloquent, printed page, and to the ear of the more persuasive power of the living voice of a sympathetic Christian man, constitutes an agency of unusual efficiency.
By these means the Colporteurs have been instrumental in making known the glad tidings of salvation so thoroughly and so widely that, accompanied by the Holy Spirit, an abundant harvest of souls shall be gathered, of which some first-fruits have already appeared, particulars of which are recorded in the extracts from the Agents’ letters which follow.
Besides statistical testimony, however, many unsolicited commendations of the work have been received, accompanied in one instance by a donation of £100.
The need for Colportage was never greater than at present. Infidelity is industriously using the printing press for circulating its blasphemies by means of tracts and pamphlets even in quiet rural districts, and the pack of the Colporteur contains the surest antidote in sound literature and scriptural truth. Sacerdotalism, and a religion of forms, is spreading in many localities where the only available and efficient counteractive is the Colporteur’s quiet work.
Worse than all, perhaps, is the alarming indifference to all religion now so prevalent. But if the people will not go to a place of worship, the Colporteur goes to them, carrying the gospel of the Sanctuary to their places of labor and homes, both in affliction and health. The young, too, are being educated and will receive injury from the dangerous sensational publications in “Novelette and Penny Dreadful” form, which they will read unless some agency places within their reach the attractive and instructive serials so plentifully issued by many respectable publishers, and to do this is eminently the Colporteur’s mission.
The Committee again call attention to the cheapness of the Agency, as only £40 a-year is required from a district towards the Agent’s support; also to its undenominational character, the Colporteur being sent to labor amongst any evangelical Christians willing to co-operate for his support. The employment of Colporteurs is earnestly commended to the consideration of County Associations, Young Men’s Christian Associations, Town Missions, and large employers of labor, any of whom might adopt Colportage with great advantage and economy. And while thankful for the assistance rendered by so many donors, the Committee trust that during the coming year the General Fund, which has to supplement almost all District Subscriptions, will be liberally supported. The thanks of the Committee are also due to the Religious Tract Society for liberal grants of Tracts and Books at a reduced rate, and to the British and Foreign Bible Society for the favorable terms upon which the Association has been supplied by them.
SELECTIONS FROM THE COLPORTEURS’ REPORTS.
Mr. Beaney, who labors in a quiet Hampshire District, writes: — I sold a book to a woman as a present to her daughter who was just leaving to go to service for the first time. She has often written to her mother since then, about certain passages of Scripture in that book, and speaks of the great blessing it has been to her. Her mother has every reason to believe that it has been the means of her daughter’s conversion. “A gentleman met me the other day, and told me of an old couple who had told him that they often found a good gospel book, which I had sold them, to be a great help and comfort to them, as they were getting old and feeble, and often could not venture so far as the places of worship were from their cottage. “A blacksmith told me that a member of the Church, who had been very fond of intoxicating drinks, had called upon him to sign the pledge, giving as his reason, that I had made him so thoroughly ashamed of himself, that he felt bound to sign it for conscience’ sake. “The sick and infirm are always glad to see me; and the tracts are often eagerly sought for and read by those whom I used to think too abandoned to read anything good. “I have enclosed a few tracts entitled ‘Freethinker Tracts,’ as samples of a large number which I find in the houses about my district. Some of them are given away personally, others are sent by post. Books are also lent to people, the titles of some of the chapters being as follows: ‘Christ a liar,’ ‘Was Christ sane?’ etc. Perhaps, sir, you will think these tracts and books are too blasphemous and vulgar to do much harm; but there is a large class of people who eagerly devour them, and upon whom their effects are seen.
Sometimes those who distribute them will come and listen to me preaching, and, although I fear they come only to scoff and ridicule, I pray God the Word may be applied with power to their souls.”
AN INFIDEL CONVERTED BY READING ABOOK.
— The Colporteur at Horley also reports meeting with infidelity in his district: — “I came in contact with an infidel; his wife lay dead in the house. He first refused me admission, but I got an entrance. I then told him of the realities of death and the future world, to which he must shortly pass. I spoke to him about his wife, and the words touched him, and tears came in his eyes.
He said he would give the matter careful consideration. I left him a tract, gave him a book called ‘ The Child of Jesus,’ trusting to the Lord to save his soul, and to reveal himself to him as the fairest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely. “I sold a book called ‘Saving Faith,’ and the reader was led to see his error, and let all his trust in good works fall to the ground, and trusted in the blood of Christ for the pardon of his sins. “In the case that I mentioned, where! went to the infidel, the book that! left with him he read; and that little book called ‘ The Child of Jesus’ led him to See that there was something beyond the grave, and when I revisited him he wished me to explain to him concerning another world, and by my weak efforts I tried to do, and he was led to see his error, and haw he has burnt all his infidel boo/s, and bought some from me; he is now rejoicing in a real Savior. The truth that I tell is winning its way to the hearts of those that read it, and at the Mission Church that I go to every Sunday evening to preach the word there are anxious inquirers who have been impressed under the sound of the blessed gospel.” From Thornbury, Gloucestershire, the agent reports:-NEED OF COLPORTEURS EVERYWHERE. — “I am more than ever convinced that a regular visitor is needed to visit the cottages of our poor; for I find a large number of very old people living in my district little cared for by anyone, and still in darkness as regards the future. Some of them have had to confess to me that ‘No one ever calls but you, sir,’ to tell them of Jesu’s love, and of a heaven to gain. I will illustrate by telling of one, an aged woman, thirteen years past the allotted time of life (viz. three score years and ten), living almost alone, her son coming home evenings. She cannot read or write, and owns herself to be still without an interest in the Blood of Christ. I read, talked, sang, and prayed with her several times, which seemed to make a favorable impression, as the tears that ran down her thin face would indicate. Our only prayer is, that the Lord will have mercy upon her and save her soul. I could mention plenty of such cases that have come under my own notice. “But you have done me good, sir,” said another old lady I had visited from month to month, with whom I had talked and prayed, all of which seemed to me to be to no purpose, but I was very glad to find that it was otherwise, and it just proved the word of the Lord to be true, “My word shall not return unto Me void.” My stay was not quite so long as usual, and the old lady wondered at my hasty departure. On taking leave of her, I said, “I don’t know that I can do you any good if I stay,” and, with tears in her eyes, she said. “But you have done me good, sir.” I asked her, in what way? And she told me that she had found consolation and peace through my visits, and that she was happier by far than she had ever been before. I went back into her house and thanked God.”
Cottage Services are largely conducted by the Colporteurs, and Mr. Meats, in Brentford District, has had much blessing. He says: — “I am thankful to tell you the Lord is increasingly blessing me in my labors for Him, most especially in visiting the sick. I called on a poor old woman one day at Heston, 85 years old, and another one attending her 83. After speaking to them of the love of Jesus and His mighty power to save all who come to Him, I knelt down by the bedside, and each of them caught hold of one of my hands, and while I was pleading with God for them their tears were fast falling on my hands; it was a sight I shall never forget; they said they should look for my next visit. The Lord, too, is blessing me richly in the cottage meetings for prayer. Praise the Lord, I have had the joy of seeing one poor sinner brought to our precious Savior, and a poor backslider reclaimed, and they are both now rejoicing in the knowledge of sin forgiven, they have now peace with God. The Lord has opened three houses in the road where I live, for prayer; we feel we live · in a different atmosphere; it rejoices my soul to see the happy faces of the people as they come to the houses for prayer. I have been engaged in this work for many years, but never as now have I felt the power of prayer, and out of a full heart I can say Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and ALL that is within me, bless His HOLY name.’” Mr. J.SMITH, who has been very successful with a bookstall in the Market at Nottingham, sends cheering tidings: — “This quarter I have to bless God for His goodness; I have, with His Grace, been instrumental in winning three souls for the Savior. One of these came to me in the market, and said he had been brought to the knowledge of the truth; the other upon a bed of affliction; and another through the preaching of the gospel. Also, this quarter, I have visited the Union; in each ward I read, expounded the word, and prayed with them; many expressed that they were blessed through the reading, and asked me to come again. “I have also been instrumental in taking over 200 pledges this quarter.
Some who signed the pledge have been habitual drunkards; one man told me he felt quite a new creature since he had been an abstainer; he seemed as if he could not express how grateful he was to me for inducing him to become an abstainer. This is encouragement to go on, and with His Grace try to accomplish more for the Savior. “‘ I have met with two this last month who told me they first attended Nottingham Tabernacle through an invitation given them by me; they are both members of the Church, and very earnest Christians. I gave an address at one of the Tabernacle Mission Stations, when the word was blessed to one who had been a backslider a long time. She was brought back to the Lord with the power of His Spirit; she exclaimed, she knew that the Lord had again forgiven her backslidings, and with His Grace she was restored.
As far as I can ascertain, she walks as a Christian should walk day by day. I have not heard of any book this last quarter that has been the means of the conversion of any, but, in speaking and selling, one does not instantly see the result of the work done.”
Mr.SKINNER, of Alcester, writes: — “I am thankful to say I find a willing ear for the gospel, and a desire for good books if poor people had more work. I am often overwhelmed with kindness, and, thankful to say, well received, and I find there is a healthier tone among the people in my district. I do not complain in the least, neither am 1 discouraged. I do not belong to that class that looks upon everything as failure. I know it is the Lord’s work, and cannot be lost, though the work is very hard and the responsibility very great. In my mind the object is grand, and the divine promises sure. ‘They that sow in tears shall reap in joy; the bearer of precious seed shalt doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing His sheaves with Him. ’” Where a Colporteur has been working in a District for some time he always has to report an increased desire for good literature, and a corresponding decrease in the bad. Mr. Paine, at Hadleigh, reports: — “I have to thank God for His goodness and mercy through another quarter. Sales have been good, considering the depression in the agricultural districts. I am often told by the people that they have no money, and that they would buy if they had the money, which I believe to be quite true.! am thankful to say the desire for reading in my District has grown rapidly this last six months.
Persons that I know had no desire for reading now take monthlies regularly of me, and, what is still more pleasing, the Bible is now taken down from the shelf and carefully read; this I have heard in several instances. I am thankful to inform you that a woman has decided for Jesus by reading Mr. Spurgeon ’s sermon in the “Baptist Messenger” for January, text: ‘ Oh that I knew where I could find Him!’ I knew she was convinced of her sins, and was longing to find God. I had read this sermon myself, and thought it was just the thing for her. I lent it to her, and then prayed that God would reveal Himself to her, and one night, soon after, she met me in the chapel yard, to thank me for the sermon, and told me how, by reading it, she had realized the pardon of her sins. She is now making herself very useful with us. A schoolmaster of the Board School asked when I called,’ Have you anything of Mr. Spurgeon’s? because I cannot get anything at Church to satisfy me.’ A great change has come over this man since I have traveled in this District. ‘ Seven Wonders of Grace’ is still working wonders. Another man recently has made another ‘Wonder of Grace.’ Hope Mr. Spurgeon will soon write again. People begin to ask if Mr. Spurgeon hasn’t published another shilling series; I suppose they think these shilling series came within their reach. ‘ Christie’s Old Organ’ is doing a good work. A man died here yesterday morning; this case I have referred to in a previous report. He imbibed infidel principles, never went to any place of worship; but during my visit quite a change has taken place. I was with him last Sunday evening and yesterday morning, just before he died. We have a hope of him. Another case, a young man, who had been in the army, died a fortnight ago. Some time ago he would not hear anything about his soul; I was asked to call and see him, which I did, and read and prayed with him, which did not seem to make much impression; called again next week, asked him the state of his mind, to which he replied, ‘ It is very dark,’ then directed him to the Light of the World. Prayed with him, which then seemed to make a deep impression; had to leave him in the hands of God.
Before he died he was quite a changed man, and said it was through my visits. I know my visits have been made a blessing to the people here. I am still holding cottage services in the villages with good results. I return home ;frequently with weary legs by reason of Suffolk mud, but I can praise the Lord, I am very happy in the work.”
A new District has been occupied for a few months around Tewkesbury, about which the Colporteur reports as follows: — “Although I may not be able to send such glowing Reports as some of my fellow-workers, yet it gives a healthy tone when we ,consider the increase in number of Periodicals in the first year of labor here, as it is ofttimes only after a deal of persuasion that we can induce the people to take a monthly publication.
One instance worthy of notice — a woman whom I called upon in order to induce her to take a periodical, said she should like to if I could get her a copy of a few; I at once showed her ‘ Sunday at Home;’ in a few weeks I called again; the woman consulted her husband, telling him that instead of taking a weekly newspaper, which cost them 1 1/2d., she could save the money and purchase the ‘ Sunday at Home ‘ monthly, and, therefore, gave me the order. Another instance where I was asked to get ‘The Argosy’ I induced the man to take ‘ The Quiver’ instead, and am now supplying him with the same. “In my journeys by the wayside many opportunities offer of speaking to individuals. “Also visits to the sick and aged and dying have been very numerous; many of these looking forward to the monthly visits with a great degree of pleasure. I visited a poor woman a few days since, in the last stage of consumption, who had been visited by Roman Catholic friends, but I began to tell her about Jesus as the only Savior able to forgive sins, when she at once told me that was just what she wanted to hear about, and then in as simple a manner as possible, I gave her the gospel, illustrating the story of the Cross by the history of the Brazen Serpent. I pray that the message. may be blessed to her soul’s salvation. I have said nothing about services in which! am continually engaged, but feel assured they are being blessed; also temperance work in which I am engaged, but feel assured eternity alone will unfold all the real good that has resulted from the work here as in other districts.”
Mr.LLOYD continues his useful work at Poole. This agent visits the villages and hamlets covering a radius of nearly ten miles. In his report he states: — I have also distributed upwards of 6,000 gospel and temperance tracts. I have delivered 129 sermons and temperance addresses in chapels, cottages, and the open air, besides having read portions of Scripture and engaged in prayer in many homes under cases of illness and bereavement, as well as with the aged and infirm. “I have now upon my book about 500 subscribers for monthly magazines, 300 of whom used not to purchase or read any good or pure literature, until induced to do so by my efforts. “‘Again, I often meet cases in which the influence of good literature on the morals of the people is manifest. Some on whom I used to call were very careless about themselves and their children, who are now anxious to improve themselves in every way they can, and very anxious about their children’s welfare. Also I can point to several cases of youths and young women who used to read novels and papers of an immoral character, who have been induced to change them for the ‘ Boy’s’ or ‘ Girl’s Own Paper,’ and other magazines of a similar type, and I have had the thanks of the parents for the change.”
Mr.KEDDIE sends a yearly report from Maldon District, Essex, where much success has been given to him. He conducts religious services regularly at the Mission Chapel, Woodham Walter, which he has been instrumental in getting built and paid for. He reports: “In looking back over the past year, I can see more causes for rejoicing than for despair. I have managed to sell 59 Bibles,42 Testaments, books under 6d., 377 over 6d., 7,265 magazines, 27 packets of books, packets of cards, amounting, in all to £136 5s. 10 1/2d., being an advance on last year of £9, and I cannot conceive of such an amount of good books being sold without corresponding results. I mourn sometimes that I cannot see more visibly the effects of our endeavors to win the hearts of men to Jesus by good books, yet have hope that they are having a great secret influence on men, and will ultimately accomplish the end desired. “I have been enabled to conduct 9° religious services, none of which have been void of interest and blessing. Men who formerly “cared for none of these things” are now sitting regularly and attentively under the preached word. One who was in the act of committing suicide by hanging himself, and was only saved by being cut down, is now we hope under serious impressions. “We have formed a branch of the Blue Ribbon Army Gospel Temperance movement at our Mission Station at Woodham Walter. Our first meeting resulted in over 50 signing the pledge. Since then the numbers have increased to 80, and amongst these were two of the greatest drunkards in the neighborhood. In connection with one of those men’s signing there is an interesting incident. The one who is a blacksmith by trade hires a man to help him in his work in the evenings. the two usually went direct to the public-house on closing up, and spent more than they earned. However, the blacksmith abstaining put a stop to it, and the other man, on hearing what his master had done, resolved in his mind that he never would taste it either but keeping (at the same time) his conviction to himself. A few weeks had passed, in the course of which he had saved a considerable sum of money: he then went into the town and purchased three pairs of boots for his children, came home as sober as he went out, and as he opened the door of his home his wife looked at him rather curiously as she saw him take the boots and place them on the table. She saw he looked affected and kept silent until he could command his feelings. We will leave you to guess his thoughts. But, further, this man has been constant in attendance at our Chapel since, and he makes a practice of going home, where he takes his Bible, reads the chapter, and then the hymns which we have had at service.
Last Sabbath evening he was observed while doing so to be deeply affected; indeed, he firmly believes he is under deep soul concern. “I have opened a new Mission in one of the lowest parts of the town.! spoke to a gentleman about it, and he has agreed to pay half of the rent of the premises. It will be uphill work, but remember us in prayer. ‘ Mr. Keddie concludes by describing a case in which he had induced a man who did not know the alphabet to learn to read, and who now takes delight in the Bible.
Mr.GILPIN, of Ironbridge, sends also his yearly Report, which will be read with interest: —
COLPORTEUR’ S REPORT, for the year ending, October 31st, 1882. — “It is with pleasure I lay before my Committee my yearly Report, ending October 31st, 1882, as Colporteur for the Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale District. “During the year there have been sold 8,461 publications, comprising, Bibles, 160 Testaments, 1,829 books under the value of sixpence, 11,067 above that value, 4,967 Magazines, 312 packets of tracts, cards, etc., of the total value of £132 6s. 2 1/2d. “In addition to this 9,500 tracts have been distributed free of cost, and about 900 visits to families in cases of affliction, spiritual conversation, reading of scriptures and prayer. “During the year there have been held 310 cottage and open-air services.
Cottage services held as follows:- Frog Meadow, Monday, average attendance...
Average attendance weekly, 190, the greater portion of whom do not attend any other regular place of worship. “Every Sunday during a greater part of the summer three open-air services have been held (with the assistance of kind friends) and they have been well attended. “As to results, I may state that the seed has been scattered broadcast; some few have been gathered into the fold of Christ, whilst in others there has been a marked change in moral habits, if no more. “In visitation of the sick there are those who have been pointed to Christ, who have professed to believe on Him, to the reality of such cases I must leave them in the hands of a loving and merciful God. “I beg to express my thanks to those kind friends who have been true helpers, and for the very kind reception I have had from a large circle of supporters. “Grateful to the Master Himself for such measure of His blessing as my labor has received, looking up to Him for grace in the future, I remain, yours in Christ Jesus Our Lord.”
Mr.GARRETT, of Cheddar, reports a large amount of sales made: — “I am glad when I look over my last year’s account to find that, although I cannot record striking conversions through the sale of books or preaching, much good seed has been scattered, which must do good, and, I hope, bear some good fruit. Last year, from January to December, my returns were £294 17s. 2d., against £291 13s. the year before. This is a little increase, but not so much as I should like to see. The weather for the whole of the year has been very trying for traveling and also for the farm laborer. It is the same cry, door after door — ‘ Cannot buy, no money; my husband has no work, or can’t work on account of the wet.’ To leave a tract, and drop a word of good cheer, under such circumstances is but cold comfort where the common necessaries of life are needed. Still, this is all we can do in such cases as these. One place where I call through on my rounds, an old woman whom I visit tells me, that no one ever calls to see her, to read or ‘make a prar’ (offer prayer).”
Mr.COLLIER, of Swaffham, Cambs, has good news of numerous conversions in his District: — “I am glad to be able to tell you that the Lord is doing great things for us here, for which we cannot but praise his holy name. The last Sunday in last year was a very blessed time, the power of the Holy Spirit being manifestly engaged throughout the whole day, We began with a special service among the Sunday-school children, several of our teachers helping me at the service. I preached again, afternoon and evening, and conducted a watchnight service. Some four or five were led to decide for Christ that night, which was the first-fruits of others to come in. We commenced a week of special meetings the first day of the year, and such was the power of the Spirit — working through those meetings — that we could not give them up, but have kept them on most nights since.
We had as many as fourteen stand up for Jesus Christ at once, and last Thursday evening (February 2nd\ Mr. Apthorpe and the Rev. Mr. Tarn, of Cambridge, with two other gentlemen, came over to receive twenty-seven new members into the Church, most of whom professed directly or indirectly to have been led to Jesus through my poor services. They came to the meetings, where, awakened to a sense of their condition as poor lost sinners, became anxious about their souls’ salvation. I then visited them at their homes, using every means, both by reading, talking, and praying with them, and God blessed the efforts thus put forth. The work is still going on.
I was conducting the services on Sunday last, and two others gave me their names for membership, and the service to-night (28th) was quite as largely attended, and a good feeling throughout the meeting was manifest. My visits among the sick and afflicted (and there have been a great many such of late)have been much blessed, both to the comfort of those who believed on Christ, and to the leading of others to a saving knowledge of Him as their Savior. Some have passed away to be with Christ, others have been raised up again, in whose lives there is a marked change. One I saw to-day told me he was very near home, who, although a regular attendant at the chapel here, when I first visited him, some weeks ago, could not feel he was safe for eternity, but now, thank God, can say he is on the rock Christ Jesus. “Blessing has also rested upon the books sold, especially Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons, one. woman telling me, she never had a sermon do her so much good as one from the text, ‘ Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ Another woman has been led to cast away the hope of being saved by her good works, and to trust Christ alone for salvation, through reading a tract I left with her. I might tell much more, but space forbids. May the Lord give out His Spirit more abundantly upon us all, that still greater things may be done in the name of Jesus.. I have made for the quarter 2,799 visits, those to the sick not included, services held 47, Bibles sold I3, books (various) 328, magazines 633, good, (assorted) 171; amount of cash taken, £18 4s. 1d. Hoping the sales may go on increasing, and be as successful as other branches of the work.”
Mr.FORD, of Minchinhampton, writes: — “I sold ‘A Peep Behind the Scenes’ to. a young woman for 3d., and the Lord has blessed it to all the family so much that she gave me an order for one at 3s. 6d. She said she would always have one in the house. The young woman had been very wicked. The magazines are like to the wind, their influence is felt all round, wherever they go. Many are taken into the factory, and are read by those that do not buy one; and they are carried by those that buy them to the sick and the aged. Dear sir, if you could see the influence that these magazines carry into villages where there is no place of worship. Sometimes the whole of the family will come out to meet me with the books, and I know that from reading them they have been induced to attend a place of worship. The visits with the tracts have been made a blessing. I called upon an aged person where there was a family of little children. After talking with them some of their neighbors came in, and we held a prayer meeting in the house. With tears they asked me to come soon again.”
— Mr. Cornock sends the following report: — “On one occasion I got access to a gentleman’s house and embraced the opportunity of speaking to the servants, eight or ten in number. On opening my knapsack one of them coolly remarked ‘Those soft things, I have a box full upstairs; I always burn them.’ I carefully but candidly observed, ‘ I wonder that you have a box full if you always burn them,’ but in the end disposed her to buy some of my good books, although she first called them ‘ soft things. Another remarked, in a disappointed tone, ‘Why, they are all religious,’ showing her aversion to such literature, but she also purchased a good book. Another very abruptly said, ‘ Bring me a good murder and I will buy it.’ I offered her the Bible, saying ‘ This Book tells of the most dreadful murder ever committed. They murdered the Lord Jesus, and you and I are among his murderers, and shall be held responsible unless we accept the gospel and believe in Him for the pardon of our sins.’ “February 6, 1882: Was led to take a motto to market, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ Observing an old man reading it, f asked him ‘Has He put away your sin?’ He shook his head, saying, ‘ Time He had.’ I then added ‘ It says sin of the world. You are in the world, don t you think He means you. ’ I again urged this point, when the old man, seeming to realize it, exclaimed ‘Bless God for that! Bless God for that!’ I trust he got the blessing.
A young man had been reading penny novels before I came in contact with him, but the Lord enabled me to persuade him to give it up, and take a better book from me. Before leaving this district he bore the following testimony to me personally: ‘I like your books, Mr. C., I feel happier since I gave up the novel. I am glad you persuaded me to give it up. Can you post them to me where I am going? ‘“ Mr.BEARD, of Burton-on-Trent, reports: — “In many cases I have been able to persuade young people to give up reading such light trash as ‘ Bow Bells,’ and take in the’ Sunday at Home, ‘ Quiver,’ etc. I have also been much blessed in visiting the sick. God has made me the instrument in bringing them to the foot of the Cross. I was called in to visit a young man who had been visited by a lot of Christian men. I asked him if he had received the joy of salvation. His answer was, No. But that is what you want, is it not? He said, ‘ Oh, yes,’ but he had not faith enough. I said, ‘My friend, it is not faith that saves you, it is Christ, and Him alone.’ I prayed with him and pointed him to Christ. The next time I went, he had to do most of the talking, he was so full (he said) of the love of Christ, he hardly knew where he was. In a few days he passed away; his end was perfect peace. During the three years I have been here, I have established seven Temperance Societies, and Bands of Hope; six out of the seven are doing well. Unto God be the glory.”
Mr.BOYDEN, of Cardiff, gives an encouraging account of his work; — “I am glad to tell you that my work is prospering in this district. I am making good sales, and feel that the Lord is blessing my labors, in speaking and holding cottage meetings. I hold two cottage meetings weekly in the town, and go to the village chapels and mission rooms to take services on Sunday. I am glad to tell you that I have heard of three cases lately, that books I have sold have been made a blessing to those who bought them. I sold ‘Danesbury House’ to a man who was addicted to drink. He did not know it was a temperance tale or perhaps he would not have bought it, but God blessed the reading of it, and led him to give up the drink, and, when I went that way again, he gave me a warm welcome, and bought five shillings’ worth of books. He sent me home with a light heart. It is an awful place for drink where he lives, so that I cannot sell many books there. “The other was a man blessed by the B. W. M. for October. His sister bought ;and lent it to him; and the other was a poor crippled girl, who was fond of reading. Her mother bought the ‘ Sunshine’ and other little books for her, and God blessed them to her soul; and now He has taken her home to be with Him. “The cheap editions issued by the R. T. S. has been a great help to me in getting into homes that I could not before. They would buy a penny book, and then that has given them a taste for reading. “Bad literature is sold by nearly all booksellers in this town. So many novelettes of impure character, that we have a great work to fight against it, and we need your prayers that we may prosper in the work.” Collecting Boxes or Books will be gladly sent on application to the Secretary.
THE PREVALENCE OF EVIL AN ARGUMENT IN PRAYER AN ADDRESS BY C. H. SPURGEON.
THERE are many ways of pleading for the same thing when we draw near to God in prayer. In one condition of heart one form of argument will rise to the lip, while at another season our circumstances may suggest quite a different way of pleading with God. I was noticing while reading in the one-hundred and nineteenth Psalm the plea which the Psalmist urges with the Most High while entreating him graciously to work among men: he says, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.”
We might urge as reasons for the Lord’s ‘working, the sorrows of mankind, the terrors of the world to come, the glory of God, and the merits of the Savior. We might plead the promises, the covenant, the prophecies, and the long weary time of waiting before they are fulfilled; but it is a bright use of a gloomy fact when we can turn even the infidelity, the superstition, and the rebellion of man into an argument for the Lord’s interference: “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.” Thus we set our sail so as to use an adverse wind. We extract a reason for grace out of the reeking of iniquity.
We observe that many men now deny the inspiration of the Scriptures, and that is to make void the law of the Lord. Of what use is the Bible to us if it be not infallibly inspired of the Holy Spirit? An erring guide is as bad as none at all when a step may lead to ruin. If we have not the very mind of God in these pages, their essence, their authority, their life, their power are gone. Yet certain ministers, ay, ministers of Nonconformist churches, speak of the Bible as though it were in considerable portions of it blurred with mistakes, and by no means to be relied upon. They talk of “essential parts of the Old Testament,” as if other parts might be laid aside; and some of them set up the gospels above the epistles, as if the one Spirit had not dictated all the Word. It is grievous to hear divines undermining the foundations of the faith which they are supposed to preach. “0 Lord, we turn from these thine unfaithful servants to thyself, and cry,’ Do thou prove the Scriptures, fulfill the promises, and put power into the teaching of the cross, so that men may be compelled to own that thy law is not void, but that the Scripture cannot be broken.’” Thirty years ago or more John Angell James snide” Infidelity was never more subtle, more hurtful, more plausible, perhaps more successful, than in the day in which we live. It has left the low grounds of vulgarity and coarseness and ribaldry, and entrenched itself upon the lofty heights of criticism, philology, and even science itself. It pervades to a fearful extent our popular literature; it has invested itself with the charms of poetry, to throw its spell over the public mind; it has endeavored to enweave itself with science; and he must be little acquainted with the state of opinion in this land, who does not know that it is espoused by a large portion of the cultivated mind of this generation. ‘ It is time for thee, Lord, to work.’” The statement is even more true at this hour, for still “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty are chosen.” Let our prayers increase in fervor as we implore that “philosophy, falsely so called,” may not be allowed to poison the springs of gospel teaching.
Certain bold spirits make void the law of God in a very dreadful way by tea ching a code of morals and a system of ethics contrary lo the Word of God. Laws as to property are freely assailed, as if the Lord had never said, “Thou shalt not covet.” Killing is thought to be no murder if it is performed upon an enormous scale. The sacred chastities which give sacredness to family institutions are abused, and an attempt is made to exalt lust into the place which is due only to conjugal affection; indeed, there are filthy pens which dare to write of the marriage bond as if it were a chain and a curse.
Lewd tongues attack all laws by which the social fabric is held together; the Sabbath is ridiculed, and the honoring of parents is considered out of date. Images are set up in places of worship, and material objects are publicly adored, as if this had not been most positively forbidden by the Lord of all. If it were not that the Lord of hosts has left unto us a small remnant, we should long ere this have been as Sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrah. Politically we should before now have shot over our national Niagara into anarchy and abomination; and we should have seen in London all the horrors of the French Revolution if it had not been for the godly who leaven the mass. How dreadful it must have been to have lived in Paris when all the foundations of society were loosed; when religion was debased into the worship of the goddess of reason; when virtue was regarded as vice, and vice as virtue! Ere it comes to that dreadful pass, be it ours to cry out unto the Lord — “It is time for thee to work.” Surely it is now needful for the Lord to vindicate his holy law when loud-mouthed blasphemers criticize their Savior, censure their God, and propose to overturn from its base the pillar of society. They not only make their own lives void of morality, but they labor to make void the law itself, that no one may regard it. As Caryl says, they act “as if they would not only sin against the Law, but sin away the Law; not only withdraw themselves from the obedience of it, but drive it out of the world; they would make void and repeal the holy acts of God, that their own wicked acts might not be questioned; and lest the Law should have a power to punish them, they will deny it a power to rule them.”
Another order of men are active and earnest in attacking the law of God from another side by multiplying rites and exalting ceremonies into a place which they should never usurp. Of these I may say for the most part, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” “They have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” They make void the law of God through their traditions. Being in all things too superstitious, they destroy the worship of God by their will-worship. To support their own invented rites and ceremonies they give us interpretations which becloud the gospel, and afford cover for priestcraft, monkery, Mariolatry, and image-worship.
Sometimes these persons are called Papists, at other times Ritualists, and in many cases it is extremely difficult to see the slightest distinction: they are two apples from the same tree. Remember that to worship God otherwise than he has ordained is a sin which makes void his law. We are not really serving God at all if we presume to do it in our own way rather than in his way. To present to God “the unbloody sacrifice of the mass,” is to dishonor the one sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. To worship Mary is to offend Jehovah. To bow before a crucifix is to commit idolatry under pretense of reverence. Superstition is as real an adversary to the truth as skepticism itself, and it ultimately leads to irreligion. Idolatry conducts men to atheism, and superstition lands them in infidelity. Now that we see Anglican Popery covering our land with its altars, we may well cry, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.” Plead with God whenever you meet with either Rationalism or Ritualism, that he would graciously stretch out his hand and get to his pure word the victory!
I find that, upon the passage before us, I have written in my “Treasury of David” as follows: — “‘It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.’ David was a servant, and therefore it was always his time to work; but being oppressed by a sight of man’s ungodly behavior, he feels that his Master’s hand is wanted, and therefore he appeals to him to work against the working of evil. Men make void the law of God by denying it to be his law, by promulgating commands and doctrines in opposition to it, by setting up tradition in its place, or by utterly disregarding and scorning the authority of the Lawgiver. When sin becomes fashionable, a holy walk is regarded as a contemptible Puritanism; vice is styled pleasure, and vanity bears the bell. Then the saints sigh for the presence and power of their God. Oh for an hour of the King upon his throne, wielding the rod of iron! Oh for another Pentecost, with all its wonders, to reveal the energy of God to gainsayers, and make them see that there is a God in Israel! Man’s extremity, whether of need or sin, is God’s opportunity. When the earth was without form and void, the Spirit came and moved upon the face of the waters: should he not come when society is returning to a like chaos? When Israel in Egypt was reduced to the lowest point, and it seemed that the covenant would be void, then Moses appeared and wrought mighty miracles; so, too, when the church of God is trampled down, and her message is derided, we may expect to see the hand of the Lord stretched out for the revival of religion, the defense of the truth, and the glorifying of the divine name. The Lord can work either by judgments which hurl down the ramparts of the foe, or by revivals which build up the walls of his own Jerusalem. How heartily may we pray the Lord to raise up new evangelists, to quicken those we already have, to set his whole church on fire, and to bring the world to his feet.”
Thus, dear friends, you see how the prominence of evil can be made to quicken us in supplication. Every sin may be used as a plea in prayer. If we were in a right state of mind, every time we heard a man swear in the street we should at once pray, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.” Every time we took up a newspaper, and our eye glanced upon a police case, we should pray in like manner. Every time we saw sin in our neighbors, or in our families, or felt its working in ourselves, we should cry out to God, “Lord, sin is at work, be thou at work; sin is hardening, sin is defiling; come, Lord, and work with all the softening and quickening processes of thy blessed Spirit, with all the purifying power of the water and of the blood, and so undo the evil working of the world, the flesh, and the devil. 0 Lord, meet energy with energy, meet fire with fire; and let thy Son, the seed of the woman, meet the seed of the serpent, and destroy all the works of the devil.”
Thus, you see that good arguments for prayer may be raked up among the stubble of sin. As the Greenlanders find their wood washed up by the sea, so let us find fuel for the fire of our earnestness borne to us by the troubled sea of human wickedness. Brethren, let us wrestle in prayer, using this plea. Before we do so, let us distill a song from it, and sing a part of the twelfth psalm: — “Lord, when iniquities abound, And blasphemy grows bold, When faith is hardly to be found, And love is waxing cold, “Is not thy chariot hastening on?
Hast thou not given this sign?
May we not trust and live upon A promise so divine? “‘ Yes, ’ saith the Lord, ‘ now will I rise, And make oppressors flee; I shall appear to their surprise, And set my servants free. ’” C. H. Spurgeon ’s Prayers PREPARING THESERMON.BY C. H. SPURGEON.
AYOUNG man inquired of a certain preacher how long it had taken him to prepare the discourse, which he had just delivered. The youth learned that only two hours had been actually spent in its elaboration; and he was fool enough to draw the inference that two hours would be quite long enough for himself to spend in studying a sermon. “It is all that the celebrated Mr. — — takes, and therefore it is all that I require.” Vain boasting! The ox has drank up one pool, and the frog is about to drink another. The foolish inference of the juvenile divine reminds us of the story of the Spanish sculptor who executed a statue for a wealthy gentleman in twenty-five days. The astonished purchaser proposed to pay him by the day, to which proposal the artist answered, “What! Do you not know that I worked hard for twenty-five years to learn how to make that statue in twenty-five days?” The sculptor had justice upon his side: the wealthy man’s proposal was absurd. If we probe to the bottom of the matter, we shall come to the conclusion that the artist had spent twenty-five years plus twenty-five days in making that statue. The same rule holds good with regard to discourses which are rapidly prepared, and are worth anything. The preacher has been a student for many years; he has practiced sacred oratory for half a lifetime; he has reached perspicuity of thought, fullness of teaching, and clearness of language by a lengthened and arduous process, and therefore we might fairly say that it took him two hours plus half a lifetime to prepare his sermon. He who fancies that he can throw off the same kind of productions, though he has never undergone the previous training, is a simpleton of the largest size.
A husbandman has occupied many months in digging a well, and at considerable expense he has fitted excellent machinery to it. By the lifting of a handle he fills a bucket in half a minute. Another person, who has no such well, but simply stands upon his farm, fancies that he also can procure water from the earth beneath him in a few moments. tie is at once considered to be a proper inmate for a lunatic asylum. The young gentleman, of whom we have been speaking, may not be hastily clapped up among the mentally-diseased, but his inference is altogether as insane. A poet, in an inspired hour, may compose a work of surpassing excellence, for he is a man of intellect and culture; but the versifier who should attempt the same feat would succeed only in producing a wearisome rhyme, and in setting himself up as a laughingstock. “I threw this off in ten minutes,” softly said the poet, placing the manuscript on the editorial table. The editor said that when it came to speed no long-haired poet should distance him; and he threw it off in less than ten seconds-off the table into the waste-paper basket. “I prepared that sermon,” said a young sprig of divinity. “in half an hour, and preached it at once, and thought nothing of it.” “In that,” said an older and wiser clergyman, “your hearers are at one with you, for they also thought nothing of it.” A man cannot shake off sermons as a tree sheds its leaves. That which comes from a man’s mind without thought and research is comparable to that which comes of ground without ploughing or sowing. Words without thought are in no respect better than weeds.
Let the young preacher believe that study and thought are essential to his success. Let him depend upon the Holy Spirit for help; but let him not dream that the Spirit of God will minister to his idleness. The divine Spirit helps us to will and to do, not to wish and to do nothing. If the preacher shall go up and down all the week, wasting his time, and neglecting his books, and then shall go into his study on Saturday evening expecting to be suddenly filled with holy matter, he will be mistaken. The trifler will find that he has grieved the Spirit by his indolence, and that he is left on the Sabbath to vent his nimble nonsense, or to wander through a wilderness, seeking rest and finding none. This is the cause of much of that incoherent discoursing of which Cowper sings- Digression is so much in modern use Thought is so rare, and fancy so profuse, Some never seem so wide of their intent As when returning to the theme they meant; As mendicants, whose business is to roam, Make every parish but their own their home. ” God is not mocked: if the man has sown nothing in the study he will reap nothing in the pulpit. If there is one employment which, beyond every other, demands the concentration of every power and faculty, it is the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the best work under heaven; perhaps in heaven itself there is none nobler; and it ought to be performed with the full energy of our entire manhood when it is elevated to its highest pitch. Poor preaching has driven the poor from preaching. Vapid discoursing lies at the bottom of the indifference of the working classes to the house of God. If they had been interested they would have continued to attend; but much of the preaching they have never been able to understand, and much more of it was worth nothing when they did understand it. Who that is free to do as he wills, and feels no religious obligation upon him, would go and sit Sabbath after Sabbath, to hear the same platitudes repeated ad nauseam, and repeated so dreamily that an irresistible impulse to sleep falls upon the auditor? God has not made the Sabbath to be a day of doing penance, but some of God’s servants have made it so; and the penance which they set before their hearers is one which no priest of the Romish church’ would have had the cruelty to appoint. When I have nothing to say I ought to say it to myself; but to get a number of people together, under a sense of religious duty, and compel them to sit for threequarters of an hour to hear me say nothing in an extremely doleful or flippant manner, is a barbarity which the Spanish Inquisition has scarcely ever excelled. You, young sir, may be allowed to compose a sermon in two hours when it turns out to be such that it will be remembered for two centuries: but not till then.
We have now made definite arrangements with regard to the cleaning of the Tabernacle, so far as mortal man may arrange for the future. The building will be closed during the whole of August. On Sundays we shall assemble in Exeter Hall, and we hope that many who have not been over to the Tabernacle will join our worship at the Hall. A few special tickets will be issued, but as the Hail is only hale as capacious as the Tabernacles we shall have to issue them with discretion. The Pastor will be absent on July 22, but he will (D.V.) preach in the Tabernacle all the other Sundays in Julys including the 29th, when the great monthly communion service will be held in the evening instead of on August 5. We hope to return to the Tabernacle on September 2.
The transmission of our Sunday morning sermons by the Atlantic Telegraph Cable to New York and their publication in many of the leading American daily papers every Monday morning are among the most remarkable signs of the times in which we live. We had nothing whatever to do with the arrangements, and have not even been consulted upon the matter, so that we are not at all responsible for any extra Sunday labor that may be caused. We may add that we do not guarantee the accuracy of the reports of our discourses. Those that we have at present seen are far from correct, but what else could be expected considering the hurry with which the whole thing has to be done, and the double — if not treble — transmission by telegraph? A friend who has been in the United States lately was informed by the editor of one of the leading papers that not less than a million copies of the reported sermon would be printed every week.
We cannot tell how long our enterprising cousins across the water will continue the experiments but meanwhile we are glad of the opportunity of preaching to such enormous numbers on both sides of the Atlantic, and we pray that the word as it is heard in the Tabernacle, or read in America, may have living power over many souls.
It-was a pleasing sight on the Sunday after the opening of the Fisheries Exhibition to see the fishermen come down in such numbers to the Tabernacle; it was better still to hear their voices at the early prayermeeting both in holy pleading and praising. They made quite a feature in the morning gathering. God bless the brave fellows!
By the way, do all our friends know that there is always a prayer-meeting at the Tabernacle on Saturday evening at 7.30, another on Sabbath morning at seven, a third at ten, and a fourth at eight p m.? Besides these there are the meetings for prayer connected with the schools, and the various classes and societies. The Scripture speaks of “salt without prescribing how much,” and the same applies to prayer: we cannot have too much of it.
In answer to inquiries about the Flower Mission we would say, direct your parcels of flowers to Miss Higgs, Metropolitan Tabernacle, and take care that they arrive early on Wednesday morning. The more the merrier. What a joy a flower is in a London infirmary! Do not send flowers after they have been faded in a so-called flower-service; they are only so much rubbish. Better put them on your own dust-heap.
On Friday evening, June l, the annual meeting of the METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE MEN’ S BIBLE-CLASS was held in the lecture-hall. Addresses were delivered by Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, who presided; by Mr. J.T. Dunn, the president of the class; and by many of the earnest young brethren. The secretary, Mr. Hudson, reported that there were members on the roll of the class, the average attendance being about one hundred. The treasurer, Mr. Boulter, in the name of all his brethren, presented to the Pastor £12 for the College, and £31 for the Indian Evangelists’ Fund, these amounts having been subscribed by the members during the year: besides which, they had helped their sick and needy members. The time of the class is not wasted with discussions which are worse than useless, but every meeting is, as far as possible, turned to the use of soul-winning and Christian training. One brother stands in the street outside, and persuades strangers to come in.
On Friday evening, June 8, the fourteenth annual meeting of the
METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE COUNTRY MISSION was held in the lecturehall, Pastor C. H. Spurgeon in the chair. The secretary, Mr. Goldston, reported the present condition of the work at North Cheam, Teddington, Southgate, Bell Green, Bedfont and Hatton, and Shoreham; and the prospects of new missions in other directions. The treasurer, Mr. Hayward, stated that the year’s receipts of the Mission had been £144, and the payments £154. Addresses were delivered y the chairman; by Mr. Bowker, the venerable president of the Mission, and by several of the preachers.
This earnest and useful little society has need of more men who are qualified to preach the gospel in the country districts around the metropolis, and it also requires larger means. If money were forthcoming stations might at once be opened in several suburban districts where there is scarcely any true teaching. Fields are disappearing, houses are springing up as fast as Jonah’s gourd, whole towns are created in a few months, and if we were rich enough we could provide the people with houses of prayer at once, and so catch them before they acquire the evil habit of loafing about at home on the Sabbath. Our two societies are adapted for great ends if they were not crippled by lack of cash: Mr. Elvin’s Evangelists occupy London itself, and Mr. Bowker’s preachers hunt further afield in the suburban villages. A great deal of preaching is done, and no expense is incurred except for rent, traveling, lamps, etc. Such work deserves that some wealthy brother should water it with a little gold-water, and make it grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Meanwhile we invoke upon it showers of divine grace. Plentifully may they fall. Friends who are good enough to leave a portion of their donations to be used at our discretion often render us great service by enabling us to help these less known parts of our work for the Lord.
On Sunday evening, June 10, the seat-holders at the Tabernacle staid away to allow strangers to be present. The building was quite crowded with a most miscellaneous congregation, some of whom will, we believe, eternally bless the Lord that they were present. Our scouts brought us in tidings of wounded ones. We are longing for more. Would all friends who were decided by grace during that evening’s service kindly let us know of it?
Such encouraging information would be to our great joy. We have daily letters mentioning the printed sermons as cheering saints and impressing sinners, but of these extra services and free quarterly gatherings we have not yet personally seen the result.
Monday, June 18, was, we believe, generally observed as a day of special prayer by the churches connected with the College Conference. At the Tabernacle we had special meetings at seven o’clock in the morning, and six in the evening; and at the usual meeting at seven we specially remembered in prayer the whole of our holy brotherhood, and not only our own brethren but all ministers and missionaries everywhere. We trust that wherever the meetings were held there was an earnest of coming blessing.
Oh that Zion’s travail would come, for then should we see her children.
TREASURY OF DAVID.
— We are persuaded that many of our friends are unaware that Volume VI. of this gigantic work is to be purchased. It contains Psalm 119. and five other psalms. We are proceeding steadily with Volume VII., with which our happy labors upon the Psalms will come. Caution to Donors. — Friends occasionally write to complain that their contributions have not been acknowledged. We usually find that the amount is in the list, or that it has been received just after the fourteenth of the month, when the accounts for the Sword and Trowel are sent to the printers. In one case that we have recently traced., a letter was lost, or stolen, in transmission through the post, and as the postal orders contained in it were not filled up the thief was able to get the cash for them. This result could always be avoided if friends would make Post Office and Postal Orders payable at the General Post Office, to C. H. Spurgeon, and cross them. They could then only be paid through a banker. Cheques Should always be crossed, and coin and notes should invariably be registered.
— Mr. E.G. Evans, formerly of Belfast, has gone to East London, Cape Colony, to try to form a Baptist Church. The prospects are encouraging.
Mr. C. B. Berry, after five years of happy work in Jamaica, is obliged, for his health’s sake, to return to England. He is coming back this month, to resume his pastorate of the church at Cullingworth, Bingley, Yorks.
Mr. W. G. Hailstone has removed from Birmingham to Falmouth. May the Lord greatly bless this beloved brother. Several worthy brethren are wishing for changes, and we shall be right glad to hear from churches seeking pastors.
The students are now away for their summer vacation. We have selected as many fresh men as we feel we ought to receive in August, so that it will be useless for any other candidates to apply before next year. Our number has been much reduced for some time to enable brethren who are without pastorates to avail themselves of openings.
EVANGELISTS. — Pastor W. F. Harris thus writes of Messrs. Smith and Fullerton’s services at Chesterfield. “I speak for all the ministers, I think, when I say that we are devoutly thankful that Messrs. Fullerton and Smith were led to come to us, and none of our churches are without evident blessing. The mission united Congregationalists, Methodists of every type, Baptists, and Friends; and every place of worship here, Conformist as well as Nonconformist, has benefited thereby. It is many years since such large congregations gathered to listen to the gospel, and, I may add, many years since they heard it preached so fully, forcefully, and fervently as Mr. Fullerton preaches it. Mr. Smith’s sweet singing and racy speaking secure an entrance into hearts otherwise closed; and I cannot conceive of their visiting any place, and not leaving it the better for their earnest and faithful work.” Very similar testimony is borne by Pastor notes.
J. J. Irving concerning the Evangelists’ visit to Maidenhead from May to June 3.
Our brethren are now taking their summer rest. They begin work again next month in North-east Lancashire. Both the Baptist and Congregational ministers at Poole send us cheering accounts of Mr. Burnham’s services.
The two churches united in the invitation to our brother, and they appear to have shared the blessing equally between them. The tent-services at Worthing during the past month have been a great success. Mr. Burnham was happy in having the help of Pastors T. Perry, of Lordship Lane, C.D. Crouch, of Shoreham, and other friends on the spot.
Mr. Frank Russell has been holding services at Southport, in connection with Pastor G. H. Carr. He has now nearly sufficient engagements to last him until the end of the year, but we would like to see all unoccupied days allotted. Direct to F. Russell, 33, Wyndham Street, Bryanston Square.
— The annual fete in celebration of the President’s birthday, June 19, was a great success. Contributions began to come in from all quarters, far and near, some days before the 19th, and on the day itself our postman found his bag heavier than ever. It is quite impossible to convey any true idea of the loads of love that poured in with the help for the Orphanage. Contributions, whether large or small, came in with such hearty good wishes that the gifts seemed all wrapt up in holy love. The afternoon ceremony passed off exceedingly well. Samuel Money, Esq.
M.P., and Jas. Duncan, Esq., laid the memorial stones of the new house for the head-master and the offices for the board and staff, and they, together with the President and the Rev. Burman Cassin, briefly addressed the company in the afternoon. A large number of friends availed themselves of the opportunity of visiting our Collection of Pictures of the Reformation which during the day were seen by upwards of 1000 persons. We should be glad to have this Collection of engravings, etc., exhibited in many suitable schoolrooms so that the Orphanage might be helped and Protestant principles at the same time spread abroad. Friends may write us about this matter.
In the evening a great public meeting was held in the grounds. Several thousands gathered around the platform, from which addresses were delivered by the President, Vice-President, the Revs. Canon Hussey, Joseph Parker. D.D., Hugh Price Hughes. M.A., Charles Spurgeon, J.M. Smith, and Dr. Barnardo. We are not able to tell the exact financial result of the day’s proceedings, but the Institution will, we think, be benefited at least £1400, besides what our friend Mr. Morley will give. Friends will please notice that the Sword and Trowel lists are made up on the fourteenth of the month, so that contributions received after to an end. Our own impression is that Volume VI. is the best yet issued that date cannot be acknowledged before the August number: then we shall have a long list indeed. Thanks, ten thousand times repeated, to all our generous helpers.
God bless them all! others who are considering what they ought to do are thanked in prospect of their liberal devisings. Please read the Report at the end of the magazine.
— We are encouraged by friends in two fresh districts applying for colporteurs, and our agents will commence work almost immediately, one in the neighborhood of Cosham, Hants, the other at Great Totham, Essex. The Association is anxious to have at least 100 men at work. This could be accomplished if thirty other friends would each guarantee £40 a year for an additional District. The work of the colporteur is a valuable home-mission agency, with the advantage of being economical and efficient. The profit on the sales enables the Association to send a man for the small sum of £40 a year. In most cases the colporteur is a real helper to existing agencies. He assists the ministry by hunting up those who are “ignorant and out of the way,” and by holding gospel services in cottages and out-of-the-way places. Sun-day-schools and Bands of Hope, too, are strengthened and assisted both by the personal services of the colporteurs and the good books and periodicals disseminated by them. The importance of having a Christian man constantly going from door to door with Bibles and gospel books is of great importance as a means of guiding aright the young who are being educated and will read something, good or bad. Good books are greatly needed as an antidote to the injurious periodicals which are being circulated everywhere.
The, following letter, recently received from Brentford, is very encouraging. “Dear Sir, — Having read in the April Sword and Trowel an account of ‘Cottage Work in a provincial town,’ I thought you would like to hear what is being done by our colporteur, Mr. H. Meats, in this dark place. Mr. Meats is holding weekly two prayer-meetings, one at my house, the other at other cottages, often at Mr. G.’s, where the good man has kept his bed for months, and the service is held in the same room, which will hold forty or fifty adults. Mr. M.’s labors have been very much blessed at another cottage Mrs.— , after some weeks, got her husband to consent to the meetings being held there, and through them Mrs. in — has come out boldly for the Lord, and one of her sons could hold out no longer, but was obliged to confess the Lord Jesus. In another case, a son of godly parents has found peace in believing, and is now praying for others, at which we all rejoice. The meetings in my house are much blessed, and at the one last Tuesday week, my eldest daughter came boldly out for the Lord, which made us all weep for very joy, for now three out of our seven children are on the Lord’s side.”
Another colporteur, who was compelled through disease to enter a hospital, was made useful to the conversion of the matron. After he had left she wrote to him: — “I do most sincerely thank God that you came to this place to be the means of bringing me out of darkness into light, and now that I am going to ‘ Home, sweet home!’ for an indefinite period, with both colors nailed to the mast, I feel constrained to tell you that, with God’s blessing, they sham never be hauled down.”
The last Annual Report, full of interesting particulars, will be gladly sent on application to the Secretary, also full information about the appointment of colporteurs. Ad-dress — W. Corden JONES, Colportage Association, Temple-street, St. George’s-road, London, S.E.
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle.-May 24, seventeen; May 31, twelve.
THE STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE FOR BOYS AND GIRLS Applications for the admission of destitute Fatherless Children, between the ages of six and ten, should be addressed in writing to the Secretary, and full particulars given. As the number of candidates is largely in excess of the accommodation, the Trustees may decline to issue a form; for it would be useless to cause trouble when there is no prospect of success. If a form be granted, it must not be regarded as a guarantee that the application will succeed.
The questions must be fully and frankly answered by the applicant, and the form returned as soon as possible. The slightest untruthfulness will necessitate the immediate rejection of the case. Unhealthy, deformed, and imbecile children are not eligible. Only children born in wedlock can be received. Under no possible circumstances can exceptions be made to this rule, as the trust is definite and unalterable.
If the case is entered on the list of approved candidates, the Trustees appoint a visitor to make personal inquiries. Should these be satisfactory, the child will appear before the Committee in due course, and if it is then among the most needy and deserving, it may be recommended for admission to the Institution, as soon as there is room.
Friends who are only acquainted with the case in which they are specially interested must not be surprised at its rejection by the Trustees at any stage if it is proved by them to be less necessitous than others; nor must they wonder if the child is declined because of unsuitability, for the Institution is not a Hospital, nor a Reformatory, nor an Idiot Asylum. The election of children not being determined by subscribers’ votes, the Trustees maintain the strictest impartiality while considering the claims of the various applicants, and the greatest need always has the loudest voice with them.
Applicants are requested not to call upon the Trustees privately, as they are bound not to attend to them otherwise than officially. Cases will be considered on their own merits, and they will derive no advantage from personal solicitation. Mr. Spurgeon cannot personally see any applicants, and should not be written to. All letters on this business must be addressed to the Secretary.
The Institution is mainly supported by spontaneous gifts, a number of donors sending as regularly, year by year, as if they were pledged to do so.
An increase to the number of subscribers would greatly cheer the President’s heart. Now that girls as well as boys have to be fed, clothed, and educated, the income needs to be doubled. Will not the reader of this Report become a helper? Subscriptions, large or small, will be gratefully received by C. H. SPURGEON, Westwood, Beulah Hill, Upper Norwood, S.E. Collecting Boxes or Books may be obtained of the Secretary, Stockwell Orphanage. Gifts of Food, Stores, clothes, Books, Toys, and useful articles are always welcome, and should be directed to VERNON J. CHARLESWORTH, Head Master, The Orphanage, Stockwell, London, S.W. note. — Letters requiring an answer should contain a stamped directed envelope.
During the past year the Trustees of the Stockwell Orphanage have pursued their work with all diligence upon the original lines. The President and Trustees sought from the first to relieve the worst cases, and therefore they abolished canvassing and polling, in order that the widows might not be put to the large expense incurred in a confer. We feared that those children who had the most friends would in all probability gain the most votes, and thus the neediest would go to the wall We pledged ourselves to the public and to one another to use our best endeavors to make the Orphanage the means of relieving want, and a place for training youth in the fear of the Lord. The children were divided into families, and instead of military discipline, domestic tale was established. The use of any uniform was also carefully avoided, and the children were dressed in various ways, so as to prevent the look of pauperism. We tried to let the boys and girls be free, happy, individual beings, and not fractions of an institution. Above all, we desired to ‘keep up a high moral and religious tone. Our experience leads us to feel that we are on the right tack, and we are more than ever resolved to go a-head in the same direction. We hope to develop, but not to deviate; we shall remain the same, but we shall not stagnate.
During the year we have had a large number of applications for the admission of both boys and girls, and of course we have had to refuse · very many. We hope our friends will not be angry when the cases recommended by them are declined. In their judgment, and probably as a matter of fact, the children in whom they are interested are really destitute, and the mothers are highly deserving; but when we have only one vacancy for three or four or even more candidates, some must be excluded; and it may so happen that there is a still more destitute child and a still more needy widow than the one which our friends would select, and that case will have the preference. We are therefore compelled to set aside scores, or even hundreds, whom we should have been right glad to admit, because they have not attained to that preeminence in misery which wins our suffrages. Till someone will invent expanding houses, and show us how to make a pound grow into forty shillings, when there is need for it, we fear it will always be our sorrow to have to turn many deserving applicants from our door.
It would greatly pain the hearts of our subscribers if they could hear only a few of the stories of the bereaved women who appeal to us. Often sickly themselves, altogether without business capacity, grieving for the loss of their husbands, and having half-a-dozen or more children tugging at their skirts, they are true objects of Christian sympathy. When we can take one of their children they are overjoyed, although they still have more than enough to provide for. We have seen them slave and toil, and almost starve themselves, that they might feed their little ones; and somehow or other they succeed beyond all that we could expect, till we have often held up our hands in astonishment at the way in which the Lord has appeared for the help of the widow and the fatherless. The relief afforded by our taking one child has often inspired a poor woman with hope, given her a little breathing-space, and enabled her to accomplish the difficult task which still remained. Often have our hearts been filled to overflowing with mingled emotions of sympathetic sorrow and sincere joy; sorrow for the trouble which still remained, and joy that we had been able to lighten the lead, at least by an ounce or two. Frequently have we had to see the hand of the Lord helping choice saints by means of our Institution. Are there not thousands who will share our burden and our blessing? Will not our reader continue to do so?
In our records of the year which is past we have to write the score of a mingled song, and touch our harp to varying notes while we sing of mercy and of judgment. The year 1883 opened with stroke upon stroke of affliction to the Orphanage in the loss of two of its first Trustees. Mr. William Higgs had from the first taken the deepest interest in the work. He had watched the building, stone by stone. He had been diligent in the work of visiting the applicants, attending Committees, and caring for the fabric; and of late years he had been the Treasurer of the Institution, to which he devoted a large part of his time. His judgment was as one of the wise men of old, and his knowledge upon all practical matters was admitted by his brethren to be invaluable. It seemed to us that he was absolutely necessary to our work, but the Lord removed him, to our deepest sorrow. It is not possible, in the brief compass of this report, if possible at all, to set forth what the Institution owed to him; for by day and by night he carried it on his heart, and consecrated to it his judgment, his time, and his substance.
He had already given largely to it in his lifetime, that he might be his own executor, but, to our surprise, after his death, we found that he had left the substantial sum of £500 as a last love-token. It is a sweet solace to us that. the name of William Higgs is still upon the roll of the Trustees, for the eldest son of our beloved friend, although immersed in the cares of a large business, has nevertheless consented to take his father’s place upon the Board. The President blesses the Lord for this, but he still misses every hair of the head of the well-beloved father who has gone to his rest.
Within a few days after the decease of our lamented brother Higgs we were all called upon to sorrow over the loss of another of the Trustees, our friend Mr. William MILLS, a man of quiet, serene, and gentle spirit, with whom it was a great pleasure to be associated. Whenever called upon to serve the Institution, he was ready to do so to the utmost of his power. He did his part of the work very unobtrusively, ministering to the harmony of the brotherhood and adding to its strength. This second blow renewed our grief; but again we have with gratitude to record that the gap thus made in our ranks has been filled by the willing service of Mr. James Stiff, who lives close to the Orphanage, and has most heartily thrown himself into its work. We can never forget the two dear departed friends, whose loss is the heaviest we have yet sustained. The President feels that their names are interwoven with his own, and that his life-work could not have been what it has been, speaking after the manner of men, if these brethren had not been at his side as deacons, trustees, and brothers. May those who now fill their places be helped of God to do an equal life-work.
Here we think it meet to record the death of our esteemed sister, Miss Hannah MOORE. In the last Report we mentioned that she had gone to Canada. We trusted that it would be for the recovery of her health, and we were greatly distressed to receive, soon after she landed, the information that she had suddenly died. She had been an invaluable helper in the Institution in former days, and it had been the President’s hope that she would take a leading position in the Girls’ department, but she gradually declined in vigor and in spirits, so that all idea of her taking upon herself any great responsibility had to be given up. We little knew that she was suffering from heart-disease. This was afterwards discovered, upon a postmortem examination, by the Canadian coroner, who writes to us that “under any circumstances her life could only have been of very brief duration, owing to a condition of the heart, which had been gradually coming on for years.” She was a sweet Christian, and loved the work to which she had consecrated her life. It seems a mysterious part of the Divine plan that so devoted a woman should have been taken from us when her abilities were at their best. We feel much gratitude to all our faithful servants at the Orphanage, and when such a one as Miss Moore is removed by death we cannot pass it over as a small matter.
A very considerable number of the most faithful helpers of the Institution have also fallen on sleep during the past year. We do not like to mention any one, because we cannot mention all. Unbelief has been apt to cry, “What shall we do, when so many liberal supporters are removed?” But we have never been allowed to indulge such unjustifiable fears, for one after another the Lord’s stewards have been pushed forward by divine grace, and moved to care for the widow and the fatherless, and we have never been without abundant and willing helpers; neither shall we be, for the work is the Lord’s, and he will take care of it. A load of care would press most crushingly upon us if we did not feel that we were called to this labor of love, and that the honor of the Lord’s name is pledged to bear us through.
At the last annual fete the Infirmary for Girls was formally opened by Mr. and Mrs. Wood, to whom a silver key was presented as a memorial of their liberality in presenting £1,000 to the Institution. At the same time, the building which contains the play-hall for girls, and also a large swimmingbath, was opened by Pastor J. A. Spurgeon, whose invaluable services to the Institution right well deserved some public acknowledgment. By his continual watchfulness, together with the indefatigable labors of the other Trustees, the President is relieved of the details of the work, and is enabled to give his entire attention to his own department. The buildings thus opened have been of the utmost service to the children.
We have now accepted tenders for the erection of the Master’s house, rooms for the masters and others of the staff, and for the necessary business offices. This will set free that portion of the Girls’ Orphanage which is for the present necessarily occupied by the Master, and then we shall come nearer to our ordained number of 250 girls. When we reach to the number of 500 boys and girls we propose to make no further increase, for this is about as many as we can manage with all our other work. Quite enough, we think. We hope our friends will remember that even to do this we shall need increased help. That is a point which they will not forget — will they? ‘The mention of the Infirmary leads us to remark that the health of the children has been marvelously good; indeed, considering what they are, when they first come to us, and the fact that they frequently belong to consumptive families, it is astonishing what little sickness there has been among us. We lost no child by death during the year. We have, however, felt compelled to attend to the sanitary arrangements connected with the boys’ houses, which were pronounced by the proper authorities to be somewhat defective. This necessitated an outlay of £634 ls. 10d. We were also obliged to spend £627 9s. 4d. in putting the outside of the boys’ houses into thorough repair, as the red bricks were decayed in very many places. We were poor when the boys’ houses were built, and therefore studied economy, but now we have to suffer for it. The girls’ houses are built upon a more satisfactory scale, because generous friends have enabled us to do so.
Perhaps friends may like to see the Doctor’s Report. Here it is — “Mr. President and Gentlemen, — I have the pleasure to hand you my Report of the health of the inmates of the Boys’ and Girls’ Stockwell Orphanage, for the year ending 31st March, 1883. “The state of health and general freedom from sickness among so large a number of children and officers is a subject for congratulation. In regard to the children, coming as they do from a stock very frequently enfeebled by poverty and ill-health, one is prepared to expect some evidence of hereditary taint, and by the desire of the Trustees especial care has been taken to select as healthy admissions as circumstances will admit. The Orphanage, like other institutions, has not escaped a considerable number of febrile disorders, none of them grave in character; but, with improved sanitation, these difficulties have subsided. In the erection of new buildings, old drains have to be disturbed, and these become a fertile source of mischief. I think that, taking the Infirmary and Orphanage generally, we may invite comparison in regard to all the essential conditions of good health. “A frequent source of sickness in other establishments has had my earnest attention, and that is the milk supply; the more so from the fact that milk enters largely into my medical treatment, to the exclusion of wine or beer. I have for years made it a point in this and in a kindred institution to dispense almost entirely with stimulants, with the certain result of improved health, and the non-creation of a taste for one of the greatest curses of the nation. “One has considerable difficulty in the rejection of undesirable cases, in the face of entreaties from friends, but as a rule none but healthy cases are received. The appearance of the children will, I think, bear out this remark.
Ringworm, abscess, eruptions, chilblains are, like the poor, ‘always with us’; but the former is unavoidable where cases are admitted otherwise than at stated times in the year. It is a fact that a child is admitted sound, and after three months with good diet and hygiene, troubles will come on. The bath has proved a great boon, and is much appreciated. I have to acknowledge with grateful thanks the eminent value of our consulting staff, who are one and all ready to afford me every assistance, and to thank you, Mr. President and Gentlemen, for your uniform help in all matters relating to the welfare of the Orphanage. I am, Mr. President, your obedient servant, “WILLIAM SOPER, M.R.C.S.E., L.S.A., “307, CLAPHAM ROAD.”
We offer our profound thanks to the Most High, that we have not been vexed with any epidemic, nor visited with sore disease. No one can tell the trouble and anxiety that are brought upon a large institution by a widespread visitation of sickness; parents with large families can, however, form some idea of what it must be. Our best thanks are due to our Medical Officer, Dr. Soper, and also to those honorable gentlemen who have for so many years voluntarily discharged, without fee or reward, the offices of Hon. Consulting Physician, Hon. Consulting Surgeon, Hon. Consulting Ophthalmic Surgeon, and Hon. Dentist. The last gentleman has a curious record of an immense number of teeth stopped or extracted, which shows that his office is no sinecure. As the work is all for love, and nothing for reward, we trust that these gentlemen will receive a special blessing from the great Father of the fatherless.
In order to the more efficient management of the Girls’ Department, the Trustees have thought it wise to call in the assistance of a Ladies ’ Committee, by whose kindly observation and advice they hope to be better able to arrange for the comfort of that side of the establishment. A number of ladies, mostly the wives of the Trustees, very cheerfully accepted the duty, and we look for happy results therefrom.
A dear personal friend of the President has presented to the Orphanage a set of massive iron gates. We needed them, but did not like to go to the expense of buying them. A hint to this generous soul was sufficient to procure them.
Mr. Ross, of the Horse Shoe Iron Wharf, Old Kent Road, greatly delighted the children by inviting them to a strawberry feast last summer. The President took the chair, and a singular spectacle greeted his eye. Never did children’s eyes behold a more sumptuous feast, and never was a host more delighted with his guests than was Mr. Ross. He speaks of doing the same thing on a grander scale at the Orphanage itself, where there will be ampler space than upon his wharf. Mr. Ross frequently makes us presents, and we are deeply grateful to him.
We would here give a hint to our friends that gifts of goods and clothing, such as they trade in, would be very acceptable. Sometimes a person can spare material who could not give actual cash. Food, clothing, toys, fuel, furniture, books, and all other useful articles can be used on the premises, and fancy goods can be sold at the annual sale. All is grist which comes to this mill. Our motto is: “All contributions thankfully received.”
The finances of an Institution which does not cultivate annual subscribers, but depends upon the spontaneous gifts of gracious men and women, may be thought to be very uncertain. There seems to be something most substantial about a long list of donors, who may be waited upon by a collector at certain times, and who may be expected to subscribe regularly; yet we observe that several such institutions have been advertising their distresses, and pleading most piteously for help. We have neither advertised, nor needed to do so. God’s providence is our inheritance, and it is the surest income under heaven. On looking over the, Balance-sheet we are a little inclined to remark that the contributions to the general fund for the maintenance of both boys and girls might, with great advantage, be increased. Bequests — at least, in part — should be laid by, and not spent all at once. The intention of friends who leave us legacies frequently is that thereby they may supply the lack occasioned by their decease; they have been accustomed to help us, and they wish to leave us a sum which will bring in the same amount. Now, if this is all expended in one year, their design is not fulfilled. In managing the Lord’s money there should be as much prudence as if there were no faith. We feel bound, therefore, to ask attention from our friends to the matter of giving to the orphans while they live. However, even on this point we are not pressing. Let those who give, give liberally, freely, heartily, spontaneously. If they do not give in that way, we certainly shall not go round, after the manner of a tax-gatherer, and extort from them an unwilling toll. It has been said that fish were never offered upon the altar of Jehovah, because they could not come there alive.
We desire gifts for the Lord that come to him on their own feet, not such as are borne there without the exercise of a will graciously made free.
Our Educational arrangements are the same as in former years, the object being to impart a sound useful and religious education. For the girls we provide a plain education, and we hope to fit them for house duties, so that they may be prepared for their future lives. Their s pecial vocation must in a large measure be left to their mothers, but our view is to fit them for domestic service in good families.
Family worship is conducted twice daily; the Word of God is read and expounded, hymns are sung, and prayer is offered, and the children repeat a text selected for the day. A service is conducted for the elder boys every Wednesday evening, by Mr. W. J. Evans, when addresses are given by ministers and other friends.
On the Lord’s-day morning the elder children attend public service, and a suitable service is conducted for the rest at the Orphanage by Messrs.
Bartlett and Daniels. A Sunday-school is held in the afternoon, superintended by Mr. W. J. Evans, when a staff of volunteer teachers instruct the children in the Scriptures. Mr. C. Carpenter presides over the Evening Service. Most of these good friends, who labor with commendable zeal to win the children to Christ, have been connected with the Institution from its commencement. By these arrangements the masters and matrons, who are with the children all the week:, find a welcome relief, while the influence of earnest helpers from without is of the most salutary kind.
Children who give evidence of a change of heart are formed into a “Young Christians’ Band.”
The admirable custom of making shirts for the boys has been con-tinned by the young ladies of an educational establishment, who have for many years helped us in ‘this manner, For this we return our best thanks. As this establishment is about to be closed, we wish that some other seminary or college would aspire to the vacant position.
Who will volunteer? These efforts have been supplemented by several Working Associations, Bible-classes, and individual ladies, both in town and country, but the supply is not yet sufficient, and we cordially invite the help of others, to whom we shall be glad to send samples and patterns.
Several Working Meetings have espoused the cause of the girls, and are making garments for their use. This year we have received from the Reading Young Ladies’ Working Party alone no less than 231 garments for the children,42 sheets, and seven pillow-cases. Thanks to the ladies of Reading! Thanks many and hearty! How grateful we should be if others would copy their example and keep the girls’ wardrobes replenished! Any garments suitable for girls between the ages of six and fifteen would be joyfully received.
From the Orphanage Acre at Waterbeach, under the skillful farming of Mr. Toller, we continue to receive a welcome supply of flour and potatoes. other friends have sent us a portion of their potato crops, and several millers have occasionally forwarded sacks of flour. Puddings and potatoes form important articles of diet, and we shall be glad if farmers will remember our orphans in “Seed time and harvest.” Such an offering of first-fruits will sanctify the whole crop. A good friend at Reading has dedicated a pear-tree to the Orphanage, and sends either the fruit or the money realized by its sale.
It would be impossible to enumerate all the presents sent by generous friends, but they are acknowledged every month in The Sword and the Trowel. We repeat our thanks to one and all. We are sorry when friends do not receive a prompt acknowledgment of their gifts, but in almost all instances where this has occurred, the donor has failed to send name and address with the parcel. Please therefore do us the following kindness: — Write in your plainest hand and put your name in the parcel, and then send a post-card or note to say that such a parcel is on the road, and contains such and such articles.
Friends can help us by becoming collectors. The President has a choice band of loving ones, who correspond with him personally, and send in substantial assistance. There are vacancies in this royal regiment, and early applications will be welcomed. Another fruitful method of aiding the Orphanage is the getting up of meetings, to which a choir of Orphan boys can be sent. The head master, with a company of lads, first-rate singers and reciters, has gone to town after town, and made the Orphanage known in a first-rate way. Friends have seen the boys, heard their harmonious voices, entertained them at their houses, subscribed to their expenses, and thus have become interested in them and in the Institution which shelters them.
The entertainment given by the boys is of a first-rate order, and is calculated to do moral and spiritual good. We have a team of bell-ringers, who add to the attraction of the singing, and help to charm the ears of the audience. In many towns a visit has been accepted as a great treat, and we have received most enthusiastic letters from those who carried out the arrangements; to all of whom we send warmest thanks. The amount realized during the year by this means, after paying all expenses, is £453 19s. 1d., but incidentally much more has been brought in. A friend who could work three or four adjacent towns for us would do us the utmost service. Mr. Charlesworth will be happy to supply all particulars. Ministers could thus assist the orphans without in the least degree injuring any home funds; indeed, the people might, by being stirred up to generosity in one direction, become all the more liberal in other matters. ‘With songs of gratitude we mention that EIGHT HUNDRED AND THIRTYSEVEN FATHERLESS CHILDREN have up to this date been admitted to the benefits of the Institution. What an amount of substantial benefit this represents! As we seldom take more than one of a family, we have thus aided nearly as many widows, and how many other fatherless children have thus indirectly been benefited the reader will be able to estimate.
Of the 48 boys who left, 43 were sent to situations; 4 returned to friends to be placed in situations; and 1 was dismissed on the remarriage of his mother. Most of our old boys are doing well; some are rising in the world, and we hope that in the future those who have prospered will substantially help their alma mater, and keep her well supplied.
We have no old girls yet. Will the term ever be proper? But as the girls grow up we hope our friends will take them, and treat them well, either as nursery-governesses or as domestic servants.
Total number received — 837.
Left — 472.
In residence — 365.
The first of the two following tables shows that the children come to us mainly from London; and this is very natural, for there the masses are found, and as they are at our doors they are most easily visited; but the second list proves that from numbers of provincial towns the destitute are sent to us. As the area of givers widens, so will that of receivers. When a number of subscribers in a town recommend a case, or when one generous donor does so, the Trustees always give due weight to the desire of their helpers, and, as far as may be consistent, admit their candidates.
With regard to the 79 admissions during the year, the following facts attest the impartiality of the Committee of Selection, and indicate the wide area over which the benevolent operations of the Institution are distributed: children were received from 29 parishes in London, and 35 from 31 towns in 14 counties. Of the 31 towns 20 are represented for the first time in the history of the Institution.
The Institution being open to ALL CLASSES of the community, the following table shows the wide range of its operations as to the parentage of the children: — Of the 79 received during the past year, 37 were children of parents belonging to classes who live by manual labor; 16 were the children of clerks, 21 of tradesmen and shopkeepers, and 5 were the children of professional gentlemen.
No preference is shown to the children of any one denomination, the Institution being non-sectarian in its objects. The supreme desire of the Managers is to train the children for Christ, to instruct them in the truths of our common Christianity, and to see them renewed in spirit by the Holy Ghost. Of the 79 received during the year, the following sections of the Christian Church were represented, as under: — Church of England, 39; Baptists, 20; Wesleyans, 6; Congregational, 5; Presbyterian, 2; not specified, 7.
The following table of the religious professions of the parents illustrates the catholicity of the Institution: — All sections of the Church and of the community are thus laid under obligation, and we gladly add that members of every communion contribute to the funds of the Institution. It would be a calamity to be deplored were theological differences allowed to mar so beneficent a work as that of assisting the widow and the fatherless. We minister not to ourselves, but to the poor and needy. The Lord accept our work of faith and labor of love. ‘Will not our friends like to read a small selection of notes from our Visitors ’ Book?
Hon. The Earl, Or Shaftesbury, K.G., writes: — “not only pleased, but delighted, and grateful to Almighty God.”
R.GLADDING, Esq., and the Clerk to the Guardians, Whitechapel Union, came as a Deputation, and said: — “These buildings seem to us to ‘be wisely designed, as it respects both economy and efficiency. We cannot but express our pleasure and satisfaction with what we have seen of the present condition and excellent management thereof.:” S. O.HABERSHON,ESQ., M.D., of London, writes: — “Exceedingly pleased with all that I have seen. May God’s blessing rest upon Mr. Spurgeon and his good work.”
We pray that our loving helpers may long be spared to share in our service of love; but as our heartiest wishes cannot preserve them from death, we trust they will not forget the orphans when they are distributing their estates. As it is most important to comply with legal conditions, in order to secure the validity of a legacy, we append the necessary form. Persons deviating from such form are likely to frustrate their own intentions, and no sane man would wish to do that. It cannot be too clearly understood that bequests of land or houses for charitable purposes are null and void. By forgetting this fact, friends have put the President to serious trouble. Those are wisest who are their own executors, and distribute their money in their own life-time; but; if this cannot be accomplished, friends should at least; make their wills, and see that they are legally drawn up and executed. FORM OFBEQUEST. I Give and Bequeath the sum of _____pounds sterling, to be paid out of that part of my personal estate which may by law be given with effect for charitable purposes, to be paid to the Treasurer for the time being of the Stockwell Orphanage, Clapham Road, Surrey, and Ms receipt shall be a sufficient discharge for the said legacy; and this legacy, when received by such Treasurer, to be applied for the general purposes of the Orphanage.