“WE SHALL GET HOME; WE SHALL GET HOME.”
A PRAYER-MEETING TALK, BY C. H.SPURGEON.
CONVERSING justnow with an elder of the church, I remarked that he must be somewhere about seventy-five, and he replied, “I am eighty-two.” “That,” I replied, “is a good old age.” “Yes,” said he, “it is”; and then he cheerfully nodded his head, and added, “We shall get home;
WE SHALL GET HOME!” And so we shall, brothers; so we shall, sisters. In chorus we will take up our brother’s word, and say, “We shall get home .” “We shall get home.” There is music in that simple sentence; a soft melody, as of the evening bell. Early in life its sound may be more stirring and trumpet-like, nerving our youth to energy, and making us cry “Excelsior”; but as our years increase, and the sun descends, its note is sweet and soothing, and we love to listen to it in our quiet moods, for each word has a silvery tone — “We shall get home ;WE SHALL GET HOME.” This is our great comfort: however long the way, we shall get home. We may live to be eighty-two, or even ninety-nine; but we shall get home in due time. We may not doubt that blessed truth, for the Lord has taught us to sing in the song of Moses, his servant, “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance.” The way may be rough, but it is the king’s highway, and no brigands can drag us off from it: we shall by this road get home to the Father’s own house above. Some of us are not nearing threescore years as yet, and perhaps we have many long leagues to traverse, but we shall get home — glory be to God! “His love has fixed the happy day When the last tears will wet our eyes, And God shall wipe those dews away, And fill us with divine surprise, To be at home, and see his face, And feel his infinite embrace. ” One reason why I feel sure that we shall get home is this, that we are found in the road which leads there. This is a great wonder; in fact, a greater wonder than our getting home will be. When we were far astray, with our backs to the Father’s house, fond of riotous living, the Lord in his infinite mercy visited us, made us long to return to him, and set our feet upon the way of life. This is a miracle of grace, and I am never tired of thinking of it; and because of all that it includes I feel quite at ease about getting home. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” The love which plucked us out of the fire will assuredly keep us from falling back into it. God does not begin a work without intending to finish it.
Besides, my brethren, we have already come far on the road , and therefore we shall get home. Considering our many temptations and trials, and the evil of our nature, we are bound to praise the Lord with our whole hearts because we have been preserved unto this day. Our life in the future can hardly be more full of miracle than the past has been; why should we suppose that the Lord will stay his hand? Nothing but omnipotent grace could have brought us thus far, and that grace is quite sufficient to preserve us through all the rest of the way. We shall get home; for “the Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us.” Even in the hour of death fear shall not overshadow us. You know how quaintly John Mason puts it — “I have a God that changeth not:
Why should I be perplext?
My God, that owns me in this world, Will own me in the next. “Go fearless then, my soul, with God Into another room:
Thou who hast walked with him here, Go, see thy God at home. ” I am persuaded we shall get home because oftentimes we receive messages from the Father himself , and these love-words assure us that he remembers us; and if he remembers us he will not let us perish. Moreover, we receive substantial help from him, and comforts by the way both by day and by night. If he meant to cast us off at last he would not so often have cheered our spirits by his gracious visits and love-tokens on the road. As the landbirds which light upon the rigging of his vessel assure the voyager that he is nearing the shore, which as yet he sees not, so heavenly blessings without number flying to our succor tell us that the glory-land is nigh. We shall soon cast anchor in the Fair Havens.
We shall get home, for others have done so who were once at our side traveling the same path. We asked them, as they departed from us, how they hoped to reach their journey’s end, and they told us that all their hope rested upon sovereign grace: what less or what more do we rest in? That grace which has secured to them a safe journey, will secure the like to us; why should it not? It is true that we do not deserve it, nor did they; it was to them a matter of grace, as it certainly will be to us. But that grace is true and constant. All who sail with Jesus shall be saved from the yawning deep.
Yes, even though it should be on boards and broken pieces of the ship, we shall get safe to land!
We shall get home; for oh, if we do not, what a lament there will be in heaven! Think of that. If the children do not come home, what mourning for the lost ones will be heard in the mansions above. Neither God nor good men could see the divine family broken and yet be happy. Every angel in heaven would feel a disappointment if one child of God was absent at the reading of the muster-roll. Did they not once rejoice over each one of us as a sinner repenting? Their sympathetic mirth was premature in our cases if we perish by the way. But angels are not doomed to find their hopes frustrated, neither will the great Father find that he himself was glad too soon. Heaven would be a desolate place if at its banquets some David’s seat was empty! We cannot endure to imagine some member of the sacred family missing, lost forever, cast into hell! It must not be, for in that land of absolute perfectness there is “No missing heir, no harp that lies unstrung, No vacant place those hallowed halls among. ” We shall get home, for the great Father himself will never rest until we do; and he that bought us with his precious blood will never be satisfied till all his redeemed shall stand around him girt in their snow-white robes. If we had been on pilgrimage with our families, and we had reached home ourselves, and then missed a dear child, what a stir there would be! I appeal to every father’s heart: would you sleep with a child lost? Would you not tramp back every step of the road to seek your dear stray lamb?
You would cry everywhere, “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth!” Well can I imagine our good Shepherd using the same words concerning any one of us if we did not get home, and asking everywhere, “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” He would not rest until he had found his chosen, his heart’s delight. Did he rest the first time till he brought us home on his shoulders rejoicing? Would he rest a second time till he had folded us in glory? No, he can never have full joy in his heart until all his ransomed are in the place where the many mansions be. “We shall get home.”
Brothers, we shall get home, I am sure we shall; and what a joy it will be!
Think of the bliss of seeing our Father, our home, our Savior, and all those who are dear to us for Jesus’ sake. A venerable sister who saw me very busy the other day remarked that we shall have plenty of time to talk to each other in eternity. I do not quite see how there can be time where time shall be no more; but no doubt there will be space and opportunity for the fullest communion with each other, and for much fellowship of united delight in the adorable person of our blessed Lord. I anticipate much felicity from fellowship with perfect saints above, since I have had so much pleasure in the society of imperfect saints below. Many have gone home from us of late, and we are all getting older; but let us not regret the fact, since the home above is being filled, and a perfect society is being formed which will last forever.
I remember a remark of my dear friend John Edwards before he left us for the fatherland above. I said to him one day, “Our brother So-and-so is gone home,” and he replied, “Where else should he go? ” Just so. When evening draws nigh, home is the fit place for each one of us, and we instinctively turn to it. We think badly of people who do not care to go home when their work is done. Some workmen make long hours, and stay late at work, but nobody envies them on that account: most persons think the sooner they are home the better. Do not you think so? Do you not long for the home-going? It is best to have no impatience about it, but to fill up the whole day with holy service, and then consider going home as the crown of it all. Even this poor world can be made very home-like if we have the true child-like spirit. “Where is your home?” said one to a little girl. The reply was — “My home is where mother is.” Even so our home is where Jesus is; and if he wills us to tarry out of heaven for awhile, we will feel at home in the desert in his sweet company.
Here, however, comes in a word of caution; it will be wise to ask ourselves — Where is our home? Somebody said, “It is well to go home if we have a good home to go to .” That point is worthy of deep thought. Every creature goes to its own place: the fox to its hole, the bird to its nest, the lion to its den, and man to his home. The righteous will rise to the light that is sown for them; but as for the ungodly, where will they go? Where must they go?
You may judge of their place by their pleasures. What are their pleasures?
Vanity, sin, self. There are none of these things in heaven, and therefore those who love them cannot enter there. If they have found their pleasure in the ways of Satan, there shall they find their endless portion.
We may judge men by their company. Like will to like. What sort of company do you prefer? The man who sings the drunkard’s song, the man who pours forth loose talk, is he your companion and friend? Then you shall be gathered to him, and to such as he, in the assembly of the dead. I remember a good woman saying to me on her dying bed, “I am sure the Lord will not cause me to dwell for ever with the ungodly and the profane, for I have never loved such society. I think he will let me go to my own company.” Yes, that he will. Those who are your companions here will be your companions hereafter.
You may also foretell your future abode from your present character , for your eternal destiny will be the ripe fruit of your character in time. If you are numbered amongst the ungodly when the Lord comes to judgment you must have your portion far off from God. The false, the foul, the prayerless, cannot find a home among the true, the pure, the holy. Oh, you who are unrenewed, I pray you think over those words of the psalmist — “If I make my bed in hell .” What a bed! But as you make it you will have to lie upon it. If you find rest in sin you will make your bed in hell. O my beloved, do not one of you run the risk of such a doom. We have loved each other here; let us not be divided. Let us go together along the way of holiness. Together let us follow Jesus, and then we shall all get home to the same Father’s house. My joy, my crown, my second heaven shall be to meet you all there in that sweet, sweet home, where danger shall be ended, where sorrow shall be banished, and sin excluded. Our Father will receive us, our elder Brother will joy in us, and the Spirit of God will be glad over us. The dear ones whom we wept as lost will meet us, and all the rest of the company redeemed by blood will welcome us. Do not our souls joyfully anticipate that grandest of all family gatherings? Is it not a jubilee to our hearts to think of the general assembly and church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven?
WE SHALL GET HOME; WE SHALL GET HOME.
A LIVELY NEWSPAPER CALLED ‘THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL’ The good Bishop of Rochester has described The Sword and Trowel to the House of Lords as “a lively newspaper. ” We are afraid our friend is not so well acquainted with his Sword and Trowel as we could wish him to be, for it can hardly be called a newspaper; its shape, form, and monthly period of issue most distinctly place it among magazines. Still, that is near enough for recognition; and the adjective appended is so complimentary that we accept it with pleasure, and consider it rather a feather in our cap. What good can a magazine or any other publication effect:, if it is not lively? Our trying state of health often makes us fear that we shall grow dull, and we accept the Bishop’s kindly criticism as a doctor’s certificate that the magazine is up to the mark, is, in fact, a “lively paper.” It is all that we can hope it our readers will add, “and so say all of us.”
The occasion of the Bishop’s criticism is, however, far more important than the remark itself. It arose out of the matter of church lands, and the number of public-houses thereon. Many of our readers are already well acquainted with the incident which connected us therewith, but for the sake of others we must go over the ground again. In the early part of 1882 we received for review a book entitled, “Disestablishment from a Church Point of View.” This book is written by Mr. Gilbert, an attached member of the Church of England, whom we hold in very high esteem. He is an indefatigable hunter up or hunter down of abuses of all kinds; unnoticed wrongs he drags to the light, and so assists in their removal. We would take Mr. Gilbert’s word without question, whatever he might allege, for we have full reliance upon his honor. He may be mistaken, but he is incapable of a willful misstatement, or even of an exaggeration. In this book he deals with the Temperance question in connection with the Church of England, and therein makes some declarations which struck us as being nothing less than terrible. We quoted a passage, and said, “Is it true? We ask without casting any doubt on Mr. Gilbert’s veracity; but fearing the possibility that he has been led into error as to the true state of affairs. His book is before the world, and challenges reply.” It will be observed, therefore, that The Sword and Trowel is not the source of a single statement upon the matter of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and their public-houses; nor did it, even go the length of making a quotation, and asserting it to be a matter of fact. The quotation wits given because we wished to call attention to the book, and therefore selected a striking extract; as it involved a very serious matter, it was cautiously guarded with the question, ‘:’ Is it true?” We do not see how we can review books at all it’ we are required to investigate the accuracy of every paragraph we quote; life is not long enough for such labor. Neither do we see how we could call public attention to any important statement in a more guarded and judicious manner than that which is conspicuous in this incident. If the case were so, it was time it was looked into.
Our esteemed friend, Canon Wilberforce, saw the aforesaid passage in The Sword and Trowel, and straightway, like the bravely honest. man that he is, he addressed a letter to the late Archbishop of Canterbury upon the subject. This was precisely the best thing that could have been done, for there is nothing like appealing to head-quarters when anything is thought to be wrong. The Archbishop was of opinion that some notice should be taken of the Canon’s letter. It is clear that a conscience may dwell in a corporation, for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners thought it worth their while at once to appoint a Committee to inquire into the allegations. They could not bear to lie under the imputation that they were the largest owners of public-house property in the world. The Sword and Trowel never thought itself of so much consequence as to stir the minds of these notables, but the fact that they were so stirred should give the Commissioners a higher place in public estimation.
Evidently they are not men inclined to sit down under a charge of complicity with the drink traffic. Be it remembered that we never brought this charge, we simply quoted it, and asked, “Is it true?” We were very pleased to find from the report of the committee of inquiry that the mischief was nothing like so great as Mr. Gilbert had supposed. We must leave him to defend his own statements (and we have a lurking suspicion that he can defend them), but at the same time, as far as we are concerned, we rejoice to abandon any share in the charge. We never brought the charge, and, therefore, cannot retract it, but we rejoice to answer our own question — “ Is it true?”’ by saying it is only true in a very. small degree.
No doubt there are public-houses on church lauds, and no doubt in years gone by this was not regarded as an evil, but a change has passed over the spirit of the scene. The Commissioners are evidently anxious to abate the evils engendered by the past as much as they possibly can with due regard to prudence and faithfulness to their trust. They ought not to be charged with the offenses of their predecessors. The most earnest abstainer can ask no more than that they should get rid of inherited mischiefs as soon as they can. It is almost impossible to buy ground-rents to any extent without a licensed house being included with them; and so long as the purchaser intends to give up the license the moment he is able to do so we cannot see how he can be blamed for holding the property, especially if he does so as a trustee. It must be exceedingly satisfactory to Canon Wilberforce to observe the zeal with which gentlemen in office endeavor to clear themselves from the charge of making money for the church out of the sale of alcoholic drinks. It is nothing more than they ought to do, but it is cheering that they do it so zealously. Thus has our “lively newspaper” said its little say upon an important question, and we are sure the Bishop of Rochester will believe us when we say that we are glad that the committee could to so large an extent ,clear the Commission, and we hope that in the future the Ecclesiastical Trustees will become yet more blameless and harmless, utterly without rebuke, C. H.S. NOTES WE feel bound at this, our earliest opportunity, to record our protest against the continued imprisonment of the men who endeavored to prevent the public breach of the Sabbath at Strome Ferry. Whatever their error, they meant to do right. No one has ever hinted that they had any selfish or sinister motive: they conceived that God’s law was about to be broken, and they stepped in to prevent it. It is true they were violating the law of the land, and going far beyond their province in trying to compel others to be as regardful of the Sabbath as themselves; but surely for this wonderful offense they have already suffered enough. The law has told them that even their religious scruples cannot justify them in riotous behavior; can the law now teach them anything more? We consider that a longer imprisonment will answer no good end, but, on the contrary, will arouse indignation against the law which allows men to be thus punished. We wish we had a people in England good enough to be capable of this Scotch crime—the crime of fearing God so much as to use violence for the preservation of the day of rest. Little has been said but we can assure our rulers that the minds of Christian people, both in England and Scotland, would be greatly relieved if they heard that these mistaken but true-hearted men were at once set; at liberty.
Great mercy has mingled in my grievous affliction; for my son Charles, of Greenwich, has been able to preach, in my stead on several occasions, and the universal feeling is that the Lord has raised up in him an able and faithful preacher of the gospel. “In stead of the fathers shall be the children.
Yet would I earnestly pray to be myself restored to former rigor. This cruel rheumatism hung upon me all the time I was in Scotland, and it has kept its fangs in my flesh over since. It robs the mind of its freshness, and the spirit of its cheerfulness; yet the Lord liveth, and good must surely arise even out of this evil. Is it not a joy that when hardest pressed another helper has been prepared for me by the kind Father of our spirits?
Here we would thank innumerable friends for their prayers and letters of sympathy. We have been refreshed by them, and there was need of such refreshment, for the pain has been violent, and many trials have arisen out of it. Our venerated friend, Dr. Motfat, has fallen asleep; and we were at once asked to speak at his grave. It was a severe mortification to us to be obliged to reply, ‘too feeble to leave the house.” Many other matters of a similar sort have brought us much disappointment and unrest; and all this makes these bouts of suffering doubly trying. Still, “it is well.”
Our son Thomas, of Auckland, as usual, contributes an interesting paper to The Sword and the Trowel. Might we say a word about him? He is anxious to build a large Tabernacle in Auckland, New Zealand, and he has a considerable sum towards it, But he is pledged not to get into debt. It is not easy to see how the needed funds are to be forthcoming. His trust is in the Lord alone, and that is well; but when we come to look around on second causes it strikes us that one of the assets ought to be a good round sum from England. We confess we hoped to receive large help, but it has not come to hand. A few friends sent their gifts to us very promptly, but they were so few that we have retained the amount until it; grows larger.
The church in Auckland needs a few hundreds from the Lord’s stewards, and we hope they will not withhold them, for it is’ of the utmost importance that these young, growing colonies should be provided with the gospel. If numbers of friends who cannot deal in large figures would forward small sums they would be most gratefully received, and we are sure our son would personally acknowledge the aid thus afforded. We long to hear that he is preaching in his own Tabernacle to thousands of saved souls.
Our best thanks are due to the Committee at Exeter Hall for their kind and courteous reception of us during our month of sojourn there. It is twentyeight and a-half years ago since first we used that building for our Sabbath congregation, and we returned to it with a longing that former mercies might be renewed. We trust it has been so. Conversions have been met with at each service, and hearts have been stirred up to seek the Lord with deeper earnestness. We bespeak for the Young Men’s Christian Association at Exeter Hall the prayers and help of all the Lord’s people. A great and useful work is being done in that noble building and its many chambers.
The cleaning of the Tabernacle is now finished, and. we think all our friends will agree with us that the amount it has cost has been well spent.
We shall (D.V.) return to the Tabernacle on the second Sunday in this month (Sept. 9), and we earnestly pray that our health may be sufficiently restored to enable us to preach regularly for some time to come. Under ordinary circumstances Sept. 9 would have been the date of our free service, but this must be omitted for the present quarter, as so many of our seat-holders and church-members have been unable to worship with us at Exeter Hall. Collections will be made at the first Sunday services in aid of the cleaning fund, and we shall be very grateful if the balance of the £1,100 required can be cleared off at once. We never have been in debt, and we do not intend to begin that system now. Just now, however, we need special aid for the old house at home. While we are so ill we trust we shall not be allowed to know a care about this matter. If Tabernacle friends are away at the sea-side, or in the country, perhaps they will kindly send up their contributions towards the collection. The Central-house itself must not be neglected; we ought not to need to ask more than this once for the funds wherewith to pay for its restoration. Our confidence is that it will be done before another magazine appears.
Our sincere thanks are due to Mr. Newman Hall and his elders for the use of their noble edifice during our cleaning. These friends are always true neighbors. May the Lord richly reward them according to his grace. We ought to add that Mr. Simon and his friends, at Westminster Chapel, spontaneously offered their spacious building, and Mr. Mills, and the church at Wal-worth-road, did the same with their chapel. These tokens of brotherly love ought not to be unrecorded. We felt much touched by the kindness which showed itself all round.
OUR REFORMATION PICTURES.
— We have received so many applications for the loan of our “Gallery of the Reformation” that we have no vacant dates now until the beginning of next year. We shall probably make some use of them ourselves during the week of the celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther (November 10). It will save some trouble if only those friends will apply who have a large room in which the pictures can be properly exhibited; and, as a rule, the exhibition, ought to last nearly if not quite a week, or the expenses will prevent either the Orphanage or local funds from being benefited. In the traveling-cases the pictures weigh nearly a ton and a quarter, so friends can ascertain what the carriage and other expenses of fixing, advertising, etc., will be, and then decide whether it will answer their purpose to have them.
On Wednesday evening, July 18, a crowded and enthusiastic gathering was held in the Tabernacle Lecture Hall, on the occasion of the Public Examination of our DAY SCHOOLS, under the management of Mr.S. Johnson. In the unavoidable absence of the Pastor, the chair was taken by Mr. James Stiff, late of the London School Board: the examiners being Messrs. John Birkley and Thomas F. Bowers. A very full program was presented, comprising anthems, part-singing, and choruses. The singing, conducted by Mr. Johnson, deserves great commendation on account of its sweetness and precision. The readiness and thoughtfulness with which the boys and girls answered the various questions in Grammar, Geography, English History, and Mental Arithmetic, showed that: they had been very carefully trained. It was also evident that the children are especially well grounded in Scriptural knowledge. Miss Simpson and Miss Kendall are entitled to the highest praise for the great proficiency shown by their pupils in Needlework and Drawing. The French special class, examined by their master, M. A. Cogery, also proved the excellence of the instruction received by them.
— Mr. W. C. Bryan has accepted an invitation from the church at Bluntisham, but he will continue in the College until Christmas. Mr.A. W. Latham has settled at Lydbrook, Gloucestershire; and Mr. R. Yeatman, who has been for some time laboring at Mrs. Gladstone’s Mission-room at Liverpool, has taken charge of the church at Widnes, Lancashire.
Mr. Sidney A. Comber, after completing his course of study at Edinburgh Medical Mission, has gone out to join his brother on the River Congo.
Mr. G. T. Edgley has removed, from Bow, to Hemel Hempstead :; and Mr. W. Thorn, from Loose, to the Dover Tabernacle.
Quite a new departure has taken place this year at the opening meeting of the College summer session, which was held on Tuesday, August 14, at Enfield, by the kind invitation of Pastor G. W. White, and his generous friends. Everything that could be thought of to make the day enjoyable was provided, and everybody was thoroughly happy. Dinner was served most sumptuously in the schoolroom attached to the Enfield Tabernacle, and at its close the President expressed the hearty thanks of the whole company for the day’s entertainment, and then delivered a short address specially to the new students. Mr. White, and his excellent deacons, Messrs. Gibbons and Buck, responded on behalf of the Enfield friends, and after a few cheering words from Professor Gracey, the brethren returned to their outdoor engagements. The proceedings of the day were brought to a happy conclusion by an hour’s service in the chapel, which was quite crowded by an audience that appeared greatly to enjoy the President’s short sermon.
Altogether it was a happy idea, most satisfactorily carried out; and we shall be very glad if next year some other brother will imitate the good example that has been set by Mr. White and his willing helpers.
It may save some correspondence if we inform all intending applicants for admission to the College that we have received as many students as we think we ought to admit, and that there will not be any more vacancies this year.
— After their summer rest, Messrs. Smith and Fullerton commenced their Lancashire tour by visiting -Nelson and various places in the neighborhood. The work at Nelson is peculiarly interesting to our brethren, for it was in that town that they began work together as members of the College Society of Evangelists. At the end of one week’s services, Mr. Smith writes :— ” This is the first time we have ever revisited a place for a prolonged stay, and our hearts are made to leap for joy as we see what the Lord did by us when here four years ago. Two nights this week we visited one church where, from our last mission, nearly one hundred members were received. Of these fifteen had died, or left the town, or gone back to the world, but all the rest stand firm in the faith.” The Evangelists have good reason to believe that this series of services will be blessed quite as much as their former work was. From Nelson they go on to Colne, then to Lumb, Bury, and other Lancashire towns, finishing up with Burnley, with our Brother Kemp, who is acting as secretary for the whole district, and nobly preparing the way for the Evangelists.
Mr. Burnham goes this month to Kent to labor among the hop-pickers, who will soon be streaming down from London in exceptionally large numbers to gather in what is said to be an unusually abundant harvest. Our readers must, by this time, be quite familiar with the work among the hoppers, which has been so often described in the magazine; and it only remains for us to say that; contributions in aid of the expenses will be gratefully received by Mr. Burnham, at 24, Keston Road, Peckham Rye, S.E., while parcels of tracts, left-off clothing, etc., will be heartily welcome, if sent, carriage paid, to Rev. J. J. Kendon, Marden Station, S.E.R. Mr. Burnham asks us to mention that he is fully engaged until the end of January, so that brethren who desire his services in the early part of next year had better write to him at once.
Mr. Russell has recently held evangelistic services, or is about to conduct them at Reading, Eastcombe, Minchinhampton, and Great Grimsby. H e also has made engagements until the end of February. Brethren who wish to invite him for a later date, can apply to him at his new address, 6, Halford Terrace, Richmond, Surrey.
Messrs. Mateer and Parker send us very glowing accounts of the blessing that has rested upon their services at Merth yr Tydvil, Trocdyrhiw, and Caerphilly; and report that this month they are going to Newcastle-under- Lyme and Rushden. They have accepted sufficient invitations to last until the middle of January, but will be pleased to correspond with friends who would like a visit after that time.
It will be evident from the above that the churches are fully alive to the value of the work of the Evangelists, and we have no doubt that if we had twice as many workers there would be plenty of openings for their efforts.
Unfortunately, the funds for the support of the brethren do not keep pace with the applications for their services, and for some little time we have been rather anxious lest this account should be overdrawn. A moment’s thought will make it clear that many of the places that most need the Evangelists’ visits can scarcely pay the necessary expenses. Just now we have special need of help in this direction. Are there not some of the Lord’s stewards who are looking out for a good investment of their Master’s money, and who will entrust it to us for this Purpose? We do not know how it could be expended so as to bring in a larger revenue of precious souls saved through the preaching of the everlasting gospel.
ORPHANAGE,. — Among the students received into the College this session is Mr. J. Maynard, who was formerly one of the boys in our Orphanage.
He has been for some time preaching most acceptably to a church in South Africa, during the absence of its pastor, and he has returned to England in order to avail himself of the advantages of the Pastors’ College. Mr. Maynard is the fourth of our ‘‘ old boys” who are already in the ministry, or preparing for it; and it is with peculiar pleasure that; we welcome to one of the institutions ‘under our care another who has already passed with credit through the other institution. We hope these brethren will be the forerunners of a numerous race of orphans who will in due time become leaders and teachers of others. We mention this fact that our Orphanage subscribers may rejoice with us in the joy of having helped to train those who in their turn will train others for Christ.
— The exact number of districts now occupied by our colporteurs is sixty-seven. Two more will be opened this month, and arrangements are pending for two additional ones. Messrs. A. andF. Carter have guaranteed £30 for a man for Mitcham district, and a friend having given £10 through the Secretary, the committee have been enabled to accept this guarantee. We are glad to note this addition to the numbers which had been somewhat largely reduced daring the past year by the discontinuance of several districts on account of the failure of local funds.
The Association is still prepared to extend its work if local friends will assist to the extent of £40 a year, which is really a small sum to secure the entire services of a Christian agent, who is at once a distributor of Christian literature, a house-to-house visitor, and, in most eases, a lay preacher. In each of these departments there are numerous tokens of the Divine blessing resting upon the labors of the colporteurs. A few extracts from the agents’ letters are appended. Mr. Bellamy, laboring in the New Forest, writes :—” A young man said to me, ‘Mr. B — , I shall never forget that night you spoke to me, for you knocked it all out of me, and I went home and read the Bible, and prayed, and now I am a saved young man. I wrote to one of my sisters, and told her all about it, and asked her to give up reading bad books and give herself to the Lord Jesus Christ. In a few weeks, through reading that letter, she did so, and wrote to another sister, who was also led to Christ.’ The young man also spoke of other servants who had been brought to Christ through these sisters, ‘ and,’ said he, ‘ it was all through you.’” Mr. Allen, of Repton, writes : — “ A young man followed me some distance up the street, and at last lie stepped up to me, and asked if I remembered above a year ago sheltering under a shed from a storm one night, and selling him a book, and speaking to him about Jesus as the only safe shelter for sinners? I said, ‘ I remember selling you the book, but I so often speak of Jesus that I have forgotten what I said.’ He replied, ‘I have forgotten some part of what you said, but you finished by saying, “Seek, and ye shall find.” Those words have never left me; I have been seeking, and am seeking still.’ I advised him, took him to our house, pointed him to some of the promises, prayed with him, and he prayed. I have seen him a time or two since, and he tells me that he has found the Savior, and is quite happy. So I thank God for blessing me in leading one soul to Jesus, and take courage.”
Mr. Walker, of East Lungton, who is regularly engaged in preaching on Sundays, gives several instances of good from his work. He writes : — “ In one of the villages, where there was no Sunday-school, and only one service at the church, a friend and I have held an open-air service now for seven weeks regularly, and the dear children gather round, and the people, too, anxious to hear the word. We also give away tracts at each service, which are being anxiously read. I am thankful that I have been able to speak a word for Jesus, and since I held these meetings, and distributed the tracts, I have been enabled to sell good books where I never could before.
One man, about sixty years of age, who never would buy anything, has commenced to attend the service, and has now purchased a large Bible that he may learn to read. I hope he will be led thus to give himself to the Savior.”
Here, then, is an instrumentality which God is abundantly blessing to the salvation of souls by the dissemination of his word and good literature.
Surely, our friends will begin to realize its importance more largely, and enable us to increase the staff until, at least, one hundred districts are occupied. The work is carried on in an un-sectarian spirit in connection with various Christ/an churches and friends.
The general fund greatly needs help just now, as a glance at the small list of contributions this month will show.
All remittances and correspondence will be gladly acknowledged by the general secretary, ‘W. Corden Jones, Temple-street, St. George’s-road, Southwark, S. E.
— While in Scotland, and since our return, many pleasing testimonies of the value of the printed sermons have come under our notice. In many a shepherd’s cottage and lonely hut in highland glens they form, with the word of God, the spiritual food of the Lord’s hidden ones, while cases of conversion through reading them are constantly being brought to light. In one far-away village in the North the little country shop is opened on Saturdays expressly for the sale of the sermons; and what the customers want is so clearly understood that often not a word is spoken by either buyer or seller, but the people walk in, put down the penny, and march off with the sermon that is to be their Sabbath feast. In a Convalescent Home every Sabbath evening during the winter the matron reads one of the sermons to the inmates, who appear to be very grateful for them. The sermon No. 1,712, entitled, “Filling the Empty Vessels,” was specially ‘blessed to two young men. for it led them to decide for Christ.’
A Congregational minister in the South of England writes :—”I do not know whether in my last letter I thanked you for the sermon on “A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ,” which you ‘.preached at Cheshunt College anniversary, ten or eleven years ago. I have had to bless God often for that sermon during the last nine years; it has made music for me in many dark hours, and has helped to keep alive my ideal of the Christian ministry. With deep gratitude, and every prayer that you may be strengthened through all suffering, and that you may wear out (rather than be worn out by) the malady which thousands would gladly help you to bear if they could, Believe me, yours very truly,—” A lady member of the Society of Friends sent the following cheering letter more than a year ago, but it will be quite new to our readers, and it is really too good to remain unpublished :- “While staying at a ‘health resort,’ amidst a large company, I placed on the salon table, the ‘Twelve Selected Soul-Winning Sermons,’ the ‘Twelve Striking Sermons,’ and some of the sermons in little book-form. Two ladies, who valued them in the old shape, were greatly pleased with these editions, and said that they would at once order some. Many others read them while I remained there; but what I wish to relate arose from a storm of indignation from a stiff, aged Churchman against the works of the man who cursed our Church.’ He was very indignant at my introducing the sermons, when a sweet Christian lady came to my help, and told him the sermons were so good, that she and her husband regarded the arrival of the weekly one as their Sabbath treat; they read half in the morning, and the rest in the evening, adding that they were very useful in Aberdeen. In her district there lives an old soldier, whose hardened, wretched condition baffled all the Christian labors bestowed upon him until she lent him ‘Only trust Him’ (No. 1635). This the Lord blessed as the means of his conversion. The change was, and is, marvelous, and now, when a visitor enters, he soon begins to fumble over the buttons of his waistcoat, and thrusting in his hand, he draws forth his beloved sermon, and joyfully tells of what the Lord has done for him by the blessed tidings it contains.
Having gained the attention of our offended companion,’ she added, ‘and there is a Roman Catholic woman also, who was one of the most miserable beings I had ever seen. All her confessions and penances went for nothing, her state was really pitiable; when “Jesus Only” (No. 1924) was lent to her, and the effect of her cordially receiving the Lord was as marvelous as the old soldier’s spiritual transformation. They are living witnesses to the mighty power of divine grace. Instead of hiding her beloved sermon in her bosom as he does, she lends it to all who will read it, and says “That almost her only trouble now is that others are not made as joyful by its contents as she is, not yet understanding there must be hunger to appreciate food.” ‘ Our aged opposer listened attentively to Mrs. L., and when she left us, he asked me what she had lent to the old soldier, for he knew as wretched a one, an atheist.! told him that I had the sermon, and asked if I might read it to him. He coolly consented, and fixed a time ill the next day. When I had finished, his only remark was, ‘Did she not mention another?’ I said she did, and asked if I might read that also. Again he consented, and each day that remained, I read one to him, his brief remarks proving the thaw that was progressing in his mind. I shall just repeat some of them. ‘The venom is passing away. ‘I feel it going.’ ‘I shall buy those sermons, and send them to my Broad Church son, and I hope they will do him and his wife good, and that he will preach them in his hutch.’ I offered to give him the copy I had read from, which he cordially received, and when he took it, he said, ‘They have softened an old rebel.’ I think that these facts afford too much cause for praise for it to be right to withhold them from him whom the Lord employed to preach them to the world. Thy friend affectionately — A friend, who has for many years sent eight sermons every week to New Zealand s ays that the lady to whom he forwards them takes great pains in circulating them, although she is quite an invalid. She has often mentioned cases in which they have been useful, and recently reported the following pleasing instance of the way in which the Lord carries the word home to those whom lie intends to bless. Two of the sermons were given to a lady, who sent them back to England to an aged aunt, to whom they brought the message of everlasting life.
The same friend has long supplied the sermons to an evangelist who is now in yorkshire, invalided, but who still finds opportunities of doing good work, as the following letter will show : — “My dear Sir, — I continue to distribute the sermons in the way which I think most adapted to meet your wishes in sending them, as, indeed, I have from the very first. How long that is I do not remember, but it must be upwards of twenty years since I first received them, without a failure for a single week. I conceived your desire to be not merely to circulate them, which, indeed, I might have done to a few individuals, but to introduce them to as wide a circle as possible. Keeping this in view, I have not only from time to time put one or more copies in nearly every house in this neighborhood, but have sent them by various agencies for miles around, and by the post have sent them into different districts that I knew in other counties. Here is one plan that I adopted. I know a baker in Norfolk, and to him I send some to distribute amongst the poor families to whom he delivers his bread, as he goes through the villages with his cart. In the same way, by post, and other means, to other individuals, as to so many centers, getting them to lend them from house to house amongst their neighbors. I make a few sermons reach a wide circle, chiefly amongst those who else would never see them. Nor has this been without results, as I have from time to time intimated. Scores have felt in a measure what one woman experienced from reading one; it gave her so much comfort that she told me she had read it a hundred times, and that with undiminished pleasure, and wore it in her bosom till she wore it to tatters. I have been induced to make these remarks by reading the account of Mr. Spurgeon’s birthday, which made me think how widely his work has been extended by your liberality.”
Our friend does not wish his name to be mentioned, but he has long helped us in our work for the Lord. May he enjoy a rich reward in his own soul.
Possibly others might imitate his example, and extend the circulation and usefulness of the sermons.