OCTOBER, ASHORT DISCOURSE BY C, H.SPURGEON.
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” —MATTHEW 24:12.
CHRIST had spoken to Ms disciples of earthquakes in divers places, famines, and pestilences; but these were only the beginning of sorrows.
Such things as these need not trouble Christians, for though the earth be removed, and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, yet may the believer be confident, and his heart may abide at rest. Even when the Master told his disciples that they should be hated of all men for his name sake, that needed not afflict them. He had taught them before, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” They were thus braced up to meet the fiery trial. Earthquake, and pestilence, and war, and persecution fail to disturb the serenity of believers in Christ. But the evil spoken of in our text — this is the wound, this is the sorrow! Here is something to tremble at : — “Because iniquity shall abound” — that is worse than pestilence; “the love of many shall wax cold” — that is worse than persecution. As all the water outside a vessel can do it no hurt until it enters the vessel itself, so outward persecutions cannot really injure the Church of God; but when the mischief oozes into the church, and the love of God’s people waxes cold — ah, then the barque is in sore distress. I fear that we are much in this condition at the present hour. May the Holy Spirit bless the alarming prophecy now before us to our’ arousing!
I. Notice, first,THE CAUSE OF THAT GRIEVOUS CHILL OF HEART which is here spoken of: — “ Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” When love grows cold it is a serious sign. Then the heart is affected — affected with a chill! Is not this the forerunner of death? What is the cause of it? According to our text it is the abounding of iniquity. Sin does ‘its best to destroy grace. So much sin, so much the less of holiness, so much the less of every’ Christian grace. Sin is like a poisonous atmosphere; if a man has to live in it, he had good need to pray that he may not be overcome by it. You and I, seeing that we are in this world, and cannot go altogether out of it, must come into contact with evil. In our daily avocations, however careful we are, we must encounter this infection.
We cannot but feel that the evil around us is a hindrance to our holiness, and a detriment to our growth in grace. When the society around the Christian becomes flagrantly wicked, corrupt, and offensive, it is hard for him to maintain the purity of his life, and the strength of his spiritual character. At this time we live in an atmosphere which hinders our growth; yet in the early days of Christianity the Lord’s people had, as a rule, to live in worse society than that which surrounds us to-day. I will not say this without an exception. There are quarters of London, I am told, as vicious as ever existed in Corinth, or in old Rome; and I am afraid that some of the grossest vices, which we dare not even mention, abound in this city. We have a fringe of respectability which barely conceals the licentiousness and abomination which abound. I have been reading to-day some details as to the number of illegitimate births, and I am perfectly astounded at the awful wickedness of this land. We call ourselves a Christian country. Forbear to speak so falsely. This is growing to be a heathen land, part of it bowing before images, another part howling out, “There is no God,” and a third secretly reveling in unutterable filthiness.
Still the most of us do not come into contact with vice to the same degree as the first Christians did. Society in the Roman Empire was utterly rotten.
It is a wonder that God permitted the world to exist in that loathsome age.
It tended greatly to the depression of Christian principle for infamous crimes to be tolerated in the society which surrounded the faithful. Look at those first churches which some think so much of! They were not half as good as the churches of to-day, bad as these are. Take the church at Corinth, for instance. Did you ever hear of a church in our day which allowed drunkenness at the Lord’s Supper? Have we personally met with a church which would knowingly allow a person living in incest to remain in its membership? I hope not. But gross offenses had become so common in general society in Paul’s day that it; did not strike even Christian people that some of these things were wrong. Iniquity abounded, and it was greatly detrimental to grace.
Again, iniquity is especially injurious to the growth of love. Because iniquity abounded, therefore the love of many waxed cold. Men inside the Christian church found themselves betrayed by other members of the church. Frequently the heads of the brethren were sold to the executioner by hypocrites like Judas. That would greatly tend to injure Christian love.
Men began to suspect one another. You did not know that the man who sat next you at the Lord’s table would not to-morrow inform against you, and get blood-money for you; therefore suspicion entered with its wintry breath. It was natural that it should be so: albeit that there was sin in it, yet you and I would have probably fallen into the same. All around men were so loathsome, that Christian love, which teaches us to pity the most degraded, and to do good to the most unworthy:, found it a hard struggle to live. Godly men endeavored to win the ungodly from their lusts, but they found themselves persecuted in consequence: the more they sought to do good, the more they were hated; and this put their love to a severe test.
I think that you can see why our Savior has given us a warning in this particular form.
Iniquity is naturally opposed to grace, but it is most of all injurious to the grace of love. If sin abounds in a church it is little wonder if the love of many should wax cold. Young members introduced into the church after a short time find that those whom they looked upon as being examples, are walking disorderly, and using lightness of speech and of behavior. Those young people cannot be very warm in love: they are stumbled and scandalized. Older saints who have for years held on their way in integrity, and by grace have kept their garments unspotted from the world, see those around them who have come into the church who seem to be of quite another race, who can drink of the cup of Belial and of the cup of the Lord, who seem to follow Christ and the devil too; seeing this evil these godly men gather up their garments in holy indignation, and find it hard to feel the love of purer days.
Oh, friends, if the frost of sin rules in a church, every tender flower is injured, and nothing flourishes. Love is a sensitive plant, and if it be touched by the finger of sin, it will show it. The lilies of Love’s Paradise cannot bloom amid the smoke and dust of unholiness.
Because iniquity abounds even in the professing church, the love of many is waxing cold to-day. What a sermon one might preach upon this! — but I shall not do anything of the kind. I am not so desirous to deplore the evils of others as to watch against evils within myself. I am not so anxious to make you discover transgression in the church as to make you watch against it in your own hearts; for rest sure of this, if you give sin any license in your heart, your love will wax cold. You cannot walk in love to Christ and yet live in the love of sin. If you to-day have indulged in unholy temper, if you have given way to covetousness, if you have in any way transgressed against the Lord, you will not feel that; warmth of love towards Jesus Christ which you felt yesterday. Your life will have lost much of its beauty and its sweetness. Cry to God that he would give it back to you. Do not rest satisfied until it is perfectly restored.
II. Now, let us consider Trite SERIOUS CHARACTER OF THIS EVIL. “The love of many shall wax cold.” It is a very dreadful thing that love in any man’s heart should wax cold. Observe the bearings of Christian love, and you will see the sin of it under various aspects. Our love is, first, a love to the great Father, our Father who chose us before ever the earth was, by whom we have been begotten again, and received into his family. If our love to him grows cold, what mischief that must bring! Coldness towards the father in a family — do you know any household afflicted in that way?
I should be very sorry to be member of it. Coldness of love to the father?
Why, that household is scarcely a family! It has lost the bond which holds it together, and constitutes it a family. May the good Lord save us from this ruin of all holy unity!
Next, our love is love to Jesus Chris/, “who loved us, and gave himself for us.” If love to Jesus should grow cold the result would be grievous. Is there any spiritual grace within you that can be in a healthy condition when your love to Christ is declining? Are you right anywhere if your heart is wrong towards your Lord? Can you do anything earnestly when love to Jesus is chilled? Can you sing aright? Can you pray aright? Can you live aright? Do not let us dream of fruit if we are severed from the Vine. It is vitally important that we should love Jesus with all ore: heart, and soul, and strength.
Christian love also embraces the truth. They that love God and his divine Son, love the truth which he has committed to them. The church is the trustee of the gospel: she is “the pillar and ground of the truth.” And when men begin to play with the truth, and think that one set of doctrines is as good as another, and that nothing is of any particular importance, evil must come. In former days our fathers counted it a small thin g to go to prison for a doctrine, or to be burnt to death for a testimony; Look: at the multitudes in Holland who were drowned, or who were tied to ladders and roasted to death, for nothing but their conviction that; believers should be baptized. Nowadays people consider scriptural views of baptism to be a mere trifle. I question whether our present Broad Churchmen think that there is any doctrine worth a person’s losing the first joint of his little finger for: as to burning to death for a truth, that must seem a great absurdity to these liberal theologians. Now that things have reached this pass, need we wonder that heresies and all manner of errors rush in torrents down our streets? When she can afford to trifle with truth, what is the church worth?
Our love is also love to fellow-Christians. This is vital principle. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” But when members of churches have no love to one another, when a professor does not care at all what becomes of his brethren — has the church any Christianity left then? No, it has a name to live, and is dead.
Christianity is gone when the heart is cold; its very life is mutual attraction.
Then, again, we are to love the ungodly and the unconverted. It is by love that we: are to win them to Christ. But if the church has no love to the dying sons of men, what is she worth? Where will be her missionary operations? What will be the use of her ministry? Think of her Sundayschools without; love to the children. Think of people pretending to win souls who have no love for them, and do not care whether they are lost or saved. Can the church sustain a worse loss than the losing of her fervent love to persisting men? And yet iniquity abounds, this is the great risk we run, compassionate love will cease to minister to man’s miseries.
Beloved:. when we love best, how little is our love compared with what it ought to be for him who left the royalties of heaven for the shame and sorrow of our nature! If we glowed with seraphic fire night and day, through a life as long as that of Methuselah, our love could not repay the love of Christ. If that love, poor as it is, grows colder, what will it; come to? Oh, eyes that are to look upon the Well-beloved for ever and ever, if you cease to see beauty in him now — what has blinded you? Oh, hearts that are to glow for ever with delight in the presence of the Reining One, who once was crucified — what all ye, if ye grow chill when most ye need his love, and tire receiving most from him? I cannot bear it — that we should love Jesus little. It seems to me horrible. Not to have your heart all on fire for Christ — this is execrable! Let us love him to the utmost. Let us ask him to give us larger hearts, and to fire them with the flame that is in his own, that we may love him to the utmost possibilities of affection.
Ah! then, beloved, think again. Suppose our love waxes cold, do you not see how it paralyzes the entire system? If the reservoir is empty, you cannot expect to get much water from the pipes. If the heart grows cold, everything will be coldly done. When love declines, what cold preaching we have! All moonlight — light without heat; polished like marble, and as chill. What cold singing we get — pretty music, made by pipes and wind, but oh, how little soul-song ‘, — how little singing in the Holy Ghost;, making melody in the heart unto God! And what poor praying! Do you call it praying? What little giving! When the heart is cold, the hands can find nothing in the purse; and Christ’s church, and Christ’s poor, and the heathen may perish, for we must needs hoard up for ourselves, and live to grow rich. Is there anything that goes on as it ought to go when love waxes cold? I should like to act throughout life as I have acted when my soul has been stirred to its inmost depths with affection for my Lord. I would continually act as if I had just seen him, and had put my fingers into the print of the nails. I would live as if I had been just sitting at his feet with Mary, ay, and were sitting there still. I would speak for him, and work for him, and give for him as if I had freshly lifted my head from John’s place upon his bosom.
III. Thirdly,THE SOLEMN DANGER of the spread of this mischief. I will read you the text translated accurately. “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of the ninny shall wax cold.” That is a more saddening expression than” the love of many.” It is” the love of the many,” that is, of the major part of the church — the bulk of it. This supposes a dreadful state of things, because when the many have become cold they keep one another in countenance. One cold brother says to the other, “What is your temperature?” “I think I am far below zero.” “So am I,” says the first; one, “and we are about right.” If the majority are warm, then the cold ones are thawed; but if they are all below zero, then they freeze into a wretched compactness. It is the most sober, respectable church you ever knew: they have no quarreling, everything is so comfortable, and orderly. Alas! they are frozen together, and their peace is that of death. The love of the many has waxed cold; and they are full of mutual admiration for their quietness. They have nobody to rebuke them. If the many have waxed cold, then the few among them, instead of being able to rebuke with authority, are themselves snubbed. “He is a terribly fanatical young man! That zealous fellow never leaves anyone alone!” “He will grow out of that,” says one; “by the time that he gets to my age he will be as prudent as I am.” Yonder good woman feels great anxiety for the conversion of souls, and she is making a stir. A lady of repute declares that she is too forward, or has got a bee in her bonnet. Active people are looked upon as rather troublesome when the love of the many waxes cold. The few have a hard time of it; and if they do venture upon a rebuke they are soon snuffed out: this confirms the evil.
And then the tendency is 10 grow comer still. They go on freezing. There is no telling how cold people can be. I have been burnt with cold, and I suppose you have been. I have preached in places whose spiritual temperature was that of an ice-house; and, preach as hard as I could, nothing could possibly’ come of it, for my words fell to the ground like lumps of ice. Colder and colder, churches become, till at last the great God, who breaks up icebergs in due season, destroys such a church., and its place knows it:; no more.
IV. In the presence of the danger which is seriously threatening many churches, there is ACALL FOR SERIOUS ACTION ON OUR PART.
What is that serious action? Why, it is, first, that we should remember that if the love of the many may wax ,told then our love may wax cold. What are we that we should think ourselves secure where others are in danger? If other men, as good as we are, have gradually cooled down, may not we? Let us be watchful and careful, and let us go to God for more grace.
Let us notice, next, that if the love of the many waxes cold it is not much use our complaining about it, but the few must get together, and pray. The real vitality of a church seldom lies in the many, but generally in the few.
Inside the election there is another election. Do you remember that out of Christ’s disciples there were twelve: out of the twelve there were three: out of the three there was one. And so election has rings within rings;. Inside the church — (we cannot say whether they are all God’s people or not) — the many may grow cold; but there ought to be a remnant who abide in life and love. God grant that we may belong to it. We must at once grow warmer. We must live nearer to Christ. We must be more enthusiastic. Oh, for a band of choice spirits — men fit to walk with Christ in white, for they are worthy — men who will be prepared to fellow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth! The Spirit said, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments”; and so in every church there are some that have not grown idle or heretical. Let them get together, and help each other. I thank God for those whom the Lord keeps very near to him: may their number be daily increased! May each one of us be filled with the Spirit! When I hear of one minister after another giving up the old fashioned gospel, do you know what I say to myself? I resolve that I will stick the closer to it. If many cannot bear Calvinistic doctrine, I will be more Calvinistic than ever. The more men do not like the truth the more they shall have it. Let this be our line of action. If men become worldly, we will become more Puritanical. If professing Christians do not exhibit the spirit of Christ, we will ask our Lord to give us sevenfold of his spirit, that we may maintain the truth. Suppose you expected a famine in London as there was in Paris during the siege. Everybody would get in a hundred-fold supply of provisions.
Every god housewife would lay out every, penny that she could get, and fill her cellars full of food. There is going to be a famine, therefore buy the truth, and sell it not. Go to your Lord and get larger supplies from him. Do not go to one another for it. That will be like saying, “Give us of your oil;” and your companions will wisely reply, “Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you.” Go you to your Master, and ask him to fan the fire within you to a great heat, that, if there should be cold everywhere else, there may be warmth in your bosoms. The Lord help you to do this, dear friends, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
OLD FLOWERS AND OLD FAITHS
AS dear familiar fragrant flowers, That in. old gardens bloom, In these new times and moods of ours, To foreign plants give room; So the sweet faiths of former days, Deep-rooted in the heart, Beseem no more our fickle ways, And with old flowers depart. New dogmas and new doubts replace The creeds our young lips breathed, these, heavy with their inward grace — Those, light with graces wreathed.
These with a mother’s love enwrought, Like violets pure and fair; Those, with fantastic fancies fraught, Like orchids fed on air.
Give me the dear old blossoms yet, The lilac and the pink; The pansy and pale mignonette, Whatever others think; No green-house gives me half the joy Some old-time garden yields; And love I still, as when a boy, The wild flowers of the fields.
And mine shall be the faiths of old In God and Christ and heaven; In reason ’s creeds I am not bold, But fear their human leaven; With the old nosegays in my hand, The old creeds in my heart, Beside the cross I ’ll humbly stand, And thence from earth depart. WILLIAM C.RICHARDS.
ANSWERS TO PRAYER THE best answers to prayer are those we have to wait and trust for. if we are answered quickly let us be thankful; but let us be assured that by-andby God will change his method with us, and that we shall be often made to wait. “I will cry unto God that performeth all things for me.” (Psalm 57:2.)
Every such prayer must be answered; but we must wait God’s time and ways. The finest fruit of the Spirit ripens the latest; the longer we have to wait for answers to our prayers the richer the blessing: we are blessed while we continue to pray; faith grows by waiting; the blessing is full when it comes, and the time of the answer is seen to be the right time. Asking of God what is most precious in his sight, we surely obtain all inferior good.
Thus did Solomon. (1 Kings 3:6-14.) All mercies are bound up with God’s gift of Christ. It is not good for us to obtain deliverance and gifts from God until we fully justify him in his way of dealing with us. (Psalm 22) The answer to prayer will sometimes come when our patience is spent. “Let patience have her perfect work” (James 1:4), that such rebukes of God’s love may not be needful. Many of God’s people pray without waiting for God to work in his own time and manner. Let us not quiet conscience by praying, and then, in fleshly haste, take our own way. The way wherein it pleases God to answer our prayer, if we have a right mind, will always please us well. — From “Choice Sayings. ” By Robert U. Chapman.
A COMMONPLACE life, ” we say, and we sigh; But why should we sigh as we say?
The commonplace sun in the commonplace sky, Makes up the commonplace day; The moon and the stars are commonplace things, And the flower that blooms, and the bird that sings; But dark were the world and sad our lot If the flowers failed and the sun shone not; And God, who studies each separate soul, Out of commonplace lives makes his beautiful whole. —SUSANCOOLIDGE.PREACHING TO SINNERS.
A PRAYER-MEETING ADDRESS, BY C. H.SPURGEON.
WE shall always, I trust, as a church, cultivate an anxious desire for the conversion of all who come within our gates, yea, and of all who dwell around us. Never, I hope, will you wish the pastor to preach so that you shall be fed, careless as to whether sinners are saved or not; nor will you make yourselves into a snug corporation for purposes of profit and mutual admiration. We long to see the wedding furnished with guests, and our Redeemer seeing of the travail of his soul. The public ministry must not be confined to a part of the truth,. for it should reflect the whole counsel of God as far as mortal mind can do so. It is my delight to preach the doctrine of election, and all the other grand teachings which declare Jehovah’s special love to his. chosen; but at the same time I have felt it to be my duty to preach the gospel to every creature. We know no other limit to our invitation than this, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’; “He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”
I have been amused lately with a story told me by a dear fellow-laborer in the gospel. One of his church-members came to him, and said that she was going to unite herself with another church, a church higher in doctrine, and less given to evangelistic efforts. She said, “when you preach the doctrines of grace I am very happy; but when I hear you inviting sinners to Christ, my heart goes down into my shoes.” “That is a very sad thing,” said the minister, “but I cannot alter my preaching on that account, for I think you are wrong.” When our brother met his people at the prayer-meeting in the evening, he told them what had occurred, and said, “I cannot help preaching to sinners as I do; and even if more of you go, it will be the same. I shall preach to sinners as long as there are any sinners left.” ‘Our friend then went on to say that the mode of preaching among certain friends reminded him of his school-boy days. A boy had a nice, rosycheeked apple, which he tossed up in the air before our friend’s eves, and then he shouted to him, “Do you see this apple?” “Yes. ”! Well, now, take a good look at it,” replied the boy, “for that is your share of it;” and he put it back into his pocket. Another playmate pretended to be more generous, and said, “Oh, give the poor fellow a smell!” Even his liberality went no further. Have you never heard preaching of that sort? “Here is a precious salvation! I hope you sinners see how precious it is, for that is your share of it.” The minister puts the heavenly fruit back again into his pocket, and the sermon is over: and this is called free-grace! The most liberal of those who dare not invite the sinner, try to give him a smell of the gospel by telling him of the peace and joy which it brings. Now, when I am preaching to sinners, I feel inclined always to beg everyone of them to put the golden apple in his pocket, for this choice fruit of the tree of life may belong to millions, and yet the whole of it will remain for millions more. There is not a sinner in the world who is to be told that he may not come to Jesus and receive the whole of the blessings of the gospel. What a blessing to have a free salvation to preach as well as a full salvation! At least, I feel it to be so. Everyone must speak according to his light; but while I see clearly the doctrines of distinguishing grace, I see also the universality of the gospel command.
Many years ago I had a good old friend, who, like myself, had a very sweet tooth for Calvinistic doctrine; and I cannot do with any other’ doctrine any more than he could. He said to me one day, “I love to hear you preach the doctrines of grace, but I feel very uncomfortable when you are giving free invitations to sinners; I feel as if I could not sit in the place.” I said to him, “Well, shall I give up inviting sinners in order to please you?” “No,” he replied, “by no manner of means; for about s, month or two ago my son-inlaw, about whom I was very anxious, went to hear your sermon, and you were very persuasive with sinners, and set Christ before them most freely. I did not enjoy it at all; but when I got home I found my son-in-law in tears, and that sermon, by the blessing of the eternal Spirit, brought him to the Savior. therefore I think you had better go on in your own style, and don’t alter your preaching to please a poor old man like me.” I answered, “That is just how I feel; I would gladly agree with you in everything, but I dare not try to appear consistent by leaving out one side of the truth.” He said to me afterwards, “If I do not quite agree with your invitations to sinners, it is clear that God blesses them; and therefore I must look into the matter, and see whether I am right or not. You have declared the doctrines of grace, yet you have freely given the invitations of the gospel; and I hope, my dear sir, you wilt long continue to preach what you feel you have learned in your own soul.” I have followed his advice, and I hope to do the same as long as the Lord spares me. We shall proclaim the doctrine of God’s sovereignty without toning it down, and electing love without any stuttering over it; but we shall have the other also.
Those who differ from us in one direction ought also to remember that there are others who differ from us on the other side. A sister has written to me saying that even if I do believe in election she would not have me preach it, but keep it in my own mind, and get comfort from it for myself. I do not know who the friend is, for she forgot to put her name to her letter; but I would like her to know that I cannot accept her idea for a moment. I feel sure she does not expect me to do as she says, for if I did I should act like a Jesuit: I should say one thing and believe another, and that be far from me. I hope that no earthly power could bring me to do that; no, not even an anonymous letter from a good lady. Everything that I believe to be in God’s word I shall preach, whether my hearers accept it or not. It is to me a great comfort that such numbers do receive my teaching; and I never feel surprised when I meet with those who do not. I do not expect everybody to eat everything that I put on the table. I may flavor a dish with too much salt or too much pepper at times, but your own prayerful judgments will guide your tastes. We must preach all the truth; and this one thing is certain:, we shall never give up loving the souls of men, or cease from trying to bring in the lost from the highways and hedges. We shall throughout life echo that blessed call of our Lord Jesus — “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Laborers and burden-bearers shall hear continually that gracious word; and if they do not come to Jesus, their blood shall be upon their;” own heads, for the invitation is as free as the blessing is full. The gospel trumpet rings out clearly over hill and dale. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” We cannot make men come; that is the work of the Holy Spirit; but we can persuade them by the love of Jesus and by the terrors of the Lord. We can preach Christ to sinners if we cannot preach sinners to Christ; and we know that the Lord’s word shall not return unto him void.
NOTES THE great event of our church for the past month has been the return to the Tabernacle, which has been thoroughly cleaned and renovated. Our sojourn in other places has brought salvation to many of whom we have heard, but we pray to hear of many more. Those converted under our ministry are seldom of the “after-meeting kind,” excited, and over-persuaded. They usually go their way, and think the matter over, and come forward to confess their faith when they have tried themselves, and tested their conversion; hence we believe that we have as yet seen only the advanceguard of the army of converts. We feel very grateful for the friendly shelter of Exeter-hall and Christ Church, and to the authorities in each of those notable places we are under great obligations; but we were glad to get home where there is more room. Those who worshipped in the Tabernacle Lecture-hall. spent very happy and profitable Sabbaths under the ministry of Mr. Harrald; and the Sunday-school and other agencies were kept up vigorously, but still we were all glad to be on our own ground again.
The reopening service was held on Thursday evening, September 6, when there must have been’ ‘nearly four thousand persons present, and on the following Lord’s-day every available inch of space was occupied. In the evening nearly as many people were shut out as were accommodated in the building. The Pastor had written to the members of the church and seatholders, asking as a special favor that the whole of the £1,200 expended in the renovation might be raised by private contributions and one collection, and when this had been made after the Sunday morning service he was very grateful ‘to find that the required sum had been given, and something more, for other needful expenses. Thus, at one stroke, all shade of debt was averted. On Wednesday evening, September 12 a social tea was held in the schoolroom, and afterwards a public meeting in that Tabernacle for the purpose of thanking God and congratulating one another that the money to pay for the work had been so promptly and freely given. Addresses were, delivered by Pastors C. H. and J. A. Spurgeon; Mr. A. Burson, of Exeterhall. who mentioned several bite resting cases of conversion that he had met with after Mr. Spurgeon’s services; Mr. J. W. Harrald; PastorW. Williams, of Upton Chapel; and: two of our good deacons, Messrs.
Thomas Olney and J. Stiff. During the evening the, orphanage children and Mr. Chamberlain sang several anthems and sacred songs. It; was a great family reunion, full of gratitude for the past, joy in the present, and hope for the future. The Pastor was never more cheered in his life than when he received letters from rich and poor:, all expressing their love to him, and enclosing liberal aid. To God be all the praise that a church exists which, without pressure, would at once respond to the pastor’s call, and immediately and ungrudgingly raise more than was requested of it.
On Monday evening, September 17, Mr. S. A. Comber, M.B., C.M., who was formerly in the College, then at the Edinburgh Medical Mission, and who has been accepted by the Baptist Missionary Society for work on the Congo, came to the Tabernacle prayer-meeting to say farewell, and to ask for the prayers of the church for his safety and success. He is a fine young man, of a solid, gracious spirit, and like his brother, he will be heard of in the dark continent. On Lord ’s-day evening, September 23, our beloved brother, George Muller, of Bristol, worshipped with Tabernacle, and joined with us at the Communion Table. We mention this because this man of God left immediately after for India. He has heard the entreaties of many that, at his advanced age, he should not run the great risk of India; but he feels a call from the Lord, and therefore his face is steadfastly set for Madras. All after that journey remains with the Lord, to whom our honored friend looks up for guidance with a childlike confidence seldom seen in these days of doubt.
Lest our absence from the Baptist Union Meetings at Leicester should be misinterpreted, we beg to say that prudence restrains us from engagements outside the Tabernacle for the present, and that we think it wise on the part of the brethren to bring new men to the front, and not call upon any one man to preach at each succeeding autumnal gathering. We declined firmly, but with hearty gratitude for the kindness which pressed us to accept the proffered honor. A complaint has been made that new brethren are not asked to appear at our great meetings; but the boot is on the other leg — the younger brethren who are entreated to come forward are so overdone with modesty that they decline to take prominent places. We know that this has been the result of the secretary’s applications. Personally, though we make no claim to excessive modesty, we also shrink from being too conspicuous. The Committee will bear us witness that we should not have preached at the Autumnal Session so many times if they had not pressed us beyond measure owing to the wishes of the local friends. For once we have been firm, strengthened therein by conscious physical weakness.
As we have received one or two letters requesting information as to Mr.R. T. Booth, the Gospel Temperance Lecturer, we would say most heartily that he has our fullest confidence. There is no truth in the statement that he made a heavy charge for his services at the Tabernacle. The matter was left entirely in our hands by the Committee of the Temperance Society, and we gave Mr. Booth what we thought was both just and generous. He received what we tendered with sincere gratitude, and whether it was much or little ours was the sole responsibility.. If anybody wishes to pay others meanly they will be good enough to find another paymaster; skinning flints is not in our line. It is not true that Mr. Booth has made his fortune: poor man, he needs help wherewith to get out to Australia, for he has nearly killed himself by his exertions, and ore’ fogs will end him unless he gets away soon. We have lived in the same hotel with him, and seen him from day to day, and we judge him to be a man of God, of a child-like spirit, who marvels at the usefulness which the Lord has granted him. We do not deny that he is an American. Is that come to be a crime? We do not; see how the unfortunate individual could have avoided such a calamity. If his detractors had been Americans we might never have heard of them, and that might have been no loss. Mr. Booth is not a man of brilliant talents. What then?
He has moved the hearts of thousands as they were never moved before, and the great-talent-people cannot make it out. Does that matter much?
We wish him God speed: though we often fear that his work will bring him to a speedy ;grave, unless he can restrain his intense enthusiasm.
Here is the place to note our sense of personal bereavement in the death of our friend Mr. T. B. Smithies, the editor of The British Workman , and of a host of first-class serials, full of all that is good. Has any man in modern times done a better day’s work than this amiable and earnest gentleman?
We think not. His mourning friends may well be comforted by remembering his fruitful life. Our hard-working neighbor, Mr. Lloyd Harris, of the “Help-my-self-Association,” has also fallen on sleep suddenly. Thus the earnest workers are called home one by one: the demand upon those who survive is heavier, and the need for recruits increases. “The Lord liveth, and blessed be my Rock.”
COLLEGE.. — Mr. W. J. N. Yenstone has accepted the pastorate of the churches at Hay and Bronith, South Wales. Mr. C. E. Stone has removed from Laminas Hall, Battersea, to Chatham-road, Wandsworth Common; Mr. J. J. Fitch, from Nottingham to Houghton-street, Southport; and Mr. C. D. Crouch is leaving Shoreham, Susssex, in order to try to revive the church at Worthing. He will at once begin collecting funds for the erection of a new chapel, which he pledges himself will not be opened until the whole cost is raised. He has done a good work in his previous pastorates at Bulwell and Shoreham, and we admire his heroism and self-sacrifice in leaving his present position for one which must entail much self-denial and arduous toil.
Mr. W. V. Young, of Tring, expects to leave England on the 18th inst., by the S.S. Liguria, for Queensland, where he is going to take the oversight of the church at Ipswich. Mr. A. J. Clarke, who has been eminently successful at West Melbourne, has resigned his pastorate in order to give himself wholly to evangelistic work, for which he has aforetime proved himself to be singularly qualified.
— Messrs. Fullerton and Smith report that the first month of their Lancashire campaign has been as successful as could be expected, seeing that it was the season when feasts, holidays, and excursions attracted great numbers in other directions rather than to the services. Still, good meetings have been held in all the places visited, and many have found the Savior through the preaching and singing of our brethren in Barrowford, Haggate, Nelson, Brierfield, Colne, Lumb, Waterfoot, and Bury. In the last-named town most of the Nonconformist ministers were on the committee, and united prayer-meetings were held in several of the chapels, so that when the evangelists arrived they received a most hearty welcome, which augured well for the success of the services. Pastor W.L. Mayo, writing at the end of the first week, says — “ There is a certain quiet power about the evangelists which keeps down undue excitement, and tends to make the work real and deep rather than noisy and evanescent. We have refrained from calculating the amount of good done by the number of professed penitents, but we have had proofs at; all the services that the Lord has been answering our prayers by bringing sinners to his feet.” Pastor H. Abraham, of Lumb, writes — “ Mr. Fullerton’s earnest, thoughtful, well-illustrated, and pointed addresses, and Mr. Smith’s cheery singing and graphic anecdotes, will be cherished in the memories of the people for many a day to come. We had sensation without sensationalism, and the excitement of religion as distinguished from the religion of excludement. We herd expected a blessing, and therefore we got it. Just as we prepared for its coming, so also have we endeavored to follow up the work since the brethren leftUS.
After leaving Bury, our brethren go to Blackburn, and this month they are to be at Burnley and Preston, beginning on Nov 4 month’s services with Brother Medhurst at Landport, where they are certain to have a very cordial reception. There we bespeak for them the enthusiastic co-operation of our numerous warmhearted friends.
Mr. Burnham has been spending the whole of the past month among the hoppickers in Kent. Contributions amounting in all to about £15 have reached us in response to his appeal, and these have enabled him to carry out various plans for getting at the poor hoppers which otherwise would not have been possible, He and his coworkers are deeply grateful to all who have helped them. This month Mr. Burnham pays his second visit to Walton-on-the-Naze and afterwards goes for the third time, to Holbeach.
Mr. Russell has had much blessing upon his labors at Reading, Eastcombe, and Minchinhampton, the news from the last place being especially cheering.
— The following extracts from the last Annual Report of the Worcestershire Colportage Association deserve the careful attention of those who are seeking to evangelize the remote country tricts. They are written after nine years’ experience of the work : — “Ten years ago to-day the ministers and delegates met at Alcester, and talked over the sad state, religiously considered, of the village population, and decided upon the employment of colporteurs. The step can now be reviewed with satisfaction, as having met a great need, and there is reason to be very thankful to God that he has enabled us to continue the employment of four colporteurs, and that they have been, and still are, well received by all whom they visit. Past success must not close our eyes to the fact; that our work is as much needed to-day as ever it was. Earl Shaftesbury, at the annual meeting of the Bible Society, referred to the many efforts now made for the welfare of the people; and he added most truly., ‘That never were the emissaries of infidelity more busy among the masses than now;’ and this is not merely in our large towns, but in the villages. Our work is peculiarly adapted to meet the missionaries of error, to create a taste for good reading, and to supply books which will benefit those who rear)them. By means of this agency the people are not only forewarned, but forearmed, and we have no reason to fear the result of the conflict between truth and error. It will perhaps surprise some to learn that, out of 195 villages worked by our colporteurs, there are 42 villages, containing a population of 3.983, without, any religious services whatever; and there still remain 120 villages., with a population of 20,000 to 30,000, in which no Protestant Dissenter is at work. These figures must speak for themselves; their require no comment.”
But not only in Worcestershire does this lack exist; there are many other districts equally needy. Here is an agency confessedly adapted to meet the necessity, and it can be utilized for about half the cost of most others, as only £40 a-year is required from any district towards the colporteur’s support. Is there not a Christian lady or gentleman in, thirty different districts who will take this matter up, and collect the £40 needed? Those who cannot do this, might aid the General Fund by collecting small sums.
Books ruled for the purpose can be obtained of the Secretary, Mr.W. Corden Jones; and additional donations will be very thankfully received.
— Our next Collectors Meeting will be held at the Orphanage, on Friday evening, Oct. 12. Tea will be provided at five o’clock, and afterwards the President hopes to preside at the meeting, for which an interesting program will be arranged. Will those of our collectors who cannot be present kindly send in their boxes or books, with the amounts they have collected? This will also be a good opportunity for fresh friends to join the noble army of those who serve the orphans by soliciting subscriptions and donations for their support. As our numbers increase, we want our list of collectors to grow at the same rate; and we continually need extra helpers to take the place of those who are called home, or who are no longer able to assist us. Will friends be so good as to notice that our income for August and September for most of our Institutions has been far below thee expenditure? It is almost always so during the holiday season; but in every preceding year, as in this, the Lord has provided, and therefore we are sure that he will still provide. When good people get home from the sea-side they will think of us again.
Mr. Charlesworth asks us to mention that he has arranged to take the Orphanage choir to the following places this month : — Oct. 8, Leyton; 9, Walthamstow; 16, Paddington Chapel; 18, Belle Isle Mission, Camden Town; 23, High Wycombe; 24, Aylesbury. Meetings may also be held at Oxford and Reading. The other evenings in the month are free for engagements in London. We shall be very grateful to all who by helping this work will bring grist to the Orphanage mill, which is for ever grinding.
— In a recent number of The British Messenger, there appeared the following pleasing testimony to the usefulness of an extract from one of our sermons, which had been published in the series of Floral Tracts issued from the Stirling Tract Depot:— “Calling upon Mr. George Heath, of Canterbury, a truly devoted Evangelist, he gave me the following interesting account of what recently occurred at one of his meetings. A woman attended one of the meetings, listened to an earnest address by Mr. Heath, came under distress of soul on account of her deep-dyed sins, she being a sinner of no ordinary character.
She was spoken to, directed to the Savior, and prayed with; but no relief of mind came. As she left the hall, Mr. Heath gave her one of your little tracts, entitled, ‘ Welcome to Jesus, His Blood cleanses from all Sin,’ ad rising her to read it, and pray over it, which she promised to do. A few days afterwards she went to Mr. Heath with a radiant countenance, and in reply to the question, ‘How are you now?’ she said, ‘Oh, sir, I am so happy; the little book you gave me did it!’ Abundant evidence of the genuineness of the change has since been furnished.”
One of our own colporteurs writes — “ Dear Sir, — It should encourage you to know that not only are your large volumes being blessed, but so also are your leaflets. I sold a poor old woman one pennyworth of your ‘Illustrated Tracts,’ telling her to begin, and do something for the Lord.
Some time after, when visiting the same village, a man asked me if I had the tract entitled, ‘Our Father holds the rope.’ He said, ‘ Poor old Mrs. — — gave me that tract, and it has been a blessing to me. I was anxious for a long time, but the tract removed all my doubts and fears. I cannot read, but I got it read to me four times. It is worn out now, and I want a new one just like it. This has encouraged me to go on sowing the good seed of the. kingdom; and it should encourage some to spend their money to spread the gospel, believing that not even a penny shall be spent in vain.” A warning to story-tellers and scandal-mongers. — We fancy’ that there must be many people who might be benefited by reading this letter which we have recently received : — “Dear Mr. Spurgeon,—As I see that you are still occasionally put to the trouble of answering inquiries as to the truth of various anecdotes, etc., concerning yourself, I thought the following brief statement might interest you, or some of your numerous readers, if you think it well to publish it.
About seventeen years ago I was for some time at a well-known healthresort on the South Coast. At the table d ’ hote I sat next to a young married lady, who was, alas! consumptive, and of that temperament which is so common in such cases, tres spirituelle, and very learned and accomplished. You may be sure she never lacked auditors for her lively conversation. At dessert one day she was ‘ telling stories ‘ (in the literal and juvenile sense of the phrase) about yourself. I let her go on for some time, until I thought the fun was getting a little too fast; and then I said, ‘I hope, Mrs. —, you do not believe the stories you are detailing, because, I assure you, I heard nearly all of them in my childhood, before Mr. Spurgeon was born, and that most of them were then attributed to Rowland Hill — doubtless with equal lack of authenticity.’ She looked me calmly in the face, with a very comical expression, and replied, ‘Oh, Mr. — —, we never ask whether such stories are true :; it is quite sufficient if we find them amusing.’ ‘ Well,’ I said, ‘ so long as that is understood all round, by all means keep on. ’ The poor, brilliant, thoughtless woman and her husband also have many years since passed away; but she has many, many successors, who are without her wit, and not quite; so goodhumoredly candid as to their practice. If only you can get it ‘ understood all round that such folk really do not consider whether their ‘anecdotes’ are true or not, it might save you some trouble.
Yours faithfully —.” This is quite true, but it is a pity that people should lie in jest. The lady was let off very easily. Our friend has touched the root of the matter. It is not malice, but the passion for amusement, which creates ‘the trade in falsehood, which never seems to decline.