THE WELL-BELOVED’SVINEYARD.A COMMUNION ADDRESS TO A LITTLE COMPANY OF BELIEVERS IN HIS OWN ROOM AT MENTONE. BY C. H.
“My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill.” — Isaiah 5:1.
WE recognize at once that Jesus is here. Who but he can be meant by “My well-beloved”? Here is a word of possession and a word of affection, — he is mine, and my Well-beloved tie is loveliness itself, the most loving and lovable of beings; and we personally love him with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength: he is ours, our beloved, our well-beloved, we can say no less.
The delightful relationship of our Lord to us is accompanied by words which remind us of our relationship to him, “My well-beloved hath a vineyard,” and what vineyard is that but our heart, our nature, our life? We are his: and we are his for the same reason that any other vineyard belongs to its owner. He made us a vineyard. Thorns and briars were all our growth naturally, but he bought us with a Price, he hedged us about, and set us apart for himself, and then he planted and cultivated us. All within us that can bring forth good fruit is of his creating, his tending, and his preserving; so that if we be vineyards at all we must be his vineyards. We gladly agree that it shall be so. I pray that I may not have a hair on my head that does not belong to Christ, and you all pray that your every pulse and breath may be the Lord’s.
This happy afternoon I want you to note that this vineyard is said to be upon “a very fruitful hill.” I have been thinking of the advantages of my own position towards the Lord, and lamenting with great shame-facedness that I am not bringing forth such fruit to him as my position demands.
Considering our privileges, advantages, and opportunities, I fear that many of us have need to feel great searchings of heart. Perhaps to such the text may be helpful, and it may not be without profit to any one of us, it’ the Lord bless it.
I. Our first thought, in considering these words, is that our POSITION AS THE LORD’ S VINEYARD IS AVERY FAVORABLE ONE, —”My well-be, loved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill.” No people could be better placed for serving Christ than we are. I hardly think that any man is better situated for glorifying God than I am. I do not think that any women could be in better positions for serving Christ than some of you, dear sisters, now occupy. Our heavenly Father has placed us just where he can do the most for us, and where we can do the most for him. Infinite wisdom has occupied itself with carefully selecting the soil and site, and aspect of every tree in the vineyard. We differ greatly, and need differing situations in order to fruitfulness: the place which would suit one might be too trying for another. Friend, the Lord has planted you in the right spot; your station may not be the best in itself, but it is the best for you. We are in the best possible position for some present service at this moment; the providence of God has put us on a vantage ground for our immediate duty: “My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill.”
Let us think of the times in which we live as calling upon us to be very fruitful when we compare them with the years gone by. Time was when we could not have met thus happily in our own room: if we had been taken in the act of breaking bread, or reading God’s word, we should have been haled off to prison, and perhaps put to death. Oar forefathers scarcely dared to lift up their voices in a psalm of praise lest the enemy should be upon them. Truly, the lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places; yea, we have a goodly heritage, in a very fruitful hill.
We do not even live in times when error is so rampant as to be paramount.
There is too much of it abroad; but taking a broad view of things, I venture to say that there never was a time when the truth had a wider sway than it has now, or when the gospel was more fully preached, or when there was more spiritual activity. Black clouds of error hover over us; but at the same time we rejoice that, from John o’ Groat’s House to the Land’s End, Christ is preached by ten thousand voices, ‘red even in the dark parts of the earth the name of Jesus is shining like a candle in the house. If we had the pick of the ages in which to live, we could not have selected a better time for fruitbearing than that which is now occurrent: this age is “a very fruitful hill.”
That this is the case some of us know positively, because we haw been fruitful. Look back, brothers and sisters, upon times when your hearts were warm, and your zeal was fervent, and you served the Lord with gladness. I join with you in those happy memories. Then we could run with the swiftest, we could fight with the bravest, we could work with the strongest, we could suffer with the most patient. The grace of God has been upon certain of us in such an unmistakable manner that we have brought forth all the fruits of the Spirit. Perhaps to-day we look back with deep regret because we are not so fruitful as we once were: if it be so, it is well that our regrets should multiply, but we must change each one of them into a hopeful prayer. Remember, the vine may have changed, but the soil is the same. We have still the same motives for being fruitful, and even more than we used to have. ‘Why are we not more useful? Has some spiritual phylloxera taken · possession of the vines, or have we become frost-bitten, or sun-burnt? ‘What is it that withholds the vintage? Certainly, if we were fruitful once, we ought to be more fruitful now. The fruitful hill is not exhausted; what aileth us that our grapes are so few?
We are planted on a fruitful hill, for we are called to work which of all others is the most fruitful. Blessed and happy is the man who is called to the Christian ministry; for this service has brought more glory to Christ than any other. You, beloved friends, are not called to be rulers of nations, nor inventors of engines, nor teachers of sciences, nor slayers of men; but we are soul-winners, our work is to lead men to Jesus. Ours is, of all the employments in the world, the most fruitful in benefits to men and glory to God. If we are not serving God in the gospel of his Son with all our might and ability, then we have a heavy responsibility resting upon us. “Our wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill :” there is not a richer bit of soil outside Eramanuel’s land than the holy ministry for souls. Certain of us are teachers, and gather the young about us while we speak of Jesus. This also is choice soil. Many teachers have gathered a grand vintage from among the little ones, and have not been a whir behind pastors and evangelists in the glory of soul-winning. Dear teachers, your vines are planted in a very fruitful hill. But I do not confine myself to preachers and teachers; for all of us, as we have opportunities of speaking for the Lord Jesus Christ, and privately talking to individuals, have also a fertile soil to grow in. If we do not glorify God by soul-winning we shall be greatly blameable, since of all forms of service it is most prolific in praise of God.
And what is more, the very circumstances with which are surrounded all tend to make our position exceedingly favorable for fruit-bearing. In this little company we have not one friend who is extremely poor; but if such were among us I should say the same thing. Christ has gathered so, me of his choicest clusters from the valley of poverty. Many eminent saints have never owned a foot of land, but lived upon their weekly wage, and found scant fare at that. Yes, by the grace of God, the vale of poverty has blossomed as the rose. It so happens, however, that the most of us here have a competence, we have all that we need, and something over to give to the poor and to the cause of God. Surely, we ought to be fruitful in almsgiving, in caring for the sick, and in all manner of sweet and fragrant influences. “Give me neither poverty nor riches,” is a prayer that has been answered for most of us; and if we do not now give honor unto God, what excuse can we make for our barrenness? I am speaking to some who are singularly healthy, who are never hindered by aches and pains; and to others who have been prospered in business for twenty years at a stretch: yours is great indebtedness to your Lord: in your case, “My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a. very fruitful hill.” Give God your strength, and your wealth, my brother, while they last: see that all his care of thee is not thrown away. Others of us seldom know many months together of health, but have often had to suffer sorely in body; this ought to make us fruitful, for there is much increase from the tillage of affliction. Has not the Master obtained the richest of all fruit from bleeding vines? Do not his heaviest bunches come from vines which have been sharply cut and pruned down to the ground? Choice flavors, dainty juices, and delicious aromas come mostly from the use of the keen-edged knife of trial. Some of us are at our best for fruit-bearing when in other respects we are at our worst. Thus might truly say that whatever our circumstances may be, whether we are poor or rich, in health or in affliction, each one of our cases has its advantages, and we are planted “in a very fruitful hill.”
Furthermore, when I look at our spiritual condition, I must say for myself, and I think for you also, “My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill.” For what has God done for us? To change the question — what has God not done for us? What more could he say than to us he hath said?
What more could he do than to us he hath done? He hath dealt with us like a God. He has loved us up from the pit, he, has loved us up to the cross, and up to the gates of heaven; he has quickened us, forgiven as, and renewed us, he dwells in us, comforts us, instructs us, upholds us, preserves us, guides us, leads us, and tie will surely perfect us. If we are not fruitful, to his praise, how shall we excuse ourselves? Where shall we hide our guilty heads? Shall yonder sea suffice to lend us briny tears wherewith to weep over our ingratitude?
II. I go a step further, by your leave, and say that our POSITION, as the Lord’s vineyard,IS FAVORABLE TO THE PRODUCTION OF TILE FRUIT winch
HE LOVES BEST. I believe that my own position is the most favorable for the production of the fruit that the Lord loves best in me, and that your position is the same. What is this fruit?
First:, it: is faith. Our Lord is very delighted to see faith in his people. The trust which clings to him with childlike confidence is pleasant to his loving heart. Our position is such that faith ought to be the easiest thing in the world to us. Look at the promises he has given us in his word: can we not believe them? Look at what the Father has done for us in the gift of his dear Son: can we not trust him after that? Our daily experience all goes to strengthen our confidence in God. Every mercy asks, “Will you not trust him?” Every want that is supplied cries, “Can you not trust him?” Every sorrow sent by the great Father tests our faith, and drives us to him on whom we repose, and so strengthens and confirms our confidence in God.
Mercies and miseries alike operate for the growth of faith. Some of us have been called upon to trust God on a large scale, and that necessity has been a great help towards fruit-bearing. The more troubles we have, the more is our vine digged about, and the more nourishment is laid to its roots. If faith do not ripen under trial, when will it ripen? Our afflictions fertilize the soil wherein faith may grow.
Another choice fruit is love. Jesus delights in love, his tender heart delights to see its love returned. Am I not of all men most bound to love the Lord?
I speak for each brother and sister here — is not that your language? Do you not all say, “Lives there a person beneath you blue sky who ought to love Jesus more than I should do?” Each sister soliloquizes, “Sat there ever a woman in her chamber who had more reason for’ loving God than I have?” No, the sin which has been forgiven us should make us love our Savior exceeding much. The sin which has been prevented in other cases should make us love our Preserver much. The help which God has sent us in times of need, the guidance which he has given in times of difficulty, the joy which he has poured into us in days of fellowship, and the quiet he has breathed upon us in times of trial — all ought to make us love him. Along our life-road reasons for loving God are more numerous than the leaves upon the olives,. He has hedged us about with his goodness, even as the mountains and the sea are round our present resting-place. Look backward as far as time endures, and then look far beyond that, into the eternity which has been, and you will see the Lord’s great love set upon us: all through time and eternity reasons have been accumulating which constrain us to love our Lord. Now turn sharply round, and gaze before you, and all along the future faith can see reasons for loving God, golden milestones on the way that is yet to be traversed, all calling for delight in God.
Christ is also very pleased with the fruit of hope, and we are so circumstanced that we ought to produce much of it. The aged ought to look forward, for they cannot expect to see much more on earth. ‘rime is short, and eternity is near; how precious is a good hope through grace. We who are young ought to be exceedingly hopeful; and the still younger folk, who are just beginning the spiritual life, should abound in hope most fresh and bright. If any man has expectations greater than I have, I should like to see him. We have the greatest of expectations. Have you never felt like Mercy in her dream, when she laughed, and when Christiana asked her what made her laugh she said that she had had a vision of the things yet to be revealed?
Select any fruit of the Spirit you choose, and I maintain that we are favorably circumstanced for producing it; we are planted upon a very fruitful hill.. What a fruitful hill we are living in as regards labor for Christ, Each one of us may find work for the Master; there are capital opportunities around us. There never was an age in which a man consecrated to God might do so much as he can at this time. There is nothing to restrain the most ardent zeal. We live in such happy times that, if we plunge into a sea of work, we may swim, and none can hinder us.
Then, too, our labor is made, by God’s grace, to be so pleasant to us. No true servant of Christ is weary of the work, though he may be weary in the work: it is not the work that he ever wearies of, for he wishes that he could do ten times more. Then our Lord makes our work to be successful. We bring one soul to Jesus, and that one brings a hundred. Sometimes when we are fishing for Jesus there may be few fish, but, blessed be his name, most of them enter the net; and we have to live praising and blessing God for all the favor with which he regards our labor of love. I do think I am right in saying that for the bearing of the fruit which Jesus loves best our position is exceedingly favorable.
III. And now this afternoon, at this table, our POSITION HERE IS FAVORABLE EVEN NOW TO OUR PRODUCING IMMEDIATELY, and upon the spot, the richest, ripest, rarest fruit for our Well-beloved. Here at the communion-table, we are at the center of the truth, and at the well-head of consolation. Now we enter the holy of holies, and come to the most sacred meeting-place between out’ souls and God.
Viewed from this table, the vineyard slopes to the south, for everything looks towards Christ, our San. This bread, this wine, all set our souls aslope towards Jesus Christ, and he shines full upon our hearts, and minds, and souls, to make us bring forth fruit. Are we not planted on a very fruitful hill?
As we think of his passion for our sake, we feel that a wall is set about us to the north, to keep back every sharp blast that might destroy the tender grapes. No wrath is dreaded now, for Jesus has borne it for us; behold the tokens of his all-sufficient sacrifice! No anger of the Lord shall come to our restful spirits, for the Lord saith, “I have sworn that I will not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.” Here on this table are the pledges of his love unspeakable, and these keep out the rough winds like a wall. Surely we are planted on a very fruitful hill.
Moreover, the Well-beloved himself is among us. He has not put us out to husbandmen, but he himself doth undertake to care for us; and that he is here we are sure, for here is his flesh, and here is his blood. You see the outward token, may you feel the unseen reality; for we believe in his real presence, though not in the gross corporeal sense with which worldly spirits blind themselves. The King has come into his garden: let us entertain him with our fruits. He who for this vineyard poured ,out a bloody sweat, is now surveying the vines; shall they not at this instant give forth a good smell? The presence of our Lord makes this assembly a very fruitful hill: where he sets his feet all good things flourish.
Around this table we are in a place where others have fruited well. Our literature contains no words more precious than those which have been spoken at the time of communion. Perhaps you know and appreciate the discourses of Willison, delivered on sacramental occasions. Rutherford’s communion sermons have a sacred unction upon them. The poems of George Herbert, I should think, were most of them inspired by the sight of Christ in this ordinance. Think of the Canttoles of holy Bernard, how they flame with devotion. Saints and martyrs have been nourished at this table of blessing. This hallowed ordinance, I am sure, is a spot where hopes grow bright and hearts grow warm; resolves become firm and lives become fruitful, and all the clusters of our soul’s knit ripen for the Lord.
Blessed be God, we are where we hate oursel ves often grown. We have enjoyed our best times when celebrating this sacred eucharist. God grant it may be so again. Let us in calm meditation and inward thought now produce from our hearts sweet fruits of love, and zeal, and hope, and patience; let us yield great clusters like those of Eshcol, all for Jesus, and for Jesus only. Even now let us yield ourselves up to meditation, gratitude, adoration, communion, rapture. Let us spend the rest; of our lives in glorifying and magnifying the everblessed name of our Well-beloved whose vineyard we are.
When this magazine reaches our readers we shall be packing up for our six weeks of rest. It is to us a re-filling time when we are well. We have to pour out fresh teaching all the other days of the year, and now we try to receive by quiet meditation that which we hope to preach afterwards. In our absence we shall be much cheered if friends will remember our work.
College, Orphanage, Colportage, Evangelists, — all these, are great devourers; but if the Lord’s people give to them conscientiously there will be no lack. By faith we commit all these, works to the great Father’s care.
The preachers at the Tabernacle on Sundays during our absence, will (D.V.) be as follow : — December 9th, R. H. Lovell; 16th and 23rd, W.Y. Fullerton; 30th, J. Jackson Wray; January 6th, Morning, A. G. Brown; Evening, J. A. Spurgeon; 13th, C. Spurgeon.
CHRISTMAS-DAY comes round again. Please, dear friends, do not forget to make good cheer at Stockwell Orphanage. Gifts specially suited for the season, such as boys and girls delight in, will be heartily welcomed. Loud were the cheers for our good helpers on the last Christmas occasion. Send on your gifts, dear friends, and thus renew your care for the fatherless: let nothing induce you to forget Christmas, it comes but once a year. The President will be away, for which he is sorry; but it cannot be helped. It would/let him very much if he thought his dear boys and girls were stinted at Christmas. Contributions may be addressed to Mrs. Spurgeon, Beulah Hill, Upper Norwood. Presents of provisions, etc., should be directed to Mr. Charlesworth, STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE,CLAPHAM ROAD,LONDON.
— We are sorry that our good friend, The Christian , should have misunderstood us. We aid not even think , that which he imputes to us, being misled by an ill-report of a fragment of our speech. We were talking of those who teach, not the doctrines of Christ, but a certain colorless, indefinite nothing, which they call Christianity. Our desire was that teachers should declare the whole counsel of God, and so far from urging this in a denominational spirit, we expressly urged the believers present to teach that which they believed, and keep back nothing which they held to be revealed in the word. Our undenominationalism is not that which would make any man to be gagged on any truth of the word, but that which would urge each believing teacher to be true to his convictions, and to keep back no profitable truth from the children. Had our brother of The Christian been there we think he would have said “Amen.” We were not likely at a united meeting of Sunday and Ragged-school teachers to have wished them to divide themselves into parties. The whole truth is very dear to us; bodies of men formed into denominations cannot enslave us so as to make us prefer them to the truth of God, or confine our Christian love within lines which are faint indeed compared with the life of the Spirit, whereby the saints are made one in Christ.
Certain letters in The Christian World require no answer from us, they sufficiently betray their own spirit. If we could put the clock back to the right time, as shown by our Lord and the apostles, we would gladly do so; but this is beyond our power. The pretended advance is evil, and only evil.
Each man must, however, answer for himself unto God. All we ask is to be clear of complicity in this boastful progress beyond what is plainly revealed. What next is to be done we cannot yet tell; but it would be idle to pretend to a fellowship which we do not feel. We do not regulate our theology by a clock, but by eternal truth. We may hot know what’s o’clock in the Christian world, but we believe in “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”
The following letter will, we believe, open up ANEW FORM OF HOLY SERVICE.
May the Lord prosper the effort. “Dear Mr. Spurgeon,—Do you not think a fund could be started to send the weekly sermon to missionaries in heathen lands. I would earnestly plead for it on two grounds :— from fellowship and communion; and it would be of immense help to many of them thus to get such a portion of meat weekly as that your sermon supplies. I speak from experience, as one of these shut-out ones, and as one who for years has been helped by this sermon. Brethren and fellow-workers at home, you to whom the Master has given the power to help thus, will you not do it?
Why, for a few pounds a-year, you can send comfort to many a sad, but true, heart, and strength to many a weary, but earnest, worker I would plead for the sake of the work in which these missionaries are engaged.
There are passages and thoughts in the sermons which are admirably adapted for translation (again! speak from experience; in the land where I am working some of these translations are amongst our most popular and useful tracts), and if the missionaries had these sermons regularly, they could use them to a greater extent than they have ever been used. “I enclose £5 towards starting such a fund, for I feel sure it only requires beginning to go forward and do a mighty work. If the Master permit, I will gladly contribute towards the fund from time to time. Oh, that he may stir up the hearts of his people, so that hundreds of his faithful servants may be thus helped! The last day only can show how truly blessed such help is. “This letter is written to the Editor of The Sword and the Trowel more than to you personally, dear sir. If you think it well to insert it, I will sign myself, “AWORKER WHO LONGS FOR OTHERS TO BE HELPED AS HE HAS BEEN.”
Mrs. Spurgeon has undertaken this extra service. She will begin at once by supplying one hundred missionaries, and she will increase the number’ as funds are forthcoming. It is an admirable proposal, and must be carried out at once; we hope that some few liberal friends will think so, and supply the means, so that nothing will be taken from poor ministers at home.
THE MINISTERS’CLOTHING SOCIETY, which under the careful management of Mrs. Evans provides clothing for the families of poorly-paid pastors, is just now short of ands and materials. This work is so much needed, and is carried out so efficiently, that we hope cash and remnants will be speedily sent in. Direct to Mrs. Evans, Metropolitan Tabernacle.
THE COLPORTEURS’CLOTHING SOCIETY has been commenced by Miss Hooper and friends. When a colporteur has a large family he must be kept very poor, for his wages are small; and the matter of clothing his children must be a great difficulty. It was found impossible to continue to include colporteurs under the society for ministers, and therefore this fresh work has been inaugurated. Funds or material should be addressed to Miss Hooper, Metropolitan Tabernacle.
There are many labors of love everywhere; but we trust our good friends will give our many institutions a share of their help. If the Lord did not touch the hearts of so many, and incline them to aid us, we should soon be in the saddest condition of any mortal that ever lived; but the Lord faileth not. We have been deeply grieved to learn that our esteemed brother, W. POOLE BALFERN, of Brighton, after a long season of painful affliction, has been obliged, through complete prostration, to give up his pastoral charge.
For thirty-five years he has earnestly labored, in the pulpit and by the press, to extend the kingdom of Christ; and many saints have been refreshed, and sinners won to the Savior, by his loving ministry. He has only been able to make very inadequate provision for himself and his wife, and therefore an effort is being made to increase the amount, so that in his old age and sickness he may not be reduced to want. We have promised help, and hope that the thousands who have profited by our worthy friend’s preaching and publications will do the same. Contributions will be thankfully received by the Treasurer, Rev. J. Bigwood, Copford Lodge, Chesham Road, Brighton. A few friends have started the fund with promises amounting to about £120.
The past month has been a very busy time with us at the Tabernacle, but having: to devote eight pages of the present magazine to the preface and index of the volume, we can only briefly refer to the various meetings which have been held.
On Friday evening, October 19, Pastor C. H. Spurgeon presided at the annual meeting of the workers connected with the GREEN WALK MISSION, which will be transferred early in the new year to the hand some and commodious premises now being erected in the Bermondsey New Road.
Mr. William Olney, junior, the manager of the Mission, reported that there were 110 workers on his staff, services on Sunday and Thursday evenings in the hall, eight prayer-meetings, and seven open-air services every week,29 Tract-distributors, 459 children in the Sunday-school, Mothers’ Meetings, Bible-classes for young converts, a Benevolent Fund, Dorcas Society, Missionary Society, and all the other appurtenances of a vigorous home-mission work; and he stated that he believed that all the agencies had been instrumental in leading souls to the Savior. Addresses were delivered by the chairman, Pastors W. Williams. McAll, and B. Brigg, and Messrs.
W. Olney, sen., W. C. Marroll, J.W. Harrald, and W. Hill. If such Missions as this were planted wherever they are needed, The bitter cry of outcast London” would be robbed of much of its bitterness. About £1500 will still be needed before the new buildings will be free from all encumbrance, and Mr. Olney will be happy to hear from anyone who will help to reduce the required amount.
On Sunday and Monday, October 21 and 22, the time set apart for special prayer on behalf of SUNDAY-SCHOOLS was observed at the Tabernacle.
Extra meetings for both teachers and scholars were arranged, with the most encouraging results. The Pastor’s Sunday morning sermon entitled, “Abijah, or some good thing towards the Lord,” can be obtained of Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster. In another column reference has been made to the Address delivered in the Tabernacle on Monday evening to Sunday and Ragged-school Teachers, of whom many were present. On Friday evening, October 26, Mr. Spurgeon addressed the annual meeting of the Medical PRAYER UNION, in Exeter (Lower) Hall. Dr. Thorne Thorne was in the chair. Please pray for medical students.. On Monday evening October 29, the seventeenth annual meeting of the
TABERNACLE LOAN TRACT SOCIETY was held in conjunction with the usual prayer-meeting. Mr. Woods, the energetic Secretary, reported that about four thousand families were supplied with the Pastor’s printed sermons every week, by one hundred and three distributor; and that during the year seventeen persons had professed to be converted through the messages left at their homes. Earnest prayer was offered by several brethren for the success of the work. and addresses were delivered by the Pastor and Elder Hill. This useful Society carries on its operations at a cost of only about £25 a year, and effects incalculable good.. In addition to the special effort of spreading the sermons, there are Mothers’ Meetings, a Maternal Society, and a Relief Fund for the Sick and Poor, by which material aid is rendered to those who without it would be beyond the reach of the more distinctly spiritual portion of the Society’s work.
On Friday evening, November 2, the sixth annual meeting of MRS.STIFF’ S BIBLE-CLASS was held at the house of the esteemed teacher of the class, under the presidency of the Pastor. Mrs. Stiff commenced with eighteen young women, and she now has fifty-two upon her roll of membership.
Being connected with nine different churches it is appropriate that the meetings should be held at the Orphanage, which in its turn has received substantial help, both in contributions and clothing, from the class. During the year ten of the members have joined various Christian churches. The Pastor expounded the miracle of the healing of the deaf and dumb man, and applied it to the cases of those present who were spiritually in a similar condition. It was a happy, holy gathering, full of promise of blessings to come, and of gratitude for favors already received.
On Sunday morning, November 11, the Pastor preached “A Luther Sermon at the Tabernacle,” and in the evening delivered a special discourse to young men at Exeter Hall in connection with the Luther celebration. The sermon has been published under the title of, “A Luther Sermon at Exeter Hall.” It is most pleasing to have already received intimation of several conversions which attended the Exeter Hall discourse. Some twelve came forward spontaneously, and avowed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God is at work, though the devil rages.
On Monday, evening November 12, the annual United Communion
SERVICE for churches in connection with the London Baptist Association, was held at the Tabernacle, under the Presidency of Pastor C.H. Spurgeon. Several of the neighboring ministers had previously taken tea together, and spent an hour in happy Christian intercourse. PastorsW. Williams, W. P. Cope, W. J. Mills, S. H. Akehurst, and J. T. Swift took part in the communion, and many of our fellow-believers joined with us in remembering our Lord in his own appointed way. It was good to be there.
On Friday evening, November 16, a large number of the friends of Mr.R. T.BOOTH assembled in the Tabernacle to bid farewell to him, and Mr.T. W. Glover, who is about to sail with him to Australia. Pastor C.H. Spurgeon presided, and addresses were delivered by the Revs. Canon Basil Wilberforce and Forbes E. Winslow, the Earl of Lichfield, Messrs. R.T. Booth, T. W. Glover, and Joseph Malins, Grand Worthy Chief Templar of England. The meeting was a grand testimony to the success of the Gospel Temperance movement, of which Mr. Booth has been so earnest an advocate. We fervently pray that his health may be restored by his visit to Australia, and that he may be spared for many years to carry on his great work of rescuing drunkards, and turning sinners to the Savior. Nothing could be more delightful than to see the intense unity which was manifested by Christians of various denominations, who had met with the common desire to fight the dragon of drink by the weapons of the gospel.
On Monday evening, November 19, Pastor C. H. Spurgeon delivered an address at the opening of the CENTENARY MEMORIAL SUNDAY-SCHOOL, Mansion House- street, Kennington. This is a joyous event. Heartily do we rejoice in every new Sabbath-school which is opened — a new fortress for keeping back the enemy.
— The following students have accepted pastorates during the past month :-Mr. J. Briggs has gone to Shoreham, Sussex, to fill the vacancy caused by Mr. Crouch’s removal to Worthing. Mr. J. Cottam has taken charge of Mrs. Gladstone’s Mission, Broad Green, Liverpool; and Mr. J. T. Frost has settled at Ashton-on-Ribble, Lancashire.
Mr. H. Knee has left Peckham Park-road to become pastor of the church at Counter-slip Chapel, Bristol; Mr. H. C. Field has removed from Stalybridge to Milnsbridge, Yorkshire; Mr. G. H. Malins has settled at Bonyerie Road, Stoke Newington; and Mr. H. Tarrant at Whitebrook and Llandoge, near Monmouth.
Our generous friend, Mr. Win. Gibson, who has already erected at his own expense three tabernacles in Tasmania, is now building a fourth, which is to accommodate one thousand people, at Launceston. He has sent to us for a minister for the new place, and after much prayer and consideration we have selected Mr. A. Bird, who has been raining a church at Sundown, Isle of Wight, and who has arranged to sail for Tasmania early in the new year.
We cannot too heartily bless the Lord for inclining the Messrs. Gibson to spend their wealth for the extension of the Redeemer’s kingdom, and on behalf of the whole denomination we thank them most cordially for their princely liberality..
Mr. F. J. Feltham, of Winslow, will take Mr. Bird’s place at Sandown, where we trust he will be as successful as he has been in Buckinghamshire.
Other items of information connected with the College, which we can only mention, are the opening of the new chapel at Orpington, Kent; and the laying of the foundation-stone of the Battersea Park Baptist Tabernacle.
Funds are specially needed by Mr. Lardher to enable him and his friends to carry out their building operations without burdening the church with a heavy debt. Mr. Barrett’s work at Cornwall Road, Brixton, has been greatly helped by the bazaar opened by the President, and made successful through the earnest efforts of many friends from the Tabernacle and elsewhere. We must add that friends do not quite so often remember the College as they used to do, although in these days of declension it is more than ever needful to maintain a school of the prophets for the teaching of the orthodox faith.
On Friday afternoon, Oct. 19, the half-yearly meeting of the STUDENTS’
MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION was held at the College. The President occupied the chair, and Dr. Llewellyn Bevan delivered a powerful address on the call to missionary work, and the kind of man required for it. We rejoice in the missionary spirit that pervades the College, and hope that members of this Association will be found in every quarter of the globe preaching the glorious gospel of the blessed God, and leading multitudes to the Savior’s feet. Additional interest is always given to the Tabernacle prayer-meeting on the first Monday evening in the month by the presence and prayers or addresses of students who are preparing for foreign work.
At the last monthly meeting the claims of home missions were brought before our notice in a very interesting speech by Pastor A.A. Harmer, of Dolton, Dovonshire.
— After leaving Lancashire, Messrs. Fullerton and Smith conducted, a month’s mission at Lake-road Chapel, Portsmouth. At the end of the first week’s services Pastor T. W. Medhurst reported that each night the attendance had increased, and there had been many anxious inquirers. At the Sunday afternoon service for men, the spacious building was crowded in every part, and, at the request of the audience, similar gatherings were held on succeeding Sabbaths.
From Dec. 1 to 14, the Evangelists are to visit Cambridge; they will then return to London, as Mr. Fullerton preaches at the Tabernacle on the 16th, 20th, and 23rd inst. In conjunction with Mr. Smith he will con-duet special meetings on the 17th and 18th, and they will also take charge of the prayer-meeting and watch-night service on December 31. Mr. Marsack Day has secured their help for Jan. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, and on the 6th they commence a mission in Leicester, to which we look forward with many prayers. Mr. Burnham ’s services at Walton-on-the-Naze and Holbeach have been blessed to the conversion of many souls, and the encouragement of the pastors and churches. This month he goes, for the second time, to Peterchurch and Ploughfield. He has a few weeks open for engagements in the new year. Brethren desiring his help should write at once to 24, Keston-road, Past Dulwich, S.E. Mr. Russell ’s labors at York-road Chapel, Leeds, have been crowned with extraordinary blessing. Mr. Kitchener and his people had waited upon the Lord in prayer, so that when the Evangelist arrived he found warm hearts and willing hands ready to welcome and assist him. The number who professed to be converted was very large, the Pastor’s Bible Class, some of the elder scholars, and many of the inmates of a Girls’ Industrial Home receiving a goodly share of the gracious work. From Leeds? Mr. Russell went to Attercliffe, where the first services gave promise of another happy time of “bringing in the sheaves.” He asks us to mention that he is fully engaged until the end of May next.
The report of Messrs. Mater and Parker ’s meetings might be in the same words as those above-written, for at Sutton-in-Craven, Scarborough, and Keighley, many received the word which they spoke or sang. This month they are to be at Leamington and Rawtenstall, and they have no vacant dates until the end of February.
— Since our last notice Mr. Charlesworth and his choir have visited the Field Lane Ragged School; Paddington Congregational Chapel; Belle Isle Mission; High Wycombe; Aylesbury; Oxford; Brixton Hall; Denmark Place Chapel; Victoria Park Tabernacle; Tring; East till Chapel, Wandsworth; and Clapham Wesleyan Chapel. In some instances the Orphanage fund are rot directly benefited by the meetings held, but information is disseminated, and fresh friends are enlisted, and. in due season the institution is remembered and helped. It will be seen from our list of contributions that the four evenings in the country brought in more than £100. We are deeply grateful to all who fm any degree contributed to the success of the meetings, and pray that the Father of the fatherless may richly reward them. While the magazine is being printed, meetings are being held at Ash-ford and Folkestone; and this month the boys are to go again to Portsmouth, Gosport, Ryde, Cowes, Southampton, and West Croydon, where they are sure to have a most hearty reception.
It is our duty to intimate that the stream of contribution runs rather low at this time. It will afford us much rest; of heart if it is increased during our absence. Still, we are sure that the Lord will provide.
Those who desire to aid the Orphanage are continually finding out new methods of obtaining contributions. Our beloved sister, Mrs. Jackson, of Waltham Abbey, with the help of a few friends, recently secured a number of harvest thankofferings, in the shape of flour, fruit, vegetables, and bread, which were sold at the close of a week-evening service, and realized eight guineas. In forwarding the amount, Mr. Jackson writes:—” Purchasers were just as earnest as givers, and everything was disposed of during the evening. All the friends seemed thoroughly pleased to have an opportunity of expressing sympathy with you in your philanthropic work.” God bless them all!
Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle.— Oct. 22, twenty-three; Nov. 1, twenty-five.