ON all other occasions, when the time has come to write the Preface of The Sword and the Trowel, the Editor has felt prepared for it. If he has not been thoroughly well, he has been granted a little furlough between the attacks of pain, and then the Preface has been written as best it could; or else some friend has appeared, who has thrown off a paragraph or two, which has been worked in. But on this occasion I am utterly hard up. Every limb of my body is tormented with pain; there is about as much pain in each limb as any one of them can conveniently bear. In addition to this, the whole system, mind and body, is in a state of fidgets, malaise, and depression.
Can any good thing come out of such a Nazareth as this? How gladly would we give up the task, but we have no one handy to chain into our place, and, therefore, we must tug the our even if we snap our bones.
We offer ten thousand thanks to the living God, who has enabled us, notwithstanding several breaks of severe pain and sickness, to carry on his work throughout another year, and that year the year of our life’s Jubilee.
It has been a joyful, happy year, and the good hand of the Lord has been upon us in all respects. The Magazine is simply the instrument and organ of those various Societies which depend upon us for guidance and support.
We feel, therefore, deeply grateful that nothing has had to be given up, nothing diminished; but in all things this holy war has gone forward, conquering and to conquer. Led by the weakest imaginable instrumentality, it has been, and still remains, a thing of power for God.
It would be a very perilous thing to allow The Pastors ’ College to cease, or to lessen the number of its students; for at this moment there is an orthodox and a heterodox party in almost all the churches, and the fact is manifest that lines of division will soon be drawn very clearly and very decidedly. We must be ready with good, well-educated men, to teach the old faith, and to teach it intelligently, and with fullness of instruction.
Those who choose to open their eyes must see that alarming alterations are coming on faster and faster, and the old landmark men must fix their positions, and maintain them as for dear life. Dear friends, do help us with the College, for by this instrumentality we hope to raise up many a true defender of the faith once delivered to the saints.
When we had reached as far as this passage, we were interrupted by a hurricane, consisting of rushes of pain, twitches, and all sorts of deadly apprehensions; and, therefore, the thing was shut up for the time being.
When we had come back to our former condition, we dictated to our amanuensis as follows : — I am deeply thankful to the many kind friends who have assisted the institutions under my care during another year. They are a very noble set of people, and give very largely and liberally. Their only fault is that there are comparatively few of them. Many of those who were accustomed to help us in a princely manner have “gone over to the majority,” and are now with God, where it is one of our expected delights to unite with them, and to rejoice in the remembrance of our fellowship on earth. If it were possible to increase the steady revenue of each one of our Societies, so that the money came in from time to time as it was required, it would be a very great relief to us. At the present moment, large sums are readily given when an emergency arises, but if a little forethought were exercised, there would never be any such emergency, and the poor conductor of the enterprises would have an easier time of it. Friends will please excuse these grumblings of a man who is very ill. He hardly knows what he is saying, but he thinks he is saying something which he has felt a good deal in past years. If, upon the whole, we were to be considered worthy to receive more help from the Lord’s stewards we should certainly be able to carry out many projects for the glory of God which we are now obliged to neglect. The Orphanage has gone on gloriously. Let anybody walk inside the gates, and see what a place it is — a garden of delights, the home of music and beauty. Every visitor is charmed with the healthiness of the situation, and the joy suggested by so delightful an institution. The Colportage Association ought to be helped a thousand times more than it is. It makes me sigh every time I think of it. Out’ country people are going to have the franchise. They have already received sufficient education to enable them to read, and they ought not to be left without the books which these good men supply. The books which are sold are really good books for working-people. You would be surprised to see what good judges they are of books. They purchase large quantities of Cassell’s solid literature in monthly parts. There are numbers of districts left without the gospel, which might, at least, have some light if we could send round “the man with the book.” The Evangelists ’ work has grown amazingly during the past year, and we have now full occupation for all the brethren connected with our Society.
We do not like putting one project before another, but assuredly these Evangelists have been as a full cloud, bearing deluges of blessings to the towns which they have visited, and God forbid that we should have to stay our hand in this matter. Mrs. Spurgeon ’s Book Fund can never be forgotten. It has pursued its gracious course through another year, with untold benediction to those servants of the Lord who have had their minds stimulated and refreshed by the new works which have been put in their way. It would be impossible to speak too highly of the results which must follow from this distribution of the truth.
Above all things, dear readers, let me have an increased interest in your prayers, and believe me to be Yours ever heartily, C. H.SPURGEON.