THE INFLUENCE OF COMPANY BY C. H. SPURGEON THE effect of company upon our souls is less considered at this time than it ought to be. Probably the most of men are ten times more careful in selecting a horse than in choosing a friend. They do not thoughtlessly surround themselves with servants, and yet they leave the gathering of their intimates to chance. Because we are compelled in some degree to mix with the ungodly world in the course of daily business, therefore many imagine that there can be no harm in making unconverted persons our intimate associates. Such a mistaken idea must be mischievous, and the sooner we are delivered from it the better.
We must be colored and tinctured by our friendships: it is unavoidable. The wisest of men assures us that “He that walks with, wise men shall be wise”; and it is equally true that he who walks with fools will soon be foolish.
Some men have great influence, and to be, near them is to be assuredly affected by them. Even those who have least power over others have a measure of it, and unconsciously to ourselves we may fall in some degree under their spell. The Jews have a proverb that “two dry sticks put to a green one will kindle it,” and it is doubtless true that, should one evil associate be unable to deprave us, there is a cumulative force in the example and persuasion of numbers. It is to be feared that where two or three are met together under the power of sin, there the devil is in the midst of them to aid their base endeavors. Now, it is a hard thing to go in and out among the children of darkness without learning some of their ways, and harder still to meet them in companies, which make up synagogues of Satan, without feeling the baleful force of the god of this world. If the company of the wicked does not leave a smear it will leave a smell; if it be not deadly it will be dangerous. Some of us are more plastic or malleable than others, and we are the first to be impressed by our surroundings; it is to us, therefore, of the first importance to place ourselves in holy society, and shun all needless association with the godless as we would avoid the plague. We are ourselves acquainted with many who have been ruined by bad company, — such were C , who became a reprobate through spending his Sabbaths in excursions and amusement; F — — , who was led into peculation and ultimate embezzlement through his friends of the billiardtable; He, who was never worth a penny-piece after he had found his heaven in the banquets of the Freemasons; and J — — , who went from bad to worse through the company of those who laugh at purity, and call vice pleasure. Indeed, the list is endless; and we shall be conceited to no ordinary degree if we imagine that we shall be safe where so many have fallen, never to rise again.
When dubious associates cannot altogether prevail with us to do evil, they are sure to hinder us as to our growth in holiness. The higher forms of grace are extremely delicate, and the processes of their progress are intensely’ sensitive, and hence it happens that even the presence of the graceless may injure them. We do not wonder that the heathen, in their more solemn worship, were accustomed to lift up the warning voice — “ Far hence, ye profane!” Instinctively one feels that in holy approaches to God the absence of the wicked is greatly to be desired. A word, or even a look, or a gesture from an influential worldling has soured the milk of devotion in many a pious heart. A note or two from graceless lips has reminded a holy man of a profane song which he would give his eyes to forget, for its recurrence to his memory has chased communion from his mind. These servants of iniquity are powerless to help us, but terribly potent to hinder us in our advances to our God. Who can make headway in faith while intimate with unbelievers? Who can dwell in hallowed peace when rough and headstrong spirits have unrestrained access to him? Who can be pure, and yet lay his head in the bosom of impurity? Who can keep his garments unstained, and yet toy with the unclean? The ascent to the heights of holiness is steep in itself, and we have enough burdens of our own to carry; there can be no need to link ourselves with those whose nature and disposition lead them to drag us down. “‘ Not with the light and vain, The man of idle feet and wanton eyes; Not with the world ’s gay, ever-smiling train; My lot be with the grave and wise. “Not with the trifler gay, To whom life seems but sunshine on the wave; Not with the empty idler of the day; My lot be with the wise and grave. “Not with the jesting fool, Who knows not what to sober truth is due, Whose words fly out without or aim or rule; My lot be with the wise and true. “With them I ’d walk each day, From them time ’s solemn lessons would I learn; That false from true, and true from false, I may Each hour more patiently discern. ” In these times we observe a craving in certain minds after what they call “admission to society.” Persons usually numbered with Christian’, have become rich, and this “society ” fever has come upon them with their increased substance. They are not themselves extremely talented or accomplished people, and in years gone by they were highly gratified when the leading friends in the church welcomed them to their houses; but now, though they are assuredly no better cultured than they were:, they look down upon their former friends, and say that they long to get into “society.” If they would turn their talk into English it would run thus, — “We are now rich, and are carried away with self-importance. We reckon ourselves to be too respectable to associate with godly people in the middle station of life, much less with poor saints. We want to have the esteem of worldlings, and enter with them into gaieties and frivolities.”
When this desire is gratified, the consequences’, are that these foolish people are patronized by people who find their interest in so doing. They are allowed to provide expensive feasts, and are honored by the company of certain nobodies, with big names, to whom a good dinner is an object.
Their sons become genteel scamps,. and their daughters are caught up in marriage, or in a worse manner, by penniless captains or profligate gentlemen, who devour their money, and treat them with heartless indifference. The family which might. have been honored, had it been gracious, goes over bodily to the, godless majority, and is no more to be found beneath the banner of the Lord. Such is the influence of companionship when it is adored under the mystic name of “society. ” But it is argued that we must have “society. ” So indeed we must, and if we find it among the godly it will be to our lasting and abounding benefit An old Puritan has well observed that “Nothing in all the world contributes so much to the kindling, the firing, and the inflaming of men ’s hearts after holiness, as the society of those that are holy. Algerius, an Italian martyr, had rather be in prison with Cato than live in the senate-house with Caesar.
It is ten thousand times better to live with those that are holy, though in a dark prison, than to live amongst those that are unholy, though in a royal palace. Urbanus Regius, having one day’s converse with Luther, tells us that it was one of the sweetest days that ever he had in all his life.” There must be disease in the mind of that Christian who would not and delight in the company of many men and women of our acquaintance; for their experience, their holiness, and their communion with God have made their words as music to the ear. When a few true believers meet together, and hold converse upon the grand themes of our divine faith, the pleasure is as real as it; is pure, as intense as it is profitable. We shall never forget an hour with George Muller, with Samuel Martin, with Baptist Noel. It has been our privilege to converse familiarly with many renowned persons, but we speak without any reservation when we say that with the most godly we have had the best-remembered and the happiest forms of intercourse. It will be among our sunniest memories throughout life that we have many times had the good Earl of Shaftesbury all alone in dearest fellowship at our own home; and, much as we have valued his public utterances, one of our highest joys has been to hear him pour forth a full-volumed stream of story and incident of a personal kind connected with his own walk with God. We were never dazzled by his rank, but we have been profited by his friendship in a way which may be more freely spoken of another day. Yet have we found equal joy and good cheer in the company of godly men of names unknown to fame. We could mention a score of intimates with whom “a crack” is a grand treat. Don’t tell us that we must go among worldlings for good company. Our private belief is that grace, in many an instance, quickens the intellect; that peace of heart breeds bonhomie, and that the loftiest pleasure comes of joys digged from the mines of godliness.
The society of the fashionable is frequently vapid; the card which is the one thing needful of etiquette, is the token of the instability of worldly friendships. Even for mere interest commend us to gracious conversation: there is substance, freshness, life in it. The world stands c n stilts; paints and powders its wrinkled face; ogles, and minces, and lies; one sees behind the scenes of its “society, ” and henceforth loathe.-’ it. But the society of true believers, though it may lack polish, veneer, and plush, has truth for its language, freedom for its atmosphere, sincerity for its spirit, and life for its characteristic. Nothing is more romantic than real life; and if we associate with those whose hove to God impels them to labor for the benefit of man, and especially if we join them in their endeavors, we shall not suffer from weariness, or complain that we have fallen upon an age of prose.
As to the actually vicious, or profane, Christians can never be excused if they associate with them. The question is still debated in some circles whether alcohol is a poison or no, but we never heard any one advocate moderate doses of prussic acid; and so it can never be doubted that the company of a dissolute person of either sex is as much to be avoided as that of a cobra, or a panther. No matter what their talents, bad men and women cannot do good to us, or to our children. Out of evil comes evil. “Why did you not take my brother’s arm last night?” said one young lady to another. “Because I know him to be a licentious young man,” answered the wiser girl. “Nonsense!” said the first; “if you decline the attentions of all licentious young men, you will soon be left alone in your glory, I can assure you.” “Very well,” was the reply; “then I will be left alone; for I am determined, come what may, that I will have nothing to do with persons of loose character.”
This little dialogue we have borrowed; but whoever wrote it sketched an admirable scene, which we believe has been many times observed with delight by holy angels. We commend it to all, and most of all to those whom it more immediately concerns.
We are so much under the influence of our comrades in life’s battle that we dare not enter a regiment whose traditions are ignoble; we need to unite with the best, and rally to the most glorious banner. We are none too good when aided by the most helpful associates; we can none of us afford to be deteriorated and debased by ill connections. The mountain of life must be scaled; crevasses, chasms, precipices, must be encountered. Almost without exception we must be roped together in this mountaineering: let the wise man accept only as his partners those who will pursue the ways of faith and virtue, for with these only will he reach the summit.
HINDRANCES TO WORSHIP BY C. SPURGEON, GREENWICH.
THIS is a subject not much considered in its bearing upon the interior conduct of our Public Worship. Our minds are so taken up with the hindrances which come from the outside of the house of God, that we are prone to overlook those arising from within. I am not so sure but that the greatest evils and hindrances are to be found inside the sanctuary rather than outside. Sometimes the greatest evils are the smallest, and the smallest the greatest; it is a paradox, I know, but it its true. The least hindrance inside the house of prayer becomes as great as the greatest outside.
The first of these that I must name is that of late coming. Service commences at such-and-such an hour, but certain friends are always punctually late, — somewhere about ten minutes after the opening prayer.
The evil reaches from the pulpit to the pew; for it annoys the regular Pastor as well as the regular seat-holder. Some of the solemn sacredness of the service is taken away by each late comer, for each disturbance detracts a little from the attention of those already assembled. Some will say, “Yes, but you must excuse this.” One says, “I have such a distance to come.”” Yes, friend, it takes you twenty minutes to come, then start twenty-two minutes before service-time, and you will most likely be punctual. “Oh!” says another, “I am kept up very late on Saturday night, and it is hard to get up on Sunday morning.” Very true; but you must remember that, the preacher is often” detained before the Lord” later than yourself, and yet he must be up, and not a moment late in the pulpit next; morning. An old adage tells us, “Where there is a will there is a way,” and I believe that if some of our “irregulars” would only “will” in this matter, this evil would be done away with.
The second matter is this, — hearers looking about during service. It is a very little thing, but it does a great deal of harm. Many ministers become inured to interruptions, but even the most hardened will readily own that an inattentive, gazing listener is a great annoyance. I know some preachers fail to interest their audiences, and never show them truth in such a fashion as to engage their attention, but even this is no excuse for those who incessantly look about them. When I see people wagging their heads about like the Chinamen in the tea-shops, I wish to see it no more for ever. Let the eye be fixed, and the heart fixed too, and the person who sits next to the formerly restless one will mark the improvement. “There are many attractions which allure,” whispers a conscience-stricken one. I am well aware of this, for Mrs. So-and-so has on a new bonnet this morning, and Miss Featherflower is dressed up to the nines to-day. But really, dear friend, the house of prayer is not St. Paul’s Churchyard, or Regent Street, and if there are those who will make themselves milliners’ advertisements inside the place of holy assembly., it may be partly your fault, because they know you will look at them. Pray do not lend yourself to either of these evils, but strenuously avoid both, and the service will no longer be hindered.
In the third place, beware of the prevalent habit of coughing during service. This is most indulged in during winter, though there are several who can accommodate (?) us with it in the summer months as well. It is not only the asthmatical and phthisieal who annoy the worshippers. with their coughing, for many others have a kind of ecclesiastical cough. It is very strange that you never hear them cough in parlor, the or the market; but as soon as they settle in their seat at church or chapel, they suffer terribly in this way. Draughts and heated air, of course, are the cause of it, and the patient is to be pitied. I think the preacher has to be more patient than the cougher, for he is compelled to endure the harrowing sound all the time, whether it be in prayer or preaching. Some folks forget their manners or leave them behind, for they do not put a handkerchief before their mouths to check the sound. Out comes the cough with the fall force of their lungs, to the disturbance of all.
There is nothing that Satan likes more than these littles to spoil our devotion. How often has the falling of an umbrella or the dropping of a hymn-book on the floor marred the earnest appeal or application of the minister I Do let us be as careful as we can, not to help the devil by distracting human minds from the gospel.
There is yet another hindrance. I know some good people who can sing, but they won ’t sing, and, I might say, ought to be made to sing. People get the sulks because the tune is not pitched in the right key, or because there is no organ going, or because it is congregational singing. There they stand like mutes on the door-step, looking about as black as those silent men.
Why, friend, I would join in the singing, if I could only do it as well as the kettle on the hob. Give over your crotchets, and do not be too sharp on others who do their best. If you will only add a note to our song, the singing will not be so low, or so slow as it is at present. Join with hearty accord, and pray do not be a bar to prevent the glorifying of God in general praise. Never mind if you are not ,a, musician, for the Lord will be pleased with “a joyful a shout” noise ;” and from the heart will be accepted of him.
If everybody did as you do, there would be no singing at all, and then one of the best portions of our service would be lacking. Try your best to help in praising God.
The last item of importance is inattention to the reading of the Scriptures.
Alas I many of our congregations take it for granted that the preacher always reads correctly, and announces his text rightly, and so they never turn to their Bibles to see for themselves. One who is used to giving running comments upon the verses after they are read is glad to see the upturned faces of the audience, for he knows that such have been following him in the Scriptures, and are now eager for the ex. position. There is a way of entrance into Mansoul via Eye-gate as well as Ear-gate, and, if we look at the Word as well as hear it, it will be the more likely to abide in us.
Should not God’s truth receive our best attention at all times? Certainly it should do so when we have come together for divine worship.
If older folks would give heed to this word of exhortation, their example would go a long way towards making the children attentive worshippers.
Thus the rising generation will be trained in the right, and in after years these hindrances will be unheard-of things. May grace be given us to destroy these “little foxes,” and our vine of worship will produce clusters like those of Eshcol.
ANARCHISTS IN THEOLOGY THE story is told of a popular orator who, on one occasion, waxed so T warm and eloquent over the iniquities of the Government, that, losing his head, he declared at last he would abolish everything! This seems to be the vein of our modern divine. Very few of them are overdone with theology, and therefore they abuse it. The grapes are sour to these foxes. But what little they have picked up at second- hand is mostly used by them as something to find fault with. They don’t believe in this vulgar view, nor in that antiquated opinion; and in general they don’t agree with anything whatever that has either sense or Scripture in it. They remind us of the candidate who was asked by a Scotchman, “How about the Decalogue, Jock?” and instantly replied that he should certainly vote for its total abolition. Their cry is, “Down with all that’s up!” They are just Anarchists and Nihilists who have got into a church, and who think they will play the same pranks there as in a Red Republican Club. There’s no stopping these foaming spouters — they must just run themselves dry; the mercy is that very soon nobody will take the slightest notice of them. Meanwhile, however, some of these destroyers, who have climbed into pulpits, are scattering the little flocks ‘which have accepted them as shepherds; and this makes the matter serious for the time. Perhaps when they have quite finished their career of overturning, the poor people may return with renewed zest to that old-fashioned gospel which their clever young parsons could not endure C.H.S.
NOTES THE Jubilee —The celebration of Mr. Spurgeon’s fiftieth birthday is close at hand. Whatever is to be done to make the day memorable must be done at once. It is proposed to hold a meeting on the 18th June of a home character. The poor members will be invited to a free tea by the Pastor, and after tea the various branches of the work at the Tabernacle will by their representatives congratulate the Pastor. On Thursday, the 19th, the Earl of Shaftesbury will take the chair at a more general meeting, for the public as well as home friends.
With regard to the testimonial, Mr. Spurgeon cannot of course do anything in it himself, and therefore it is not likely to be carried through with the rigor which his leadership usually imparts. The Deacons are therefore the more anxious that friends should take it up with spirit. This advantage will be gained, that whatever is sent, will be absolutely spontaneous, and will therefore be a surer proof of loving attachment. On a former occasion a large sum was brought in by a bazaar, but this Mr. Spurgeon has all along declined, not caring for anything but what may come in by the usstimulated generosity of friends.
The following is the circular issued by the Treasurers, to which we would add that the thousand pounds already given will be nearly all absorbed by the Jubilee House. The three other objects selected by Mr. Spurgeon are the Colportage, the Almshouses Endowment Fund, and the chapel for his son Thomas in Auckland, friends can allot their gifts to either of these, or leave the matter open as the Circular suggests. “Metropolitan Tabernacle, “Newington Butts, London, S.E. “14th May, 1844. “REV. C. H.SPURGEON’ S JUBILEE FUND.”
Dear Friend, “It is widely known that Mr.SPURGEON will reach his fiftieth Birthday on the 19th June next. Public appreciation of his life-work has already marked that day as a Festival, and preparations are being made to celebrate it in a suitable manner. “The intention has been announced to hold a Meeting at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on the evening of Thursday, the 19th of ,Tune, to be presided over by the VENERABLE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY.
This will be made the occasion of presenting Mr.SPURGEON with an Address of Congratulation and a Testimonial of love and esteem. “At a representative social gathering, held on the 6th instant, it was unanimously resolved, that in addition to ‘ The Jubilee House,’ in course of erection at the rear of the Tabernacle, the presentation shall consist of a Sum of Money, to be placed absolutely and unreservedly at his own disposal, except in any case where the donor specifies a particular object. “Over a thousand pounds were promised at once to open the Subscription List, and Messrs. T. R.OLNEY and W. C.MURRELL were elected Treasurers of the Fund. “In addressing the intimate friends and ardent admirers of our Pastor, any reference to the services he has rendered to the universal Church of our Lord Jesus Christ would be superfluous. Of the Philanthropic Institutions he has planted and fostered, or of his manifold labors of love, we likewise forbear to speak. We simply invite you to join us in a tribute of personal regard to himself. “Many of us feel that his life touches our own at every vital point. The hearts and homes of great multitudes have become happier and holier by hits ministry. We are sure that he has made his mark on his own generation with the truest instinct of which our manhood is capable. The echoes of his influence have extended to remote regions, till his name has become a household word in every part of the civilized world. And he has multiplied himself beyond our power of computation by means of the men whom he has trained and sent forth in our own country, our Colonies, and our Foreign Mission Stations; to say nothing of the many more men and women of maturer years who have proved the quickening force of his example and his leadership, and haw:; been constrained to devote themselves with a noble enthusiasm to Christian work. “The list; of love is now open to the spontaneous generosity of all who are ready to greet the opportunity. No further appeal will be made. As it is proposed to inscribe the names of contributors in the Testimonial, we shall feel obliged by an early response directed to either of us at the above address. “On behalf of the Deacons and Elders, “We have the honor to subscribe ourselves: “Yours faithfully, “T. H.OLNEY. “W. C.MURRELL At one of the College meetings Mr. W. J. Mayors, of Bristol, gave the following clever paragraph, into which the titles of Mr. Spurgeon’s works are dexterously inlaid : — “Those who listened, to the President’s inaugural address had evidence that The Saint and his Savior were on familiar terms. It was full of Smooth Stones from Ancient Brooks, and hearing it was like Gleanings among the Sheaves. In some passages it reminded us of the dew which comes fresh upon the earth Morning by Morning, while in others it was brilliant as the sunsets, which make the sky glorious Evening by Evening. It contained some of the brightest of Spurgeon ’s Gems, not only from the Treasury of David, but from that of Paul, Peter, and many others. It was full of Flashes of Thought. Indeed, there was a right Royal Wedding of thought and language. It was a true Interpreter of many of our feelings. It thrilled us with its Trumpet calls to Christian Energy. It abounded in Types and Emblems. The Present Truth, for the present age, was clearly expounded and enforced. It carried us back to the days of the Lectures to my Students, and was more helpful to us than many of the Commentings and Commentaries over which we are wont to spend much time. So pathetic were some portions of the address that the speaker seemed like a Mourner ’s Comforter, and so full of genuine sarcasm and wholesome humor were others that our hearty laughter and applause might have caused some to look upon us as among the very Eccentric Preachers. The address was fragrant with -Flowers from a -Puritan ’s Garden and supplied us with many -Feathers for Arrows. It was pithy as John -Ploughman ’s Talk, and homely as the famous -Farm Sermons. To some puzzled minds it was a true Clue of the Maze. The Bible and the Newspaper were laid under contribution in its illustrations. As it recorded Christ ’s glorious Achievements, it bid us all Be of Good Cheer, and when it is printed we shall spend many a Spare Half-Hour over its more than Seven Wonders of Grace. In short, it put into our hands both The Sword and the Trowel for upbuilding and combat, and it seemed to contain the quintessence of the twenty-nine volumes of The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit. ” It has been the Editor’s great joy to take part on two occasions in Mr. Moody’s work in Croydon. On Friday, May 16, all the students went over to Croydon, and formed part of an enormous multitude who gathered to hear a sermon from their President. We are more and more impressed with a sense of the remarkable power which rests upon the beloved Moody. His words are plain and fresh from his heart, and a special influence from on high goes therewith both to saint and sinner. It is a happy thing for London that such a shower of blessing is falling upon it.
In connection with our Sunday-school there is a Working Society for helping to clothe the families of our colporteurs. Mrs. Evans attends to the poor ministers, and this offshoot from her society is to look after the colporteurs. Materials would be gratefully received, or second-hand clothing, or cash. Parcels can be addressed to Superintendent of Sundayschool, Metropolitan Tabernacle.
— Mr. F. R. Bateman has settled at Clarence-road, Southendon- Sea; and Mr. F. Tuck at Windmill-street, Graves-end.
Mr. A. K. Davidson has removed from Chipping Sodbury to Earl Soham, Suffolk; Mr. N. Heath, late of Gravesend, has gone to Salem Chapel, Ramsey, Hunts; and Mr. J. Smith has removed from Chatham to Cloughfold, Lancashire. Mr. W. E. Rice has resigned the pastorate of the church at Earls Colne, and sailed for Auckland, New Zealand, where he is to take charge of the church during the absence of Pastor Thomas Spurgeon, who is on his way home for a season. He needs rest; but he is not in seriously ill-health as has been reported. Our hope is that he will be so restored by the voyage as to reach England in a vigorous condition.
We have received good news from our brethren C. Testre, Sale, Victoria; W. V. Young, Ipswich, Queensland; A. Bird, Launceston, Tasmania; and H. T. Peach, Pietermaritzburg.
On Thursday, May 15th, the students of the College presented Professor Gracey with the following address : — “To Rev.DAVID GRACEY, “Principal of Pastors’ College. “Dear Sir, — We, the students, who are now enjoying your tuition, and we who have only lately entered upon pastoral duties, deem the end of your twenty-first year as tutor a fitting time for praying in a practical way our deep gratitude to you. We are assured that our personal equipment for the task entrusted to us by our divine Master, and that the ever-widening usefulness of our College, are largely due to your influence. We cannot over-rate the value of your lectures in Divinity, your training in the classical tongues, your lucid and devout exposition of Scripture, and your discipline in Homiletics; while the kindliness of your manner, and the friendliness of your interest in each student, raise our admiration for your abilities into affection for yourself. As a token of our thankfulness and esteem, we, who have been enriched by the ripened fruit of your mind and heart, ask your acceptance of the accompanying gift, not for its own worth, but for the love it faintly indicates. With a view to the continued prosperity of our College, we unitedly pray that you may long be spared to carry on the work! you have hitherto conducted so ably, so devotedly, and so successfully. “Signed, on behalf of the brethren, HARRY H.DRIVER, Hon. Sec. “May, 1884.”
The address, which was most beautifully engrossed by Mr. Chambers, one of the students, was accompanied by two engravings of Gustave Dore’s pictures, an autotype portrait of Mr. Gracey, and a silver biscuit-box for Mrs. Gracey.
The President had great pleasure in uniting with the students in this welldeserved testimonial which is a token of the esteem in which all the tutors are held. No institution among mortal men is blessed with more devoted workers than those who superintend the education of the young ministers of the Pastors’ College. The Lord give great grace to those who learn that they make the fullest use of their privileges, may and become eminently useful servants of Christ.
— The twentieth annual conference of the Pastors’ College Association was commenced on Monday afternoon, April 21, by a wellattended prayer-meeting at the East London Tabernacle. This was followed by tea, at which about two hundred of the ministers and students were present, and by a public meeting, when our dear brother A. G. Brown’s great building was crowded with an interested and enthusiastic audience.
The President, C. H. Spurgeon, occupied the chair, and after prayer by Pastor W. Cuff, of Shoreditch Tabernacle, expounded that portion of the parable of the Prodigal Son contained in the words, “But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the farted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Addresses were delivered by Pastors N. Dobson (Deal) and H. E. Stone (Nottingham), and Mr. S. F. Shearer, one of the students in the College, and our three singing evangelists, Messrs. J. M. Smith, J. Burnham, and E. J. Parker, led the congregation in sacred song. The offerings at the doors in aid of the College funds amounted to £16 8s. 8d. It was a glorious beginning of the week’s meetings, and augured well for the success of all the after gatherings. At the same time the Vice-President, J. A. Spurgeon, was presiding at the Tabernacle prayer-meeting, where many earnest petitions were presented for a blessing upon all the assemblies of the brethren during the Conference.
On Tuesday morning, April 22, special thanksgiving and prayer occupied the first hour and a half, in the course of which the President reported the death of Mr. Hartley, who had been stricken with fever before he had been able to commence his missionary work on the Congo. Very touching reference to the early termination of our young brother’s career was made in the prayer of the Rev. R. Glover, president of the Baptist Union. The season of supplication being ended, our President delivered his inaugural address on Steadfastness.
On re-assembling, after a brief recess, the Conference business was transacted. The names of 17 students were added to the roll of membership, four names were removed from the roll, the President, Vice- President, and officers were unanimously re-elected, and Monday, June 16, was fixed for the annual day of united prayer by all the. churches connected with the Conference. The, report of the College Assurance community, presented by Mr. Allison, showed that the payments during the year had amounted to £81 9s. 6d., which had been exactly met by the balance from last year, the subscriptions of members, and special donations. Hearty thanks were accorded to Mr. Allison for his management of the fund, and he was asked to continue his services for another year. It was decided that an alteration should be made in the rules, so that while a subscriber of 5s. per year should receive, as at present, £10 upon the death of his wife, or £5 at the death of his child, one who paid 7s. 6d. would in addition secure to his widow or representative £10 in the event; of his own death during the year.
In the evening, at the soiree at the Orphanage, short speeches were delivered orphans contributed their share to the enjoyment of the brethren by their singing, bell-ringing, and recitations, and the proceedings of the day were brought to a profitable conclusion by Pastor F. H. White’s interesting and instructive lecture, with dissolving views, on “The Trees, Flowers, and Fruits of Canaan.” On returning home we felt that the high tone of the Monday evening meeting had been fully maintained during the whole day, and that we had great reason for gratitude to. our heavenly Father for the blessing that had been poured down upon us. On Wednesday, April 23, the first hour was again devoted mainly to prayer and praise. Several brethren who were too ill to be present, or who were obliged to be at home, with their loved ones who were sick, were specially commended to the Lord. The President read the letter from the brethren in India, which is printed in the College Report, and also the following communication from the Canadian Branch of the Conference, which came to hand just too late to be inserted : — “Paris, Ontario, Canada. “March 28, 1884. “To the Pastors’ College Conference assembling in London, England. “Beloved President, ‘Vice-President and Brethren, we congratulate you on the auspicious circumstances which permit you once more to assemble in Annual Conference. The memories of by-gone times of refreshing, while thus assembled, lead us to hang our harps on the willows, exclaiming, ‘ How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? Pastors College. never shall we be able to erase from our affections the endearments that twine around thee, or from our minds the sense of indebtedness we owe to thee through thy honored President. When shall the happy time arrive when we shall grasp the hands of our brethren, and greet them face to face? Until then, accept our sincerest and heartiest assurances of loyalty and love. “Since last we were privileged to salute you, some changes have taken place among us as to our fields of labor; but by the sustaining hand of our God we have been preserved in life, and health, and character. Some of us have enjoyed the highest honors our Associations could confer upon us, and our voices have been heard and heeded in our general denominational counsels, while with voice and pen we have done our best to disseminate those glorious truths of divine revelation, so dear both to you and us. Nor has our labor been in vain in the Lord, To some of us great success has been given.
We very much regret that the great distances which separate us from each other, in this wide Dominion, make it almost impossible for us all to meet together, even annually. But while absent in body, we are often present in spirit. “It cheers us to think that we are not forgotten by you in your annual assemblies; and by the knowledge that you pray for us, and sympathize with us, we are stimulated to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. “May your meetings be fraught with heaven’s richest benedictions, and may their influence reach even to us in this far-off land beyond the sea. “We remain, beloved president and Brethren, — Yours in Christ Jesus, on behalf of the Canadian Branch, “ROBERT LENNIE. JAMES GRANT.”
The rest of the morning was occupied with three admirable papers, by Professor Marchant, on “The head-ship of Christ: its relation to some present difficulties in our church-life and ministry;” by PastorW. Townsend ( of Canterbury ), on “A ministry of power, a want of the times;” and by Mr. W. Y. Fullerton, on “Some Spiritual Soudans,” the first portion of which appears in the present magazine.
In the evening the annual meeting of subscribers and friends was held under the able chairmanship of T. A. Denny, Esq. Prayer was offered by Mr.S. Thompson; the President presented a report of the year’s work; addresses were delivered by the Chairman, Sir W. McArthur, M P., R. Cory, Esq. (of Cardiff), the Rev. H. Sinclair Paterson, M D., Mr. Robert Spurgeon, one of our missionaries from India, Pastor T. J. Longhurst (of Cheltenham), and Mr. W. Y. Fullerton; and a number of our musical brethren helped us to praise the Lord by their sacred solos and choruses. At nine o’clock, a large company sat down to the supper given by the President and two or three friends, and prepared by Mr. Murrell and his helpers, and after the collectors had passed round the tables it was reported that £2,018 9s. 0d. had been contributed or promised towards the support of the College.
Friends unable to be present sent further sums, so that altogether considerably more than two thousand guineas came in to the funds; a result for which we first devoutly thank the Giver of all good, and next express our hearty gratitude to all the Lord’s stewards who have thus generously helped us for another year to carry on the important work of training preachers of the gospel.
On Thursday morning, April 24, after a season of prayer and praise, the Vice-President delivered an address from the words, “The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion” (Psalm 20l, 2).
Addresses were also given by Pastors A. G. Brown and J. Cruick-shank on the “Urgent needs of the church, metropolitan and rural,” and upon “Missionary work,” by Mr. Robt. Spurgeon, missionary from Barisaul; and the meeting was closed with prayer by several of the brethren on behalf of these various works. In the evening the annual public meeting was held in the Tabernacle, which was all but crowded. The President was in the chair, and gave a report of the College work. Addresses were delivered by Pastors G. Duncan (Huddersfield), C. E. Stone (Chatham.. road, Wandsworth Common), W. J. Mayers (Bristol), Mr. Robt. Spurgeon (Barisaul), and Mr. J. T, Mateer (Evangelist!. At the suggestion of Pastor Duncan the offering at the door was presented to Mrs. Spurgeon for her “Book Fund” At the close of the public meeting the ministers and students were entertained at supper in the Lecture-hall, when a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to Hr. Murrell for his care of the brethren during the whole week.
On Friday morning, April 25, the brethren had the joy of welcoming Mrs. Spurgeon, as well as their President, at the closing meeting of the Conference. Our venerable friend Professor Rogers was amongst those who led the supplications of the assembly. The following resolution was proposed by Pastor W. J. Mayers, seconded by Pastor W. Williams (Upton Chapel), and unanimously carried : — “That, as members of this Conference, we recognize the good hand of the Lord in prompting and aiding the esteemed wife of our beloved President to minister in so gentle and generous a way to our mental and spiritual good, by the gift of the volumes now received. We thank Mrs. Spurgeon specially on behalf of some of the brethren among us for her welcome, heart-gladdening, home-brightening, and sermon-enriching parcels of books. We often think of her, but never without emotion. We often pray for her, but never without gratitude; and now that we are privileged to see her, we beg her to accept assurances of our Christian esteem and affection, and ever-deepening appreciation of all her labors of love. We join heartily in congratulating Mrs. Spurgeon on the renewed health in which we find our revered President, and our fervent supplications go out that their two valued and useful lives may long be spared to each other, to the church, to the world, and to the College. In token of the sincerity of the foregoing words, and as the only way in which we can show our gratitude, we hereby pledge ourselves, God helping us, to a fuller loyalty to our divine Lord, a deeper devotion to his work, and a clearer insistence on the only gospel which is worth the preaching, and which alone can bless the world.”
Mr. Mayers also presented a beautiful basket of flowers to Mrs. Spurgeon, and the address and the present were suitably acknowledged on her behalf by the President. Then came the sermon by the President from Mark 4:38,39, followed by the Communion, and the closing Psalm (Psalm 122.) sung as usual by the whole assembly standing with hands linked. At the dinner in the Lecture-hall, the President presented to Mr. Murrell a token of their love in the form of books which had been subscribed for by the brethren to whom he renders such noble service; and Pastor F. H. White reported that one hundred and eighty-seven pastors had collected or contributed £500 11s. 7d. for the College during the year. Hearty thanks were given to the President, Vice-President, and the Tutors, on whose behalf Professor Gracey briefly responded. After a few remarks by Professor Blaikie, of Edinburgh, the twentieth Conference was closed by the doxology and benediction.
EVANGELISTS.— Messrs. -Fullerton and Smith have been conducting services at Tredegarville Baptist Church, Cardiff, during the past mouth.
The pastor, Alfred Tilley, writes :—”The meetings have been attended with much present blessing, and we are hopeful of gracious results in additions to our own and other churches.
It may be well if I mention the impression left upon my own mind by these meetings. Of the addresses of our-dear friend, Mr. Fullerton, it would be difficult in many respects to speak too highly. There has been throughout an entire absence of anything approaching sensationalism, and certainly there has been no such thing as an attempt to get up an excitement or to force persons into the inquiry rooms. The way of salvation has been set forth as clearly, and illustrated by incidents as interesting, apt, and striking, as I ever remember to have heard. For ability, Mr. Fullerton’s addresses will compare with those of the foremost evangelists of the day. The singing and playing of Mr. Smith, which have been greatly admired by thoroughly accomplished judges, have added greatly to the pleasure and success of the mission; as also his reading and running comments on the Scripture lesson and his short addresses between the hymns.”
This month the Evangelists are to visit Dundee. Mr. Burnham has held very successful services at Carlisle, and is now at Crosby-Garrett.
Since the Conference Mr. Russell has visited Tetbury, and West Drayton.; this month he again conducts services in the Pottery district. He will be glad to hear from brethren wanting his services in August or September. Messrs Mateer and Parker have conducted a fortnight’s mission at Kentstreet Chapel, Portsea. Pastor J. W. Genders writes, “The speaking of Mr. Mateer is simple, scriptural, and earnest, He gives the impression of a man of God thoroughly devoted to the work of telling the glad tidings. His addresses seem to me most admirably adapted to an evangelistic mission.
The visit of our brethren has produced quite a revival amongst us, which I feel persuaded will not pass away.”
— The Annual Fete will be held on Wednesday, July 16th; the usual day (June 19th) being appropriated to the Jubilee celebration at the Tabernacle. Mr. Charlesworth and his choir of boys have visited, during the past month, Cambridge, Waterbeach, and Luton; and they are now holding meetings in the West of England.
During the past year 970 articles have been made and presented to the Orphanage by the Working Meeting which is held fortnightly at the Tabernacle. Thanks, kind ladies, 970 times repeated.
Friends will kindly notice that the income of the Orphanage from the living is far below its needs, and it is drawing from its legacies. We mention this because some may think us rich and increased in goods. We do not advertise our needs in the newspapers, but we think it only right to let our helpers know how matters stand. The Lord will provide. It is ours to stir up the pure minds of his stewards by way of remembrance.
— The annual meeting was held in the Tabernacle on Monday, May 19th, the President, C. H. Spurgeon, in the chair. Dr. Green, secretary o! the Religious Tract Society, and several colporteurs, gave lively, natural, and striking addresses. The annual report was read by the general secretary, W. Corden Jones, and it is of such a kind that every Christian must feel an admiration for the work done, for it is surprising in its extent and in the blessing resting upon it. Some thirty’ of the colporteurs came up to London, and. were entertained by the committee and friends. These met for prayer and conference on Sunday and Men.. day, and were addressed by Mr. Spurgeon and other brethren. They are a fine band of men, seventy-two of them. How earnestly we wish it could be made into one hundred at the least! No agents are at once so cheap and so efficient. Any district which can raise £40 a-year can have a man appointed.
Our business is to find the money for the working expenses, and to make up the rest of the men’s weekly salaries. To the few who aid us we feel very grateful. Oh, for more helpers!
The following is an epitome of the Report and of the work done by colporteurs during the past year :- Total Value of Sales. — £8,156 18s. 7d., in-eluding £235 9s. 4d. by bookagents. Analysis of Sales &e. — Bibles, 7,768; bound books, over 6d., 53,9,09; bound books, under 6d., 75,579; Testaments, 5,052; packets of texts, etc., 35,969; magazines, 290,017; Total, 467,594. Besides this, 592,745 families were visited, and 7,514 Religious Services conducted. Total Value of Sales since the Association was formed sixteen years ago, £75,830 ls. 9d.
The complete Report may be obtained on application, from the Secretary, W. Corden Jones, Temple-street, London, S.S.
Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon very gratefully acknowledges a beautiful present of 13 knitted frocks and skirts for the children of poor Pastors, from “Surbiton.”
— An earnest brother, who recently joined the church at the Tabernacle, in relating his experience at the church-meeting, stated that while he was at work one day his eye rested upon a single leaf of our sermon on “Faith: what is it? How can it be obtained?” (No. 1,609). He picked it up, read it, and it was blessed to his soul’s salvation.
We have lately received many testimonies to the usefulness of the sermons to aged Christians at home and abroad. The following instances will serve as specimens of many similar cases. One of our former students writes : — “ I was speaking in a village under the shadow of H.. Castle the other evening. After the meeting I was told that an old lady was searching for me. I was brought to her, and she began to weep with joy, saying, ‘You are from Mr. Spurgeon! My husband and I are over eighty; yet, bless the Lord, I can read Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons! I get them every week, I do not know what I should do without them. Do tell him from me what a comfort they are to my soul.’” A friend, who sends a card announcing his father’s death, says :—” I desire to tell you how much he and my mother have profited from your sermons. He has been a Christian for sixty-six years, but for four or five years has not been able to attend the means of grace; but the sermon has been rich food for his soul, and every week, when read, it has been passed on to other families.”
Baptisms at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. — April 28, ten; May 1, twelve.
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE BY REV. GEORGE ROGERS.
THE connection of a College with a Pastorate, though rarely exemplified, is in perfect accordance with the method by which the gospel was commanded to be preached to all nations, and to the end of the world. In the time of Samuel there was a school of the prophets to assist him in the religious instruction of the people, although ‘he required none to be associated with him in civil government. Elijah and Elisha presided over a school of the prophets in their day. We have the names of twenty-five students who were associated with Ezra when he read and expounded the law to the people. Twelve of these were kept in reserve, six on his right hand and six on his left hand, upon an elevated platform, and the other thirteen were dispersed among the thousands of Israel to give the sense and cause them to understand the reading.
John the Baptist had no official helpers either in preaching or baptizing, His office was unique, without precedent or succession. It was the preaching of John, and the baptism of John. John baptized, but not his disciples; Christ baptized not, but his disciples. The ministry of the one was temporary and provisional only, the ministry of the other was final and universal. Hence provision was made for its continuance to the end of the world. Jesus made no new discoveries in science or art; he formed no society for the removal of civil or social evils; he organized no system of opposition to the particular errors of the times; he originated no church convention or ecclesiastical synod; he established no school for general education or special literary honors; but he founded a Pastors’ College. “He called unto him whom he would, and they came unto him; and he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” We have the names of those twelve students, and of several others that were subsequently added to them.
No sooner had the Apostles begun to succeed in their ministry than they summoned others to their aid. Stephen, Philip, and Barnabas are prominent among these, and are scarcely inferior to the Apostles themselves. Paul has his Silas and Timothy and Titus in close fellowship with him in his work; and Apollos, too, though encouraged by his eloquence to be somewhat more independent of him. He exhorts Timothy to select, in like manner, suitable companions in his labors. “The things which thou hast heard of me,” he says, “the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.” To Titus he says, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting; and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” “Elders,” here is an official designation irrespective of age. Titus, who was a young man, was not likely to select those who were far beyond him in years to be his helpers and successors in the government and extension of the churches that had been committed to his care. One of the things yet: wanting in Crete, and which Titus is instructed by Paul to set in order, was to ordain, or set apart upon his own nomination, elders in every city, not so much for service in the church as for evangelistic ‘work in the city. Such ‘was the order of the primitive churches according to the Apostolic rule, which Continued for a time beyond the Apostolic age, but which, with other gospel ordinances, was soon perverted from its original design, and became the’ plea for all the gradations and pretensions of the Roman priesthood.
With the dawn of the Reformation, symptoms of the original institution reappeared. Wycliff in England, Savonarola in Italy, Zwingle in Switzerland, and Luther in Germany, had their young coadjutors, trained to diffuse and perpetuate the principles they professed. Of pastoral tutors Wycliff and Luther are the most prominent examples.
While Wycliff was at the head of one of the Colleges at Oxford, and one of its most popular lecturers, he had a band of men whose hearts God had touched to follow him in his theological sentiments, and boldly proclaim them to others. He knew nothing of Greek, but was not censured on that account by other Professors, by Bishops, or Archbishops, just because they knew nothing of it themselves. He was, however, well able to preach in Latin, and was foremost in all the literary and dialectic and scientific acquirements of his day; and yet he did not insist upon these as necessary qualifications for preaching the gospel. It was sufficient for him to know that the men whom he selected and ;appointed for that office were well indoctrinated in his views, and were able with clearness and ordinary propriety of speech, and with fervent zeal, to make them known to others.
Wycliff’s students became known throughout the whole country. Though plain and undignified teachers, they could not be hid. They who in high office in Church and State said, What: will these babblers say? afterwards exclaimed, What do we? if we let these men alone, all men will believe in them! The alarm increased until a Papal bull roared and rushed out against them; but not before many were made glad by them, and glad for ever.
Luther also encouraged young men who had embraced his doctrines and were fired with his zeal to go and teach them to others, whenever and wherever they could; and the Reformation he introduced was greatly promoted by their instrumentality. They often returned to him find gladdened his heart by relating what great things God had clone by them.
He assisted them greatly in their work by the instructions he gave them, and the books with which he supplied them. “He was enabled,” says one of his biographers, “to supply impoverished and deserving students with books that they could never have procured for themselves, and which materially aided their industry.” Like causes in the present age still produce like effects.
In connection with every revival of genuine Christianity, originating in some one prominent leader, the hearts of some men have been touched by God to follow him. Whitefield and Wesley infused their revolutionary spirit into others, the effects of which remain to this day. In both these instances the fact, that gospel preachers make gospel preachers, was remarkably exemplified. The College formed and sustained by Lady Huntingdon, which remains in the College at Cheshunt, was the result of the preaching zeal with which Whitefield inspired others; and the whole of Wesleyan Methodism attests the preaching influence of one man upon his followers.
The like tendency may be observed in nearly all Christian ministers who have attained to a holy notoriety, and have been favored with a considerable measure of success. An Academy for training young men for the Christian Ministry was founded in connection with the pastorate of Dr. Doddridge, which after being removed to Dayentry, Wymondley, and London, became absorbed with two other Colleges in the College of St.
John’s Wood. It was prematurely urged upon the attention of Mr. Doddridge by neighboring ministers, and was undertaken with more hesitation and formality than if it had spontaneously been suggested by the subsequent course of his ministry. Too many rules were formed for the subjects and course of study, instead of leaving them to be suggested by the requirements of the men for their work. The Academy sought to make ministers rather than to aid them. It was not so successful, therefore, as it might otherwise have been.
Colleges for the Christian Ministry are Scriptural in proportion as they are prompted and controlled by that ministry as its natural results. As spheres of extended usefulness arise the men will be forthcoming that are adapted to them; and the more experienced will give assistance to the less experienced in entering upon them. According to the Apostolic rule,. “the things which they have received they will commit to faithful men that they may be able. to teach-others also.” Training for the work of the ministry in this way becomes part of the regular means of grace, and the direct fulfillment of the commission, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” There is a natural tendency in the Christian ministry to extend and perpetuate itself according to this rule. Every faithful pastor, according to his ability, seeks the help of others in making known the gospel that has Been committed to his trust. He gladly avails himself of the most efficient of his church members for this purpose. As pastorates enlarge, this assumes a more marked appearance in what are’. styled lay-preachers. With pastors of a still higher grade, it was not unusual in former times to see one or two youths placed under their care in preparation for the full work of the ministry; and these, subsequent observation has proved to bear a favorable comparison with those who have been trained in a more ostentatious manner. The extension of the same principle even to greater numbers may be equally desirable, provided one and the same object be kept in view, and the same means for its attainment be employed. The tendency of Nonconformity, in the present century, has been to the centralization of its colleges in conformity with that church from which it professes to differ both in its character and design. The Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, with others on the Continent, had their origin in the Papal hierarchy, together with the honorary degrees for proficiency, first in the knowledge and practice of the laws of Justinian, and then in other studies. They are seats of learning rather than of religion; of literature, science, and abstract reasoning rather than of Biblical studies and theology. Although nearly all the clergy of the Church of England have emanated from them, a real evangelical ministry is the exception rather than the rule. Nor do we marvel that it is so. Such being the necessary consequence of the course of study and admixture of motive and character in their students, no good can rationally be expected to come from the imitation of them by those who profess to have a higher aim. The aberrations of modern thought from the simplicity of the gospel in the leading representatives of Dissent, are to be attributed in no small degree to this source. The pride of intellect has been both its cause and effect. The spiritual condition of the churches is a painful symptom of the change. Look where the pure gospel has free course, runs, and is glorified, and you will find its guiding spirits are not those who have been trained without the church, but within its own limits.
The Pastors’ College is the genuine result of a successful ministry. It has grown with its growth, and strengthened with its strength. It was neither planned nor designed, but presented itself to notice, and asserted its claim for encouragement and support upon the ground of its own merits. If other pastorates had had their colleges in equal proportion, the results might have been still more hopeful. Failing this, the next best thing, if not the very best, was to have a share by sympathy and support in that which fully represented their own principles and design. Its particular training has not run upon the ready-made lines of other and more pretentious institutions, but has been suggested by abilities already possessed, and the further mental and spiritual qualifications required for their most profitable use. Its connection, too, with a pastorate of great order, extent, and vitality necessitates a familiarity with church government, both in its internal and external advantages, which might require years of after-experience to obtain. It need only be added that the results have exceeded the most sanguine expectations. One thing is certain — that even in the present day of great profession, of unparalleled advances in science and literature, and almost universal outcry for a more educated ministry, the professedly cultured are not achieving any remarkable success; the real work is being done more prosperously, more thoroughly, and more permanently by those who depend less upon the wisdom of man and more upon the power of God. Wisdom is justified of her children. Divine ends are accomplished by human means in proportion as the means themselves are ordained by God.
His work must be done in his own way, not in curs. The continual prayer of the Christian minister, both in reference to himself and the encouragement he gives to the ministry of others, Should be, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” It is no part of our duty to invent methods; it is ours in the power of the Holy Ghost to follow where God, by His word and providence, leads the way.
VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT TO have served for another year in any department of the Master’s service, is most certainly matter for much praise and thankfulness; but in no section of the kingdom is this more the case than in the department for equipping fresh young soldiers for the active campaign of ministerial life. No very remarkable events have transpired, but a steady course of study in this College, and a continued demand for the public services of the Students, give cause for much satisfaction, and urge continued exertions upon all connected with this highly essential work, We have to deplore the loss of one of our most promising young men — Mr. Stewart — who, there is reason to fear, over-taxed an apparently very robust frame, and fell a victim to that scourge of our race—a rapid consumption; and though we bore the expense of a change to Ventnor for the winter, he died there, after some few months’ sojourn, most calmly and triumphantly. We had cherished more than ordinary expectations concerning his talents, devoutness, and zeal, but we can only say, “It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good.”
The moral and religious tone of the College we think to be as high as ever, and we hope that the literary and preaching standards are by no means lower. There is as much need as ever for our Pastors’ College, and the constant choice of our men as pastors by the churches is a practical proof that we are meeting the need. Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may abide, and the power of it increase in our midst more and more each succeeding year.
MR. GRACEY’S REPORT IHAVE every reason to be well satisfied both with the quality and the amount of work done in my various Classes during the year. At no previous period of my twenty-one years’ experience of the College has the general standard of attainment been higher, neither has there been any decay in the spirit. On the contrary, an unusual ardor has ‘prevailed, showing itself in eagerness to engage in Foreign Missions and in Evangelistic efforts at home Since to preach the Lord Jesus Christ as a SAVIOR is the all-absorbing aim of every study, it is no more than just to say that the brethren steadfastly hope to attain it by their preparatory work only in reliance on the Holy Spirit and in the exercise of faith and prayer.
I have continued to deliver my lectures in Theology and to use Dr. Hodge’s Handbook; and have kept up the study of Homiletics and Church History, reading also, as a sample of Patristic Theology and of Church Latin, Augustine’s “De Doctrina Christiana.” We have read in the Greek Testament the Epistle of James, the 1st and 2nd Epistles of Peter, the Epistle to the Ephesians, and the Gospels of Mark and John., accompanying these subjects with Trench’s Synonyms of the New Testament As Classics we have had Plato’s “Phaedo,” Demosthenes’s “De Coronal Virgil’s “AEneid,” and Cicero’s “Orations against Catiline.” The Junior and Senior Hebrew Classes have been occupied with the Grammar, and in reading Genesis, the Psalms, and the 1st Book of Kings.
MR. FERGUSSON’S REPORT THIS year we have been able, from the health and industry of the men, to go through a good deal of genuine work, and if the same blessings are continued to the end of the summer session I would have no hesitation in pronouncing it one of the very best we have had for years, both as regards the quantity and the quality of the work done. The conduct and character of the Students leave nothing to be desired.
Allow me, for the sake of strangers who may wish to know the nature of the work done in our department, to add a list of the text books used.
Blackie’s “Bible Geography,” Angus’s “Bible Handbook,” Wayland’s “Ethics,” Butler’s “Analogy,” Taylor’s “Elements of Thought,” Sir William Hamilton’s “Metaphysics,” Fowler’s “Inductive and Deductive Logic,” Fleming’s “Analysis of the English Language,” and Bain’s “English Composition.”
MR. MARCHANT’S REPORT GOOD work has been done by the brethren placed under my care. Owing to the somewhat smaller Classes, the thoroughness of preparation has been more closely tested than on some former occasions; and, perhaps, this closer scrutiny has revealed, on the part of a few students, a tendency to sacrifice the knowledge of grammatical forms and rules to the more superficial business of mere translation. Still, on the whole, the year has been characterized by general diligence and thoroughness in work.
The Juniors have been engaged, as usual, with the Grammar and Delectus of each language. In more advanced Classes in Latin, two Books of Eutropius, some of Virgil’s “Bucolics,” and a good portion of the’ fourth Georgic have been read and parsed, while other brethren, who have but recently commenced it, have gone through the first nine or ten chapters of Caesar’s ‘ ‘De Bello Gallico.” In Greek, a few chapters of the “Anabasis” of Xenophon, and several of the “Dialogues of Lucian” have been translated. Arnold’s “Exercises,” in both languages, have also engaged our attention. In Euclid, in addition to “Exercises,” some of the Classes have gone nearly through the Third, some through the Second, and others who have recently entered have begun the First Book.
MR. CHESHIRE’S REPORT MY department deals with natural science. We do not pursue science so much for its own sake. as that it may be an aid to devout feeling and a stimulant to our faith. Science is not commonly regarded,! know, as having this tendency, and all will admit that, unhappily, scientific men as a body have been more remarkable for their antagonism to Christianity than for any other strong indication of character. If the unrenewed heart and stubborn will combine and strive by intellectual analyses of nature’s laws to find out God, failure and the outcry, “Verily, thou art a God that hidest thyself,” can alone be the result, if indeed, they do not end in blank atheism. But if the touched heart and reverent soul desire humbly to recognize the footprints of the Infinite Creator, then “the invisible things of him are clearly seen by the things that are made.” God is found to be everywhere, and we exclaim, “It is in him we live and move and have our being.” It is thus that we desire to gather around our subjects of study, and thus that we: crave to be affected by them, and I am glad to be able to report that in this we have not been disappointed.
But this is not all: God, the Creator alike of matter and spirit, ha’.’, worked, if we may so say, in a somewhat analogous manner in both; so that a wide comprehension of material laws must afford a world of illustration for spiritual truth. Is not this the reason that the Prince of teachers so continually uses parables, so frequently gives a representation of spiritual relations by material combinations? We have been, during three months of the past year, studying the laws of sound; and these have constantly suggested images and illustrations of moral and spiritual things.
We have also been going over the laws of gases, the nature of the atmosphere, gravitation, etc.; and now and again the utility of the work beyond the mere acquisition of knowledge has been made most pleasingly apparent by the students themselves suggesting in private conversation telling images which had quite escaped me.
During the past year a very efficient Student’s Microscope has been added to our Apparatus, objects for exhibition in which I supply from my own collection. We have found this of great service, and around the Microscope table a little knot will always be found gathered during: tea on Friday, at which I am always present. We exhibit such objects; of interest as may be calculated to enlarge our knowledge of the wonders. of nature: (which ought to mean the wonders of divine working), such as; ciliary motion, the eyes of insects, the circulation of sap in living plants, the adaptation of legs and other parts of small creatures to the several purposes the instinct and habits of the owners require; the minute blood vessels of animals in their unimaginable multitude — man, for instance, possessing so many that their united length would possibly extend 12,000 miles.
The attendance at the Class has been very good. Settled pastors, formerly College Students, are often amongst us, and the interest taken in our work by nearly all is of the keenest kind.
May we all be so helped in the future that our studies may be of increasing service, and all that ‘is within us may be more truly consecrated to the Lord Christ.
NOTES OF WORK DONE BY CERTAIN COLLEGE MEN.
COMPILED BY C. H. SPURGEON.
OUR friends who are of a practical turn of mind will like to see what is being done by men who were once in our College. The proof of every institution lies in its fruits. In the matter of good accomplished by the instrumentality of our men the difficulty is to select specimens; to give the bulk would be out of the question. A very large number of our brethren could tell of the Lord’s blessing their ministry to the conversion of sinners, and the increase of his church; and if we: say nothing about the most of them it is only because we have no room for all in our Report, though they all live in our heart, and for all of them we magnify the Lord.
In our first selection we shall mention brethren who have been occupied with building New Meeting-houses since our last Report. In these cases this material work is only the outward sign of spiritual work performed,.
This toil among stones and mortar is by no means delightful, and. with a poor people at your back it is often a new version of Israel in Egypt making bricks without straw; but yet where God has sent large increase, or opened new fields, it is a labor which must be attended to. Oh, that we had more means with which to help worthy workers, driven to their wits’ end for money wherewith to pay for a roof above their heads! If our climate would only let us meet in the open-air all the year round! But then it will not; and what is the good of wishing? God’s providential arrangements necessitate buildings to worship in throughout these British Isles; these will not spring up of themselves like Jonah’s gourd, and therefore they must be built; and ministers must collect, and Christians must give according to their means. The weary laborers to whom this task is allotted deserve our sympathy, and we would show it by mentioning their names in these pages, as we have in most cases shown it by placing our name in their little collecting books, of which some people are so afraid.
Here is a letter from a region in which the population has increased beyond all expectation, and the religious accommodation is scant.
Mr. Lardner says : — “Dear Mr. Spurgeon,—I write to cheer your heart, for I know it cheers you to hear good news from your sons. The Lord never blessed us so much as during the past year, both in temporal and in spiritual things. He has so helped us in our new building, having moved others to help us to nearly £2,400, that we are making the attempt to open Battersea Tabernacle free of debt. The foundation-stone and the top-stone brought in over £800.
During the last few weeks the Lord has crowded our back rooms with converts. On one occasion the vestry could not contain all who came out: 29 that night confessed the Lord Jesus. A few Sundays since we baptized 25; and still the gracious work goes on. We sadly need our larger house, but he who knows all will give it us soon, and we shall receive it from his own hand. We have several Missions, all lovingly worked, and his smile upon them all We wish to do more, for He is worthy for whom we do it all.”
The next instance of work done may be seen at ORPINGTONKENT. In this growing village a very small congregation met in an exceedingly primitive building. Mr. White became their pastor. This good, earnest brother, having been a workman in a mill, had enjoyed no educational advantages. Several friends in the neighborhood recommended this brother to the College, where he has studied for about three years. The same friends also set to work to erect a suitable house of prayer, and they have succeeded in building it. The congregation has very greatly’ increased, and Mr. White’s ministry has been made useful to his hearers. In this place there will before long be a solid, self-supporting community ready to evangelize the neighborhood, which will soon become a populous suburb.
Our brethren have long worked at TUNBRIDGE WELLS under great difficulties. Others attempted the task, but it returned to our hands, and under the leadership of Mr. James Smith a turn for the better has been taken, a church has been gathered, and a handsome chapel has been erected. The debt needs reduction, and, towards this, Christian people, would do well to contribute; but we have every reason to believe that the church will stand under its burden, and do true service for the Lord in this place of fashionable resort.
TALBOT TABERNACLE, NOTTING HILL.
Our esteemed brother, Mr. Frank White, has gathered around himself an earnest, gracious church in the far west of London. The iron chapel in which the people were first gathered by our friend, Mr. Gordon Furlong,. has become worn out, and a permanent building is an unquestioned necessity. As an installment of the work, a lecture-hall with certain schoolrooms has been opened. The Christian says :—” We were much pleased by its simple yet commodious and comfortable style, which indeed promises well for the future building which it is hoped will ere long be erected in lieu of the iron Tabernacle, which has well served its time, and sorely needs replacing by a more enduring structure. Underneath the new hall are seven compact and cozy class-rooms, much wanted for the accommodation of Bible-classes and other meetings. “Mr. Frank!-. White read an address to the Earl of Shaftesbury, who presided on this occasion, as he did at the laying of the foundation stone, in July last, and then made a brief financial statement, from which it appeared that 1,076 donations have been received, making a total of £2,755 14s. 9d.
The total cost of the present erection, including furniture, fittings, etc., has been £2,988 7s. 6d., of which £321 is debited to the proposed new chapel, as cost of erection of party-wall, etc., belonging to the intended structure, leaving the cost of new hall £2,668. Thus the Lord has provided the money absolutely wanted, whilst £87 remains towards the £321 expended. It was ‘hoped that the £234 would be raised that day (which hope was, we ,understand, realized), together with promises towards the £4,000 required for the new Tabernacle. No debt has been incurred, as Mr. White and his friends are firmly resolved not to proceed until funds are provided or promised.”
This is a suburb which has rapidly grown. Here our work began in a room, was enlarged till it filled a school-chapel, and next ,developed into a healthy and growing congregation in a hired hall. ‘This is an expensive and inconvenient arrangement, and so our friends have commenced a chapel, and hope speedily to have a public gathering to witness the laying of a memorial-stone. The church numbers 140 members, but it would have been far larger had it not been for the many removals by which the cause has suffered. Great outside help is wanted to enable, this young church to provide a proper meeting-place. The people are doing their best, but funds do not flow in very rapidly. May the great Head of the Church move the hearts of his stewards to help this well-deserving interest, and so cheer Mr. Thomas, the worthy pastor. No one can estimate fully the necessity for the present, and for all time, of putting up suitable places of worship for the daily increasing multitude of our enormous metropolis. We are ,told that London contains more than five millions. ’ what is to become of these if the ground is all covered, and places of worship are not provided?
In this well-known watering-place a most hopeful enterprise is being carried out. It will, with God’s blessing, lead in the near future to something worthy of a longer record.
Our good friend, Mr. W. F. Stead, worked at Worthing with all his heart, and as the result of his labors a small school-chapel was erected. He has retired from the scene, and we trust will soon be found working elsewhere.
Mr. Crouch, of the neighboring town of Shoreham, has left his comfortable sphere to attempt the gathering of a solid Baptist church in Worthing. We know his perseverance, and firm confidence in God, and therefore we believe he will pull through, though it must be uphill work. We ought to have a strong and useful Baptist church in Worthing, and by God’s grace we shall have it before long. It is needful to build, and to do this will require large help from outside. An friends who know Worthing as a seaside resort should send prompt aid. The new chapel is to cost £2,000. The friends hope soon to have the first £1,000 in hand, and to commence building. Having pledged themselves to carry out this work on the “oweno- man-any-thing” principle, we trust that the Lord’s stewards will supply them with the necessary funds for its completion at once. Contributions will be thankfully received by the Pastor, C. Douglas Crouch, Oxford-road, Worthing.
The Secretary of the church at Rugby writes, under date of January 28th, 1884:— “It is just four and a-half years ago since Mr. Henry T. Peach, of the Pastors’ College, came to preach at Rugby. He found us in a very low and cold state, with a membership of 39, several of whom were non-resident, a chapel that sadly needed attention, and a schoolroom which was a disgrace to the denomination. Mr. Peach created such a favorable impression that he was offered and accepted the pastorate on November 9th, 1879: he soon had many tokens that the divine blessing was resting upon his labors by the addition of many to the church. During the intervening years Mr. Peach has labored with much zeal, acceptance, and success. The chapel and schoolrooms have been rebuilt, on the old site, at a cost of over £1,200; and there now only remains £108 to be cleared off. Forty-two persons have been baptized during Mr. Peach’s pastorate; and he leaves us, much to our regret, to-day, for work at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, with a flourishing Sunday School of 120 scholars, and a membership of 87. As a token of our affection and esteem, Mr. Councilor Wood (President of the Leicestershire Association of Baptist Churches), on behalf of the church, to-day presented Mr. Peach with a handsome illuminated address and a purse of money, as a parting gift; wishing him a safe voyage, and assuring him that the church would lovingly cherish his memory; and praying that God’s blessing might accompany him to Africa, and make him eminently useful there.”
This rapidly-increasing town has, at the present, a population of 12,000. It is only separated from Stockton by the river Tees. A few years ago the provision for the religious wants of the inhabitants was sadly deficient.
Observing this, some earnest members of the Baptist Church in Stockton, led by Pastor G. Wainwright, commenced preaching-services in the openair.
The next step was to take a small room over a stable in a back street, which, however, was soon abandoned for the more commodious Gaiety Music Hall. Here the services were conducted with considerable success for the space of fifteen months.
While in this place it was felt that if the good done was to be of an enduring character, a Baptist church must be formed. The Committee of the Northern Baptist Association was favorable to the plan, and promised help. Application was then made to Mr. Spurgeon to send a minister.
Several, accordingly, visited the town, but not to remain. At last Mr. Spurgeon recommended Mr. Winsor, of Leeds, and he felt constrained to undertake the charge. Arrangements were then made for removal to the Co-operative Hall, and here the new church was formed in October 1881, when 37 members were dismissed from the Stockton church, Mr.H. Winsor at the same time receiving a unanimous invitation to the pastorate.
Under his ministry the work has been consolidated and established, and by his; unceasing efforts a new and comfortable chapel, affording accommodation for 400 worshippers, has been built. The cost has been about £1,500, towards which Mr. Spurgeon has contributed £50, and several of the Tabernacle friends have given liberal aid. Although several of those who began the work have returned to their old home, the membership at present is 57, and the congregations in the new building ;are good and steadily increasing. A debt of about £700 remains on the chapel.
This work was set about by Mr. Wainwright and his friends in a selfdenying spirit. Mr. Winsor is a very suitable person to carry on the work, and the case deserves well of all Christian people who have substance entrusted to them. Contributions towards the reduction of the debt will be thankfully received and acknowledged by the Pastor, H. Winsor South Stockton.
Under the pastorate of our friend, Mr. A. Parker, a noble place of worship has been built in this busy town. He writes concerning it : — “The buildings Which formerly served us for chapel and school were too small, inconvenient, and much out of repair, and to put them in anything like condition would have required an expenditure of about £2,000. We, therefore, thought it would be better to build entirely new premises.
Accordingly, we secured a plot of ground adjoining that on which the former buildings stood, and first built a new school, which we used for Sunday services during the pulling down of the old chapel and the construction of the new one. The opening services of the school were held in April, i882, those of the chapel in October of last year. The time occupied in building was about two and half years, and the cost — exclusive of site — £9,000, towards which the sum of £6, 000 has been raised. “The sitting accommodation is for 760, the average attendance about 500.
The school is at the rear of the chapel, and so arranged that ingress and egress can be made from one to another without going into the street. The assembly-room of the school will accommodate 600 scholars; underneath and in connection with it are sixteen class-rooms. There are as far as one can judge not only a fair field for labor, but also signs of encouragement in that labor.”
In this Scotch town the little church under Mr. Seaman has enjoyed a pleasing measure of spiritual prosperity. It seemed doomed to extinction, but the Lord has smiled upon it in mercy, and we now hope that it will flourish. The pastor says : — “During the past year we have had the joy of seeing the result of our labors in the opening of our new chapel. For the first time in the history of the church, and of the denomination which we represent, we are thankful to record the fact that we have a neat and comfortable chapel, built on our own freehold site, with only the small debt of £350. As Baptists, who have to contend with the deeply-rooted prejudices of persons opposed to believers’ baptism, we feel thankful and are encouraged to believe that now we have ‘ a local habitation and a name,’ many may be led to attend our meetings, and receive a blessing, ‘even life for evermore.’ When I think of our improved condition, I can thank God without boasting that he has enabled one of the least of the men from the Pastors’ College to help forward an old but struggling cause from the place of obscurity if a back street, without any building to meet in save a hired room, to the present position of greater usefulness which we now occupy.”
From this remote region we have pleasing tidings of the growth of the little church which is under the care of our brother Richards. If ever a people deserved help these certainly do. We are not mentioning just now the spiritual results, but only the outward and visible signs thereof, and we think the change made in Lerwick indicates the hearty earnestness of the people. Mr. Richards says :- “We commenced the year in a small meeting-house. At that time it had become evident that., if we were to exist, — not to say progress, we should have to move into a larger and more airy building. We could not see our way to build, as we were but a very small and poor people, and had not a farthing in hand towards the project. In the town there was no building that we could hire. In this state of embarrassment we met to consult as to what could be done, after which we resolved to make an effort to build; and there and then, from about 30 people, most of them females, and all of whom have to work for their living, there were promises made amounting to over £60. Encouraged by this, we took further steps in the matter, but our intention was soon altered. A hall, with a house attached to it, was offered to us for the sum of £550; this we felt we would not let pass though we could only see our way to so small a part of the needed outlay, and therefore we dosed in with it. We had to add another £100 for cleaning, putting in a baptistery, and so forth. This done, about two months ago, we were able to move out of the old place, holding 100, into a very comfortable one, that will hold about 350. This has placed us on a much better footing than before, and raised our hopes that this year may see a large increase in both church and congregation. But, alas! we have still a heavy burden for so small a people; for, as yet, we have only raised about £250, leaving us £400 in debt, which we hope our Lord may incline the hearts of his people in various parts of the world to help us to remove during the year.”
While we have’ thus selected places in which new buildings have been erected for the home churches, we are equally pleased to mention others where Parent Churches have built Mission Halls or Village Chapels at a distance from themselves to supply destitute localities with the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
THE CATFORD HILL CHURCH has put up a hall at Bell Green, Lower Sydenham, and a right noble work is being done therein. The original church is itself young and not without its burdens, but it has proved its vitality and generosity by this gallant effort.
Mr. Greenwood, the pastor, has great reason for rejoicing that an enterprise which has been enthusiastically carried out by his friends has, also, in a marked manner, received the blessing of God.
One of the saddest features of the present period is the continued agricultural depression. This is no invention of a grumbling spirit, but a stern reality. Our country churches are made to feel this very grievously: their pastors can scarcely be supported, and all their operations are cramped, Yet we have instances of these churches, — despite their difficulties, providing Gospel light for hamlets more destitute than themselves; thus proving their right to live, and suggesting to the godly in the towns the need of keeping the rural churches in going order.
Our admirable brother, F. E Blackaby, labors in this little town with much blessing. The hamlet of Donnington had no place of worship except a room in a cottage, and this became so dilapidated that in wet weather rain descended from the roof, and in dry seasons parts of the roof and ceiling supplied more dangerous showers. All this is altered; for a generous friend has given a piece of ground, and the Stow folks have built a neat little chapel upon it. As a cheering specimen of how a village church may prosper even when the times are hard with the people, we give Mr. Blackaby’s account of the work which God has done by him at Stow. He needs help for repairing and enlarging his own chapel and schools, and yet he has first cared for his poorer neighbors. Here is his report : — “At your request I send a short description of the work since I settled here three years ago.. Then the weekly offerings amounted to £60 per annum.
Last year the sum of £90 was raised. Then £13 was the annual amount raised for Foreign Missions. Last year £26 was raised. Then no tract districts were in existence; now we have about 16, embracing the whole of this little town, and four villages adjoining. Then we had a dilapidated old house at our village station, in which we were in jeopardy of life and limb when we assembled to worship, which was only once on the Sunday. Now we have a snug little chapel, provided with all necessary comforts — stove, lamps, harmonium, etc., all paid for before the opening day in June last.
Services are held twice on the Sunday, and once in the week, and the building has been consecrated by the Bishop of our souls in saving two dear friends within its walls; one a young person of 18, the other an old sinner of 65. Then our Sunday services were thinly attended. Last Sunday evening we could not see an empty seat. Then no young men’s Bible Class existed; now we have one, from which nearly a dozen have found Christ.
Then there was no Week-evening meeting at all; now we meet for prayer on Monday evening, and for prayer and an address on Wednesday. This, dear Mr. President, is the bare outline of ‘ what was,’ and ‘ what is.’ If I were to fill in the details, I should have to tell of much exercise of faith and patience, of sighs and groans, of wrestlings and prayers, of heights and depths, of intense joys and black sorrows, but, interwoven through all, innumerable threads of ‘ silvern mercies,’ without which no such change could have taken place; therefore we cry, ‘Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name, O Lord, be all the glory!’ While we look for greater things than these, to be accomplished in the name of Jesus the Redeemer.”
Our excellent brother, Mr. E. George, feels the down-dragging influence of the agricultural depression, but both he and his church prove the cheering and uplifting power of grace, by undertaking one enterprise after another, and finding success in all by the divine favor. We think the following paragraphs reflect honor upon pastor and people : — “Our work at Buscot (a village four miles from Faringdon) was commenced in the early part of 1881, by the Pastor holding Cottage Services. After some time’ the Primitive Methodists offered their chapel for sale and we eventually purchased the old building, which was very much dilapidated, for £30, and conducted services in it until the Spring of 1883, when the floor fell in, and the place was deemed altogether unfit for use.
We were then obliged to build. Our good friend C. F. Allison, Esq., laid the foundation-stone on the 17th of May, when very interesting services were held. The opening services took place on July 25th, when the Rev. EG.
Gange, of Bristol, preached in the afternoon, and gave an address in the evening. The total cost of the chapel was £260, all of which has been collected, with the exception of £20, which we hope to clear off this month. A Sunday School has been started., and a Band of Hope, about children in each; both societies are doing good work. The services are well attended, and we believe the seed sown will soon spring up and bring forth fruit. In addition to this:, we have commenced working the little cause at Kingston-Lisle, a village seven miles from here; and in April next the church at Lechlade, six miles in another direction, will be under our pastoral care, and the services supplied by the Pastor and our Lay Preachers’ Association.”
In the above town Mr. Feltham fulfilled a remarkably useful period of pastoral labor. For the sake of the health of his family, he has now removed to Sandown, in the Isle of Wight; but before going there he had done splendid work, of which we give the record as far as it: concerns the village of MURSLEY, to which he has been a true helper. “Between three and four years since, the Baptist Church in the village. of Mursley (near here) was by mutual and unanimous approval united with this church, then under the pastoral oversight of Mr. F. J. Feltham. With God’s blessing a true revival was soon apparent, the congregations rapidly increased, and a gracious work in the conversion of souls took place.
Presently the chapel, an ancient little structure, became too small for the numbers which flocked to it every Lord’s Day, and it soon became evident that further provision would have to be made, and that immediately, too..
Very heartily the pastor and people set to work with a view to the erection of a new chapel, and after much prayer and consideration it was resolved to utilize the old site. It was also decided not to begin building until we could see our way clear to half the amount which would be required.
Through the kindness of our President and other friends, we were enabled to make a commencement. An architect prepared the plans gratuitously, and in the beginning of 1883 the contractor proceeded to remove the old building and erect a commodious meeting-house, at a cost of £450. This beautiful village chapel was opened for public worship August 29th, 1883, by Pastor W. Cuff, of Shoreditch, whose associations with Mursley have always been of the most loving character, for it was here that he preached his first sermon after entering college. With the exception of a loan of £100, free of interest, from the Baptist Building Fund, the whole of the money’ has been raised. To God be all the praise!”
We vary our run of country by mentioning a fishing-town where a Mission Hall has been opened by the parent church. This is an outgrowth of the prosperity of the church, and of the coming forth of several brethren to preach the Gospel in the streets and highways. The Secretary writes : — “Our Pastor, the Rev. J. T. Almy, entered on this pastorate in March, 1883. The congregation is greatly increasing; twelve members have since been added to the church, many others are soon expected to come forward.
The school and all other organizations connected with the church are in good working order. Since his coming amongst us our Pastor has established a Mission Hall, capable of seating 100 persons, in the rural part of the town, called Higher Brixham. This hall is supplied morning, afternoon, and evening on Sundays, and twice in the week, by a band of twelve Evangelists, nearly all fishermen who, being simple-hearted, but full of zeal and love, draw attentive congregations. Sometimes, when the weather is fine, they preach in the open air before repairing to the Hall.
One pleasing incident is that the esteemed vicar of the Parish, a thorough evangelical, attended at the opening of the Hall and has since given it his sanction and support.”
Those who know the labor and trial of erecting places of worship, even with large congregations to back up the effort, will know how to estimate the operations of such churches as these we have mentioned. Persons who are affectedly spiritual may speak slightingly of such work, but this is for want of knowing: better. True spirituality will not only sit still and contemplate, but it will gird itself to do service for Christ and humanity in ways which are by no means conducive to its personal comfort. Here are people perishing for lack of knowledge; they need to hear the Gospel; they must have a place to meet in, for they cannot stand out in the open roads in the wet and the winter: the falsely spiritual wish the poor people well, and groan over the worldliness of those who vex their celestial spirits by asking them to contribute to a building made with hands. But the truly spiritual cry to the Lord for his help, give all they can spare themselves, and toil on at collecting, till a room is built, the Gospel is preached in it, and souls are saved. Our brethren are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, neither are they ashamed of working hard to provide a place in which to preach that Gospel; and we rejoice that the Lord has given them the grace and the self-denial to labor to such purpose.
It was announced in the public prints the other day that money has become a complete drug in the market. Profitable investments appear to be few and far between. We suppose it is our duty to pity the poor rich man whose capital will not produce ten per cent., or even five. We do more than pity his deplorable sufferings, we propose to help him. In addition to several first-class investments which we have already mentioned, we will bring under his notice a number of others equally eligible. Should he fear that any of them may prove a failure, he can distribute the risk by taking a £10 share in each one,—a method which has been so highly thought of in the City that it is the basis of several monetary associations. The President of the College, who often finds himself severely pinched in trying to aid these numerous works, will at any time invest amounts without charging commission.
In this delightful village, watered by such abundant streams, we set up the standard of the Gospel in the Hall. Our students gathered hopeful congregations; and now Mr. Jasper is the pastor of a church of members.. He has been in his position for three and a-halt years;, all along worshipping in a hired hall: this is evermore a drawback and a difficulty; for those who can best help the work will not come to a hail, and the place is not the people’s own, and therefore is not available for many most necessary purposes. Yet the congregation has increased in a marked manner, and the open-air services, which are very frequently held, have not been without result. The good people have taken a piece of land costing £520, and have raised the amount within £100. Land costs money in and around London; and this is a serious matter. At this present, no more can be done awhile, till Carshalton friends have rested a little, and then we hope they will make another effort, and get something towards a building.
It would be a grand thing if some wealthy brother came forward and cheered them on by placing a solid corner-stone in the edifice. In the church at the Tabernacle there was a friend who built a chapel in memory of his father, and now that, to our unutterable loss, he is gone, his family are erecting a chapel in memory of him. This is better than wasting money on marble monuments. Anyhow, Carshalton deserves generous assistance.
SPRING HILL, BIRMINGHAM.
Mr. W. J. Harris is in the following position :— “Fifty-four have, been added to the church this year. We have had great prosperity in every department of our work, but we are sadly in want of a new chapel. We are hindered on all sides by want of room. Our chapel is a small one, and not having any school-room, we have to use it both for public worship and Sunday-school work. The congregations fill the place to suffocation, and the school is in such a prosperous condition that children have had to be turned away because there is no room for them. It is very discouraging to have such opportunities for work and yet to be cramped for lack of accommodation. We are working under most serious disadvantages. Our chapel is badly ventilated; and in consequence of the crowded state of the school is exceedingly unhealthy; it has no baptistery, so that we are compelled to go elsewhere to baptize; we have no separate classrooms, and consequently the senior classes have to pursue their work amid the general buzz of the whole school. It is a marvel to me that in spite of so many hindrances we should have succeeded so well as we ‘have; but I cannot help thinking that if things were otherwise we should, humanly speaking, have got on far better.”
Surely the servants of God in the Midland metropolis will see that this brother has a fit place to work in. Already a move has been made. The Cannon Street Trust has made a generous grant, and friends have promised sufficient help to make a good beginning.
NEW BROMPTON, CHATHAM.
Here by’ the divine blessing, the church formed under Mr. Blocksidge has 34 names on its roll. The congregation over-fills the school-chapel, and there is urgent need of a proper meeting-house. The Pastor says : — “Our great want is a chapel. On Sunday morning we are perplexed how and where to put the Sunday-school children, as they crowd out the congregation, and in the evening we cannot find room enough for the people. The schoolroom is built to accommodate 250 persons, and very often more than 300 people crowd into the building, occupying (‘.very foot of space. This cannot last; people will get discouraged by the inconveniences, and refuse to attend. We are doing our best to raise money for the Building Fund. The church is thoroughly united, prayerful, and hopeful.”
Mr. Cooper, who left us last April, is supported by the Yorkshire Baptist Association. He says : — “We have had a clear increase of eighteen members for the year ending 1883. This I consider to be a blessed and most encouraging result, when. it is remembered that I settled here in April last only, and also that when I came the cause at Batley was as low as it possibly could be without being extinct. We are most sanguine of raising a flourishing cause here, as we are the only representatives of our denomination in a town of 29,000 inhabitants. Our services are held in a room, for which we pay £32 a year rent. This charge cripples us financially.WE MUCH NEED a chapel to worship in. ”HOUNSLOW. Mr.PEARSONS has been much cheered by being enabled to gather a church in a town which has hitherto offered little to encourage the laborer. He says :— “This church has been raised during the past eighteen months, and now numbers 68 members, being 27 more than at this time last year. We are in the center of a populous district, and if we had the accommodation, there is the opening for a thoroughly substantial church.
We are struggling against fearful odds. Our chapel is filled with an appreciative audience. The. various branches of church work are increasing. We very sorely need a much larger building. Cannot some of the Lord’s people come to our help?”
This is the continual cry. It is a sign of progress; but how are we to answer it? We are glad to do our utmost; but our funds are getting exhausted, and these works cannot be aided from head-quarters unless the Lord moves wealthy friends to supply the needful moneys. The President can have no personal end to serve in pleading for these churches, as he has no further connection with them than that which belongs to any one of the readers of this Report. Our thoughts about funds are simply and only because we long to see the gospel preached and Jesus glorified. Daily we feel the lack of means wherewith to aid our zealous brethren and their growing churches.
After all, this is the best sort of want; and it is one which in due time the Lord will supply. If we were without the Holy Spirit’s presence it would be a lack for which nothing could compensate.
This town has other and stronger churches, but it contains no more earnest people than those under the care of our brother Charles Pearce. He came to us as a pastor, and continued his ministry all the while he was in College.
He wrote to us out of a full heart, and we hope we do not violate confidence in quoting the following :— “The past year is another year of my Lord’s faithfulness and love: a year of steady growth in my own soul and in the Church. Never did I feel nearer to, and yet of myself further from, my Master. My desire to faithfully serve my God and my brethren increases with my years. It is utterly impossible for me to describe the intense yearning I have for souls. I must cease to live before I can be silent while charged with such a message. What a remedy for human ill is the grace of our divine Lord! ‘ He gave Himself for us.’
Believing as I do in the hopeless, endless woe, of all who neglect the great salvation, I should be unworthy the name of man if I did not call, persuade, entreat. I am ready day or night, by any means, in any way, as the Holy Spirit directs, to bring men to a knowledge of the truth; it is my meat and drink, my joy, my life. We have commenced some fresh work : — A Band of Hope for our young folks; a class for women, conducted by my dear wife; a class for men, conducted by myself. These two classes are held in my own home, which is more attractive and comfortable than a cold chapel. I often have 15 or 16 men packed in my little room, some of them have been amongst the roughest and lowest in our town. We are much crippled for want of room, for our chapel is a very small one, and we have neither class-room nor school-room. Our place is like a hive, packed closely, and when I tell you that we always have seven, and often nine meetings in the week, not including Sunday, you will see that we are busy workers. Oh, that we had a building large enough, and suited to our work, so much more could be done! The Lord answer our earnest case in this matter!”
Although: we thus mention chapels, we place far in front of all the spiritual prosperity which creates the need of such buildings. The main point is for the truth to be preached and lived; and this is the sure cause of activity in holy work. One great part of such work is the. training of the young, and hence the frequent need for enlarged Sabbath-school accommodation. This is the case at CROSS STREET, ISLINGTON, where Mr. Frederick Jones is laboring. The church is making a great effort to provide class-rooms for senior scholars and infants. At ATHERTON, MANCHESTER, The church feels so thankful for the blessing of revival, that it has resolved to build a new school and a minister’s house, at an expense of £1,200. The minister, Mr. Edward Dyer, enters upon the enterprise, supported by an ardent people; but the work will require help from outside.
BUGBROOKE:, NORTHAMPTON, is a village of about 900 inhabitants, in whose midst there is an earnest Baptist church, venerable in years, and fruitful in good men. Mr. Flatt is doing well here, and therefore needs schools. There is no minister’s vestry, and no place in which the baptized can change their garments. Moreover, there is no suitable habitation for the school, nor room for week-night meetings for prayer, and the advocacy of temperance and other good causes. Our worthy brother says :—” Our estimated outlay is £500.
Among our poor selves we have promised £200, and are about to make an appeal to outside friends for the other £300.” It is singular to find persons on the church-roll in so small a town. This earnest community should be helped. Evidently the friends help themselves.
We are gladdest when reports from our brethren refer wholly to spiritual results, as in the case of BIDEFORD.
“The Spirit from on high has been poured out copiously upon us — our own souls have been quickened in the divine life, and more than one hundred persons have professed to have found peace in Jesus Christ. A goodly number of those brought to the Lord have been baptized and received into our fellowship. After making every deduction there was a clear increase of sixty-seven to our fellowship at the close of the year; for this we thank. God and take courage. W.GILLARD. ” COMBEMARTIN.
This romantic village, where Mr. Glover has so long labored, must have been visited, by God in a very unusual manner to have seen so many conversions in its midst. “During the year, in answer to prayer and as the result of effort, we have had a gracious revival; 84 believers have been added to our fellowship by baptism, while many have been united to other churches at a distance from us. At the commencement of the year we had special services for about two months, conducted by ourselves, with a little foreign help for a few nights, with the above glorious results. The work has proved to be the work of God by the steady and consistent lives of the converts, and by their consecration to the Lord’s service. We give the praise and glory to God who has wrought all our works in us and by us through his blessed Spirit, and who has saved these precious and immortal souls by his Son Jesus Christ. For the past blessing we heartily thank God, and for the future we take courage.”
HAY HILL, BATH.
Concerning the ministry of our heartily-beloved brother, Mr. E.H. Hamilton, the Secretary of the church writes a letter which we must give entire. Blessed be God for such a workman: he needs not to be ashamed.
Our only concern is that he has so little physical strength and is apt to labor beyond what his feeble health allows. “We have to thank God for the spirit of power and love and wholehearted consecration given to our dear Pastor throughout this year. His zeal provokes very many, and, undoubtedly, his ministry during the past year has had a marked power in this city. You will see by the statistical returns that our Pastor has baptized 91 persons during the year; many of these, however, did not join our church, but are in fellowship elsewhere. We may say of the church that it is all alive, very few drones being in the hive.
During the past month of December, and now again in January, our dear Pastor holds an Evangelistic Service every Sunday evening in the Assembly Rooms, at 8 o’clock, for one hour. The attendance has surprised everyone, so many thronging to it; and, better still, great power has accompanied the word preached, so that many have professed conversion. All that we wish for our Pastor is as to his body: that he may be in health, and prosper, even as his soul prospers; but even this can be given to him of the Lord.”
WELLINGTON ROAD, STOKE NEWINGTON.
Mr. Ellis has seen the good hand of the Lord working with him, and therefore he is enabled to send in a delightful record, of which the following is the essence :— “Looking back to the time (three years ago) when I left college, and came here, finding only 40 members in fellowship, and remembering that since then over 320 have been added to our fellowship, most of them conversions from the world, besides many others who have professed conversion and joined other churches, we are filled with deep gratitude to God for his mercy, and say, what has God wrought! To him be all the praise! Our net gain last year was 68.”
With great joy we saw our friend, Mr. Charles Cole, settled over this old church, which had greatly declined; and with still greater joy we receive his account of the gracious dealings of God with him. He has proved his call to the ministry by doing a gracious work in Holland, and we feel sure that the royal borough will find in him a very useful preacher of the word. Thus he writes :—. “If no seraphic vision has been ours, we have often had to exclaim, ‘Truly the Lord was in this place and we knew it.’ The attendance has very considerably increased, and the increase has been a steady growth from the beginning up till now: both Sundays and week evenings. There are only a few more sittings to be let. What is far better, the Lord is bringing souls to himself. Thirty have been welcomed since my settlement:. The people have a mind to work. There has been twenty years’ talk about an enlargement of the Sunday School premises. The School cannot possibly increase with its present accommodation. It is literally ‘pot-bound,’ and must have more room. We hope to report next year that this has been done, though we are not going to begin till we can see our way to all the money. Our motto is to be, ‘Owe no man anything.’ If we succeed in erecting the room, it is not unlikely we shall call it ‘Rehoboth;’ and say: ‘For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.’—Genesis 26:22.”
Here is a cheering letter from Mr. West. It may seem egotistical to print it, but we have not the heart to touch a line of it; the love of the student to his President must furnish an excuse for ardent expressions. “My beloved President,—I enclose a brief account of the work of the Lord here, as a testimony of the power of the truth, and a means of encouragement to you. Since my settlement in South Shields, in 1880, it has been my privilege and joy to give the hand of fellowship to more than 220 persons, and of these close upon 200 have been received by baptism,44 during 1883. This has not been the result of special revival services, justifiable as these may be, but a steady increase resulting from the weekly proclamation of the truth. Congregations have filled our house of prayer, and scarcely a month has passed without some one giving evidence of a change of heart. Several hundreds have been paid off a debt which burdened the people four years ago, thus rendering the burden at the present time comparatively light. Our thankful hearts sing, ‘The Lord is good.’ My apology for sending this is my desire for the ‘beloved President’s’ joy and encouragement, as to him I owe my conversion, college training, and those undefinable blessings which come from knowing him, and being brought under the: spell of his influence. May the gracious Master preserve his life, promote his health, and increase his happiness, is the prayer of one of his spiritual children, G.WEST. ” There is no end to this. We could keep on making extracts for many an hour. Purposely have we avoided mentioning the great and prosperous congregations in London, Reading, Bristol, Cheltenham, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, Portsmouth, Bradford, and other large towns in which our brethren are well known. ‘These cause us to praise God at every remembrance of them, and we trust that our faithful subscribers will be partakers in our joy. The other day we were saluted by a Custom House Officer who paid us special attention, and then added: “I have lived at
GRIMSBY, and seen the blessing of God which rests on Mr. Lauderdale, who was one of your students.” We were cheered thus incidentally to find College work come home to us.
Space compels us to close an account which might have been continued indefinitely; for our brethren in America, Africa, Asia, and Australia, have all sent in interesting memoranda. These all tell of labor perseveringly endured, and of preaching honored of God to conversions. Our heart is cheered because we can say without the slightest reserve or hesitation, that solid, abiding work is being done in the name of the Lord. The brethren are also faithful to the truth of God, and are not carried away by the heresies of the age. Here and there a young man with more ambition than grace becomes ashamed of old-fashioned doctrine; but he is an exception, and will become a still greater exception if he does not soon return to his first love.
In the southern world, owing to the influence of Mr. Thomas Spurgeon and Mr. J. A. Clarke, and the princely liberality of Mr. Gibson, of Tasmania, we are largely represented. Where there are now a few thousands there will in a short time be millions of English-speaking people, and those who can now impress the young empires will be doing a work for all time; hence we feel rejoiced to send out our men to those new fields.
Our son Thomas has one brother laboring among the Maoris, and another brother is now on his way to take charge of the church in Cambridge, New Zealand. The more men we can send the sooner will churches be formed, and the cause of Christ extended over rising townships.
Finally, the Lord has hitherto sent us all needful funds for the College through the careful liberality of his stewards, and he will continue to do so.
For this work we have never suffered lack: it is only by matters growing out of that we are at any time pinched. Will our kind helpers make sure to enrich us with their prayers? This wealth is better than thousands of gold and silver. A little with the blessing of God is better than great revenues without it. All our help is laid upon the Lord Jesus. We are not straitened in him, nor would we be straitened in ourselves. May be if we had exercised more faith we might have had ten times the blessing. Meanwhile we must and will rejoice in what the Lord has already given.
During the twenty-eight years of our existence as a school of the prophets, six hundred and seventy-five men, exclusive of those at present studying with us, have been received into the College, “of whom the greater part remain unto this day; but some (forty-six) have fallen asleep.” Making all deductions, there are now in the work of the Lord, in some department or other of useful service, about five hundred and sixty brethren. Of these, five hundred and five are in our own denomination as Pastors, Missionaries, and Evangelists.
PASTORS’ COLLEGE SOCIETY OF EVANGELISTS.
More than ten years ago, Mr. W. HIGGINS, who is now Pastor of the Church at Melbourn, Cambs., was set apart for the work of an Evangelist in connection with the College. His labors were greatly useful in reviving existing churches, and starting new ones, which have continued, with varying success, to the present time. In 1877 Messrs. A. J.CLARKE and J. MANTON SMITH received the consent of the President to go forth from the College, for the purpose of holding evangelistic services in connection with the churches which might desire their assistance; and, as long as Mr. Clarke’s health permitted, they continued preaching and singing the gospel in various parts of the country. Wherever they went many where converted, backsliders reclaimed, pastors cheered, and churches strengthened. When, in 1879, Mr. Clarke had to retire from his post and go to Australia, Mr. W. Y.FULLERTON became: Mr. Smith’s co-worker, and from the first day until now they have proved their adaptation to each other and to the special work to which they were called. Testimonies are continually reaching us of the way in which the two men, who are totally unlike one another in many respects, yet exactly fit in to their respective places. Our brethren are always in great request, and their engagements are usually fixed many months in advance. Wherever they have gone the whole district has. been moved, the largest buildings available have not been spacious enough to contain the crowds that have flocked to the services, and almost every church that has sought the Evangelists’ aid has been largely benefited by their mission. During the year that has elapsed since the last Conference, Messrs. Fullerton and Smith have visited Chesterfield, Maidenhead, Barrowford, Haggate, Nelson, Brierfield, Colne, Lumb, Waterfoot, Bury, Blackburn, Burnley, Preston, Portsmouth, Cambridge, Leicester, and Edinburgh. Details of the services have been published month by month in The Sword and the Trowel, and it is therefore unnecessary here to refer to them at greater length. No one more heartily welcomes the Evangelists, as a rule, than the ministers in the towns where the missions are hem; for, instead of being in any sense the rivals or antagonists of the Pastors, our brethren are their earnest allies, and the converts whom they succeed in winning are counseled to join the churches already existing. In many places every Nonconformist minister has been a member of the Committee which has arranged for the meetings.
We were glad when Mr. J.BURNHAM offered himself for this form of Christian service; for he preaches and sings the gospel with much acceptance, and he is able to visit many of the smaller towns and villages which could not meet the necessary expenses of a visit from those brethren who can. be employed to greater advantage where thousands instead of hundreds can be gathered together. Mr. Burnham has been, during the past year, to Poole, Worthing, the hop-gardens in Kent, Walton-on-the-Naze, Holbeach, Peterchurch, Ploughfield, East Finchley, Countesthorpe, Barton’s End, Woodford, Melbourn, Long Buckby, Swanage, and Swansea. In several instances the same places have been visited year after year, thus giving the most conclusive evidence of the appreciation of the Evangelist’s efforts;. Often have we had the cheering tidings of conversions in the houses where our brother has been entertained, and his public services have been the means of reviving many churches, and attracting to the chapels many who have received the message of everlasting life from his lips. Mr. Burnham has long pleaded very earnestly for a colleague, and we fully see the advantages to be derived froth following our Lord’s example of sending out his disciples in couples, but at present we do not feel justified in venturing upon the extra outlay that: would be: involved in such an arrangement. The contributions from the churches visited by all the Evangelists, together with the donations given specially for this object, and the amounts which we are able to allot from time to time, only just enable us to meet the regular expenditure, and keep a small balance in hand. If some of the Lord’s stewards would entrust us with rather more of their Master’s money for this desirable purpose, we might still further increase the number of those who are ready to respond to the oft-repeated appeal, “Come over and help us.”
In the beginning of 1883 we undertook the support of Mr. F. Russell, who hail, while in the College, manifested considerable ability as an Evangelist, and the reports of his services during the past year have confirmed the wisdom of the arrangement. He has conducted meetings at Southport, Reading, Eastcombe, Minchinhampton, Great Grimsby, Nottingham, Leeds, Attercliffe, Caversham Hill, Newport (Isle of Wight), Longton, Fenton, Stoke, Eastwood Vale, Burslem, Latebrook, Butt Lane, New Whittington, Woodchester, and Chalford.
Messrs. J. T.MATEER and E. J.PALMER, although not actually dependent upon our funds, have needed occasional assistance, which we have been pleased to render; it is in our heart to do much for them if we can, for they are worthy men. Their first year of united labor has produced the most gratifying results, and large numbers have, through their instrumentality, been turned from the error of their ways, and have sought and found the Savior. They have visited Gosport, Merthyr Tydvil, Troedyrhiw, Caerphilly, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Rushden, Sutton-in-Craven, Scarborough, Keighley, Leamington, Rawtenstall, Ross, Stratford-on- Avon, Frome, Girlington, Stockport, Allerton, and Bury St. Edmund’s.
Two more of our former students, Mr. W. J.TAYLOR and Mr. J. G. WILLIAMS, are employed as agents of the Evangelization Society. This admirable Society, together with our Tabernacle Evangelists’ Association and Country Mission, affords frequent opportunities for the students, while in the College, to preach the word in various parts of London and the Provinces, and thus it helps to keep before them the great, end of the Christian ministry — viz., the glorifying of God in the winning of souls by the proclamation of the gospel. It is also a great joy to us to know that, in addition to the brethren who are wholly set apart for evangelistic service, we have in our ranks quite a. considerable number of preachers who are both Pastors and Evangelists. Some of them are in constant demand, and would be still more fully devoted to this glorious enterprise, did not their duties to the churches under their charge tie them to the home-field. The Baptist Union Evangelization Committee has often had the help of our brethren, and in most districts one or another of the members of our holy brotherhood is known as a man whom the Lord has specially qualified in this direction, and his neighbors and acquaintances are not slow to seek his welcome assistance.
In the rapidly-increasing roll of Pastors’ College men abroad there are many evangelists. For the past eleven years Messrs.WIGSTONE and Blamire have been messengers of good tidings to many in priest-ridden Slain, and as the result of their labors several small churches have been formed, where those who have been taught in divine things have sought to instruct their countrymen, while the Evangelists have moved on to other towns where few, if any, have been acquainted with the gospel Mr.B. Smith has recently gone to Vigo to strengthen the little missionary band, who need our continued prayers, and deserve all the support that the Lord’s servants can send them. They have no stated salary, but their wants have hitherto been supplied by the God, ‘whose they are, and whom they serve, and in whom they will trust for the future as they have done in the past. In India, our friend, Mr. H.RYLANDS BROWN, of Darjeeling, spends a large portion of his time in evangelistic efforts among the tea-planters and other English-speaking residents. We have been glad to aid him from our Indian Evangelists’ Fund, and we believe the money could not be more wisely expended, for Mr. Brown never asks aid from us as long as he can obtain it elsewhere. We have been grieved to hear of his illness lately, but trust he will soon be restored, that he may preach Christ to those whom he can reach in that portion of our Queen’s dominions.
In the United States, our brother, Mr. G.BOULSHER, has been engaged for the last six or seven years by the Missouri Baptist Association as one of their State Missionaries. Last year he gave up all pastoral work in order to become Evangelist to the Missouri Valley Association in Carroll County, where his labors have been greatly blessed. Australia is favored with no less than three of our Evangelists. Mr. A.J. CLARKE, whose praise is in all the churches, has resigned his pastorate at West Melbourne in order to devote himself wholly to the work of which he feels himself called by God. Mr. J. S. HARRISON and Mr. E. ISAAC are continually engaged in holding special services in the various colonies at the Antipodes, and their word has been blessed to the conversion of many.
Many of our missionary brethren are Evangelists more than Pastors, and as we look over every quarter of the globe, we gratefully exclaim with the Psalmist, “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.”
LETTER FROM BRETHREN IN INDIA. “INDIA, 1884.
“To the President and Brethren of the “Pastors’ College Conference . “Beloved Brethren, — Unable to look you in the face, and clasp you by the hand, by reason of distance, we, the Pastors’ College men in India, herein unite to send you our hearty greetings at this, the time of your annual gathering. “One and all, we should rejoice to be with you, and to share in the spiritual feast which Conference provides. To one of our number that joy is granted, and heartily do we rejoice that, after nearly ten years of faithful service in connection with the work of the Baptist Missionary Society, our brother, Robert Spurgeon, is permitted to be present with you. “His experience of the work in India will enable him to set before you the special and urgent claims of this great empire; and we trust that one result of his visit to England will be that, after a season of rest and change, he will be permitted to return to labor with us for the enlightenment and evangelization of the millions of this land, accompanied by others from among you whom the Lord shall call “Our number is few, and we are separated from each other by hundreds of miles; still we continue a united brotherhood. We have no special news to communicate as to any great religious awakening which has taken place through our instrumentality; still we trust that the work, both amongst Europeans and Natives, is prospering in our hands. Spared by the providence of God, if we may not be eminently useful, we trust at least to continue constantly faithful in the work to which the Master has called us. “The atmosphere in which we move has a tendency to depress and discourage; and whilst this is true of the physical, it is still more true of the moral atmosphere. For the quickening and reviving of our spiritual life, and for blessing upon the work in which we are engaged, we earnestly crave a continued and increasing interest in your prayers. Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified with us, even as it is with you. “In conclusion, we would unite in inviting the attention of our beloved President, and of brethren whom the Lord has greatly used in the conversion of souls, to India, as a field for evangelistic work. Four months would suffice for visiting most of the principal European stations of India, including the journeys to and from this country. Very welcome would such visits be, and nothing should be lacking on our part to make them truly useful. We have often been asked when our beloved President will pay a visit to India, and have been earnestly desired to invite him. We are confident that a winter spent in this way would be eminently beneficial to him, as well as being a great means of blessing here, and we would lovingly urge him to take the matter into his serious consideration. “We are, “Beloved Brethren, “Yours in the bonds of the Gospel, “R.MAPLESDEN Guntoor, Madras. “G. H.HOOK, Calcutta. “H.RYLANDS BROWN, Darjeeling. “JAMES G.POTTERS Agra. “WM. S.MITCHELL Dinapore.
ARTHUR W.WOOD Agra” THE MAORI MISSION This Mission was; started by our son, Thomas Spurgeon, of Auckland, at the request of a friend who was suddenly called to his reward; it is supported by Auckland friends, and is carried on by our former student, Mr. Fairbrother. It is a very important work, and deserves help from all who wish to see the native races converted and preserved from destruction.
FIRST ANNUAL REPORT.
THE first milestone of an eventful journey is attained, and we would pause a while to look back upon the way by which our God has led us. We would do so with hearts full of thankfulness for something attempted and something done. We realize how small that “something” is; yet would we shout “Ebenezer,” for the Lord hath helped us hitherto. The journey has not been all brightness. This could not be in a land of shadows. Nor ha.,; it been all darkness, for the Lord has proved our sun and Shield — “And it cannot be Dreary dark, or desolate, In his company. ” We have experienced great alternations of sunshine and shadow. At times a glorious dawn seemed breaking upon us, and success was smiling, when suddenly the bitterness of disappointment fell upon us with its chilling shade. He who “reaps the ;bearded grain at a breath and the flowers that grow between” has come amongst us with his sharpened sickle. One of the brightest spirits with us at the beginning of the journey has been called up higher. We deplore her loss as a teacher in the Sunday School and a friend of the Mission. This bereavement, coming so soon after the decease of our friend who founded the Mission, but was not spared to see its progress, has been a sore trial to us. Day and night have indeed alternated, yet our trust is in the Lord, and we joy in the God of our salvation.
THE LORD’S-DAY SERVICES, though by no means all that we desire, have been far more encouraging than we could have expected. Many adverse circumstances, unfortunately, must be taken into account.
Through the curse of strong drink, and the demands of tourists to travel on the Sabbath, as on any other day, the day ,of rest often becomes with many of the people a time of work or sinful pleasure, rather than of holy rest and joyful worship. Meetings have regularly been held at Waitangi, Te Wairoa, and Ohinemutu. At the first and last named places the services took place in the Whares, named respectively Whakairo and Tarnatekapua, while at Te Wairoa the schoolhouse kindly lent by Mr. Haszard has served us for a place of prayer. Though we are unable to report great things as the immediate result of these gatherings, we can assert that the work has not been in vain. The dying testimony of Raugimawhiti (Lizzie), one of our Sunday School scholars, and the profession and conduct of another still in the school, speak plainly of the cleansing power of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since we have attempted to speak without interpretation, many more have come to Karakia (prayers), and are remarkably attentive. At our first meetings we were inclined to believe that the Maoris had discovered the secret of perpetual motion, so restive and fidgety were they; but now we rejoice in the attention and interest they manifest. This is in itself a token for good, and will, we trust, prove but the stepping stone to greater things than these. Oh, that those who seem so glad to hear may hear and live! It has been our privilege to serve in the capacities of bell-ringer, pew-opener, and preacher at the same service, and right gladly would we “become all things to all men if by any means we might save some.”
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL, which was originally started by Miss Haszard, is progressing favorably. The infant class has been divided between three native teachers. Then there is a senior boys’ class, and one for senior girls, and one for men and women, ranging in age from fourteen to forty. We open by singing one hymn in English and one in Maori. We then engage in prayer. Half an hour is allotted to lessons, and we conclude with praise and prayer. The largest muster has been 75, the average attendance being 45.
Remember us, good reader, at 9.30 a m. and 2.30 p m. as we gather these together to hear of Jesus.
Gifts of clothes to these poor children have proved a great blessing. Often through the bitterly cold winter they would come to school without breaking their fast, and go the whole day with nothing but a little pia (‘gum of tree). Those only who live amongst them can imagine the sufferings of these poor little ones. Ill-clothed and half-starved, they may well be objects of pity. Our hope for the future is in the children; ‘but if disease, the result of intemperance and improvidence, does its deadly work amongst old and young as rapidly as during this past year, our Sunday School will ere long be a thing of the past, and the racer in some respects quite noble, will have ceased to be. THE BLUE-RIBBON ARMY has waged successful warfare against the greatest enemy of the Maori. The drink they obtain is specially prepared for them, and is indeed a vile decoction. What terrible scenes of sin and shame may be witnessed here as a result of imbibing what the Maoris aptly call “waihanrangi” (drunken water), “waiporangi” (maddening water), and “waipiro” (stinking water). An old chief, named Pehi, has said that the causes; of the decay of the Maori race are “the smoke, the drink, and the diseases of the Pakehas.” It is sad to know that so-called Christians are found supplying the natives with the body-and-soul-destroying liquor.
Surely they must forget the curse pronounced against such—”Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also.”
Quite a number of the Maoris have joined the Blue-Ribbon Army; and while some, alas, have fallen, others have, under the greatest temptation, shown determination and courage which deserve the highest praise. The cause, too, is spreading. In September last, a settlement thirty miles hence asked for the establishment of the “Army” amongst them, and during our visit more than fifty donned the Blue, and are keeping their pledge. Just lately another “call” has come from sixteen miles hence for Karakia, or prayers, as well as for a Blue-Ribbon Army.
Some one said a while ago, “I thought all the work was done amongst the Maoris.” Would God it were all begun. Much more must be accomplished in this district, but the interior remains untouched. A recent traveler in the “King Country “ gives us a hereafter, said, ‘ At one time I thought there were two saints in the island, Tawhio and Te Whitii and I waited long to see if they would be taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire; but: I have waited so long, I am tired, and now I think there are no saints in heaven or in earth.’ Another said, ‘We believe in nothing here, and get fat on pork and potatoes.’ It was, in fact, very clear that these natives were as deeply wrapped in the darkness of heathenism as were their forefathers centuries ago, and beyond a superstitious species of Hauhauism, no germ of religious teaching appeared to have found its way into their breasts.” Such is the sad condition of hundreds of aborigines who know’ not God. May we not hope to reach them yet with gospel truth and saving grace?
Oh; friends of Christ and of our Mission, much has been done by faithful servants of God in this land and amongst this people, but “there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.” Help us still to carry the battle to the gates of the enemy. Financial aid and constant prayer are always needed.
Are there any willing to join the fray? Looking round on this vast field with its comparatively few laborers, and. looking forward to the great reward of faithful service, we exclaim expectantly— “Where are the reapers? Oh, who will come And share in the glory of the ‘ harvest home ‘? Oh, who will help us to garner in The sheaves of good from the fields of sin?”
Yours faithfully, ALFRED FAIRBROTHER.