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  • CHARLES SPURGEON -
    THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL. - DECEMBER, 1884.


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    ANOTHER SPIRITUAL HONEY DROP A PRAYER-MEETING ADDRESS, BY C. H.SPURGEON.

    ANOTHER oneof our choicest honey-drops (See The Sword and the Trowel for November, “Concerning the Dropping of Honeycombs.”) will be found in the thirty-third chapter of Exodus, at the fourteenth verse. I shall speak upon it now without premeditation, simply allowing the sweetness to flow forth of itself. It is God’s word to his servant Moses. “And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” It was not a pleasure-trip that Moses was taking, it was a journey through the wilderness, on most important business, with a great pressure on his own heart. He took his case before his God, and he said unto Jehovah, “See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.” It is very beautiful to notice the argument that Moses uses.

    He says, “Lord, thou hast set me to take care of this people. How can I do it? But they are thy people.” Therefore he gives an eye to Jehovah himself for assistance. “Thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me,” is his complaint; but he seems to have an eye to the fact thatHE, whose people they were, who had put him into commission to guide them, and to bear all their provocations, must intend to give him some very superior help. The answer to that is, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” What more could Moses want than that, and what more can we want? We are so foolish that we look about for strength away from God, but there is none except in him. Dear Brother Varley, you are going to preach the gospel in the lands beyond the sea; this is the assurance that you want in going forth; “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” You will want much help in journeying from place to place; and that help lies in the constant fellowship of your heart with the Lord, the continual presence of God consciously enjoyed. You have a great burden of souls lying upon you, dear friend; your strength to bear that burden lies in the realization of God’s presence with yourself. It may not appear to some that the quarter of an hour in the morning spent in looking into the face of God, with ecstatic joy, can fill us with strength; but we know from blessed experience that there is no strength like it. We are only strong as we are overshadowed by the Eternal. Then Omnipotence comes streaming into us; Jehovah, in infinite, condescending liberality, gives forth his might to us.

    Now, notice, that Moses was not informed that God would send Hobab, his father-in-law, to go with him; he was not told that Joshua, his successor, should accompany him; nothing was said to him about the seventy elders who were to share the burden of responsibility with him.

    Moses was to have their presence and help, but his true power was to lie in this, “My presence shall go with thee.” He is about to start on a journey of great importance, a journey of great trial, a journey of great provocation, a journey that was to last for forty years; Out this is all the provender that he needs, and God himself could not give him more.

    And then he adds, “And I will give thee rest.” The most important thing to a Christian worker, as it was to Moses, is to have rest. “I do not expect any rest,” says one, “while I am here.” Do you not? Then you will not do much work for the Lord. They who work most must rest most; and if they work with their mind they cannot do it well, indeed they cannot do it at all, unless they have plenty of rest. You will notice how people that get greatly excited often talk nonsense, and people who are very fretful and fearful do not speak or act as they should. The man who is to move others must have both his own feet fixed firmly; there is nothing like having a good grip of the ground, then you can fling the fellow with whom you are wrestling, but he cannot fling you. “Do you think Hoses had this rest ?” some one asks. I am sure he had, because of the meekness of his spirit. You remember how the Lord Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” It is true that meekness of heart produces rest; but still, at the bottom, rest of heart produces meekness. You can very well afford to be quiet with your fellow-men when you yourself are perfectly restful in the living God. I remember a man being run over in the street one day. Somebody rushed off, post haste, for the nearest doctor; and when the medical man heard of the accident, he went quietly into his surgery, turned over his case of instruments, selected those that he thought he might want, and then leisurely walked to the spot where the poor man lay. The messenger tried to hurry him, but it was no use. “Be quick, doctor,” he cried, “the man’s leg is broken, every moment is precious.” Now, the surgeon knew that he was doing the very best thing that he could do, and he was far wiser than he would have been if he had rushed off in wild haste, perhaps forgetting the very instrument he most needed, and arriving out of breath, and quite unfit for the delicate duty required of him. The doctor’s composure was not the result of coldness of heart, but the result of the resolution to do the best possible thing in the best possible way. If you are conscious of the Lord’s presence, you will do the best thing possible by being very calm, deliberate, and quiet in his service. “He that believeth,” in that sense, “shall not make haste;” but he shall go about the business in a restful spirit.

    Mark the kind of rest that is here mentioned. “I will give thee rest.” All the rest that God gives us we may safely take. No man ever rested too long upon the bosom of Jesus. I believe that many Christian workers would be better if they enjoyed more rest. I was speaking to the ministers at the Conference upon this matter, my subject being the Savior asleep during the storm on the Sea of Galilee. He knew there was a storm coming on, but he felt so happy and restful in his Father’s love and care that he went into the hinder part of the ship, the best place for sleeping, deliberately took a pillow, lay down, and went to sleep. It was the very best thing he could do.

    He had been busy all day, teaching and feeding the multitudes, and he felt that it was his duty to go to sleep that he might be ready for the next day’s toil. When you get very weary, and perhaps worried as well, the best thing you can do is to go to sleep. Go to bed, brother; and go to sleep. It is astonishing what a difference a night’s rest makes with our troubles. I would say this literally to fidgety, worrying people, like myself, “Go to bed, brother, go to bed.” But I would also say it spiritually to all sorts of people; when you are feeling weak, and disturbed, and you do not know what to do for the best — “Go into the presence of God, and there get rest.” “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” I will give you a little bit of worldly wisdom; it is this, — whenever you do not know what to do, do not do it. But some people, when they do not know what to do, go and do it directly, and get themselves into all sorts of trouble. Many of us, like Moses, need rest. Moses has to bear two millions of people on his heart; he needs rest. He has to put up with them for forty years; he needs rest. Never had another man such a family as that, never was another man so likely to be fluttered and worried; and he was a meek-spirited man, too, who could not make a dash, as others might have done. This is his strength, that he dwells in the divine presence, and therefore is restful, calm, and strong. It is only now and then that he lets the human meekness be for a moment clouded. Thus he was enabled to march along, like a king in Jeshurun, as he was; and his soul dwelt in the eternity of God, singing ever amidst ten thousand graves, for he had forty of his people dying every day, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations.”

    NOTES THOSE of our readers who have heard our son Thomas, or who have read his articles in the Magazine, will thank us for letting them know that on Tuesday, Dec. 9, a meeting will be held in the Tabernacle for the purpose of saying farewell to him, and Messrs. Cooper and Driver, who are to sail with him in the ss. Liguria which leaves London on the 10th inst. At the same time, we shall hold the annual meeting of the College, at which we usually have a large gathering of friends; so that, on this occasion, the doubly special character of the proceedings ought to ensure a crowded house. While these “Notes” are in the hands of the printer, the Editor is laid aside, and suffering much pain of body, and depression of spirit, but he trusts that, in answer to many prayers, he will be speedily restored to health and strength, and enabled to preside at this meeting.

    Messrs. Hollings and Brock, our esteemed advertising agents, ask us to call attention to the fact that the present issue of the Magazine is, amongst other reasons, exceptionally interesting, because it contains a much larger number of advertisements from the London publishers than has ever before appeared in any copy of The Sword and the Trowel. There are about eighteen pages full of descriptions of new books, magazines, Christmas and New Year’s cards, etc., in sufficient variety to suit the tastes and purses of all our readers at this book-buying and present-giving season.

    On Friday evening, Oct. 24, the annual meeting of the METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE LOAN TRACT SOCIETY was held in the Lecture-hall, under the presidency of Pastor C. H. Spurgeon. Mr. Capel, the Secretary, stated that the distributors of this Society visit 104 districts, and thus leave the Pastor’s sermons with nearly 4,000 families every week. They have met with many cases of conversion through the reading of the printed message.

    A Mother’s Meeting, a Maternal Society, and a Sick Fund, have all been developed as necessary adjuncts to the work, and in each department of labor the blessing of the Lord has been experienced. Mr. Harrald, the Treasurer, reported that the expenditure for sermons, covers, printing, etc., had been about £32, and there was a balance of £2 in hand. Addresses were delivered by the chairman, Pastors T. Spurgeon and W. Williams, Miss Thomas, and Messrs. W. J. Smith, Stone, and Moore. This is an exceedingly useful and economical agency for spreading gospel truth, and deserves more help than it at present receives. In order to work the districts efficiently, twelve additional distributors are needed. Mr. Capel will be happy to give full particulars to all who apply to him in the Tractroom after any of the services.

    On Monday evening, Oct. 27, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Varley came to the Tabernacle prayer-meeting, to seek the supplications of the church there for a blessing upon them while they were absent from England. Mr. Varley spoke briefly, and the Pastor delivered the address which appears as the first article in the present number of the Magazine.

    During the past few weeks we have been called to part with quite a number of our brethren and sisters from the church at the Tabernacle. When, therefore, our beloved friend,MR.JOHN TURNER, who has for so many years led the singing of the great congregation, fell asleep, it was resolved that a funeral service should be held in the Tabernacle on Friday afternoon, October 31st, at which all who had been recently bereaved might be specially commended to the Lord in prayer, and the whole church might be reminded of the lessons to be learned from these divine visitations. As Mr. Turner lived so close to the building, where his voice will no more be heard, the coffin containing his body was brought into the Tabernacle, and a large company of members of the church and congregation assembled to testify their esteem for their departed brother. The service was conducted by Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, who was assisted by his brother; and at the close the funeral company went to Norwood Cemetery, where Mr. J.T. Dunn officiated at the grave. We shall not readily fill our friend’s place as leader of the singing. Others may have better voices than he had, and from a musical standpoint may be his superiors, but he has so well helped us in the service of praise, that we shall be quite content if other stagers assist us in our worship as much as he did, who now sings the new song among the multitudes redeemed from among men.

    For several weeks we could not tell which of our brethren would be home first,MR.TURNER, orMR.ALFRED SEARLE, but “the post” brought the summons to Brother Searle about a fortnight before the message reached Brother Turner. The next missive came soon after, addressed to our venerable friend,MR. W.BOWKER, the senior elder of the church, and the President of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Country Mission. We shall long miss each of these worthy men, as well as many more who have recently gone to join the church triumphant. They rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. Monday evening, November 3, was a great MISSIONARY PRAYERMEETING at the Tabernacle. First, Mr. and Mrs. Stubbs, who were returning to India, were affectionately commended to the Lord in prayer.

    Our brother touched all our hearts by his heroic declaration that he would rather die amongst the heathen than live away from them. Then we had an American missionary, who was going out to assist Dr. Clough in the instruction of the 14,000 Telugu Christians, who are in fellowship as baptized believers at Ongole, India. The Pastor next read a list of the missionaries and brethren who had gone out to the foreign field from the College, and prayer for all of them was offered by one of the students. The meeting was closed with a most interesting address by Pastor E.F. Baldwin, a Baptist minister from North Carolina, who was on his way to Tangier, Morocco, to work in connection with the Kabyle Mission. Taking it as a whole, the meeting would compare well, for numbers, enthusiasm, interest, and information, with many of the annual gatherings of some of our large societies. It was what Mr. Baldwin said they called in America, “an inspiration meeting.”

    On Friday afternoon, November 7, in the presence of Mrs. Higgs and her family, the Pastor laid the MEMORIAL STONE of the large and beautiful chapel which has been erected in memory of the late Mr. W. Higgs by the members of his bereaved family. It is situated in Solon Road, Bedford Road, Clapham, and is quite an ornament to the region, which in the course of a few years has been covered with houses. We trust many of the inhabitants of the district will have cause eternally to praise the Lord for the noble generosity which has taken such a practical and useful form The building is to be called KENYON CHAPEL, in remembrance of Kenyon House, where our beloved deacon and friend so long resided. It is to be the London Baptist Association Chapel for the past year A most worth minister has already been selected in the person of Pastor J. Douglas, M.A., late of Ilfracombe. We hope Baptist friends in the neighborhood will rally round him from the first service, and that the usefulness of the Chapel will be all that the generous donors’ hearts could desire. It will be a grievous disappointment to us not to be able to take part in the opening services, as we had hoped to do.

    On Monday evening, November 10, the annual united meeting for PRAYER AND COMMUNION, in connection with the LONDON BAPTIST ASSOCIATION, was held at the Tabernacle. The Pastors of the neighboring churches met for tea and fellowship before the public gathering, which was much more largely attended than for several years past. Most of the ministers took part in the proceedings, and short addresses were delivered by Pastors C. H. and J. A. Spurgeon and W. Williams. It was again a night to be remembered.

    On Monday evening, November 17, the Tabernacle Prayer-meeting partook of the character of aPUBLIC WELCOME TO MR.WILLIAM OLNEY, the senior deacon of the church, who has been absent some months on a voyage to New Zealand. In the much-regretted, but unavoidable absence, through illness, of the Pastor, his brother presided: and there was a large gathering of members of the church and congregation. Special thanks for our beloved friend’s safe return were presented in prayer by representatives of the Pastors, deacons, elders, church, and college; and Mr. Olney gave an exceedingly interesting report of his various experiences since he sailed from England, in April. Everywhere he met with friends who were eager to hear all he could tell them concerning the Lord’s work at the Tabernacle, and this fact he turned to good account on several occasions, by giving a lecture, and making collections towards the removal of chapel-debts, etc.

    Nowhere did he have a more hearty reception than that which was given to him by the officers and members of our son’s church at Auckland. We were all pleased to hear of the success of the work there under the care of Mr. Rice, whom we sent out to supply the Pastor’s place while he was away.

    COLLEGE.

    — During the past month the following brethren have sailed front England: Mr. G. J. Dann, for Allahabad; Mr. J. Stubbs, for Patna; and Mr. J. Glover, for Queensland.

    In accordance with a request from our good friend, Mr. Gibson, who wished us to select a Pastor for the church in Perth, Tasmania, we are sending out Mr. J. R. Cooper, who, with his wife, will sail in the same ship as our son Thomas and Mr. Driver.

    Mr. H. T. Peach reports the formation of a church, of twenty-nine members, at Pietermaritzburg; a continued increase in the congregation and school; and many tokens of spiritual prosperity. Mr. W. Hamilton is still “holding the fort” at Cape Town, but he would be very thankful if some brother could be sent to relieve him. He cannot leave the church without a suitable man to carry on the work which he has done so well in the past, but how the matter is to be arranged we cannot tell at present.

    Mr. W. Stokes, who has for some time been living at Pinner, Middlesex, has undertaken the pastoral charge of the church in that place. Mr. J.C. Foster is removing, from Braintree, to Sydenham Chapel, Forest Hill.

    EVANGELISTS. — Messrs. Fullerton and Smith have finished their Belfast mission, and moved on to Londonderry. The Lord has very graciously owned their message in Belfast, and many souls have been won for Christ, while backsliders have been reclaimed, and Christians stimulated and strengthened.

    Our brethren will come to London for the close of the year, and will conduct special services in Kenyon Chapel, Solon Road, Clapham, on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 30th and 31st. They will also take charge of the watch-night service at the Tabernacle on New Year’s Eve.

    January and February are to be spent in Bristol, and March in Folkestone. Mr. Burnham’s three weeks’ services in Dorsetshire were among the happiest seasons he has ever spent. The Congregational ministers at Swanage and Wareham write in the highest terms of our brother’s visits to their churches. One of them says: — “We have reason to be devoutly thankful for the ten days’ mission held by Mr. Burnham among us. The clear statement of the gospel, the happy removal of difficulties that perplex the inquirer, the apt illustrations, together with his tender appeals, produced a deep impression on many.

    Our friend manifestly has the gift of winning souls; with but little excitement, and no extravagance, his words have a quiet power; they quicken the conscience, and touch the heart. Some who had sunk into indifference, and neglect of public worship, have been restored to earnestness; and numbers from our Sunday-school, and Christian homes, have been brought to decision for Christ. There had been much previous planting, these services did the watering, and God has given the increase.

    Our prayers have been answered, and our expectations exceeded. We have a firm conviction that such an agency is most helpful to the ordinary ministry. We earnestly wish Mr. Burnham and his fellow-laborers in this glorious work the divine blessing, and large success. We enclose a small thankoffering for the Evangelistic Fund.”

    Mr. Burnham has since visited Wood Green, and this month he goes, for the third time, to Watton, Norfolk; and finishes this year and begins at Humberstone-road Union Chapel, Leicester.

    Friends at York Road, Leeds, and New Whittington, report successful services held by Mr . Russell, who has also visited Reading and Sunderland. Messrs. Mateer and Parker have had large congregations and much blessing at Mirfield, Trowbridge, and Hanwell. This month they are to hold services at Margate and Ramsgate.

    ORPHANAGE.

    — On Wednesday evening, Oct. 29, the collectors’ meeting was held at the Orphanage under the presidency of the President. The program comprised singing, bell-ringing, and recitations by the children: an original speech by an orphan boy; brief addresses by Pastors C. H. andT. Spurgeon, J. Douglas, M.A., and J. Benson, and Messrs. B. W. Carr, V.J. Charlesworth, and J. Maynard; and musical performances by other friends.

    Altogether, although the attendance was somewhat smaller than usual, the meeting was a thorough success. The amount brought in was £14 less than at the November gathering last year; and on that fact being mentioned, several friends at once subscribed sufficient to make up the deficiency. We thank all our kind collectors and donors very heartily, and trust that they will not get weary in this good work; for the boys and girls will keep on eating and drinking, and wearing out their clothes, and we cannot supply their wants without money.

    Mr. Charlesworth and his choir have had a very successful tour in Yorkshire. The accounts will not all be made up in time for the present Magazine, but we have already learned that the institution will be considerably benefited by the generous help of our friends in the various towns visited by our happy band of singers and ringers. This month they will journey southwards, and their reception will, we feel sure, be equally hearty. We have no need to “say to the north, ‘give up,’ and to the south, ‘keep not back’“; for north and south vie with one another, and with the east and the west, in contributing to the support of the fatherless children who come to us for shelter from all parts of the kingdom. Special Note for Christmas . — We generally like to stir up the pure minds of our friends by way of remembrance when the season for the roast beef and plum-pudding is approaching. Christmas comes but once a year, but now, dear friends, ‘twill soon be here; and the boys and girls at the Stockwell Orphanage will enjoy the festivities all the better if those who have thought of them in previous years will think of them again in the same practical manner, and if others who have not formerly helped will make a beginning now. Provisions of all sorts will be welcome, and contributions of cash will be readily exchanged for anything that may be needed. The President hopes this year to have the privilege of meeting the children; but whether he is permitted to do so or not, they must have their full share of enjoyment, and every one who sends a donation, however small, will help them to spend “a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” All parcels should be addressed to Mr. Charlesworth, Stockwell Orphanage, Clapham Road, S.W. notes, money-orders, etc., will be received by C. H. Spurgeon, Upper Norwood, S.E. COLPORTAGE.

    — The Baptist Union of Tasmania, which was formed on the occasion of the opening of the Launceston Tabernacle, has sent to us the money to pay for the passage of a Colporteur for the outlying districts of that charming island. After much prayerful and careful consideration, we have selected a man whom we believe to be eminently adapted for the work which will be required of him, and he has already sailed for his new sphere of labor, with a well-assorted stock of books from our depot. We trust that Mr. Gibson and all our Tasmanian brethren will see a great blessing resulting from this new effort to extend the Redeemer’s kingdom.

    The efforts of the Colportage Association, for further extension of the work in England, are gradually being seconded by friends in districts needing the agency. Six new districts have been started since Midsummer, so that, notwithstanding losses through the discontinuance of others, a band of seventy-three Colporteurs is now engaged in the sale of the Word of God, and Christian and other literature of a good moral tone. The sales for the first nine months of this year show an increase of £669 9s. 4d. over the same period in the previous year, which, considering the depression in trade, is cause for much thankfulness.

    Another important feature has been a large sale of penny New Testaments, 27,450 having been sold since July, besides several hundred gross of Scripture Text Cards of various designs. The Word has also been spoken to individuals from house to house, to the afflicted, and to small congregations. This makes the agency doubly powerful for good, and having been accompanied by manor prayers, both by the Committee and the Colporteurs themselves, who can calculate the lasting results of so widespread a sowing of the good seed?

    But why should not the seventy-three agents be increased until at least one hundred are employed? Some have assumed that, because the headquarters are at the Tabernacle, the association is denominational, but this is an error, as the Colporteurs work in connection, not only with Baptist friends, but those belonging to the Congregationalists, Church of England, Wesleyans, and in some cases under independent local committees. No distinctly denominational literature is carried for sale by the Colporteurs, but that of any Evangelical church can be ordered through the men.

    The Committee cannot do the work without the district in which it is carried on bearing a share of the cost, amounting to £40 a year, but will appoint an agent to any approved district where this sum can be guaranteed. They are largely dependent upon voluntary subscriptions to the General Fund to make up the deficiency, and while thanking all who have so kindly contributed in the past, they earnestly solicit continued and increased support to this fund.

    Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle. — October 23, sixteen; October 30, fifteen.

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