THE USE OF WOOL IN THE EARS BY C. H. SPURGEON.
WE are told concerning Bernard of Clairvaux that, after he had given himself up entirely to contemplation and walking with God, he met with a considerable difficulty in the visits of those friends who were still in the world. their conversation brought back thoughts and feelings connected with the frivolities which he had for ever forsaken; and on one occasion, after he had been wearied with the idle chit-chat of his visitors, he found himself unable to raise his heart towards heaven. When he was engaged in the exercise of prayer he felt that their idle talk was evidently the cause of his losing fellowship with God. He could not well forbid his friends coming, and therefore he prepared himself for their injurious conversation by carefully stopping his ears with little wads of flax. He then buried his head deep in his cowl, and though exposed for an hour to their conversation, he heard nothing, and consequently suffered no injury. He spoke to each of them some few words for edification, and they went their way. We do not suppose that for: any great length of time he was much troubled with such visitors, for he must have been an uncommonly uninteresting companion. If people once discover that their clatter is lost upon you, they are not quite so eager to repeat the infliction.
We ace not admirers of Bernard’s monastic severity, but we wish it were possible to imitate his use of wool, in the spirit if not in the letter. We are all thrown in the way of persons who will talk; and their talk: has in it about as much solidify as the comet, of which we are told that a thousand square miles, if condensed and compressed, would go into a thimble or an acorn-cup. Cowper made an accurate computation of the value of ordinary conversation when he said, — “Collect at ev ’ning what the day brought forth, Compress the sum into its solid worth, And if it weigh the importance of a fly, the scales are false, or algebra a lie. ” If it were of any use to these human fog-horns, whose noise so much disturbs gracious souls, we would reason with them: but, alas, it would be casting pearls before parrots, who would hop off with them, drop them, and come back to scream again. Still, though it may be wasted effort, we would tell them a little story, which we met with in a tiny book called “Gold Dust.” “‘ Mother,’ asked a child, ‘ since nothing is ever lost, where do all our thoughts go?’ ‘ to God,’ answered the mother, gravely, ‘ who remembers them for ever.’ ‘For ever!’ said the child; he leaned his head, and drawing closer to his mother, murmured, ‘I am frightened!’” Do you triflers never feel frightened too? If go, permit this healthy fear to grow; and remember that idle words are worse than idle thoughts, for they lead others into evil, and murder good thoughts in those who else might have quietly meditated.
As the topics of conversation which are usually intruded upon devout minds are worthless, if not worse, the best way is to escape from them altogether; but when this is not possible; oh, would that the gift of deafness could be conferred upon us! Oh, to protect the drum of the ear with a plate of iron! Will no one invent us ear-shields? The process of letting chit-chat go in at one ear and out at the other is greatly injurious to the brain; and the mere passage of such traffic through the mind is painful to the spiritual man’s heart.. It would be a far better thing not to let it enter at all. Could we not manage, by determinedly introducing holy topics, to become as truly bores to the foolish talkers as the chatterboxes are to us? or, better still, could we not turn the flood of conversation into a profitable channel, and subdue wild tongues to some useful service, as men tame rushing rivulets and make them turn their mill-wheels? Oh, that it were possible!
How often, immediately after a holy service, where in heart and mind we have been carried to the top of tabor, so that we have beheld the transfiguration of all gracious truth, have we come down to the foot of the mountain to meet with very fools! they have inane remarks to offer upon the congregation, the faults of the singing, the mistakes of the preacher, or other worthless trifles. they behave as if, in the presence of God, and heaven, and hell, they found a fit place for acting the merry-andrew, and playing their fantastic tricks. If they have ever been in the presence of the King of kings, they have been more engrossed by the dust beneath his feet than with his majesty and glory. this dust they bring away, and throw into our eyes, so that with the pain thereof the holy vision vanishes away. Oh, that such beings should exist! the kites and ravens which pounced upon Abraham’s sacrifice the patriarch drove away; but these swoop down upon a sudden, and, despite our protests, they remain to rob the altars of God.
We are in our study, wrapt in holy meditation: woe unto us, for there is a knock at the door, and a person enters who cannot be denied admission. A draught of cold air seems to follow him into the room. Our devotion is chilled. He goes away, and it would seem as if the Master went out of the door at the same time. It may take us hours of earnest, seeking to find our Beloved again: the heavenly spell is broken, and we could weep scalding tears of regret that so much is lost without compensation and without reason. The senseless caller has not left a thought behind him worth throwing into the waste-basket. then have we sighed for “a lodge in some vast wilderness, some boundless contiguity of shade,” that sound of chattering talkatives might never reach us more.
We have sought solitude; we have stolen away from the haunts of men. into the congenial sphere of nature: holiness is written upon every leaf, and flower, and green blade; a solemn stillness girds us; our heart is ascending like the lark that rises from the field to heaven; our spirit is exhaling odors of gratitude and joy, like the fragrant perfume of the flowers around us; we feel fellowship with the Master when the Spirit led him into the wilderness: and lo! to complete the parallel, the devil appears to tempt us. He comes not in the form of the fiend himself, for then would we commence a sacred combat, in which, by God’s help, we would gain the victory; but he comes in the shape of a worldly acquaintance, uninvited, undesired. this said friend is well enough for a passing salute, and by no means so malicious as willfully to play the serpent in our Paradise: but just here and now! Oh Providence, thy wisdom is inscrutable! Why bring this being here? He, of all men! What want we with him? We might as well have met the boatswain of Barclay’s Ship of Fools. Oh, dear good creature, why stray you in this direction? Poor soul, what sent you here to do for my meditations what Newton’s dog Diamond did for the philosopher’s profound calculations when he overturned the candle and set the papers on a blaze? Yet here he is, and there is no hiding from him among the trees of the wood; we must beat’ his idle prattle as best we may. He cracks a senseless joke, and then chatters on with meaningless remarks upon the weather, and our own appearance, and our solitude, lie cannot be shaken off; he must rattle till he has run down. Sympathy with silence he never had, nor with sense either. Ah me! His thoughtless foot has trampled on our communion with Jesus; his idle talk has chased away the sacred Dove!
It is our duty to pray for such spiritual Goths and Vandals; but among the petitions is one that we may be delivered from them. We have longed to be like Alexander Selkirk, on a desert island, with ten thousand leagues of impassable water, or fire if need be, between us and the distracting tongues of empty minds. Do you wonder that men have built cells for themselves amid the crags of Sinai, or have roamed over desert sands by the Red Sea shore, or have immured themselves in monasteries to escape from distractions? the restless scourge of vanity has whipped noble minds into an intolerance of men.
Why is it that devotion is so fair and frail a thing? Must it ever be so?
Cannot meditation grow more robust? Alas, we fear that if holy contemplation grows within the sterile soil of our heart, it must always be a delicate exotic, liable to be withered by the first breath of earth’s sirocco?
Shall we never come to be in such a condition that fellowship with God will be like the grass that grows in the meadows, which may be trodden on by a thousand travelers and yet will lift up its head again, and spread a carpet fit for the feet of angels? Surely there must be something radically wrong with us still: regenerating work cannot be so complete as it might be. If we were wholly renewed we. might traverse a market, and remain in heaven; pass through all the babble of contention’s tongues, and yet possess the peace of God which passeth all understanding; dwell in the tents of Kedar, and yet be as much alone with God as if every scoffer were a saint, and every fool an angel Shall we ever reach to this? the burning aspiration for it is the promise that; we shall. Let us struggle upwards till our absorption. into the love of Christ shall fill our ears with something better than wads of wool, and our communion with the heavenly shall make us like David when. he said, “I, as a deaf man, heard not.” till that comes it will be a sign of grace to be weary of that which is graceless. It will be a mark of wisdom to be impatient of the follies of human converse.
It will be a sign of heavenliness if we can regard our disturbers with compassions, and lend ourselves to lift up these earthbound ones as well as ore’ own hearts. Even as the eagle is said to bear her young upon her wings, and soar upward with them toward the sun, we too, though burdened with the load, may yet learn to bear all companies, and all their converse, upward into fellowship with God.
PROFESSORS OF THE HIGHER LIFE AMETHODIST preacher of long experience (a doctor of divinity too). lately remarked in a Southern paper: “I have known hundreds of men and women, who made no pretensions to holiness, who had experienced no ‘second blessing,’ who had found no ‘new light,’ who sought no ‘ higher life,’ who, in fact, were just as pure, true, and holy in life and conversation as the best so-called ‘holiness people’ I ever saw, and not half so troublesome in the church. ” there is nobody who can stir ‘up so many church rows, and keep them boiling so long, as your brother or sister who has received the “second blessing” and is. living the ‘“ higher life. ” — New York Examiner.
On looking back through thirty years of church life we are compelled to come to the conclusion that the most unsatisfactory members we have ever had have been those who were most satisfied with themselves. One brother became so thoroughly sanctified that he could not live with his wife; and another had so clean escaped from sin of every sort that he quitted us all in disgust. We find in the Sunday-school, the Lay Preachers’-Association, the Christian Young Men’s meetings, and in all other forms of work, that as soon as any of the brethren or the sisters begin to brag about their holiness they become wholly useless, and before long the place that knew them. knows them no more. “Great cry and little wool” men are not very numerous among us, but we have a few now and then just by way or’ variety. — C. H.S.ANECDOTES FROM THE PULPIT.
A LECTURE TO THE COLLEGE, BY C. H. SPURGEON. (CONTINUED).
NO examples will have greater weight with you than those taken from among the Puritans, in whose steps it is our desire to walk, though, alas! we follow with feeble feet. Certain of them abounded in anecdotes and stories: Thomas Brooks is a signal instance of the wise and wealthy use of holy fancy. I put him first, because I reckon him to be the first in the special art which is now under consideration. He hath dust of gold; for even in the margins of his books there are sentences of exceeding preciousness, and hints at classic stories. His style is clear and full; he never so exceeds in illustration as to lose sight of his doctrine, His floods of metaphor never drown his meaning, but float it; upon their surface. If you have never read his works I almost envy you the joy of entering for the first time upon his “unsearchable Remedies,” Riches, trying his Precious communing with his “Mute Christian,” and enjoying his other masterly writings. Let me give you a taste of his quality in the way of anecdotes. Here are a few brief ones which lie almost upon the same page; but he so abounds with them that you may readily call scores of better ones for yourselves.
MR. WELCH WEEPING.
“A soul under special manifestations of love weeps that it can love Christ no more. Mr. Welch, a Suffolk minister, weeping at table, and being asked the reason of it, answered, it was because lie could love Christ no more. the true lovers of Christ; can never rise high enough in their love to Christ; they count a little love to be no love; great love to be but little; strong love to be but weak; and the highest love to be infinitely below the worth of Christ, the beauty and glory of Christ, the fullness, sweetness, and goodness of Christ. the top of their misery in this life is that they love so little, though they are so much beloved.”
“Such was the silence of Philip the Second, King of Spain, that when his invincible Armada, that had been three years a-fitting, was lost, he gave command that all over Spain they should give thanks to God and the saints that it was no more grievous.”
FAVORITES SUBMITTING TO THEIR LORDS.
“When Teribazus, a noble Persian, was arrested, at first he drew his sword and defended himself; but when they charged him in the king’s name, and informed him that they came from the king, and were commanded to bring him to the king, he yielded willingly. Seneca persuaded his friend to bear his affliction quietly, because he was the emperor’s favorite, telling him that it was not lawful for him to complain whilst Caesar was his friend.. So saith the holy Christian, Oh, my soul, be quiet, be still; all is in love, all is a fruit of Divine favor.”
SIR PHILIP SYDNEY.
“A religious commander being shot in battle, when the wound was searched and the bullet cut out, some standing by pitying his pain, he replied, ‘ though! groan, yet I bless God I do not grumble.’ God allows his people to groan, though not to grumble.” Thomas Adams, t he Conforming Puritan, whose sermons are full of rugged force and. profound meaning, never hesitated to insert a story when he felt that it would enforce his teaching. His starting-point is ever some Biblical sentence, or Scriptural history; and this he works out with much elaboration, bringing to it all the treasures of his mind. As Stowell says, “Fables, anecdotes, classical poetry, gems from the fathers and other old writers, are scattered over almost every page” His anecdotes are usually rough-and-ready ones, and might be compared to those of Latimer, only they are not so genial; their humor is generally grim and caustic. the following may serve as fair specimens : — THE HUSBAND AND HIS WITTY’ WIFE. “the husband told his wife that he had one ill quality, he was given to be angry without cause; she wittily replied that she would keep him from that fault, for she would give him cause enough. It is the folly of some that they will be offended without cause, to whom the world promises that they shall have causes enough. ‘ In the world ye shall have tribulation.’” THE SERVANT AT THE SERMON. “It is ordinary with many to commend the lecture to others’ ears, but few commend it; to their’ own hearts. It is morally true what the Christian telltruth relates: A servant coming from church praiseth the sermon to his master. He asks him what was the text. ‘..gay, quoth the servant, it was begun before I came in. What, then, was his conclusion? He answered, I came out before it was done But what said he in the midst? Indeed, I was asleep in the midst. Many crowd to get into the church, but make no room for the sermon to get into them.”
THE PICTURE OF A HORSE.
“One charged a painter to draw him equum volituntem, a t rotting or prancing horse; and he (mistaking the word) drew him equum volutantem, a wallowing or tumbling horse, with his heels upward. Being brought home, and the bespeaker blaming his error; I would have him prancing, and you have made him tumbling, If that be all, quoth the painter, it is but turning the picture wrong side uppermost, and you have your desire. thus in their quodlibetical discourses they can but turn the lineaments, and the matter is as they would have it. I speak not this to disgrace all their learning, but their fruitless, needless disputes and arguments, who find themselves a tongue where the Scripture allows them none.”
“As when the desperate pirate, ransacking and rifling a bottom, was told by the master, that though no law could touch him for the present, he should answer it at the day of judgment; replied, Nay, if I may stay so long ere I come to it, I will take thee and thy vessel too. A conceit wherewith too many land-thieves, oppressors, flatter themselves in their hearts, though they dare not utter it with their lips.” William Gurnall, the author of” the Christian in Complete Armor,” runs; surely have been a relater of pertinent stories in his sermons, since even in his set and solid writings they occur. Perhaps I need not have made the distinction between his writings and his preaching, for it appears from the preface that his ” Christian in Complete Armor” was preached’ before it was printed. In vivid imagery every page of his famous book abounds, and whenever this is the case we are sure to light upon short narratives and striking incidents. He’ is as profuse in illustration as either Brooks, Watson, or Swinnock. Happy Lavenham to have been served by such a pastor. By the way, this “Complete Armor” is beyond all others a preacher’s book: I should think that more discourses have been suggested by it than by any other uninspired volume. I have often resorted to it when my own fire has been burning low, and I have seldom failed to find a glowing coal upon Gurnall’s hearth. John Newton said that if he might read only one book beside the Bible, he would choose “the Christian in Complete Armor,” and Cecil was of much the same opinion. J. C. Ryle has said of it, “You will often find in a line and a half some great truth, put so concisely, and yet so fully.. that you really marvel how so much thought could be got into so few words.” One or two stories from the early part of his great work must, suture our purpose.
THE BIRD SAFE IN A MAN’S BOSOM.
“A heathen could say, when a, bird (feared by a hawk) flew into his bosom, I will not betray thee unto thine enemy, seeing thou comest for sanctuary unto me.’ How much less will God yield up a soul unto its enemy, when it takes sanctuary in his Name, saying, ‘ Lord, I am hunted with such a temptation, dogged with such a lust; either thou must pardon it, or I am damned; mortify it, or I shall be a slave to it; take me into the bosom of thy love, for Christ’s sake; castle me in the arms of thy everlasting strength; it is in thy power to save me from, or give me up into, the hands of my enemy; I have no confidence in myself or any other; into thy hands I commit my cause, my life, and rely on thee.’ this dependence of a soul undoubtedly will awaken the almighty power of God for such a one’s defense: he hath sworn the greatest oath that can come out of his blessed lips, even by himself, that such as ‘ flee for refuge’ to hope in him shall have ‘strong consolation’: Hebrews 6 17, 18.”
THE PRINCE WITH HIS FAMILY IN DANGER.
“Suppose a king’s son should get out of a besieged city, where he hath left his wife and children (whom he loves as his own soul), and these all ready to die by sword or famine, if supply come not the sooner; could this prince, when arrived at his father’s house, please himself with the delights of the court, and forget the distress of his family? or rather would he not come post to his father (having their cries and groans always in his ears), and, before he ate or drank, do his errand to his father, and entreat him, if ever he loved him, that he would send all the force of his kingdom to raise the siege, rather than any of his dear relations should perish? Surely, sirs, though Christ be in the top of his preferment, and out of the storm in regard of his own person, yet his children, left behind in the midst of sin’s, Satan’s, and the world’s batteries, are in his heart, and shall not be forgotten a moment by him. the care he takes in our business appeared in the speedy dispatch he made of his Spirit to his apostles’ supply, which, as soon almost as he was warm in his seat at his Fathers right hand, he sent, to the incomparable comfort of his apostles and us that to this day, yea, to the end of the world, do or shall believe on him/’ JOHN CARELESS.
“When God honors a person to suffer for his truth, this is a great privilege: ‘ Unto you it is given not only to believe, but to suffer for his sake.’ God doth not use to give worthless gifts to his saints, there is some preciousness in it which a carnal eye cannot see. Faith, you will say, is a great gift; but perseverance greater, without which faith would be little worth, and perseverance in suffering is above both honorable. this made John Careless, an English martyr (who though he died not at the stake, yet in prison for Christ), say, ‘ Such an honor tis as angels are not permitted to have, therefore God forgive me mine unthankfulness.’” MR. BENBRIDGE. “Oh, how many die at the gallows as martyrs in the devil’s cause for felonies, rapes, and murders! He might withdraw his grace, and leave thee to thy own cowardice and unbelief, and then thou wouldest soon show thyself in thy colors. ‘I, he stoutest champions for Christ have been taught how weak they are if Christ steps aside. Some that have given great testimony of their faith and resolution in Christ’s cause, even to come so near dying for his name as to give themselves to be bound to the stake, and fire to be kindled upon them, yet their hearts have failed; as that holy man, Mr. Benbridge, in our English martyrology, who thrust the faggots from him, and cried out, ‘I recant, I recant!: ’ Yet this man, when reinforced in his faith, and indued with power from above, was able, within the space of a week after that sad foil, to die at the stake cheerfully. He that once overcame death for us, ‘tis he that always overcame death in us.” John Flavel is a name which I shall have to quote in another lecture, for he is the greatest in metaphor and allegory; but in the matter of anecdote \’,is preaching is a fine example. It was said of his ministry that he who was unaffected by it must either have had a very soft, head or a very hard heart.
He had a fired of striking incidents, and a faculty of happy illustration, and as he was a man in whose manner cheerfulness was blended with solemnity, he was popular in the highest degree both at; home and abroad.
He sought, out words which might suit the sailors of Dartmouth and farmers of Devon, and therefore he has left, behind him his “Navigation Spiritualized” and his” Husbandry Spiritualized,” a legacy for each of the two orders of men who plough the sea and the land. He was a man worth making a pilgrimage to ;hear. What a crime it was to silence his heaven- touched lips by the abominable Act of Uniformity! Instead of quoting several passages from his sermons, each one containing an anecdote, I have thought it as well to give a mass of stories as we find them in his prelections upon — PROVIDENCE IN CONVERSION. “A scrap of paper accidentally coming to view hath been used as an occasion of conversion. this was the case of a minister of Wales, who had two livings, hut took little care of either. He being at a fair, bought something at a peddler’s standing, and rent off a leaf of Sir. Perkins’ catechism to wrap it; in; and reading a line or two of it, God sent it home so as it did the work.” “The marriage of a godly man into a carnal family hath been ordered by Providence for the conversion and salvation of many therein. thus we read, in the life of that renowned English worthy, Mr. John Bruen, that, in his second match, it was agreed that he should have one year’s diet in his mother-in-law’s house. During his abode there that year (saith Mr. Clark) the Lord was pleased by his means graciously to work upon her soul, as also upon his wife’s sister, and half-sister, their brothers, Mr. William and Mr. Thomas Fox, with one or two of the servants in that family.” “Not only the reading of a book, or hearing of a minister, but (which is most remarkable’) the very mistake or forgetfulness of a minister hath been improved by Providence for this end and purpose. Augustine, once preaching to his congregation, forgot the argument which he first proposed, and fell upon the errors of t he Manichees, beside his first intention; by which discourse he converted one Firmns, his auditor, who fell down at his feet weeping, and confessing he had lived a Manichee many years. Another I knew, who, going to preach, took up another Bible than that he had designed, in which not only missing his notes, but the chapter also in which his text lay, he was put to some loss thereby; but after a short pause he resolved to speak to any other Scripture that might be presented to him, and accordingly read the text, ‘ the Lord is not slack concerning his promise’ (2 Peter 3:2); and though he had nothing prepared, yet the Lord helped him to speak both methodically and pertinently from it; by which discourse a gracious change was wrought upon one in the congregation, who hath since given good evidence of a sound conversation, and acknowledged this sermon to be the first and only means thereof.” “Going t o hear s, sermon in jest hath proved some men’s conversion in earnest. Mr. Firmin, in his ‘Real Christian,’ tells us of a notorious drunkard, whom the drunkards called ‘Father, ’ that one day would needs go to hear what Wilson said, out of no other design, it seems, but to scoff at the holy man; but in the. prayer before sermon, his heart began to thaw, and when he read his text, which was, ‘Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee’ (John 5:14), he could not contain; and in that sermon the Lord changed his heart, though formerly so bitter an enemy that the minister on lecture-days was afraid to go to church, before his shop door.’ Lo, t hese are parts of his ways: but how small a portion, is known of him?.... George Swinnock, for some years chaplain to Hampden, had the gift of illustration largely developed, as his works prove. Some of his similes are far-fetched, and the growth of knowledge has rendered certain of them obsolete; but they served his purpose, and made his teaching attractive.
After deducting all his fancies which in the present age would be judged to be strained, there remains “a rare amount of sanctified wit and wisdom”; and sparkling here and there we spy out a few telling stories, mostly of classic origin.
THE. PRAYER OF PAULINUS
“It was the speech of Paulinus, when his city was taken by the barbarians, Domine, ne excrucier ob aurum et argentum: ‘ Lord, let me not be troubled for my silver and gold which I have lost, for thou art all things.’
As Noah, when. the whole world was overwhelmed with water, had a fair epitome of it in the ark, having all sorts of beasts and fowls there; so he that in a deluge hath God to be his God, hath the original of all mercies. He who enjoyeth the ocean may rejoice, though some drops are taken from him.”
QUEEN ELIZABETH AND THE MILKMAID.
“Queen Elizabeth envied the milkmaid when she was in prison; but had site known the glorious reign which she was to have for forty-four years, she would not have repined at the poor happiness of so mean a person.
Christians are too prone to envy the husks which wandering sinners fill themselves with here below; but would they set before them their glorious hopes of a heaven, how they must reign with Christ for ever and ever, they would see little reason for their repining.”
THE BELIEVING CHILD.
“I have read a story of a little child about eight or nine years old, that being extremely pinched with hunger, looked one day pitifully necessitous on her mother, and said., ‘ Mother, do you think that God will starve us? ‘ the mother answered, ‘No, child, he will not’ the child replied, ‘But if he do, yet we. must love him and serve him.’ Here was language that spake a well-grown Christian. For indeed God brings us to want and misery, to try us whether we love him for his own sake, or for our own sakes; for those excellencies that are in him, or for those mercies we have from hint; to see whether we will say with the cynic to Antisthenes, Nullus tam durus erit baculus, etc.’ there should be’ no cudgel so, crabbed as to heat me from thee.’” FASHIONABLE RELIGION “I have read of a popish lady in Paris, that when she saw a glorious procession to one of their saints, cried out, Oh, how fine is our religion beyond that of the Huguenots! — they have a mean and beggarly religion, but ours is full of bravery and solemnity. But as heralds say of a coat of arms, if it be full of gays and devices, it speaks a mean descent; so truly that manner of worship which is mingled with men’s inventions speaks its descent to be mean — namely, from man.”
THE BUSY DUKE
“The French Duke d’Alva could say, when he was asked by Henry the Fourth whether he had seen the eclipse of the sun, that he had so much business to do upon earth, that he has no time to look up to heaven. Sure I am, the Christian may say with more truth and conscience, that he hath so much business to do for heaven, that he hath no time to mind vain or earthly things.
THOMAS WATSON was one of the many Puritan preachers who won the popular ear by their frequent illustrations. In the clear flowing stream of his teaching we find pearls of anecdote very frequently. No one ever grew weary under such pleasant yet weighty discourse as that which we find in his “Beatitudes.” Let two quotations serve to show his skill.
THE VESTAL AND THE BRACELETS
“Most men think:, because God hath blessed them with an estate, therefore they are blessed. Alas! God often gives these things in anger: He loads his enemies with gold and silver; as Plutarch reports of Tarpeia, a Vestal nun, who bargained with the enemy to betray the Capital of Rome to them, in case she might have the golden bracelets on their left hands, which they promised; and being entered into the Capitol, they threw not only their bracelets, but their bucklers, too, upon her, through the weight whereof she was pressed to death. God often lets men have the golden bracelets of worldly substance, the weight whereof sinks them into hell. Oh, let us superna anhelare, get our eyes ‘fixed’ and our hearts ‘ united’ to God the, supreme good; this is to pursue blessedness as in a Chase.”
HEDGEHOG AND CONIES
“The Fabulist tells a story of the hedgehog that came to the coney-burrows in stormy weather, and desired harbor, promising that he would be a quiet guest; but when once he had gotten entertainment, he did set up his prickles, and did never leave till he had thurst the poor conies out of their burrows: so covetousness, though it hath many fair pleas to insinuate, and wind itself into the heart, yet as soon as you have let it in, this thorn will never cease pricking till it hath choked all good beginnings, and thrust all religion out of your hearts.”
I think this must suffice to represent the men of the Paritanic period, who added to their profound theology and varied learning a zeal to be understood, and a skill in setting forth truth by the help of everyday occurrences. the age which followed them was barren of spiritual life, and was afflicted by a race of rhetorical divines, whose words had little connection with the Word of life. the scanty thought of the Queen Anne dignitaries needed no aid of metaphor or parable; there was nothing to explain to the people: the utmost endeavor of these divines was to hide the nakedness of their discourses with the fig-leaves of Latinized verbiage.
Living preaching was gone, spiritual life was gone, and consequently a pulpit was set up which had no voice for the common people; no voice, indeed, for anybody except the mere formalist, who is content if decorum be observed and respectability maintained. Of course, our notion of making truth clear by stories did not suit the dignified death of the period, and it was only when the dry bones began to be stirred that the popular method was again brought to the front.
The illustrious George Whitefield stands, with Wesley, at the head of that noble army who led the Revival of the last century. It is not at this present any part of my plan to speak of his matchless eloquence, unquenchable earnestness, and incessant labor; but it is quite according to the run of my lecture to remind you of his own saying, — “ I use market language.” He employed pure, good, flowing English; but he was as simple as if he spoke to children. Although by no means abounding in illustration, yet he always employed it when needed, and he narrated incidents with great power of action and emphasis. His stories were so told that they thrilled the people: they saw as well as heard, for each word had its proper gesture. One reason why he could be understood at so great a distance was the fact that the eye helped the ear. As specimens of his anecdotes I have selected these which follow : — THE TWO CHAPLAINS.
“You cannot do without the grace of God when you come to die. there was a nobleman that kept a deistical chaplain, and his lady a Christian one; when he was dying, he says to his chaplain — ‘ I liked you very well when I was in health; but it is my lady’s chaplain I must have when I am sick.’” NEVER SATISFIED. “My dear hearers, there is not a single soul of you all that are satisfied in your stations: is not the language of your hearts when apprentices, — We think we shall do very well when journeymen; when journeymen, that we should do very well when masters; when single, that we shall do well when married; and to be sure you think you shall do well when you keep a carriage. I have heard ,of one who began low: he first wanted a house; than, says he, ‘ 1 want two, then four, then six’; and when he. had them, he said, ‘ I think I want nothing else.’ ‘ Yes,’ says his friend, ‘ you will soon want another thing, that is, a hearse-and-six to carry you to your grave’; and that made him tremble.”
DR. MANTON’S HEART.
“A good woman, who was charmed with Dr. Manton, said, ‘ Oh, sir, you have made an excellent sermon to-day; I wish I had your heart.’ ‘ Do you so? ‘ said he, ‘ good woman; you had better not wish for it; for if you had it, you would wish for your own again.’ the best of men see themselves in the worst light.”
Fearing that the quotation of any more examples might prove tedious, I would only remind you that such men as Berridge, Rowland Hill, Matthew Wilks, Christmas Evans, William Jay, and others who have but lately departed from us, owed much of their attractiveness to the way in which they aroused their audiences, and flashed truth into their faces by wellchosen anecdotes time calls upon me to have done, and how can I come to a better close than by mentioning one living man, who, above all others, has in two continents stirred the masses of the people: I refer to D.L. Moody. this admirable brother has a great aversion to the printing of his sermons; and well he may have, for he is incessantly preaching, and has no time allowed him for the preparation of fresh discourses; and therefore it would be great unwisdom on his part to print at once these addresses with which he is working through a campaign. We hope, however, that when he has done with a sermon he will never suffer it to die out, but give it to the church and to the world through the press. Our esteemed brother has a lively, telling style, and he thinks it wise frequently to fasten a nail with the hammer of anecdote. Here are four or five extracts from the little book entitled, “Arrows and Anecdotes,” by D. L. Moody. By John Lobb : — THE IDIOT’S MOTHER. “I know a mother who has an idiot child. For it she gave up all society almost everything, and devoted her whole life to it. ‘And now,’ said she, ‘for fourteen years I have tended it and loved it, and it does not even know me. Oh! it is breaking my heart!’ Oh! how the Lord must say this of hundreds here. Jesus comes here, and goes from seat to seat, asking if there is a place for him. Oh! will not some of you take him into your hearts?”
SURGEON AND ‘PATIENT
“When I was in Belfast I knew a doctor who had a friend a leading surgeon there, and he told me that the surgeon’s custom was, before performing any operation, to say to the patient; ‘ take a good look at the wound, and then fix your eyes on me, and don’t take them off till I get through the operation.’ 1 thought at the time that was a good illustration. Sinner, take a good look at the wound to-night, and then fix your eyes on Christ, and don’t take them off. It is better to look at the remedy than at the wound.”
THE ORPHAN’S PRAYER.
“A little child, whose father and mother had died, was taken into another family. the first night she asked if she could pray, as she used to do. they said, ‘ Oh, yes.’ So she knelt down, and prayed as her mother had taught her: and, when that was ended, she added a little prayer of her own: ‘ Oh, God, make these people as kind to me as father and mother were.’ then she paused, and looked up, as if expecting the answer, and added: ‘ Of course he will.’ How sweetly simple was that little one’s faith; she expected God to ‘do,’ and, of course, she got her request.”
THE ROLL CALL
“A soldier lay on his dying couch during our last war, and they heard him say, ‘ Here!’ they asked him what he wanted, and he put up his hand and said: ‘ Hush! they are calling the roll of heaven, and I am answering to my name’; and presently he whispered: ‘ Here! ‘ and he was gone.”
NO HOME BEYOND THE GRAVE.
“I have been told of a wealthy man who died recently. Death came unexpectedly to him, as it almost always does; and he sent out for his lawyer to draw his ‘will. And lie went on willing away his property; and when he came to his wife and child, he said he wanted them to have the home. But the little child didn’t understand what death was. She was standing near, and she said, ‘ Papa, have you got a home in that land you are going to?’ the arrow reached that heart; but it was too late. He saw his mistake. He had got no, home beyond the grave.”
I will weary you no longer. You may safely do what the most useful of men have done before you. Copy them, not only in their use of illustration, but in their wisely keeping it in subservience to their design. they were not story-tellers, but preachers of the gospel; they did not aim at the entertainment of the people, but at their conversion. Never did they go out of their way to drag in a telling bit which they had been saving up for display, and never could anyone say of their illustrations that they were “Windows that exclude the light, And passages that lead to nothing. ” Keep you the due proportion of things, lest I do worse than lose my labor, by becoming the cause of your presenting to the people strings of anecdotes instead of sound doctrines; for that would be as evil a thing as if you offered to hungry men flowers instead of bread, and gave to the naked gauze of gossamer instead of woolen doth.
Erect a beacon on your sickness, and let the soft, sweet light of patience and resignation shine therefrom. Kindle a light upon the supposed disadvantage of your obscurity, and let your humble self-abnegation and content appear to Jesus’s praise.
Your very poverty, or ignorance, or former wickedness, may be made the means of leading others to Him who receiveth sinners and eateth with them. May the good Spirit help us in this matter. God’s grace builds lighthouses on sunken rocks, and paints rainbows on the blackest clouds.
Our great Captain can so train his soldiers that even their left-handedness shall redound to the glory of His right hand and holy name. Let every reader say, “Amen.”
I find that in all probability many of these left-handed Benjamites were able to use both hands equally well; but as there is neither time nor space just; now to speak of this, I will reserve for the next paper some few remarks on “Both-handed Men.”
NO PAY NO PLAY At Brighton such a company of outsiders follow the foxhounds that it is found needful to give no further public announcements of the meets, and instead thereof to send private intimations to subscribers only.. the world deals out a sort of rough justice, and endeavors to shut out those who share the play but not the pay. We have plenty of these gentlemen in the religious world, and it is our impression that the great, Lord of all things carries out much the same regulation. those who neither contribute of substance, time, or labor to the cause of God are never happy Christians: they never share in the secret jots of the truly consecrated, they have no idea of the peculiar delights of hearts devoted to the Redeemer’s service.
May not this account for much of the doubting and fearing which is abroad, and for the despondency of many professors? As they do not work, neither shall they eat. they give little and receive little. — C. H.S. LIVE ABODE FEELINGS PAYING a pastoral visit to a brother who was gradually melting away, we said to him, “Dear friend, it may be that when this disease has greatly weakened you, your spirits will fall, and you will think that your faith is giving way. Do not be cast down by your feelings.” His answer was most satisfactory, for he replied, “No, sir, I am in no danger of that, for when I have had the most joyful feelings, I never rested in them. You have taught me that a soul can only lean on eternal verities, and these I know come from the mouth of God, and never from the changing feelings of the flesh.”
Yes, that is it. Do not rise upon feelings, and you will not sink under them.
Keep to believing: rest all your weight on the promises of God, and when heart and flesh fail, God will be the strength of your life, and your portion for ever. —C.H.S.
NOTES On Monday evening April 2, additional interest was given to the missionary prayer-meeting by the presence of some friends connected with the China Inland Mission. Mr. J. Hudson Taylor, who had just returned to England after several years’ absence in China, asked the prayers of the church for Mr.. George Nicoll, a missionary who is returning to his work in the Celestial Empire; and Mr. B. Broomhall requested a like favor for Mr. Wood, who had been accepted as one of the agents of the Mission. Both the brethren, spoke, and earnest petition:.:; were presented, not only for China’s millions, but also for the success of all missionaries, both in the foreign field and at home. Should not individual believers be stirred to weekly prayer and giving? We are wearied with statistics as to what can be done with a penny a week. Oh, that all our members would give it a year’s trial!
On Tuesday evening, April 8, t he annual meeting of the Metropolitan tabernacle Sunday-school was held in the Lecture Hall, Pastor C.H. Spurgeon in the chair. A printed report was issued, showing that out of 1,405 scholars on the books 314 are over fifteen years of age, and 157 are in the infant classes; 108 are church members, 21 having joined during the past year. the average attendance is, teachers : — Morning, 60; afternoon, 92; Scholars : — Morning, 416; afternoon, 1,044. there are eight Bibleclasses, with attendances varying front 30 to 60, also children’s services, prayer-meetings for teachers and scholars, a magazine department, Band of Hope, Dorcas Society, Young Christians’ Association, and Mutual Improvement Society. the sum of £150 18s. 6½d. was raised during the year for missionary purposes, in addition to £50 from Mr. Wigney’s Bibleclass: 815 scholars and teachers have joined the Bible Reading Union. and out of 85 scholars who entered for the annual scholars’ examination obtained certificates, and eight prizes. Mr. Spurgeon, in the course of his remarks, said: there is much need at the present time for every form of Christian work. Sunday-school teaching was a work calculated to do much good. teachers should not leave their scholars in ignorance, but seek to obtain their religious affection, so that the softened heart might retain the words that fell from the teachers’ lips. the teachers’ work does not lessen the parents’ responsibility. Earnestness and prayerfulness are wanted, and if these means are used, and the child is brought up in the way he should go, conversion is almost sure to be the result.. May all scholars in the school be led to the Savior’s feet. Addresses were given by Messrs. t. H. Olney,W. Mountain, T. Heyland, S. Wigney, and C. Waters; and £20 was collected towards replenishing the Scholars’ library.
— Mr. I. Bridge, formerly of Waterbeach, has gone to Kirtonin- Lindsey, Lineolnshire, a church which needs to find a friend who would contribute £20 or £30 a year to keep it going. Mr. Bridge is so devoted to his Lord’s work that he has gone, though we cannot see how he is to be adequately supported. Mr. W. Julyan has removed, from Cheltenham to Bournemouth; and Mr. J. Wilkins, who recently returned from America, has settled at Swaffham, Norfolk.
Any friends who can assist Mr. Stone in his work at Nottingham may rest assured that their help is greatly needed and richly deserved. Our friend has had to struggle against many difficulties, and has bravely held on his way.
Just now he has to bear the extra burden of raising nearly £1,000 for painting, cleaning, repairs, etc., and with a heavy debt: on the place this will be a severe task unless the Lord’s stewards liberally aid him. We have done and shall still do all we can for him. but so many look to us that our resources are taxed to their utmost. It would be a great joy to us to see the Nottingham tabernacle wholly freed from debt, so that: the church might direct all its energies to the development of the mission-stations which Mr. Stone has started in the surrounding districts. No church within the range of our knowledge more truly deserves aid than this work at Nottingham.
CONFERENCE. — the Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Pastors’ College Association was held, as announced, in the week commencing Monday, April 16th, and writing these “Notes” immediately after the close of the meetings we can truly say that, notwithstanding the great disappointment and. sorrow caused by the President’s absence from all the meetings, after the Monday night, the; Conference of 1883 will compare most favorably with all that preceded it. On former occasions the President has been once or twice taken ill before the end of the week, but newer until this year has he been prevented from delivering his inaugural address, or presenting the annual report at the subscribers’ supper.. His disappointment at being laid aside just When it seemed that he was most needed was keen indeed, but as the tidings arrived day after day that the meetings were quite up to the usual standard, that the interest was unflagging, the liberality of the subscribers as great am ever, and the presence and blessing of the Lord most manifest in every part of the proceedings, what could he do but praise and magnify the grace of God which was thus signally vouchsafed? The assembly of 1883 will be remembered in days to come as the dark-bright Conference — dark, because of the sickness and sorrow that came like a black cloud to hide the sun; and bright, because of the mercies and favors that our gracious Master poured out in such generous abundance. Again has he proved in our experience that he doeth all things well.
This year, instead of the opening prayer-meeting on the Monday afternoon being held at the College, it was transferred to the same place as the tea and public meet-tug, for which an invitation had been received from Pastor W. Hobbs and the church at Gipsy-road, Lower Norwood. As the result of this alteration, the attendance was much larger than has been usual at the afternoon meetings in former years. Our venerable friend, Professor Rogers, presided; and many fervent petitions for a blessing upon the week’s proceedings were presented at the throne of grace. At the tea in the school-room the brethren had the joy of welcoming not only their President, but also Mrs. Spurgeon, who was as happy to see them as they were to look upon her. After the meal, hearty words of welcome-and thanks were uttered, and then we adjourned to the chapel for the public meeting. This was a smaller assembly than we have had on previous occasions, but there was a clear gospel ring about every speech, and the whole gathering was a fitting commencement of the week’s program.
Addresses were delivered by the President, and Pastors W. Whale (Middlesbro’), W. E. Rice (Earl’s Colne), and W. Hackney (Oxford). All who were present were grieved to see the President suffering great pain in one of his hands, but rejoiced that he was able to speak with all his wonted fervor and force. At the tabernacle the Vice-President occupied the chair at the regular prayer-meeting, which was largely attended by ministers from the country. Several of the brethren offered prayer, and Pastor t.W. Medhurst (Lake-road, Landport), delivered an able address. On Tuesday morning, April 17, t he ministers and students met in the College Lecture-hall in larger numbers than on any previous occasion.
After the opening hymn the Vice-President, who occupied the chair in his brother’s absence, read the following letter : — “Dear Brethren, — After a night of extreme pain, I find myself unable to leave my bed to-day — at least, I fear so. I am bitterly disappointed; but as I have had no hand in it, 1 must yield myself to our Great Father’s will.
May the presence and power of the Holy Spirit be with you all day long. If I find at any time that I am recovering:, I shall set out for your Conference at once, and may appear at any time. Meanwhile, I shall be glad if the Vice- President will kindly go on with any part of the program which may be ready. When such a sad Providence intervenes we must make the best of it.
I am somewhat in hopes that the attack is so sharp that it cannot last long.
It is furiously upon me at this moment. — Your suffering President, “C. H.SPURGEON.” the sincerest sympathy of the whole assembly was evoked by this sad communication, and the most fervent prayers were offered for the speedy recovery of the Lord’s suffering servant. It did not please our heavenly Father to grant all the petitions that were presented, and yet we are sure that they were heard in heaven, and that as far as it was good for us they were answered. At; the close of the season of supplication the Vice-President carried out his brother’s request, as far as possible, by delivering at once his address founded upon the words of our Lord to John the Baptist, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” It was a timely message, and though uttered before the speaker had the opportunity of preparing as carefully as he had intended, those who heard it felt that it could scarcely have been improved by any amount of additional study and thought. Before dispersing for a brief recess it was resolved that the following telegram should be sent to our beloved President : — “ We suffer with you. We arm greatly disappointed, but trust it will only be for a while.
Our prayers are, multiplied for you,” On reassembling, Professor Gracey read his ‘wise and weighty paper on “Faith,” after which the business of the Conference was transacted. the principal items of general interest were as follows : — the deaths of one minister and one student were reported, the names of twenty-six students who have been. more than six months in the College were added to the, roll, and three names were for various reasons removed. Mr. Allison’s report of the Assurance Community showed that the total payments had amounted to £71 2s., and that the balance in hand was £6 15s. 6d. Our friend was heartily thanked for his management of the fund, and consented to continue his kind services during the ensuing year. Brethren who have not pall their subscription,; should at; once send 5s. to Mr. Allison at the Tabernacle, that they may be entitled to the benefits of the fund should death enter their homes during the year. It was agreed that MONDAY,JUNE 18th should be set apart for special united prayer by all the churches connected with the Conference. the. letter from the Australian brethren, which is printed in the report, was read, and also the following communication from the Canadian branch of our Association, which arrived just too late to be published in the proper place : — “Toronto, March 29, 1883. “to the Brethren of the Pastors’ College in Conference Assembled. “From the Brethren in Canada. “Dear Brethren, — It again becomes our pleasing duty to send our annual greetings, and wish you all grace and wisdom in your Conference, and that you may return to your various fields of labor encouraged, strengthened, and abundantly blessed. “To ,every one of us it would be a privilege of exceeding value to be permitted to meet with you, with our beloved tutors, and above all with our greatly honored President, who dwells in our hearts, and for whom we cease not to give thanks, that we have known him in the flesh, and have sat as his feet.
Changes, in nearly every case for the better, have marked the year now closing. Brother Joseph Forth has removed from London to Dresden; Brother C. A. Cook from Kingston to Parliament Street, Toronto; Brother Robert Holmes from Aylmer to College Street, Toronto; Brother Jesse Gibson from Plattsville to Portage La Prairie, Manitoba; Brother W.W. Willis from Coilingwood to Colebrook, Ohio, U.S., and the writer from the College Street Church in this city to the management of the Standard Publishing Company, created by the munificence of Senator McMaster as the publishing society of the Denomination in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. Brother H. F. Adams, having changed his views on the Communion question, has resigned the pastorate of the open-communion church, Quebec, and has accepted an invitation as supply, with a view to the pastorate of the Regular Baptist Church, Mount Vernon, Ohio, U.S.
Brethren James Grant, Robert Lennie, and Henry Cox remain in the same fields of labor at Paris, Dundas, and Leamington. “It will be, a joy to you to know that our brethren have all kept resolutely in the ‘ old paths;’ and that they are known everywhere as lovers of the gospel and preachers thereof, with manifest tokens of the Master’s approval. “We hear frequently that the ranks of the ministry are over-full in England, and that sometimes good men find it difficult to secure suitable fields of labor. If such be the case, we would say that there is plenty of room and a right royal welcome here for brethren of good education, respectable pulpit gifts, and sincere piety, whose names have never been sullied by folly or sin; and whose convictions in reference to open-communion are not such that they must ever make it a bone of contention and a cause of offense.
But if there are brethren who are so strong on this question, that they must run against the close-communion wall on every occasion, much to the injury — not of the wall, but of their own heads, we would say — well, we would say to such: — ‘ try some place on the other side of the world, Australia for instance.’ For, rightly or wrongly, the communion question is so settled on, this continent, that even a Robert Hall could not turn the shadow back on the dial of Ahaz. “Rejoicing that time and distance, cannot weaken, much less break, the bonds which unite us together, we remain, in behalf of the Canadian Branch of the Pastors’ College Association, “Yours in the service of the Gospel, “S, A.DYKE, President for 1883. “JAMES GRANT, Secretary.”
Dinner was served at the tabernacle, and the mention of that fact leads us to record our deep indebtedness to our devoted deacon, Mr. Murrell, for all his care, of the brethren during the week. It is no easy matter to provide dinner and tea for three or four hundred ministers on four successive days, in addition to arranging for the subscribers’ supper one evening, and the ministers and students’ feast the next night, but with the help of his many coworkers, Mr. Murrell does the whole business in first-rate style, and he richly deserves the hearty thanks that were presented to him during the meetings.
Tuesday evening is usually spent at the Orphanage, in order to still further strengthen the bonds of friendship that exist between that institution and the College. After tea the sweet singers and clever hand-bell ringers provided a most enjoyable entertainment, in the course of which appropriate addresses were delivered by the Vice-President, and PastorA. G. Brown (East London tabernacle), and the day’s proceedings were pleasantly closed by an exhibition of Pastor Charles Spurgeon’s beautiful dissolving views of his American tour, for which he was heartily thanked in the name of all the brethren.
On Wednesday morning, April 18th, the ‘news of our President continued sickness filled us with grief, and tidings also reached us that the wife of our much-loved brother Gango, of Bristol, had been called home. Heartfelt supplications ascended both for the afflicted and the bereaved; and after the reading and exposition of Psalm 132. by our venerable tutor, Professor Rogers, all who were present were delighted to listen to our honored friend, Dr. Stanford, as he in his own unique style explained and applied the words of our Lord to the first preachers of the gospel — “ I give you a mouth and wisdom.” Pastor W. J. Styles (Keppel-street) next followed with a valuable paper upon “Conversion, and its Counterfeit?’ and the remainder of the morning Was occupied with interesting accounts of foreign work given by Pastor W. Norris (of Calcutta), and Mr. J. J. turner, who was until recently connected with the China Inland Mission. In the evening the subscribers and friends of the College met for tea, and afterwards assembled for the annual meeting, under the presidency of John Houghton, Esq., of Liverpool. All were grieved that the President was unable to be present, and he was equally sorry to miss the opportunity of personally thanking his many generous helpers for their continued liberality to this branch of the Lord’s work under his care. In his absence the report of the year’s work was presented by the Vice-President, and addresses were delivered by the Chairman, Pastors R. J. Middleton (Great torrington), C.T. Johnson (Longton), F. E. Blackaby (Stow-on-the. Wold), and $. Glover (Coorobe Martin), and our missionary brethren, W. Norris, J. J. turner, and A. Billington, who in turn pleaded for India, China, and Africa. the company then adjourned to the tabernacle Lecture-ball, to partake of the supper given by Mr. Spurgeon and two or three friends, and prepared by Mr. Murrell and his assistants. When the list of donations and promises was completed, it was found that the contributions amounted to £2,073 18s. the gifts of friends unable to be present brought up the total to £2,100 — truly a noble sum, for which we heartily thank every donor, while we bless the name of the Lord who moved them thus to cheer and help us. On Thursday morning, April 19, after a time of earnest wrestling with God in prayer, Professor Rogers briefly but forcibly addressed the assembly, Pastor J. Hillman (Hampden Chapel, Hackney) read a useful paper on ‘Persistency in our Work,” and Pastor W. Anderson (Reading)read his searching, scriptural, spiritual essay on “the Christian minister’s dependence upon the Holy Spirit.” At the dinner-table it was resolved that the grateful thanks of the brethren should be forwarded to Mrs. Spurgeon for her kind gift of the President’s new book, “Illustrations and Meditations,” with the assurance of the heartfelt sympathy of every member of the Conference, and their united prayers for the speedy restoration to health of their honored President; and his beloved wife. (Any of our brethren who were unable to be present can obtain the book by writing to Mrs. Spurgeon, and enclosing four stamps for postage).
The annual public meeting, in the tabernacle, in the evening, was one of the largest and best ever held. the Vice-President presided, and again gave a resume; of the work of the year; addresses were delivered by Professor Fergusson, and Pastors G. Samuel (Birmingham), t. J. Longhurst (Cheltenham), W. J. Mayers (Bristol), and t. G. tarn (Cambridge); brethren Mayers and Parker led us in sacred song; and Pastor C. Spurgeon, in the name of his father and of the whole Conference, thanked the Vice- President for his invaluable services in the specially trying circumstances of the week. the ministers and students were then entertained at supper in the usual bountiful manner, and on their behalf the deacons of the tabernacle church were assured of the deep gratitude of every brother for all their services to the College. After Messrs. Murrell and Carr had suitably responded, sentiments of hearty congratulation and loving welcome to Mrs. James Spurgeon were expressed by two of the pastors, and acknowledged by the Vice-President. On -Friday morning, April 20, after a season of earnest prayer, the following letters from the President and Mrs. Spurgeon were read : — ‘DEAR BRETHREN — I send my hearty love to one and all of you. I am very grateful to all who have done so much to make the Conference a success. I feel as if I had double reason for praising and blessing God. If I had one reason for complaining that I was not allowed to come, I seem to have two reasons for rejoicing that although I did not come the blessing came all the same, and it does not matter what becomes of me so long as you get blessed. I hope I shall meet the whole of you in a hundred years’ time. “‘You ’ll not be in glory And leave me behind. ’ God bless you all for ever.
So prays, Your President and Friend, ‘C. H..SPURGEON.”
DEAR BRETHREN— I rejoice in the sweet message you have, sent to me, and thank you for receiving my little present so lovingly. May the book be s, choice companion to you throughout the year, and a true helpmeet in your work. “I think you will delight to walk in this Puritan garden, for it is a place of fragrance and beauty’, and “Supposing Him to be the Gardener,’ it is likely you may there often meet with your Lord. “Of the great loss you have sustained, in our President’s absence from Conference, I can scarcely speak. It has been a bitter grief to me — to you it must have been an overwhelming disappointment, yet the Lord has in his own gracious and wonderful way given you some compensation in the exceeding blessing he has poured out on your meetings, and, may it not be that the fervent prayers evoked by this sorrow may be answered by some totally unexpected acts of grace? From the sick-bed of a suffering President there come many voices of entreaty to his noble band of preachers, but I think the loudest and most importunate is that of Paul to timothy, ‘Preach the word, be instant in season, and out of season be not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner.’ ‘Pardon me that I cannot more worthily reply’ to your graceful message, but believe that in all loving sympathy and sincere respect, I am ever “Your devoted friend, “S.SPURGEON., The Vice-President was again graciously helped to take his brother’s place by preaching from Malachi 3:3. then followed the communion, and our closing hymn, commencing— “Pray that Jerusalem may have, Peace am! felicity;” sung to the tune “Martyrdom” by the whole band of brothers standing with hands linked in token of our union with our one Lord and with one another.
At the farewell dinner our faithful Remembrancer, Pastor F. H. White, reported that 187 pastors had collected or contributed £608 towards the College funds shine the last Conference — an increase of more than £100 over the previous year. the Vice-President touchingly alluded to the great loss the College had sustained by the deaths of Deacons Higgs and Mills, and cordially thanked all who had helped to ensure the success of the Conference. Messrs. Charles-worth, Murrell, Gracey, Fergusson, and Marchant briefly spoke, and the Conference was appropriately closed with the doxology and benediction.
— Messrs. Smith and Fullerton have conducted a most successful three weeks’ mission at Hull during the past month. A local paper in reporting the opening services thus describes the evangelists:— ”That Messrs. Fullerton and Smith are men who, to use a vulgar phrase, are ‘cut out’ for their work cannot be doubted. they are of the type of preachers whom ‘the common people’ must always hear gladly, men of intense earnestness and power, not remarkable, perhaps, for profound learning, but possessing wide Biblical knowledge, a fine appreciation of many phases of human character, and a wealth of natural eloquence which their somewhat. rugged provincial dialect does not diminish Had they not been so prominently introduced as coming from the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, in whose Pastors’ College they have received much of their training, they might easily have been pronounced as of Mr. Spurgeon’s ‘school,’ both from their style of preaching and the doctrine they teach.”
Later reports convey the cheering news that much blessing has rested upon the work. During the first fortnight in this month our brethren are to be at Chesterfield, in response to an invitation from all the Nonconformist churches, and on the 20th they are to visit Maidenhead.
Up to the present time we have received for sermons to be distributed at the evangelists’ services £26 15s. 6d., and expended £25.
Mr. Higgins, who was the pioneer of the Society of Evangelists, sends us a good report of Mr. Burnham’s services at Melbourne, Cambs., and Mr. Middleton forwards equally welcome tidings of our brother’s visit to Great Torrington, Devon. So many persons have derived spiritual benefit from the meetings that Mr. Burnham has promised to go again in July for a fortnight of tent services. From Torrington he went next to Lyme Regis, and thence home for the Conference. this month he is to be at Poole.
Mr. Frank Russell has conducted special services at Godstone and West Drayton, with cheering results.
ORPHANAGE.—Special Preliminary Notice. —Will all our friends kindly note that the Annual Fete will (D.V.) be held on Tuesday, June 19th, t he President’s birthday? those of our helpers from the country who will be in town for the Handel Festival may be glad to know where they can spend one of the off-days between the musical performances at the Crystal Palace. We hope a large number of our friends will, as usual, attend the Stockwell Orphanage Festival. We expect on this occasion to be ready for the laying of the memorial-stone of the next block of buildings, which will comprise the head- master’s house and the necessary premises for the accommodation of the working and teaching staff. In addition to our usual anniversary program we are arranging for an interesting and instructive exhibition of engravings of scenes connected with the history of the Protestant Reformation in our own land and on the Continent What, some of our young friends are doing. —Some time ago two little ladies at Penzance sent us the proceeds of a sale of work in their garden.
During the past month they have had another meeting, which was held in the schoolroom of the chapel: some friends helped them by giving a tea, so that altogether they were able to forward a cheque for £6 5s. for the Orphanage. Last year two young gentlemen at Stowmarket presented us with a guinea, which they had realized by giving an entertainment on behalf of the orphans. they have recently called their friends together again, and, as the result, have sent us thirty shillings, with a neat little note, in which they say, “We hope to be able to do even more another year, as we like working for so good a cause.” We are, very grateful to all the kind Cornish and Suffolk folk who helped our young friends, and we shall be glad to hear of similar efforts in other parts of the country. It is a capital idea for children to be taught to sympathize with the poor and needy, and to assist them as far as they are able. this is the, way to train up a generation of philanthropists to take the place of those who are being called away from us one by one.. COLPORTAGE.
— Special attention is called to the annual meeting of the Colportage Association, which is fixed for Monday, May 7th, in t he Metropolitan tabernacle. the President will take the chair, if he is well enough to be out, and S. D. Waddy, Esq., Q.C., M.P., and the Rev. J. Reid Howatt, of Camberwell Presbyterian Church, have promised to address the meeting. Full reports of the work will be given, and several of the colporteurs will tell interesting incidents of their experience in book-selling, visiting, preaching, etc.
— During the past month we have received a large number of letters concerning friends who have fallen asleep, to whom our sermons and other works have been made useful. It would not be possible to publish all of them, but we must find room for the following note:— “My dear sir,—Allow me to forward you what I believe will be a word of encourage-merit. “A dear niece of mine, who was consumptive, sweetly fell asleep in Jesus on Monday evening last, at the early age of twenty-five. Previous to her illness she was not a Christian. Since, her heart has been changed, and she has died a most triumphant death. “During her illness your book, ‘Morning by Morning,’ has been a blessed comfort to her; it has been spiritual food to her soul She devoured it eagerly, and was delighted when some relative or friend read some appropriate portion to her. the text and comment for March 3rd, , I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction,’ were singularly appropriate and precious to her. She has manifested her appreciation of the book by presenting her father and mother and her husband’s father with a copy each. I pray that it may prove as great a blessing to them as it has to her. “I may say that the fear of death was taken entirely from her, and she calmly waited its approach. Until the day of her death she would have the inimitable hymns, ‘ Jesus, lover of my soul,’ ‘ Rock of Ages,’ ‘Nearer, my God, to thee,’ ‘I heard the voice of Jesus say,’ etc., sung by her sisters, and even when her voice could not be heard louder than the faintest whisper, she would join with them, or reiterate, ‘Sing them again, sing them again.’
On the day of her death it seemed as if heaven’s glory had burst through the veil, her face lit up with the most heavenly smile, and with sparkling eyes, she said, Look. Jesus. Jesus. At five o’clock in the afternoon she said, ‘ I am almost there, I shall soon be with Jesus.’ At ten minutes past five she asked what time it was. When her sister told her, she said, ‘ 1 shall be in heave, by half-past six. ’ Her father, mother, aunt, and three sisters were in the room when she said this. Several times after she asked the time: once she said, ‘Why does not the time go quicker? ’ She had not much longer to wait, at ten minutes past six, or just one hour after she made the statement, in the presence of her friends, she calmly and sweetly fell asleep in Jesus. “I must apologize for forwarding this letter to you, but the victory has been so complete and marvelous, and achieved by one very unlikely to achieve such a glorious victory, and your precious book has been the chief instrument used by the Holy Spirit to accomplish it, that I thought it would not be out of place to acquaint you with the facts. With sincere prayers that you may be long spared to be a great blessing to others, “I remain, my dear Sir, “Yours very truly,