CONCERNING THE LORD’S WORK IN CONNECTION WITH THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE, NEWINGTON, LONDON. 1882-.83.
COLLEGE BUSINESS OFFICERS.
PRESIDENT. C. H. SPURGEON, “WESTWOOD,” BEULAH HILL, UPPER NORWOOD, S.E.
VICE-PRESIDENT J. A. SPURGEON’, WHITE HORSE ROAD,CROYDON.TRUSTEES IN WHOM THE PROPERTY IS VESTED.
Mr.WILLIAM OLNEY, 9, the Paragon, New Kent Road, S.E.
Mr.JOSEPH PASSMORE, 4, Paternoster Buildings, E.C.
Mr. W. C.MURRELL, the Lawn, South Lambeth, S.W.
Mr. T. H.OLNEY, I, Fountain Court,ALDERMANBURY, E.C.
MR. W.PAYNE, 350, Kennington Road, S.E.
Mr. B. W.CARR, 60, Josephine Avenue, Brixton Hill, S.W.
Mr. C. F.ALLISON, 7, Eccleston Square, S.W.
Mr. H.SMITH, 159, Clapham Road, S.W.
C. H.SPURGEON W.C.MURRELL.
J. A.SPURGEON J.PASSMORE.
SOLICITOR, AND SECRETARY FOR STUDENTS’ APPLICATIONS.
MR. T. C.PAGE, 92, Newington Butts, S.E.
MR. C. H.THOMAS, Metropolitan tabernacle. The work of the College has for many years been adopted by the Church at tire tabernacle as its own. the accounts are examined with the accouters of the Church by auditors chosen by the Church, and are read and passed at the Annual Church Meeting in the beginning of the year.
FORM OF BEQUEST.
I Give and Bequeath the sum of _____ pounds sterling, to be paid out of that part of my personal estate which may by law be given will effect for charitable purposes, to be paid to the treasurer for the time being of the Pastors ’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, Surrey, and his receipt shall be a sufficient discharge for the said legacy ; and this legacy, when received by such treasurer, to be applied for the general purposes of the College.
CONCERNING COLLEGE AS WE SEE IT.
BY C. H.SPURGEON.
YEARS ago, when I had newly commenced my ministry, I felt a burden from the Lord laid upon me; and this was the nature of it, — I was bound over not only to preach the gospel myself, but to see that others were helped to do the same. In Paul’s word to Timothy I found my own pastoral charge: “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (See 2 Timothy 2. 1, 2.)
How weighty a matter was thus laid upon me I did not perceive at the first, and peradventure I do not even yet fully estimate it, though much of it now lies open and clear in the words of the great apostle. It may be that the fullness of his meaning is not to be learned except by experience; certainly, by experience I have discovered that any enterprise taxes all my strength, and makes me cry for more. That I may obtain this extraordinary help, I desire the intercessions of all who have power with God. To win the prayerful sympathy of friends I will spend a little time in meditating upon the words of the apostle. My pert runs sermon fashion, and my heart is warm with my theme; forgive me, therefore, if I preach rather than write a report. I want to plead for myself, and for all who have to keep the charge of the Lord’s house; for we need the hearty good wishes and supplications of all our Master’s servants. I desire to put my readers in sympathy with one of our old hymns: — “‘Tis not a cause of small import The pastor ’s care demands; But what might fill an angel ’s heart, And fill ’d a Savior ’s hands. ” The exhortation of the apostle urges the man of God to be himself strong; for the task imposed upon him is one for which no weakling is fitted. “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus.”
Some read it,” be inwardly strengthened ‘ be invested with power such as only grace can bestow. Never were Paul’s words more needful than at this hour. “Quit yourselves like men, be strong,” is the most fitting exhortation for this critical moment. Strength of grace’ is needed in these evil times to avow the truth, and to remain constant to it in one’s own personal ministry; but much more is required if we are to hand on the sacred deposit of revealed doctrine to others.
The simplicity and openness of the work are, in part, its trial. We are not allowed in this matter to use the craft which commends itself to minds of the Jesuitical order; for having received the doctrines of Christ, as Paul saith, “among many witnesses,” we know not the art of private communication, and utterly abjure the idea of secret directions delivered with closed doors. Our teaching might be written across the midday sky: we desire nothing better. We have nothing to keep secret for the initiated: for these things were not done in a corner, but were meant for the light of day, and for proclamation upon the housetops. The “many witnesses” are mentioned to show how open and aboveboard are the tactics of the servants of the Lord. We can only transmit to faithful men the open and simple truth of Christ Jesus, and the grace which is treasured up in him.
For the doctrina arcani, or secret traditional doctrine of the Catholics, we care nothing, and for private rules of brotherhoods and societies we care less: the thing which has been delivered to us to be handed on is nothing new, nothing of our own inventing, nothing which we can improve upon, but only the apostolic teaching which the Holy Ghost has written in the open Bible, and engraved upon our own hearts by his gracious operations.
This is the priceless treasure which we are to commit to faithful men, and in this matter we are to give ourselves no rest till the sacred committal is perfected. Our work is plain, and the truth to be handed on is clear; and this fact lifts our service above the dreary depths of human cunning into the sublime difficulties of a Christ-like service. It is by no means a severe task to invent a system, and invest it with mystery; but to keep to plain, wellknown truth, and nothing else, in the same: steady manner as our forefathers did, is a trial of steadfastness which some minds’ cannot endure.
Committing the plain gospel to faithful men is not so small a matter as it looks to be. Since upon most minds the temptation is forcible to display personal ability by teaching novel doctrines or freshly-devised practices, the minister of Christ had need be strong in the grace which Is in Christ Jesus that he may boldly adhere to the old faith, and to scriptural methods, which so many are apt to deride as antiquated and worn-out. The disease of seeking some new thing takes possession of minds which are not fortified by the grace of God; so that to adhere in all points to the things which are verily believed among us, and yet to proclaim them with freshness, requires daily renewal of strength from the invisible fountain of power. Babes are soon blown off their feet by winds of doctrine, and boys run into the meadows after every nest which silly birds may choose to build: this is the natural frivolity of unstable, because unestablished, minds.
To be firm in the faith needs spiritual manhood, and to reach that manhood is not a thing of everyday occurrence: hence the need of the power of the Holy Ghost and of the prayers of all the saints that the minister of Christ may attain thereto. The virtue for this age is steadfastness. In none is it more required than in the man who is set for the defense of the gospel. In his measure each believer in Christ is thus set by his Lord; yet there is a still most emphatic sense in which this is true of the more prominent among the Lord’s servants, and they therefore require a larger endowment of power from on high. The wind rages, and all cables are strained: the current rushes madly towards error, and all steam is needed to force the vessel up stream. “Brethren, pray for us,” is the cry of every one of those who contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; and very piteously would some of us utter the entreaty, for we are of all men the most unhappy if we are deprived of the intercessions of our brethren.
Mischief is sure to be done if we fall into an error, which commonly waylays teachers at every turning while engaged in this weighty business: the Christian tutor is liable to be led astray by a desire to stand well with his men, and with others engaged in similar pursuits. It is not; the easiest thing in the world to sink the instructor in the instruction; and to be nothing, that the truth taught may be all in all. We would prefer to be reckoned great and enlightened rabbis if it might be so, and our work be at the same time passably performed: to be mere old-fashioned teachers of a time-worn faith is no tempting object for ordinary carnal ambition. Tutors naturally like to be had in honor among their fellows; and even modesty suggests that they should not follow singularity for its own sake: hence, let no man deceive himself with the notion that we pride ourselves upon being called old-fashioned, and behind the age. If it were all the same to our critics, we would as willingly be thought to have some little culture as to have none: yet, as their opinions will not materially alter the fact one way or another, we do not intend to go down on our knees to pray them to deal mercifully with us. At the present time there is an affectation of liberalism abroad, and the desire to be had in repute as a person of enlarged views is a common snare to men of reading and influence. It flatters young men to let them imagine that they are not being taught any fixed dogmas; and in return they flatter their teacher by ascribing to him a breadth of mind and a candor of judgment which in all probability he does not possess. He is teaching heresy and they are believing a lie, and they mutually encourage each other. The blind lead the blind, and we know the consequences.
Unless grace is given to make a man strong in the Lord, educated believers are in these days frequently tempted to aspire after the position of “leaders of thought,” “men who are abreast of the times,” and “persons of thoughtful minds.” Old-fashioned believers are at a discount, and are sneered at as a kind of idiots: this is not a pleasant experience for those who know that they are the. equals, if not the superiors, of their despisers.
If we are strong in the Lord, we shall cast off all tendency to give place by subjection to the theories of the hour, even as a vigorous constitution resists the malaria by which it is surrounded: but in all cases where men bear large responsibilities it is most desirable that daily prayer should be offered that they may be upheld by grace, so that the standard-bearers do not fall. .Another influence may, however, entangle the feet of the teacher of those who are soon to be teachers of others. He will meet with many discouragements because the work of the Lord does not appear to prosper in his hand; and by these discouragements he may be urged to vain devices.
Those whom he helps to become teachers may prove inefficient in the ordinary manner of ministry, and even among the more successful, progress may not attain to express speed; and herein lies the trial of hi.,; faith in God and in the gospel. Weak minds are apt to rush upon plans and methods which promise to effect speedily what otherwise may be long in coming. Fascinating schemes, unauthorized by the Word of God, are gendered by the fermentation of heated brains; and all manner of noisy vanities go forth into the world in the name of him whose kingdom cometh not with observation. For the same reason truth is altered and twisted, so that by being accommodated to the carnal mind it may make more rapid progress; and the idol of compromise is set up, before which burns an altar consecrated both to God and to Belial. Everywhere the noxious endeavor to do something more than rehearse the teaching of revelation and obey the rules of King Jesus is working evil. Fever is mistaken for life, and noise is substituted for inward piety. Enterprises are attempted and carried out in ways which were never suggested by the Scriptures, nor by the Holy Spirit; and God is asked to bless modes of spreading the gospel which he never authorized. The air around us at this time appears to be charged with the mephitic vapor of will-worship. We are traversing that part of the pilgrim road which was known to the great allegorist as The Enchanted Ground: grace alone can now keep us pressing forward in the right way, and that grace had need be of a forceful character. Oh, that the Holy Spirit may be specially given to all the masters in our schools of the prophets, lest they commit to their students a deposit of mire and dirt from the troubled sea of human thought, or hand to them the mushroom spawn of fanaticism, instead of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.
As for myself and my associates, we believe the doctrines of the gospel to have been settled when the Spirit first inspired the Bible; the mode of its being spread to have been ordained when our Savior gave forth his commission; and the ordering of the church to have been determined by our Lord and his apostles; and therefore we feel bound to keep within given rules and fixed regulations. Whether such work as we judge to be prescribed us prospers or fails according to human judgment is no matter of weight with us; we have taken our resolve to abide by the old faith, and to leave the consequences with our Lord. We can do no other. God help us!
The evil tendencies which I have just mentioned are but two among many which beset those who are put in trust with the gospel; but if I were so to enlarge as to mention all the perils which beset them, I should but have named one out of a thousand reasons why they should be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. It is assuredly true that a sevenfold measure of divine strength, is required in a man who, in addition to his own testimony to the truth, endeavors to instruct others in the art of witnessbearing; for if he be not strong himself, his spiritual children are not likely to be vigorous; and what is to be done with weaklings in the ministry? We have enough dwarfs already, without knowingly increasing the number; and yet, if the fathers be dwarfs, what are their sons likely to be? Herein is a solemn consideration, calling for supernatural help. Whatsoever diseases may weaken the teacher will probably be developed with greater force in those who are taught; and it will be a dreadful evil if, in committing the truth to men, we also transmit our own infirmities and deformities. Tutors should be what they wish their students to be; and what manner of men should ministers be? They should thunder in preaching, and lighten in conversation; they should be flaming in prayer, shining in life, and burning in spirit. If they be not so, what can they effect? If they be not spiritual Samsons how can the roaring lion be overcome? How can the gates of hell be lifted from their hinges? How can the house of evil be pulled down upon those who gather in it? Who is sufficient for these things? Truly, our sufficiency is of God; but how much we need that all who prize the truth of God should lift up their hearts and voices to heaven on. our behalf!
Provided that we know the truth and are confirmed in it by divine grace, it is yet no trifling work to pass on the heavenly treasure to those who are to become its guardians in the future. David had the ark of God in his land, but the Lord was not pleased with the manner of his moving it to its resting-place, and therefore he made a breach upon him. The like may happen to us in handing over the truth of God to others: it is a delicate and difficult service. A man must first know the truth in his own soul before he can effectually transmit it to those who sit at his feet: how shall he teach what he does not know? Knowing it, he must live in the daily enjoyment of it, or else his knowledge will become stagnant, and instruction will not flow from him in a clear, limpid stream, filling those who wait to receive it.
Only as the Holy Ghost overshadows a man’s mind can he influence other minds in a right manner. The spirit of the gospel must be in him as well as its doctrine, or he will bear the truth to his pupils with such rough, unsteady, or uncomely hands that they will not care to accept it from him, their minds being far more distracted by the ill humor of their tutor than attracted by the preciousness of what he teaches. The best of food may be rendered unpalatable through the slovenliness of the cook: yea, an absolute abhorrence of dainty meat may be wrought by an uncleanly finger. We fear that certain highly orthodox teachers have been unconscious suggesters and promoters of heresy in the minds of those who have found their manner of stating the truth to be altogether intolerable. Right daintily and tenderly should the virgin of truth be escorted by those who have the honor to be her champions. The crystal vase of sound doctrine must not be rudely dashed at the feet of the learner, lest he wound his hands in gathering up the fragments of that which ought to have been presented to him as a thing of beauty and a joy for ever.
Even if the teacher were perfectly skilled in the art of transmitting the truth to others, another no less serious difficulty would remain in his way. He is charged to commit the gospel to men possessed of a twofold suitableness: they are to be “faithful men,” and they are to be “able to teach others also.”
Where shall we find such men? Herein lies a demand for great care, discrimination, and judiciousness in the selection of men from the numbers who apply. Where, at the outset, shall we find faithful men? Men of faith are none too common; but men full of faith are rare as diamonds. To be faithful in the sense intended by the apostle is something more even than being full of faith; it means to be trustworthy persons, fit to be relied upon.
These men who are to teach others must be faithful to Christ, as he is the..
Way, the Truth, and the Life; faithful, so that their conduct shows the road to heaven; faithful, so that their doctrine is the pure truth of God; faithful, so that their inner life quickens all that they do. We are to search out for men whose hearts are godly, whose minds have sincerely received the truth, and whose tongues are prepared honestly to preach it. It is at our peril that we lay hands suddenly on any man: there must be full examination and prayerful judgment. The pearl of great price is not to be trusted to every thief who clamors for its possession. The wise man saith, “One sinner destroyeth much good,” and this is especially true if he be admitted to minister in God’s sanctuary. The Egyptians chose their priests from their philosophers, and when they needed kings they chose them from their priests: ministers of God should be choice men who would be fitted to undertake the highest offices in the realm. Men who have a deep experience of the things of God, and a grip of truth which they cannot relax, are likely to remain faithful to it, and are to be preferred. Faithfulness is better than scholarship. The two combined are best; but we can give the second, the first must come from God alone: therefore, to begin with, we must mainly keep our eye on the spiritual jewel of faithfulness. Alas, we are frequently deceived, and even the letters of pastors and the judgments of churches cannot save us from this calamity. Men who have been useful for years have been known to drop into an evil state of mind when the prospect of the ministry has exalted them; others are good as students; but in after-life, from ill acquaintance, or from the pride of intellect, they fall into erroneous opinions. Too many lose the fire with which they burned at the first, and cool down into mere professional repeaters of orthodoxy.
How have I been ready to ,weep my heart away when I have seen one man carried away with vainglory, another overthrown by heresy, a third enticed by riches, a fourth silenced by inconsistency, a fifth beguiled by novelty, a sixth ruined by unaccountable folly. Those who were supposed to be “faithful men” turn out to be faithless men, and the treasure committed to them is discarded for some form or other of the world’s dross. Ah, the heartbreak of seeing hopeful usefulness wrecked upon the rocks at the moment when it seemed most likely to make a prosperous voyage! The choicer the fruit, and the more care taken in raising it, the greater the grief which sees the worm devour it. The sorrow of the Master himself in beholding Judas develop into a devil is repeated to us in our measure when we see the instructed disciple perverted into the betrayer of his Lord. Yet this desolating grief is not unknown to us. What do we do in this case?
Wounded, do we leave the field? Do we yield to the stunning force of a traitor’s blow, and leave our life-work? Far from it: it remains that again we seek out faithful men, and learn from our misfortune how to choose more prayerfully and teach more thoroughly.
Further than this, death is also a great adversary, at least in appearance; for the godly man is taken home when there seemed urgent need for him on earth. When the earnest young brother is as yet like a fair blossom, there comes a frost, a killing frost. Or later on,. when he is experienced in holy warfare, and is becoming a veteran in the armies of the Lord, he is taken up from among us, and though he himself receives his full reward, our work is yet to do, for the dead cannot keep the treasure of the living God. Our graveyard is gradually enriched with dear remains, and our harvest-field pines for more laborious binders of the sheaves. More men must be “baptized for the dead,” recruits must be accepted to fill up the ranks; and so our work repeats itself because this immortal conflict is fought out by mortal men. Assuredly leaders in this enterprise need consolations of no ordinary kind. Must it not be so where both the death-roll and the black list of failures furnish food for sorrow? Will not the Lord’s people stand by all of us who war this warfare, and sustain us in all ways that lie in their power? If they do not, we are indeed as men set to lead a forlorn hope, deserted of their comrades. No, we recall the language; we are not forlorn, for we shall not even then be forsaken of our God.
We may not forget the second qualification which the apostle incidentally mentions. It is not enough that the men be faithful; they must be “able to teach”: ability must not be divided from suitability. Trustworthiness is their moral and spiritual qualification; but the teachers of others need a mental qualification also: they must be apt to teach, or they will be of no value.
This qualification includes both the ability to instruct others and the readiness to do so: the faculty, and the call to exercise it, must meet. It is not without serious thought and devout supplication that a man will be able to discover whether the teaching faculty exists in those who desire to take upon themselves the office which requires it. It is impossible to tell by looking in a man’s face, or by searching into his moral character, or by reading papers and essays which he has prepared, or even by hearing him preach once or twice, whether he is a born teacher.
It might not be easy to say why some can teach and others cannot; but, assuredly, both children and grown-up people refuse to learn from certain individuals, and when these persons labor their very hardest, their failure is all the more painfully evident. The truth is in them, but they cannot either get it out of themselves or get it into others. In all probability the persons to be taught could give no reason for their aversion; but the aversion is plain enough: the brother has no winsome ways, he has something forbidding in his countenance, or his tones, or his general style: one could hardly light on the exact point of disqualification; but the fact is clear, the man cannot teach, for nobody wilt learn of him. Matters of temper, heart, and spirit, and even of mannerism, in some secret manner impress common folk for or against a person who aims to be their teacher; and it is of no use arguing against that impression, for it will not be removed by argument. A man is certainly not “able to teach others” if others steadfastly refuse to be taught by him. Hence there is a secret something which we must look for, and if we see it not, it is vain to hope to produce it.
A teaching man must think in a clear and practical manner; he must arrange his thoughts in an orderly and forcible fashion; and then he must clothe them in appropriate language, or he will say a great many good things, but he will teach nothing. The best instruction, if it be confused, disordered, hazy, will end in smoke. An able teacher must adapt himself to his audience so as to catch their attention, and retain it; otherwise he may deliver a wonderful discourse, and the pity may be that another congregation did not hear it, since it was suitable to none who were in the actual audience. A man must not only be able to teach in the abstract, but able to teach those particular persons with whom his lot will be cast in after-life. A young man may have been exceedingly successful in the Sabbath-school, and in village preaching, but yet he may never be a fit person for any wider sphere. He is able to teach those about him, but the range of his ability goes no further.
Care is needed in those instances which appear to be plainest.
A teacher, of course, needs knowledge in the first place, and the more of it the better. He requires a sound memory, that he may bring forth out of his treasury things new and old; and then he needs a door of utterance, that he may be able to set forth his precious things with skill, and commend them to those round about him. But if the preacher should possess all these, there is still a nameless endowment, a mystic anointing, a sacred unction from the Holy One by which the man is qualified as he never could otherwise have been by all the teaching which his fellow Christians may bring to bear upon him. I remember a story connected with the great Council of Nice, which was told to our students by Mr. Paxton Hood, when he was delivering a course of lectures among us. I think I must quote it, for it explains my meaning. It is the story of Spiridion, “a rude shepherd,” but a robust believer. “It is said that the disputes were running high, and the philosophers sounding on their perilous way, when before one of the chief disputants there limped the shepherd Spiridion. He had but one eye, and he had a limping leg; he had lost an eye, and had been maimed through suffering For the faith, and now abruptly he broke in and said, ‘Christ and his apostles left us not a system of logic, nor a vain deceit, but a naked truth, to be guarded by faith and good works.’ Turning full upon the disputants, especially one Eulogius, nick-named Fair-speech, he said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, hear me, philosophers; — there is one God, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible, who made all things by the word of his power, and by the holiness of his Holy Spirit; — this Word, by which name we call the Son of God, took compassion on men, for their wandering astray, and for their savage condition, and chose to be born of a woman, and to converse with men, and to die for them, and he shall come to judge every one for the things done in life. These things we believe without curious inquiry: cease, then, from the vain labors of seeking proof against what is established by faith, and the manner in which these things may be, or may not be; but if thou believest, answer at once the questions as I put them to you.’ The philosopher was struck dumb by this new mode of argument. He could only reply, in a general way, that he assented. ‘Then,’ answered the old man, ‘ if thou believest, rise, and follow me to the Lord’s house, and receive the sign of this faith.’ The philosopher was staggered; he turned to the crowd of his disciples, and he said, ‘Hear me, my learned friends. So long as it was a matter of words to words, whatever was opposed I overthrew by my skill in speaking; but when, in the place of words, power came out of the speaker ’s lips, words could no longer resist power — man could no longer resist God. If any of you feel as! have felt, let him believe in Christ, and follow this old man in whom God has spoken.’ I think this story illustrates what we desire the power of the preacher to be — the magnetic power of earnestness, and its simplicity, over argument and speculation.” This power is the grand mark of the man sent of God.
Enthusiasm based on conviction, and quickened by the Holy Ghost, is the essential endowment. Where we believe we see this precious thing we are prompt to impart all that we have received of the Divine word; but in that belief we may greatly err, and so lay hands on one who cannot teach, and will not learn, in the gospel sense of those terms. Each mistake in this business is gall and wormwood to us, and yet Solomon himself might have fallen into the error many a time; for the imitations of the heavenly gift are numerous and cleverly devised.
Success in our high vocation, when it does come, repays for all. With an intense delight I look upon hundreds of brethren who have hitherto made full proof of their ministry. There they are! Firm as rocks for the eternal verities, earnest as apostles for the winning of souls, fruitful as gardens of the Lord in all hallowed service! You, my brethren, who have from year to year supplied me with funds, are partners in my joy; I would there were more of you! Many hundreds of friends help me to support orphans, but only a few, comparatively, aid me in the training of ministers. These are both good works; but I know which I conceive to be the more fruitful in results, the more useful to the church, and the more glorifying to the Lord Jesus. Common humanity cares for the orphan, but thoughtful piety alone will consider the student. I care not to set one of nay life-works over against another; but I venture to say with special earnestness, Do not
FORGET THE COLLEGE.
Aid me still to equip for holy labor those faithful men who shall be able to teach others also. If you can do nothing else for me, enrich me with your prayers. The Lord deal graciously with you even as you deal with me in this effort, which holds a chief place in my heart of hearts.
COLLEGE NOTES WORK DONE BY MEN FROM OUR RANKS.
THE following facts are points of interest which crop up in the - year’s work of our College brotherhood. We attempt no complete report; it would not be possible this year, perhaps not at any time. To God be praise for substantial progress.
— From the year 1867 to 1877 the little old Nonconformist chapel in this place was a preaching-station connected with our College.
Towards the latter part of that period a church was formed, which might have been classed with the “Zoars ” of our denomination; for it was indeed “a little one,” when the present pastor, Mr. W. E. Lynn, went to minister there. The divine blessing has followed our brother’s labors, and his church now numbers nearly eighty members. The lease of the old chapel expired in March, 188i, and the friends were obliged to find another home. Early last year they secured a very good site, and have erected the commodious iron chapel in which they now worship.
POPLAR AND BROMLEY TABERNACLE,BRUNSWICK-ROAD.
— About ten years ago Mr. W. T. Lambourne became pastor of the church meeting in George-street, Bromley-by-Bow, which had become reduced to a very low state for want of pastoral oversight. Great blessing was vouchsafed to our brother’s labors, and in the course of three years the friends were greatly incommoded and the work hindered for want of room. Passing over many interesting details, we have only space to say that, as a temporary expedient, a very large tent was erected upon a suitable site, and services held therein for a considerable time till a large schoolroom could be erected. This accomplished, our earnest brother and his hardworking people set about building the chapel proper, a handsome structure, with sittings for rather more than eleven hundred persons. It was opened in September last. The membership is about two hundred.
— Mr. Spurgeon last year purchased at public auction a small chapel in Joseph Street, in which one of the students is preaching with much acceptance.
HORNCHURCH (Essex). — A Christian friend, Mr. Abraham, sought the help of Mr. Spurgeon in providing gospel privileges for this locality, and Mr. E. Dyer, of the College, was sent to Preach the word about two years ago. He has succeeded in gathering a congregation, and has seen some fruit from his labors. On July 18, last year, Mr. Spurgeon preached in the open air, and aided at the laying of the foundation-stone of a chapel, to which he has contributed £100. The chapel was opened in September by our beloved brother, Archibald Brown. £300 more will be needed to free the place from debt.
HAWICK, N.B. — The Baptist church in this town invited our student, Mr. W. Seaman, to become its pastor in February, 1880. The chapel being small and inconvenient, the principal services have been conducted in the Temperance Hall, pending the erection of a suitable building. This has now been effected at a cost £1,350, and the new chapel was opened for worship on February 18, by Rev. W. Tulloch, President of the Baptist Union of Scotland.
— The church, under the pastoral care of Pastor W. H. Elliott, which used to worship at the Standard Hall, Main-street, Gorbals, removed this time last year to a neat and substantial brick structure at the corner of Kirk and Buchan Streets. The chapel seats four hundred and fifty persons.
Our brother has been with his people seven years. There is a fellowship of one hundred and seventy-nine members, an increase of thirty-one over last year’s return. This work deserves liberal aid.
SANDOWN (Isle of Wight). — On February 9, 18 82, Pastor J. A. Spurgeon conducted service in the Old Town Hall, where Mr. A. Bird had gathered a congregation. Twenty believers were formed into a church on that occasion; since then the membership has been doubled. A chapel, which will seat 320 persons, has been erected in Pell Street, at a cost of about £1,000. Pastor J. A. Spurgeon preached the first sermon in the new chapel on July 20. £112 were contributed during the day, including £50 from the President. The prospects of this new cause are bright, but at present it needs help from us. LEICESTER (Carley Street). — A new chapel has been erected on the site of the old one which had been for some time too strait for the congregation; it was, moreover, in a very dilapidated condition. The Leicester General Baptists, having obtained possession of the building about eight years ago, invited Pastor Jacob Forth, then of Wirksworth, to begin Christian work therein, and soon a church of twenty members was formed: there are now more than a hundred in church-fellowship.
— About three years since a few friends, resident in the locality, hired the Warrior Square Concert Rooms, and Pastor W.W. Haines, of Eye, was invited to preach, with the view of establishing a Baptist church. The church, formed in 1881, now consists of eighty-five members. A substantial chapel, with school and class-rooms, has been erected in Chapel-park Road, at a cost, including freehold land of about £4,500, towards which we have contributed as much as we could spare, but would like to give a great deal more. The town needed this chapel, and we doubt not that a large and influential congregation will be gathered.
NEW BUSTER AND SOUTH WATFORD.
— From 1869, when Mr. Spurgeon purchased the iron chapel in Bushey New Town, until last October, the Baptist church has made steady progress and worked hard to secure a place of worship suited to the needs of the growing neighborhood. They have happily succeeded, and now meet in their handsome chapel at Chalkhill, which, with school-rooms, has cost £3,250. This site was generously given by Mr. Bailey. We believe that there only remains a debt of six or seven hundred pounds. There are one hundred and ten members in fellowship, and good congregations.
ST.ALBAN’ S TABERNACLE.
— We know nothing as to the reasons for forming a second Baptist church in St. Alban’s; but as this congregation has chosen our friend H. W. Taylor for their pastor, we are bound to record the building of a commodious chapel and the gathering of a growing people. In loving harmony with all other existing churches may this church go from strength to strength.
WEST HAM LANE.
— We know very little of the history of the chapel here known as “The Tabernacle,” but believe it was erected by a zealous Christian man, who hoped to make the building a center of usefulness, but failed to gather a sufficient number of helpers to sustain the work. The building would have been closed had not our former student, Mr. J.W. Wilkinson, offered to conduct services in it, and met with sufficient encouragement to induce him to hire it at a rather heavy rental. A Baptist church of seventy members has been formed, and Mr. Wilkinson will, we have good reason to believe, make the undertaking a success. He is well known to many of our friends as a former successful pastor of Ventnor Baptist church.
CHRISTCHURCH (New Zealand). — During the five-and-a-half years’ pastorate of our brother Charles Dallaston the church has been greatly cheered and encouraged by signs of Divine blessing in their midst; four hundred and twenty-seven believers having been received into fellowship during that time. The crowded congregations rendered increased accommodation necessary, and the friends were compelled to build. They have recently opened their present commodious chapel (or “church ” as Colonials call a meeting-house), seated for eight hundred, and with provision for galleries when further accommodation shall be required. The cost was about F3,200. GIPSY ROAD (Lower Norwood). — The large and handsome chapel erected for the church under the pastoral care of Mr. Hobbs was opened in May last, and almost from the commencement has been well filled. Best of all, souls are continually being saved. During the past year over one hundred have been added to the church. The Sunday-school, Bible-classes, Temperance and Band of Hope work, and other agencies are in active operation, and there is scarcely an evening in the week when the chapel or lecture-hall is not in use. The premises cost altogether £4,600, of which a debt of £2,000 still remains. It is hoped that, with the help of the London Baptist Association Chapel Debts’ Fund, at least one-fourth of this amount will be removed during the present year.
PROJECTS WHICH OUGHT TO BE CARRIED OUT as speedily as possible, being sterling enterprises worthy to be attended to with all dispatch. Many beside these are most desirable; but we dare not mention more at this present lest in the crowd they should all be forgotten.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS (Calverly Row). — The church and congregation worshipping in the Town-hall have been gathered by brethren from our College during the past nine years. Mr. James Smith (formerly of Leeds) is now the minister, and here, as in previous spheres, the Lord has owned and blessed his earnest preaching. It has become imperative upon the people to build a house for the Lord, and they have purchased an eligible site for £1,900, and are preparing to erect a chapel to seat six hundred and thirty persons, together with a lecture-room for school purposes, at a total cost, inclusive of the ground, of £5,500. The church members are mostly of the working-classes, and will need liberal and prompt aid. Our esteemed friend, Mr. Samuel Barrow, is their Treasurer.
BAYSWATER (Talbot Tabernacle). — Our beloved brother, Mr. Frank White, and his devoted people, are in need of the help of the Lord’s stewards that they may at once replace the worn-out iron structure in which they now worship by a commodious and substantial building suitable for their many good works. They must build, or else surrender the ground upon which their present chapel stands, the only available spot in the neighborhood; they have no alternative but that of abandoning the work.
Our dear friend has now been laboring in London for twenty years, helping every good work within his power; his praise is in all the churches, and we commend his work and its present needs to the generous help of the Lord’s servants.
CAMBERWELL NEW ROAD (Masonic Hall and Wyndham Road Chapel). — The friends here have been toiling on, and have paid for their freehold ground; but the task of building a suitable place of worship will be too much for them unless the Lord should incline some of his stewards to come to their rescue. Mr. Hockey and his friends deserve all the good things which we could possibly say of them.
PUTNEY (Werter Road). — There is an earnest working church here of members meeting in a school-chapel much too small for their needs; indeed, like several other places of the kind, this was but a temporary expedient. The work is one of the results of our Tabernacle Country Mission. Plans have been drawn for the new chapel to be erected in front of the present building (which will then serve admirably for school purposes); the estimated cost is £3,800. C.H. Spurgeon is the Treasurer, and we may say that, up to the present, his many burdens have not been made the heavier by the office; for very little has been received by him.
Putney Baptist Chapel ought to be one of the earliest completed.
PONDER’ S END. — A church and a fair congregation have been gathered by Mr. A. F. Cotton, one of our students, who has been working here under considerable disadvantages for want of suitable accommodation. The Sabbath-school numbers two hundred and fifty children and twenty teachers. It is interesting to see a wood engraving of Ponder’s End Chapel and Schools in the Baptist Handbook of 1882. May they soon exist.
BATTERSEA PARK CHAPEL.
— Again and again have we had to record the progress of the Lord’s work here under the three successive and successful pastors, W. J. Mayers, A. Bax, and T. Lardner, and almost from the first, thirteen years ago, we have seen the need of a larger building upon the vacant ground in front. The school-chapel is now shut out of sight by blocks of buildings; and even worse, church and school work are hindered for want of room. We need a large sum. Our plea of” urgency” in other cases applies here.
— Here also is a church full of life and energy; but we fear it will be a long struggle before it has a house to call its own. Mr. Stone ought to be helped liberally and speedily.
— For more than thirty years the only Nonconformist meeting-house has been a converted cottage, which until lately has been large enough for the few converted cottagers who met to hear the Sunday supplies. Latterly, however, under the earnest preaching of Mr. White (whom we took into the College) quite a change has come over the “Baptist cause.” A good site has been presented for a new chapel, ,and our good friend Mr. W. Vinson and our brother and Deacon Mr. Allison have given and collected about three hundred pounds, which we, “treasure ” as a nest egg.
— Mr. Witney’s people worshipping in their school-room much need a chapel. The ground is their property.
— In this suburb of Chatham, Mr. Blocksidge has bought ground and erected a room to hold 250 persons. This is so ,full that they must build a chapel as soon as they can.
— Last, but not least, aid is greatly needed for Thomas Spurgeon, whose work is hindered for want of a suitable Tabernacle.
The following letters are full of interest to those who are in full sympathy with the work: —
— Mr. R. E. Gammon is employed by the Baptist Missionary Society in the Bahamas. He has one native preacher (J.H. Pusey, from Calabar College), and thirteen schoolmasters and other Christian workers under his direction at the fourteen, stations and substations.
He has just sent us the following letter with statistics of the several stations. Fifty-seven converts have been baptized during the year, and the several churches under our brother’s care have an aggregate membership of seven hundred and sixty-eight. “Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo, January 15, 1883. “ My dear President, — Enclosed is the schedule of statistics of work done during the year just closed; we have been far from realizing many of our hopes;; still, our Master has not left us without tokens of his presence and blessing. “On Christmas-Eve eleven candidates, in the presence of a crowded congregation, including a large number of Roman Catholic natives, publicly professed their disciple-ship to Christ by baptism, in Puerto Plata, and our increase in this church for the year is thirteen. In a Roman Catholic country like this, we have to be glad of small additions, as a proof of the spread of the truth as it is in Jesus. There were to have been twelve candidates, but the husband of the last (so I am told) followed her with a revolver, threatening to shoot her, and would not allow her to be baptized — perhaps, later on, he may repent of his folly, and permit her to obey her Lord’s command. “On New Year’s Day the Padre (priest), ex-President of this republic, in consecrating 8, new image of San Felipe (the patron saint of Puerto Plata) gave a long address to a large audience, and amongst other things said: — ‘they (the Romanists) were vilified by non-Romanists as image worshippers — that it was untrue, they merely had them as visible representations of the good and saintly of past days, to bring their lives more vividly before the untutored and ignorant minds’; but I fear the ignorant ones are just those who do not distinguish the difference between admiring the virtues of the saintly ancients and worshipping them; and were some iconoclast to enter their church and smash one of their saints, no doubt he would fare badly if the people caught him. Some few weeks ago an ‘Alcade’ (a kind of magistrate here) who has been attending our services for some time, was suddenly stricken with blindness, and some of the people immediately said, it was a judgment on him because he had left off praying to the saints. Although we do not make rapid progress, we are hopeful because the Romanists manifest a kindly spirit towards us. “The total number baptized in the district (i e., Santo Domingo and Turks and Caicos Islands,) is fifty-seven, and the net increase for the year is twenty-three in Turks Islands, many of the old members having died during the year. “Hoping to present a better report before long, I remain, wishing prosperity to yourself, your work, and the College, “My dear President, affectionately yours, “R. E.GAMMON.”
The following letter intended for last Conference, arrived about a week too late; but we insert it here that all our brethren may see it, and remember in prayer their comrades who are battling bravely against the idolatry and superstition of India: — “EAST INDIES, MARCH 20, 1882. “Beloved President, Vice-President, Tutors, and Brethren, — From this distant part of:’ our Master’s vineyard we send our united love and greeting, praying also that your gatherings in Conference may be seasons of ‘ refreshing from the presence of the Lord.’ Scattered over this vast continent of India, and engaged in work as varied as the: languages we have to employ, we still feel united to each other, and to you, by the blessed associations and memories of our beloved College. Three of us have to labor in English, one in Telugu, one in Hindee and Hindustani, and one in Bengalee and Mussulmani-Bengalee; and yet we have but ‘ one Lord, one faith, and one baptism’ to declare to these different races. Our spheres of labor are very far apart. One of us is in Madras, one in Agra, two in Calcutta, one in Bachergunge, and one in Darjeeling. In each of these places idolaters, or followers of the false prophet, abound. ‘ At Athens, Paul’s spirit was stirred in him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry; ‘ and we often feel the same; yet we desire to be stirred up to far greater devotion in our work and zeal for our Master. Everything here tends to deaden and depress, unless we are constantly conscious of our Savior’s presence and help. Could we meet with you in Conference, we feel it would be the means of arousing and quickening us; but it will help to cheer us greatly to know that these few words will reach you, and that we have your sympathy and love. “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may run, and be glorified (in India) even as also it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and evil men, for all have not faith. But the Lord is faithful. In Him is our trust, for ‘ He must reign,’ and every form of idolatry and error must ultimately perish. “With intense love to you all, and especially to our revered President, we remain, faithfully yours in Christ, “ROBERT SPURGEON, Barisaul. “WILLIAM NORRIS, Calcutta. “G. H.HOOK, Lall Bazar, Calcutta. “R. W.MAPLESDEN, Ongole, Madras Presidency. “JAMES G.POTTER, Agra, N.W.P. “H.RYLANDS BROWN, Darjeeling, Himalayas.” “West Melbourne, Victoria, 15th Nov., 1882. “THE STUDENTS OF THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE, NOW SETTLED IN VICTORIA, TO THEIR BELOVED PRESIDENT, C. H. SPURGEON.
“Dear Sir, — You received a letter from us two years ago so kindly that we gladly avail ourselves of this opportunity, when we are gathered at the Annual Session of the Victorian Baptist Association, to send another. Two of the brethren who signed the last letter have gone within the veil. Horatio H. Garrett, so beloved and useful, was called home with dread suddenness by a railway accident; and Henry Marsden received the summons to go up higher, after long weakness through wasting disease; yet he was enabled to preach to the last, and singularly glorified Christ by a holy, loving life and ministry. “We feel sure that our President, with the Tutors and friends of the College, will be pleased to learn that, by the suffrages of the denomination, Brother William Clark, of Ballarat, has been called to the chairmanship of the association; Brother F. G. Buckingham, of Emerald Hill, Melbourne, preached the association sermon this year with marked power and general appreciation; whilst Brother A. J. Clarke, of West Melbourne, is the chairman elect for next year. Several years ago Brother W. C. Bunning, of Geelong, was similarly honored. “Whilst we mourn that we have not to record greater and grander successes achieved for our Divine Master, we yet feel there is great cause for adoring gratitude that sustaining grace and much blessing have been given. Many souls have been won for Jesus, the churches have been built up in the faith, and church-building debts wholly or partially liquidated this year. “Suffer us to repeat our assurances to you, beloved President, of our desire to be faithful to the truth we learned from you and our Tutors; to be instruments our Lord cart use because he finds us lowly and purified; and that distance may never weaken our affection for you and yours, or for the Institution which God has so honored at home and abroad. “Through you, dear sir, we greet the goodly fellowship of our brothers in the ministry, and those who are now studying in College. May we all live so near to hint who is the life and light as to draw from him power to do and suffer faithfully even unto the end.” In token of loving salutation to you, and of holy pledge of fealty to our Redeemer-King, we sign our names. “Farewell. May all grace be yours, for soul and body, through the Son of God. Amen. “WM.CHRISTR.BUNNING, Geelong. “WILLIAM CLARK, Ballarat. “ALFRED J.CLARKE, West Melbourne. “F. G.BUCKINGHAM, Emerald Hill. “FREDERICK PAGE, South Yarra. “JAMES BLAIKIE, Kew. “ALEX. J.HAMILTON, Eaglehawk. “JOHN DOWNING, Melbourne. “HARRY WOOD, Melbourne.”
GENERAL RESULTS DURING the twenty-seven years of our existence as a school of the prophets, six hundred and fifty-two men, exclusive of those at present studying with us, have been received into the College, “of whom the greater part remain unto this day; but some (forty-four) have fallen asleep.”
Making all deductions, there are now in the work of the Lord, in some department or other of useful service, about five hundred and forty brethren. Of these four hundred and eighty-six are in our own denomination as Pastors, Missionaries, and Evangelists. They may be thus summarized: — Number of brethren who have been educated in the College now in our ranks as Pastors, Missionaries, and Evangelists.. without Pastorates, but regularly engaged in the work of the Lord not now engaged in the work (in secular callings) Medical Missionary Students Educated for other Denominations Dead — (Pastors,38; Students, 6) 44 Permanently Invalided Names removed from the List for various reasons, such as joining other Denominations, etc. These last are not removed from our list in all cases from causes which imply any dishonor, for many of them are doing good service to the common Lord under some other banner. We are sorry for their leaving us, and astounded that they should change their views upon Baptism; but this also is one of those mysteries of human life which are beyond our control.
PASTORS’ COLLEGE SOCIETY OF EVANGELISTS.
SINCE the last Annual Report our Brethren SMITH and FULLERTON have completed their twelve months’ mission in London by conducting services at Mr. Charrington’s large Assembly Hall, Mile End Road; Dr. Barnardo’s Edinboro’ Castle; Trinity Chapel, John Street, Edgware Road; Salters’ Hall Chapel, Islington; and Woolwich. After their summer vacation they recommenced work in the provinces, and they have since visited Bath, Gloucester, Ross, Hereford, Hitchin, Benson, Liverpool, and Hull. The monthly notes in T he Sword and the Trowel testify to the continued usefulness of this form of Christian service. Wherever our brethren go they win the hearty approval of ministers and churches of all denominations.
They do not in any case labor apart from existing organizations, or in opposition to them, but as a rule their services are secured by committees representing most of the evangelical Christians in the city or town they are about to visit, and the converts at their meetings are counseled to unite themselves with the churches where they will be likely to derive most spiritual benefit. I1: is quite impossible to tell how many souls have been won for Christ through the preaching and singing of our brethren; but in every place where they have gone large numbers have professed to find the Savior, and many believers have been stimulated to fuller consecration and more earnest labor for the Lord.
Mr.BURNHAM’ S work among the smaller churches is, in its measure, equally blessed. Our brother has both to preach and sing, as the places visited by him could not usually pay the expenses of two evangelists; and he generally manages to find his way into the houses of the people in the town or village where he is staying. It is a great joy to us to hear, in almost every instance, of the conversion of one or more of the inmates of the home where Mr. Burnham is entertained; and the appreciation of his services is shown by the fact that he is constantly being invited for the third or fourth time to conduct meetings in the same place. During the past year he has had engagements at Burnham (Essex), Trowbridge, Charlton Kings, Aldershot, Sandy, Watton, Luton, Collingham, Knighton, Weston-super- Mare, Peterchurch, Fairford, Burnham (Somerset), East Finchley, Thorpele- Soken, Highgate, Leeds, Long Buckby, Melbourn, Great Torrington, and Lyme Regis, in addition to spending a month, as usual, among the hoppickers in Kent.
Mr.PARKER continues to sing and preach the gospel in different places, and we have recently increased our staff of Evangelists by the appointment of Mr.FRANK RUSSELL.
This brother was set apart for evangelistic work in connection with the Surrey and Middlesex Association; but those counties do not appear to be fully ripe for such services, and therefore he will be at the disposal of churches in other parts of the kingdom, though we hope that Surrey may be able to use him also.
THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE.
BY AN OBSERVER.
As I have for several years observed the work of your College, it has occurred to me that it might not be displeasing to you to hear what can be said of the Institution by an observer. I confess that my observations may be to you of little value, seeing the College is your own child, and has grown up under your own hand and eye. But if the observations I make be without interest to you, they may not be valueless to your many generous friends and faithful helpers. And for this reason: Yourself, the Vice- President, and Tutors are pleased in your Annual Report to favor us with views of the College work drawn from the inside; what I have to say shall be taken from the outside. If I shall speak with all frankness, you may be assured it is the frankness of friendliness, and that there is naught “set down in malice.”
The first thing which, as a “candid friend,” I will acknowledge is that, while I have heard many things that indicate a hearty appreciation, I have also now and then heard strictures which make me desirous of defining the niche your College occupies among the ministerial training institutions of the country. The Pastors’ College appears to me to have sprung into life amid the throes of the greatest religious and educational revolution this century has witnessed. both elements of this revolution — the religious and the educational — have, I believe as they deserve, the entire sympathy of every right-thinking individual in the country, because when properly treated they are helpful to each other. For our present purpose it is not needful to inquire whether the religious movement first excited the educational, or the educational first quickened the religious; nor will I stop to ask whether, in this result, so far as it is seen, religion has gained more from education than education has reaped from religion. The one only outcome I have in view, and that bears a relation to the work of the Pastors’ College, is this — and I think it will not be disputed — that there is now more education on the side of religious people, however gravely it may be questioned whether there is more religion on the side of the educated.
In early days, then, the problem was, How shall the Pastors’ College minister to the peculiar need of the times and circumstances that gave it birth? The solution of this problem I have watched, it must be confessed, at times with considerable anxiety. Will the young school minister satisfactorily and efficiently to the double-mouthed need? Owing its origin directly to a revival of religion, it did not take much discernment to see that it would doubtless suitably provide for the demands of a revived religion.
But can it make adequate provision for a revived religion stimulated and accompanied by a higher education? Thus the question stood.
In deciding whether the Pastors’ College has risen to “the height of this great argument,” it is not a necessary condition to require that all the alumni should be “wranglers” or “double firsts.” It meets every equity of the case if there should be a number sufficient to occupy a due proportion of pulpits where scholarship as well as piety is deemed essential in the ministrations. On looking around, what do I behold? Some of the pulpits of the denomination most valuable and illustrious in past generations — the two, Cambridge and Broadmead, most famous of all — I find are occupied by men from the Pastors’ College. Nor do I observe that the laurels gained by their predecessors wither in the wearing of these younger men trained in the younger, though not the youngest, school of Baptist pastors.
Such achievements are, to my mind, full of meaning. When, too, I put these results side by side with the vast and truly sympathetic efforts made to reach the masses which have their typical representatives in the East London Tabernacle and in the Shoreditch Tabernacle, in the former case backed up by much practical philanthropy extended to the miserable, I cannot but admit that the Pastors’ College is effecting a solution of the problem above stated that might give content to the most exact and to the most exacting. To the double-mouthed need it is ministering with a doublehanded plenitude. The comprehensiveness which enlists both a spirit and capacity, not only fully abreast of religious life and action, but which has in many places within my knowledge inspired and directed them to higher efforts, I submit fully entitles the Pastors’ College to take rank with the most vigorous and apt institutions of our times for ministerial training. I take it that its history hitherto has shown that all doubt as to its thorough fitness to fulfill the mission embodied in its name is now laid at rest. In all fairness to others as well as to myself, however, I must confess there was a period when fears would come and doubts also, though I was very averse to give them any entertainment. Would the College be a mere transient growth? Would it subside into the narrow groove of training temporary preachers and itinerant evangelists? Would it give only a rough-and-ready preparation for the lower grades of work, and send no representatives into the higher and more permanent ranks? These were questions with me in common with many friends who wished well to the undertaking. Some early indications gave me hope that in due time a full proportion of the higher forms would fall to your share. But this was not everywhere recognized, and in some quarters where it was seen to be inevitable it was not much appreciated. I trust a more generous feeling has now set in. I recall the time when you were emerging from the dreary quarters in the basement of the Tabernacle to the light and airy and commodious rooms in the substantial new College buildings, and I wondered whether that change of scene would be marked by a corresponding emergence into a freer and cheerier recognition of the College and its work.
That such a recognition had long been deserved I was convinced in my own mind. Now, I am bound to testify that I meet with few who are not of that opinion. I am inclined to look upon your new buildings as an outward and visible sign of the esteem, won by dint of merit, from the public at large. I must say, from what I have seen and heard, this esteem had to be won; nay, in some circles compelled. But being gained thus, it is the more valuable, and is likely to be the more durable.
May I now, without pretending to do anything more than is well within the range of an outside observer, glance at those qualities which have led on to success? I will not venture on the dogmatic, and you may take my opinion for what it is worth.
I have had many opportunities of observing, both the “brighter stars” and the “lesser lights” among the preachers that hail from the Pastors’ College.
I have found much variety, much dissimilarity in gifts, in capacities, in styles of preaching. But in the midst of this copious variety, I think I have been able to detect a very close family likeness. The point of resemblance, and what has most impressed my mind, is that the Pastors’ College men have invariably something definite to say on the great themes of the Gospel. I find they have some crisp and pointed teaching that bears directly on the conscience, concerning the nature of sin, and the one Divine way of escape therefrom. I find that they do not aim to set these things forth on a basis of speculation, but on the authority of God’s Word. And I cannot but say that even where the: finer graces of style may be wanting — where there may be very little of eloquence, or ornament, or illustration — yet the wholesome plainness of sound doctrine, delivered with the accent of a heartfelt conviction, which I generally find among your students, has a grace and an eloquence all its own, and storms the human heart. I feel assured, too, that such ministrations are on the line of the great Evangelical testimony and message of God to perishing men in all ages. These are the chief qualities which I believe have conciliated the affections and won the support of so many of the best friends of the Gospel in “all the churches.”
Alongside with these leading characteristics I note others. I regard it as a most hopeful feature that your men seem to be alive and awake to the requirements of their office. In the absence of University examinations, which I understand are not comprised in your methods, you have succeeded somehow in thoroughly arousing the energies of your men, and drawing out their capacities. I notice they come forth from College, not as if their energies had been spent there, but invigorated. An impulse rests on them; there is movement in them, and they, as a rule, rise to the demands of their work. This is a great point. For whatever be the educational standard; whether it be so low as in Queen Elizabeth’s days, when some parish clergymen were ordered by the Queen in Council to peruse the lessons in private, because they were “but meane readers;” or so high as Edward Irving set it, when he said “that no man is furnished for the ministry till he can unclasp his pocket Bible, and wherever it opens, discourse from it largely and spiritually to the people”; or so much beside the mark as to consist chiefly in “Pagan literature,” as Mr. Mozley confesses was the case with himself and others at Oxford fifty years ago; no ministerial training can be effective which does not stimulate and strengthen in the minister of the Gospel, both his capacities as a man and his graces and energies as a Christian.
Your specialty — pastoral work — implies a great deal. It may, and ought to be, the focus of many converging beams of knowledge and experience.
The excellency and efficiency of your work lie, not so much in cultivating separate branches of knowledge, but in combining kindred subjects, and concentrating various lights upon your one exclusive object.
As you advance, I, in company with every well-wisher, earnestly trust you will still keep the one aim steadily in view. The proper prominence given to this will keep all parts in their rightful place. It will subordinate the literary to the devotional, the critical to the believing, the intellectual to the spiritual, the merely denominational to the broadly Catholic and Christian purposes of the ministry of the Gospel. And if you will allow me to make a suggestion, I would add that the way to secure these results increasingly, is, in addition to all your other educational machinery, to let the Word of God be increasingly an open book — open in its original languages, open in all the variety and inspired authority of its teachings — before the eyes of your students, for their humble, prayerful, and believing study. The method of Haldane, with his student-friends at Geneva, I hold to be very near the normal Christian method of preparation for the ministry. The Pastor “mighty in the Scriptures” will be “thoroughly furnished for every good work.”
VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT AGAIN we are glad to report “all well.” Our numbers have been A fewer, but equal to the demands of the churches. Great assiduity in duty, and much faithful College work have characterized the past year. As usual, the men differ in talent and disposition, as also in their methods of acquiring knowledge; but, happily, they are one in their consecration to the service of the Great Master. The amount of preaching has been upon an average with former years, though the direct applications from the churches have been fewer. The change of population in the country towns and rural districts, owing to the long depression in agriculture, has greatly affected our country churches, and we are more than ever anxious to provide suitable men who will be prepared to face the self-denial incident to such increasingly difficult posts, and to fill them with the consecration, zeal, and efficiency which are necessary to secure success.
The question may be asked whether our College, based as it is on avowedly definite and peculiar principles, has in any measure ceased to be a necessity? We think not. We most gladly admit that in many quarters the same gospel is being preached, and the same Bible is reverenced. We hail gladly any evidence of approaching unity of feeling and effort in the one harvest, field; but we are more than ever persuaded that we need to bear our witness to the old Calvinistic doctrines of grace, and to uphold our distinctive view of the ordinance of believer’s baptism. Our young people are in great need of being taught something definite. Our Sunday-schools are very generally united with the Sunday-school Union, and the lessons brought before them are mainly on such general points of truth and practice as are generally styled “undenominational”; and unless we are upon our guard to maintain from the pulpit clear, definite utterances of what are our own flaws, We shall have raised up about us a race of church-members without any grip of the truth, and with no special attachment to our own, or indeed to any other body of Christians. Now, we are persuaded that such a colorless system, if it be milk for babes, is not meat for strong men.
We can hardly hope to rally champions to fight for indefinite teachings and uncertain practices. The canker of Plymouth-Brotherism, the delirium of more recent ebullitions of zeal, and the growing love of change, make it imperative upon us to rear up able men who shall know what they. believe, and shall be filled with a true Biblical enthusiasm for certain ascertained divine truths, facts, and ordinances. We profess to be positive and dogmatic in our testimony for the truth as it is in Jesus. We are persuaded that to have one common garden where no one has any “burden of the Lord” laid upon him to cultivate any one portion of it, will not result in such a vintage for the great Husbandman’s praise as will be the case if we all (as led of the Spirit)are found faithful in that which is committed to our charge. We are willing to help any and all of our great Catholic societies; but in the proportion in which we expand our area of Christian sympathy we shall need to deepen and intensify our own home love. We must, as our branches spread, deepen our roofs, or the first tempest will be our downfall. We need more than ever our Denominational Colleges, and our Calvinistic Baptist Pastors’ College first and foremost of them all.
REMARKS BY REV. GEORGE ROGERS THE proceedings of our College from year to year are substantially the same. It had from the first a distinctive character, which was given to it, not by man, but by God; and that distinctive character it still retains. Its position amongst other colleges and similar institutions of the present day consists not so much in that which it has in common with them as in that which it has in distinction from them. Every new society supposes a particular need, and its particular adaptation to that need. If the need be temporary only, the agency for its supply will soon cease; if the need be permanent, the agency for its supply will be required to be in continual operation. The two principal aspects of the religious world in modern times have been a growing desire for a more intellectual Christianity on the one hand, and a more powerful Christianity on the other. “What is truth?” is the language of some. “Give us bread to eat which the world knows nothing of,” is the language of others. A high-class Biblical scholarship may meet the demands of the one, but the earnest enforcement of truths already made known can alone meet the demands of the other. As these two classes in the religious world are clearly distinct from each other, it is hopeless to attempt to meet the wants of both. We are content, therefore, to leave the more controverted parts of the Bible to others, while we endeavor clearly and fully to understand and to make known that which is without controversy, and which is infinitely more important to the souls of men, who for lack of this knowledge, and this only, might perish.
It was at the time that Biblical criticism and intellectual Christianity came into unusual notice and operation, originating in Germany, and imported into Dissenting colleges, as well as others in this country, that the Pastors’ College, like a cloud about the size of a man’s hand, appeared, and poured down upon the thirsty land its reviving and fertilizing showers. No preparation was made for its coming. No plan of operation was formed.
No means of support were prearranged. It was no part of organized Christianity. It grew into shape by the providential circumstances that called it into being. It took speedy possession of the opening which had been left by others for what they deemed higher, but what proved to be less fertile ground, and has there met with success beyond all other movements of the same kind unto the present day. It has not only supplied the lack of service in others, but has entered upon new spheres of successful ministrations, and is still aggressive in its movements. Its work is not done, but rather only begun; neither has any modification of its course of studies or methods of operation been required to suit what are called the demands of the present age; so little has there been of man and so much of God in its original formation, and its continual adaptation to its end.
We maintain, then, that we have our distinctive principles as a College, and that they are worth preserving still. Let us see what they are. We are at the remotest distance from secularized Christianity, and such we hope ever to remain. Endowed Christianity is at one extremity of the series and we are at the other. We should scorn to receive one farthing of the public money for doing far more for the public good than those whose hands sink deep in the public exchequer. One good reason may be that the opportunity is not likely to be given us; but we trust we should be found true to our principles if it were. We are simple in our forms of worship. In our inmost souls we loathe Ritualism, both in Conformists and in its imitations by so-called Nonconformists. Our one chief desire is to be distinguished for our zeal for the spiritual and eternal welfare of our fellow-men. We watch for souls as they that must give account. We do not by any means assume that this is entirely neglected by others, or that there are not individuals in other denominations whose zeal in this respect is not equal to our own; but that this is the one prevalent desire in those who have gone from our College, and that in this they have been remarkably blessed is a fact which it would be ungrateful, and even sinful, to disown.
It is another distinguishing peculiarity of our College, and which accounts in a great measure for its spiritual results, that it adheres to the Puritanic in distinction from the Germanic theology. This oneness of faith it is which unites Presidents, Tutors, and Students in one bond of fellowship which no after associations are able to dissolve. We rejoice that by innumerable others the grace of the gospel is equally maintained; but with hardly any other College is it, we think, so exclusively identified, and by none is it more unhesitatingly avowed. No one who has gone from us in this respect would care to avow that he had ever been of us. To these considerations we may confidently add that, although the students of the Pastors’ College might not be qualified with those of some other Colleges to pass an examination for literary honors before University Councils, they are well able to compete for the honor of acceptance as Pastors and Teachers of Christian Churches, and for long and extensive usefulness. Sufficiently versed in the original languages of both Testaments, in Biblical Science, and in all the general departments of literature to make a creditable commencement of their ministry, by diligent study and prayerful dependence upon Divine aid, and a zealous determination to qualify themselves, as far as possible, for the great end they have in view, they have not come behind any other apostles in modern times.
MR. GRACEY’S REPORT LIKE all its predecessors of our past history, the year that now closes has been truly to the College a “year of grace.” As a result, the College has been true in heart to its great mission. At no previous period has the spirit of prayer, of faith in God, and in the gospel, of zeal for the glory of Christ, and of love for the souls of men, been more abundant among us. I cannot speak too highly of the diligence of the brethren, and of their willingness, even in cases of enfeebled health, to work to the utmost of their ability. nothing out of the ordinary course, now so well tried, has been attempted.
Our chief desire has been to maintain a “patient continuance in well-doing.”
The sermons read for criticism have, if anything, been above the average, and at our discussions considerable ability in debate has been shown. I have kept on with my course of lectures on Systematic Theology, using Hodge’s Handbook in a separate class. The usual classes have been held in Hebrew, Senior and Junior, where we have read portions of Genesis and the Psalms; in Greek Testament, where we have read in the Acts, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 1st Epistle of John, and the Gospel according to Mark; in Trench’s Synonyms of the Greek Testament; in Homiletics; in Church History; in Classic Greek, where we have read in Sophocles and Homer; and in Latin, where Virgil’s AEneid, Cicero, and Horace have furnished us with subjects.
MR. FURGUSSON’S REPORT THE steadiness of the attendance, and the constancy in faithfully carrying out the work appointed them, as far as the men in my department are concerned, have left me nothing to desire. The noiseless tenor of their way has been so uniform as to render my report a duty of the most formal character. Yet in this noiseless productive formality lie the strength, utility, and success of the object for which our department was called into existence. The men entered the College under the pressure of the high, holy, and merciful desire of honoring Christ, mainly by gathering round his cross as many brands plucked from the burning, by their ministry, as they possibly could; and everything, however humble or small, that fed this desire, was sacred in their eyes. What has been offered to them in our department they believed did minister to this passion of their life; and under this influence — that of honoring Christ by conversions chiefly; everything that helped them to foster and turn it to practical account was valued, pursued, appropriated, and made their own. Thus I can easily account for their industry. This holy hunger, in my judgment, accounts also for the constancy of their presence in the class-room, the faithfulness with which they discharged their daily duties, and the unflagging energy put forth in finishing the work given them to do. Judging from the effects of the same course of education in the actual ministry of those who have passed through it, I can assure the young men that verily their industry shall not lose its reward.
In the year that is past I have been cheered in my work by beholding in my men the unfolding of many of those features that mark the character of the Christ-sent minister. That the reader may be partaker of my joy, he will perhaps allow me to name one or two. For instance, the feature that marks a man in earnest; again, the presence of those characteristics which single out the man who feels himself personally a sinner saved by grace; also, and not the least, that marked individuality of purpose which separates from the ordinary race of workers for God the man on whose shoulders has been laid the iron necessity of preaching the gospel by our Lord Jesus Christ the Most High God. This year I have found tutorial work most pleasing. I have felt it all through the year a privilege to be associated with such men in Christ’s work. To the subscribers and friends of the College I can honestly say, from what I have seen, that in no previous year have they entrusted their gold and silver to men more able and willing to carry out the holy intentions of their liberality. Yes, they will preach the gospel after the way and manner so peculiar to the Pastors’ College; and which have been so much honored by the eternal Spirit.
It only remains for me to enumerate the classes of my department and the class-books. Its work to the reader will then appear at a glance. They are as follows: —
— Blackie’s Bible Geography, Angus’s Bible Handbook.
ETHICS AND PHILOSOPHY.
— Wayland’s Ethics alternated with Butler’s Analogy, Taylor’s Elements of Thought, Thomson’s Laws of Thought, Sir William Hamilton’s Metaphysics, Fowler’s Inductive and Deductive Logic.
— Lennie, Fleming’s Analysis, Bain’s English Composition, Paradise Lost (for Analysis), Roget’s Thesaurus, Exercises for composition in original papers and essays.
MR. MARCHANT’S REPORT.
THE work throughout the year has been well sustained. While a few brethren have made marked and unusual progress, the advance of my classes as a whole has, I think, been considerably above the average of the few years of my previous connection with the tutorial work of the College.
We have had fewer laggards, and some of the most conspicuous instances of improvement have been among brethren whose early education was very poor, and whose steady plodding has been most commendable.
Middle Classes in Greek have been engaged with Xenophon’s “Anabasis,” and the First Book of Arnold’s Exercises. From the Latin of Cornelius Nepos, Themistocles, Aristides, and Pausanias have been translated and parsed, and the first five Eclogues from the “Bucolics” of Virgil. Arnold’s “Henry” has also been carefully gone through. The Junior Classes have, as usual, been occupied with the Grammar and Valpy’s Delectus in each language; while in Latin about twenty brethren have read the first few chapters from the Epitome of Roman History by Eutropius. In Euclid, the Seniors have gone to about the middle of the Third Book, and have done several of the Exercises as well. A Junior Class is proceeding with the First Book.
When I first partly severed myself from my Church at Hitchin, it was a matter of much anxiety to me lest my ministerial work should suffer by reason of my engagement at the College: You will be glad to know that God has been better to me than my fears. My congregations were never so good as they have been for the past three years; a spirit of unusual prayer and earnestness has animated the people; seventy persons, nearly all from the world, were last year added to the Church; while now, largely through God’s blessing on dear Messrs. Fullerton and Smith’s labors at the close of last January, many more are seeking fellowship with us. My dear people, who were also a little afraid about the result of having “only half a ministers” have learned with me an old lesson: “There is that scattereth and yet increaseth.”LAUS DEO!
MR. CHESHIRE’S REPORT DEAR MR.SPURGEON, — In rendering my first report of our science work in connection with the College, it will perhaps be desirable, if not even necessary, for me to give a fuller reference to myself than might at other times be pardonable. In my introduction to the men I explained that however much science might be learned, as the result of our study, I, for one, should regard all as a failure if our reverence was not deepened, and the students strengthened for their work as preachers of the everlasting gospel. I soon discovered that this feeling was largely shared by my class, more conspicuously by many whose time for entering upon pastoral work was close at hand. With this idea before us we have labored, and I have been cheered again and again by spontaneous testimony that our labor has not been in vain. In my department science is our means, but not our end.
God has made the visible as well as the invisible, and in both he may be seen. -True science is but the discovery of his thoughts; for as Oersted has put it — The laws of nature are the thoughts of God.
The difficulties of a Christian science-teacher are now especially great, and it has been necessary to point out that science is as yet as utterly baffled with ultimate principles as she is conversant with the manner in which those principles interwork. She can tell us what life does, often; but what life is, never. The roof of all things is hidden from her gaze if she will not look up and behold her God. In the face of modern scientific assumption, if we see this, we may be saved much anxiety, for we shall discover that we can afford to wait for the solution of many difficulties. Surely we, who have only just begun to be, cannot suppose that at the opening of an endless existence we ought to possess a full understanding of the working of the infinite mind throughout the eternal ages. Mystery must be ours, as yet, at least. If there were no mystery, then we, understanding all, should be greater than all, and God would not be a necessity in our philosophy.
We are striving in our class-work to find in nature illustrations of Christian truth, and thus, humbly, and in our measure, to make the same use of it as our Lord frequently did in his parables. For example, when we discover that the magnet not only draws other pieces of metal to itself, but that it makes them, by its very touch, into magnets, we are reminded of Christ, the great Magnet, who, being lifted up, draws all men to himself, and who by his touch changes them, and gives of himself to them so that they become magnets too. And as we further learn that nearness of the metalpieces to the Master-magnet gives them power which they lose as they recede from it, so we see the illustration of the law of Christian life, that Christ is our life, and our nearness to him the measure of our real strength.
Sometimes we cause the false assumptions (science falsely so called), unhappily nowadays getting so common, to answer themselves by example.
We are told by some that to believe in an omnipresent personal God is unreasonable, and yet these very men say that every atom in the universe attracts every other; that every atom in the sun has some power over the earth; remove one atom from the sun, the aggregate of his attractive influence will be reduced. Thus, then, they teach us, and teach us truly, that every atom makes its presence felt throughout the universe: there is no point in space where it may not at the same moment assert itself. To believe in this is scientific. Oh, foolish and slow of heart to believe: How can they in the same breath tell us that to believe in an omnipresent Father is unreasonable? We believe in him because he has shown himself in the works of his hands, but more intensely because the Only Begotten Son, who was in his bosom, hath declared him.
But lest I draw this report to an excessive length, let this explanation of my position and of the direction of our work suffice.
Instead, during the past year, of entering at once upon any rigid course, I judged it best to take up points which current events made prominent; and so, in view of the excitement prevailing respecting electricity and electric lighting, took about Twelve Lectures upon this subject. I know, dear Mr. Spurgeon, you yourself feel the value of centering the attention upon what has already gained a hold upon the popular mind, and my idea was that thus the students might not only be helped in general conversation, but in illustration and allusion in their ministerial work. ‘The Temperance Movement could not be forgotten by us, and so a course of Eight Lectures was taken on the physiological aspects of this matter. I know you will agree that it is not science, but Christ-given love for our fellows, which has been the backbone of this Temperance work; for science has not a heart of its own, and knowledge without love has no impulse, and will do nothing. It was felt that a diffusion of physiological knowledge would, from this very cause, be particularly serviceable, and this course has in some measure, at least, furnished material for many addresses given in divers places by the students. Some Lectures on the Structure of Insects and their relation to flowering plants, have also been included, my South Kensington diagrams being used. Physics is now occupying our attention.
I must not close without saying that I rejoice in the opportunity my present position in the College affords for influencing for good, as I humbly trust, the men who are to do so much in the future in the propagation of a positive Gospel, while I must thank all, from our loved President downwards, for the spirit of kindness, helpfulness, and trust with which I have been received.
By reordering the old apparatus, and making very substantial additions to it, we are now provided with a very suitable and efficient instrument with which to pursue our work; and it shall be my endeavor, as it is my hope, that the considerable outlay involved shall be justified by the good work accomplished by its means.
The attendance at the Class has been uniformly good, and not infrequently we have with us those who are now settled pastors, but who come as visitors to their “Alma Mater,” and I may add that brethren from Mr.G. Guinness’s Institution are often welcomed by us.
The interest and earnestness of the students have very palpably grown, and that reserve with which a new tutor is inevitably received has given place to confidence, and so supplied constant and growing opportunity for friendly and informal converse, during which, I hope, not the least important part of my work is accomplished. May our studies be acceptable service unto the Lord, because undertaken through our Father’s grace for his honor!
CYCLE OF DAILY PRAYER IN CONNECTION WITH THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE STUDENTS’ MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION.
— Special prayer for the provision and preparation of laborers, and for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all missionary operations.
MONDAY. —AFRICA. BAKUNDU: C. H. Richardson.
BLANTYRE: J. H. Dean (Invalided). CONGO RIVER: J. H. Weeks and A. Billington.
TUESDAY. —CHINA AND JAPAN. CHINA: S. B. Drake, Dr. E. H. Edwards, and J. J. Turner (in England at present). JAPAN: W. J. White.
WEDNESDAY. —CONTINENT OF EUROPE. NAPLES: N. Papengouth.
SPAIN: T. Blamire and J. P. Wigstone.
THURSDAY. —INDIA. AGRA: J. G. Potter.
BARISAUL: R. Spurgeon.
KOTTAPATAM: R. Maplesden.
SANTHALISTAN: W. S. Mitchell. Missionary Pastors: H. R. Brown, G. H. Hook, W. Norris (in England at present), and A. W. Wood.
FRIDAY. —HAYTI,BRAZIL, etc.
HAYTI: A. V. Papengouth.
PUERTO PLATA AND TURK’ S ISLANDS: R. E. Gammon.
RIO DE JANEIRO: J. M. G. dos Santos.
SATURDAY. —PASTORS SETTLEDABROAD. AUSTRALIA: J. Blaikie, E. Booth, F. G. Buckingham, W.C. Bunning, A. J. Clarke, W. Clark, W. Coller, J. Downing, S. Fairey, A. J. Hamilton, J. S. Harrison, F. Hibberd, W. Higlett, E. G. Ince, H. Morgan, M. Morris, F. Page, C.J.A.N. Padley, N. Rogers, J.A. Soper, E. Vaughan, and H. Wood.
TASMANIA: A.W. Grant, E. Isaac, R. McCullough, andR. Williamson.NEW ZEALAND: C. Dallaston, A. Fairbrother,T. Harrington, and T. Spurgeon.CAPE COLONY: H. J. Batts, G. \\V.
Cross, E.G. Evans, W. Hamilton, and G. C. Williams.ST.HELENA:
W. J. Cother.
CANADA: H. F. Adams, H. Cocks, C. A. Cook, S. A. Dyke,J. Forth, J. Gibson, J. Grant, R. Holmes, F. A. Holzhausen, R. Lennie, J. E. Moyle, and R. Wallace.
NOVA SCOTI: J. F. Avery, H. Bool, J. Clark, and A. MacArthur.
JAMAICA: C. B. Berry and J. J, Kendon.
UNITED STATES: G. Boulsher, T. J. Bristow, W. Carnes, J. Coker, W. Fuller, A. Gibb, W. Gilkes, C. W. Gregory, R. M. Harrison,G. Ireland, T. L. Johnson (in England at present), It. A. Marshall,W. McKinney, M. Noble, W. Ostler, W. E. Prichard, R. A. Shadick,A. H. Stote, C. W. Smith, G. H. Trapp, P. J. Ward, John Wilson, and W. W. Willis.