AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, ON THURSDAY EVENING, JUNE 19 TH.
The EARL of SHAFTESBURY, K.G., in the Chair The meeting was commenced by prayer offered by Mr. Spurgeon. Lists of the various Societies represented at the celebration, and of congratulatory addresses, letters, and telegrams which had been received, were read by Mr. Harrald, Mr. Spurgeon’s Secretary.
The Earl of SHAFTESBURY then said: Many of you, perhaps all of you, will be surprised to see me here, but you will not be surprised when I explain the reason. This is the fiftieth birthday of our admirable, our invaluable friend, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. It is right, it is indispensable, it is necessary, that he should have the testimony of his congregation; and he has it. But it is also necessary, right, and equally indispensable that he should have the testimony of outsiders like myself, to show what we think of the man and what we think of his career as a devoted servant of our blessed Lord, and a conscientious and faithful laborer for the advancement of his. kingdom.
If I had. not been told that I must be very brief, I could not have failed to enter into one or two topics relating to his character and conduct. I will not touch upon his literary career, but I will begin by showing that he stands as a marvel before you. This day completes his fiftieth year, and thirty-one years out of his fifty have seen him in the ministry. He began his ministry at nineteen years of age, and you see him now as he began — the same true simple man that he was, not puffed up by success, but rather humbled by it, and animated to go on still more in the noble career that God in his merciful providence marked out for him for the benefit of mankind. I cannot but call your attention to what we outsiders think, though your attention does not require to be so directed.
What a powerful administrative mind our friend possesses is shown by that list which has been read of the various societies and associations constructed by his genius and superintended by his care. These are more than enough to occupy the minds and hearts of some fifty ordinary men.
Why, it seems to be the whole world in a nutshell! Mark what he has done by his missions and his schools and his various institutions. I will refer principally to that work in which he shines the brightest — the foundation and government of his College. My worthy friend has brought forward a large number of men to be useful in their generation by preaching the Word of God in all its simplicity and force — men adapted to all classes, but more especially to that large mass who need instruction in the elementary principles of Christian truth. No man has produced a greater body of disciples capable and willing to carry on that noble work. I speak from some experience. I have heard his preachers at different times in our special services at theaters. To preach for that large class of people, untaught before in the truths of the gospel, strangers to the first principles of religious life, requires no ordinary adaptation. One had need understand the human heart, and the besetting temptations of an enormous aggregate of our fellow-creatures. Your evangelists had an easy colloquial mode of addressing the people. They adopted the example of our Lord. They were picturesque in illustration and parable. That is the way to go to the hearts of the people. Stilted sentences, long periods, high sounding words, and labored efforts of intellect are foreign to the taste of those whom we aim to teach. They like a religion that goes straight to the heart. A cozy religion and a cozy form of worship suit them. They like prayer that touches their present case, and tells their pressing need. When their instinct feels that you have gripped their weakness on earth, they are ready to believe that you have linked them on to the Omnipotence in heaven. I remember when Mr. Spurgeon occupied Exeter Hall during the construction of this magnificent edifice. A nobler edifice I never saw. Filled as it is to-night, I confess that it completely overawes me. In his early days he adopted a mode of preaching which was, to my mind, most effective, most touching, and most instructive. It was that of taking a chapter of the Bible, and going through the paragraphs and verses in succession. When I heard him, I invariably said, “This is a man after one’s own heart; preach where he will he cannot fail to touch the hearts, to arouse the intellects, and to stir to the depths the consciences of those that listen to his exhortations.”
In this long course of success, of gratified ambition, and homage of praise, our friend remains as simple as ever. I doubt not that, if any one says to him, when he descends from this pulpit, that he has preached a noble discourse, he replies with his lips, or reflects in his heart, with old Baxter, “The devil told me just as much.” There is the difference between a flash preacher and a true preacher; between those who tickle the ears, and those who contend for the faith; between those who keep together the congregations that come to be instructed and to be comforted with the words which the Holy Spirit dictates, and those who please the itching ears of indiscriminate masses who come in succession, but having been once entertained, feel no further interest in the matter. The great force of our friend consists in the doctrine that he has invariably preached. He has ever preached “Jesus Christ and him crucified” as the main-stay of his ministrations, the solution of life’s problem, the help of every one in this world, and the hope of every one for the life to come. This it is that has given him a deep, strong, and permanent force over his congregation. It; holds together such mighty masses as I now see before me. This it is which brings them now, with heartfelt reverence and deep gratitude, to give thanks to Almighty God that this good man has been allowed to live to the present day, and which leads them to express to him the gratitude and reverence that they bear to him for his long: and blessed services. I think that a great number of preachers in the present day, both in the Church of England and among the Nonconformist bodies, follow very much the habit of the chaplain mentioned by Pope. He said, “He never mentions hell to ears polite.”’ I would to God they would mention it a little more. They are very fond of talking of the love of our Lord, but they say very little of the issues that await the impenitent; and these are the persons to whom your efforts should be the most directed. When good Mr. Reeve, of Portman Chapel, was alive, I always “sat under his ministry,” as the phrase is. One day, as I was coming across the park after church, I met a friend of mine, who said, “Where have you been? :” I said, “As usual, to hear Mr. Reeve.” He said, “Oh, I hate that kind of fellow! He. is always telling you about your sins.” I heard a story a year or two ago about this very Tabernacle. The man who gave this history about himself said: “I and my wife were the most godless, wicked, and wretched couple upon the face of the earth. We cared neither for God nor man. We never went to church or chapel. One evening we were passing by the Tabernacle, and my wife said to me, ‘ Let us go in.’ I said, ‘ I have no objection to hear the nonsense talked.’“ They came in.
Our friend was in his best vein, and you know what his best vein is. He touched upon the most solemn and serious things. When the man and his wife went home, the man said, “Sukey, did you hear what the preacher said?” She said, “I did. He has told us that we should go to hell if we did not pray.” “Do you ever pray?” “No,” said his wife. “Nor I,” said the man; “and I do not know how to do it.” “Oh,” said the wife, “by the by, there is our little Mary upstairs; she goes to Sunday-school, she will know how to :pray.” Up they went. They woke the little child, and they said to her, “Mary, you must pray for father and mother.” And the little girl did pray for them; and what do you think was the declaration of the man? “Why, sir,” said he, “from that hour I was a changed man, and I now go to places of worship with all my heart and soul.”
Talking of the men that have been raised up by our friend Spurgeon, I should be sorry to omit the founder of the Golden Lane Costermongers’ Mission, my friend, Mr. Orsman. The institution among the costermongers has civilized, and in some instances, I hope, Christianized the costermongers. I derive benefit from it, for I am a costermonger. I am proud to add that to my address. People sometimes write to me, “The Earl of Shaftesbury, K.G.” That means” Knight of the Garter,” and I always, when I write my name in full, add “and C.” That means “and costermonger.” The effect of the work among the costermongers has been to diffuse feelings of humanity towards the brute creation. The constant observation now is that the improvement in the condition of the donkeys is entirely due to my friend, Mr. Spurgeon.
Well, now, I think that I have talked nearly enough. I think of Mr. Spurgeon as a man. He is one of the most admirable, affable, amiable fellows I ever knew in the whole course of my life. I do not enlarge upon his merits as a pastor. You all know the love he exhibits to you, and you all know the affection that you bear in return to him. You love him not only for his private character, and his public achievements, but you love him personally for his good nature, for his genial humor, for his generous kindness, and for the free and easy manner in which he associates and identifies himself with you all. Whatever Mr. Spurgeon is in private he is in the pulpit, and what he is in the pulpit he is in private. He is one and the same man in every aspect, and a kinder, better, honester, nobler man never existed on the face of the earth. This is his Jubilee. We cannot wish that he should live to see another Jubilee, but this we may wish and pray for, — that the rest of his life may he according to its beginning; that he may go on increasing in service, in depth of feeling, and in power of exhibiting it, in winning souls to the Lord, and in advancing the heavenly kingdom; and may the whole course of his life on earth illustrate those blessed words in the written Word. of God, “The path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
Canon WILBERFORCE: My lord, ladies, and gentlemen, I have not the privilege of being able to write the cabalistic word “costermonger” after my name, but from my far lower position I still feel greatly privileged in being permitted to stand here and endorse every word that has been so nobly spoken by our chairman. He spoke about your dear Pastor being some time ago in his best days. He has exemplified tonight the fact that to a man whose heart is given to God, and who is looking to God to keep his faculties bright, all his days are his best days, and that as he gets older in years he only gets more powerful in the work of the Lord. I am thankful to be able to be here just for a few moments to witness to one principle which is exceedingly dear to my own heart, and that principle is real spiritual unity amongst those that are in Christ Jesus — consistent, if you please, with rather a wide divergence of method and of external practice. You cannot be nearer to God than in Christ, and if you are in Christ you are in one another; and if my dear brother here is in Christ, and if I am in Christ, we are one, whatever the differences may be. The days are coming when this true spirit of unity must be manifested more than ever it has been before. When Douglas Jerrold was told by somebody that he should endeavor to cultivate brotherly feeling, he said, “Why, we are all brothers — like Cain and Abel.” There is a great deal too much of the Cain. and Abel brotherhood. “If a man love not his brother,” says the divine apostle, “he is a murderer” He has got the Cain spirit within him. As the power of the living Christ is poured out more and more, upon men’s hearts they are drawn together by love, and as they love the Lord. they love one another.
It would, be simply impertinent in me to stand here and say words of praise of such a man as your Pastor. We are not here to glorify him: we are here to glorify the living God who has made him what he is, and who has used him in such a wonderful manner to draw souls to himself during all these years. We thank God for the life that he has been enabled to lead, and if you want a testimonial to his power and to his present position,. — if you want something to justify that which, being a private letter, cannot be read, from one who fills perhaps the highest position in this country — if you want to justify that, I would say (if I may be excused for quoting the words in Latin), “Si monumentum quoeris, circumspice.” If you want a testimonial, look round at this Tabernacle. Just see these throbbing hearts pouring themselves out in love towards him, many of them full of gratitude for the spiritual blessings that they have received from God through his means. I suppose that there is hardly an individual man — I am not exaggerating when I say it — whose sphere of influence is so widely extended. Independently of the thousands that he speaks to here in this Tabernacle, there is, as we know, the weekly sermon, which is translated into about seven modern languages, and which goes all over the world to bring solace and comfort to the hearts of men; for he does preach the love of God: he does tell us that God’s heart is yearning over us, and that he would draw us to himself by the attractive power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And there is this special point connected with him. It was said once of one of the greatest preachers in this country that he lived so ill and preached so well that when he was in the pulpit people thought that it was a thousand pities that he should ever come out, and when once he was out of the pulpit they thought it a thousand pities that he should ever go in again. The exact converse has been the life of your dear Pastor. I have been privileged to know him in his private life. I have had. blessed and happy spiritual and social intercourse with him, and what he preaches he lives. There is a beautiful saying of Augustine, “Cujus vita fulgor, ejus verba tonitrus fulmen Deo.” “He whose life is lightning, his words are thunder for God;” and I believe that that has been the real power with him.
And there is another reason why my whole heart is poured out with thankfulness when I see such an audience as this. I look upon the work located here, and being carried on by God through your Pastor, as one of the greatest bulwarks of modern times against the spreading atheism which is coming into our country. I would like to say plainly and honestly that I do not believe that atheism will ever touch the true faith of the living God.
On the contrary, with all its merciless iconoclasm of everything that sounds like sham, it will leave the true faith of the living Jesus even richer than it found it. But for all that, it will certainly have a terribly deleterious effect upon our national life. When I see a grand sister nation, with such capabilities and powers, registering amongst her twenty-nine millions of inhabitants no less than seven and a half millions as belonging to no religious belief at all, and when I see the same spirit spreading in this country, I say that philanthropists, patriots, let alone religious men, are all interested in such an assembly as this, which shall be a bulwark against the spread of atheism. There is one man whose name in history is looked to as being that of the apostle of unbelief. Now I saw myself in a work of Voltaire that he deprecates intensely that a nation in which the word “liberty” was dear should be ruled by those who profess atheistic principles, simply because true liberty is impossible under the banner of atheism. Therefore, whether a man professes religion or not, if he cares for the progress of the nation in which he lives, and if the name of liberty is dear to him, let him be thankful for such a Jubilee as this, which manifests that there is an assembly here in London of beating hearts brought together, believing in Jesus Christ, outnumbering by their hundreds all the unbelieving assemblies of this metropolis. And why is this? The great statesman Mirabeau, years ago, was asked how he would spread liberty in a nation. He said, “I would begin with the infant in the cradle, and I would teach him to lisp the name of Washington.” That is very well in its way, but what does this Tabernacle mean? It means that we can go a rung or two higher on the golden ladder than that. There is here a preaching and teaching in the power of the Holy Ghost which sends back thousands of you to teach the infant in the cradle, and to let the first name that he lisps be the name of Jesus, God and man — the founder of all liberty, whether political, social, moral, or religious, for “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” Do not talk to me about liberty which is not spiritual liberty. If the Son of God shall make you free, then shall you be free indeed.
But there is one word that I ought to say to this splendid assembly which listens Sunday after Sunday to the most powerful preaching of the gospel probably in the whole of this country. There does rest upon you a tremendous responsibility. Woe unto you, Chorazin and Bethsaida! If the mighty preaching that has been given to you had been given to other places, would they not have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes? And to-day is the Jubilee of him whom you love. What is the meaning of Jubilee? Does it not mean the setting free of captives? Are there still any that are bound by the :shackles of sin in this congregation? Would you make the preacher a birthday present? Would you give him joy and peace in his heart? Would you keep Jubilee as it ought to be kept? Now in the name of Jesus, rise up and walk. Shake those shackles of sin from you. Be free upon this his Jubilee. May you be built up here more and more in our most holy faith. May the Holy Ghost bind you together like the mortar binds the stones of the wall. May the Lord spare your beloved Pastor to you many years, that he may have more souls for his hire, and, in the end, when the education of this life is over, may every single individual of this mighty mass meeting be over there in the blessed rest which the Lord has gone to prepare for them that love him. I ask it for you through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The REV. J. W. TODD, D.D ., who attended in company with a deputation from the London Baptist Association, and as the bearer of a congratulatory address from that body, was then introduced to the meeting.
The REV. J.P. CHOWN : You will forgive me, my lord, and dear Christian friends, if, at the request of Dr. Todd, I anticipate his presence for a moment. I do so simply to explain that when the matter of the Jubilee of our beloved and honored friend was spoken of, the committee of the London Baptist Association felt that it could not be permitted to pass without an utterance of fraternal esteem and affection for the Pastor of the Tabernacle. I may say, for the information of some who are not very intimately acquainted with the Association, that it comprises a membership of 153 churches, and a fellowship of 42,000 souls. We felt that the opportunity must not be permitted to pass without our saying as much as it was in our power to say, though we never could say a tithe of all we felt.
Our honored President, Dr. Todd, will now represent the Association by presenting the address which has come from the committee, and has been signed by the brethren by whom the committee are represented.
The REV. DR. TODD: I am extremely obliged to my friend Mr. Chown for the loan of his voice to explain the position in which I stand. I have simply to present to Mr. Spurgeon the address prepared and signed for the committee of the London Baptist Association.
The address was read by the REV. J.P. CHOWN , as follows : — “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, — By the unanimous and earnest request of the committee of the London Baptist Association, we desire to share the privilege of uniting with the thousands who are assembled to offer you their cordial congratulations, to rejoice with you on this Jubilee of your birth, and to pray that your path may be’ as the shining light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.’ “In discharging the very pleasant duty which has devolved upon us, we are happy to record the fact that to you, in great part, is traceable the origin, as well as much of the success, of that organization which we are here to represent; for you were especially prominent in bringing it into existence, and its efficiency as an agency for extensive and lasting good to our London churches is largely attributable to your fidelity and fostering care. “This, however, is only one of the many important works which you have achieved, and which come up for review as we call to remembrance the way by which the Lord has led you these fifty years. This vast building in which we are assembled, with its crowded congregation of enlightened believers, who mingle Christian work of a manifold sort with spiritual worship of an earnest order, must ever rank as a memorial of your devoted toil that has been so richly crowned with the Divine blessing. So likewise the Pastors’ College, in which, as in ‘the school of the prophets,’ many hundreds have been trained and sent forth to preach ‘ the glorious Gospel of the Blessed God.’ “Nor would we forget the Orphanage that you have founded and endowed, in which the fatherless of every section of the Savior’s one Church find a home and an education adapted to nurture them for the Lord, and fit them for spheres of human usefulness as well as Divine service in the kingdom of Christ. “In addition to these agencies which you have called into existence and still sustain in vigorous action, to overtake the wants of a guilty world, you have taken hold of that stupendous power — an unfettered press — and have laid that under tribute to make known the Gospel ‘in the regions beyond.’ Periodically, by the space of thirty years, you have poured forth a flood of Christian literature which has found its way into India, China, America, and other lands; and whilst the productions of your pen have penetrated into every social circle of Great Britain and her colonies, they have been translated into every language on the continent of :Europe. “When we, thus gather up the outline of your widespread influence, and reflect on the power which you exert for the defense and diffusion of the ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints,’ and when we realize the fact that your position has been won without human patronage of any sort whatever, in spite of not a little hostility and suffering, and maintained with an unclouded reputation, as well as with pre-eminent ‘simplicity and godly sincerity,’ we gratefully recognize and adore that grace which raised you up, and has rendered you all that you are to the church and the world. ‘We glorify God in you,’ and lovingly interblend our prayers with those of your own people, and un-numbered thousands besides; and we seek of ‘him who holdeth the seven stars in his right hand,’ that he may still sustain you, long spare your valued life, yet more abundantly bless you in your manifold toil, and brighten with his own light the hours of a distant ‘ eventide.’“ C. H. SPURGEON : I only rise to say two or three words. I thank these dear brethren very much. I take the deepest possible interest in the Association, and I hope that I always shall. I have not done for it more than I ought to have done, or a hundredth part as much as I wished to do. May these brethren, who have honored me by coming here to-night, receive in their own persons every blessing, and may all the churches of the Association, most of whom salute me one by one, receive the benediction of the Most High.
The Earl of SHAFTESBURY said that he thought that he must go home before the next speech. He was not as elastic as he used to be. He hoped that the meeting would not object to his withdrawing. Mr. SPURGEON asked the assembly to give the Earl a hearty cheer for his life-work before he went. The request was very heartily responded to, and the chair was then taken by Mr. Spurgeon. Hymn No. 9, “When the mists have rolled away,” was sung by Pastor W. J. Meyers, of Bristol.
The REV. O. P. GIFFORD , of Warren Avenue Baptist Church, Boston, US., in presenting an address from the Baptist Ministers of Boston and its vicinity, said: Friends in Christ, New England sends her greetings to Old England. The adjectives do but modify the nouns. The best blood in New England comes from the mother country. Our institutions are but an adaptation of your own. Your common law is our common law; and we have one common Christ. It is said that, in the States, a schoolboy was once asked, “Who is the Prime Minister of England?” and he replied, “Charles H. Spurgeon.” “A little child shall lead them” in speaking the truth. Your political Prime Ministers change ever and again. Thank God, your gospel Prime Minister has heldon his way these many years! Our land is washed by the same sea as yours, domed by the same sky, lighted by the same sun by day, and the same stars and moon by night; but deeper than the deepest ocean, higher than the highest sky, we are, both old and new held and kept between the protecting arms of a divine providence. With you we thank our common Christ for Charles H. Spurgeon. Years before I stood by the shore, I gathered the shells, and heard their home-sick song for their native sea; but never did I know the meaning of the majesty of the ocean till I listened to its own song of praise to God. For years, though I am a young man, I have pressed the sermon, and the lecture, and the Articles of Charles H. Spurgeon to my ears. Thank God, I stand by the sounding sea of the redeemed manhood’s depths of Christian character tonight.
I cannot tarry or detain you. I have simply to thank you for the kindly care you have had over our brother, and to bring you the greetings of New England. I pray God, with you, that he may double his years of service, and that his last years may be his best. C. H. SPURGEON : Anything which binds our two countries into a yet closer union must be a blessing. We are truly one. I believe that we are one in the excellences of the race, and also one in its faults. I have two sham books in my library, which I sometimes show to friends. One is “Jonathan on Exaggeration,” and the volume that stands side by side with it is “John Bull on Bragging.” Both of us do a little of that. I have no doubt that New England learned it from Old England. I do thank a great number of American friends who have kindly written to me at this time, and a great many more who are always writing to me, telling me of their troubles and asking me for sympathy, telling me of their joys whenever they get any good from the sermons, and blessing God for it. I count myself right happy to-day to have so many letters from every part of the world, of some of which I confess I cannot read a word, but I know what they mean. As the Quakers sometimes “take the sense of the meeting” without formally putting the resolution, so have I taken the sense of Bohemian, Swedish, and Dutch letters which I have had to-day, which I am unable to read. SIR WILLIAM MCARTHUR, M.P.: Ladies and Gentlemen, — There are some things we meet with in our lives which become impressed upon our memories so that it is impossible we can forget them. I think that one of the most extraordinary scenes I ever witnessed has transpired this evening. I shall never forget the reception Mr. Spurgeon met with when he made his appearance. The waving of handkerchiefs, the uplifted faces, and the expression of delight and affection manifested in every countenance, must have impressed every one as something that he had never witnessed before, and perhaps will never witness again. Well, Sir, it was a very happy thought to celebrate your Jubilee in such a way as this. It is a delightful thought for you, Sir, to look back upon the time that you have spent in the work of the ministry, and to feel that every year has not only added to your influence for good, but has strengthened the bonds that unite you to your people, and that you are more beloved and honored now than you ever were before.
Sir, I cannot but congratulate you from the very bottom of my heart. I trust that by God’s help you will be long spared to be an honor to Christians in this country, and a blessing to this church. We have had several commemorations during the last year in London. There have been bicentenary commemorations and ter-centenary commemorations. We have had a commemoration for Luther, and very properly so. We have had also one for Wycliffe, the Morning Star of the Reformation. We have had one for Tyndale, who gave us our glorious translation of the Bible. But, Sir, we are met to-night not to commemorate the history of one who has passed away, but to thank God that he has spared you to the church, and to thank and bless him for your usefulness in connection with the church. It is a remarkable fact that God, in his providence, raises up men in particular crises in the history of every country. He raised up Luther; he raised up Wycliffe; he raised up Wesley; he raised up Whitefield. Coming down to later times, the names of illustrious men survive in the affections of the people; and, Sir, I believe that at this particular time in the history of this country, God has raised you up to occupy a sphere of far-reaching influence. “Such men are raised to station and command, When Providence means mercy to the land, He speaks, and they appear. To Him they owe Skill to direct, and power to strike the blow.” As a preacher of the gospel Sir, you belong to the church of Christ throughout the world. Certainly I claim you as one of my ministers. After breakfast on Sunday morning, I am accustomed to read the sermon which you delivered to your church the Sunday before. I have traveled over a great part of the world, and I have never gone to a place where I have not met with “Spurgeon’s Sermons.” A short time ago, our American brethren, finding that they could manage to employ the telegraph on Sunday, had a reporter here sitting to listen to Mr. Spurgeon’s sermon, and he reported it, and sent it over to New York, and on Monday morning that sermon was on the breakfast-tables of no fewer .than 500,000 people. When I was in Australia, I found that one gentleman there gave a thousand pounds a year in order to have your sermons put into one of the best papers in the colony, and circulated through the whole of that country.
I think that one great secret of your success in the ministry has been your humility. It is told of Augustine that when asked what was the first step towards heaven, he said, “Humility.” And what was the next step, he said, “Humility. And what was the third? “Humility” It is no mean virtue for a man placed in your position to be always modest, and to be simple and unaffected, as you have ever manifested yourself to every one with whom you have come into contact. I believe that the truth is you have been humble before God, and you have attributed to him all the praise and glory.
I once listened to Dr. John Hall, of New York, who read a very beautiful sermon, and I said to him afterwards, “I admire very much your ability, but I admire still more your simplicity.” Your plain good old Anglo-Saxon has a special charm. As such, your sermons are a model of style. And now, on behalf of myself and a large number of friends, I rejoice to have the privilege of being here, sincerely and heartily to congratulate you that for such a length of time you have been enabled to discharge so onerous a ministry. May you be long spared to occupy this position, and to be still more useful to the church of Christ! C. H. SPURGEON : I do not know how to receive these kind things that are said of me. I can truly say, however, that I do not feel in any particular danger of pride from what I have heard. I will tell you when I have been afraid of pride, that is, when I have been in the middle of a fight, and everybody has abused me, including some of whom I have felt that they were not worthy to be set among the dogs of the flock. I fear I have been proud then. But. when people are so kind I can only feel the great obligation laid upon me to live up to it. Here is a telegram from Canon Fleming: — “ Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, accept my hearty congratulations on your Jubilee. I would say to you in the words of the Old Book, ‘O king, live for ever.’“ It shows great kindness on the part of these canons to speak in this way. As my brother says, they “go off” so gently. There are certain persons in their community who will feel aggrieved thereby, no doubt. I am very sorry that they should be aggrieved, and yet I feel some kind of pleasure in their infirmity being stirred up on this occasion, because I do really think that anything that brings true Christians together is an advantage all round. To-night; it is not only good for me to receive, the affection of so many, but it is good for all to feel that you do love some servant of Christ. I am sure that your love to me is for Christ’s sake. In your ministry of more than a cup of cold water to-night to one who comes to many of you as God’s servant, you shall have your reward.
I must call upon our next-door neighbor, Mr. Newman Hall, to speak to you. I always feel under great obligations to him. Years ago, when we were cleaning up, and had not anywhere to go to on week-nights, we went to Surrey Chapel. Then afterwards we went to what is not nearly so well named a place, that is to say, Christ Church. I had no fault to find with the place, but “Surrey Chapel” is the best name, and ought, for fifty thousand reasons, to have been retained. But every father has a right to name his own child. I am glad to see my dear friend here.
The REV. NEWMAN HALL, LL.B.: Although the pastor of a Christian church, I am very willing to go back to the Tabernacle wandering in the wilderness. But, first of all, I must discharge a duty imposed on me last night. I was preaching at the Independent Chapel at Loughborough, and as I came away, one of the deacons said, “Give our hearty congratulations to the Pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle to-morrow night.” It is very reasonable. Mr. Spurgeon belongs to the country as well as to the town, to Loughborough as well as to London, to Leicestershire as well as to Surrey, to all England and the world as well as to the Metropolitan Tabernacle; and so all England and the world rejoice in his Jubilee, and pray to God to spare him many many years for ever increasing usefulness. I owe it to my neighborhood of work during thirty years that I have had the great honor and privilege of taking part in this meeting; and that near neighborhood enables me to do so with special emphasis and heartiness. It is well when a man’s reputation does not increase in a direct ratio with distance, but when the better he is known, the more he is respected and loved. Men of the world, who look upon the ministry as a profession, might think that near proximity would make us rivals rather than friends. If we were anxious to take precedence one of another, they would think that the big tree overshadows and injures the little shrubs; or, to change the figure, they would think that, in the presence of the burning and shining light, we must all “pale our ineffectual fires.”
There are two answers to this idea. The one is given by our friend himself.
He has never done anything to promote or invite envy. Other people may blow his trumpet, he never blows it himself. He has never been known to say a word or do a thing which appeared like an endeavor to exalt himself or to depreciate any one else. He is known by his neighbors for his generous sympathy in all our sorrows and difficulties, and his ready help in everything in which he can render assistance. He enjoys, he admires, he appreciates, he fully honors whatever there is of good and of usefulness in his neighbors round about him; and thus he prevents the possibility of envy, and thus it is that his nearest neighbors are those who respect and love him most.
Another reply is given by the nature of the Christian ministry. It is not a secular profession. It is a divine vocation. We feel that we are all of us engaged in one work, and that we may all of us share the same honor. Of course it is impossible that we can have the same honor from men, because we have not the same gifts and the same visible usefulness; but the great honor of every servant of Christ in the ministry so-called, or out of it, is that we may have the approval of him who will say, “Well done,” — not “good and talented” — “good and popular,” — or “good and useful,” but, “good and faithful servant.” And therefore all of us, however inferior we may be in qualifications, less known, and less useful, may aspire to the very same honor; and, therefore, we do not grudge our brother any of the luster that has gathered about his name. We belong to a fraternity, a commonwealth. We are all engaged in one work. If I am weaker, I rejoice that someone else is stronger. If I am not doing so much good as I should like, I rejoice that some one else is doing much more good. We all claim a partnership with one another, and we say, “Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or Spurgeon, all are ours; and we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”
Near neighbors know something of the works done in connection with the Tabernacle, and the necessities of such a district as this. This Tabernacle is not a mere theological lecture platform. It is a fountain from which streams of beneficence are ever flowing forth. Our friend would never be satisfied with crowds listening to his eloquent voice, if those crowds were not prompted to go away to do all the good they can, imitating his example, and blessing the neighborhood round about. We have heard of some of these works. That Orphanage, not confined to his own denomination, but open to all England; the Almshouses; the Colportage Society, not a commercial speculation but a great home-mission, the agents of which, about eighty in number, call at the houses, pray, speak, preach, and are all of them emissaries of the gospel of Jesus Christ; the Sunday School work; the work of philanthropy amongst the poor and suffering; the College, that sends out so many earnest men, all of them preaching the same gospel of Jesus Christ, that all the world may be appealed to. No matter how much money is poured into the treasury, every one knows what is done with it.
The accounts are audited. The accounts are published. The whole of the institutions belong not to Mr. Spurgeon, but to the public, to Christ, and to the poor. Therefore, every one may be called upon without any doubt or any difficulty to contribute. And large as are the institutions of this church, they may become indefinitely larger. They are worked by willing hands and by unpaid agents in proportion as the money may come in for the performance of this ever-extending and most blessed work. It is all for Christ. The great aim of every part of this wonderful institution is to make known Christ, and to win souls for him.
There are other subjects on which our friend is supposed to have thought.
Rumors reach us sometimes that, on the whole, he would not prefer the Episcopal form of church government. Whether it is so or not, we cannot say on this occasion. It is whispered that he does not approve of liturgical forms, except in the form of rhythmic hymns sung to beautiful tunes. Then there is no objection. It is said that he has views about church establishments, that he goes so far that he does not intend to petition the Government to establish his denomination. About his particular denomination there is a good deal of ignorance. Three days ago I was asked by an eminent artist what denomination Mr. Spurgeon belonged to.
When I told him that he was a Baptist, it seemed quite news to him. And this is the glory of our friend. He has intelligently thought of these subjects, he has a conscientious conviction about them. On proper occasions he can zealously advocate his views, but they are all so subordinate to the great subject of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that we come together, Churchmen and Nonconformists, establishmentarians and voluntaries, Tories and Radicals, Christ Church and Tabernacle, and, forgetting all these differences, rejoice together in the common salvation of which our friend is so earnest and successful an advocate.
But the great work is preaching;. This congregation is unique — so many thousands gathered together in the same building during so many years to listen to the same voice. It is unparalleled in the history of the Christian church. How is it accounted for? Some will say that our friend is ever so fresh. Quite true. Some will say that his style is so marvelous; it delights the most cultured; it is understood by the most unlettered. Some may say that it is wit. I wish I had a little touch of it; but he never in his life tried in the pulpit to be witty. It came; it was natural, not artificial. It grew out of the subject. It illustrated the subject as the silver foam upon the ocean wave, adorning it, a part of it, not delaying it; the great wave of argument and persuasion rolling on unconscious of the foaming flakes which are melting away in the distance behind; or, rather, it is like the flower of the blossom on a beautiful tree, not a vulgar gewgaw fastened on from the outside, but growing out of the very vital sap of the tree, and helping to produce the solid fruit which is permanent. One great feature of his preaching is that he forgets himself and makes us forget him. I am not praising Mr. Spurgeon. I am only setting forth a few principles which may be of use to students. I have no desire to praise my brother here. I thank God for him. But some of these principles may be of use to younger preachers. I have sat in that gallery. I have come to hear Charles Spurgeon, and I have forgotten all about Charles Spurgeon and the Tabernacle, and I have gone away wondering where I was, but feeling that I was in heavenly places. The last time that I heard Mr. Spurgeon was at Exeter Hall. I stood all the time to “hear Spurgeon.” I soon forgot all about Spurgeon, all about standing, and all about Exeter Hall. I was up in the third heaven, and I came away thanking God for a preacher who made me forget the preacher and think only of the Master. The worst compliment you can pay a sermon is when you go away and say, “What a clever sermon! What a talented, man! What eloquence we have listened to!” The best proof of preaching is when you go away and say, “What a sinner I am! What a Christ I have got, and how I have treated him!” It is said of one of the rivals of Demosthenes that the people went away after having listened to him and said, “What a fine orator!” but it is said that when they heard Demosthenes they went away and said, “Let us go and fight Philip.” And so, when the people hear our friend, they go away and say, as he did in a letter he wrote to his uncle when he was fourteen, “Let as go up like lions, and in the name of Jesus fight against everything.” What would be thought about the eloquence of a barrister pleading with a jury, if the jury were to put their heads together and say, “What a fine fellow! How witty he was! What jolly stories he told us!” But if they did not give him the verdict? How much better if they thought nothing at all about the speech, but said, “Certainly we must give him the verdict.” And so, when our friend preaches, the hearers are inclined to give their verdict to Jesus, — not to say, “We find no fault with the preacher,” but, “We find no fault in the Savior, and whatever others say, we decide for him.” Popularity is a good thing when it brings people to hear the gospel, but our friend does not feel that in order to maintain his popularity it is necessary that he should be always indulging in novelties, and finding out fresh theology. One glory of this pulpit is that he holds to the old truths. I think, Sir, that you still believe that the Bible is an inspired book, and of divine authority. I think, Sir, that you still believe that the narratives of Moses and the Old Testament are facts, and not fiction. I do not think, Sir, that you are one of those that are getting rid of the supernatural element, and the record of signs and wonders from the Bible.
It is Jesus Christ you preach. You are :not one of those that explain away the atonement, and say that it means nothing but moral influence, — just the same influence which we may have upon one another, only in a higher degree. You are not one of those who represent that to speak about salvation by the blood of the Lamb is not consistent with modern culture, and that these things must now be put on one side. There is, alas, a great tendency to evade the great central doctrine maintained by the Church of England in its beautiful sacramental service, in which it says that Christ “offered upon the cross a full and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” It is wonderful that any who use those words do not preach the plain meaning of those words. Our friend has proved the truth, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me;” and whatever may be the subordinate attractions of his ministry, Christ is the great attraction. It is the cross that draws you together. Mr. Spurgeon might have, all his oratorical power, but if he were to cease to preach Christ Jesus and him crucified, he would soon begin to see empty seats instead of a crowded assembly. He is always saying to the sinner, “Look, look, look.” He tells us that when he was young he went in great anxiety into a Primitive Methodist chapel, and the preacher looked at him and said, “You are unhappy, young man. Look, look!” and then he felt, “Ah, that is what I have got to do! I have just to look.” And then he records that he considered that no one preached a sermon satisfactorily if in the course of it he did not direct some poor sinner to the Savior. Alas, many sermons are preached without a word to the unconverted. It is never so here. (A voice: “Never.”) Thanks to God for a preacher who addresses six thousand Sunday by Sunday, and always remembers that there may be some there who may never hear another sermon, — some there who have not yet found the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not too refined to leave out of sight the atoning sacrifice. He says, “We preach Christ and him crucified. We are not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God unto salvation.” He is not ashamed to declare that Christ “bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” He is not ashamed of the declaration, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” He is not ashamed of the anthem which saints above are not ashamed of — “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, be glory, and dominion, and praise.” And because we who are assembled here love that gospel above all other loves, and that great truth above all other truths, therefore we combine in rejoicing at his Jubilee, and pray for his continued life, inasmuch as he and we still say,. “Had I ten thousand gifts beside, I’d cleave to Jesus crucified, And build on him alone; For no foundation is there given, On which I place my hopes of heaven, But Christ, the Corner-stone.”
C.H. SPURGEON: My dear friends, it is among my happiest memories that I came to London early enough to know Mr. Hall’s father, the author of “The Sinner’s Friend,” and I have gone home made happy by the squeeze of the hand which the old gentleman used to give to me. You know he was fond of good strong doctrine. He loved to get a bit of the meat that is savory to the taste of a mature believer, and as we agreed therein he would say some very sweet things to me whenever I met him. I claim a share in the reverence which Mr. Hall renders to his father. I honor his name.
With regard to that matter of people not knowing what I am, some very funny things happen through my being a Baptist. When our boys were lately singing, one of the bills of the Orphanage was stuck upon a wall. A friend standing near heard the following little dialogue: — A very fine and aristocratic old lady condescends to read the bill, and she is attended by a very nice young lady, who stands and reads it too. The old lady remarks — I mean older lady, of course — “Who do these children belong to?” “Oh, they belong to Mr. Spurgeon’s Orphanage.” “And what denomination does he belong to?” “Well, I think I have heard that he is a Baptist.” Old lady: — “And who are the Baptists?” Young lady: — ”I do not know, but some of their clergy stand very high.” Explanation given by myself — that she was alluding to Dr. Todd, and Mr. Chown, and Mr. Wigner. And as for me, I also stand very high when I go up to the top gallery. Well, we shall make people know one of these days who the Baptists are, depend upon that; and then there will come a day when they will not wonder what we were, for then the world will never believe that any persons who believed in the New Testament could come to any other conclusion but that believers should be baptized. PASTOR W. WILLIAMS , minister of Upton Chapel, Lambeth, formerly a student of the Pastors’ College, then addressed the meeting. He said:— Beloved President and Christian friends, in his account of the Jewish Jubilee, Dr. Eadie says, that one remarkable feature of it was that, as far as possible, individuals, families, and communities were restored to the same position they had held fifty years before. I am sure that no man in his senses would wish this to be done with the community of the church of Christ, for, with all her faults, she is to-day far in advance of what she was fifty years ago — more aggressive, more generous, and more united; and it is simply stating a palpable fact when we say that, so far as human instrumentality and individual influence have been concerned, this is owing to Mr. Spurgeon more than to any other individual man. This remarkable feat cannot be accomplished with regard to Mr. Spurgeon’s family; for though, perhaps, fifty years ago it may have been to a large extent unhonored and unknown, it has since received a patent of nobility which has made its name a household word, and necessitated chroniclers of modern ecclesiastical history to hunt up its lineage till they have found that it is lost amid the sturdy Protestants of Holland. And I am sure that no one, except it be his satanic majesty, would wish that remarkable feat to which Dr. Eadie alludes to be accomplished with regard to Mr. Spurgeon himself.
Let him sing as persuasively as he can preach, “Make me a child again, just for to-night,” it cannot be done. He is here, and yet I think that all his marvelous growth since first he looked and lived has been a growth toward the cradle. He is every inch a man, but every inch a child — such a child as our Savior speaks of, over whom the great Father spreads his protecting wings, whom he presses to his embrace, and to whom he reveals the secret counsels of his will. We behold our President and Pastor to-night a giant man, and yet a little child. What if I say a phenomenon of nature — a very prodigy of grace?
I am here this evening in a. threefold capacity, — as an old student, as a neighboring minister, and, I think I may add without presumption, as a personal friend. I speak as an old College man, and in doing so I do but represent six hundred men with single aim, and hearts that beat as one.
Sweep a circle of seven feet round the cross, and within that sacred enclosure most if not all of the six hundred men who have gone forth from the College are, and the President in the midst of them. We are determined to know nothing among men save Jesus Christ and him crucified. We can say of our beloved friend and Pastor, as David’s servants said to David, “Thine, we are, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse. Peace, peace be unto thee and unto thy helpers, for thy God helpeth thee.” Every day I feel more thankful that it has been my privilege to be associated with the Pastors’ College; and ten years in the ministry but deepen my gratitude for the doctrines concerning which I received instruction there, and my determination more than ever to preach them. I think that we may refer without any hesitancy to a large extent the secret of Mr. Spurgeon’s success to the fact that he has imbibed and taught the verities of God, and not the speculations of men; and I feel confident that if we would know success we must preach the same gospel; and we are determined to preach it.. I feel more thankful to-day than ever I did that I was taught the doctrines of the grace of God in the College; and as God shall help us — and I speak, too, on behalf of hundreds of others — we mean to preach them more determinedly and more fearlessly than ever. Ten years ago it was said that there was a vessel wrecked off the coast of Cornwall, but in the providence of God all were saved, and they were landed at a small village. There was a Clergyman of the Church of England who was anxious to improve the occasion, and get capital out of it for his Master. So he invited all who had been saved to come to his church on the following Sabbath for a thanksgiving service. They all came, and he preached pointedly the gospel to them, and in his sermon he depicted a man struggling in the water. “When a plank came near to him, how eagerly he would seize it” said the good man, “and how firmly he would grip it. Such a plank is the gospel. Get on it, for it will bear.” He heard nothing of the sermon until fourteen years after, when he was sent for to visit a dying sailor. Upon asking the man about his soul, he found that he could scarcely speak, but he looked up into the clergyman’s eyes and said, “The plank bears, Sir. The plank bears.” Oh, brethren, after having preached for ten or twelve years the gospel that we were taught in College, we can say without any hesitancy, “The plank bears.” In my short ministry I have seen it float scores and hundreds of sinners into the harbor of peace; I have seen it carry scores of saints into the still waters of an eternal calm. While we live we will preach the gospel that we received years ago, and believe that by its power our usefulness can be extended more and more.
I speak also as a neighboring minister. Some one said to me, when I had an invitation to come to London seven years ago, “Do not go there, because you will be overshadowed by Mr. Spurgeon.” Well, they considered that would be a calamity; but it struck me that it would be a blessing. In his shadow for these seven years have I rejoiced; and, if anybody would do me a great kindness, let him, if he can, find another Mr. Spurgeon, and put him the other side of me, and my joy would be still greater. I am sure that Mr. Spurgeon has no idea of the influence he exerts upon the churches in this neighborhood. I believe that I have been stimulated myself, and my own people have been stimulated in many ways by his example and by his influence. And then, many of the good things that he says, the ministers who hear him and read his sermons preach afterwards themselves. I was at a great meeting the other day, sitting on the platform, and as rather a smart thing was said by one of the speakers, a gentleman next to me, whom I did not know, said, “‘ That’s Spurgeon.” When we have said a particularly good thing, if our people were as wise as that man, they might often say, “That’s Spurgeon.” And I am sure that the churches in this neighborhood have been blessed beyond what they wot of through the influence he exerts. I thank God that it is my privilege to be associated with him so closely in Christian work.
Now I must not say much about personal friendship. Perhaps it would be out of place; still it has been my privilege to have sweet and real fellowship with him in private, for which I am deeply grateful. Some men of genius preserve a rigid isolation, but it is not so with Mr. Spurgeon. He is eminently sociable, and many far inferior in gifts and position have claimed friendship here, and had the claim allowed. Of this friendship it is my joy to participate now, and I trust it antedates a glad eternity, and is a heaven in epitome.
The REV. JOSEPH PARKER, D.D. , Chairman of the Congregational Union, was the next speaker. He said : — A change has taken place somewhere. As a friend of mine was coming out of a chapel in Huddersfield thirty years ago, a distinguished layman followed him and said, after Mr. Spurgeon’s sermon, “I hope you do not consider this young man a fair specimen of our Baptist ministry. I should be ashamed of our young ministers if he represented them.” A change has taken place somewhere. We have heard to-night that Mr. Spurgeon has not changed. I infer, therefore, that the change has taken place on the other side. I opened a book not long ago in which there was a preface written by a friendly hand to some very brilliant sermons preached by a Clergyman of the Church of England. In the course of that preface a letter is cited, and in that letter I read, “Even Mr. Spurgeon with his vulgar slang.” A change must have taken place somewhere. We have heard to-night that for one generation Mr. Spurgeon has continued the same, so I infer that the change has taken place in the opinion of those who criticized him in a hostile spirit. A minister of considerable reputation said, some time ago, “Spurgeon has gone up like a rocket, and will come down like a stick.” However, he has not come down at all yet. That minister may be perfectly correct for anything we know to the contrary, but, as the descent has not been accomplished, we cannot absolutely test his prophecy. The last time I saw Mr. Spurgeon he was upon two sticks. Probably they were those upon which two of his critics may have come down, and he condescendingly picked them up and used them. But what a wonderful change! It is sown in contemptible slang: it is raised again in magnificent English. He was sown a man who was worthy only of ridicule, and now, behold, he has awoke in the glories of a newspaper article. There is yet hope for the very worst of us. What know we but that some poor, dying, pulpit ape may awake in the paradise of a newspaper eulogium? Let us stick to our work. Hold on to it; persevere; stand in the same footprints; and if we do our duty to the best of our ability we shall not go even without human recognition. I am pleased to say that my esteem of Mr. Spurgeon has always allowed me to entertain an excellent opinion of other kinds of preachers. I have never found it necessary, in order to offer a sacrifice at his altar, to pull any other body’s altar down. I believe in gospel preaching, simple, true, and real, of every kind. I believe that God is not confined to one chariot. His chariots are twenty thousand. God may choose whom he will, and may work as he pleases; and do not let us look at the mere instrument, but wonder and adore as we bring before our imagination the infinite vastness of the resources of him who, though the heaven of heavens cannot contain him, makes his own rule of hospitality in fixing his abode in the broken and humble heart. The great lesson of Mr. Spurgeon’s career seems to me to be that there is still room for preachers. We are told that the market is very much crowded. It may be so. I believe that it is so in some respects; but if another Spurgeon were to arise he would create a space for himself. He would establish himself in the confidence and in the affections of the people. He would first have to go through an evolutionary process, as Mr. Spurgeon has done. He would have to submit to the law of development, even though he might sometimes find a little critical fault with it. A greater Baptist than Mr. Spurgeon had to pass through it. “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?” A nine days’ wonder? A flash in the pan? A little momentary flutter, after which all is forgotten again? That is the first step in the process. “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A man clothed in soft raiment?” — seeking himself, feathering his own nest, promoting his own interests, making a good thing out of it — and other vulgarisms too detestable to be quoted?
That is the second step in the process. “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A prophet?” That is the last step. Evolution has completed itself. The man who was abused thirty years ago is praised tonight for his pure Saxon; and the slang of a generation since is forgotten in the magnificence of his unchanged English. There is always room for preachers of all kinds who are true, who have the music of the kingdom of heaven in them — men who have touched by sympathetic faith the immortal cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their voice is known. A response is not wanting to their persuasions and appeals. It is very easy to forget the man who mumbles in the pulpit something which he never got out of his own mind. It is very easy to forget the preacher who uses polysyllables which can only be explained by foot-notes. It is very difficult for the man to make his way in a common-sense world who delivers those charming compositions, so finished and so perfectly beautiful, so delightful to listen to and so easy to forget. It may be difficult for this man to make a way in the world; but the true preacher, be he what he may as to mere denominationalism, is not the creature of men; and, as the creation of the divine sovereignty, he could never be put down. The second lesson that I have drawn from Mr. Spurgeon’s great career is that there is still room for the gospel. The people like it: the people know it. I am sure that I would rather trust the common people to settle this question than a committee of technicalists and experts. The people know what life is. They know its battles and its sorrows, its deep, dark valleys, its days of cloud, its nights of fear, its bitterness, its burdens, its sore tragedies. And they know what balm can soothe them, — what can give them heart again, and what can rekindle their expired hope. “Vox populi vox Dei” in this matter. “There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding.” I wish along with all my other brethren to live and to work with Mr. Spurgeon in terms of mutual confidence and brotherly affection; and I wish that we may be one in every high aspiration — one in every gracious prayer. I want the hostile world to see no break nor flaw between us. I am speaking now of the whole denominationalism of the evangelical churches; and I believe that, when that union and solidarity are really effected, they will constitute an argument which the most hostile critics of Christianity will find it impossible to answer. C. H. SPURGEON : I asked Dr. Parker to come, and he very kindly consented. I did so for two reasons. The first was because of his official position as the Chairman of the Congregational Union, in which I desire for him every blessing. The other reason was my own personal esteem for himself. Whether he was a Chairman or not a Chairman did not matter much. He is himself, and he has spoken to us in such a way as we shall never forget.
Now we are to come to the other part of the meeting, which will interest you, I have not the slightest doubt, as much as an eloquent speech could do. Permit me to say that there are many brethren here whose voices I should have greatly liked to hear, and so would you; but we did not bring our nightcaps with us, and the London streets are not proper places for most people very late. I wish they were. I cannot make out why there cannot be some form of law and order that would make it safe for a Christian woman to go home from the Tabernacle of a night. I have it in my heart to propose to you one of these days that, if we cannot be protected by the police, we should tramp the streets ourselves and protect ourselves, for things in the London streets are getting so detestable that I can hardly conceive that Sodom at night was half so bad as this city has now become. I want to speak very plainly, so that it may get to the ears of those who ought to hear it. It is time that we could go between this place of worship, or any other place of worship, and our homes, without having the most abominable vice intruded upon us — ay, fifty times within a hundred yards, as it is in this neighborhood. It is one of our great sorrows.
We cannot forget it.
Most of you have not heard the address which has been prepared by the church to be delivered to me before the presentation of the testimonial.
Now, my dear Mr. Carr, you are one of those old friends who have been with me from the beginning. I cannot help looking with special love upon you and other veterans. Had Mr. William Olney been here, Mr. Carr would have read this address, for he is our historian, but we should before this have heard Mr. William Olney’s warm, enthusiastic greeting. Not because other deacons are not as old and just as loving, but because it has been the habit of most of us to let our dear friend Mr. William go first. We cannot help bringing in his name to-night, though he is far away. Just put your hands to your eyes one minute, and telegraph a blessing to him now. [A short space of time was passed in silent prayer.] My prayer ended thus — “ and bring him back again.”
The address from the church, which was read at the meeting on the previous evening, was again read by Mr. B. W. Carr.
A portion of the Jubilee Hymn, composed by Mr. Vernon J. Charlesworth, Head-Master of the Stockwell Orphanage, was then sung. C. H. SPURGEON : Before we come to the closing part of this meeting, I want to thank a great many people who have joined in the celebration of these two days. I do not mean, just for the moment, those who have given money, but I mean those who have helped to make the days go so well. Chiefly, and first of all, there is Mr. Murrell, who has managed the great task of getting us into our places, and. making us as comfortable as we could be in such a crowd. And then the ladies of the Flower Mission decorated my rooms in such a way that I felt as if I was a frog coolly hiding my ordinary self underneath all those fair flowers and leaves, and I hardly wanted to hop out, I felt so comfortable in the midst of it all. Everybody else seemed to do something or other in kindliness. Those friends of the Clapham Male Choir must needs come last evening and tonight and sing, for which I feel very grateful to them. Mr. Charlesworth set to work to write a hymn. Everybody has done something or other. My dear friend Mr. Chown came on purpose to utter his great heart, but I want to get through and let you all go; and I know that he is a man who will not be offended by my not asking him to speak. Mr. T. H. OLNEY: My dear Pastor, and Christian Friends, I suppose that every one whom I see in front of me has contributed to the Spurgeon Jubilee Fund. We, as treasurers, have now the pleasing duty to perform to report to you the progress of this fund, and the large amount to which your kind liberality has raised it. The amount of the fund at present is over £4,500. I think this sum has proceeded from all classes and conditions of men. I know that a great portion of it has been raised in the Sunday Schools, and the superintendent told us that many of the children had brought in farthings. I know also that there are the pennies of the workingmen; and I also have the pleasure of knowing that there are the hundred pounds of the merchant princes. It is a great pleasure to know that our dear Pastor is appreciated, esteemed, and loved by so many classes of society.
Both I and Mr. Murrell have not only reason to esteem him, but we have reason to love him; and I can assure you that the more any of you know of him the better you will love him.
I can say what perhaps not more than a dozen people in this place can say, that I heard Mr. Spurgeon preach the first sermon he ever preached in London. I have always considered that the text which he then chose had a prophecy in it. It was this, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of a turning.” With respect to the first part of that verse, it has turned out true. Our dear Pastor has, indeed, been a good gift, a most precious gift, and I can almost say a perfect gift to us as a church; and in addition to that, I can say that our heavenly Father has been the same to us all through, without the shadow of a turning. And I know that our dear Pastor will bear me out when I say that God has smiled on all his enterprises. Spurgeon and Success both begin with an S, and they are very near neighbors, and always have been since he has been in London.
I have the pleasure of handing a cheque for £4,500 in your name to our dear Pastor. The sum is a large one, but I scarcely think that it is adequate to show the love and esteem that we all have for him. It is a happy thought to think that we are not pensioning off the old gentleman. We are not giving twopence to the old clarionet player to go into the next street, but at the same time that we present him with this token of our love, we can congratulate him on the full powers which he still possesses to charm our ears, and to instruct and move our hearts. And I know that, in handing this amount over to him, I shall not be wrong in saying that it is the unanimous opinion of this meeting that he is worthy of this testimonial. Mr. W. C. MURRELL: My dear friends, — it is to me a great pleasure and a peculiar: privilege to be connected with this testimonial. I have been identified with it from the first, and I am not tired of it yet. We give this £4,500 on account. I happen to know that our dear Pastor has a great many calls on his private purse. It will be very handy for him to have this on account, to liquidate some of these calls. I happen to know that it is the opinion of every one, without exception, that this money should be given to him entirely free from any condition, and remain absolutely at his own disposal. I mention this because our dear Pastor is so very tender upon that point. He thinks that it ought to be for some of the Lord’s work. Well, if he thinks so, I am sure that he will do it, but I want him to have it; and lots of friends — I may say hundreds — have thus expressed themselves to me, “If I did not know that Mr. Spurgeon was going to have this money given to himself unreservedly, I would not subscribe a penny.” I say this thus emphatically that you may all give your right hearty “Amen” to the resolution that he should have this money to do as he pleases. We have no right to it. We hand it over to him. It is his money. It is not ours. We have no feeling whatever other than you all have, that he should accept it as an expression of our personal regard. It might be thought that we might have the laying out of part of it, but I would not lay out the smallest fraction of it. Let me take this opportunity of saying that I desire to offer my very hearty thanks to those friends who helped me at the very beginning of this testimonial. To all others, from the smallest to the largest contributors, I am deeply obliged; but those that helped me from the first, at a drawingroom meeting in my own house, I seem to love with a very tender affection. They were special friends that came to the rescue when it was needful. We started the thing ably, amicably, and admirably, and that helped and encouraged other friends to give in the kind and generous manner which they have done. I am sure, dear friends, I thank you each individually from my very heart for help in this good cause.
Our dear Pastor has had very much abler tongues than mine to salute him with congratulations. Little has perhaps been left unsaid. But we do seem in a measure to have forgotten Mrs. Spurgeon. I am sure that many of us have had an opportunity of seeing the great help that she has been to Mr. Spurgeon in so many ways, that I think that we cannot fail to be thankful to see her here on this second occasion to-night. It is an old saying, that a man is only half a man without his wife. I am quite sure that he would not be so good a man as he is if it were not for Mrs. Spurgeon. One instance has fallen under my notice that may not be generally known. I hope I am not betraying a home secret in referring to it. When our dear Pastor has his eyes weary with reading and writing in that busy study of his, his good help-meet reads to him hour by hour, much to his refreshment. It is a joy to her and a succor to him.
As I mostly speak on the weekly offerings when I am here, I have all my work to do not to get on that theme now. I should have liked to see the five thousand pounds made up to-night. There is one thing I can say — that Mr. Spurgeon will lay this money out well. He needs it, and wants it; and he has got so many ways for it that everything that you give will be a great blessing. I mention that because so many friends say, “Oh, Mr. Spurgeon does not want money!” That is the very thing that he does want.
A great many friends said, “Oh, well, let us give him some costly present!”
Nay, nay! Let us give him the money, dear friends, and then he can buy whatever he likes. I would just tell you, dear friends, that this fund will not be closed to-night. It will not be closed whilst any money comes in for it. I fear that I have had the best part of my speech knocked out of me; I meant to say this at the first. A great many friends said, “I hope I am in time before the fund is closed.” I only want to say for Mr. Olney and myself that this fund will be kept open as long as any friend will send any subscription to it. MR. SPURGEON, on. rising to reply, was received with three hearty cheers. He said: My dear friends, am I really expected to make a speech after this display of your loving-kindness? It is not merely the waving of handkerchiefs, and the crying of “hurrah;” it is what I have been hearing the last two days. It has been enough to melt a heart of stone. I am sure that the affectionate words to which I have listened have sunk into my heart. I can take a very great deal of encouragement without being lifted up even to the ordinary level, and all I have received will operate upon me more afterwards than just now. But I am sure that the kindly pressure of the hand, and the way in which one after another has told me that I led them to the Savior, or that I comforted them in the time of trouble, has been a very great comfort to me. To God be all the honor; to me it is an overwhelming honor to be his servant. Had there been no money whatever accompanying this celebration, I should have been as well pleased as I am now; for I never proposed a gift, and I never thought of it. I did propose that there should be some money gathered on account of the building of the house at the back, which is for the use of this church. I thought that a very good and proper object. You will remember that some years ago you were so good as to give me £6,000 and more as a testimonial; and I went away that night with a very light heart, because I handed the whole of it over to you back again for the work of the almshouses and some other works. That exactly is what I proposed to do to-night — just the same thing over again, only that I am not permitted to do it. A very large number of the donors said that they would not give anything if my Jubilee day was made a pretext for assisting the societies. They put it as strongly as that; they had given the time before with a view of giving something to me, and they would not a second time give unless they did give to me. At the start I proposed four objects to be helped, and I asked the donors to allot their money to one or other of those four as they pleased.. In pursuance of that request, there has been an allotment made. Judge how very little that idea seemed to take with our friends! Having it before them, and having it pressed upon them by myself, they have allotted £81 9s. 6d. to the Almshouses, £31 to the Colportage,. £74 to the Orphanage, and £43 to my son’s Chapel at Auckland, and there is a pound or two — perhaps three — allotted to societies; and that is all; and all the rest is evidently left by the will of the friends totally free. Well, it must be so, and I accept the money for myself so far as that is the expressed desire: only if I give it now to any charitable enterprises in any proportion you give me full liberty to do as I like with it. You will not suppose that I am not having it, because I do not know how I can better have it than by being allowed to give it away. What I have is best enjoyed by myself personally when I can use it in some way or other for the advantage of the work of God. I cannot be debarred from this gratification. I will go the length of saying that I will take some portion of this for myself. But first of all there will be a thousand pounds needed to pay for the house at the back, and furniture and all sorts of things; and I shall pay to the church treasurer a thousand pounds for that object. Then I want to give something to St. Thomas’s Hospital, which helps our friends.
Some years ago, my dear brother, Mr. Higgs, at my request, paid the usual amount, and became one of the governors of the hospital. He is gone, and I want to be a governor in succession to him — not that I have any interest to serve there except that of the sick poor. Then I want to give to the church £200, to make up what is given to the Almshouses to £200, and also to give to the deacons £100, which they may keep to lend to persons who can use a loan well. We have no money to lend, and I am the party who has to lend to everybody. I do not go in for large loans, but I speculate in sewing machines, and mangles, and some other things of that sort. I should have a considerable number of sewing machines and mangles if I ever had them back again, but that does not generally happen; so I want other persons to look after the things that are lent and get the money back again, and I think that that would be very useful. I want also, to give to the Baptist Fund for the relief of poor ministers, £50, on the behalf of my son Charles, to make him a member of it. I should like to give £100 to the fund for augmenting the salaries of our poor brethren. I should like to make up the amount for Colportage work to £200. I should like to give £250 to the Tabernacle at Auckland. I should like to give at least £100 to my wife’s Book Fund for poor ministers. I have a little list here, but if I were to read any more friends might object that I was doing contrary to their wish. I must try and avoid all opposition to the donors, and yet help my work and other work. I am called upon so much to help the building of chapels and such like things, that I am kept perpetually very poor — not that I want anything. I have all things. I do not need this money; but still there has been a time when we expended all that we had, and we had nothing laid by whatsoever. But if anybody supposes that I have a very large sum of money laid by, I shall be very glad to let them make a bid for it. I think that it is highly probable that I should be a great gainer by their proposition, even if it were reasonable. I had a huge fortune left me, as you know, some time ago — in the moon. It was in the papers everywhere: that is where it was. When the papers hand it over I shall be glad. So it has been ever with me, that whenever I have had help given me there have been calls at once more than equal to it. On the last occasion I was greatly amused at the shoal of applicants who applied for the money. Though the papers stated that I gave it all back again, they applied for it all the same. One person wrote wanting help for her husband, that he might pay his debts on his farm, amounting to some £500, because it was clear to her mind that I had such a lot of money that I did not want any more, or else I should not have given the money back. I could not see how after I had handed the money I could still give it to somebody else. I beg to give notice that it will be useless to write to me for this money, because I shall be able. to appropriate it without the assistance of friends. There are so many institutions here, and so much work to be done, that whatever comes to me, the first thing I begin to think of is not “What shall I do with it?” but “In what direction do I most need it?” Mr. Murrell spoke the honest truth when he said, “Money is just what he does want.” I am the pipe through which the money runs. It runs in at one end, and it runs out at the other with extreme rapidity; and you may see daily what that money does. If you ever wish to see, go to the College; go to the Almshouses; go to the Orphanage. Go and see what God has done through your liberality. I have coveted no man’s silver or gold. I have desired nothing at your hands, but that you love the Lord Jesus Christ, and serve him with all your might. But I have coveted, and I do still covet to have a generous people about me, because I am sure that it is to God’s glory and to your own advantage.
Poor men should give that they may not be always poor. Rich men should give that they may not become poor. These are selfish motives, but still they are worthy to be mentioned. “There is that scattereth and yet increaseth. There is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty.” As a general rule, he that keeps will not find it multiply under his hands: he that gives shall find that it is given back to him, “pressed down, good measure, and running over.” Besides, I do not think much of giving when I have plenty to give with. I like it better when I can pinch myself. If you pinch yourself there is a sweetness about giving to the Lord. What you do not want you can dispense with, and exhibit small love; but when you come to what you do want, and give that to the Lord, then there comes to your own heart the comfortable assurance that you are really doing it unto the Lord, and would do it unto the last penny, if it were demanded of you by the needs of his cause.
Now I thank everybody who has given a hundred pounds, and everybody who has given a penny. God bless you, and return it to you in every way!
One of our brethren told you the other night what once happened to me. I had been preaching in a country place, and a good woman gave me five shillings. I said to her, “Well, my dear friend, I do not want your money.”
She said, “But you must take it; I give it to you because I got good from you.” I said, “Shall I give it to the College?” She answered, “I don’t care about the .College. I care about you.” “Then I will give: it to the Orphanage.” “No,” she said, “you take it yourself.” I said, “You want it more than I do.” She replied, “Now, do you think that your Lord and Master would have talked like that to the woman who came and broke the alabaster box over him? I do not think he would.” She added, “I know you do not mean to be unkind. I worked extra to earn it, and give it to you.” I told her that she owed me nothing, and that woman owed the Lord everything. “What am I to do with it?” She said, “Buy anything you like with it. I do not care. Only, mind, you must have it for yourself.” I mention the incident because it is much in that spirit that the friends have given now.
The Lord bless you! The Lord bless you! The Lord bless you yet more and more, you and your children!
The REV. J.P. CHOWN offered prayer, and the meeting was closed with the Doxology.