THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL – VOLUME 4

Table of Contents

Title Page
Chap 1. DEAR READER
Chap 2. FEBRUARY 1874 – THE PRESENT POSITION OF CALVINISM IN ENGLAND
Chap 3. MARCH, 1874. – THE NEED OF DECISION FOR THE TRUTH.
Chap 4. APRIL, 1874. – REV. GEORGE ROGERS
Chap 5. JULY, 1874. – THE COMMISSARIAT UNIVERSE.
Chap 6. AUGUST, 1874. – STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE.
Chap 7. SEPTEMBER, 1874. – ECCENTRIC BUT USEFUL – I
Chap 8. OCTOBER, 1874. – ECCENTRIC BUT USEFUL. – II
Chap 9. NOVEMBER, 1874. – SHOES FOR PILGRIMS AND WARRIORS.
Chap 10. DECEMBER, 1874. – A DOUBLE KNOCK AT THE DOOR OF THE YOUNG.
Chap 11. A RECORD, PREFACE., 1875
Chap 12. JANUARY, 1875. – TWENTY YEARS OF PUBLISHED SERMONS
Chap 13. FEBRUARY, 1875. – OUR WINTER RETREAT.
Chap 14. MARCH, 1875. – NOTES FROM “THE DIARY OF JAMES CALDER.”
Chap 15. APRIL, 1875. – LONDON.
Chap 16.MAY, 1875. – INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF THE PASTORS’
Chap 17. JUNE, 1875. – A PLEA PASTORS’ COLLEGE.
Chap 18. JULY, 1875. – HINTS ON THE VOICE FOR YOUNG PREACHERS.
Chap 19. AUGUST, 1875. – DYING MINISTERS.
Chap 20. SEPTEMBER 1875 – WHOSE FAITH FOLLOW.
Chap 21. NOVEMBER, 1875. – IN COURT.
Chap 22. DECEMBER, 1875. – SHAM SPIRITUALITY.
Chap 23. PREFACE. 1876
Chap 24. JANUARY, 1876. – WELCOME TO 1876.
Chap 25. MARCH 1876 – A SHORT SERMON FOR A WINTER’S EVENING.
Chap 26. APRIL, 1876. – A SERMON BEE.
Chap 27. MAY, 1876. – LAID ASIDE. WHY?
Chap 28. JUNE, 1876. – INAUGURAL ADDRESS
Chap 29. AUGUST 1876. – THE GREAT POT AND THE TWENTY LOAVES.
Chap 30. OCTOBER, 1876 – THE MAN WHOSE HAND CLAVE TO HIS SWORD.
Chap 31. NOVEMBER 1876. – HOW THE LAMBS FEED.
Chap 32. FOOTNOTES

 

Title Page

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

VOLUME 4

.

by

C.H. Spurgeon

Chap 1. DEAR READER

 

AS mariners across the sea of time we have ploughed our way through another league of the great deep, and registered another year. Our longitude and latitude have altered somewhat, and our bearings are different, we are so much nearer the land of the setting sun, with a course due west. The country from which we set out is so much the further behind, let us hope that we are less mindful of it. The brave country ahead is somewhat closer, “for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” We have encountered rough weather as our log will show, and parted with portions of the cargo, which we were loath to throw overboard, but, blessed be God, our vessel’s back was not broken on the mountain billows, neither did the tempest drive her on the rocks. We lost our reckoning and made a deviation from our course, much to our sorrow, but now we keep her stem towards port, and we know whither we are going. Now and then a land-bird alights on the rigging and sings us an anticipatory welcome, and we have gathered stray boughs and branches of trees which flourish only on the shore we seek, and this leads us to believe that we are nearer port than some might think; at any rate by the best nautical almanac we know that we are “not far from home.” Our watches grow more solemn and yet more hopeful; we send a man to the masthead to look for land oftener than ever we did, and the vessel seems to feel the attraction of the shore even as a needle is agitated when the magnet is at hand. Comrades, what cheer? Is not the Lord of Hosts with us as our captain? Let us rejoice, and sing one of the songs of Zion, and salute the old year as we pass her on her voyage to eternity.

Dropping the metaphor, we salute our readers most cheerfully, while we thank them for bearing with us through another year: we have done our best, and never has it been more appreciated if kindly letters of thanks may be regarded as safe evidences. We have made mistakes in this magazine, as well as in our deeds and words, and there are those who have wanted to hang us up like Mordecai on a gallows of fifty cubits high, but we sit in the king’s gate still, and probably shall do when those who make a man an offender for a word are forgotten. Our true friends have, however, remained as faithful and as kind as ever, believing in our sincere desire to vindicate truth and to walk uprightly among men, and therefore being content to differ from us when they could not exactly agree. These, and they are legion, are the friends we desire, and it is a delight to serve them. Our post is no sinecure, for we do really edit this magazine, and also write with our own pen no small part of it, and this has to be done at times when flesh and blood, and brain, and nerve, all say, “we pray thee have us excused.” To preach almost daily, study, write books, prepare college lectures, answer an enormous number of letters, manage an orphanage, and a hundred other things needs an industry which never lets the grass grow round its feet, and craves an indulgence which some are slow to grant. Will our readers go on bearing with us, and also kindly make some little effort to extend the circulation of the magazine, which is very cheering, but might be doubled, much to the advantage of the interests which it strives to promote?

Our College, Orphanage, and Colportage have been by divine Providence kept above all want through another year. To God be glory, and to the donors thanks. May they be rewarded by a sense of having done it unto the Lord. Such is our confidence in all that we have wrought hitherto.

We have finished and published the “Interpreter” during the year 1874, and it only remains to be placed in our friends’ houses to aid them in family worship. We feel sure that if they knew it they would value it, for hundreds acknowledge that it has been very helpful to them.

Another volume of the “Treasury of David,” Vol. IV., will also be issued at the close of the year, making two-thirds of our laborious work upon the Psalms. Hitherto the Lord hath helped us.

Our solemn testimony at the close of another year is that the Lord assuredly hears prayer, that faith in Him is always wisdom, and that He is a blessed God, and they are blessed who serve Him. Nothing quiets a troubled conscience like the atoning blood of Jesus, and nothing raises the mind from sadness like the comforts of the Holy Ghost; this also we know, for we have tasted and handled it. Reader, can you set your seal to these verities; if so, let us continue to tell the world so, till out of this unbelieving generation a remnant shall be gathered who shall praise the Lord.

Finally, may peace be with all the children of the God of peace. While traveling in Italy it was our good fortune to fall in with our esteemed friend, Dr. Jobson, a Wesleyan brother well known to fame as a preacher of the gospel, and known also to his numerous friends as an artist of no mean order. By his kindness we are able to present our readers with a view of the stairs on the north side of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, at Rome, which are superstitiously reputed to be the identical steps which our Savior descended when he left the judgment hall of Pilate. No mention is made of steps in the gospels, but that is of small consequence to the Church of Rome, which recognizes tradition as quite sufficient authority. There are twenty-eight marble steps of considerable breadth, and we are asked to believe that they were transported from Jerusalem to Rome by miraculous agency. We remember a cottage which was so dilapidated that, to our knowledge, the father gathered up the steps of the stairs, and sent his boy with them to the landlord, with the message, “Please, sir, father has sent you our stairs, and would be glad of a new set,” but these marble slabs are in excellent repair and of great weight, and must have required a considerable amount of angelic engineering to remove them to their present site. However, for many a long year doubters concerning the authenticity of the holy stairs have been judged to be rank infidels, and have been considered worthy of the direst pains of perdition. Those who adored the Pope,

“And kissed — whatever he gave them to kiss,
Toe, relic, embroidery, nought came amiss,”

were of course reverent kissers of the staircase, but that is not all, for so powerful was the superstitious esteem for these steps that persons of a better sort who renounced other follies yet clung to the virtues of the Scala Santa, and cling to them even now. “But,” said one who had been convinced of the absurdity of worshipping the Virgin and the Bambino, “you cannot deny that the steps of the Scala Santa are very holy, and that it is well to pray upon them.”

Two years ago we stood at the foot of the staircase, and saw persons of both sexes, and all ages and conditions, climbing up these stairs upon their knees. The marble is protected by planks of wood, which, it is said, have been three times worn away by the knees of penitents, and as often renewed. We could quite believe it, for the kneeling traffic before us was very great. It was a mournful spectacle to look up and see poor human nature so degraded as to be crawling up a staircase with the view of reaching heaven, and it was sadder still to stand at the top and look down upon the faces of the ascending devotees. Some of them appeared to be going through the performance with light hearts, but others were quite absorbed in their prayers and genuflections. In the wood of the bottom, middle, and uppermost steps there is an opening, through which the marble appears, and here each climber pauses and kisses the stone, because there our Lord is reported to have fallen, groaned, or fainted, we forget which. We were not permitted to walk up this blessed piece of deception, but we ascended by one of the parallel staircases which flank it on either hand, down which the penitents descend. At the top is a painting of the Savior, in which he is represented at the age of twelve as five feet eight inches in height; this famous daub is ascribed to St. Luke, and held in the utmost veneration. The present Pope has expended large sums upon the buildings which enclose the Scala Santa, both in repairs and decorations. Last year, on our second visit, the Scala Santa were but very scantily furnished with worshippers; indeed, business seemed to be at a very low ebb in most of the churches, and we were led to hope that the trade in “the Roman row” of Vanity Fair was going to the dogs, as it deserved.

Now, it is one thing to read and write this description, but it was quite another matter to be present in body and see the whole affair in actual operation. One can be cool and prudent at a distance, for the abomination does not strike the mind so vividly; but to stand there and see those detestable priests looking on with an ill-concealed contempt for the crawling crowd of deluded men and women, looking, as Luther would say, “as if the poor laity stank in their sacred noses,” made our blood boil, and gave our language a flavor akin to David’s fiercer psalms. Never did we more greatly marvel at the mercy of God, which holds back his thunderbolts from destroying those wretched shavelings who deceive the people. It was very wrong, no doubt, but a man must be even more perfect than John Wesley, or Pearsall Smith, if he can look upon such a scene without righteous indignation, intensified by a little mixture of human nature. We hope we did not imprecate vengeance upon anybody, Jesuit or Pope, but we do not feel quite sure about it. Happily for us we were at that time accosted by a gentleman, a member of the English Church, who expressed himself very forcibly upon the humiliating scene before us. This furnished us with a diversion, for we said to him, “This is what your church is coming to; the baptismal regeneration of the Prayer Book is rotting her through and through, and breeding in her all the evils of Popery.” He mildly expostulated, but added that after what he had seen of Romanism he did not wonder at honest men using the strongest possible language, and even going to an extreme in their protests. Our abhorrence of Popery and everything verging upon it rose to a white heat as we saw how it can lower an intelligent nation to the level of fetish worship, and associate the name of the ever-blessed Jesus with a groveling idolatry. If our mild milk-andwater Protestants could see Popery with their own eyes, they might have less to say against Orange bigotry; and if those who play at ornate worship could see whither their symbolism tends, they would start back aghast, and adhere henceforth to the severest simplicity. Perhaps Luther would never have become a Reformer had it not been for his visit to Rome and his ascent of these very stairs. In the city where he expected to find the church of God in all its holiness, he found sin rampant beyond all precedent. “It is almost incredible,” says he, “what infamous actions are committed at Rome; one would require to see it and hear it in order to believe it. It is an ordinary saying that if there is a hell, Rome is built upon it. It is an abyss from whence all sins proceed.” Nor did he speak as an exaggerating enthusiast, for Machiavelli’s witness was that the nearer you came to the capital of Christendom the less you found of the Christian spirit. “We Italians,” said the great historian, “are chiefly indebted to the church and the priests for our having become a set of profane scoundrels.” Undeceived as to the holiness of Popedom by his own actual observation in its chief city, Luther was in a fit state to be delivered from its thralldom, and the hand which set him free snapped his fetters for him upon the very stairs which we have described, and which our friend has depicted. The historian of the Reformation thus describes the sudden enlightenment of Luther’s mind : —

“One day, among others, wishing to gain an indulgence which the Pope had promised to every one who should on his knees climb up what is called Pilate’s Stair, the Saxon monk was humbly crawling up the steps, which he was told had been miraculously transported to Rome from Jerusalem. But while he was engaged in this meritorious act, he thought he beard a voice of thunder which cried at the bottom of his heart, as at Wittemberg and Bologna, ‘ The just shall live by faith.’ These words, which had already on two different occasions struck him like the voice of an angel of God, resounded loudly and incessantly within him. He rises up in amazement from the steps along which he was dragging his body. Horrified at himself, and ashamed to see how far superstition has abased him, he flies far from the scene of his folly.

“In regard to this mighty word there is something mysterious in the life of Luther. It proved a creating word both for the Reformer and for the Reformation. It was by it that God then said, ‘ Let light be, and light was.’ It is often necessary that a truth, in order to produce its due effect on the mind, should be repeatedly presented to it. Luther had carefully studied the Epistle to the Romans, and yet, though justification by faith is there taught, he had never seen it so clearly. Now he comprehended the righteousness which alone can stand in the presence of God; now he received from God himself, by the hand of Christ, that obedience which he freely imputes to the sinner as soon as he humbly turns his eye to the God-Man who was crucified. This is the decisive period in the internal life of Luther. The faith which saved him from the terrors of death became the soul of his theology, his fortress in all dangers, the stamina of his discourse, the stimulant of his love, the foundation of his peace, the spur of his labors, his consolation in life and in death.

“But this great doctrine of a salvation which emanates from God and not from man, was not only the power of God to save the soul of Luther, it also became the power of God to reform the Church; a powerful weapon which the apostles wielded, a weapon too long neglected, but at length brought forth in its primitive luster from the arsenal of the mighty God. At the moment when Luther stood up in Rome, all moved, and thrilling with the words which Paul had addressed fifteen centuries before to the inhabitants of this metropolis, truth, till then a fettered captive within the church, rose up also, never again to fall.

“Here we must let Luther speak for himself. ‘Although I was a holy and irreproachable monk, my conscience was full of trouble and anguish. I could not bear the words, ‘ Justice of God.’ I loved not the just and holy God who punishes sinners. I was filled with secret rage against him, and hated him, because, not satisfied with terrifying his miserable creatures, already lost by original sin, with his law and the miseries of life, he still further increased our torment by the gospel ….. But when, by the Spirit of God, I comprehended these words; when I learned how the sinner’s justification proceeds from the pure mercy of the Lord by means of faith, then I felt myself revived like a new man, and entered at open doors into the very. paradise of God. From that time, also, I beheld the precious sacred volume with new eyes. I went over all the Bible, and collected a great number of passages which taught me what the work of God was. And as I had previously, with all my heart, hated the words, ‘ Justice of God,’ so from that time I began to esteem and love them, as words most sweet and most consoling. In truth, these words were to me the true gate of paradise.’”

As the Scala Santa thus became the place of salvation to the great reformer, so may our reference to them be made serviceable to those of our readers who have not yet found peace with God. The motive which leads men to crawl upon their knees up these famous stairs is the worldwide principle of self-salvation. Do is the popular gospel of unregenerate human nature: It is all done is the glad tidings of the grace of God. You, dear reader, are perhaps trying to be better in act, better in feeling, better in resolution, and this with the view of commending yourself to the favor of God. What is this but your Pilate’s Stairs? You will find that all your efforts are labor in vain, for by the works of the law no man will ever be justified before God. The gospel does not promise eternal life to good works, or prayers, or tears, or horrible feelings; its one great utterance is, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” May the Holy Spirit with divine power force upon every self-righteous mind the conviction of its own ruin, and of the hopelessness of its own efforts, and so may the soul become willing to accept eternal life as the gift of God by Jesus Christ. “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set,, his disciples came unto him. And he opened his mouth, and taught them saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they than mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” — Matthew 5:1-12. One enjoys a sermon all the better for knowing something of the preacher. It is natural that, like John in Patmos, we should turn to see the voice which spake with us. Turn hither then, and learn that the Christ of God is the Preacher of the Sermon on the mount. He who delivered the Beatitudes was not only the Prince of preachers, but he was beyond all others qualified to discourse upon the subject which he had chosen. Jesus the Savior was best able to answer the question, “Who are the saved?” Being himself the ever-blessed Son of God, and the channel of blessings, he was best able to inform us who are indeed the blessed of the Father. As Judge, it will be his office to divide the blessed from the accursed at the last, and therefore it is most meet that in gospel majesty he should declare the principle of that judgment, that all men may be forewarned.

Do not fall into the mistake of supposing that the opening verses of the Sermon on the mount set forth how we are to be saved, or you may cause your soul to stumble. You will find the fullest light upon that matter in other parts of our Lord’s teaching, but here he discourses upon the question, “Who are the saved?” or, “What are the marks and evidences of a work of grace in the soul?” Who should know the saved so well as the Savior does? The shepherd best discerns his own sheep, and the Lord himself alone knoweth infallibly there that are his. We may regard the marks of the blessed ones here given as being the sure witness of truth, for they are given by him who cannot err, who cannot be deceived, and who, so their Redeemer, knows his own. The Beatitudes derive much of their weight from the wisdom and glory of him who pronounced them; and, therefore, at the outset your attention is called thereto. Lange says that “man is the mouth of creation, and Jesus is the mouth of humanity;” but we prefer, in this place, to think of Jesus am the mouth of Deity, and to receive his every word as girt with infinite power.

The occasion of this sermon is noteworthy; it was delivered when our Lord is described as “seeing the multitudes.” He waited until the congregation around him had reached its largest size, an was most impressed with his miracles, and then be took the tide at its flood, as every wise man should. The sight of a, vast concourse of people ought always to move us to pity, for it represents a mass of ignorance, sorrow, sin, and necessity, far too great for us to estimate. The Savior looked upon the people with an omniscient eye, which saw all their sad condition; he saw the multitudes in an emphatic sense, and his soul was stirred within him at the sight. His was not the transient tear of Xerxes when he thought on the death of his armed myriads, but it was practical sympathy with the host of mankind. No one cared for them, they were like sheep without a shepherd, or like shocks of wheat ready to shale out for want of harvest-men to gather them in. Jesus therefore hastened to the rescue. He noticed, no doubt, with pleasure, the eagerness of the crowd to hear, and this drew him on to speak. A writer quoted in the “Catena Aurea” has well said, “Every man in his own trade or profession rejoices when he sees an opportunity of exercising it; the carpenter, if he sees a goodly tree, desires to have it felled, that be may employ his skill on it; and even so the preacher, when he sees a great congregation, his heart rejoices, and he is glad of the occasion to teach.” If men become negligent of hearing, and our audience dwindles down to a handful, it will be a great distress to us if we have to remember that, when the many were anxious to hear, we were not diligent to preach to them. He who will not reap when the fields am white unto the harvest, will have only himself to blame if in other seasons he is unable to fill his arm with sheaves. Opportunities should be promptly used whenever the Lord puts them in our way. It is good fishing where there are plenty of fish, and when the birds flock around the fowler it is time for to spread his nets.

The place from which these blessings were delivered is next worthy of notice: “Seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain.” Whether or no the chosen element was that which is now known as the Horns of Hattim, is not a point which it falls in our way to contest; that he ascended an elevation is enough for our purpose. Of course, this would be mainly because of the accommodation which the open hill-side would afford to the people, and the readiness with which, upon some jutting crag, the preacher might sit down, and be both heard and seen; but we believe the chosen place of meeting had also its instruction. Exalted doctrine might well be symbolized by an ascent to the mount; at any rate, let every minister feel that he should ascend in spirit when he is about to descant upon the lofty themes of the gospel. A doctrine which could not be hid, and which would produce a Church comparable to a city set on a hill, fitly began to be proclaimed from a conspicuous place. A crypt or cavern would have been out of all character for a message which is to be published upon the housetops, and preached to every creature under heaven.

Beside, mountains have always been associated with distinct eras in history of the people of God; mount Sinai is sacred to the law, and mount Zion symbolical of the Church. Calvary was also in due time to be connected with redemption, and the mount of Olives with the ascension of our risen Lord. It was meet, therefore, that the opening of the Redeemer’s ministry should be connected with a mount such as “the hill of the Beatitudes.” Twas from that mountain that God proclaimed the law, it is on a mountain that Jesus expounds it. Thank God, it was not a mount around which bounds had to be placed; it was not the mount which burned with fire, from which Israel retired in fear. It was, doubtless, a mount all carpeted with grass, and dainty with fair flowers, upon whose side the olive and fig flourished in abundance, save where the rocks pushed upward through the sod, and early invited their Lord to honor them by making them his them his pulpit and throne. May I not add that Jesus was in deep sympathy with nature, and therefore delighted in an audience-chamber whose floor was grass, and whose roof was the blue sky? The open space was in keeping with his large heart, the breezes were akin to his free spirit, and the world around was full of symbols and parables, in accord with the truths he taught. Better than long-drawn aisle, or tier on tier of crowded gallery, was that grand hill-side setting-place. Would God we oftener heard sermons amid soul-inspiring scenery! Surely preacher and hearer would be equally benefited by the change from the house made with hands to the God-made temple of nature.

There was instruction in the posture of the preacher: “When he was set,” he commenced to speak. We do not think that either weariness or length of the discourse suggested sitting down. He frequently stood when he preached at considerable length. We incline to the belief that, when he became a pleader with the sons of men, he stood with uplifted hands, eloquent from head to foot, entreating, beseeching, and exhorting, with every member of his body, as well as every faculty of his mind; but now that he was, as it were, a Judge award the blessings of the kingdom, or a King on his throne, separating his true subject from aliens and foreigners, he sat down. As an authoritative Teacher, he officially occupied the chair of doctrine, and spake ex cathedra, as men say as a Solomon acting as the master of assemblies, or a Daniel come to judgment. He sat as a refiner, and his word was as a fire. His posture is not accounted for by the fact that it was the Oriental custom for the teacher to sit and the pupil to stand, for our Lord was something more that a didactic teacher, be was a Preacher, a Prophet, a Pleader, and consequently he adopted other attitudes when fulfilling those offices; but on this occasion, he sat in his place as Rabbi of the Church, the authoritative Legislator of the kingdom of heaven, the Monarch in the midst of his people. Come hither, then, and listen to the King in Jeshurun, the Divine Lawgiver, delivering not the ten commands, but the seven, or, if you will, the nine Beatitudes of his blessed kingdom.

It is then added, to indicate the style of his delivery, that “he opened his mouth,” and certain cavilers of shallow wit have said, “How could he teach without opening his mouth?” to which the reply is that he very frequently taught, and taught much, without saying a word, since his whole life was teaching, and his miracles said deeds of love were the lessons of a master instructor. It is not superfluous to say that “be opened his mouth, and taught them,” for be had taught them often when his mouth was closed. Besides that, teachers are to be frequently met with who seldom open their mouths; they hiss the everlasting gospel through their teeth, or mumble it within their mouths, as if they had never been commanded to “cry aloud, and spare not.” Jesus Christ spoke like a man in earnest; he enunciated clearly, and spake loudly. He lifted up his voice like a trumpet, and published salvation far and wide, like a man who had something to say which he desired his audience to hear and feel. Oh, that the very manner and voice of those who preach the gospel were such as to bespeak their zeal for God and their love for souls! So should it be, but so it is not in all cases. When a man grows terribly in earnest while speaking, his mouth appears to be enlarged in sympathy with his heart: this characteristic has been observed in vehement political orators, and the messengers of God should blush if no such impeachment can be laid at their door.

“He opened his mouth, and taught them,” — have we not here a further hint that, as he had from the earliest days opened the mouths of his holy prophets, so now he opens his own mouth to inaugurate yet a fuller revelation? If Moses spake, who made Moses’ mouth? If David sang, who opened David’s lips that he might show forth the praises of god? Who opened the mouths of the prophets? Was it not therefore well said that now he opened his own mouth, and spake directly as the incarnate God to the children of men? Now, by his own inherent power and inspiration, he began to speak, not through the mouth of Isaiah, or of Jeremiah, but by his own mouth. Now was a spring of wisdom to be unsealed from which all generations should drink rejoicingly; now would the most majestic and yet most simple of all discourses be heard by mankind. The opening of the fount which flowed from the desert rock was not one-half so full of joy to men. Let our prayer be, “Lord, as thou hast opened thy mouth, do thou open our hearts;” for when the Redeemer’s mouth is open with blessings, and our hearts are open with desires, a glorious filling with all the fullness of God will be the result, and then, also shall our mouths be opened to show forth our Redeemer’s praise.

Let us now consider the Beatitudes themselves, trusting that, by the help of God’s Spirit, we may perceive their wealth of holy meaning. No words in the compass of Sacred Writ are more precious or more freighted with solemn meaning.

The first word of our Lord’s great standard sermon is “Blessed.” You have not failed to notice that the last word of the Old Testament is “curse”, and it is suggestive that the opening sermon of our Lord’s ministry commences with the word “Blessed.” Nor did he begin in that manner, and then change his strain immediately, for nine times did that charming word fall from his lips in rapid succession. It has been well said that Christ’s teaching might be summed up in two words, “Believe” and “Blessed.” Mark tells us that he preached, saying, “Repent ye, and believe the gospel;” and Matthew in this passage informs us that he came saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” All his teaching was meant to bless the sons of men; for “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” “His hand no thunder bears, No terror clothes his brow, No bolts to drive our guilty souls To fiercer flames below.”

His lips, like a honeycomb, drop sweetness, promises and blessings are the overflowings of his mouth. “Grace is poured into thy lips,” said the psalmist, and consequently grace poured from his lips; he was blessed for ever, and he continued to distribute blessings throughout the whole of his life, till, “as he blessed them, he was taken up into heaven.” The law had two mountains Ebal and Gerizim, one for blessing and other for cursing, but the Lord Jesus blesses evermore, and curses not.

The Beatitudes before us, which relate to character, are, seven; the eighth is a benediction upon the persons described in the seven Beatitudes when their excellence has provoked the hostility of the wicked; and, therefore, it may be regarded as a confirming and summing up of the seven blessings which precede it. Setting that aside, then, as a summary, we regard the Beatitudes as seven, and will speak of them as such. The whole seven describe a perfect character, and make up a perfect benediction. Each blessing is precious, ay, more precious than much fine gold; but we do well to regard them as a whole, for as a whole they were spoken, and from that point of view they are a wonderfully perfect chain of seven priceless links, put together with such consummate art as only our heavily Bezaleel, the Lord Jesus, ever possessed. No such instruction in the art of blessedness can be found anywhere else. The learned have collected two hundred and eighty-eight different opinions of the ancients with regard to happiness, and there is not one which hits the mark; but our Lord has, in a few telling sentences, told us all about it without using a solitary redundant word, or allowing the slightest omission. The seven golden sentences are perfect as a whole, and each one occupies its appropriate place. Together they are a ladder of light, and each one is a step of purest sunshine.

Observe carefully, and you will see that each one rises above those which precede it. The first Beatitude is by no means elevated as the third, nor the third as the seventh. There is a great advance from the poor in spirit to the pure in heart and the peacemaker. I have said that they rise, bat it would be quite as correct to say that they descend, for from the human point of view they so; to mourn is a step below and yet above being poor in spirit, and the peacemaker, while the highest form of Christian, will find himself often called upon to take the lowest room for peace sake. “The seven Beatitudes mark deepening humiliation and growing exaltation.” In proportion as men rise in the reception of the divine blessing, they sink in their own esteem, and count it their honor to do the humblest works.

Not only do the Beatitudes rise one above another, but they spring out of each other, as if each one depended upon all that went before. Each growth feeds a higher growth, and the seventh is the product of all the other six. The two blessings which we shall have to consider have this relation. “Blessed are they that mourn” grows out of “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Why do they mourn? They mourn because they are “poor in spirit.” Blessed are the meek” is a benediction which no man reaches till he has felt his spiritual poverty, and mourned over it. “Blessed are the merciful” follows upon the blessing of the meek, because men do not acquire the forgiving, sympathetic, merciful spirit until they have been made meek by the experience of the two benedictions. This same rising and outgrowth may be seen in the whole seven. The stones are laid one upon the other in fair colors, and polished after the similitude of a palace; they are the natural sequel and completion of each other, even as were the seven days of the world’s first week.

Mark, also, in this ladder of light, that though each step is above the other, and each step springs out of the other, yet each one is perfect in itself, and contains within itself a priceless and complete blessing. The very lowest of the blessed, namely, the poor in spirit, have their peculiar benediction, and indeed it is one of such an order that it is used in the summing up of all the rest. “Their’s is the kingdom of heaven “ is both the first and the eighth benediction.

The highest character namely, the peacemakers, who are called the children of God, are not said to be more than blessed; they doubtless enjoy more of the blessedness, but they do not in the covenant provision posses more.

Note, also with delight, that the blessing is in every case in the present tense, a happiness to be now enjoyed and delighted in. It is not “Blessed shall be,” but “Blessed are.” There is not one step in the whole divine experience of the believer, not one link in the wonderful chain of grace, in which there is a withdrawal of the divine smile or an absence or real happiness. Blessed is the first moment of the Christian life on earth, and blessed is the last. Blessed is the spark which trembles in the flax, and blessed is the flame which ascends to heaven in a holy ecstasy. Blessed is the bruised reed, and blessed is that three of the Lord, which is full of sap, the cedar of Lebanon, which the Lord had planted. Blessed is the babe in grace, and blessed is the perfect man in Christ Jesus. As the Lord’s mercy endureth for ever, even so shall our blessedness.

We must not fail to notice that, in the seven Beatitudes, the blessing of each one is appropriate to the character. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” is appropriately connected with enrichment in the possession of a kingdom more glorious than all the thrones of earth. It is also most appropriate that those who mourn should be comforted; that the meek, who renounce all self-aggrandizement, should enjoy most of life, and so should inherit the earth. It is divinely fit that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness should be filled, and that those who show mercy to others should obtain it themselves. Who but the pure in heart should see the infinitely pure and holy God? And who but the peacemakers should be called the children of the God of peace?

Yet the careful eye perceives that each benediction, though appropriate, is worded paradoxically. Jeremy Taylor says, “They are so many paradoxes and impossibilities reduced to reason.” This is clearly seen in the first Beatitude, for the poor in spirit are said to possess a kingdom, and is equally vivid in the collection as a whole, for it treats of happiness, and yet poverty leads the van, and persecution brings up the rear; poverty is the contrary of riches, and yet how rich are those who possess a kingdom! and persecution is supposed to destroy enjoyment, and yet it is here made a subject of rejoicing. See the sacred art of him who spake as never man spake, he can at the same time make his words both simple and paradoxical, and thereby win our attention and instruct our intellects. Such a preacher deserves the most thoughtful of hearers.

The whole of the seven Beatitudes composing this celestial ascent to the house of the Lord conduct believers to an elevated table-land upon which they dwell alone, and are not reckoned among the people; their holy separation from the world brings upon them persecution for righteousness’ sake, but in this they do not lose their happiness but rather have it increased to them, and confirmed by the double repetition of the benediction. The hatred of man does not deprive the saint of the love of God; even revilers contribute to his blessedness. Who among us will be ashamed of the cross which must attend such a crown of lovingkindness and tender mercies? Whatever the curses of man may involve, they are so small a drawback to the consciousness of being blessed in a sevenfold manner by the Lord, that they are not worthy to be compared with the grace which is already revealed in us.

Here we pause for this present, and shall, by God’s help, consider one of the Beatitudes in our next homily. OUR subject is to be the minister’s common conversation when he mingles with men in general, and is supposed to be quite at his ease. How shall he order his speech among his fellow-men? First and foremost, let me say, let him give himself no ministerial airs, but avoid everything which is stilted, official, fussy, and pretentious. “The Son of Man” is a noble title; it was given to Ezekiel, and to a greater than he: let not the ambassador of heaven be other than a son of man. In fact, let him remember that the more simple and unaffected he is, the more closely will he resemble that child-man, the holy child Jesus. There is such a thing as trying to be too much a minister, and becoming too little a man; though the more of a true man you are, the more truly will you be what a servant of the Lord should be. Schoolmasters and ministers have generally an appearance peculiarly their own; in the wrong sense, they “are not as other men are.” They are too often speckled birds, looking as if they were not at home among the birds of their native country; but awkward and peculiar. When I have seen a flamingo gravely stalking along, an owl blinking in the shade, or a stork demurely lost in thought, I have been irresistibly led to remember some of my dignified brethren of the teaching and preaching fraternity, who are so marvelously proper at all times that they are just a shade amusing. This very respectable, stilted, dignified, important, selfrestrained manner is easily acquired; but is it worth acquiring?

Theodore Hook once stepped up to a gentleman who was parading the street with great pomposity, and said to him, “Sir, are you not a person of great importance?” and one has felt half inclined to do the same with certain brethren of the cloth. I know brethren who, from head to foot, in garb, tone, manner, necktie, and boots, are so utterly parsonic that no particle of manhood is visible. One young sprig of divinity must needs go through the streets in a gown, and another of the High Church order has recorded it in the newspapers with much complacency that he traversed Switzerland ant] Italy, wearing in all places his biretta; few boys would have been so proud of a fool’s cap. None of us are likely to go as far as that in our apparel; but we may do the like by our mannerism. Some men appear to have a white cravat twisted round their souls, their manhood is throttled with that starched rag. Certain brethren maintain an air of superiority which they think impressive, but which is simply offensive, and eminently opposed to their pretensions as followers of the lowly Jesus. The proud Duke of Somerset intimated his commands to his servants by signs, not condescending to speak to such base beings; his children never sat down in his presence, and when he slept in the afternoon one of his daughters stood on each side of him during his august slumbers. When proud Somersets get into the ministry, they affect dignity in other ways almost equally absurd.

“Stand by, I am holier than thou,” is written across their foreheads. A wellknown minister was once rebuked by a sublime brother for his indulgence in a certain luxury, and the expense was made a great argument. “Well, well,” he replied, “there may be something in that; but remember, I do not spend half so much upon my weakness as you do in starch.” That is the article I am deprecating, that dreadful ministerial starch. If you have indulged in it, I would earnestly advise you to “go and wash in Jordan seven times,” and get it out of you, every particle of it. I am persuaded that one reason why our working-men so universally keep clear of ministers is because they abhor their artificial and unmanly ways. If they saw us, in the pulpit and out of it, acting like real men, and speaking naturally, like honest men, they would come around us. Baxter’s remark still holds good: “The want of a familiar tone and expression is a great fault in most of our deliveries, and that which we should be very careful to amend.” The vice of the ministry is that ministers will parsonificate the gospel. We must have humanity along with our divinity if we would win the masses. Everybody can see through affectations, and people are not likely to be taken in by them. Fling away your stilts, brethren, and walk on your feet; doff your ecclesiasticism, and array yourselves in truth.

Still, a minister, wherever he is, is a minister, and should recollect that he is on duty. A policeman or a soldier may be off duty, but a minister never is. Even in our recreations we should still pursue the great object of our lives; for we are called to be diligent “in season and out of season.” There is no position in which we may be placed but the Lord may come with the question, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” and we ought to be able at once to answer, “I have something to do for thee even here, and I am trying to do it.” The bow, of course, must be at times unstrung, or else it will lose its elasticity; but there is no need to cut the string. I am speaking at this time of the minister in times of relaxation; and I say that even then he should conduct himself as the ambassador of God, and seize opportunities of doing good: this will not mar his rest, but sanctify it. A minister should be like a certain chamber which I saw at Beaulieu, in the New Forest, in which a cobweb is never seen. It is a large lumber-room, and is never swept; yet no spider ever defiles it with the emblems of neglect. It is roofed with chestnut, and for some reason, I know not what, spiders will not come near that wood by the year together. The same thing was mentioned to me in the corridors of Winchester School: I was told, “No spiders ever come here.” Our minds should be equally clear of idle habits.

On our public rests for porters in the City of London you may read the words, “Rest, but do not loiter ;” and they contain advice worthy of our attention. I do not call the dolce far niente laziness; there is a sweet doing of nothing which is just the finest medicine in the world for a jaded mind. When the mind gets fatigued and out, of order, to rest it is no more idleness than sleep is idleness; and no man is called lazy for sleeping the proper time. It is far better to be industriously asleep than lazily awake. Be ready to do good, then, in your resting times and in your leisure hours; and so be really a minister, and there will be no need for you to proclaim that you are so.

The Christian minister out of the pulpit should be a sociable man. He is not sent into the world to be a hermit, or a monk of La Trappe. It is not his vocation to stand on a pillar all day, above his fellow-men, like that hairbrained Simon Stylites of olden time. You are not to warble from the top of a tree, like an invisible nightingale; but to be a man among men, saying to them, “I also am as you are in all that relates to man.” Salt is of no use in the box; it must be rubbed into the meat; and our personal influence must penetrate and season society. Keep aloof from others, and how can you benefit them? Our Master went to a wedding, and ate bread with publicans and sinners, and yet was far more pure than those sanctimonious Pharisees, whose glory was that they were separate from their fellow-men. Some ministers need to be told that they are of the same species as their hearers. It is a remarkable fact, but we may as well state it, that bishops, canons, archdeacons, prebendaries, rural deans, rectors, vicars, and even archbishops, are only men after all; and God has not. railed off a holy corner of the earth to serve as a chancel for them, to abide therein by’ themselves.

It would not be amiss if there could be a revival of holy talk in the churchyard and the meeting-yard. I like to see the big yew-trees outside our ancient churches with seats all round them. They seem to say: “Sit down here, neighbor, and talk upon the sermon; here comes the pastor; he will join us, and we shall have a pleasant, holy chat.” It is not every preacher one would care to talk with; but there are some whom one would give a fortune to converse with for an hour. I love a minister whose face invites me to make him my friend — a man upon whose doorstep you read, “Salve,” “Welcome ;” and feel that there is no need of that Pompeian warning, “Cave Canem,” “Beware of the dog.” Give me the man around whom the children come, like flies around a honey-pot: they are first-class judges of a good man. When Solomon was tried by the Queen of Sheba, as to his wisdom, the rabbis tell us that she brought some artificial flowers with her, beautifully made and delicately scented, so as to be fac-similes of real flowers. She asked Solomon to discover which were artificial and which were real. The wise man bade his servants open the window, and when the bees came in they flew at once to the natural flowers, and cared nothing for the artificial. So you will find that children have their instincts, and discover very speedily who is their friend, and depend upon it the children’s friend is one who will be worth knowing. Have a good word to say to each and every member of the family — the big boys, and the young ladies, and the little girls, and everybody. No one knows what a smile and a hearty sentence may do. A man who is to do much with men must love them, and feel at home with them. An individual who has no geniality about him had better be an undertaker, and bury the dead, for he will never succeed in influencing the living. I have met somewhere with the observation that to be a popular preacher one must have bowels. I fear that the observation was meant as a mild criticism upon the bulk to which certain brethren have attained; but, there is truth in it. A man must have a great heart if he would have a great congregation. His heart should be as capacious as those noble harbors along our coast, which contain sea-room for a fleet. When a man has a large, loving heart, men go to him as ships to a haven, and feel at peace when they have anchored under the lee of his friendship. Such a man is hearty in private as well as in public; his blood is not cold and fishy, but he is warm as your own fireside. No pride and selfishness chill you when you approach him; he has his doors all open to receive you, and you are at home with him at once. Such men I would persuade you to be, every one of you.

The Christian minister should also be very cheerful. I don’t believe in going about like certain monks whom I saw in Rome, who salute each other in sepulchral tones, and convey the pleasant information, “Brother, we must die ;” to which lively salutation each lively brother of the order replies, “Yes, brother, we must die.” I was glad to be assured upon such good authority that all these lazy fellows are going to die; upon the whole, it is about the best thing they can do; but, till that event occurs, they might use some more comfortable form of salutation.

No doubt there are some people who will be impressed by the very solemn appearance of ministers. I have heard of one who felt convinced that there must be something in the Roman Catholic religion, from the extremely starved and pinched appearance of a certain ecclesiastic. “Look,” said he, “how the man is worn to a skeleton by his daily fastings and nightly vigils! How he must mortify his flesh!” Now, the probabilities are that the emaciated priest was laboring under some internal disease, which he would have been heartily glad to be rid of, and it was not conquest of appetite, but failure in digestion, which had so reduced him; or, possibly, a troubled conscience, which made him fret himself down to the light weights. Certainly, I have never met with a text which gives prominence of bone as an evidence of grace. If so, “The Living Skeleton” should have been exhibited, not merely as a natural curiosity, but as the standard of virtue. Some of the biggest rogues in the world have been as mortified in appearance as if they had lived on locusts and wild honey. It is a very vulgar error to suppose that a melancholy countenance is the index of a gracious heart. I commend cheerfulness to all who would win souls; not levity and frothiness, but a genial, happy spirit. There are more flies caught with honey than with vinegar, and there will be more souls led to heaven by a man who wears heaven in his face, than by one who bears Tartarus in his looks.

Young ministers, and, indeed, all others, when they are in company, should take care not to engross all the conversation. They are quite qualified to do so, no doubt; I mean from their capacity to instruct, and readiness of utterance; but they must remember that people do not care to be perpetually instructed; they like to take a turn in the conversation themselves. Nothing pleases some people so much as to let them talk, and it may be for their good to let them be pleased. I spent an hour one evening with a person who did me the honor to say that he found me a very charming companion, and most instructive in conversation, yet I do not hesitate to confess that I said scarcely anything at all, but allowed him to have the talk to himself. By exercising patience I gained his good opinion, and an opportunity to address him on other occasions. A man has no more right at table to talk all than to eat all. We are not to think ourselves Sir Oracle, before whom no dog must open his mouth. No; let all the company contribute of their stores, and they will think all the better of the godly words with which you try to season the discourse.

There are some companies into which you will go, especially when you are first settled, where everybody will be awed by the majesty of your presence, and people will be invited because the new minister is to be there. Such a position reminds me of the choicest statuary in the Vatican. A little room is screened off, a curtain is drawn, and lo! before you stands the great Apollo I If it be your trying lot to be the Apollo of the little party, put an end to the nonsense. If I were the Apollo, I should like to step right off the pedestal and shake hands all round, and you had better do the same; for sooner or later the fuss they make about you will come to an end, and the wisest course is to end it yourself. Hero-worship is a kind of idolatry, and must not be encouraged. Heroes do well when they, like the apostles at Lystra, are horrified at the honors done to them, and run in among the people crying, “Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you.” Ministers will not have to do it long; for their foolish admirers are very apt to turn round upon them, and if they do not stone them nearly to death, they will go as far as they dare in unkindness and contempt.

While I say, “Do not talk all, and assume an importance which is mere imposture;” still, do not be a dummy. People will form their estimate of you and your ministry by what they see of you in private as well as by your public deliverances. Many young men have ruined themselves in the pulpit by being indiscreet in the parlor, and have lost all hope of doing good by their stupidity or frivolity in company. Don’t be an inanimate log. At Antwerp Fair, among many curiosities advertised by huge paintings and big drums, I observed a booth containing “a great wonder,” to be seen for a penny a head; it was a petrified man. I did not expend the amount required for admission, for I had seen so many petrified men for nothing, both in and out of the pulpit — lifeless, careless, destitute of common sense, and altogether inert, though occupied with the weightiest business which man could undertake.

Try to turn the conversation to profitable use. Be sociable and cheerful and all that, but labor to accomplish something. Why should you sow the wind, or plough a rock? Consider yourself, after all, as being very much responsible for the conversation which goes on where you are; for such is the esteem in which you will usually be held, that you will be the helmsman of the conversation. Therefore, steer it into a good channel. Do this without roughness or force. Keep the points of the line in good order, and the train will run on to your rails without a jerk. Be ready to seize opportunities adroitly, and lead on imperceptibly in the desired track. If your heart is in it and your wits are awake, this will be easy enough, especially if you breathe a prayer for guidance.

I shall never forget the manner in which a thirsty individual once begged of me upon Clapham Common. I saw him with a very large truck, in which he was carrying an extremely small parcel, and I wondered why he had not put the parcel into his pocket, and left the machine at home. I said, “It looks odd to see so large a truck for such a small load.” He stopped, and looking me seriously in the face, he said, “Yes, sir, it is a very odd thing; but, do you know, I have met with an odder thing than that this very day. I’ve been about, working and sweating all this ‘ere blessed day, and till now I haven’t met a single gentleman that looked as if he’d give me a pint of beer, till I saw you.” I considered that turn of the conversation very neatly managed, and we, with a far better subject upon our minds, ought to be equally able to introduce the topic upon which our heart is set. There was an ease in the man’s manner which I envied, for I did not find it quite so simple a matter to introduce my own topic to his notice; yet if I had been thinking as much about how I could do him good as he had upon how to obtain a drink, I feel sure I should have succeeded in reaching my point. If by any means we may save some, we must, like ore’ Lord, talk at table to good purpose — yes, and on the margin of the well, and by the road, and on the sea-shore, and in the house, and in the field. To be a holy talker for Jesus might be almost as fruitful an office as to be a faithful preacher. Aim at excellence in both exercises, and if the Holy Spirit’s aid be called in, you will attain your desire.

Here, perhaps, I may insert a canon, which nevertheless I believe to be quite needless, in reference to each one of the honorable brethren whom I am now addressing. Do not frequent rich men’s tables to gain their countenance, and never make yourself a sort of general hanger-on at teaparties and entertainment’s. Who are you, that you should be dancing attendance upon this wealthy man and the other, when the Lord’s poor, his sick people, ,red his wandering sheep require you? To sacrifice the study to the parlor is criminal. To be a tout for your church, and waylay people at their homes to draw them to fill your pews, is a degradation to which no man should submit. To see ministers of different sects fluttering round a wealthy man, like vultures round a dead camel, is sickening. Deliciously sarcastic was that famous letter “from an old and beloved minister to his dear son” upon his entrance into the ministry, the following extract from which hits our present point. It is said to have been copied from the Smellfungus Gazelle, but I suspect our friend Paxton Hood knows all about its authorship : — “ Keep also a watchful eve on all likely persons, especially wealthy or influential, who may come to your town; call upon them, and attempt to win them over by the devotions of the drawing-room to your cause. Thus you may most efficiently serve the Master’s interests. People need looking after, and the result of a long experience goes to confirm my conviction, long cherished, that the power of the pulpit is trifling compared with the power of the parlor. We must imitate and sanctify, by the word of God and of prayer, the exercises of the Jesuits. They succeeded not by the pulpit so much as by the parlor. In the parlor you can whisper — you can meet people on all the little personal private ideas. The pulpit is a very unpleasant place; of course it is the great power of God, and so on, but it is the parlor that tells, and a minister has not the same chance of success if he be a good preacher as if he is a perfect gentleman; nor in cultivated society has any man a legitimate prospect of success if he is not, whatever he may be, a gentleman. I have always admired Lord Shaftesbury’s character of St. Paul in his ‘ Characteristics ‘ — that he was a fine gentleman. And I would say to you, be a gentleman. Not that I need to say so, but am persuaded that only in this way can we hope for the conversion of our growing, wealthy middle classes. We must show that our religion is the religion of good sense and good taste; that we disapprove of strong excitements and strong stimulants; and oh, my dear boy, if you would be useful, often in your closet make it a matter of earnest prayer that you may be proper. If I were asked what is your first duty, be proper; and your second, be proper; and your third, be proper.”

In all probability, sensible conversation will sometimes drift; into controversy, and here many a good man runs upon a snag. The sensible minister will be particularly gentle in argument. He, above all men, should not make the mistake of fancying that there is force in temper, and power in speaking angrily. A heathen who stood in a crowd in Calcutta, listening to a missionary disputing with a Brahmin, said he knew which was right though he did not understand the language — he knew that he was in the wrong who lost his temper first. For the most part, that is a very accurate way of judging. Try to avoid debating with people. State your opinion and let them state theirs. If you see that a stick is crooked, and you want people to see how crooked it is, lay a straight rod down beside it; that will be quite enough. But if you are drawn into controversy, use very hard arguments and very soft words. Frequently you cannot convince a man by tugging at his reason, but you can persuade him by winning his affections. The other day I had the misery to need a pair of new boots, and though I bade the fellow make them as large as canoes, I had to labor fearfully to get them on. With a pair of boot-hooks I toiled like the men on board the vessel with Jonah, but all in vain. Just then my friend put in my way a little French chalk, and the work was done in a moment. Wonderfully coaxing was that French chalk. Gentlemen, always carry a little French chalk with you into society, a neat packet of Christian persuasiveness, and you will soon discover the virtues of it.

And lastly, with all his amiability, the minister should be firm for his principles, and bold to avow and defend them in all companies. When a fair opportunity occurs, or he has managed to create one, let him not be slow to make use of it. Strong in his principles, earnest in his tone, and affectionate in heart, let him speak out like a man and thank God for the privilege. There need be no reticence — there should be none. The maddest romances of Spiritualists, the wildest dreams of Utopian reformers, the silliest chit-chat of the town, and the vainest nonsense of the frivolous world, demand a hearing and get it. And shall not Christ be heard? Shall his message of love remain untold, for fear we should be charged with intrusion on account of cant? Is religion to be tabooed — the best and noblest of all themes forbidden? If this be the rule of any society, we will not comply with it. If we cannot break it down, we will leave the society to itself, as men desert a house smitten with leprosy. We cannot consent to be gagged. There is no reason why we should be. We will go to no place where we cannot take our Master with us. While others take liberty to sin, we shall not renounce our liberty to rebuke and warn them.

Wisely used, our common conversation may be a potent means for good. Trains of thought may be started by a single sentence which may lead to the conversion of persons whom our sermons have never reached. The method of button-holing people, or bringing the truth before them faithfully, has been greatly successful: but this is another subject, and can hardly come under the head of Common Conversation, but we will close by saying that it is to be hoped that we shall never, in our ordinary talk, any more than in the pulpit, be looked upon as nice sort of persons, whose business it is to make things agreeable all round, and who never by any possibility cause uneasiness to any one, however ungodly their lives may be. Such persons go in and out among the families of their hearers, and make merry with them, when they ought to be mourning over them. They sit down at their table, and feast at their ease, when they ought to be warning them to flee from the wrath to come. They are like that American alarm I have heard of, which was warranted not to wake you if you did not wish it to do so.

Be it ours to sow beside all waters, and at the last great day to hear of glad results from the bread which we cast upon the waters in odd times and occasions, as well as of that good seed which we cast into the furrows of our public ministry. Instead of a number of short paragraphs, we will give a little of our experience during the last three weeks at the Tabernacle. Our life is as full of toils, troubles, joys, and difficulties as ever it can hold, and is crowded with incidents.

MONDAY, DEC. 1. — At five o’clock there was tea in one of the larger vestries, and nearly all the elders were present, with the two pastors. The occasion was a very happy one, for we were met to pray for two beloved young brethren who had given themselves up to the Lord for service among the heathen. One of these is Mr. Brown, the son of our late wellbeloved elder, Mr. Charles Brown, who fell asleep in Jesus a few months ago, the other was a student from the College, our distant kinsman, Mr. Robert Spurgeon. Both of these brethren are choice men in spirit and character, and have the love and respect of all who know them. It was very delightful to hear the fervent prayers of our three oldest brethren for these young soldiers of the cross, and the earnest “amens” of all the assembled officers. Our two friends told us, in plain unaffected terms, how they had been led to think of mission work. The pastors and elders gave them each one of Bagster’s best Bibles, to be carried in their pockets as a love-token, and then we all adjourned into the Tabernacle to the public prayer-meeting. Dr. Underhill had come from the Missionary Society, and he gave us a most interesting address in reference to India; but the interest of the meeting centered in a speech by Mr. Brown, the young missionary. It was beautiful for simple faith and unassuming confidence in God; the tone was manly and determined, yet humble and devout. Mr. Robert Spurgeon did not speak, for he is to take his turn at Stepney Tabernacle, seeing our beloved brother Archibald Brown is his pastor. Our heart was very glad. Long have we prayed for missionaries to spring from the church and college, and now the beginning of the answer is come. We have two brethren in Spain; Mr. Groombridge is in China, and another is studying at the Medical Mission in Edinburgh for foreign service. Blessed be God for this. Oh that we could see hundreds going forth, and had ways and means of helping them!

THURSDAY, DEC. 4. — Mrs. Brown, the excellent mother of the young missionary, came to tell us that her son had sailed. It increased our joy in God to see how willing she was to part with one who since her husband’s death has seemed so necessary to her and the whole of the family. We congratulated her upon having such a son. We saw that the spirit had battled with nature and had won the victory. We shall have more sons offering themselves as living sacrifices when we have more such mothers.

FRIDAY, DEC. 5. — Meeting of the Trustees at the Orphanage. We were not well enough to be there, but quite able to understand the result of the monthly settlement of accounts. During the week a friend gave us £50. Mr. Chown, of Bradford, kindly sent £125, the result of a collection generously voted to us, and with other sums we had more than £700 in hand. The time had, however, come for new suits for the orphans, and other matters incident to the season, and to our dismay the report of the secretary was, “All bills paid, but only £3 left.” This was a very sweeping business, but we saw that it was even so. Prayer went to work at once, and not without results. Will the reader, however, picture himself with more than 220 boys to feed and £3 in hand! He may say, “The Lord will provide,” but would he feel that truth if he were in our straits? From the date above mentioned we have lived on, but it has been very much in the style known as from hand to mouth. Day by day has the manna fallen, not much more than a day’s supply at a time, but still enough to carry us on. It is very sweet to see how the Lord provides. A friend in Sweden sent us help, and another from Belgium; both unknown to us. A young man sends 6s. 6d., being threepence per week of his first wages, adding, “May it please the Lord to put it into the hearts of many to support you in your great undertaking.” A brother with a large family offers some potatoes and turnips, and remarks that since he has given to the Orphanage he has been much the gainer by improved crops. A donor, who is accustomed to store weekly for the Lord, speaks of the plan as greatly beneficial. One who sends a considerable donation says, “I never write a cheque for you without feeling very sorry that I cannot make it ten times as much.” As it is now pretty generally known that our expenses, exclusive of our income from property, amount to £10 a day: two or three gentlemen have sent us each a day’s supply; and while the ink is yet in our pen we are pleasantly interrupted by the postman with two cheques of £10 each from Cardiff. Having soon to start for the south of France, we should be grateful to our heavenly Father if he would enable us to go away with some little store left on hand for the trustees to pay their way with in our absence; the more especially because the College and other objects are in almost as much need as the Orphanage. Nevertheless, the Lord will provide in his own way: we are quite sure of that. To our many helpers our gratitude abounds. Among them are many from Scotland, who speak of reading our sermons to their own comfort and edification. We thank all, both rich and poor, in the name of the orphan’s God. At this moment our income and outgoings are about equally balanced, and we still have little or no reserve. So let it be if so the Lord wills. Never have we before been so long a time with the meal so near the bottom of the barrel; but there is, no doubt, wisdom in it, and when the design is answered our exchequer will be replenished.

This day two other students expressed their desire to become missionaries to the heathen. When they are more advanced in their studies, I hope they will prove to be suitable men; I think they are of the right spirit.

MONDAY, DEC. 8. — To-day two students took leave of us; they are crossing over to America to preach the word as the Lord may open doors for them. They are right worthy brethren, and our prayers attend them. On the same day we had an interesting episode. A certain brother in Christ, Francisco Tudury de la Torre, from Minorca, called at the Tabernacle last Wednesday. He could only speak Spanish and some little French, and no one upon the spot could comprehend him. The gentleman, however, managed to make it understood that he wished to see Mr. Spurgeon, and in writing was told to come at 6 p.m. At six in the morning a very tall Spanish gentleman might be dimly seen, amid a dense fog, walking up and down in front of the Tabernacle, which he found to be as fast closed as a fortress. Alas, the good brother had mistaken six to mean early morning instead of six in the evening. At nine the College opened, and the Spanish brother made his appeal for some one to speak to him. Now it so happened that there is in the College a Portuguese or Brazilian student named Senior Santos, who at once saluted the Don, and correspondence was opened. This led to my seeing Don Francisco in the afternoon of December 8, in company with Senior Santos, Mr. Bull, the grandson of the Bull of Newport Pagnall, and Mr. Daniels, a member of the Tabernacle, who has learned Spanish solely with the view of preaching to Spanish sailors. A very delightful conversation we had, and the upshot was that we arranged that our brother Don Francisco should be baptized on Thursday, for that purpose had he journeyed from Minorca, and that we would give him some help towards? reefing a chapel in the island of Minorca, where he has for some years been laboring as an evangelist. His letters of recommendation were ample, his personal consecration is indisputable, and his views of truth are clear. He deserves the help of all believers in his earnest endeavors to bless his countrymen.

The prayer-meeting was very interesting, for this interview led us to ask Mr. Daniels to give some account of his work among the Spanish sailors in the docks, which he did in a most interesting manner, and at one time sang a verse or two of a Spanish hymn. This called up the Don and the Senior, and all three together sang the praises of Jesus in the language of the Peninsula. Our Spanish brother gave an address, and Mr. Daniels interpreted. Mr. Daniels has been working in concert with Mr. George Lawrence, who is now at Barcelona, and Sir. Heffell, a city missionary, of whom we hope to know more ere long. The plan of our brethren is to hold up Testaments, handsomely bound, and ask in Spanish if they may come on board the vessel to give them away. Permission is generally granted, and so the brethren gain access to the mariners. After Mr. Daniels had finished his address we begged him to give us some notes of the Spanish work, and here is the paper which he gave us. We are delighted to insert it as sent to us :-

SPANISH MISSIONS. — “ While for years past efforts have been put forth for the spiritual enlightenment of many nations, Spain had well nigh been forgotten. Igor was this without reason, for until the recent revolution the report of the benighted land was always summed up in significant words: ‘Closely shut up.’ Yet were there some whose hearts the Lord had touched, and some useful work was done by the Spanish Evangelization Society of Edinburgh, as also by other means. Tourists were supplied with Testaments, portions, and tracts, to distribute quietly whenever opportunity offered. Many thousand copies of God’s Word were sent into Spain in boxes hidden under the coals of the railway locomotives going through from :France. Many were the willing hands put out to help this work, and one Catholic Irish engine driver, pitying the state of the priests and people, rendered very signal service. Another plan resorted to while the cloud of persecution hung over the land, was to convey a large number of tracts folded up and stamped as Spanish book-post parcels; thereby passing the frontiers without challenge, and scattering far and wide the precious seed. Only the great day will unfold all the results, but such results were then actually seen as to make the holy fathers of Mother Church remarkably uneasy, and the Matamaros Alhama persecution, with other gentle reminders of Catholic infallibility, followed; but the end came. Isabel ceased to reign, and the gospel was free. Space will not allow us to speak of all the measures taken by earnest laborers in this portion of the vineyard, but the fruit of one undertaking has especially commended itself to our notice. The mission of Mr. George Lawrence, of Gracia, Barcelona, took its rise from a Bible stall, and has in the space of a few years established seven schools in which religious and secular instruction is given, four services, and one Sunday-school. In the latter gathering some 300 children are found, while the total number of adults and little ones amount to 1,500. A purely gospel magazine, ‘El Evangelista,’ is published monthly. The whole of this work has grown without the aid of any society or paid collectors, but in answer to earnest prayers and simple faith. The writer’s attention was drawn by providence to this valuable agency of the Lord, and, through the means of some addresses given at chapel and schools, funds have been sent out, and picture cards, electrotypes, a printing press, etc., forwarded to Mr. Lawrence. We are now about to publish in Spanish a few of Pastor Spurgeon’s gems, Mr. Bishop’s Tracts for Children, etc., as the nucleus of a child’s library. The necessity of this will be seen when the fact is made known, that for the teeming hundreds who attend our services, etc., only one specimen of soul-saving literature for the young is in print. We leave this portion of our labor to the prayerful consideration of our fellow disciples, and turn to the subject of

“The mission work amongst Spanish seamen in London. Throughout the London, St. Catherine’s, West India, and Victoria Docks, vessels from Spain, various parts of the Mediterranean, South America, etc., are found largely manned by Spaniards, who in early life had not the slightest religious training, and whose faith was limited to images, pictures, and the most darkened form of prayer. The Master, not unmindful of these debased and neglected souls, anointed brethren to visit, read to, and pray with the sailors. Through the means of these labors the clouds of ignorance and superstition have, we trust, often yielded to the rays of the Holy Spirit. It is often invidious to mention names, but justice compels us to speak of the indefatigable efforts of Mr. Heffell, through whose unremitting labors hundreds of these foreign seamen have become interested in divine things. It should be mentioned that a Protestant service in Spanish is held in the rooms called ‘ La Iglesia de San Paublo,’ in Wellclose Square. Senior Santos, a young Brazilian (at present a student in Mr. Spurgeon’s College), and another member of the Tabernacle Church, have been moved to take part in this branch of Christian service: the harvest is very great and the laborers always few. In visiting the vessels, opposition is now very rarely encountered, officers and crews very generally being anxious to receive the Bibles, Testaments, and other books sent by the Lord. Reading and expositions of the Scriptures to willing listeners follow, and sometimes, to our great joy, earnest prayer is offered in the cabins amid reverent silence. How richly are we then repaid for any exposure to inclement weather, or risk of limb and life while passing from ship to ship. A feeling of unutterable happiness often fills our heart, which we feel sure is not in our soul alone. The great High Priest has lighted fire in the living censers, which shall send up eternal incense in praise and glory to the Father of all. Asking an English officer on board the ‘ Caspio ‘ as to whether any effects of our teaching were evident, he replied, ‘ Your books are always read whenever the poor fellows can get time; several have much taken to religion, and there is one who is no sooner ashore in Seville than he is off to Don Juan Cabrera’s chapel, and takes as many of his companions as possible with him.’ Reference has been made to the distribution of Holy Writ. Through the munificence of the Trinitarian Bible Society every facility for supplying all Spanish and Portuguese vessels is offered; nor should the importance of this privilege be forgotten, as the Scriptures are carefully preserved, being taken into Spain and the Colonies. Some idea may be formed of the influence of the Word from incidents which came under our notice. A mariner asked us for a Bible; having seen the blessed effect of its study upon a relative years before, he desired to be likewise benefited. While the Peninsula is distracted with intestine strife, it is consoling to reflect that we are applying the only balm for troubled nations, and therefore we will continue to wear this gentle yoke, praying the Lord to come quickly and end all ignorance, sin, and sorrow, with an eternal ‘Peace, be still.’ Any contribution in aid of the seamen’s work will be welcome, but help in the publication of the children’s books is urgently needed, and will be received by Mr. Blackshaw, Secretary, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, S.E.”

DEC. 11. — Don Francisco was baptized, and our brother Mr. Daniels interpreted his confession of faith. We hope to send him home rejoicing, if friends will help. This same evening a gentleman from Montreal came into the vestry to tell us of the happy death of a sister who had been a member of our church. He told us that a train ran off the line while he was traveling upon the Grand Trunk, and that two of the carriages telescoped into one another, smashing scores of persons and leaving others badly injured. Among those who were nearly killed was the sister in membership with us, She was taken out from the debris, and, with her two dead children, laid down in a fallow field by the roadside, upon such odds and ends of cushions and coats as could be got together. Our informant said, “I noticed how calm and quiet the poor soul was, and I said to her, ‘Aren’t you a Christian?’ ‘Yes,’ said she, ‘I belonged to Mr. Spurgeon’s church, but I have been some time out here, and have not lived as near to Jesus as I ought to have done. Still, the Lord Jesus is my rock, and all is well.’” She remained quite quiet, while another woman, a Catholic, who was laid by her side, continued to shriek, call upon God, and in general make the night hideous. She spoke of Jesus and of his love, and just as the day was breaking she begged to be lifted up, and there, in the open field, she “fell asleep in Jesus.” Our informant told his tale with many tears. He was a Wesleyan, but loved to see the grace of God wherever he met with it. We were encouraged beyond measure, for dying testimonies are telling things.

These are but a part of what the Lord is doing around us and by us and our beloved people. Now and then we shall write a few odds and ends of this sort. Our critics will, no doubt, call us very egotistical, but if they did not say this they would say something else, and therefore we shall not regard them.

Baptisms at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon : — December 4, nineteen; December 11, two.

Chap 2. FEBRUARY 1874

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

FEBRUARY 1874

THE PRESENT POSITION OF CALVINISM IN ENGLAND

BY C. H. SPURGEON.

NO two men would or could give the same description of a battle. Their points of view would differ; their estimates of forces, and their emotions would be very divergent; and even their eyes would not be precisely the same instruments of observation. The four evangelists, though inspired, differ in their accounts of the same event. Equally accurate narratives may vary; in theory this may seem impossible, but, it is matter of fact. To form a correct idea of the condition of religious thought would be far more difficult than to conceive the progress of a battle, or to record the doings of a great teacher, and a thousand persons might arrive at a thousand different conclusions, and yet be equally honest in their endeavor to be correct. We have said all this by way of guarding ourselves from seeming to impeach the truthfulness of the gentleman from whose opinion we are about to dissent. He sees from his point and we from ours; he has not our eyes, nor can we borrow his; the mists of Birmingham are slightly different from those of London, and the surroundings of the Birmingham School Board are not those of the Tabernacle; hence we can easily account for differing observations being equally conscientious. Mr. Dale, in his admirable article published on Christmas-day in the Daily Telegraph, gives it as his opinion that Calvinism would be almost obsolete among Baptists were it not still maintained by the powerful influence of Mr. Spurgeon. The statement is most flattering to our vanity, but if we believed it, our intense sorrow for the low estate of Calvinism would effectually quench the faintest approach to self-congratulation. It is because we think it to be a gross misstatement that we feel at all at ease in reflecting upon it. Our own judgment is the very reverse of that of Mr. Dale; and so far as the Baptists are concerned, we believe our information is likely to be at least as good as our friend’s. So far as the whole range of Nonconformity is concerned, his information is very deficient, though upon the condition of his own denomination he is an unquestionable authority. He has done us the honor to call our teaching Calvinism, and we accept the name as eminently descriptive, though not perfectly so. We have no disposition to quarrel either for or against the title, and are content to be called Calvinistic, though in truth we are other things beside. Assuming our doctrine to be Calvinism, we are persuaded that the Calvinism which it is our delight to preach, so far from being in obsolete theory, is growingly operative upon the minds of a large section of Christian people. Exaggerated Calvinism has its adherents in the Baptist body, and it has a small following among Mr. Dale’s brethren of the Independent order, but it might with much truth be described as on the wane. Its leading ministers have fallen of late like leaves in autumn, and their successors are not forthcoming. Our friends are in an evil case; their own periodicals bewail their low estate, and ask, “By whom shall Jacob arise, for he is small?” We believe that these brethren, whatever their failings may have been, have done good service in keeping much precious truth stirring among the churches; and we should therefore rejoice to see them renew their youth, with more loving hearts and candid minds. They have been far too much despised and slighted. They ought not to be driven into isolation, but their alliance should be sought by their other Baptist brethren, and Christian intercourse would lead to mutual advantage. As far as we have had an opportunity of judging, the bands of exclusiveness are not so strong as they once were, and a more liberal spirit is asserting itself among them. It was not, however, to this ultra kind of Calvinism that Mr. Dale referred, for it has never been maintained by us, though we would ten thousand times rather embrace it in its most rigorous form, than fall into the anything-arianism of modern thought. Even the stern spirit of our high doctrine friends we would prefer to that of the new theology. We used to think that Hyper-Calvinists were sometimes rather acid, but since we have met with religious liberalism we count all things sweet in comparison with the proud, contemptuous airs of large-hearted bigots for liberality. Some articles of a certain freethinking Christian paper, in their supreme contempt for “the simple gospel,” exceed anything ever before manifested in that line; the art of sneering could no further go; they display a scorn which would be less intolerable if it could be regarded as the fruit of strong convictions. A strong, hard-shelled Calvinist holds his own tenaciously, because he believes that there are truths in the world worth holding, but your “cultured thinker” abhors in his magnificent soul all who will not make ducks and drakes of gospel doctrine after his own fashion. But to return to our subject. Calvinism such as was taught by Owen, Charnock, Bunyan, Newton, Whitfield, Romaine, and men of that class, is no more obsolete than is the law of gravitation, neither are its friends at all inclined to bewail its influence as dying out. Among the ministers of the Baptist denomination, there was never greater attachment to evangelical principles than at this moment, and those principles are more or less flavored with the Calvinism now under discussion. Brethren whom we have known and loved for years, but who gave very great prominence to the angles of truth which look towards arminianism, have of late years, to our knowledge, looked with a more genial eye upon the doctrines which face the opposite quarter of the compass. They might not admit that they are more Calvinistic, neither would we care for the term, but they certainly give more prominence to the grace of God, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the Godward side of salvation. What our Calvinism regards as sound views of truth are in the ascendant; without being ostentatious about it, the brethren are orthodox as a general rule, even when weighed in the scales of this reputedly “obsolete theory.” Our intercourse among Baptist ministers is very free and easy, and considerably extensive, but we use no charity whatever when we gladly record the fact that we meet with very little with which we are not agreed. Occasionally they facetiously charge us with being as much an Arminian in some of our discourses as even the General Baptists could be, to which we reply with equal good will, that we are glad to see that they also can be as high in doctrine as the highest of us when the text requires it; and we wind up with the mutual acknowledgment that the truth of God is wider than either of the two great systems, and that there is some truth in both of them. If such Calvinism as this, and it is the Calvinism of Calvin, and the only one which we maintain, is really growing obsolete, we must henceforth doubt our ears and disbelieve the statements of the best of our brethren. If the sermons now preached in Baptist pulpits could all be printed, they would be found to contain vastly more of what we call Calvinism than they did twenty years ago. The party names and terms are less used, for which we are devoutly thankful, but the essence and spirit of that side of truth, which has for brevity’s sake been called Calvinistic, are more powerful among us now than they ever were at any previous part of the century. We have in this matter a right to judge, because the question relates to that Calvinism which is “maintained by the powerful influence of Mr. Spurgeon,” and therefore no man is more likely to know than Mr. Spurgeon himself. He is by no means a very sanguine soul, nor one given to flatter, and it he is found content with the progress of the Calvinism which he is said to maintain, the business cannot be in a very bankrupt condition. Furthermore, it is well known to all who care to observe that the General Baptist churches entertain a very different feeling towards Calvinism from that which they have exhibited in former times when they saw it under harsher aspects. Exaggerated and distorted, it awoke the ire of the valiant leaders in their camp; exhibited in Scriptural proportions, it does not arouse their indignation, and in many instances commands their respect. It is a matter of fact that General Baptist churches, contain in them a considerable proportion of lovers of the doctrines of grace, and if a minister be but thoroughly in earnest in seeking the salvation of sinners, be will be none the less loved by General brethren for preaching a full gospel as well as a free one. It may be said that we have gone down to these brethren quite as much as they have come up to us, and this is very possible; if truth lies in the valley between the two camps, or if it comprehends both, it is well for us to follow it wherever it goes. We have certainly not thrown away the Five Points, but we may have gained other five, and far be it from us to deny it; but this does not in the slightest degree affect the statement of our Birmingham friend, for it still remains a fact that the “Calvinism,” or whatever it is, which is maintained by us, does not make us enemies among the General Baptists, but is read by thousands of them regularly, and ensures for us a warm place in their hearts, as many letters, donations, and kindly actions abundantly prove. Whatever it may be which we maintain, and we do not demur to Mr. Dale’s description of it as Calvinism, for it contains a great deal of Calvinism, we are sure that far more of it is read and endorsed among General Baptists than at any other period in history. It is also within our knowledge that the Calvinism which it is our privilege to maintain has a far larger influence among Methodists of all classes than a stranger might imagine. There are, of course, large numbers of sturdy Arminians who would feel it an insult to be suspected of the most mitigated Calvinism, but there are numbers of others of a different mind. We have often said that if you want a free grace sermon now-a- days, you will be as likely to get it in a Wesleyan chapel as anywhere. Many of their preachers only differ from us in the terms they employ; or if they do differ in theory, their objections lie rather against certain angular statements than against the general spirit of our doctrinal system. We have a delightful circle of friends among Wesleyans, and for the most part they appear to us to be in experience, and in the fundamentals of their creed, as nearly like ourselves as an Israelite is to a Jew. In the pulpits of Methodists we are to be found continually preaching just the same doctrine as we do at the Tabernacle, and we receive no protests, but a great deal more of loving regard than we feel that we deserve. Our heart has often been melted by the warm-hearted congratulations of Wesleyan friends who have gloried in the Gospel which we have proclaimed. The Baptists and the Wesleyans are natural allies, because both of us believe something, which is more than can be said of all Nonconformists. We equally hold by the atonement, the fall of man, regeneration by the Spirit of God, and justification by faith— and we do not leave these points to be moot questions among us; hence we are both driven and drawn into closer contact, and the result is at present, and will be still more so in the future, that we learn of one another. We catch the Wesleyan fire, and they do not close their eyes to our light. All haters of Ritualism and Rationalism are bound to come closer together, and they are evidently doing so. We are by no means dreaming, or living in a fool’s paradise; we feel sure of the truth of our assertion, and one fact none can doubt, namely, that of the weekly circulation of our sermons, which contain this dreadful Calvinism, a very considerable part is found among Methodists of various kinds. The theory, which “would be almost obsolete,” is exercising such a degree of influence that we do not feel at all depressed. It is true that it does not command the praises of the superfine pens of literary men, and it is as well it does not, for as a rule, they know less of real religion than any other class in society; but it has the love of the devout, experienced, established Christians of most of our churches. A Generation wise in its own conceit may prefer a mingle-mangle of philosophical skepticism and metaphysics to the plain word of God, and the young ministers of a certain denomination may pander to this taste; but the bulk of Dissenters are still faithful to the old creed, and are restive under the new order of things. Murmurs deep, if not loud, come to us from many quarters; the sheep look up and are not fed, for “thought” is given to them instead of truth, Those who labor to smother “Calvinism” will find that it dies hard, and, it may be, they will come, after many defeats, to perceive the certain fact that it will outlive its opponents. Its funeral oration has been pronounced many times before now, but the performance has been premature. It will live when the present phase of religious misbelief has gone down to eternal execration amid the groans of those whom it has undone. To-day it may be sneered at; nonetheless, it is but yesterday that it numbered among its adherents the ablest men of the age; and to-morrow, it may be, when once again there shall be giants in theology, it will come to the front, and ask in vain for its adversaries. Calvinism, pure and simple, is but one form of Evangelism; it is not perfect, for it lacks some of the balancing truths of the system which arose as a remonstrance against its mistakes, but still it contains within it so large a measure of divinely immortal truth that it will never die. “Modern thought” is but the thistledown upon the hillside; the wind shall carry it away, but the primeval mount of “Calvinism,” which is none other than Pauline or Christian doctrine, shall stand fast for aye.

Chap 3. MARCH, 1874.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

MARCH, 1874.

THE NEED OF DECISION FOR THE TRUTH.

A COLLEGE ADDRESS, BY C. H. SPURGEON.

SOME things are true and some things are false. I regard that as an axiom; but there are many persons who evidently do not believe it. The current principle of the present age seems to be, “Some things are either true or false, according to the point of view from which you look at them.

Black is white, and white is black according to circumstances; and it does not particularly matter which you call it. Truth of course is true, but it would be rude to say that the opposite is a lie; we must not be bigoted, but remember the motto, ‘ So many men, so many minds.’” Our forefathers were particular about maintaining landmarks; they had strong notions about fixed points of revealed doctrine, and were very tenacious of what they believed to be scriptural; their fields were protected by hedges and ditches, but their sons have grubbed up the hedges, filled up the ditches, laid all level, and played at leap-frog with the boundary stones. The school of modern thought laughs at the ridiculous positiveness of Reformers and Puritans; it is advancing in glorious liberality, and before long will publish a grand alliance between heaven and hell, or, rather, an amalgamation of the two establishments upon terms of mutual concession, allowing falsehood and truth to lie side by side, like the lion with the lamb. Still, for all that, my firm old fashioned belief is that some doctrines are true, and that statements which are diametrically opposite to them are not true, — that when “No” is the fact, “Yes” is out of court, and that when “Yes” can be justified, “:No” must be abandoned. I believe that the gentleman who has for so long a time perplexed our courts is either Sir Roger Tichborne or somebody else; I am not yet able to conceive of his being the true heir and an impostor at the same time. Yet in religious matters the fashionable standpoint is somewhere in that latitude.

We have a faith to preach, my brethren, and we are sent forth with a message from God. We are not left to fabricate the message as we go along. We are not sent forth by our Master with this kind of general commission — “ As you shall think in your heart and invent in your head as you march on, so preach. Keep abreast of the times. Whatever the people want to hear, tell them that, and they shall be saved.” Verily, we read not so. There is something definite in the Bible. It is not quite a lump of wax to be shaped at our will, or a roll of cloth to be cut according to the prevailing fashion. Your great thinkers evidently look upon the Scriptures as a box of letters for them to play with, and make what they like of, or a wizard’s bottle, out of which they may pour anything they choose from atheism up to spiritualism. I am too old-fashioned to fall down and worship this theory. There is something told me in the Bible — told me for certain — not put before me with a “but” and a “perhaps,” and an “if,” and a “may be,” and fifty thousand suspicions behind it, so that really the long and the short of it is, that it may not be so at all; but revealed to me as infallible fact, which must be believed, the opposite of which is deadly error, and comes from the father of lies.

Believing, therefore, that there is such a thing as truth, and such a thing as falsehood, that there are truths in the Bible, and that the gospel consists in something definite which is to be believed by men, it becomes us to be decided as to what we teach, and to teach it in a decided manner. We have to deal with men who will be either lost or saved, and they certainly will not be saved by erroneous doctrine. We have to deal with God, whose servants we are, and he will not be honored by our delivering falsehoods; neither will he give us a reward, and say,” Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast mangled the gospel as judiciously as any man that ever lived before thee.” We stand in a very solemn position, and ours should be the spirit of old Micaiah, who said, “As the, Lord my God liveth, before whom I stand, whatsoever the Lord saith unto me that will I speak.” Neither less nor more than God’s word are we called to state, but that we are bound to declare in a spirit which lets the sons of men know that, whatever they may think of it, we believe God, and are not to be shaken in our confidence in him.

In what ought we to be positive, brethren? Well, there are gentlemen alive who imagine that there are no fixed principles to go upon. “Perhaps a few doctrines,” said one to me, “perhaps a few doctrines may be considered as established. It is, perhaps, ascertained that there is a God; but one ought not to dogmatise upon his personality: a great deal may be said for pantheism.” Such men creep into the ministry., but they are generally cunning enough to conceal the breadth of their minds beneath Christian phraseology, thus acting in consistency with their principles, for their fundamental rule is that truth is of no consequence.

As for us — as for me, at any rate — I am certain that there is a God, and I mean to preach it as a man does who is absolutely sure. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the Master of providence, and the Lord of grace: let his name be blessed for ever and ever! We will have no questions and debates as to him.

We are equally certain that the book which is called “the Bible” is his word, and is inspired; not inspired in the sense in which Shakespeare, and Milton, and Dryden may be inspired, but in an infinitely higher sense; so that, provided we have the exact text, we regard the words themselves as infallible. We believe that everything stated in the book that comes to us from God is to be accepted by us as his sure testimony, and nothing less than that. God forbid we should be ensnared by those various interpretations of the modus of inspiration, which amount to little more than frittering it away. The book is a divine production; it is perfect, and is the last court of appeal — “ the judge which ends the strife.” I would as soon dream of blaspheming my Maker as of questioning the infallibility of his word.

We are also sure concerning the doctrine of the blessed Trinity. We cannot explain how the Father, Son, and Spirit can be each one distinct and perfect in himself, and yet that these three are one, so that there is but one God; yet we do verily believe it, and mean to preach it, notwithstanding Unitarian, Socinian, Sabellian, or any other error. We shall hold that fast evermore, by the grace of God.

And, brethren, there will be no uncertain sound from us as to the doctrine of atonement. We cannot leave the blood out of our ministry, or the life of it will be gone; for we may say of our ministry, “The blood is the life thereof.” The proper substitution of Christ, the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, on the behalf of his people, that they might live through him. This we must publish till we die.

Neither can we waver in our mind for a moment concerning the great and glorious Spirit of God — the fact of his existence, his personality, and the power of his workings; the necessity of his influences, the certainty that no man is regenerated except by him; that we are born .again by the Spirit of God, and that the Spirit dwells in believers, and is the author of all good in them, their sanctifier and preserver, without whom they can do no good thing whatsoever. We shall not at all hesitate as to preaching that truth.

The absolute necessity of the new birth is also a certainty. We come down with demonstration when we touch that point. We shall never poison our people with the notion that a moral reformation will suffice, but we will over and over again say to them, “Ye must be born again.” We have not got into the condition of the Scotch minister, who when old John Macdonald preached to his congregation a sermon to sinners remarked, “Well, Mr. Macdonald, that was a very good sermon which you have preached, but it is very much out of place, for I do not know one single unregenerate person in my congregation.” Poor soul, he was in all probability unregenerated himself. No, we dare not flatter our hearers, but we must continue to tell them that they are born sinners, and must be born saints, or they will never see the face of God with acceptance.

The tremendous evil of sin — we shall not hesitate about that. We shall speak on that matter both sorrowfully and positively; and, though some very wise men raise difficult questions about hell, we shall not furl to declare the terrors of the Lord, and the fact that the Lord has said, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”

Neither will we ever give an uncertain sound as to the glorious truth that salvation is all of grace. If ever we ourselves are saved, we know that sovereign grace alone has done it, and we feel it must be the same with others. We will publish “Grace! grace! grace!” with all our might, living and dying.

We shall be very decided, also, as to justification by faith, for salvation is “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” “Life in a look at the Crucified One” will be our message. Trust in the Redeemer will be that saving grace which we will pray the Lord to implant in all our hearers’ hearts.

And everything else which we believe to be true in the Scriptures we shall preach with decision. If there be questions which may be regarded as moot, or comparatively unimportant, we shall speak with such a measure of decision about them as may be comely. But points which cannot be moot, which are essential and fundamental, will be declared by us without any stammering, without any inquiring of the people, “What would you wish us to say?” Yes, and without the apology, “Those are my views, but other people’s views may be correct.” We ought to preach the gospel, not as our views at all, but as the mind of God — the testimony of Jehovah concerning his own Son, and in reference to salvation for lost men. If we had been entrusted with the making of the gospel, we might have altered it to suit the taste of this modest century, but never having been employed to originate the good news, but merely to repeat it, we dare not stir beyond the record. What we have been taught of God we teach. If we do not do this, we are not fit for our position. If I have a servant in my house, and I send a message by her to the door, and she amends it, on her own authority, she may take away the very soul of the message by so doing, and she will be responsible for what she has done. She will not long remain in my employ, for I need a servant who will repeat what I say, as nearly as possible, word for word; and if she does so., I am responsible for the message, she is not. If any one should be angry with her on account of what she said, they would be very unjust; their quarrel lies with me, and not with the person whom I employ to act as mouth for me. He that hath God’s Word, let him speak it faithfully, and he will have no need to answer gainsayers, except with a “Thus saith the Lord.” This, then, is the matter concerning which we are decided.

How are we to show this decision? We need not be careful to answer this question, our decision will show itself in its own way. If we really believe a truth, we shall be decided about it. Certainly we are not to show our decision by that obstinate, furious, wolfish bigotry which cuts off every other body from the chance and hope of salvation and the possibility of being regenerate or even decently honest if they happen to differ from us about the color of a scale of the great leviathan. Some individuals appear to be naturally cut on the cross; they are manufactured to be rasps, and rasp they will. Sooner than not quarrel with you they would raise a question upon the color of invisibility, or the weight of a nonexistent substance. They are up in arms with you, not because of the importance of the question under discussion, but because of the far greater importance of their being always the Pope of the party. Don’t go about the world with your fist doubled up for fighting, carrying a theological revolver in the leg of your trousers. There is no sense in being a sort of doctrinal game-cock, to be carried about to show your spirit, or a terrier of orthodoxy, ready to tackle heterodox rats by the score. Practice the suaviter in modo, as well as the fortiter in re. Be prepared to fight, and always have your sword buckled on your thigh, but wear a scabbard; there can be no sense in waving your weapon about before everybody’s eyes to provoke conflict, after the manner of our beloved friends of the Emerald Isle, who are said to take their coats off at Donnybrook Fair, and drag them along the ground, crying out, while they flourish their shillelahs, “Will any gentleman be so good as to tread on the tail of my coat?” There are theologians of such warm, generous blood, that they are never at peace till they are fully engaged in war.

If you really believe the gospel, you will be decided for it in more sensible ways. Your very tone will betray your sincerity; you will speak like a man who has something to say, which he knows to be true. Have you ever watched a rogue when he is about to tell a falsehood? Have you noticed the way in which he has mouthed it? It takes a long time to be able to tell a lie well, for the facial organs were not originally constituted and adapted for the complacent delivery of falsehood. When a man knows he is telling you the truth, everything about him corroborates his sincerity. Any accomplished cross-examining lawyer knows within a little whether a witness is genuine or a deceiver. Truth has her own air and manner, her own tone and emphasis. Yonder is a blundering, ignorant country fellow in the witness box; the counsel tries to bamboozle and confuse him, if possible, but all the while he feels that he is an honest witness, and he says to himself, “I should like to shake this fellow’s evidence, for it will greatly damage my side of the question.” There ought to be always that same air of truth about the Christian minister; only as he is not only bearing witness to the truth, but wants other people to feel that truth and own the power of it, he ought to have more decision in his tone than a mere witness who is stating facts which may be believed or not without any serious consequences following either way. Luther was the man for decision. Nobody doubted that he believed what he spoke. He spoke with thunder, for there was lightning in his faith. The man preached all over, for his entire nature believed. You felt, “Well, he may be mad, or he may be altogether mistaken, but he assuredly believes what he says. He is the incarnation of faith; his heart is running over at his lips.”

If we would show decision for the truth, we must not only do so by our tone and manner, but by our daily actions. A man’s life is always more forcible than his speech; when men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as pounds and his words as pence. If his life and his doctrines disagree, the mass of lookers-on accept his practice and reject his preaching. A man may know a great deal about truth, and yet be a very damaging witness on its behalf, because he is no credit to it. The quack who in the classic story cried up an infallible cure for colds, coughing and sneezing between every sentence of his panegyric, may serve as the image and symbol of an unholy minister. The Satyr in AEsop’s fable was indignant with the man who blew hot and cold with the same mouth, and well he might be. I can conceive no surer method of prejudicing men against the truth than by sounding her praises through the lips of men of suspicious character. When the devil turned preacher in our Lord’s day, the Master bade him hold his peace; he did not care for Satanic praises. It is very ridiculous to hear good truth from a bad man; it is like flour in a coal-sack. When I was last in one of our Scottish towns I heard of an idiot at the asylum, who thought himself a great historic character. With much solemnity the poor fellow put himself into an impressive attitude and exclaimed, “I’m Sir William Wallace! Gie me a bit of bacca.” The descent from Sir William Wallace to a piece of tobacco was too absurd for gravity; yet it was neither so absurd nor so sad as to see a professed ambassador of the cross covetous, worldly, passionate, or sluggish. How strange it would be to hear a man say, “I am a servant of the Most High God, and I will go wherever I can get the most salary. I am called to labor for the glory of Jesus only, and I will go nowhere unless the church is of most respectable standing. For me to live is Christ, but I cannot do it under five hundred pounds per annum.”

Brother, if the truth be in thee it will flow out of thine entire being as the perfume streams from every bough of the sandal-wood tree; it will drive thee onward as the trade-wind speeds the ships, filling all their sails; it will consume thy whole nature with its energy as the forest fire burns up all the trees of the wood. Truth has not fully given thee her friendship till all thy doings are marked with her seal.

We must show our decision for the truth by the sacrifices we are ready to make. This is, indeed, the most efficient as well as the most trying method. We must be ready to give up anything and everything for the sake of the principles which we have espoused, and must be ready to offend our best supporters, to alienate our warmest friends, sooner than belie our consciences. We must be ready to be beggars in purse, and offscourings in reputation, rather than act treacherously. We can die, but we cannot deny the truth. The cost is already counted, and we are determined to buy the truth at any price, and sell it at no price. Too little of this spirit is abroad now-a-days. Men have a saving faith, and save their own persons from trouble; they have great discernment, and know on which side their bread is buttered; they are large-hearted, and are all things to all men, if by any means they may save a sum. There are plenty of curs about, who would follow at the heel of any man who would keep them in meat. They are among the first to bark at decision, and call it obstinate dogmatism, and ignorant bigotry. Their condemnatory verdict causes us no distress; it is what we expected.

Above all we must show our zeal for the truth by continually, in season and out of season, endeavoring to maintain it in the tenderest and most loving manner, but still very earnestly and firmly. We must not talk to our congregations as if we were half asleep. Our preaching must not be articulate snoring. There must be power, life, energy, vigor. We must throw our whole selves into it, and show that the zeal of God’s house has eaten us up.

How are we to manifest our decision? Certainly not by harping on one string and repeating over and over again the same truths with the declaration that we believe them. Such a course of action could only suggest itself to the incompetent. The barrel-organ grinder is not a pattern of decision, he may have persistency, but that is not the same thing as consistency. I could indicate certain brethren who have learned about four or five doctrines, and they grind them over and over again with everlasting monotony. I am always glad when they grind their tunes in some street far removed from my abode. To weary with perpetual repetition is not the way to manifest our firmness in the faith. My brethren, you will strengthen your decision by the recollection of the importance of these truths to your own souls. Are your sins forgiven? Have you a hope of heaven? How do the solemnities of eternity affect you? Certainly you are not saved apart from these things, and therefore you must hold them, for you feel you are a lost man if they be not true. You know that you have to die, and being conscious that these things alone can sustain you in the last article, you hold them with all your might. You cannot give them up. How can a man resign a truth which he feels to be vitally important to his own soul? He daily feels — “ I have to live on it, I have to die on it, I am wretched now, and lost for ever apart from it, and therefore by the help of God I cannot relinquish it.”

Your own experience from day to day will sustain you, beloved brethren. I hope you have realized already and will experience much more the power of the truth which you preach. I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen him; and I am sure he chose me before I was born, or else he never would have chosen me afterwards; and he must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that doctrine. I am bound to the doctrine of the depravity of the human heart, because I find myself depraved in heart, and have daily proofs that there dwelleth .in my flesh no good thing. I cannot help holding that there must be an atonement before there can be pardon, because my conscience demands it, and my peace depends upon it. The little court within my own heart is not satisfied unless some retribution be exacted for dishonor done to God. They tell us sometimes that such and such statements are not true; but; when we are able to reply that we have tried them and proved them, what answer is there to such reasoning? A man propounds the wonderful discovery that honey is not sweet. “But I had some for breakfast, and I found it very sweet,” say you, and your reply is conclusive. He tells you that salt is poisonous, but you point to your own health, and declare that you have eaten salt these forty years. He says that to eat bread is a mistake — a vulgar error, an antiquated absurdity; but at each meal you make his protest the subject for a merry laugh. If you are daily and habitually experienced in the truth of God’s word, I am not afraid of your being shaken in mind in reference to it. Those young fellows who never felt conviction of sin, but obtained their religion as they get their bath in the morning, by jumping into it — these will as readily leap out of it as they leaped in. Those who feel neither the joys nor yet the depressions of spirit which indicate spiritual life, are torpid, and their palsied hand has no firm grip of truth. Mere skimmers of the word, who, like swallows, touch the water with their wings, are the first to fly from one land to another as personal considerations guide them. They believe this, and then believe that, for, in truth, they believe nothing intensely. If you have ever been dragged through the mire and clay of soul-despair, if you have been turned upside down, and wiped out like a dish as to all your own strength and pride, and have then been filled with the joy and peace of God, through Jesus Christ, I will trust you among fifty thousand infidels. Whenever I hear the skeptic’s stale attacks upon the word of God, I smile within myself, and think, “Why, you simpleton! how can you urge such trifling objections? I have felt, in the contentions of my own unbelief, ten times greater difficulties.” We who have contended with horses are not to be wearied by footmen. Gordon Cumming and other lion-killers are not to be scared by wild cats, nor will those who have stood foot to foot with Satan resign the field to pretentious skeptics, or any other of the evil one’s inferior servants.

If, my brethren, we have fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot be made to doubt the fundamentals of the gospel; neither can we be undecided. A glimpse of the thorn-crowned head and pierced hands and feet is the sure cure for “modern thought” and all its vagaries. Get into the “Rock of Ages, cleft for you,” and you will abhor the quicksand. That eminent American preacher, the seraphic Summerfield, when he lay a dying, turned round to a friend in the room, and said, “I have taken a look into eternity. Oh, if I could come back and preach again, how differently would I preach from what I have done before!” Take a look into eternity, brethren, if you want to be decided. Remember how Atheist met Christian and Hopeful on the road to the ]New Jerusalem, and said, “There is no celestial country. I have gone a long way, and could not find it.” Then Christian said to Hopeful,” Did we not see it from the top of Mount Clear, when we were with the shepherds?” There was an answer! So when men have said, “There is no Christ — there is no truth in religion,” we have replied to them, “Have we not sat under his shadow with great delight? Was not his fruit sweet unto our taste? Go with your skepticisms to those who do not know whom they have believed. We have tasted and handled the good word of life. What we have seen and heard, that we do testify; and whether men receive our testimony or not, we cannot but speak it, for we speak what we do know, and testify what we have seen.” That, my brethren, is the sure way to be decided.

And now, lastly, why should we at this particular age be decided and bold? We should be so because this age is a doubting age. It swarms with doubters as Egypt of old with frogs. You rub against them everywhere. Everybody is doubting everything, not merely in religion but in politics and in social economics, in everything indeed. It is the era of progress, and I suppose it must be the age, therefore, of unloosening, in order that the whole body politic may move on a little further. Well, brethren, as the age is doubting, it is wise for us to put our foot down and stand still where we are sure we have truth beneath us. Perhaps, if it were an age of bigotry, and men would not learn, we might be more inclined to listen to new teachers; but now the Conservative side must be ours, or rather the Radical side, which is the truly Conservative side. We must go back to the radix, or root of truth, and stand sternly by that which God has revealed, and so meet the wavering of the age. Our eloquent neighbor, Mr. Arthur Mursell, has well hit off the present age : —

“Have we gone too far in saying that modern thought has grown impatient with the Bible, the gospel, and the cross? Let us see. What part of the Bible has it not assailed? The Pentateuch it has long ago swept from the canon as inauthentic. What we read about the creation and the flood is branded as fable. And the laws about the landmarks, from which Solomon was not ashamed to quote our text, are buried or laid upon the shelf. Different men assail different portions of the book, and various systems level their batteries of prejudice at various points; until by some the Scripture is torn all to pieces, and cast to the four winds of heaven, and by even the most forbearing of the cultured Vandals of what is called modern thought, it is condensed into a thin pamphlet of morality, instead of the tome of teaching through which we have eternal life. There is hardly a prophet but has been reviewed by the wiseacres of the day in precisely the same spirit as they would review a work from Mudie’s library. The Temanite and the Shuhite never misconstrued the baited Job with half the prejudice of the acknowledged intellects of our time. Isaiah, instead of being sawn asunder, is quartered and hacked in pieces. The weeping prophet is drowned in his own tears. Ezekiel is ground to atoms amidst his wheels. Daniel is devoured bodily by the learned lions. And Jonah is swallowed by the deep monsters with a more inexorable voracity than the fish, for they never cast him up again. The histories and events of the great chronicle are rudely contradicted and gainsaid, because some schoolmaster with a slate and pencil cannot bring his sums right. And every miracle which the might of the Lord wrought for the favor of his people, or the frustration of their foes, is pooh-poohed as an absurdity, because the professors cannot do the like with their enchantments. A few of what are called miracles may be credible, because our leaders think they can do them themselves. A few natural phenomena, which some doctor can show to a company of martinets in a dark room, or with a table-full of apparatus, will account for the miracle of the Red Sea. An aeronaut goes up in a balloon, and then comes down again, and quite explains away the pillar of fire and of cloud, and trifles of that kind. And so our great men are satisfied when they think that their toy wand has swallowed up the wand of Aaron; but when Aaron’s wand threatens to swallow up theirs, they say that part is not authentic, and that miracle never occurred.

“Nor does the New Testament fare any better than the Old at the hands of these invaders. There is no tell of deference levied on their homage as they pass across the line. They recognize no voice of warning with the cry, ‘ Take thy shoes from off thy feet, because the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.’ The mind which halts in its career of spiritual rapine on any reverential pretext, is denounced as ignorant or slavish. To hesitate to stamp the hoof upon a lily or a spring flower is the sentimental folly of a child, and the vanguard of the thought of the age has only pity and a sneer for such a feeling, as it stalks upon its boasted march of progress. We are told that the legends of our nurseries are obsolete, and that broader views are gaining ground with thoughtful minds. We are unwilling to believe it. The truth is that a few, a very few, thoughtful men, whose thinking consists in negation from first to last, and whose minds are tortured with a chronic twist or curve, which turns them into intellectual notes of interrogation, have laid the basis of this system; these few honest doubters have been joined by a larger band who are simply restless; and these again by men who are inimical to the spirit and the truths of Scripture, and together they have formed a coterie, and called themselves the leaders of the thought of the age. They have a following, it is true; but of whom does it consist? Of the mere satellites of fashion. Of the wealth, the pedantry, and the stupidity of our large populations. A string of carriages is seen “setting down” and “taking up” at the door where an advanced professor is to lecture, and because the milliner is advertised from floor to ceiling in the lecture-room, these views are said to be gaining ground. But in an age of fashion like this, who ever suspects these minions of the mode of having any views at all? It becomes respectable to follow a certain name for a time, and so the vainlings go to follow the name and to display the dress. But as to views, one would no more suspect such people of having any views than they would dream of charging more than a tenth part of the crowds who go to the Royal Academy’s exhibition with understanding the laws of perspective. It is the thing to do: and so every one who has a dress to show and a lounge to air, goes to show it, and all who would be in the fashion (and who would not?) are bound to advance with the times. And hence we find the times advancing over the sacred precincts of the New Testament, as though it were the floor of St. Alban’s, or of a professor’s lecture-room; and ladies drag their trains, and dandies set their dress-boots upon the authenticity of this, or the authority of that, or the inspiration of the other. People who never heard of Strauss, of Bauer, or of Tubingen, are quite prepared to say that our Savior was but a well-meaning man, who had a great many faults, and made a great many mistakes; that his miracles, as recorded in the New Testament, were in part imaginary, and in part accountable by natural theories; that the raising of Lazarus never occurred, since the Gospel of John is a forgery from first to last; that the atonement is a doctrine to be scouted as bloody and unrighteous; that Paul was a fanatic who wrote unthinkingly, and that much of what bears his name was never written by him at all. Thus is the Bible rubbed through the tribulum of criticism from Genesis to Revelation, until, in the faith of the age in which we live, as represented by its so-called leaders, there are but a few inspired fragments here and there remaining.”

Moreover, after all, this is not an earnestly doubting age; we live among a careless, frivolous race. If the doubters were honest there would be more infidel places of concourse than there are; but infidelity as an organized community does not prosper. Infidelity in London, open and avowed, has come down to one old corrugated iron shed opposite St. Luke’s. I believe that is the present position of it. “The Hall of Science,” is it not called? Its literature was carried on for a long time in half a shop in Fleet Street, that was all it could manage to support, and I don’t know whether even that half-shop is used now. It is a poor, doting, driveling thing. In Tom Paine’s time it bullied like a vigorous blasphemer, but it was outspoken, and, in its own way, downright and earnest in its outspokenness. It commanded in former days some names which one might mention with a measure of respect; Hume, to wit, and Bolingbroke, and Voltaire were great in talent, if not in character. But where now will you find a Hobbes or a Gibbon? The doubters now are simply doubters because they do not care about truth at all. They are indifferent altogether. Modern skepticism is playing and toying with truth; and it takes to “modern thought” as an amusement, as ladies take to croquet or archery. This is nothing less than an age of millinery and dolls and comedy. Even good people do not believe out and out as their fathers used to do. Some even among Nonconformists are shamefully lax in their convictions; they have few masterly convictions such as would lead them to the stake, or even to imprisonment. Mollusks have taken the place of men, and men are turned to jelly-fishes. Far from us be the desire to imitate them.

Moreover it is an age which is very impressible, and therefore I should like to see you very decided, that you may impress it. The wonderful progress made in England by the High Church movement shows that earnestness is power. The Ritualists believe something, and that fact has given them influence. To me their distinctive creed is intolerable nonsense, and their proceedings are childish foolery; but they have dared to go against the mob, and have turned the mob round to their side. Bravely did they battle, let us say it to their honor, when their churches became the scenes of riot and disorder, and there was raised the terrible howl of “No Popery” by the lower orders, they boldly confronted the foe and never winced. They went against the whole current of what was thought to be the deep-seated feeling of England in favor of Protestantism, and with scarcely a bishop to patronize them, and but few loaves and fishes of patronage, they have increased from a mere handful to become the dominant and most vital party in the Church of England, and to our intense surprise and horror they have brought people to receive again the Popery which we thought dead and buried. If anybody had told me twenty years ago that the witch of Endor would become Queen of England, 1 should as soon have believed it as that we should now have such a High Church development; but the fact is, the men were earnest and decided, and held what they believed most firmly, and did not hesitate to push their cause. The age, therefore, can be impressed; it will receive what is taught by zealous men, whether it be truth or falsehood. It may be objected that falsehood will be received the more readily; that is just possible, but anything will be accepted by men, if you will but preach it with tremendous energy and living earnestness. If they will not receive it into their hearts in a spiritual sense, yet at any rate there will be a mental assent and consent, very much in proportion to the energy with which you proclaim it; ay, and God will bless our decision too, so that when the mind is gained by our earnestness, and the attention is won by our zeal, the heart itself will be opened by the Spirit of God.

We must be decided. What have Dissenters been doing to a great extent lately but trying to be fine? How many of our ministers are laboring to be grand orators or intellectual thinkers? That is not the thing. Our young ministers have been dazzled by that, and have gone off to bray like wild asses under the notion that they would then be reputed to have come from Jerusalem or to have been reared in Germany. The world has found them out. There is nothing now I believe that genuine Christians despise more than the foolish affectation of intellectualism. You will hear a good old deacon say, “Mr. So-and-so, whom we had here, was a very clever man, and preached wonderful sermons, but the cause has gone down through it. We can hardly support the minister, and we mean next time to have one of the old fashioned ministers back again who believe in something and preach it. There will be no addition to our church else.” Will you go out and tell people that you believe you can say something, but you hardly know what; you are not quite sure that what you preach is correct, but the trust-deed requires you to say it, and therefore you say it? Why, you may cause fools and idiots to be pleased with you, and you will be sure to propagate infidelity, but you cannot do more. When a prophet comes forward he must speak as from the Lord, and if he cannot do that, let him go back to his bed. It is quite certain, dear friends, that now or never we must be decided, because the age is manifestly drifting. You cannot watch for twelve months without seeing how it is going down the tide; the anchors are pulled up, and the vessel is floating to destruction. It is drifting now, as near as I can tell you, south-east, and is nearing Cape Vatican, and if it drives much further in that direction it will be on the rocks of the Roman reef. We must get aboard her, and connect her with the glorious steam-tug of gospel truth, and drag her back. I should be glad if I could take her round by Cape Calvin, right up into the Bay of Calvary, and anchor her in the fair haven which is close over by the cross. God grant us grace to do it. We must have a strong hand, and have our steam well up, and defy the current; and so by God’s grace we shall both save this age and the generations yet to come.

THE BEATITUDES

EXPOUNDED IN A SERIES OF SENTENTIOUS HOMILIES.

BY C. H. SPURGEON.

HOMILY THE SECOND — THE FIRST BEATITUDE.

Bearing in mind the object of our Savior’s discourse, which was to describe the saved, and not. to declare the plan, of salvation, we now come to consider the first of the Beatitudes: —

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

A ladder, if it is to be of any use, must have its. first step near the ground, or feeble climbers will never be able to mount:. It would have been a grievous discouragement, to struggling faith if the first blessing had been given to, the pure in heart; to that excellence the young beginner makes no claim, while to poverty of spirit be can reach without going beyond his line. Had the Savior said, “Blessed are the rich in grace,” he would have, spoken a great truth, but very few of us could have derived consolation therefrom. Our Divine Instructor begins at the beginning, with A B C of experience, and so enables the babes in grace to learn of him; had he commenced with higher attainments, he must have left the little ones behind. A gigantic step at the, bottom of these sacred stairs would have effectually prevented many from essaying to ascend; but, tempted by the lowly step, which bears the inscription “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” thousands are encouraged to attempt the heavenly way.

It is worthy of grateful note, that this gospel blessing reaches down to the exact spot where the law leaves us when it has done for us the very best within its power or design. The utmost the law can accomplish for our fallen humanity is to lay bare our spiritual poverty, and convince us of it. It cannot by any possibility enrich a man; its greatest service, is to tear away from him his fancied wealth of self-righteousness., show him his overwhelming indebtedness to God, and bow him to the earth in self despair. Like Moses, it leads away from Goshen, conducts into the wilderness, and brings to the verge of an impassable stream, but it can do no more; Joshua Jesus is needed to divide the Jordan, and conduct into the promised land. The law rends the goodly Babylonish garment of our imaginary merits into ten pieces, and proves our wedge of gold to be mere dross, and thus it leaves us, “naked, and poor, and miserable.” To this point Jesus descends; his full line of blessing comes up to the verge of destruction, rescues the lost, and enriches the poor. The gospel is full as it is free.

This first Beatitude, though thus placed at a suitably low point, where it may be reached by those who in the earliest stages of grace, is however none the less rich in. blessing. The same word is used in the same sense at the beginning as at the end of the chain of Beatitudes; the poor in spirit are as truly and emphatically blessed as the meek, or the peacemakers. No hint is given as to lower degree, or inferior measure; but, on the contrary, the very highest benison, which is used in the tenth verse as the gathering up of all the seven Beatitudes, is ascribed to the first and lowest order of the blessed: “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What more is said even of the co-heirs with prophets and martyrs? What more indeed could be said than this? The poor in spirit are lifted from the dunghill, and set, not among hired servants in the field, but among princes in the kingdom. Blessed is that, soul-poverty of which the Lord himself utters such good things. He sets much store by that which the world holds in small esteem, for his judgment is the reverse of the foolish verdict of the proud. As Watson well observes, “How poor are they that think themselves rich! How rich are they that see themselves to be poor! I call it the jewel of poverty. There be some paradoxes in religion which the world cannot understand; for a man to become a fool that he may be wise, to save his life by losing it, and to be made rich by being poor. Yet this poverty is to be striven for more than riches; under these rags is hid cloth of gold, and out of this carcase cometh honey.”

The cause for placing this Beatitude first is found in the fact that it is first as a matter of experience; it is essential to the succeeding characters, underlies each one of them, and is the soil in which they alone can be produced. No man ever mourns before God until he is poor in spirit, neither does he, become meek towards others till he has humble views of himself; hungering and thirsting after righteousness are not possible to those who have high views of their own excellence, and mercy to those who offend is a grace too difficult for those who are unconscious of their own spiritual need. Poverty in spirit is the porch of the temple of blessedness. As a wise man never thinks of building up the walls of his house till he has first digged out the foundation, so no person skillful in divine things will hope to see any of the higher virtues where poverty of spirit is absent. Till we are emptied of self we cannot be filled with God; stripping must be wrought upon us before we can be clothed with the righteousness which is from heaven. Christ is never precious till we are poor in spirit, we must see our own wants before we can perceive his wealth; pride blinds the eyes, and sincere humility must open them, or the beauties of Jesus will be for ever hidden from us. The strait gate is not wide enough to allow that man to enter who is great in his own esteem; it is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a, man conceited of his own spiritual riches to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Hence it is clear that the character described in connection with the first Beatitude to the production of those which follow after; and unless a man possesses it, he may look in vain for favor at the hands of the Lord. The proud are cursed, their pride alone secures them the curse, and shuts them out from, divine regard: “The proud he knoweth afar off.” The lowly in heart are blessed, for to them and to their prayers Jehovah ever has a tender regard.

It is worthy of double mention that this first blessing is given rather to the absence than to the presence of praiseworthy qualities; it is a blessing, not upon the man who is distinguished for this virtue or remarkable for that excellence, but upon him whose chief characteristic is that he confesses his own sad deficiencies. This is intentional, in order that grace may be all the more manifestly seen to be grace indeed, casting its eye first, not upon purity, but, upon poverty; not upon shewers of mercy, but upon needers of mercy; not upon those who are called the children of God, but upon those who cry, “We are not worthy to be called thy sons.” God wants nothing of us except our wants, and these furnish him with room to display his bounty when he supplies them freely. It is from the worse and not from the better side of fallen man that the Lord wins glory for himself. Not what I have, but what I have not, is the first point of contact between my soul and God. The good may bring their goodness, but he declares that “there is none righteous, no, not one;” the pious may offer their ceremonies, but he taketh no delight in all their oblations; the wise may present their inventions, but he counts their wisdom to be folly; but when the poor in spirit come to him with their utter destitution and distress he accepts them at once; yea, he bows the heavens to bless them, and opens the storehouses of the covenant to satisfy them. As the surgeon seeks for the sick, and as the alms-giver looks after the poor, even so the Savior seeks out such as need him, and upon them he exercises his divine office. Let every needy sinner drink comfort from this well.

Nor ought we to forget that this lowest note upon the octave of Beatitude, this keynote of the whole music gives forth a certain sound as to the spirituality of the Christian dispensation. It’s first blessing is allotted to a characteristic, not of the outer, but of the inner man; to a state of soul, and not to a posture of body; to the poor in spirit, and not to the exact ritual. That word spirit is one of the watchwords of the gospel dispensation. Garments, genuflections, rituals, oblations, and the like are ignored, and the Lord’s eye of favor rests only, upon hearts broken and spirits humbled before him. Even mental endowments are left in the cold shade, and the spirit is made to lead the van; the soul, the true man, is regarded, and all beside left as of comparatively little worth. This teaches us to mind, above all things, those matters which concern our spirits. We must not be satisfied with external religion. If, in any ordinance, our spirit, does not come into contact with the great Father of spirits, we must not rest satisfied. Everything about our religion which in not heart-work must be unsatisfactory to us. As men cannot live upon the chaff and the bran, but need the flour of the wheat, so do we need something more than the form of godliness and the letter of truth, we require the secret meaning, the ingrafting of the Word into out spirit, the bringing of the truth of God into our inmost soul: all short of this is short of the blessing. The highest grade of outward religiousness is unblest, but the very lowest form of spiritual grace is endowed with the kingdom of heaven. Better to be spiritual, even though our highest attainment is to be poor in spirit, than to remain carnal, even though in that carnality we should vaunt of perfection in the flesh. The least in grace is highest than the greatest in nature. Poverty of spirit in the publican was better than fullness of external in the Pharisee. As the weakest and poorest man is nobler than the strongest of all the beasts of the field, so is the meanest spiritual man more precious in the sight of the Lord than the most eminent of the self-sufficient children of men. The smallest of diamond is worth more than the largest pebble, the lowest of degree of grace excels the loftiest attainment of nature. What sayest thou to this, beloved friend? Are you spiritual? At least, are you enough so to be poor in spirit?. Does there exist for you a spiritual realm, or are you locked up in the narrow region of things seen and heard? If the Holy Spirit has broken a door for thee into the spiritual and unseen, then thou art blessed, even though thine only perception as yet be the painful discovery that thou art poor in spirit. Jesus on the mount blesses thee, and blessed thou art.

Drawing still nearer to our text, we observe; first, that THE PERSON DESCRIBED HAS DISCOVERED A FACT, he has ascertained his own spiritual poverty; and, secondly, BY A FACT IS COMFORTED, for he possesses “the kingdom of heaven.”

I. The fact which he has ascertained is an old truth, for the man always was spiritually poor. From his birth he was a pauper, and at his best estate he is only a mendicant. “Naked, and poor, and miserable” is a fair summary of man’s condition by nature. He lies covered with sores at the gate of mercy, having nothing of his own but sin, unable to dig and unwilling to beg, and therefore perishing in a penury of the direst kind. This truth is also universal, for all men are by nature thus poor. In a clan or family, there will usually be at least one person of substance, and in the poorest nation there will be some few possessors of wealth; but, alas for our humanity! its whole store of excellence is spent, and its riches are utterly gone. Among us all, there remains no remnant of good; the oil is spent from the curse, the meal is exhausted from the barrel, and a famine is upon us, direr than that which desolated Samaria of old. We owe ten thousand talents, and have nothing wherewith to pay; even so much as a single penny of goodness we cannot find in all the treasuries of the nations.

This fact is deeply humiliating. A man may have no money, and yet it may involve no fault, and therefore no shame; but our estate of poverty has this sting in it, that it is moral and spiritual, and sinks us into blame and sin. To be poor in holiness, truth faith,. and love to God, is disgraceful to us. Often does the poor man hide his face as one greatly ashamed; far more cause have we to do so who have spent our living riotously, wasted our Father’s substance, and brought ourselves to want and dishonor. Descriptions of our state which describe us as miserable are not complete unless they also declare us to be guilty; true, we are objects of pity, but much more of censure. A poor man may be none the less worthy of esteem because of the meanness of his apparel, and the scantiness of his provision; but spiritual poverty means fault, blame worthiness, shame and sin. He who is poor in spirit is therefore a humbled man, and is on the way to be numbered with those than mourn, of whom the second benediction says that “they shall be comforted.”

The fact discovered by the blessed one in the text is but little known; the mass of mankind are utterly ignorant upon the matter. Though the truth as to man’s lost condition is daily taught in our streets, yet few understand it; they are not anxious to know the meaning of a statement so uncomfortable, so alarming; and the bulk of those who are aware of the doctrine, and acknowledge that it is Scriptural, yet do not believe it, but put it out of their thoughts, and practically ignore it. “We see,” is the universal boast of the world’s blind men. So far from realizing that they are destitute, the sons of men are in their own esteem so richly endowed that they thank God that they are not as other men. No slavery is so degrading as that which makes a man content with his servility; the poverty which never aspires, but is content to continue in rags and filth, is poverty of the deepest dye, and such is the spiritual condition of mankind.

Whenever the truth as to our condition is truly known, it has been spiritually revealed. We may say over every one who knows his soulpoverty, “Blessed art thou, Simon, son of Jonas, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee.” To be spiritually poor is the condition of all men; to be poor in spirit, or to know our spiritual poverty, is an attainment specially granted to the called and chosen. An omnipotent hand created us out of nothing, and the like omnipotence is needed to bring us to feel that we are nothing. We can never be saved unless we are made alive by infinite power, nor can we be made alive at all unless that selfsame power shall first slay us. It is amazing how much is needed to strip a man, and lay him in his true place. One would think that so penniless a beggar must be aware of his penury; but he is not, and never will be, unless the eternal God shall convince him of it. Our imaginary goodness is more hard to conquer than our actual sin. Man can sooner be cured of his sicknesses than be made to forego his boasts of health. Human weakness is a small obstacle to salvation compared with human strength; there lies the work and the difficulty. Hence it is a sign of grace to know one’s need of grace. He has some light in his soul who knows and feels that he is in darkness. The Lord himself has wrought a work of grace upon the spirit which is poor and needy, and trembles at his Word; and it is such a work that it bears within it the promise, yea, the assurance of salvation; for the poor in spirit already possess the kingdom of heaven, and none have that but those who have eternal life.

One thing is certainly true of the man whose spirit knows it own poverty, he is in possession of one truth at least; whereas, before, he breathed the atmosphere of falsehood, and knew nothing which he ought to know. However painful the result of poverty of spirit may be, it is the result of truth; and a foundation of truth being laid, other truth will be added, and the man will abide in the truth. All others think they know concerning their own spiritual excellence is but a lie, and to be rich in lies is to be awfully poor. Carnal security, natural merit, and self-confidence, however much of false peace they may produce, are only forms of falsehood, deceiving the soul; but when a man finds out that he is by nature and practice “lost”, he is no longer utterly a pauper as to truth, he possesses one precious thing at any rate, one coin minted by truth is in his hand. For my own part, my constant prayer is that I may know of the worst of my case, whatever the knowledge may cost me. I know that an accurate estimate of my own heart can never be otherwise than lowering to my self-esteem; but God forbid that I should be spared the humiliation which springs from the truth! The sweet apples of self-esteem are deadly poison; who would wish to be destroyed thereby? The bitter fruits of self-knowledge are always healthful, especially if washed down with the waters of repentance. And sweetened with a draught from the wells of salvation; he who loves his own soul will not despise them. Blessed, according to our text, is the poor cast-down one who knows his lost condition, and is suitably impressed thereby; he is but a beginner in Wisdom’s school, yet he is a disciple, and his Master encourages him with a benediction, yea, he pronounces him one of those to whom the kingdom of heaven is given.

The position into which a clear knowledge of this one truth has brought the soul is one peculiarly advantageous for obtaining every gospel blessing. Poverty of spirit empties a man, and so makes him ready too be filled; it exposes his wounds to the oil and wine of the good Physician; it lays the guilty sinner at the gate of mercy, or among those dying ones around the pool of Bethesda to whom Jesus is wont to come. Such a man opens his month, and the Lord fills it; he hungers, and the Lord satisfies him with good things. Above all other evils we have most cause to dread our own fullness; the greatest unfitness for Christ is our own imaginary fitness. When are utterly undone, we are near to being enriched with the riches of grace. Out of ourselves is next door to being in Christ. Where we end, mercy begins; or rather, mercy has begun, and mercy has already done much for us when, we are at the end of our merit, our power, our wisdom, and our hope. The deeper the destitution the better; —

“‘Tis perfect poverty alone
That sets the soul at large;
While we can call one mite our own
We get no full discharge.”

Should the heart be distressed because it cannot even sufficiently feel its own need, so much the better; the poverty of spirit is just so much the greater, and the appeal to free grace is all the more powerful. If the want of a broken heart be felt, we may come to Jesus for a broken heart, if we, cannot come with a broken heart. If no kind or degree of good be perceptible, this also is but a, clear proof of utter poverty, and in that condition we may dare to believe in the Lord Jesus. Though we are, nothing, Christ is all. All that we, need to begin with we must find in him, just as surely as we must look for our ultimate perfecting to the selfsame source.

A man may be so misled as to make a merit out of his sense of sin, and may dream of coming to Jesus clothed in a fitness of despair and unbelief; this is, however, the very reverse of the conduct of one who is poor in spirit, for he is poor in feelings as well as in everything else, and dares no more, commend himself on account of his humblings and despairings than on account of his sins themselves. He thinks himself to be a, hardheaded sinner as he acknowledges the, deep repentance which his offenses call for; he, fears that he is a stranger to that quickening which makes the conscience tender, and he dreads lest he should in any measure be a hypocrite in the desires which he perceives to be in his soul; in fact, he does not dare to think himself to be any other than poor, grievously poor, in whatever light he may be viewed in his relation to God and his righteous law. He hears of the humiliations of true penitents, and wishes he had them; he reads the descriptions of repentance given in the; Word of God, and prays that he may realize them, but, he sees nothing in himself upon which he can put his finger, and say, “This at least is good. In me, there. dwells at least some one good thing.” He is poor in spirit, and from him all boasting is cut off, once for all. It is better to be in this condition than falsely to account one’s self a saint, and sit in the chief places of the synagogue; yea, it is so sweetly safe a position to occupy, that he who is fullest of faith in God, and joy in the Holy Ghost, finds it add to his peace to retain a full consciousness of the poverty of his natural state, and to let it run parallel with his persuasion of security and blessedness in Christ Jesus. Lord, keep me low; empty me more and more; lay me in the dust, let me be dead and buried as to all that is of self; then shall Jesus live in me, and reign in me, and be, truly my Allin-all!

It may seem to some to be a small matter to be poor in spirit; let such persons remember that our Lord so places this gracious condition of heart that it is the foundation-stone of the celestial ascent of Beatitudes; and who can deny that the, steps which rise from it are beyond me sublime? It is some thing inexpressibly desirable to be poor in spirit if this be the road to road to purity of heart, and to the godlike, character of the peacemaker. Who would not lay his head on Jacob’s stone to enjoy Jacob’s dream? Who would scorn the staff with which in poverty he crossed the, Jordan if he might but see the kingdom of heaven opened as the patriarch did? I welcome the poverty of Israel if it be a, part of the conditions upon which we shall receive the blessing of Israel’s God. Instead of despising the poor in spirit, we shall do well to, regard them as possessing the dawn of spiritual life, the germ of all the graces, the initiative perfection, the evidence of blessedness. .

II. Having spoken thus much upon the character of those who are poor in spirit as being formed by the knowledge of the fact, we have now to note THAT IT IS BY A FACT THAT THEY ARE CHEERED AND RENDERED BLESSED: “for their’s is the kingdom of heaven.”

It is not a promise as to the future, but, a declaration as to the present; not theirs shall be, but “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This truth is clearly revealed in many Scriptures by necessary inference for, first, the King of the heavenly kingdom is constantly represented as reigning over the poor. David says, in the seventy-second Psalm, “He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy. . . . He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.” As his virgin mother sang, “He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.” Those who enlist beneath the banner of the Son of David are like. those who of old came, to the son of Jesse in the cave! of Adulate, “Every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them.” “This man receiveth sinners and earth with them.” His title was “a Friend of publicans and sinners.” “Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor,” and it is therefore meet that the poor should be soared unto him. Since Jesus has chosen the poor in spirit to be his subjects, and said, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” we see how true it is that they are blessed.

The rule of the kingdom is such as only the poor in spirit will endure. To them it is an easy yoke from which they have no wish to be released; to give God all the glory is no burden to them, to cease from self is no hard command. The, place of lowliness suits them, the service of humiliation they count an honor; they can say with the psalmist (Psalm 131:2)

“Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child” Self-denial and humility, which are duties of Christ’s kingdom, are easy only to, those who are poor in spirit. A humble mind loves humble duties, and is willing to kiss the least flower which grows in the Valley of Humiliation; but to others a, fair show in the flesh is a great attraction, and self-exaltation the main object of life. Our Savior’s declaration, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven,” is an iron rule which shuts out all but the poor in spirit; but, at the same time, it is a gate of pearl which admits all who are of that character.

The privileges of the kingdom are such as only the spiritually poor will value; to others, they are as pearls cast before swine. The self-righteous care nothing for pardon, though. it cost the Redeemer his life’s blood; they have no care for regeneration, though it be the greatest work of the Holy Spirit; and they set no store by sanctification, though it is the Father himself who has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Evidently the blessings of the covenant were meant for the poor in spirit; there, is not one of them which would be valued by the Pharisee. A robe of righteousness implies our nakedness; manna from heaven implies, the lack of earthly bread. salvation is vanity if men are in no danger, and mercy a mockery if they be not sinful. The charter of the Church is written upon the supposition that it is formed of the poor and needy, and is without meaning if it be not so. Poverty of spirit opens the eyes to see the preciousness of covenant blessings. As an old Puritan says, “He that is poor in spirit is a Christ-admirer; he hath high thoughts of Christ, he sets a high value and appreciation upon Christ; he hides himself in Christ’s wounds; he bathes himself in his blood; he wraps himself in his robe; he sees a spiritual dearth and famine at home, but he looks out to Christ, and cries, ‘Lord, show me thyself, and it sufficeth.’ “ Now, inasmuch as the Lord has made nothing in vain, since we find that the privileges of the, gospel kingdom are only suitable to the poor in spirit, we may rest assured that for such they were prepared, and to such they belong.

Moreover, it is clear that only those who are poor in spirit do actually reign as kings unto God. The crown of this kingdom will not fit every head; in fact, it fits the brow of none but the poor in spirit. No proud man reigns; he is the slave of his boastings, the serf of his own loftiness. The ambitious worldling grasps after a kingdom, but he does not possess one; the humble. in heart are content and in that contentment they are made to reign High spirits have no rest; only the lowly heart has peace. To know one’s self is the way to self-conquest, and self-conquest is the grandest of all victories. The world looks out for a lofty, ambitious, stern, self-sufficient man, and says he bears himself like a king: and yet, in very truth, the real kings among their fellows are meek and lowly like the Lord of all, and in their unconsciousness of self lies the secret of their power. The kings among mankind, the happiest, the most powerful, the most honorable, will one day be seen to be, not the Alexanders, Caesars, and Napoleons, but the men akin to him who washed the disciples’ feet, those who in quietness lived for God and their fellow-men, unostentatious because conscious of their failures, unselfish because self was held in low esteem, humble and devout because their own spiritual poverty drove them out of themselves, and led them to rest alone upon the Lord. The time shall come when glitter and gewgaw will go for what they are worth, and then shall the poor in spirit be seen to have had the kingdom.

The dominion awarded by this Beatitude to the poor in spirit is no common one; it is the, kingdom of heaven, a heavenly dominion, far excelling anything which can be obtained this side the stars. An ungodly world may reckon the poor in spirit to be contemptible, but God writes them down among his peers and princes; and his judgment is true, and far more to be esteemed than the opinions of men or even of angels. Only as we are poor in spirit have we any evidence that heaven is ours; but having that mark of blessed, all things are ours, whether things present or things to come. To the poor in spirit belong all the security, honor, and happiness which the gospel kingdom is calculated to give upon earth; even here below, they may eat of its dainties without question, and revel in its delights without fear. Their’s also are the things not seen as yet, reserved for future revelation, their’s the second advent; their’s the glory, theirs the fifth great monarchy, their’s the resurrection, their’s the beatific vision, their’s the eternal ecstasy. “Poor in spirit;” the words sound as if they described the owners of nothing, and yet they describer the inheritors of all things. Happy poverty! Millionaires sink into insignificance, the treasures of the Indies evaporate in smoke, while to the poor in spirit remains a boundless, endless, faultless kingdom, which renders them blessed in the esteem of him who is God over all, blessed forever. And all this is for the present life in which they mourn, and need to be comforted., hunger and thirst, and need to be filled; all this is for them while yet they are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; what then must be their blessedness when they shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, and in them shall be fulfilled the promise of their Master and Lord, “to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne”?

A FEW WORDS UPON OBJECTIONS TO REVIVALS.

BY C. H. SPURGEON.

IT may be regarded as a sign of the times when such a newspaper as the Times is found discussing the pros and cons of religious revivals; for although its more immediate object of criticism was the so-called “Mission” of the Anglican Church, yet in reality its sweeping remarks applied to the whole question of revivals. Some of the observations in the leading article, and in the letters which it elicited, are such as most men among us would heartily endorse. It is undoubtedly most mischievous to endeavor to promote religion by external means, forsaking the use of “human words from human hearts,” spoken in calm earnestness; it is unutterably evil to supplant the preacher by the priest, and to play upon the fears of superstition, instead of appealing to the motives and the understanding. None can too strongly denounce these things, and we are right glad that all reasonable men should inveigh against them’ whether they see the beauty of spiritual truth or no, we are glad that they can discern and detest the loathsome features of priestcraft. It is also true that it will never do to rely upon special efforts, and to relax the regular laborious endeavor of constant perseverance. To prefer an occasional fever to the healthy warmth of abiding health is most absurd. No ten days’ mission or fortnight of revival services can make up for the lack of a continuous mission and the earnestness of all the year round. The tendency to look fin’ occasional great gains instead of expecting daily increase must no[be suffered to grow, or it will soon impoverish the church. Whitfield and Wesley lived in one continuous revival, and cannot be cited as instances of spasmodic action. The Times is right when it claims their example as an instance of the abiding power of the true preacher, and as the very antipodes of the Ritualistic method of excitement.

Something also may be urged against the late hours which some of these Missioners, and also some revivalists have kept up. Every father of a family will agree with the remark that young people are best at home at ten o’clock. Still it is remarkable that the world should raise such a hubbub about late hours at religious services, and should itself keep such had hours at its theaters and balls. Nobody has written to the papers to complain that his daughters staid at an evening party after ten o’clock, or that his son came home at a little before eleven from the opera. There is a deal of cant in the irreligious world, and its hypocrisies are innumerable. That once in a while a meeting should. be protracted beyond the hour allowed by prudence is not so great a sin after all: it may be best to avoid it in every case, but should peculiar zeal and a special season of blessing lead a minister and his congregation into the error, we are not aware of any law, human or divine, which they will have violated.

The main objection urged by writers not unfriendly to religion is the excitement engendered. To them it appears that the great and solemn truths of religion demand the calmest and most deliberate consideration, and should be far removed from the heated atmosphere of excitement. Far be it from us to deny that the matter or religion does require the most serious thought and quiet meditation; without these the profession of conversion ought never to be made, and if made will not long be sustained, but this is not all the truth. In politics a man should calmly weigh the merits of a question, is it therefore urged that the politician may not seek to create enthusiasm for his party, and that the introduction of zeal into the business is a mischievous mistake? We have never heard either Liberal or Conservative argue in this manner. Men grow eager in the pursuit of wealth, and the pulse beats fast when great transactions are quivering in the balance; the world does not blame them for this, for it thinks the object of their pursuit worthy of intense effort: but it’ a man grows earnest in seeking the salvation of his soul, he is censured for being too excited, and if he weeps for his sins, or rejoices when he has obtained pardon for them, he is set down at once as being under the influence of fanatics and his confinement in Bedlam is confidently predicted. A physician who risks his life in the philanthropic endeavor to discover a new anodyne for human suffering is rightly judged to be a hero, yet he who proclaims with all his heart and soul the grandest of all panaceas for man’s worst ills is raving fanatic, and is held up to contempt. Is this holding the balance with an even hand?

Will any rational man maintain that excitement ceases to be legitimate according to the importance of the subject in hand? If it were so it would be, reasonable to be vehement in the cause of the parish beadle, and indifferent to the welfare of our native country; and then also it would evidently be wise to rush to the cannon’s mouth for the bubble reputation, and to let the immortal soul sink down to hell through sheer neglect. But assuredly nothing in the nature of things, nothing in the realm of common sense, and certainly nothing in Holy Scripture can be urged against the legitimate use of excitement in religion. It is to the largest degree a business of the heart; we say to the largest degree because we do not deny that it is a matter of the understanding, the memory, and all the other faculties of the mind: and surely if the heart preponderates there must be a measure of excitement. A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of “mother” is creation’s blot; shall we say less of him whose soul stirs not at the mention of the name of Savior and Redeemer? To sate his country from invasion every man worthy of the name of :Englishman would burn with passion to repel the foe, are we to be less stirred with inward tempest at the sight of the desolating vices which are ruining our fellow-citizens by millions? Is a soldier to feel the martial ardor and a Christian never to be fervent for his Lord?

The fact is that enthusiasm is only to be justified by the importance of its object. Minds excited by inferior aims have been fitly compared to “ocean into tempest tossed, to waft a feather or to drown a fly.” If the sea of the soul be agitated, what should agitate it like eternity, sin, heaven, hell, and judgment? If the heart glow and burn, what should fire it like the love of Jesus? If humanity and benevolence ever sway the good, and move them as the trees of the wood are moved by the wind, what should be a stronger motive force than the desire to save souls from the wrath to come? If the subjects treated of by the Christian religion be real, they do not merely excuse but demand excitement. Good men need not trouble themselves to make apologies for having that which it would be inexcusable in them to be without. Christians, instead of excusing themselves for occasional outbursts of enthusiasm, had far better confess their sin in not having been always enthusiastic.

These few thoughts have suggested themselves to us, and we have penned them hurriedly as a sort of addenda to the very valuable address of Mr. Archibald Brown, which appears in the earlier pages of the present number of the Sword and the Trowel.

We deprecate most solemnly the excesses of certain revivalists; we lament the foolish rant and false doctrine which have poisoned former movements in certain quarters; but our solemn conviction is that the present gracious visitation which many parts of England and Scotland are enjoying is of the Lord, and should be hailed with delight by all gracious men. ‘God speed it, we say, and make all the world to feel its power to the confusion of the hosts of evil and to the exaltation of the Son of God.

NOTES.

WE have spent the last month in Mentone, and have tried to find rest for our jaded mind. Suffering much from rheumatic pains, we have not been able to give much attention to the doings of the church or of the world, and hence our notes must be very scanty.

The result of the general elections is what might have been expected, and need not be deplored. Whenever the Liberals return to power it will be as real Liberals, prepared to grant at least a portion of those concessions which are due to Nonconformists. As Christians we take small interest in party politic, s, and were it not for the religious questions involved we should not concern ourselves to any great extent with the doings of the polling booths. The work of the revival of vital godliness among us is of infinitely more importance than the battles of Whigs and Tories, and Christian people will do wen to settle themselves down to their true work and calling. Our duties as citizens can be well and thoroughly discharged without our degenerating into political partisans. The ultimate liberation of Nonconformists. will be achieved not by their political activity, but by their growth in spiritual power, and so in numbers and in influence. Whitfield and Wesley by the preaching of the gospel increased the number of godly Nonconformists, and so incidentally did more towards their obtaining their civil rights than will ever be accomplished by politico-religious electioneering. Our duty is to vote for no man, be he Liberal or Conservative, who will not in some degree advance the liberation of religion from State patronage and control; and by keeping to this impolitic but honest rule we shall one day prevail, for God is with the right. This done as occasion offers, we may leave the politicians of the age to decide between Gladstone and Disraeli, Derby and Argyle. There is a deep philosophy in the Redeemer’s words, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you.”

During our absence we have been greatly cheered by the tidings of a notable revival which has broken out in our church. Earnest brethren at home have in the strength of God labored the more zealously because of their pastor’s absence, and the results have been astonishing and delightful. Special prayer-meetings have been crowded, and we hear of six hundred young people coming together at one time to services intended peculiarly for them. Conversions among young and old have been joyfully reported to us both by the church officers and by the relatives of the converts. There is evidently much joy in the church, and we, far away from the place of assembly, have yet heard the report thereof, and our heart is glad.

I heartily thank my many generous friends for so kindly sustaining the Orphanage, College, and Colportage. The Lord reward them.

Our friends may like to see how the pastor of the Tabernacle corresponded with his people while he was away from them, and therefore we have added specimens of the letters written home from abroad.

To the Young Friends who meet at the Monday Six o’clock Meeting.

“Dear Young Friends, — I have your welfare continually upon my heart, and therefore thought I would pen a few sentences to you. I have been greatly encouraged by the prayerful attention and deep feeling which I saw last Monday in many of you. It filled me with great hope concerning you. I see that you desire to have your sins forgiven, and to escape from the wrath of God, and I am therefore rejoiced; but I pray God that the signs of grace may not end with these more beginnings and desires. Buds are beautiful, but we cannot be satisfied with them; they are only good because blossoms often become fruit. Mere blooms on the trees and no fruit would be a mockery of expectation. May it not be so with you. I am writing in my chamber in Paris at midnight. I could not sleep till I had said to you, put your whole trust in Jesus at once. All that you want of merit he will give you all that you need of help in the heavenly life he will bestow. Only believe him. You who are saved be sure to wrestle with God for the salvation of other young people, and try to make our new meeting a great means for good. You who are unawakened, we pray continually for you, for you are sleeping over hell’s mouth; I can see your danger though you do not. It is therefore time for you to awake out of sleep. I send my earnest love to you all, praying that we may meet on earth in much happiness, and then at last in heaven for ever.

“Your Anxious Friend,
“C. H. SPURGEON.”

“Jan. 16, Paris.

For Monday Evening Meeting.
“Mentone, Jan. 23.

“My Dear Young Friends, — I am delighted to hear that you came together in such large numbers last Monday in my absence, for I hope it shows a real and deep anxiety among the seekers to find the Savior, and among the saved ones to plead for others. You do not need the voice of any one man to secure your attention, the word of the Lord Jesus, by whomsoever spoken, is life and power. It is to him that you must turn all your thoughts. Sin has separated between you and year God, and Christ alone can bring you back to your Heavenly Father. Be sure that you remember what it cost him to prepare the way of reconciliation; nothing but his blood could have done it, and he gave it freely, bowing his head to death upon the tree. It must have been no light matter which cost the Redeemer such a sacrifice; I beseech you, do not make light of it. Hate the sin which caused him so much agony, and yield to the love which sustained him under it. I hear that in London you have had fogs and rain, here it is all flowers and summer, and the difference reminds me of the change which faith makes in the soul. While we are unbelievers we dread the wrath of God and walk in gloom; but when we believe, we have peace with God, and enjoy his favor, and the spring of an eternal summer has commenced. May the Spirit of God, like the soft south wind, breathe on your hearts and make your hearts bloom with desires, blossom with hopes, and bring forth fruits of repentance. From Jesus he proceeds and to Jesus he leads the soul. Look to him. Oh, look to him! To him alone, to him simply, to him at once.

“Your Anxious Friend,
“C. H. SPURGEON.”

To the Monday Meeting.
“Mentone, Feb. 5.

“Dear Young Friends, — I am greatly cheered to hear that you gather in such numbers, and shall be yet more glad when I hear or see that hearts are won for Jesus, and that with your mouths you make confession of him. I look with so much hope upon you that it would be a bitter disappointment if I did not hear that some of you are saved in the Lord. “I have just limped up a high hill into the cemetery here, and there I saw a text which struck me. ‘But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him.’ Noah was her rest, as Jesus must be yours. Just notice that it is added, ‘he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in into him into the ark.’ She was too weak to get in, but his kind hand ‘pulled her in unto him.’ Dear young friends, I pray the Lord Jesus to grasp those of you who are weary and weak, and pull you in. His promises are pulls, his invitations, and those of the kind friends who address you, are so many pulls. Yield yourselves unto them, and be pulled in unto him,. No rest is there, east, west, north or south, for your soul’s foot, save in the ark of sovereign grace, but there is rest there. As the dove turned her eye to the ark, and then her wing, so turn your desires and prayers to Jesus, and as she dropped into Noah’s hand, so fall into the hand which was pierced that sinners might live. “I pray for each one of you, and have entreated the Great High Priest to bear -each one of your names before his Father’s face upon his own breastplate. “May the Lord save, sanctify, and preserve every one of us till the great day of his appearing.

“Your loving Pastor,
C. H. SPURGEON.”

To the Young People.
“Mentone, Feb. 12.

“Dear Young Friends, — I am full of delight at hearing of what the Lord is doing among you in saving souls, but will any of you be missed by the gracious visitation? Will the sacred rain leave some of you dry as the mountains of Gilboa? Is Jesus passing by, and will you not cry to him? Is his grace felt by your brother, your sister, and your mother, and not by you? Unhappy soul which shall manage to elude the happy influences which are now abroad among us. Surely such an one must be dexterous in resisting the Holy Spirit, and desperately resolved to perish. What reason can be urged for such a course? What excuse for such suicide? Let those who are saved pray much for others who remain hardened.

“I am rejoiced that those of you who have found Jesus are not ashamed to own him. Why should you be? Only make sure that you are really converted. Don’t put up with shams. Seek the real thing. Lay hold, not on temporary hope, but on eternal life. True faith always has repentance for its twin brother, love for its child, and holiness for its crown. If you have looked to Jesus for life, be sure that you next look to him for the pattern of life, so that you may walk as he also walked.

“As young Christians you will be greatly tempted, pray then to be securely kept, that you may never dishonor your Lord. We shall soon meet, if the Lord will, and till then my love be with you all. Amen.

“Yours heartily,
“C.H. SPURGEON.”

.
To my beloved Church and Congregation.
“Mentone, Feb. 12.

“Beloved Friends, — By the time this letter is read to you I shall, if the Lord will, be on my way back to you, and my prayer is that I may return in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of peace. Very greatly have I been cheered by hearing of your prayers for me, and still more by the news of the good and great work which the Lord is doing in your midst. It is good news indeed. How grateful I am that dear brethren among you at home have been so highly honored that God has worked by them so abundantly. I rejoice in their joy. The tidings of conversions in the families of the members are peculiarly refreshing. God grant that not one family may be unblest.

“I am myself greatly better, and very thankful that it is so, for I long to be an eyewitness and a partaker in the revival work. Oh, that it might go on till not one hearer shall remain unsaved.

“Beloved friends, join all of you heartily in the work, and let none in any way damp it by unloving, unholy, or careless walking. The clouds of blessing will blow away from us if worldliness be allowed to prevail. Sin in the church will be the death of revival, or else the revival will be the death of sin. Let no one among us besmear himself with the blood of souls by a careless conversation in such solemn times as these. May the Holy Ghost quicken us all into newness and fullness of life. God bless you all. “So prays yours in Jesus,

“C. H. SPURGEON?

OUR beloved deacon, Mr. W. Olney, sends us the following cheering words respecting the special meetings just brought to a close :-”During the last month a series of special services have been held at the Tabernacle, for the revival of religion among us, and these have been attended with very great blessing. God has graciously poured out his Holy Spirit on the congregation and on the families of the members of the church, and very many of these have been brought to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. The revival began by a sermon from Pastor J. A. Spurgeon, on Prevailing Prayer, from Genesis 32:28: showing us that if we desired to pray successfully, our prayers must have as their characteristics, humility, thankfulness, confidence in God’s promises, earnestness, importunity, and individuality, each of us asking as if alone with God. This sermon was preached on Sunday, Feb. 1, and in the afternoon a special prayer-meeting was held in the Tabernacle, which was very largely attended, and at the evening service, when the Lord’s Supper was administered, a special appeal was made to all the members of the church for hearty cooperation and earnest prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. On that Sabbath the following address to the congregation, written by Pastor J. A. Spurgeon, was put into every pew in the Tabernacle, and the following list of meetings arranged for; —

“‘Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, S.E., February 1st, 1874.

“‘Dearly Beloved Friends, — That our God has richly blessed us as a Church we most devoutly recognize, and for it we thank him this day. But we are, I think, upon the verge of another outpouring, richer than our experience has ever known, and in order to prepare for this I wish you to join in a week of special services to stir up each other to a higher, life before God in Christ Jesus, and a richer enjoy-merit of our blessings in the gospel. Make a point of attending the services, and lay out your week’s plans for this purpose. We are all anxious, I know, for the salvation of sinners, and we believe there is a harvest waiting to be reaped, if we put in the sickle and toil faithfully in prayer and the preaching of the truth by lip and life. Let us unite as the heart of man for this good work for the Lord, and we shall have our desire granted to us. Make special prayer for some persons of your own kindred or acquaintance; tell them of it, and use direct efforts to bring them to immediate, decision for Jesus. The whole land is stirred with longings and expectations. God help us to go up and possess it for the Lord. Begin at home, and expand your desires and exertions through the neighborhoods where you reside. Let each man build over against his own house, and we shall speedily girdle this neighborhood with loving words and deeds, and hold it in a sacred circle of affection as an heritage for our Lord. May we ask and receive, seek and find, knock and have it opened unto us, ever prays

“‘Your loving Pastor,
“‘JAMES A. SPURGEON.’

.
“‘Monday, February 2nd. — Prayer-meeting in the Lecture Hall, 7 to 8 in the morning, 4 to 6 in the afternoon. For young persons, 6 to 7 in the evening. The usual prayer-meeting in the Tabernacle at 7 o’clock will be made special for a blessing on the engagements of the week. Addresses by Pastors J. A. Spurgeon and W. Stott.

“‘Tuesday, February 3rd. — A meeting in the Lecture Hall at 7 o’clock in the evening for those members of the congregation who are as yet undecided, but are seeking the Lord. Addresses by Pastors W. Cuff and W. H. Burton.

“‘Wednesday, February 4. — A meeting in the Lecture Hall at 7 in the evening for the young persons of the congregation, and those who attend any of our classes, to urge upon them the necessity of immediate decision for Christ. Addresses by Pastor C. B. Sawday, J. E. Tressider, Esq., and the leader of the “Jubilee Singers” (if possible).

“‘ Thursday, February 5th. — Service in the Tabernacle at 7 o’clock. Sermon by Mr. Henry Varley. Subject: “On winning souls for Christ.”

“‘Friday, February 6th. — Meeting in the Lecture Hall at 7 in the evening for the students of the Pastors’ College, the Sunday School teachers, and all Christian workers. (The members of the church are invited to this meeting.) Addresses by Dr. Culross ;red Rev. C. Stanford. “‘Saturday, February 7th. — Meeting in the Lecture Hall at 7.30 for prayer for a blessing on the meetings of the week, and on the services of the following day.’

“All these meetings were very largely attended. This was all the more remarkable from the absence of our Senior Pastor, C. H. Spurgeon. The blessing on them was so manifest, that at the urgent request of the ciders of the church they were repeated on the following week with one variation. On Friday, Feb. 13, a young converts’ meeting was held for praise and thanksgiving, and on that night fifty-five persons gave in their testimony that they had found the Savior at one or other of the several meetings. The most useful and successful of all the meetings has been the young people’s prayer meeting on Monday evening at six, originated about six weeks ago by Pastor C. H. Spurgeon. During his absence this meeting has grown in interest and attendance weekly, until now about 600 or 700 meet weekly in the Lecture Hall. The Wednesday evening meeting for the young has been also eminently useful, most of the converts having been brought to Christ on those occasions. Among the converts, no less than nine of the children of the officers of the church have been brought to decision, and very many of the children of the members of the church. Many backsliders have been restored, and many who have been long seeking the Savior have been brought out into light and peace. Altogether, these seasons have been ‘times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,’ earnests we trust, of still larger blessings in store for us on our Pastor’s return among us again.”

Baptisms at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon : — January 29, seventeen.

Chap 4. APRIL, 1874.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

APRIL, 1874.

REV. GEORGE ROGERS

PRINCIPAL OF THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE.

WE presume that the accompanying portrait of Mr. Rogers, the Tutor of our College. will not be unacceptable to most of our readers. For many years he has been our valued coadjutor, and there is no man living who more thoroughly deserves the respectful love of all who are connected with our church and its work. The principal incidents of his life, we believe, have been overruled to guide him to his present position, and to qualify him for it. This we know to be his own conviction, and that he attributes all the good which others may have received through hint to the grace of God which has been bestowed upon him, and has wrought him for the selfsame thing. Never did we hear him utter a sentence savoring of self-glorification, on the contrary he is the most modest and unassuming of men, a pattern to us all for the quiet-ness in which he possesses his soul.

He was born at Ardleigh Hall, in the county of Essex, hard by the spot where the zealous Puritan who was called Roaring Rogers, from his earnestness, exercised a mighty ministry. He had religious impressions at an early age, and was trained up in circumstances favorable to their life and growth. His desire for the Christian ministry was also manifested at an early period, and an education was given him in harmony with that design. His parents were of the Independent, denomination, to which the whole family, thirteen in number, resolutely adhered, at a period when Nonconformity was in less repute than at the present time. This may account for the fact that, when at the age of sixteen an exhibition to Cambridge of a gratuitous education there was offered to the hopeful George, it was on principle decline,]. After that date, Mr. Rogers was for two years under the private tuition of a minister of considerable classical attainments in Northampton-shire, from whence he entered a college at Rotherham, in Yorkshire. His ministry was commenced in Manchester, where he founded what bas since become a flourishing interest,. He then became assistant to Mr. Clayton, senior, at the Weigh House, upon whose retirement to Upminster, in Essex, he became the minister of a congregation at that place. His next remove was to Camberwell, where he founded the church and congregation at Albany chapel, of which he remained the pastor for thirty-six years. It was towards the close of this period, when he was nearly sixty years of age, that he was brought under our notice, and that in connection with him the foundation of our College was laid. How much of joy and delight we have had in working with him eternity alone will reveal.

Mr. Rogers, from the time he left the college at Rotherham, not only persevered in his first studies, but added many others to them, seeking and intermeddling with all wisdom. Had he foreseen his present, position he could not have conducted his studies more directly to that end. He was a fine instance of the result of a precept which we have heard him press upon our students, namely, “do not be so anxious to find a position as to be fitted for a position when it presents itself.” The Biblical and historical investigation required for his work on the Apocalypse, his unpublished commentaries, and numerous contributions to periodical literature, were eminently preparative for future service. From this course he was not to be diverted by the offer of secular or ecclesiastical preferment. Neither did he suffer the disappointment of a considerable fortune which was left him, but alienated through the document not being duly sinned, to interfere with the pursuit of his studies or of his ministerial duties, but was rather reanimated by it, in the hope that spiritual blessings would be more largely bestowed upon himself and his household.

Amidst all the changes that have been going on in theological views during his lifetime, and particularly in his own denomination, Mr. Rogers has faithfully adhered to the old evangelical truth; he has been a Puritan from his childhood, and is a Puritan still. He has a well-defined creed, and is not ashamed to own it. In all points, except upon the matter of baptism, we are heartily agreed, and in spirit and temper he is a man with whom our communion is perfect. Though ]e will be seventy-five years of age next month, his eyes are not dim, nor his natural force abated. He preserves the joyousness and geniality of his youth, and exhibits a measure of dry wit and sanctified humor sufficient to make the severest study a pleasure to his young disciples. “Long may the veteran live among us” is not only our prayer but that of the hundreds whom he has trained and is training to fight the Lord’s battles. The greatest issues are bound up with this most precious life. In his continued health and vigor, as in the whole course of his life, we are assured that our friend’s only feeling is that the grace of God has been exceeding abundant; and our own feeling is one of adoring gratitude that our venerable friend has been spared to us so long, and kept so faithful to his trust. C.H.S.

SIGHTS WHICH I SHALL NEVER FORGET.

BY C. H. SPURGEON.

I ENTERED the town of Mentone just as the sun was going down, and I was struck by the number of persons who were congregated upon the beach, and along the road which skirts the sea. They were all gazing intently at a boat which was moving slowly, although rowed by several men. Evidently they were dragging a dead weight behind the boat, and one which needed to be tenderly towed along. Upon making inquiry, we learned that the corpse of a sailor had just been met with, and they were bringing it on shore for burial. This information did not tempt us to remain a spectator, but hastened us into our hotel, wondering at the morbid curiosity which could be attracted by corruption, and find a desirable sensation in gazing upon a putrid corpse. From our window we saw a coffin carried down to the shore, and felt greatly relieved with the hope that now the poor drowned one would be quietly and decently laid asleep in the lap of mother earth.

As this occurred, as we have before said, just as we entered the place where we hoped to rest and recruit our health, it made a deep impression upon us. We are not in the least degree superstitious, and do not regard events as omens one way or another, but the incident was a sad one, and we were pensive, and therefore it cast a natural gloom over us, and at the same time engraved itself upon our memory. Unknown victim of the sea, thou hast a memorial in our heart!

The reflections which rushed upon our mind we have committed to paper, and here they are. Is not the church of God like that boat, and is she not encumbered by a mass of dead professors of religion who draw upon her strength, impede her progress, and spread around her an ill savor? Yes, it is even so, and our heart is heavy because we see it under our own eye every day. Persons have united themselves with the church who have neither part nor lot in vital godliness; they lead no assistance, they can lend none, for they have no spiritual strength, but they are a drag upon our energies, for we have to keep them in something like decent motion, and must carry them with us till they are laid in the grave. The case is worse in reality than our picture represents, for the dead are in the boat with the living, and are thus able to cause greater grief of heart to the true saints of God. We are blamed for the actions of all our fellow-members; their offensive worldliness both annoys us and renders us unsavory to others. It is a terrible thing to see one-half of a church praying and the other half trifling. We cannot soon forget our horror at hearing that while the Holy Ghost was visiting a church with revival, there were members in that very church who were engaged till far into the morning in worldly amusements. We did not believe our own ears; we should as soon have thought of hearing that the apostles sang profane songs at the moment of the Pentecost. It was not that the season was untimely, we care little for that, but the act itself betrayed a taste which is not consistent with true religion. Of course, the world laid this to the door of the church, and really devout people had to suffer for the sins of others, and God’s Holy Spirit was grieved by such offenses, which he saw, though the godly ones saw it not. The sincere and humble followers of Jesus in that church would hardly have believed such conduct possible had it come under their own eyes, and those who had the sorrow of knowing it to be true felt a depression of heart worse than any bodily sickness could inflict. If the church were unmixed and pure her growth would be far more rapid, for the tares which we cannot uproot weaken the wheat among which they live. The tone of spirituality is lowered throughout the whole body by the worldliness of the few. Sin outside the church is comparatively little harmful to her; she sees it and battles with it, but when the traitor is within her own gates the mischief which it works is terrible. Troy could not be taken by open assault, but the crafty scheme of the wooden horse filled with armed men worked the will of the Greeks; once dragged within the walls, the warriors concealed within were able to open the city gates, and the foes soon swarmed in every street, and Troy fell to rise no more. Almighty watchfulness will avert such ruin from the church of God, but apart from the divine keeping the danger is quite as imminent.

We wish that every church member would recognize the fact that he either helps or hinders the church to which he belongs. He becomes a part of the impedimenta of the army, rendering its march the more laborious, unless he adds to her actual fighting force. He who prays, labors, and lives consistently with his profession, is an accession to her real power; he may be an obscure individual, endowed with but one talent, and most at home in the rear rank, and yet he may be of the utmost value to the whole host, and when the war is over he will share in the rewards of victory which will fall to the lot of the armies of the living God. On the other hand, if he be prayerless, idle, and worldly, no matter how rich, how well educated, or how respected he may be, he is a dead weight, a mere piece of baggage, a cause of non-success, an Achan in the camp of Israel. Which, dear reader, are you at this moment?

The second memorable sight which now rises before us was seen from the garden of that right worthy and renowned physician, Dr. Bennett, to whom Mentone owes its present prosperity. Looking out to sea beyond a headland, we saw, when the doctor had pointed it out to us, a circle of commotion in the waters, as if a stream were boiling and bubbling from the bottom of the ocean. It was a spring of fresh water rising from the depths of the sea to the surface. There is a similar spring off the coast of Spezzia, which sends up an immense volume of sweet water, despite the overlying floods of brine. Such a phenomenon may appear to be impossible, but there it was before our own eyes, and at any time the traveler may see it for himself — a fountain of fresh water in the midst of the salt sea!

Have we not here a suggestive image of the power of divine grace? Coming down from the inexhaustible reservoir in which all fullness dwells, which is placed in the highest heavens, the blessed stream of grace has a forceful current which seeks to rise towards its own level, and therefore it wells up with matchless energy. It may be that the possessor of this inward spring has a thousand memories of sin, acquired habits of evil, and a dense mass of ignorance and prejudice overwhelming him; yet the new life must and will reveal itself; it forces its way, it rises to the surface, it clears an area for its own energies, it will not be choked up or repressed. Or the illustration may refer to true religion in a neighborhood where everything is opposed to it, or in an age when the spirit of the many. is in deadly hostility to it. Did not Christianity rise up like a spring from the dark floor of some lone ocean cave, far. down below the bottom of the mountains? Did it not appear certain that the floods of heathenism would utterly swallow up a power so insignificant? How could it rise to the surface of human history? It might bubble on where obscure inferior creatures would be its sole observers, but the great sea would utterly ignore its existence, its sweet waters would not even alleviate the saltiness of the brine. But what is the truth of the matter? Our holy faith burst through Judaism, philosophy and idolatry, came into public notice, blessed the nations, and claimed for itself an ever widening sphere. Its fountain has risen through the ocean’s salt waves, and rises still, yea, it is transforming the waters and healing them; and through its influence there shall come a day in which there shall be no sea of sin and sorrow, for this “fount of every blessing” shall have made of it a reservoir of the water of life.

A good man placed in a London court, or any of the slums of a huge city, labors under terrible disadvantages. All around him sin and ignorance abound. His religion is no sooner perceived than it is ridiculed, he becomes the butt of drunken jokes, the theme of riotous songs. Will he yield the point and cease from the fear of the Lord? lie will if he be a hypocrite; on the other hand, if he be indeed a partaker of the living water which Jesus gives, it will be in him a well of water, springing up, and despite all opposition it must and will flow forth. At first in patience he will possess his soul and hold his own, by and by he will win respect and silence slander, next he will influence a few less evil than their neighbors, and in the end his vital godliness will subdue all things unto itself. One of the most cheering results of our ministry is the consistency of the extremely poor, whose testimony is borne in places which it is almost unsafe to traverse at night. Their honesty, sobriety, and simple faith are sermons to the poor around them, which are not forgotten. Men are astonished when they see godliness under such circumstances, their attention is aroused, their wonder is excited, and in the presence of the strange sight they confess that this is the finger of God. The unconquerable energy of faith and love are the abiding miracles of the church, by which the candid are convinced and gainsayers are silenced.

Just now, what with ritualism and rationalism it might have been feared that gospel life was smothered in Great Britain. The outbreak of the revival in many parts of the land has effectually banished all the fears of believers, and in a great measure stayed the boastings of skeptics. The living water is welling up. Behold it yonder in Scotland troubling the once calm surface of society. See how it boils and bubbles up in Edinburgh and Glasgow! It makes the sea to boil like a pot. It pierces the overwhelming mass of sin, it clears its own channel, it rejoices to bless the sons of men. Spring up, O well! Sing ye unto it! Dear reader, is there life of this order in you, or are you dead in sin? Look on this picture and on that: we have put before you death and life; which is most like your own condition? If compelled to condemn yourself, remember there is one near at hand of whom it is written, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

NOTES.

WE have to rejoice before the Lord because of his abundant grace to us at the Tabernacle, for the word is with power, and sinners are made to feel its might. As soon as the pastor returned the church-officers invited those to meet him who had found the Lord during his absence. One hundred and eight persons, to whom tickets had been given, came to tea. Some of the converts narrated their call by grace, among them being it sister who had been a Roman Catholic, and had dropped into the Tabernacle out of curiosity, but was found out by sovereign grace and led to believe in Jesus. The clearness of their knowledge, and their holy courage, were most conspicuous in all those who were present, and we have every reason to believe that nearly all will be found such as the church can receive. The pastors and elders have at this moment their hands full with the pleasing but most responsible work of personally conversing with each one and investigating their cases by visiting their homes. To these must be added about as many more who have professed to be converted, and have, therefore, desired to be baptized, and have come forward since the Pastor’s return. Every day fresh instances of saving grace are before us, and on all sides there is unusual tenderness and anxiety about divine things. May the name of the Lord be magnified!

The meetings for young people have been exceedingly well attended. It is most pleasing to see the number of children who listen with deep attention, and are as devout as the eldest believer. Prayers and addresses by young en and youths are peculiarly suitable on these occasions, and have the best effect upon these assembled. From these meetings we expect hundreds of conversions, and we shall surely see them. We now begin at six on Mondays in the Tabernacle, and keeping the first hour for the young we allow the meeting without a pause to glide into the general prayer-meeting at seven. Of inquirers’ meetings en masse we have had two, of which we can speak with great confidence, for we know that they were owned of God; but we have suspended them for a while, lest they should become a matter of routine, and in the meantime hold similar meetings at the close of other gatherings; as, for instance, after the Thursday lecture. Inquirers are apt to look for a great deal of personal attention and humoring, and they must not have it when it is seen to be a sort of sweetmeat to them, comforting them while in unbelief. Faith is the way to obtain peace, and while they remain in unbelief all the promises in the Bible will fail to console them, and all the loving words of a whole church would be lost upon them. Immediate trust in the Lord Jesus is the demand of the gospel, and it is dangerous to allow the anxious to look to meetings and conversations as a means of gaining what is even now to be had by an act of faith.

Many churches in London are enjoying times of refreshing, and our earnest hope is that the blessing will cover the whole land.

The members of the Tabernacle who banded together to maintain a preaching station in St. Ann’s Hall, Brixton, have succeeded well, and have now emigrated to an iron chapel lately occupied by Mr. W. Carter, in the Wynne Road, Brixton, where they hope to found a new church under the pastorate of Mr. Edwards.

Our friend Mr. Leach has become the minister of the church in Berkely Road, Chalk Farm. We lost his valuable aid in connection with this magazine by reason of other engagements, but he will always occupy a high place in our esteem. The church needs much help, for the debt upon the chapel is very heavy.

The College annual meeting was a glorious season. Friends welcomed the returning Pastor very heartily, and were kind enough to find in his lecture upon the New Forest much of interest. The College enjoys its share of the present blessing, and is enriched thereby. The funds are at this time much lower than they have been for a long time previously, and we beg to call the attention of the Lord’s stewards to the fact. The annual conference will be held on the 13th of April and four following days. We beg the prayers of the churches that the Spirit of God may rest upon that large gathering of ministers educated at our College. May the season overflow with benedictions. The reports of increase in the churches during the past twelvemonths are most encouraging.

The Orphanage is now complete and full. Places are needed for boys who are ready to go out. Employers will do well to apply to Mr. Charlesworth, Head Master, Orphanage, Stockwell. Our barrel has some meal in it, indeed we have about thirty days’ supply. Friends will please remember that we need £10 every time the sun rises to keep our young charge in food and raiment.

The College buildings are roofed in, and will be ready for occupation at Midsummer. Our total scheme will need £3000 more to perfect it, and we should like to see it finished off in a style worthy of the cause, and of those great principles which we seek to propagate. For this amount we are looking up to our divine Treasurer, and we doubt not he will move his servants to send it.

The Jubilee Singers had a marvelous success at the Tabernacle; the house was crowded to its utmost capacity, and the strange, sweet, weird music of the singers charmed the whole company. We are glad to hear that they have earned during their tour £10,000 clear of all expenses, and so the University for the colored people will be built and paid for. May it send out an army of preachers and teachers for poor Africa. Mr. Moffat was present at the singing, and it was grand to see him come forward, and with deep excitement speak of “Dear Africa.” He looked like a patriarch and apostle in one.

It may interest our readers to know that John Ploughman’s Talk has now attained the enormous circulation of two hundred thousand, and still more editions will be called for. John thinks “the more the merrier.”

The recognition service of Mr. J. Ray-. mend, from the Pastors’ College, as pastor of the East Street Baptist Church, St. Neet’s, was held on Friday, the 20th of February, on which occasion the Rev. J. Perkins presided. Mr. Rogers delivered the charge to the minister, and Mr. Millard, of Huntingdon, to the church. Mr. Stuttard, Independent minister, of St. Neots, and Mr. R. Middleton, of Canton, also took part in the services. In May, of 1872, Mr. Raymond, during an early part of his college course, commenced preaching at St. Neots. Since that period under his ministry a new chapel has been erected at the cost of £1,000. The whole cost has been met with the exception of £140. Much good has been done, and the church and congregation are still in a flourishing state.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle by J. A. Spurgeon : — Feb. 26, twenty-two.

By earnest request we add others of the letters written from Mentone by the Pastor.

To the Boys of Stockwell Orphanage.

“Mentone, Saturday Evening, January 24th, 1874.

“Dear Boys, — I have been much impressed by hearing that death has been to the Orphanage. I wonder who will be the next! Are you all prepared if he should sheet another arrow into one of the houses and lay another low? Dear boys, would you go to heaven if you were now at once to die? Wait a bit, and let each one answer for himself. You know you must be born again, you must repent of sin, you must believe in Jesus. How is it with you? If you are not saved you are in great danger, fearful danger! Be warned, I pray you I I cannot bear to think of one boy going from the Orphanage to hell, that would be terrible indeed. But to rise to heaven, to be with Jesus for ever! Why, this makes it worth while even to die a hundred deaths. I hope my dear friend Mr. Charlesworth, and all the teachers, and matrons, and nurses are well, and I send them all my kindest regards. I often think about you all. I want to see you all happy here and hereafter. May you grow up to be honorable Christian men, and if God should take any of you away, may we all meet in heaven. Will you pray a special prayer just now that the death of one boy may bring all of you to Jesus to find eternal life? Be diligent in school, be very kind in the houses. Don’t cause us pain, but give us all joy, for we all love you and desire your good. Mr. Charlesworth will, on my behalf, give you a couple of oranges all round, and I will pay him when I come home.

“Your loving friend,
“C. H. SPURGEON.”

.

For Mrs. Bartlett’s Class.
“Mentone, Saturday Evening.

“Beloved Friends, — I write to salute you all, and especially your beloved mother in the gospel, my dear friend Mrs. Bartlett. I hope you are enjoying times of power such as have been so usual with the class. The Lord’s own daughters among you, each one a princess, not in her own right, but by marriage to King Jesus will, I trust, be living in the enjoyment of their high privileges. Why do the children of a king go mourning all their days? Yours it is to wear a girdle of joy, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. See to it that your lives are consistent with your high calling, for it ill becomes the daughters of Zion to be mean themselves like the children of earth, ‘Let your conversation be such as becometh the gospel of Christ.’ Be earnest for the souls of others, and support by your prayers the earnest effort of your beloved leader, Mrs. Bartlett.

“To those of you who are unsaved I have this word — holy long halt ye between two opinions? Years roll on, and each one spent in alienation from God swells your dreadful account. Have you not sinned enough? Have you not run risks enough that you must still imperil your souls? An hour even of the toothache is too much, but what is that compared with the disease of sin and the anger of God? Yet these you bear as if they were mere trifles. Will the hour of decision never come, or will you linger till you perish in your sin? Remember Lot’s wife, she is a monument of salt, take a little of that salt and season your thoughts with it. Your graves are yawning for you, hell also enlargeth itself. Flee from the wrath to come. Start up like those who have been asleep upon the brink of death, and strive to enter in at the strait gate.

“Yours lovingly for Christ’s sake,
“C. H. SPURGEON.”

.

To the. College.
“Mentone, Saturday Evening.

“Beloved Brethren, — In my absence I never cease to remember you, because I have you all in my heart, as the hope of the church, and the future benefactors of the world I trust every man is conscientiously laboring at his studies, never wasting an hour. Your time for study is so short, and so much will be required and expected of you, that I beseech you quit yourselves like men. Every moment with you is worth a Jew’s eye, and its profiting will be a hundred-fold in the future. We have to cope with no mean adversaries. Our antagonists are well armed and well trained. Our trust is in the Lord alone, and we go forth armed only with a sling and a stone, but we must practice slinging, till we can throw to a hair’s breadth and not miss. It was no unpracticed hand which smote so small a target as Goliath’s brow. Do not let the devil make fools of you by suggesting that because the Lord works you may be idle. I do not believe it of the least among you. “Brethren, for our Lord’s sake, maintain a high degree of spirituality; may the Holy Spirit enable you so to do. Live in God that you rosy live for God. Let the church see that her students are her picked men. I rely upon you in my absence to help in all meetings for prayer or revival to the utmost of your ability. Nothing would give me greater joy than to hear that in my absence the Lord was moving some of you to make up for my lack of service. “I am much better. ‘ Here everlasting spring abides,’ and though flowers wither, there are always fresh ones to fill their places. The balmy summer air is as oil to my bones. “I send my sincere love to you all, and especially to your honored tutors, and the venerable Principal, to whom be long life, and the same to you all. My dear brother will be to you all that I could have been, and you will pray for him, and also for your Loving friend,

“C. H. SPURGEON.”

.

The Classes of Messrs Perkins and Bowker.
“Mentone, Feb. 5.

“Beloved Brethren, — Peace be to you and the dear friends who conduct your meetings. I am hoping to see a great revival of religion throughout our church and all its agencies, and I want your two classes not only to partake in it, but to lead the way in promoting it. ‘ I write unto you, young men, for ye are strong.’ the influence which a choice band of young believers may have upon our church and congregation and the outlying neighborhood is exceedingly great. Being yourselves soundly instructed in the faith you are to aid in building up others, and especially in quarrying new stones from the pit of nature. The Spirit of God will rest upon you in answer to prayer, and then you will become vessels fit for the Master’s use. This you cannot be without personal holiness and individual consecration, let not these be lacking among you, and then you will not be barren or unprofitable. Begin by doubling your own numbers, which I believe would be done if you laid it to heart, and resolved each one to introduce at the least one new comer. Make each meeting full of life, power, prayer, love and zeal. I confess I am sorry that the catechism is not still the text-book, for I believe it is a good groundwork, and keeps you near the most important subjects. Discussions upon the new theories of the day drive away the Spirit of God; the old wine is the best.

“Your leaders are men of experience, and have my fullest confidence, and, what is more, my most sincere love. Always support them and back them up; and then let your motto be ‘advance.’ Push into the unconquered regions. There ought to be more work done close at home around the Tabernacle. The time for outdoor services will soon be upon us; see what you can do beyond what is yet done. Sunday schools in many places are pining for want of teachers, and ragged schools still more so. Where there is a gap fill it.

“The Lord be with you. Please pray for me, that I may return strengthened in spirit, and soul, and body.

“With Christian love, yours very heartily,
“C. H. SPURGEON.”

“FORWARD.”

BEING THE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE COLLEGE CONFERENCE, ON TUESDAY MORNING,
APRIL 14, 1874.

Brethren, the substance of my address this morning will be found in the words of God to his servant Moses, “Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.” “Forward” is the watchword of our Conference, let it ring through your ranks. Onward, ye elect of God! victory is before you your very safety lies in that direction. To retreat is to perish. You have most of you read the story of the boy in an American village who climbed the wall of the famous Natural Bridge, and cut his name in the rock above the initials of his fellows, and then became suddenly aware of the impossibility of descending. Voices shouted, “Do not look down, try and reach the top.” His only hope was to go right up, up, up, till he landed on the top. Upward. was terrible, but downward was destruction. Now, we, dear brethren, are all of us in a like condition. By the help of God we have cut our way to positions of usefulness, and to descend is death. To us forward means upward; and therefore forward and upward let us go. While we prayed this morning we committed ourselves beyond all recall. We did that most heartily when we first preached the gospel, and publicly declared, “I am my Lord’s, and he is mine.” We put our hand to the plough: thank God, we have not looked back yet, and we must never do so. The only way open to us is to plough right, on to the end of the furrow, and never think of leaving the field till the Master shall call us home. But this morning you committed yourselves again to the Lord’s work; you did not deliberate, and consult with flesh and blood, but you plunged right in, renouncing all for Jesus, and except ye be reprobates ye have enlisted for life in the service of Jesus. You are the branded servants of Christ, bearing in your bodies his mark. You have now no liberty to serve another, you are the sworn soldiers of the Crucified. Forward is your only way; you are shut up to it. You have no armor for your backs, and whatever dangers lie in front there are ten thousand times as many be, hind. It is onward, or nothing; nay, onward or dishonor; onward, or death

We were compared last night, in the eloquent address of our friend Mr. Gange, to the little army of Sir Garnet Wolseley marching to Coomassie; and the parallel was very beautifully worked out in all respects. Fellowsoldiers! we are few, and we have a desperate fight in the bush before us, therefore it is needful that every man should be made the most of, and nerved to his highest point of strength. It is desirable that you should be the picked men of the church, yea, of the entire universe, for such the age demands, therefore it is as to yourselves that I am most concerned that you should go forward. You must go forward in personal attainments, growing in gifts and in grace, in fitness for the work of God, and conformity to the image of Jesus. The points I shall speak upon begin at the bottom, and ascend.

1. First, dear brethren, I think it necessary to say to myself and to you that we must go forward in our menial acquirements. It will never do for us to continually present; ourselves to God at our worst. We are not worth his having at our best; but at any rate let not the offering be maimed and blemished by our idleness. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” is, perhaps, more easy to comply with than to love him with all our mind; yet we must give him our mind as well as our affections, and that mind should be well furnished, that we may not, offer him an empty casket. Our ministry demands mind. I shall not insist upon “the enlightenment of the age,” still it is quite certain that there is a great educational advance among all classes, and that there will be much more of it. The time is passed when ungrammatical speech will suffice for a preacher. Even in a country village, where, according to tradition, “nobody knows nothing,” the schoolmaster is now abroad, and want of education will hinder usefulness more than it once did, for, when the speaker wishes his audience to remember the gospel, they on the other hand will remember his ungrammatical expressions, and will repeat them as a theme of jest, when we could have wished they had rehearsed the gospel of Jesus Christ one to another in solemn earnest. Dear brethren, we must cultivate ourselves to the highest possible point, and do this first by gathering in knowledge that we may fill the barn, then by acquiring discrimination that we may winnow the heap, and lastly by a firm retentiveness of mind, which lays up the winnowed grain in the storehouse. The three points may not be equally important, but they are necessary to a complete man.

We must, I say, make great; efforts to acquire information, especially of a Biblical kind. We must not confine ourselves to one topic of study, or we shall not exercise our whole mental manhood. God made the world for man, and made man with a mind intended to occupy and use all the world; he is the tenant, and nature is for a while his house; why should he shut himself out of any of its rooms? Why refuse to taste any of the cleansed meats the great Father has put upon the table? Still, our main business is to study the Scriptures. The smith’s main business is to shoe horses; let him see that he knows how to do it, for should he be able to belt an angel with a girdle of gold he will fail as a, smith if he cannot make and fix a horseshoe. It is a small matter that you should be able to write the most brilliant poetry, as possibly you could, unless you can preach a good and telling sermon, which will have the effect of comforting saints and convincing sinners. Study the Bible, dear brethren, through and through, with all helps that you can possibly obtain: remember that the appliances now within the reach of ordinary Christians are much more extensive than they were in our father’s days, and therefore you must be greater Biblical scholars if you would keep in front of your hearers. Intermeddle with all knowledge, but above all things meditate day and night in the law of the Lord.

Be well instructed in theology, and do not regard the sneers of those who rail at it because they are ignorant of it. Many preachers are not theologians, and hence the mistakes which they make. It cannot do any hurt to the most lively evangelist to be also a sound theologian, and it may often be the means of saving him from gross blunders. Now-a-days we hear men tear a single sentence of Scripture from its connection, and cry “Eureka! Eureka!” as if they had found a new truth; and yet they have not discovered a diamond, but a piece of broken glass. Had they been able to compare spiritual things with spiritual, had they understood the analogy of the faith, and had they been acquainted with the holy learning of the great Bible students of ages past, they would not have been quite so fast, in vaunting their marvelous knowledge. Let us be thoroughly well acquainted with the great doctrines of the Word of God, and let us be mighty in expounding Scripture. I am sure that no preaching will last so long, or build up a church so well, as the expository. To renounce altogether the hortatory discourse for the expository would be running to a preposterous extreme; but I cannot too earnestly assure you that if your ministries are to be lastingly useful you must be expositors. For this you must understand the Word yourselves, and be able so to comment upon it that the people may be built up by the Word. Be masters of your Bibles,, brethren; whatever other works you have not searched, be at home with the ‘writings of the prophets and apostles. “Let the word of God dwell in you richly.” Having given that the precedence, neglect no field of knowledge. The presence of Jesus on the earth has sanctified the realms of nature, and what he has cleansed call not you common. All that your Father has made is yours, and you should learn from it. You may read a naturalist’s journal, or a traveler’s voyage, and find profit in it. Yes, and even. an old herbal, or a manual of alchemy may, like Samson’s dead lion, yield you honey. There are pearls ill oyster shells, and[fruits on thorny boughs. The paths of true science, especially natural history and botany, drop fatness. Geology, so far as it is fact, and not fiction, is full of treasures. History — wonderful are the visions which it makes to pass before you — is eminently instructive; indeed, every portion of God’s dominion in nature teems with precious teachings. Intermeddle with all knowledge, according as you have the time, the opportunity, and the peculiar faculty; and do not hesitate to do so because of any apprehension that you will educate yourselves up to too high a point. When grace abounds, learning will not puff you up, or injure your simplicity in the gospel. Serve God with such education as you have, and thank him for blowing through you if you are a ram’s horn, but if there be a possibility of your becoming a silver trumpet, choose it rather.

I have said that we must learn always to discriminate, and at this particular time this point needs insisting on. Many run after novelties, charmed with every new thing; learn to judge between truth and its counterfeits, and you will not be led astray. Others adhere like limpets to old teachings, and yet these may only be ancient errors: prove all things, and hold fast that which is good. The use of the sieve, and the winnowing fan, is much to be commended. Dear brethren, a man who has asked of the Lord to give him clear eyes by which he shall see the truth and discern its bearings, and who, by reason of the constant exercise of his faculties, has obtained an accurate judgment, is one fit to be a leader of the Lord’s host, but all are not such. It is painful to observe how many embrace anything if it be but earnestly brought before them. They swallow the medicine of every spiritual quack who has enough of brazen assurance to appear to be sincere. Be not children in understanding, test that which claims your faith. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the faculty of discerning, so shall you conduct your flocks far from poisonous meadows, and lead them into safe pasturage.

But then, if you have the power to acquire knowledge, and also to discriminate, seek next for ability to retain and hold firmly what you have learned. Alas, in these times certain men glory in being weathercocks, they hold fast nothing, they have, in fact, nothing worth the holding. They believed yesterday, but not that which they believe today, nor that which they will believe tomorrow; and he would be a greater prophet than Isaiah who should be able to tell what they will believe when next the moon doth fill her horns, for they are constantly changing, and seem to be born under that said moon, and to partake of her changing moods. These men may be as honest as they claim to be, but of what use are they? Like good trees oftentimes transplanted, they may be of a noble nature, but they bring forth nothing; their strength goes out in rooting and rerooting, they have no sap to spare for fruit. Be sure you have the truth, and then be sure you hold it. Be ready for fresh truth, if it be truth, but be very chary how you subscribe to the belief that a better light has been found than that of the sun. Those who hawk new truth about the street, as the boys do a new edition of the evening paper, are usually no better than they should be. The fair maid of truth does not paint her cheeks and tire her head like Jezebel, following every new philosophic fashion; she is content with her own native beauty, and in her aspect she is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. When men change often they generally need to be changed in the most; emphatic sense. Our “modern thought” gentry are doing incalculable mischief to the souls of men, and resemble Nero fiddling upon the top of a tower, with Rome burning at his feet. Souls are being damned, and yet these men are spinning theories. Hell gapes wide, and with her open mouth swallows up myriads, and those who should spread the tidings of salvation are “pursuing fresh lines of thought.” Highly cultured soul-murderers will find their boasted “culture” to be no excuse in the day of judgment. For God’s sake, let us know how men are to be saved and get to the work; to be for ever deliberating as to the proper mode of making bread while a nation dies of famine is detestable trifling. It is time we knew what to teach, or else renounced our office. “For ever learning and never coming to the truth” is the motto of the worst rather than the best of men. I saw in Rome a statue of a boy extracting a thorn from his foot; I went my way, and returned in a year’s time, and there sat the, selfsame boy extracting the intruder still. Is this to be our model? “I shape my creed every week” was the confession of one of these divines to me. Whereunto shall I liken such unsettled ones? Are they not like those birds which frequent the Golden Horn, and are to be seen from Constantinople, of which it is said that they are always on the wing, and never rest? No one ever saw them alight on the water or on the land, they are for ever poised in mid-air. The natives call them “lost souls,” seeking rest and finding none. And, methinks, men who have no personal rest in the truth, if they are not unsaved themselves, are, at least, very unlikely to save others. He who has no assured truth to tell must not wonder if his hearers set small store by him. We must know the truth, understand it, and hold it with firm grip, or we cannot be of service amongst the sons of men. Brethren, I charge you, seek to know, and, knowing, to discriminate; having discriminated, I charge you “hold fast that which is good.” Keep in full operation the processes of filling the barn, winnowing the grain:, and storing it in granaries, so shall you mentally “Go forward.”

2. We need to go forward in oratorical qualifications. I am beginning at the bottom, but even this is important, for it is a pity that even the feet of this image should be of clay. Nothing is trifling which can be of any service to our grand design. Only for want of a nail the horse lost its shoe, and so became unfit for the battle; that shoe was only a trifling rim of iron which smote the ground, and vet the neck clothed with thunder was of no avail when the shoe was gone. A man may be irretrievably ruined for spiritual usefulness, not because he fails either in character or spirit, but because he breaks down mentally or oratorically, and, therefore, I have begun with these points, and again remark that we must improve in utterance. It, is not every one of us who can speak as some can do, and even these men cannot speak up to their own ideal. If there be any brother here who thinks he can preach as well as he should, I would advise him to leave off altogether. If he did so he would be acting as wisely as the great painter who broke his palette, and, turning to his wife, said, “My painting days are over, for I have satisfied myself, and therefore I am sure my power is gone.” Whatever other perfection may be reachable, I am certain that he who thinks he has gained perfection in oratory mistakes volubility for eloquence, and verbiage for argument. Whatever you may know, you cannot be truly efficient ministers if you are not “apt to teach.” You know ministers who have mistaken their calling, and evidently have no gifts for it: make sure that none think the same of you. There are brethren in the ministry whose speech is intolerable; either they dun you to death, or else they send you to sleep. No chloral can ever equal their discourse in sleepgiving properties. No human being, unless gifted with infinite patience, could long endure to listen to them, and nature does well to give the victim deliverance through sleep. I heard one say the other day that a certain preacher had no more gifts for the ministry than an oyster, and in my own judgment this was a slander on the oyster, for that worthy bivalve shows great discretion in his openings, and knows when to close. If some men were sentenced to hear their own sermons it would be a righteous judgment upon them, but they would soon cry out with Cain, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” Let us not fall under the same condemnation.

Brethren, we should cultivate a clear style. When a man does not make me understand what he means, it is because he does not himself know what he means. An average hearer, who is unable to follow the course of thought of the preacher, ought; not to worry himself, but to blame the preacher, whose business it is to make the matter clear. If you look down into a well, if it be empty it will appear to be very deep, but if there be water in it you will see its brightness. I believe that. many “deep” preachers are simply so because they are like dry wells with nothing whatever in them, except decaying leaves, a few stones, and perhaps a dead cat or two. If there be living water in your preaching it may be very deep, but the light of the truth will give, clearness to it. At any rate labor to be plain, so that the truths you teach may be easily received by your hearers.

We must cultivate a cogent as well as a clear style; we must be forceful. Some imagine that this consists in speaking loudly, but I can assure them they are, in error. Nonsense does not improve by being bellowed. God does not require us to shout as if we were speaking to three millions when we are only addressing three hundred. Let us be forcible by reason of the excellence of our matter, and the energy of spirit which we throw into the delivery of it. In a word, let our speaking be natural and living. I hope we have forsworn the tricks of professional orators, the strain for effect, the studied climax, the pre-arranged pause, the theatric strut, the mouthing of words, and I know not what besides, which you may see in certain pompous divines who still survive upon the face of the earth. May such become extinct; animals ere long, and may a living, natural, simple way of talking out the gospel be learned by us all; for I am persuaded that such a style is one which God is likely to bless.

Among many other things, we must cultivate persuasiveness. Some of our brethren have great influence over men, and yet others with greater gifts are devoid of it; these last do not appear to get near to the people, they cannot grip them and make them feel. There are preachers who in their sermons seem to take their hearers one by one by the button-hole, and drive the truth right into their souls, while others generalize so much, and are so cold withal, that one would think they were speaking of dwellers in some remote planet, whose affairs did not much concern them. Learn the art of pleading with men. You will do this well if you often see the Lord. If I remember rightly, the old classic story tells us that, when a soldier was about to kill Darius, his son, who had been dumb from his childhood, suddenly cried out in surprise. Know you not that he is the king?” His silent tongue was unloosed by love to his father, and well may ours find earnest speech when the Lord is seen by us crucified for sin. If there be any speech in us, this will rouse it. The knowledge of the terrors of the Lord should also bestir us to persuade men. We cannot do other than plead with: them to be reconciled to God. Brethren, mark those who woo sinners to Jesus, find out their secret, and never rest till you obtain the. same power. If you find them very simple and homely yet. if you see them really useful, say to yourself, “That will do for me;” but if on the other hand you listen to a preacher who is much admired, and on inquiry find that no souls are savingly converted, say to yourself; “This is not the thing for me, for I am not seeking to be great, but to be really useful.”

Let your oratory, therefore, constantly improve in clearness, cogency, naturalness, and persuasiveness. Try, dear brethren, to get such a style of speaking that you suit yourselves to your audiences. Much lies in that. The preacher who should address an educated congregation in the language which he would use in speaking to a company of costermongers would prove himself a fool: and on the other hand he who goes. down amongst miners and colliers, with technical theological terms and drawing-room phrases, acts like an idiot. The confusion of tongues at Babel was more thorough than we imagine. It did not; merely give different languages to great nations, but it made the speech of each class to vary from that of others. A fellow of Billingsgate cannot understand a fellow of Brazenose. Now as the costermonger cannot learn the language of the college, let the college learn the language of the costermonger. “We use the language of the market,” said Whitfield, and this was much to his honor; yet when he stood in the drawing-room of the Countess of Huntingdon, and his speech entranced the infidel noblemen whom she brought to hear him, he adopted another style. His language was equally plain in each ease, because it was equally familiar to the audience: he did not use the ipsissima verba, else his language would have lost its plainness in the one case or the other, and would either have been slang to the nobility or Greek to the crowd. In. our modes of speech we should aim at being “all things to all men.” He is the greatest master of oratory who is able to address any class of people in a manner suitable to their condition, and likely to touch their hearts..

Brethren, let none excel us in power of speech: let none surpass us in the mastery of our mother-tongue. Beloved fellow-soldiers, our tongues are the swords which God has given us to use for him, even as it is said of our Lord, “Out of his mouth went a two-edged sword.” Let these swords be sharp. Cultivate your powers of speech, and be amongst the foremost, in the land for utterance. I do not exhort you to this because you are remarkably deficient; far from it, for everybody says to me, “We know the college men by their plain, bold speech.” This leads me to believe that you have the gift largely in you, and I beseech you to take pains to perfect it.

3. Brethren, we must be even more earnest to go forward in moral qualities. Let the points. I shall mention here come home to those who shall require them, but I assure you I have no special persons among you in my mind’s eye. We desire to rise to the highest style of ministry, and if so, even if we obtain the mental and oratorical qualifications, we shall fail, unless we also possess high moral qualities.

There are evils which we must shake off, as Paul shook the viper from his hand, and there are virtues which we must gain at any cost.

Self-indulgence has slain its thousands. Let us tremble lest we perish by the hands of this Delilah. Let ins have every passion and habit under due restraint: if we are not masters of ourselves we are not fit to be leaders in the church.

We must put away all notion of. self-importance. God will not bless the man who thinks himself great. To glory even in the work of God the Holy Spirit in yourself, is to tread dangerously near to self. adulation. “Let, another praise thee, and not thine own lips,” and be very glad when that other has sense enough to hold his tongue.

We must also have our tempers well under restraint. A vigorous temper is not altogether an evil. Men who are as easy as an old shoe are generally of as little worth. I would not say to you, “Dear brethren, have a temper,” but I do say, “If you have it, control it carefully.” I thank God when I see a minister have temper enough to be indignant at wrong, and to be firm for the right; still, temper is an edged tool, and often cuts the man who handles it. “Gentle, easy to be entreated,” preferring to bear evil rather than inflict it, this is to be our spirit. If any brother here naturally boils over too soon, let him mind that when he does do so, he scalds nobody but the devil, and then let him boil away.

We must conquer — some of us especially — our tendency to levity. A great distinction exists between holy cheerfulness, which is a virtue, and that general levity, which is a vice. There is a levity which has not enough heart to laugh, but trifles with everything; it is flippant, hollow, unreal. A hearty laugh is no more levity than a hearty cry. I speak of that religious veneering which is pretentious, but thin, superficial, insincere about the weightiest matters. Godliness is no jest, nor is it a mere form. Beware of being actors. Never give earnest men the impression that you do not mean what you say, and are mere professionals, To be burning at the lip and freezing at the soul is a mark of reprobation. God deliver us from being superfine and superficial may we never be the butterflies of the garden of God.

At the same time, we should avoid everything like the ferocity of bigotry. There are religious people about, who, I have no doubt, were born of a woman, but appear to have been suckled by a wolf. I have done them no dishonor: were not; Romulus and Remus, the founders of the city of Rome, so fed? Some warlike men of this order have had power to found dynasties of thought; but human kindness and brotherly love consort better with the kingdom of Christ. We are not to be always going about the world searching out heresies, like terrier dogs sniffing for rats, and to be always so confident of one’s own infallibility, that; we erect ecclesiastical stakes at which to roast all who differ from us, not, ‘tis true, with fagots of wood, but with those coals of juniper, which consist of strong prejudice and cruel, suspicion.

In addition to all this, there are mannerisms, and moods, and ways which I cannot now describe, against which we must, struggle, for little faults may often be the source of failure, and to get rid of them may be the secret of success. Count nothing little which makes you even a little more useful; cleanse out from the temple of your soul the seats of them that sell doves as well as the traffickers in sheep and oxen.

And, dear brethren, we must acquire certain moral faculties and habits, as well as put aside their opposites. He will never do much for God who has not integrity of spirit. If we be guided by policy, if there be any mode of action for us but, that which is straightforward, we shall make shipwreck before long. Resolve, Clear brethren, that you can be poor, that you can be despised, that you can lose life itself, but thin; you cannot do a crooked, thing. For you, let the only policy be honestly.

May you also possess the grand moral characteristic of courage. By this we do not mean impertinence, impatience, or self-conceit; but real courage to do and say calmly the right thing, and to go straight on at all hazards, though there should be none to give you a good word. I am astonished at the number of Christians who are afraid to speak the truth to their brethren. I thank God I cart say this, there is no member of my church, no officer of the church, and no man in the world to whom I am afraid to say before his face what I would say behind his back. Under God. I owe my position in my own church to the absence of all policy, and the habit of saying what I mean. The plan of making things pleasant all round is a perilous as well as a wicked one. If you say one thing to one man, and another to another, they will one day compare notes and find you out, and then you will be despised. The man of two faces will sooner or later be the object of contempt, and justly so. Now, above all things, avoid that. If you have anything that; you feel you ought to say about a man, let the measure of what you say be this — “How much dare I say to his face?” We must not allow ourselves a word more in censure of any man living. If that be your rule, your courage will save you from a thousand difficulties, and win you lasting respect.

Having the integrity and the courage, dear brethren, may you be gifted with an indomitable zeal. Zeal — what is it? How shall I describe it? Possess it, and you will know what it is. Be consumed with love for Christ, and let the flame burn continuously, not flaming up at public meetings and dying out in the routine work of every day. We need indomitable perseverance, dogged zeal, and a combination of sacred obstinacy, self-denial, holy gentleness, and invincible courage.

Excel also in one power, which is both mental and moral, namely, the power of concentrating all your forces upon the work to which you are called. Collect your thoughts, rally all your faculties, mass your energies, focus your capacities. Turn all the springs of your soul into one channel, causing it to flow onward in an undivided stream. Some men lack this quality. They scatter themselves and fail. Mass your battalions, and hurl them upon the enemy. Do not try to be great at this and great at that — to be “everything by turns, and nothing long,” but suffer your entire nature to be led in captivity by Jesus Christ, and lay everything at his dear feet who bled and died for you.

4. Above all these, we need spiritual qualifications, graces which must be wrought in us by the Lord himself. This is the main matter, I am sure. Other things are precious, but this is priceless; we must be rich towards God.

We need to know ourselves. The preacher should be great in the science of the heart, the philosophy of inward experience. There are two schools of experience, and neither is content to learn from the other; let us be content, however, to learn from both. The one school speaks of the child of God as one who knows the deep depravity of his heart, who understands the loathsomeness of his nature, and daily feels that in his flesh there dwelleth no good thing. “That man has not the life of ‘God in his soul,” say they, “who does act know and feel this, and feel it by bitter and painful experience from day to day.” It’s in vain to talk to them about liberty, and joy in the Holy Ghost; they will not have it. Let us learn from these onesided brethren. They know much that should be known, and woe to that minister who ignores their set of truths. Martin Luther used to say that temptation is the best teacher for a minister. There is truth on that side of the question. Another school of believers dwell much upon the glorious work of the Spirit of God, and rightly and blessedly so. They believe in the Spirit of God as a cleansing power, sweeping the Augean stable of the soul, and making it into a temple for God. But frequently they talk as if they had ceased to sin, or to be annoyed by temptation, they glory as if the battle were already fought, and the victory won. Let us learn from these brethren. All the truth they can teach us let us know. Let us become familiar with the hill-tops and the glory that shines thereon, the Hermons and the Tabors, where we may be transfigured with our Lord. Do not be afraid of ever growing too holy. Do not be afraid of being too full of the Holy Spirit. I would have you wise on all sides, and able to deal with man both in his conflicts and in his joys, as one familiar with both. Know where Adam left you; know where the Spirit of God. has placed you. Do not know either of these so exclusively as to forget the other. I believe that if any men are likely to cry, “O wretched man that I am.! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” it will always be the ministers, because we need to be tempted in all points, so that we may be able to comfort others. In a railway carriage last week I saw a poor man with his leg placed upon the seat. An official happening to see him in this posture, remarked! “Those cushions were not made for you to put your dirty boots on.” As soon as the guard was gone the man put up his leg again, and said to me, “He never broke his leg in two places, I am sure, or he would not be so sharp with me.” When I have heard brethren who have lived at ease, enjoying good incomes, condemning others who are much 1tried, because they could not rejoice in their fashion, I have felt that they knew nothing of the broken bones which others have to carry throughout the whole of their pilgrimage.

Brethren, know man, in Christ and out of Christ;. Study him at his best, and study him at his worst; know his anatomy, his secrets, and his passions. You cannot do this by books; you must have personal spiritual, experience; God alone can give you that.

Among’ spiritual acquirements, it is beyond all other things needful to know him. who is the sure remedy for all human diseases. Know Jesus. Sit at his feet. Consider his nature, his work, his sufferings, his glory. Rejoice in his presence: commune with him from day today. To know Christ is to understand the most excellent of sciences. You cannot fail to be wise if you commune with wisdom; you cannot miss of strength if you have fellowship with the mighty Son of God. I saw the other day in a grotto a little fern, which grew where its leaves continually glistened and danced in the spray of a fountain. It was always green, and neither summer’s drought nor winter’s cold affected it. So let us for ever abide under the sweet influence of Jesus’ love. Dwell in God, brethren; not sometimes go to him, but abide in him. They say in Italy that where the sun does not. enter the physician must. Where Jesus does not shine the soul is sick. Bask in his beams and you shall be vigorous in the service of the Lord. Last Sunday night I had a text which mastered me: — “No man knoweth the Son but the Father.” I told the people that poor sinners who had gone to Jesus and trusted him, thought they knew him, but that they knew only a little of him. Saints of sixty years’ experience, who have walked with him every day, think they know him; but they are only beginners yet. The perfect spirits before the throne, who have been for five thousand years perpetually adoring him, perhaps think they know him. but they do not to the full. “No man knoweth the Son but the Father.” He is so glorious, that only the infinite God has full knowledge of him, therefore there will be no limit to our study, or narrowness in our line of thought, if we make our Lord the great object of all our thoughts.

Brethren, as the outcome of this, if we are to be strong men, we must be conformed to our Lord. Oh, to be like him! Blessed be that cross on which we shall suffer, if we suffer for being made like unto the Lord Jesus. If we obtain conformity to Christ, we shall have a wondrous unction upon our ministry, and without that, what is a ministry worth?

In a word, we must labor for holiness of character. What is holiness? Is it not wholeness of character? a balanced condition in which there is neither lack nor redundance. It is not morality, that is a cold. lifeless statue: holiness is life. You must have holiness; and, dear brethren, if you should fail in mental qualifications (as I hope you will not), and if you should have a slender measure of the oratorical faculty (as I trust you will not), yet, depend upon it, a holy life is, in itself, a wonderful power, and will make up for many deficiencies; it is, in fact, the best sermon the best man. can deliver. Let us resolve that all the purity which can be had we will have, that all the sanctity which can be reached we will obtain, and that all the likeness to Christ that is possible in this world of sin shall certainly be in us through the work of the Spirit of God. The Lord lift us all as a college, right up to a higher platform, and he shall have the glory!

5. Still I have not done, dear brethren. I have to say to you, go forward in actual work, for, after all, we shall be known by what we have done. Like the apostles, I hope our memorial will be our acts. There are good brethren in the world who are impractical. The grand doctrine of the second advent makes them stand with open mouths, peering into the skies, so that I am ready to say, “Ye men of Plymouth, why stand ye here gazing up into heaven?” The fact that Jesus Christ is to come is not a reason to stargazing, but for working in the power of the Holy Ghost. Be not so taken up with speculations as to prefer a Bible reading over a dark passage in the Revelation to teaching in a ragged-school or discoursing to the poor concerning Jesus. We must have done with day dreams, and get to work. I believe in eggs, but we must get chickens out of them. I do not mind. how big your egg is; it may be an ostrich’s egg if you like, but if there is nothing in it, pray clear away the shells. If something comes of it, God bless your speculations, and even if you should go a little further than I think it wise to venture, still, if you are more useful, God be praised for it. We want facts — deeds done, souls saved. It is all very well to write essays, but what souls have you saved from going down to hell? Your excellent management of your school interests me, but how many children have been brought into the church by it? We are glad to hear of those special meetings, but how many have really been born to God in them? Are saints edified? Are sinners converted? To swing to and fro on a five — barred gate is not progress, yet some seem to think so. I see them in perpetual Elysium, humming over to themselves and their friends, “We are very comfortable.” God save us from living in comfort while sinners are sinking into hell. In traveling along the mountain roads in Switzerland you will continually see marks of the boring-rod; and in every minister’s life there should be traces of stern labor. Brethren, do something; do something; do something. While committees waste their time over resolutions, do something. While Societies and Unions are making constitutions, let us win souls. Too often we discuss, and discuss, and discuss, and Satan laughs in his sleeve. It is time we had done planning and sought something to plan. I pray you, be men of action all of you. Get to work and quit yourselves like men. Old Suwarrow’s idea of war is mine: Forward and strike! No theory! Attack! Form column! Charge bayonets! Plunge into the center of the enemy.” Our one aim is to save sinners, and this we are not to talk about but to do in the power of God.

6. Lastly, and here I am going to deliver a message which weighs upon me, go forward in the matter of the choice of your sphere of action. I plead this day for those who cannot plead for themselves, namely, the great outlying masses of the heathen world. Our existing pulpits are tolerably well supplied, but we need men who will build on new foundations. Who will do this? Are we, as a company of faithful men, clear in our consciences about the heathen? Millions have never heard the name of Jesus. Hundreds of millions have seen a missionary only once in their lives, and know nothing of our King. Shall we let them perish? Can we go to our beds and sleep while China, India, Japan, and other nations are being damned? Are we clear of their blood? Have they no claim upon us? We ought to put it on this footing not “Can I prove that I ought to go?” but “Can I prove that I ought not to go?” When a man can prove honestly that he ought not to go then he is clear, but not else. What answer do you give, my brethren? I put it to you man by man. I am not raising a question among you which I have not honestly put to myself. I have felt that if some of our leading ministers would go forth it would have a grand effect in stimulating the churches, and. I have honestly asked myself whether I ought to go. After balancing the whole thing I feel bound to keep my place, and I think the, judgment of most Christians would be the same; but I hope I would readily and cheerfully and willingly go if I did not so feel. Brethren, put yourselves through the same process. We must have the heathen converted; God has myriads of his elect among them, we must go and search for them somehow or other. Many difficulties are now removed, all lands are open to us, and distance is annihilated. True, we have not the Pentecostal gift of tongues, but languages are now readily acquired, while the art of printing is a full equivalent for the lost, gift. The dangers incident to missions ought not to keep any true man back, even if they were very great, but they are now reduced to a minimum. There are hundreds of places where the cross of Christ is unknown, to which we can go without risk. Who will go? The men who ought to go are young brethren of good abilities who have not yet taken upon themselves family cares.

Each student entering the college should consider this matter, and surrender himself to the work unless there are conclusive reasons for his not doing so. It is a fact that even for the colonies it is very difficult to find men, for I have had openings in Australia which I have been obliged to decline. It ought not to be so. Surely there is some self-sacrifice among us yet, and some among us are willing to be exiled for Jesus. The Mission languishes for want of men. If the men were forthcoming the liberality of the church would supply their needs, and, in fact, the liberality of the church has made the supply, end yet there are not the men to go. I shall never feel, brethren, that we, as a band of men, have done our duty until we see our comrades fighting for Jesus in every land in the van of the conflict. I believe that if God moves you to go, you will be among the best of missionaries, because you will make the preaching of the gospel the great feature of your work, and that. is God’s sure way of power. I wish that our churches would imitate that of Pastor Harms, in Germany, where every member was consecrated to God in deed and of a truth. The farmers have the produce of their lands, the working-men their labor; one gave a large house to be used as a missionary college, and Pastor Harms obtained money for a ship which he fitted out, to make voyages to Africa, and then he sent missionaries, and little companies of his people with them, to form Christian communities among the Bushmen. When will our churches be equally self-denying and energetic? Look at the Moravians! how every man and woman becomes a. missionary, and how much they do in consequence. Let us catch their spirit. Is it a right spirit? Then it is right for us to have it. It is not enough for us to say, “Those Moravians are very wonderful people!” We ought to be wonderful people too. Christ did not purchase the Moravians and more than he purchased us; they are under no more obligation to make sacrifices than we are. Why then this backwardness? When we read of heroic men who gave up all for Jesus, we are not merely to admire, but to imitate them. Who will imitate them now? Come to the point. Are there not some among you willing to consecrate yourselves to the Lord? “Forward” is the watchword today! Are there no bold spirits to lead the van? Pray all of you that during this Pentecost the Spirit may say, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work.”

Brethren, on wings of love mount upward, and fly forward. Amen.

NOTICES OF BOOKS

Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament. The Prophecies of Jeremiah. By C. F. KEIL, D.D. T. T. Clark, Edinburgh.

OUR ministerial brethren and more learned readers will be glad to hear of the issue of the second volume of Keil on Jeremiah. The scholarship of these commentaries is of the highest order, and of course they are therefore only useful to the few, but by that few the many are instructed, so that really a boon is conferred upon the entire church by their publication. Messrs. Clark have now published 120 volumes of their Foreign Theological Library, — a vast undertaking indeed; many societies have attempted far less, and have failed. The whole series can be purchased for £31 10s., a princely present for a minister, and by the way a very opportune gift to the library of our new College should anybody feel moved to present it. We earnestly request that two persons will not insist upon doing it; to prevent any contest about the matter we shall be happy to act as referee.

From Darkness to ,Light. By FREDERICK WAGSTAFF. Kempster and Co., 9 and 10, St. Bride’s Avenue.

Tins is one of a series called the Home Library, each of which is marked price sixpence, post free. This is an amusing temperance and Templar tale, and is sure to be widely circulated among abstainers. The engravings are about as

bad as any we have ever seen, but a book in a strong stiff cover for sixpence cannot be expected to contain works of art. Another book of this series is, “Recitations in Verse,” by Harriet A. Glazebrook. Here we have water, water, everywhere. One of the songs upon water in Paradise, and water from the smitten rock asks questions which we should have thought could never have occurred to a temperance poet and a reverend!

Would Eden thus have smiled
Had wine to Eden come?
Would Horeb’s parching wild
Have been refreshed with rum?
And had Eve’s hair Been dressed in gin
Would she have been reflected fair?

Had Moses built a still,
And dealt out to that host
To every man a gill,
And pledged him in a toast,
How large a band Of Israel’s sons
Had laid their bones in Canaan’s land!

We hope that this is meant to be funny, and that there is some mysterious sense in it, which we are unable to discern. We heard a brother defend total abstinence the other evening upon this ground among many others — that when dead, teetotalers’ bodies would keep longer than other people’s. That may have been an argument of weight with some people, but it produced a roar of laughter in the quarter under our notice. Is it not a pity to make a cause ridiculous by a silly advocacy of it? Review Exercises in the Sunday School: their value and methods. By Rev. H. C. TRUMBULL. Sunday School Union. TRUTH is fastened upon youthful minds only by frequent repetition. We must tell children the same thing twenty times, because nineteen times won’t do.

“Tell me the story often,
For I forget so soon:
The early dew of the morning
Has pass’d away at noon.”

It is both grievous and startling’ to find how little some children know, who, nevertheless, have been to the Sabbath-school for years; either there are many inefficient teachers abroad, or else their modes of teaching need amendment. This little book advocates frequent rehearsals of the same lessons, and regular examinations of the classes, and we like it so well that we would have all our teachers read it, and practice its suggestions.

The Banner Unfurled. Choice Selections from Christian Writers. Edited by E. A.H. Partridge and Co.

“THE profits arising from the sale of this book will be devoted to the purpose of training a missionary for China.” This object speaks for itself, and stays our critical knife. The extracts have been made with opened eyes and spiritual taste.

The Pictorial Dictionary of the Bible. New Edition, profusely Illustrated with Biblical Maps and Chromolithograph Engravings, etc. W.R. M’Phun and Co., Glasgow and London.

WE have before us four shilling parts of this work, and certainly there is a great deal of matter for the money. Some of the engravings would have improved the volume if they had been left out; they are executed in a style of art which deserves to become extinct, or else the plates are so worn that the beauty has long since gone. A young fellow with thirty shillings to spare could do better with his money by letting it rest till he had enough to purchase a really standard work than by taking in these numbers, but at the same time the Pictorial Dictionary contains much valuable information, and is an instructive assistant to the Bible Reader. We should greatly prefer Smith’s or Kitto’s; but if these should happen to be above our reader’s means, they will be much helped by consulting M’Phun’s Dictionary. There are to be thirty parts, issued monthly, and many will thus be able to purchase a Biblical Dictionary who otherwise would be without one, and therefore we wish the enterprise success.

NOTES.

THE CONFERENCE OF THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE FOR 1874.

IT is the custom of the ministers who were educated at the Tabernacle to come up from their several churches and meet in brotherly conference once in the year. This ministers as much to profit as to enjoyment, and a great deal of both is usually obtained. The fraternal feeling is kept up, and the union of the brotherhood is cemented by this hallowed assembling of ourselves together, while by united supplications blessings are secured, and by mutual communion benefits are obtained. This year has been the best of all our Conferences, though, indeed, we have said the same of each of the former nine in its turn. Our own heart was never more cheered, nor have we seen such a joyful expectant feeling everywhere manifest.

On Monday, April 13, the first prayer-meeting was held at the Tabernacle at three o’clock, and those who had arrived pleaded with God for his smile upon the coming meetings. At seven some of the brethren took part in the usual prayer. meeting at the Tabernacle, but a far larger number accepted the invitation of Mr. Cuff and were present at a crowded and spirited meeting at his chapel in Shore. ditch. C.H.S. took the chair, and brethren Whale of Ipswich, Inglis of Soham, Gange of Broadmead, Bristol, and Mr. Cuff himself, delivered most soul-stirring addresses. Thanks are due to the friends at Providence Chapel for providing tea so bountifully. We feel sure good results will follow both to them and to us from our visit to their abode.

Tuesday, April 14. — The Conference opened with a period of prayer of a kind seldom experienced. There was a whirlwind of devotion, and a flaming fire of importunity, and the still small voice of the divine presence was heard by all. Each one had his petition and request, and many were eager to pour forth their hearts. Several rose at a time, yet each one was ready to give way, and follow upon his fellow. To us it was a sacred bathing in a sea of sacred influence, which both overwhelmed and refreshed us. We fail to remember any season so full of life and power. It was indeed good to be there.

After business had been dispatched, we gave the address which we have printed in this month’s magazine. We had no idea it was so long, but we hope it will not weary our readers. The assembly requested that it might be issued, or otherwise we should have used it for other purposes. Our beloved brother J. A. S., the Vice-President, followed with an able address, based upon our Lord’s miraculous raising of Lazarus, and then we returned again to prayer, which is by far the best way of refreshing and invigorating the soul.

The Conference met at the Orphanage in the afternoon and evening. Fraternal conversations among the brethren, and addresses to the orphans continued till tea, when our classical tutor, Mr. Gracey, gave us a most valuable paper upon the Holy Spirit, and was followed by our venerable Principal, Mr. Rogers, upon “Frames and Feelings in Preaching.” The old man eloquent held us spell-bound with his mingled wit and wisdom. We hope to have both these essays for the Sword and the Trowel. Mr. William Booth, of the East London Mission, gave us one of the most lively, racy, and energetic speeches conceivable; and at the close Mr. Wheeler of Birmingham, a gentleman whom we had not known before, made us a princely presentation, for which we thank him right heartily. The meeting was a great success, and the singing of certain of Mr. Sankey’s pieces gave it abundant vivacity and variety.

Wednesday, April 15. — At 11 the Conference met in full force, almost every man in his place, scarcely one behind time, and prayer again ascended to heaven as pillars of incense. Then came a delightful paper by Mr. Tarn, of Peckham, upon the kind of sermons which are most blessed to conversions; very little discussion followed, the subject did not need it. Mr. Benskin handled in an admirable manner the weighty theme, “The Necessity of Regeneration because of Human Depravity,” and his work was heartily appreciated. The third subject was taken by Mr. Compton, who gave us an exhaustive gathering up of Scriptural teaching as to Satan and his influence among men. When the sitting was over we felt that we had heard much excellent instruction, and that it had been delivered in a manner calculated to warm our hearts.

Mr. Phillips’ supper in the evening was right royal. The preceding meeting was most helpful to us, by winning the sympathy of our subscribers, and the amount promised on the occasion exceeded £1,800, for which the Lord’s name be praised. To W. McArthur, Esq., who took the chair, and gave £100, to W. Fowler, late M.P. for Cambridge, who gave a similar donation, to a brother who would rather be nameless, who gave £200, to a constant friend who gave £100, and, indeed, to all who aided in any measure or degree, we are deeply grateful, and to our host, Mr. Phillips, most of all.

Thursday, April 16. — This day began with another outburst of mighty prayer, which kept us at full flood all the day. The first of the morning papers was written and read by our esteemed brother Mr. Makin, of Sittingbourne, upon the Functions of the Ministry, and then followed Mr. Knight, of Lowestoft, who much interested us in “Prayer Meetings, and how to maintain Interest in them.” It was thought well not to have another subject brought before us, but to return to united prayer. In the evening the public meeting at the Tabernacle was attended far beyond all former years, in fact the place was filled, and a glorious enthusiasm prevailed. The meeting was good throughout, but that is speaking coldly; it was incomparably full of power. Dr. Barnardo was led to speak upon a topic singularly appropriate and telling, and his matter and manner were of the highest order. The Lord spoke to us through him. Brethren Medhurst and Silverton spoke warmly for the College, as the first and second men who left it, and Mr. Danzy Sheen, Primitive Methodist, as the Primitive man whom it has trained. Dr. Hillier showed us how, as doctor of music, he could use his abilities for Christ, and Mr. Mayers, with his singing for Jesus, delighted the whole assembly. Hearts glowed as we sung “Hold the fort, for I am coming,” and I am so glad that Jesus loves me; the walls and roof of the Tabernacle rang again as the three hundred men’s voices in a body gave force to the singing of the rest. After this meeting, Mr. Phillips entertained the ministers in the same manner as he had before dealt with the friends and subscribers. May his shadow never be less.

Friday, the last day, was not the least. It commenced with a considerable period of glowing prayer, its holy influence was sustained by Mr. Norris’ beautiful paper on Fellowship with Jesus, and Mr. W’. Olney’s practical speech. It was also rendered memorable by an invaluable address from Dr. Culross upon the exposition of the Word of God, and it finally culminated in the Communion and the joining of hands, as a pledge of continued love, while we sung —

“Pray that Jerusalem may have
Peace and felicity.”

During the Conference the statistical reports were given in, and were greatly encouraging, the increase to the churches being more than on any former occasion. Of this more next month. Mr. Harry Brown paid in an installment from the ministers towards £1,000 for the College Buildings, which not only reached the sum promised, but exceeded it.

Looking back our heart sings, looking around we rejoice, looking forward we are full of expectation, looking upward we adore.

We write this in “a desert place” to which we have fled to recover from the wear of this exciting week, and if we omit anything we cannot help it, as we have only memory to trust to. All other notes we have forgotten, and cannot now get at them.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle by Hr. J. A. Spurgeon: March 19th, sixteen; 23rd, thirteen; 26th, twenty-five; 30th, nineteen. April 2nd, twenty-one.

FRAGMENTS OF POPERY AMONG
NONCONFORMISTS.

WE have been greatly interested by the various opinions upon the paper inserted in our April number, written by Mr. Charles-worth, the Head Master of the Stockwell Orphanage. Some have pronounced that essay upon Dissenting Ritualism as “a crazy bark,” freighted with trivialities; others have smelt a savor of Plymouthism in it, and regarded it as flavored with a kind of religious leveling, likely to lower the dignity of the ministry. On the other hand, a far larger number have thanked us for inserting it, and praised it as “trenchant,” weighty, outspoken, and laying the ax at the root of many evils; indeed, the eulogiums upon it sent to us have been very enthusiastic, and calculated to make its author’s face crimson with a modesty unable to bear the shock of so much appreciation. Happily, neither the editor nor his esteemed correspondent are likely to perish either from being chilled with censure, or smothered with commendation. Exposure to continual criticism has somewhat hardened our frames, and in patience we possess our souls. Wherein truth has been spoken it will live; wherein mistakes have been committed we trust the Lord will graciously let them die.

We do not believe that among our Nonconformist churches there is more than a fly or two of the priestly system in the pot of ointment,, but even those flies should be purged out. Great evils have small beginnings, the little foxes are to be dreaded among the vines. Where so much is admirable, it is a pity that the specks and spots should be suffered to remain. We have a stern fight before us against Ritualistic Popery, and it is well to clear our decks of all lumber and go into the controversy with clean hands. It is a far more popular thing to find faults with other denominations than to point out follies and failings among ourselves, but this consideration should never occur to the right-minded, except to be repulsed with a “Get thee behind me, Satan.”

Confining ourselves to one branch of the subject, namely, matters concerning ministers, we shall, at the risk of fresh flagellation, pursue the same course in the same unambitious style, by asking a few questions. Whence comes the whole paraphernalia of ordination as observed .among some Dissenters? Since there is no special gift to bestow, why in any case the laying on of empty hands? Since we cannot pretend

that mystic succession so vaunted by Ritualists, why are men styled “regularly ordained ministers”? A man who has preached for years is Mr. Brown, but after his ordination or recognition he develops into the Rev. Mr. Brown; what important change has he undergone? This comes before us in the form of addresses upon letters — “ Rev. Titus Smith, Mr. Spurgeon’s College,” or sometimes, “Rev. Timothy Jones, Spurgeon’s Tabernacle.” Rather odd, this! Here are reverend students of an unreverend preacher, the title being given to the one out of courtesy, and withheld from the other for the same reason. The Reverend Titus has met with a church which will insist upon an ordination, and he is ordained; but the President of his College, having never undergone such a process, nor even that imitation of it called a recognition, remains an unordained, unrecognized person to this day, and has not yet discovered the peculiar loss which he has sustained. We do not object to a recognition of the choice of the church by its neighbors and their ministers, on the contrary, we believe it to be a fraternal act, sanctioned by the very spirit of Christianity; but where it is supposed to be essential, is regarded as a ceremony, and is thought to be the crowning feature of the settlement, we demur. “The Reverend Theophilus Robinson offered up the ordination prayer” has a Babylonish sound in our ears, and it is not much improved when it takes the form of “the recognition prayer.” Is there, then, a ritual? Are we as much bound by an unwritten extempore liturgy as others by the Common Prayer.? Must there always be “usual questions”? And why “usual”? Is there some legendary rule for the address to the church and the address to the pastor? Mark well, that we do not object to any one of these things, but we do question the propriety of stereotyping them, and speaking of the whole affair as if it were a matter to be gone about according to a certain pattern seen in the holy mount, or an order given forth in trust to the saints. We see germs of evil in the usual parlance, and therefore meet it with a Quo Warranto? Is not the divine call the real ordination to preach, and the call of the church the only ordination to the pastorate?` The church is competent under the guidance or the Holy Spirit her own work, and if she calls in her sister churches, let her tell them what she has done, in such terms that they will never infer that they are called upon to complete the work. The ordination prayer should be prayed in the church meeting, and there and then the work should be done; for other churches to recognize the act is well and fitting, but not if it be viewed as needful to the completion of the act itself. We have noticed many signs of an error in this direction.

The small matter which we have mentioned leads on to another which ,is by no means small, namely, the notion in some churches that only an ordained or recognized minister should preside at the Lord’s table. Small is our patience with this unmitigated Popery, and yet it is by no means uncommon. Pulpits which are most efficiently supplied on other Sundays by men who are without pastoral charge must be vacated by them on the first Sunday of the month because the friends like a stated minister to administer the sacrament. This may not always be the language employed, but it often is and it is an unsanctified jargon, revealing the influence of priestcraft. Whence comes it? By what scripture can it be justified? “Breaking bread from house to house” does not read very like it. We suppose that the idea of a deacon leading the communion would horrify a great many, but why? If the church should request a venerable brother to conduct the service, a brother of eminent grace and prayerfulness, would the ordinance be any the less instructive or consoling because he was not in the ministry? Naturally enough the pastor, when there is one, leads the way by the respectful consent of all; but would fellowship with Jesus be more difficult, if he were out of the way, and an elder or deacon occupied his place? Our experience has never led us to bemoan, on the account of our people, that the communion was a maimed rite when a beloved deacon or elder has filled our chair. We love to have our brethren sitting with us at the table, breaking the bread as much as we do, and giving thanks aloud as we do, because we hope that by this visible sign men will see that “one is our Master, even Christ, and all we are brethren.” Are we the less respected by our church officers for this? Do they take upon themselves lordly airs? Far from it. A more beloved and loving set of men never surrounded a pastor. We magnify our office in the best manner when we do not magnify it beyond the teaching of the Lord. Who are we that our presence should render more valid, or more lawful, the remembrance of our Lord’s death until he come? All things are to be done decently and in order, but that order does not necessitate a church’s going without the Lord’s Supper because there is no pastor or regular minister to be had. At least we fail to see any support for such an idea, except in the traditions of the fathers, and the sooner these are consigned to oblivion the better. We confess we do not admire the Plymouth fashion of passing round a lump of bread for all to peck at, like so many crows, or the plan of hawking a slice from hand to hand, for each one to break on his own account, for it is not a clean or decorous practice; and as it never would be tolerated at our own tables, it certainly ill becomes the table of the Lord: but even these odd ways are better, or at least less harmful, than the practice of a slated minister administering the elements, for “stated minister” is little more than “priest writ large” in the idea of weaker brethren; or if it be not so now, it soon may be so, and the sooner it is put an end to the better for posterity. Even now we know of churches which have dispensed with the Lord’s Supper week after week because the pastor was ill, there being, of course, no other brother in the whole community who had grace enough to preside at the table, or administer the sacrament, as some of the brotherhood call it. When matters have gone so far, it is surely time to speak out against such worship of men.

By one of those whimsical freaks of superstition for which there is no accounting, the benediction is in some regions almost as sacredly reserved for the minister as the absolution for the priest in Popish churches. We heard it remarked the other day as quite a singular thing that a nonministerial brother, being in the chair at a religious meeting, had actually pronounced the benediction. We had not noticed the man’s audacity, but evidently others had. Here was a mere layman thinking himself as able to invoke a blessing upon the assembly as the clerics around him! The brethren around us expressed their pleasure that he had done so, but even this showed that it was rather an innovation, very commendable, no doubt, in these days, but still an innovation. “Will you close the meeting?” has often been whispered in a minister’s ear when some excellent Christian man has been in prayer, who might just as well as not have finished his supplication with the blessing, and so have dismissed the assembly. But that must not be, only ministers must take those sacred words upon .their polluted lips! Fiddle-de-dee is the only word which will enable us to vent our feelings. But we forbear, and change the subject.

It is very natural that our friends should desire their minister to baptize them, and yet there is no reason why he should do so on account of his office. It does not appear from the Scriptures to have been an act peculiar to preachers; in fact, at least one of them, and he by no means the least, was not sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel. A vigorous Christian member of the church is far more in his place in the baptismal waters than his ailing, consumptive, or rheumatic pastor. Any objection urged against this assertion is another unconscious leaning to tradition, if not a relic of superstition. The usefulness of the ordinance does not depend upon the baptizer, but upon the the gracious meditation and earnest prayer of the person baptized: the good which he will receive will depend upon how far his whole soul is receptive of the divine influence, and in no sense, manner, or degree upon the agent of the baptism. We do not know what Paedobaptists think upon their ceremony, but we fear that the most of them must have the minister to do it, and would hardly like their infants to be left to the operation of an unordained man. If it be so, we do not so very much wonder at their belief, for as it is clear that no good arises to an infant from its own prayers or meditations during the ceremony, there is a natural tendency to look for some official importance in the performer of the rite; but yet we do not and cannot believe that our Paedobaptist friends have fallen so low as that; we make no charge, and hope we shall never have cause to do so. For Baptists to attach the smallest importance to the ordinance of baptism being administered either by a minister or a private member Would be to the last degree inconsistent, and yet we. are. not sure that the inconsistency is not to be found in many quarters. It behooves ministers to break down. in time every tendency to make us into necessary adjuncts of the ordinances, for this is one step towards making us priests.

Upon the same spirit as it crops up in reference to marriages and burials we need not remark. Neither of these things are in themselves our work, although, as they furnish us with excellent occasions for doing good, it is well for us to attend to them. At the same time here are two threads for the syrup of superstition to crystallize upon, and it will do so if not prevented. The ignorant evidently attach some importance to reading or speaking over a corpse at a funeral, and do not regard the service as meant wholly for themselves, but as having some sort of relation to the departed. To have a gracious exhortation and prayer at home, and then lay the dear remains in the tomb in solemn silence, would be regarded as barbarity by many, and yet it would be no unseemly thing. To give the minister liberty to keep to the word of God and prayer, and release him from serving sepulchers, is according to apostolic precedent, and yet our churches would be grieved if it were carried out. When one of the Lord’s disciples desired to postpone his evangelistic labors till he had buried his father, he was bidden to let the dead bury their dead; but such advice followed out now-a-days would bring down heavy censure upon the minister. Is this as it should be? Our calling is to preach the gospel, and not to marry the living or bury the dead. By what process have these things come to be an integral part of our ministry? Are they really the business of the ministers of Christ? It is not meet that we should needlessly grieve any by refusing to attend upon either of these occasions, but we must take heed that we do not feed the sickly sentimentalism which makes the preacher necessary to them. We must all have seen how soon a superstition springs up, and therefore we must be on our guard not to water the ill weed.

The duty of visiting the sick and dying is one which we do not wish to shirk, but may it not become another door for priestliness to enter? and, indeed, is it not so? The poor will hasten to our doors, and ask us to “come and Tray to their sick friends:” yes, those are the very words — “ Please, sir, would you come and pray to my husband?” Often have we heard the expression, “The clergyman has been in and prayed a prayer to him, sir.” To the London poor ministers both in church and dissent are alike parsons or clergymen, and city missionaries are almost as good, and in their distress they very frequently send for one or another of us out of sheer superstition; not because they would learn the way of salvation, but because “having a good man in to pray to them” is the right thing to do for dying people. The like, or perhaps a worse superstition, leads to a high estimate of a burial service. Rattled over as it frequently is by cemetery chaplains, who have “one on and two more a-waiting,” the burial service cannot be of any use to the living, and must surely be performed for the sake of the dead. Nobody says so among Protestants, but the idea is in the air and may by degrees condense into a belief, unless we are expressly earnest to prevent it. We shall continue to mingle with the devout men who carry our Stephens to the sepulcher, and we shall not fail to weep with them that weep, but we will not allow the ignorant to imagine that we are there to perform some mystic rite.

These few remarks touch only upon ministers, and leave other matters for another equally brief chapter; but we cannot lay down the pen without asking why so many brethren still retain the lille of Reverend? We are willing to reverence the aged pastor, and we did not hesitate to give that title to our beloved friend George Rogers, just in the same way as we use the term “the venerable Bede,” or “the judicious Hooker,” but we are not prepared to reverence every stripling who ascends the pulpit; and, moreover, if we thought it due to others to call them reverend, we should still want some reason for their calling themselves so. It seems rather odd to us that a man should print upon his visiting card the fact that he is a reverend person. Why does he not occasionally vary the term, and call himself estimable, amiable, talented, or beloved? Would this seem odd? Is there any valid objection to such a use of adjectives after the fashion is once set by employing the word reverend? If a man were to assume the title of reverend for the first time in history it would look ridiculous, if not presumptuous or profane. Why does not the Sunday-school teacher call himself “the Respectable John Jones,” or the City Missionary dub himself “the Hard-working William Evans”? Why do we not, like members of secret orders and others, go in for Worthy Masterships and Past Grands, and the like? I hope that we can reply that we do not care for such honors, and are content to leave them to men of the world, or to the use of those who think they can do some good thereby. It may be said that the title of reverend is only one of courtesy, but then so was the title of Rabbi among the Jews, yet the disciples were not to be called Rabbi. It is, at any rate, a suspicious circumstance that among mankind no class of persons should so commonly describe themselves by a pretentious title as the professed ministers of the lowly Jesus. Peter and Paul were right reverend men, but they would have been the last to have called themselves so. No sensible person does reverence us one jot the more because we assume the title. It certainly is in some cases a flagrant misnomer, and its main use seems to be the pestilent one of keeping up the unscriptural distinction of clergy and laity. A lad fresh from college, who has just been placed in a pulpit, is the Reverend Smith, while his eminently godly grandfather, who has for fifty years walked with God, and is now ripe for heaven, has no such claim to reverence. A gentleman of ability, education, and eminent piety preaches in various places with much zeal and abundant success, but he is no reverend; while a man of meager gifts, whose principal success seems to lie in scattering the flock, wears the priestly prefix, having a name to be reverenced when he commands no esteem whatever. This may be a trifle, many no doubt so regard it; why, then, are they not prepared to abstain from it? The less the value of the epithet the less reason for continuing the use of it. It would be hard to say who has a right to it, for many use it who have not been pastors for years, and have not preached a sermon for many a day; what on earth are they to be reverenced for? Other men are always preaching, and yet no one calls them reverend, but why not ‘? The distribution of this wonderful honor is not fairly arranged. We suggest that, as the wife is to see that she reverence her husband, every married man has a degree of claim to the title of Rev., and the sooner all benedicts exercise the privilege, the sooner will the present clerical use of it pass out of fashion. We wonder when men first sought out this invention, and from whose original mind did the original sin emanate. We suspect that he lived in the Roman Row of Vanity Fair, although the Rev. John Bunyan does not mention him. One thing is pretty certain, he did not flourish in the days of the Rev. Paul, or the Rev. Apollos, or the Rev. Cephas.

SKAMPFIELDING

IN the Engineering and Mining Journal we read: “A rule, or custom, obtains on board Norwegian ships, known as skampfielding, which is simply this: Every morning at daylight, as soon as the decks are washed down, the officer in charge details each individual of his watch to some particular part of the ship skampfjelding; Johannis goes over the mainmast and yards, from the truck to the topmast head; Jem takes the main topsail yard and topmast; Tellog takes the main yard, top, and lower rigging, and so on. Thus the whole ship is par-celled out, each man takes a few rope yarns, or ‘ Spanish Foxes,’ and spends the next twenty minutes or halfhour in examining the part allotted to him; every seizing, splice, iron, bolt, rope, mat, even the stitching of the sails and condition of the paint, come under his consideration. A slight matter he repairs at once; anything for which he is not then prepared is, on returning to the deck, reported fully to the officer, and, if needing immediate attention, men and material are at once sent to the spot: in many cases the officer goes himself, or sends his second in command, to superintend the work. Things not requiring such immediate attention are noted; and when the other watch comes on deck, after breakfast, they are detailed to repair what has been reported, before commencing the day’s work. In this way B repairs what A reported, and gives a look for himself, in going and coming. Again, if anything breaks during the day, the captain asks, ‘ Who went there skampfjelding this morning?’ He is known, and asked why he did not report; in some cases he gets a disagreeable job as punishment, while each man feels a personal responsibility and interest in giving an accurate report, lest he lose his character for seamanship.”

Is not this an admirable custom and worthy to be imitated on board the ship of the soul? Self-examination exercised by the whole crew of mental and spiritual faculties would keep the entire craft in order, keep her tight and trim for all weathers, and preserve her when the hurricane comes on. As it is, we too often keep an eye on the paint, and forget the timber which it covers; the deck is holystoned, but the planks are rotting; sails are stretched, but many a rope needs mending. We all need skampfjelding, although we hardly know how to pronounce the word. Memory, understanding, hope, fear, head, heart, desire, and faith should each take a department of our nature, overhaul it, and report to the captain in command, with earnest resolve that all should be set right. For want of this the soul leaks, her sails spill the wind, her timbers become worm-eaten, and her beauty departs from her. This should be the work of every morning, executed in the calm light of dawning mercies, before we are buffeted by the waves of worldly business. Is it not sadly neglected?

The like good service should be done for the church, tier membership, schools, societies, poor, sick, and ignorant should be looked over by each man that he may see what is his own department, and where he can best lend a hand. The most watchful captain cannot do everything himself, all hands must help him, every member must take his share of the work and do it. Some of those on board our vessels have never yet gone forward among the children of the Sabbath-school, indeed they never do a hand’s turn anywhere unless it is with a knife and fork. They are sure to be in the saloon when the dinner bell rings, as if they expected to be ranked as genteel passengers and not as able-bodied seamen, and they are always ready to skulk into their bunks and sleep the day out; but they never go up aloft on the look out, nor down below to see to the cargo, they neither watch, nor work, nor wrestle, but they worry and weary all around them. Oh for more real workers. Yards and trucks, ropes and bolts, are apt to get out of order, and very soon no end of damage is done. Up, brothers all! and with open eyes look about you, and with a handful of “Spanish foxes,” or something of a more excellent texture, fix everything as straight as may be. — C. H. S.

NOTES.

THE Tabernacle Colportage Society has held its annual meeting, and a thoroughly lively and earnest meeting it was. The Colporteurs who spoke of their personal adventures deeply interested the assembly, and must have convinced every candid person that there is no cheaper, better, and more efficient work in existence than that of Colportage. Beginning in 1866 with three men, our society finds itself in 1874 employing twenty-nine men. It has sold £2,000 worth of books in the year, and has received a total contribution, in subscriptions, of £1,163, so that now it is an association of considerable dimensions, and has vitality enough in it to grow. The friends in the various districts speak with great warmth in favor of the Colporteur; he is often a true pastor, missionary, lecturer, and evangelist, all in one. Friends who can raise £40 per annum can have such a man in their own neighborhood, or, if they would wish to see some darker region enlightened, they can appoint him to any place they choose. We were greatly pleased with the style of men; they were hard-working, shrewd, sensible, earnest, godly laborers for Jesus, who need not be ashamed. We should like to be able to place such a worker in every priest-ridden district in England. We sometimes wish that those vast sums of money which are laid up to rust by worldlings and greedy professors could come within our reach, for we could make excellent use of a very considerable amount. Those who have £40 to spare have a great luxury within their reach, for they can have a man to work for them in places to which they could not go themselves. Any remittances sent to C.H. Spurgeon, or to W. Cotden Jones, Metropolitan Tabernacle, will be most gratefully received.

The funds of the Orphanage ran completely dry on May 8th, and drove us to plead with God for replenishment. The answer was immediate and sufficient. On the very day in which supplication was made nearly £400 was sent in to the treasury, and our heart was gladdened. We need something under that amount every month. If our beloved friends would get into the habit of sending us help regularly it would be a great comfort to us, and save us from many temptations to anxiety. As all our time is freely given to conducting the College, Orphanage, Colportage, etc., we think the Lord’s people should never allow the exchequer to be bare. We have been greatly favored as to health at the Orphanage, very few boys ever being in the Infirmary, and those for small matters. There is also a general good moral and spiritual tone among the boys, and we hope to hear of many giving their hearts to Jesus. Places for lads ready to go out have been hitherto forthcoming, but we shall in a few months have quite a swarm ready for flight, and then we hope friends will be found to take them.

The time is close at hand for giving our orphan lads a holiday. They will be allowed to leave in detachments, provided that there are places for them to go to. The time allowed will be a fortnight only. Many boys have no mothers or other friends who can take them; and some mothers are too poor, or too busy, to be able to provide for their boys and look after them. No boy will be allowed to go home unless we feel confident that he will be kept out of evil company and away from the streets. A little change does them good, and breaks the monotony of the year, but bad company undoes all our year’s work, and we cannot run so great a risk. How much we wish that friends would give a poor lad a fortnight’s ran over their farms! In 1872 Mr. W. L. Lung, editor of the Southport News, by the help of a few friends, gave nine of our boys a splendid treat. The railway company allowed us to purchase tickets at the lowest possible fare, and the boys remained three weeks in the bracing air of Southport. Last year Mr. Lung kindly took twelve boys and provided for them in his own house and an adjoining one. Everybody was kind to them, the pier, baths, steamboats, etc., were free to them; they went out into the country with every Sundayschool treat, and in fact found friends everywhere. We do not expect many helpers on so large a scale to come forward, but a number of smaller efforts would help us grandly.

Friends who would collect for the Orphanage can have cards upon application to Mr. Spurgeon; as also a picture card representing the Institution.

The new College is nearly ready for opening. We still need about £3,000. The ladies at the Tabernacle are resolved to hold a Bazaar at Christmas, to enable the President to furnish the rooms. They will be glad of help from all quarters. Nothing has ever flagged yet of our work, and we believe that our divine Lord will not suffer it to do so now.

One of the most successful preachers sent out from our College is Mr. W. Cuff, of Providence Chapel, Shoreditch. His place of worship is surrounded not by thousands, but hundreds of thousands of working people, tradespeople, and the very poor. His ministry has proved so attractive that the chapel is quite inadequate, and the friends frequently assemble in the Shoreditch Town Hall. This, of course, has to be hired, and the friends are eager to have a house of their own. They have first of all to pay efta debt upon their present place, and then commence a fund for the new erection; thus they have a double burden to carry, and need double help. If any place in the universe needs a large church under an able pastor, it is Shore-ditch; the pastor is there, and the church is growing up around him, but they have no house in which to meet. Their present place stands well if a house or two in the front could be pulled down; and the site of its schools, chapel, and graveyard, would, if entirely covered, afford room for a very large building. What is wanted seems to be that some persons of means should take up the project in the name of the Lord and see it through. The friends on the spot are not wealthy, and cannot accomplish the work laid upon them unless they have bountiful help from outside. May the Lord accomplish this work also.

The Echo states that we have refused to undertake a lecturing tour in Opposition to the Church of England. We wonder what next. Nobody ever asked us to undertake anything of the kind, and therefore we never refused. The idea of our leaving the ministry of the Word of God to become a lecturer has never occurred to us, nor, we should think, to any sane individual.

In reference to the present agitation among farm laborers, we cannot restrain the expression of our conviction that farmers, as a class, are being unjustly blamed. Our sympathies are altogether with those poor men who are so fearfully underpaid and so badly housed that their condition is intolerable, and we sincerely hope that their wages will be increased; but it must not be forgotten that in many districts wages are good, that even in the bad districts there are enlightened farmers who are paying a fair wage, and that in the worst eases the farmers did not create the present state of things but have inherited the evil, and the condition arising out of it. We meet with many employers who sincerely desire to see the condition of the men greatly improved, and are ready to do their best towards it, but their rent is high, their workpeople are not industrious, and their tenure of the land is an annual one, so that they are tied hand and foot. Now, let justice be done all round, and do not blame one class only for a condition of things in which others have had their share, nor pour indiscriminate censure upon a whole body of men when so many deserve praise instead of blame. The agricultural laborer’s condition in many districts is a disgrace to civilization, and must be altered; to do this the farmer may need a reduction of rent, and he may not be able to get it. What, then, is to be done? The laborer must do more in the day, and a better style of farming must be followed. The first will only be done by the right-minded, but we hope there are many such among our laborers; the second cannot be done at all unless leases are granted, and in this matter the Legislature ought to interfere. Some landlords would sooner see their land continue to be onequarter farmed year by year than give leases, thus the land is left unproductive, and all of us are made to suffer for a great man’s pride. The agricultural laborer is sure to rise, as he ought to do, but in the process let there be as little ill-feeling as possible, and as much of the give and take principle as can be. Neither farmers, nor laborers, nor landlords are all good or all bad — they all look out quite enough for themselves, and it is not unnatural that they should; but if the Christian ones among them will look not only on their own things, but also on the things of others, the troublesome business of a new adjustment will be got over very much more easily than we think. Nobody likes to be bullied, even into doing right, and there has been a little of this style of talk on both sides; it does no good, and breeds bad blood. Many a struggling farmer, who has hardly made ends meet when wages have been low, is much embittered by the prospect before him when he will have more to pay, and we must not wonder that he is so; but as he will have to pay it, as sure as eggs are eggs, it is of no use his being angry, for that will not alter it. What can’t re cured must be endured. More machinery, higher farming, and better prices may help him through, and we sincerely hope they may. The inhabitants of the Southern States of America have suffered greatly from the emancipation of the blacks, but they are getting over it, and in a short time they will be glad of the change, and we feel very confident that in the far less violent alteration which is coming over our land much less inconvenience will be felt, and with Christian feeling among all classes it may be reduced to a minimum. We wish all classes well through the struggle, and may God defend the right.

Our American Baptist friends are continually challenging us to fight them upon the communion question, but really we feel so sure of our ground, and see so little force in their arguments, that we do not feel any inducement to enter the conflict. We would, however, advise them to be reasonable occasionally. One valiant champion says, in the Examiner and Chronicle-” When Spurgeon invites to the communion all members of Paedobaptist churches he invites men who are unconverted.” Our only reply is, “And what would he do if he invited all members of Baptist churches?” The writer must know that he misrepresents us. We cannot judge the hearts of the members of churches, whether baptized or unbaptised; we are in communion with the whole visible church of our Lord Jesus Christ as such, and if any have entered that church who are not regenerated persons, we are not able to cease from fellowship with the wheat because the tares have sprung up therewith. We will ask our opponent one question: “If among the living members of the body of Christ there be an unimmersed believer, how can he cease to have fellowship with him, seeing that all the members of one body must of necessity have fellowship with each other?” Will he deny the existence of such members? Or will he say that he gives them the substance of fellowship, but dares not give them the sign? We should not have said even this much, but it is asked for by our pugilistic brethren, and we hope it will please them now that they have got it. We love them too well to be further provoked by them, we only want them to believe that our silence does not arise from our having nothing to say. It would answer no good end to open a controversy about communion, and, therefore, we do not intend to do it; but if we ever should show fight, it will be no fault of ours, but the responsibility must lie with those zealots across the water who are for ever shaking their fists in our face.

Baptisms at the Metropolitan Tabernacle by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon : — -April 27th, twenty-one; 30th, twenty-six.

Chap 5. JULY, 1874.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

JULY, 1874.

THE COMMISSARIAT UNIVERSE.

A WEEK EVENING LECTURE, BY C. H. SPURGEON,

“That thou givest them they gather.” — Psalm 104:28.

THIS sentence describes the commissariat of creation. The problem is the feeding of “the creeping things innumerable, both small and great beasts, which swarm the sea, the armies of birds which fill the air, and the vast hordes of animals which people the dry land; and in this sentence we have the problem solved, “That thou givest them they gather.” The work is stupendous, but it is done with ease because the Worker is infinite; if he were not at the head of it the task would never be accomplished. Blessed be God for the great Thou- of the text. It is every way our sweetest consolation that the personal God is still at work in the world: leviathan in the ocean, and the sparrow on the bough, may be alike glad of this, and we, the children of the great Father, much more. The notion of modern philosophers appears to be that the world is like a clock which an omnipotent phantom has set agoing, and left to run on, each wheel acting upon its fellow by rigid law: or, as a brother remarked to me, they think the Lord has wound up the universe like a watch, and put it under his pillow and gone to sleep. What think you, brethren? do you find pleasure in a world bereaved of its God? To me such philosophy is dreary, for my soul pines for an infinite love which will give itself to me, and receive my love in return. I am orphaned, indeed, if my Maker will not pity me as his child, and hear my prayers, compassionate my tears, and succor and comfort me. Babes want a mother’s heart as much as her hands. Would you wish to be a child brought up by machinery, washed by a mill wheel, rocked by a pendulum, fed from a pipe, dressed by a steel hand, and in fine committed to the care of a wonderful engine which could do everything except love you? You would miss the eyes which weep with you, and smile upon you, the lips which kiss you and speak lovingly to you, and the dear countenance which laughs as you are fondled and pressed to a warm bosom. No, I can neither accept a steam-engine instead of my mother, nor a set of laws in exchange for my God. There is a God who careth for all his creatures, and maketh the grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs for the service of man. There is a Father to whom we speak, and who hears us; one who waters the hills from his chambers, and satisfies the earth with the fruit of his works, to whom we may come boldly in every time of need. Because Jehovah liveth the creatures are fed, he gives them their daily food, they gather it, and the work is done.

The general principle of the text is, God gives to his creatures, and his creatures gather. That general principle we shall apply to our own case as men and women, for it is as true of us as it is of the fish of the sea, and the cattle on the hills. “That thou givest them they gather.”

I. Our first point is this — WE HAVE ONLY TO GATHER, FOR GOD GIVES.

In temporal things: God gives us day by day our daily bread, and our business is simply to gather it. In the wilderness the manna fell outside the camp of Israel; they had not to make the manna, but to go out in the morning and gather it before the sun was hot. Providence has guaranteed all the children of God their necessary food, “Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy waters shall be sure”; our part in the business is to go forth unto our labor and gather it. True, in some cases needful food is not gathered without excessive labor, but this is occasioned by the injustice of man, and not by the arrangements of God; and when true religion shall have fully operated upon all classes of mankind, none shall need to toil like slaves. They shall only need to perform such an amount of labor as shall be healthful and endurable. When no man oppresses his fellow, the work of gathering what God gives will be no hardship, but a wholesome exercise. The sweat of labor will then be a blessed medicine.

In this light let us view our worldly business. We are to go forth unto our work and our labor until the evening, and to expect that bounteous providence will thus enable us to gather what the Lord himself bestows; and if by this means he gives us food and raiment, we are to be therewith content. If our faith can see the hand of God in all, it will be sweet to pick up the manna from the ground, and eat thereof with gratitude, because it tastes of the place from whence it came. As to spirituals, the principle is true, most emphatically. We have, in the matter of grace, only to gather what God gives. The natural man thinks that he has to earn divine favor, that he has to purchase the blessings of heaven, but he is in grave error: the soul has only to receive that which Jesus freely gives. Mercy is a gift, salvation is a gift, all covenant blessings are gifts, we need not bring a price in our hands, but come empty-handed and gather what is laid before us, even as the birds gather their food, and the cattle on the hills feed on the herbage which freely grows for them. This is one of the first principles of the gospel. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights,” and ours it is by faith to take our omer and fill it with the angels’ food which has fallen all around us, take it into our tent, and there feast, even to the full. ‘Tis God’s to give, ‘tis ours to gather. Faith’s sphere is that of the fleece which absorbs the dew, or the pool which is filled with the rain. Believer, this is the rule in all spiritual things; you are to be a diligent gatherer, and to strive after high spiritual attainments, but still remember that your heavenly Father knows what you have need of before you ask him. These superior blessings are his gifts, and the surest way of obtaining them is to come to him for them, and receive them by faith. You have not to pluck covenant blessings out of a closed hand, you have only to take from the Lord’s open palm what he delights to bestow. For you to be straitened and poor gives no pleasure to him, rather will it delight him to fill you with his favor, and to enrich you with all the blessings of his grace. If the calm quiet spirit of this thought could enter our minds, how happy we should be! We should then sit down at Jesu’s feet with Mary, and leave Martha to fret alone. To-morrow morning, before many of our eyes are open, the sun will be rising, and, as soon as his first beams salute the earth, the birds of every wing will awaken, and, seeing the light, they will begin to sing. But where is your breakfast, little bird? Where is the food for to-day for the nest full of little ones? The birds do not know, neither are they anxious, but they gather the first seed, or crumb, or worm which they find, and continuing to do so all day long, they are satisfied. Yes, and when summer is gone, and the long warm days are over, and cold winter sets in, the birds sit and sing on the bare boughs, though frost is on the ground, for they expect that God will give, and all they have to do is to gather. We may learn much from little birds, — yes, even from little birds in cages, for if those who keep them should forget to give them seed and water, they must die, must they not? And yet they sing. They have no great store, perhaps not enough to last them another day; but it does not fret them, neither do they cease their music, and I believe Luther well translated their song when he said that it meant this : —

“Mortal, cease from toil and sorrow!
God provideth for the morrow.”

There, then, is our first head; we have only to gather what God gives.

II. Secondly, it is certain that WE CAN ONLY GATHER WHAT GOD GIVES; however eager we may be, there is the end of the matter. The most diligent bird shall not be able to gather more than the Lord has given it; neither shall the most avaricious and covetous man. “It is vain for you to rise up early, and to sit up late, to eat the bread of carefulness, for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” What God gives you, you will be able to gather, but if you set about to heap up what your avarice lusts after, no blessing will attend it. What a difference is often seen in two men placed in the same position in life, with the same work to do, and very much the same possessions! You see one of them working cheerfully, happy as a king, sweetening his bread with content and joy in the Lord; while the other murmurs and repines, envying those who are richer, and filled with hard thoughts of God. What makes the one happy and the other wretched? Truly, only that the one has the grace of God to give him contentment, and so is full; and the other has a brutish hunger and greed, and so is left to be his own tormentor. As it is with the poor, so is it with the rich; the heart has more to do with making us happy than our possessions have. He whose soul is full of God, and faith, and contentment, is a truly rich man. The reflection that we can after all gather no more than God gives, should make us restful and contented. It teaches us our dependence upon God, and tends to lessen our self-confidence, to moderate our desires, and to abate our cares.

Recollect, dear Christian friends, that the same remark holds good with regard to spirituals as well as temporals. You can only gather what the Lord grants you. Before preaching I was trying to find food for you all, and I began to pray for it, because I remembered that I could only gather for you what the Lord my God gave me. If I bring more than that, it will only be chaff of my own, and not good winnowed corn from his garner. I often need to think of this, for I have to feed a great multitude almost every day in the week with spiritual meat. Where is the poor minister to get the supply from if the Lord does not bring it to him? He waits, therefore, upon his God with humble faith and prayer, expecting that fit matter will be suggested. You also, dear friends, can only obtain when hearing the word what the Holy Spirit gives you. You may hear a thousand sermons, but you will gather nothing that will really quicken or feed your souls unless the Lord gives it to you. Unless the Spirit of the Lord puts fullness into the word, all the hearing in the world will be nothing worth. The Holy Ghost must take of the things of Christ, and reveal them to the inner man, or you will be surfeited with mere words, or puffed up with human opinions, and nothing more. “That thou givest them they gather,” and no more.

So is it when you go out to work for the Lord Jesus Christ among the ungodly. You will win as many souls as God gives you, but no one will be converted by your own power. When we have reason to believe that the Lord has much people in a city, it gives us much comfort in going there. I always do my best for my congregations, because I feel that they are always picked persons, sent to me by my Master: if there are few they are more than I can edify if he does not help me; and if there be many, so much the more help will my Lord afford me. I can only gather what the Lord gives. We may plant, and we may water too, but God must give the increase. We shall not be a sweet savor unto God, nor a savor of life unto life to any, unless the Almighty Spirit of the blessed God shall come forth and work with us. Should not this lead us to much prayer? No dependence should be placed upon man, or upon the outward form of worship, for the most successful preacher cannot by his own power quicken the dead sinner, or regenerate a depraved soul. The Holy Spirit must be with us, or we prophesy in vain. The most laborious reaper in the Lord’s harvest cannot gather more sheaves than his Master gives him. Pray for him, then, that he may not miss his reward; pray for him that he may be strong for labor, that his sickle may be sharp, his arm vigorous, and his harvest plenteous, that he may bring in a glorious load of sheaves to the garner. As for yourselves, when engaged in any service for God, take heed that you rest not in yourselves, for you can receive nothing unless it be given you from above. Your words will be no better than silence, your thoughts no more than day-dreams, and your efforts wasted strength, unless the Lord go before you.

“Without me ye can do nothing” is a truth you must never forget.

III. Observe, thirdly, that WE MUST GATHER WHAT GOD GIVES, or else we shall get no good by his bountiful giving.

God feeds the creeping things innumerable, but each creature collects the provender for itself. The huge leviathan receives his vast provision, but he must go ploughing through the boundless meadows and gather up the myriads of minute objects which supply his need. The fish must leap up to catch the fly, the swallow must hawk for its food, the young lions must hunt their prey. “What thou givest them they gather.” God has not prepared in his whole universe a single corner for an idle being. In no society does the sluggard succeed, and it is not desirable that he should. If a man will not work, the very best thing he can do is to die, for he is of no use alive, he is in everybody’s way, and like a fruitless tree he cumbers the ground. God gives, and if a man will not gather he deserves to starve. It is so in business; everybody knows we must be diligent there, for the hand of the diligent maketh rich. The Book of Proverbs deals very hard blows against sluggards, and Christian ministers do well frequently to denounce the great sin of idleness, which is the mother of a huge family of sins. Idleness is a most contemptible vice, it covers a man with rags, fills him with disease, and makes him a ready servant of the devil. It is a shameful thing that God, who “worketh hitherto,” and made us on purpose that we should work, should see us wasting time and strength, and leaving good work unaccomplished. God will not feed you, idle man, his own verdict is — “ neither let him eat.” If you loaf about, and say, “The Lord will provide,” he will probably “provide” you a place in the workhouse, if not in the county jail. If the manna falls near him, and the lazy man will not take the trouble to gather it, his omer will not be filled by miracle, neither will an angel be sent to carry bread and meat to his table. Up, thou sluggard, and gather what the Lord has strewn.

The law of nature and providence holds good in spiritual things. “That thou givest them they gather.” There is a spirit abroad in the world — not so powerful now, thank God, as it used to be — which talks a great deal about grace and predestination; and therein I rejoice to hear what it has to say, but its inference from those truths is that men are to sit still, to be passive in salvation, and to look upon themselves as so many logs, as if they had no will in the matter, and were never to be called to an account concerning the gospel which they hear. Now, this kind of doctrine virtually teaches that what God gives drops into our mouths, and we need not gather it at all; the very reverse of the Savior’s exhortation to labor for the meat which endureth unto life eternal. Sovereign grace will not take us to heaven by the hair of our heads, or save us in our sleep, whether we will or no. Such teaching would have been repudiated by the apostles, for it acts like chloroform upon the conscience, and plunges the soul into a deadly lethargy. The fact is, brethren, there is a predestination, and the doctrines of election and effectual grace are true, nor may we deny them; but yet the Lord deals with men as responsible beings, and bids them “strive to enter in at the strait gate,” and to “lay hold on eternal life.” Such exhortations are evidently intended for free agents, and indicate that our salvation requires energetic action. It would not appear from Scripture that we are to lie dormant and be merely acted upon, for “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Of men as well as birds it is true, “what thou givest them they gather.” God gives you faith, but you must believe. God gives you repentance, but you must repent. These graces are the work of God, but they are also the acts of man. How often shall we need to remind these brethren that the Holy Ghost does not believe for us? How can he? Is faith a matter to be done by proxy? Neither does the Holy Ghost repent for us; it is absurd to entertain such a notion. We must ourselves personally believe and repent. If any man does not repent as his own act and deed, his repentance and faith are not such as are spoken of in Scripture, or required by the gospel. Brethren, we should pray, repent, and believe, as much as if all these were wholly our own, but we are bound to give God all the glory of them, because it is only by his grace that we either can or will perform them. Men must hear the word, for “faith comes by hearing;” they must believe the word, for without faith it is impossible to please God, and they must repent of sin, for if sin be not forsaken pardon is not given. They must fly to the city of refuge or the man-slayer will destroy them. They must escape for their lives to the mountains, or the fire from God will overwhelm them in the city of destruction. “That thou givest them they gather.” We must gather, or we shall not have.

Brethren in Christ, we must not expect spiritual gifts without gathering them. For instance, our souls need food, but we may not expect the Lord to feast us unless we use the means, hear or read his word, attend to private devotion, and the like. These are channels of grace to us, and woe be to us if we neglect them. If you saw your friend so emaciated that you could count his bones, and so weak that he could scarcely stand, you would inquire what had reduced him so much, for he used to be a strong hearty man. “My dear friend, what can it be?” You question him, and expect him to tell you of some mysterious disease, but no, his tale is far more simple; he confesses that he does not eat, that he has given up having regular meals, and very seldom takes an ounce of nourishment. You quite understand his feebleness and decline, he is injuring his constitution by denying it nutriment. Now, when a Christian man complains that he is full of doubts and fears, and has no joy in the Lord as he used to have, and no enjoyment in prayer or labor for Jesus; if you find out that he neglects all week-night services, never goes to the prayer-meeting, reads anything rather than his Bible, and has no time for meditation, you need not inquire further into his spiritual malady. The man does not gather what God provides. He lets the manna lie outside the camp, and allows the water to flow untasted from the rock, and he must not be astonished that his soul is not in a right condition. Christians will find that if they “neglect the assembling of themselves together, as the manner of some is,” and if they forget to wait upon the Lord and renew their strength, they will fall into a miserable, weak, low condition, and their souls will be full of doubts, cares, and anxieties, such as they never would have known if they had walked nearer to God, and maintained intimate communion with the Savior.

As it is with ourselves, so is it with us in reference to others. God will give us souls if we pray for them, but we must seek after them. When the Lord calls a man to speak in his name, he intends to give him some success, but he must be on the watch to gather it. Some ministers have preached the gospel long, but have never seen much fruit, because they never tried to gather it; they have had no meetings for inquirers, nor encouraged the young converts to come to them for help. What God has given them they have not gathered. Many professors are always wishing that the church would increase, they would like to see an aggressive work carried on against the world; why do they not set about it? Why stand they gazing up into heaven? Do they expect to see souls converted without means? Dear brethren, it will not do for us to get silly notions into our heads; up to this day God has been pleased to use instrumentality, and until the second advent he will continue to do so. When the Lord descends from heaven it will be time enough for us to talk of what he will then do, but till he comes let us continue to gather the souls he gives us. We are not in such great need of conferences about how to win souls, as of men who will do it. I vote for less talk and more work. We cannot have too much prayer, but we certainly need more effort. The Lord is saying,” Get thee up, wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?” “Why criest thou unto me?” said he to Hoses; “speak to the children of Israel that they go forward!” We cry, “Awake, awake, 0 arm of the Lord I” and he replies, “Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion!” God is awake enough, the arousing is needed by us. We have been praying for his Spirit, and rightly enough; but the Spirit of God is never backward, we are straitened in ourselves. He would use us if we were vessels fit for his use. Oh that we yielded ourselves fully to the Spirit of God to be borne which way he wills, even as the clouds are driven by the wind; then he would draw and we should run, he would give and we should gather.

IV. The fourth turn of the text gives us the sweet thought that WE MAY GATHER WHAT HE GIVES. We have divine permission to enjoy freely what the Lord bestows.

Poor sinner, whatever the Lord has given in his gospel to sinners you may freely gather. When the manna fell in the wilderness no guards were appointed to keep off the people. No inquiry was made as to the character or experience of those who came to gather it; there it was, and no one was denied. Over the heads of the people might have sounded the words, “Whosoever will, let him come and take of the manna freely.” Tests and qualifications there were none, and yet the special design was the feeding of Israel. No discriminating divine cried out, “You must not come unless you feel a law-work within, and are sensible sinners.” Not a word of the sort was whispered. The Lord has appointed no one to keep sinners away from the water of life, but he has chosen many to bid poor souls draw near and drink, and the Holy Ghost himself puts forth his power to draw men to it. Jesus says, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” and I for one have no commission to discourage any, nor will I. What he gives you, you may gather. The little birds ask no questions as to whether they may enjoy the seeds or the worms; they see the food and take it boldly: so, sinners, it is not for you to raise difficulties about the mercy of God: “Whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved,” and that whosoever is a wide word. Thou need’st not say, “I do not know whether I am elected.” Neither can I tell you, nor anybody else, for “the Lord knoweth them that are his,” and none of us know anything about it, except so far as his Spirit teaches us that we ourselves are his. Your thoughts should run in another direction: Christ Jesus came to save sinners, are you a sinner? “Whosoever will, let him come.” Are you willing? Then come along with you, and quibble no longer. God does not guard his great garden of grace as men protect their little patches, wherein they hang up old garments or dead crows to keep the birds away. The Lord giveth freely and upbraideth not. Certain preachers hang up the dead black crow of their own morbid experience to scare away poor sinners from coming to simple faith in Jesus. The Lord has no scarecrows in his garden. Do but come, thou blackest of sinners, and he will receive thee. The strangest bird, with speckled wing, may freely gather what mercy gives. Whatever is preached in the gospel as the object of faith, every one that believes may have; whatever is promised to repentance, every one that repents may have, and whatever is promised to coming to Christ every one that comes to Christ shall have. “That thou givest them they gather,” for God gives it to be gathered. He gave the manna on purpose to be eaten; he would not have sent bread from heaven if men had not wanted it, and if he had not meant to feed them. Grace must have been meant for sinners, it will suit no other persons. If I have a hard heart, the Spirit of God can soften it: why should he not do so? Here is a foul sinner, and yonder is a fountain filled with blood which cleanses completely, why should he not wash? What was Christ meant for but to be a Savior? And if he be a Savior, why should he not save me? Surely when I am thirsty, and I see the water springing before me, I may as well drink. Sinner, there is a spring open here by the grace of our Lord Jesus, and you are come this way, and therefore I suggest to you, and I pray the Spirit of God also to suggest it to you, that between the fountain and the thirsty soul there ought to be a connection at once begun. God invites you, your need constrains you, may his Spirit draw you; for even now what he has given you may gather!

V. The last thought is, GOD WILL ALWAYS GIVE US SOMETHING TO GATHER. It is written, “the Lord will provide.” The other day as I walked on a common, I picked up a dead sparrow; going a little further, I found another; and my friend said to me, “I have found another,” and he remarked, “It must have been a bad season; these birds must have been starved.” “No, no,” I said, “you are not going to pick up dead sparrows killed by the weather. That cottager, over the hedge, has some rows of young peas, and he keeps a gun.” Men kill the birds, God does not starve them.

Brother, if you are under the guardian care of God you shall not want. If you are your own shepherd you will probably stray into very lean pastures one of these days; but if the Lord is your shepherd, you shall not want, he will make you to lie down in green pastures. “The young lions do lack,” for they take care of themselves; “but they that trust in the Lord,” although they are very often very simple-minded and easily imposed upon,” shall not lack any good thing,” for God will take care of them. I have often noticed how wonderfully poor widows manage to live and struggle through with large families. When they were dependent upon their husbands they were often badly off, and when their husbands died it seemed as if they must starve; but if they are Christian women they look to God, and God becomes their husband, and he is a far better husband than the man they have lost. When God takes the children in hand and becomes their father, they cannot lack; help is raised up in unexpected quarters, and they are provided for, they can scarcely tell how. If in providence we have learned to live by faith, we may be sure the Lord will not fail us. “He will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish.”

Thus is it also in spiritual things. If you are willing to gather, God will always give. Go to the Bible and say, “Lord, give me a promise,” and you will find one suitable to your case. Go and hear his servants, whom he has sent; go with hearts ready to receive the word and you will not return empty. The Lord will make us speak to your case as much as if we knew all about you. Bring your largest vessel with you, and the Lord will fill it to the brim. Never does a believer open his mouth wide but the Lord fills it. Be you ready to gather, and you may be right well assured that the divine fullness will never cease to supply your need.

Thus from a very simple text we have had our lesson; go home and feed upon what you have gathered, and take care to bless the name of the Lord.

CLAUDE BROUSSON,
THE APOSTLE OF THE DESERT.

BY C. H. SPURGEON.

WHEN towards the close of the seventeenth century the French king, in a. subtle but most oppressive manner, began to exterminate his Protestant subjects under cover of law, Claude Brousson was their bold advocate in the various courts in which their cases were tried. Sacrificing his own prospects as a barrister and risking his liberty and his life, he pleaded for his brethren before the judges as long as the semblance of justice remained. It must be a very eloquent lamb which can plead successfully the claims of the flock before a bench of wolves, and such was the attempt of Brousson. Louis XIV. did not at first deny the rights which by the Edict of Nantes had been accorded to the Reformed Church, but he issued vexatious decrees and placed obnoxious restrictions upon Protestants and their worship. Rules were promulgated which could be readily made into the occasions of offense; indeed, the ordinary worship of God could not be carried on even in the quietest manner, and in the most retired place, without violating some regulation or other. It would have been charity to have said at once that the Huguenots should not live in France; it was the refinement of cruelty to grant them liberty by law upon conditions with which it was impossible for them to comply. Brousson used his profound knowledge of French law with great discretion and zeal, but it was not a case in which either learning or earnestness could avail; the despotic king had made up his mind to crush out heresy from his dominions, and he proceeded to do so despite the statutes of the realm, and in the teeth of common honesty. When heretics are in the case, no faith need be kept with them; has not the Catholic Church long taught her children this unique morality? While Oliver Cromwell lived, the eldest son of the church knew better than to molest the Protestants; but when the great Protector’s place was occupied by a debauched nobody, the arguments which restrained the tyrant’s hand were removed, and persecution laughed at oaths, charters, and edicts.

When Claude Brousson could be of no more service to his friends in the law courts he aided his pastor in the spiritual oversight of the church at Nismes, of which he was an elder. Not long, however, was he to have peace, for four hundred dragoons were suddenly marched into the city to seize the principal Protestants, of whom he was recognized as one. A public proclamation was issued in which he was proscribed, and all persons were forbidden to harbor him on pain of being imprisoned and having their houses pulled down.

The proclamation was heard by Brousson as he stood near the window of the house to which he had retired, and his danger appeared to be imminent; for during the night he overheard, through the partition which separated his room from that of his host, the husband and wife deliberating what should be done upon this painful occasion. The former declared that he should be obliged to deliver him up, in order to escape from the penalties of the proclamation; but the latter, in a manner worthy of her sex, asserted that she was ready to endure any extremity rather than Brousson should be betrayal; and they concluded their conversation by resolving that they would confer with himself in the morning. The result was that he remained with them during the day; and in the evening, adopting a disguised dress, he committed himself to the streets, in which he spent the two following nights, anxiously watching to find an opportunity to escape from the city. This he found while the guards were somewhat inattentive to their duties, and with other emigrants he reached Switzerland in November, 1683. The two ministers of Nismes were condemned, the one to be broken alive upon the wheel and the other to be hung; but as they both escaped, the Romanists relieved their minds by inflicting those punishments upon their effigies.

The Protestant cantons of Switzerland received the persecuted church of the Huguenots with open arms. As the Popish oppressions increased, vast numbers fled from France — from thirty to ninety persons arrived every day at Geneva — and when at length the Edict of Nantes was revoked the numbers were greatly swollen. Two hundred ministers were among the escaped, and as the most of them found shelter at Lausanne, that town enjoyed a perpetual Sabbath, and from the daily prayers, preachings, and conferences, the whole city seemed transformed into a temple of praise. The expense of such extensive hospitality, though cheerfully borne, became at length a burden; and although Zurich and the cantons which lay further from the French border joyfully took their share of the service, it was a great relief when, in reply to a petition presented by Brousson, Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburgh, and father of the first king of Prussia, offered a free asylum in his dominions, and the other states of Germany followed his example. The crowds who were thus sheltered may be judged of by the fact that in Berlin alone, where the French church had seldom been attended by more than two hundred, the number of communicants, without counting the mere hearers, amounted to two thousand.

As the persecution raged more and more vehemently, the rush over the boundaries into Holland, Germany, and Switzerland increased. Not less than six hundred ministers fled for their lives, and many of them found almost the whole of their flocks in the places of their exile. Though the Protestant refugees had been obliged to leave behind them houses and lands, and the whole of their possessions of every kind, except the most portable, they were mostly persons skilled in manufacture and trade, and therefore, through the kindness of those among whom they found shelter, they soon rose above abject need, and by their industry rendered their exile comparatively comfortable. It was then that the voice of Brousson was lifted up to stir the ministers out of their nests; it grieved his brave spirit to learn that there did not remain in France one of the ministers of the former churches, and he resolved to stir up their pure minds by way of remembrance. In a letter which he published in 1688 he used the following arousing words: “Since you are not simple believers, but pastors also, consider, my brethren, whether by your retirement and protracted absence, you fulfill the obligations of your calling. It is true that men have forbidden you to preach, but does not God command you to do it? If it had only been men who had put you in the ministry, they might have the power to interdict you; but since it is God who has ordained you to preach his gospel, none but himself can impose silence upon you.” He further observes — if, instead, of retiring before your persecutors, you had remained in the country; if you had taken refuge in forests and caverns; if you had gone from place to place, risking your lives to instruct and rally the people until the first shock of the enemy was past; and had you even courageously exposed yourselves to martyrdom — as’ in fact, those have done who have endeavored to perform your duties in your absence — perhaps the examples of constancy, zeal, and piety, which you thus set forth, might have animated your flocks, revived their’ courage, and arrested, the,, fury of your enemies.” He urged them to return at all hazards, adding, But since the ravening wolves have entered into the fold and are destroying the flock of Christ, the faithful minister should arm himself with courage, go valiantly to the combat, and drag the prey from their teeth; he should not wait until he is sought; but it is for himself to seek the flock and expose his life for their salvation.” And he concluded, “Let us weep together, my honored brethren, on account of the sins which have brought upon us the terrible judgments with which we are visited; let us humble ourselves before God; let us confess our iniquities, beseech his mercy, and implore the aid of his Holy Spirit to enlighten, to sanctify, to counsel, and to strengthen us. Let us renew our devotion to God and to his cause; let us vow solemnly that from henceforward we will be faithful, and it may be the Lord in great mercy will turn to us again and bless us.”

The publication of such sentiments created much sensation among the escaped ministers; some defended their position with arguments which evidently contented their own consciences, others were greatly grieved, and one at least, in high dudgeon, styled Brousson “a fanatic, a hypocrite, and an impious person, who meddled with matters which did not belong to his vocation.” No doubt that wrathful brother had been at great pains to quiet his conscience, and was naturally indignant that any one should endeavor again to arouse it, and give him all his trouble over again. Brousson answered with great ability, and greater patience and piety, but his best reply was found rather in his deeds than in his words. The angry minister haying concluded his remarks with a challenge to Brousson “first to return to .France himself,” Brousson, though not a minister, and therefore having no official call to do so, resolved to take his life in his hand, and return to the place from which he had fled. At the best this would throw him into the position of a fugitive, hunted as a partridge upon the mountains, and added to this was the daily risk of capture and subjection to the horrible torture of being broken upon the wheel, a death so full of torments that we will not dare to describe it. Our hero counted the cost, and determining to run all risks, he prep axed himself for the enterprise in that manner which is sure to strengthen the soul and inspire it with divine ardor: he poured out his soul before the Lord in fervent and continual prayer, and kept many extraordinary days of fasting and humiliation, in which he wrestled with God that he would show him the right way, and crown his design with success. This done, with one companion he plunged into the danger, and was found in Southern France, attending secret meetings in towns, addressing assemblies in lonely glens and ravines, and hiding from his pursuers in those natural caves which abound in the mountains around Nismes. Sometimes in lone spots carefully chosen, and cautiously made known by a secret appointment, as many as 4,000 of the reformed would meet for worship; and as their ministers had fled, the Spirit of God moved men from among themselves to speak the divine word, and we are not surprised to find that among the foremost of these was Brousson. The brethren very soon regularly appointed him to be a pastor among them, an honor which few would have coveted, for a price was put upon his head, and all vigilance was used by his enemies to apprehend him.

The danger by which Brousson was now surrounded required the exercise of the utmost caution. Several regiments of dragoons had been sent into that part of the country, for the purpose of suppressing every kind of meeting for religious worship by the Protestants, and especially to hinder their holding public assemblies. It was necessary, therefore, to be informed, as fax as possible, in what places the soldiers held garrison, and to obtain speedy intelligence of their movements. For this information he could generally rely upon the inhabitants, who in many instances were friendly to the cause of the gospel. It was also necessary to proceed with promptitude, in order to avail himself of opportunities for engaging in his work, of which, by timorous delays, he might otherwise often be deprived. Accordingly, as far as practicable, he followed one uniform plan of procedure: upon the first night of his arrival in any place, the most retired spot in the neighborhood was selected; if in the :woods, a few lanterns were hastily hung upon adjacent boughs; outposts were stationed to give notice in case of discovery, and an assembly ,was addressed; not, however, without commencing and concluding with the solemn services of prayer and melodious praise. He proceeded thus promptly, that time should not be allowed for his presence to be widely known, and that the assembly might not be too numerously attended, and thereby occasion be given for its observation by the magistrates and soldiers, or their spies. Immediately after the conclusion of the meeting, he sought a few hours’ repose in some hiding-place; and if be deemed it sale to stay in the same neighborhood throughout; the following day, it was his practice to hold a more private meeting for prayer and mutual encouragement in the morning, another at three o’clock in the afternoon, and a third in the evening. These private meetings were intended, one for the benefit of young persons, and the other for his more intimate friends, who administered to his support, and also those who were unable to attend the general service. The succeeding night he spent in traveling to another place, as be avoided being seen abroad by daylight, lest he should be recognized. This method he uniformly adopted during the period of his ministry in France; and, by a punctual observance of the regular time at which he thus held his meetings, they were known to the friends of the cause without being discovered by his enemies. The fact that be had arrived at a certain locality being known, was in itself a sufficient notice that, if possible, an assembly would be held upon the same night, or before the dawn of the next morning; and that as long as he tarried, private meetings would be punctually maintained. In this manner, he generally presided at three or four assemblies each week, beside two upon the Sabbath day, one early in the morning and one at noon or night, as might be the more prudent. Sometimes the danger of being interrupted, or of being afterwards watched, obliged him to hold ten or twenty of these meetings before he had been able to stay a sufficient time in any one place to obtain adequate repose. Thus the preacher was always on the wing, and his only opportunity for thorough rest was found upon occasions when he found it needful to lie completely hidden in some winding cavern in the wild deserts among the mountains, there meanwhile suffering frequently cold and hunger, and that constant fear of surprise which is the most westying of all. In these lone dens he wrote many letters, tracts, petitions, and treatises, and alternating between prayer and penmanship, his life in his solitude was probably as profitable to the church as when he was testifying to the flock of Christ.

Notwithstanding the malicious vigilance of his enemies, Brousson continued to evade them. He must have been covered by the power of the Highest, for his deliverances were both multiplied and marvelous. Had it not been for the loving faithfulness of the godly he would have been betrayed a hundred times, but he seemed to wear a charmed life, and his pursuers acted as if they had suddenly been blinded just when their victim was within their grasp. His ministry was naturally much prized by the people, for the word of the Lord was rarely to be beard in those days, but it had also a high intrinsic value; he spoke faithfully, impressively, and zealously, as a man who died daily, and could not afford to run so fearful a risk except for the highest of ends. Men in his condition are not occupied with trifles and refinements, neither do they speak in a listless and formal manner; their tried position keeps them close to the vitals of the gospel and the grand realities of eternity, and imparts to all their utterances a deep impressiveness far excelling anything which the emphasis and accent of mere rhetoric can command. In the course of his ministry Brousson revived the flagging zeal of the brethren, restored back-sliders, and turned many to the faith, so that the boast of Louis that he had .crushed the Protestant interest turned out to be an idle one, for the real ,spiritual life in the desertassemblies was probably greater, purer, and more fervent than any which could have been seen among them while their temples were in their own possession, and liberty was allowed them.

After four years and five months of toilsome and dangerous labor, our hero was compelled to retreat to Lausanne, and this had happened none too soon, for his health had been so impaired by his privations, and so worn and weather-beaten was his figure, that the enthusiastic welcome which he received from his friends was tempered by the painful sensations which his appearance excited. The fire had not consumed him, but it had dried up the vigor of his life. It was well that he was forced into rest, or he would soon have been in the grave.

At this time Brousson visited England, and was received with love and honor, as a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus, and afterwards he was elected pastor of the Walloon church at the Hague. But the zeal which burned within him would not let him rest in Holland; he longed to be among his old friends in the desert, to seek the good of those whom persecution had driven from the faith, and to console those who remained faithful to it. Under the. direction of guides who knew all the precipices, fords, caves, and ravines, disguised by turns as a soldier, a shepherd, or a merchant, he passed through France, and in every place called together the faithful and stirred them up to constancy in the faith. Having traveled through Normandy, as well as other parts of France, he found the dangers of arrest to be so increasingly imminent that he again returned to Switzerland.

In 1697 Brousson set out on his third journey to the south of France, the journey which was to end in his death, The nature of the risks which he ran may be guessed from the following extract from a letter from a Protestant minister in the province of Orange to a refugee in Holland : — “ Mens. Brousson has just escaped being taken. I am informed that this is the fourth fearful danger which he has escaped within two months, and yet he always maintains his wonted constancy and resignation. His preservation is a kind of miracle, especially in the last instance, for he was betrayed. The house in which he stayed was surrounded, but happily he had just time to descend into a well, and to hide himself in a niche formed at the side, and near the surface of the water. The soldiers who sought for him looked down the well one after the other, at least twenty times, but God, who protected his servant, did not allow them to search further, although it was known for certain that he was in the house when the soldiers entered. He has received letters from various parts advising him to quit the province, or that he will be traced; but he replied, that in following his duty the Lord causes him to experience so much consolation in the work of the ministry, and that although ‘ he feels in himself the sentence of death,’ he trusts that God who has delivered him from ‘ so great a death,’ and who daily delivers him, will deliver him in time to come, so long as he shall deem it expedient for his glory, and for his own individual salvation.” Frequently did our hero lie hidden behind rocks while soldiers were within a few yards of him, and sometimes he had to stand still till nearly frost-bitten, because the slightest movement would have led to his discovery.

At length the saint became a martyr; he was betrayed by one who thirsted like another Judas for the price of blood. The magistrate to whom he was delivered received him with undisguised reluctance, but others of another mind, higher in authority, were eager to seize him, and his doom was sealed. Short was the delay; he was condemned to be broken alive upon the wheel after having suffered the rack, and the tortures, both ordinary and extraordinary. When the court pronounced the sentence on him, he was not moved in the least, but showed a most undaunted courage — a soul incapable of fear. tie was a man above the love of life and fear of death, absolutely and entirely resigned unto God’s will. He was brought to the rack, stretched upon the bench, and the torture was presented to him, but he told the commissioner that he had already told his .judge the whole truth concerning himself; that if they had forgotten or omitted to ask him anything more of himself, he would freely, fully, and faithfully answer them; but if they would urge him to discover and betray others, it was bootless in them to attempt it; for he would rather endure ten thousand racks, and be torn into a thousand pieces, than to accuse his brethren and dishonor his ministry. He was spared the torture, and, being loosened from the rack, he repeated aloud — “At all times I will bless The Lord my God; his worthy praise His glory and renown always My mouth shall still express.” Break forth, my soups glad voice; Boast in thy Savior dear: The faithful meek thereof shall hear And shall with me rejoice.” Psalm xxxiv.

The courage and meekness of Brousson had wrung this favor from the intendant, by whose order it was that the pain and torture had been remitted. Another remarkable evidence immediately afterwards occurred of the influence of his piety, together with the gracious supports which he received in maintaining the truth in his last conflict; when the intendant had passed sentence upon him that he must die, he sent two learned Dominican friars to try whether they could gain him over to their religion. They reasoned a long time with him, but Brousson defended the cause of Christ and of the truth with such strength of evidence, that the friars gave ground, and were in such a manner convinced and silenced, that they could not answer him. Indeed, the arguments of a man that suffers death in confirmation of the faith which he hath taught, carry a great weight with them, and that same grace which converted the executioners of the primitive Christians was pleased to display its efficacy on these two friars. They desired at parting to embrace Brousson, who, observing their emotion, pressed them most earnestly to give glory unto God, and to abandon their idolatrous religion, telling one of them in particular that it was his highest interest so to do, and to defer no longer; “for,” said he, “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, and I am verily persuaded that you and I shall meet again in a very short time.” The event ratified the truth of his prediction, for the said friar died three days after Brousson, at which the survivor was so terrified that he quitted his convent and fled to Amsterdam.’

Whilst these things were transacting in the citadel, the carpenters were busily engaged in erecting a scaffold in the midst of the esplanade, a space of ground between the citadel and the city, the scene of countless martyrdoms in the intendancy of De Basville. At about four o’clock in the afternoon, Brousson was conducted from prison to suffer his awful sentence. By his side walked the Abbe Camarignain, the lieutenant of the citadel, and an officer of the Presidial Court. He was unfettered, and did not appear, as was usual with criminals, only in a shirt, but in his ordinary dress, with his hat and wig. A guard of soldiers formed the escort, and two battalions were stationed in lines upon the esplanade. No insult was allowed to be offered to him, nor was he plagued with those impertinent comforters that inofficiously thrust themselves upon the dying Protestants; I mean (says Mr. Quick) monks, priests, and Jesuits. My author, who was an eye-witness of his martyrdom, informs me that he behaved like a true Christian of an invincible spirit — one who triumphed over death. Nearly twenty thousand spectators attended, most of the nobility of the city and country, besides many foreigners, all desirous to catch a glance of the person who had so long pursued such an extraordinary career. But especially the Protestants were interested in the scene, many of whom came from a distance of thirty miles and more, hoping to hear some of his last words and to receive his parting benediction; in this, however, they were disappointed, effectual means having been taken that none but those immediately near him should be able to catch his voice. From the moment of his appearance, until he had ceased to live, the drums of the regiments, amounting to more than twenty, beat a quick march. As he walked, he took notice of no one, although as he passed by them, the people wept and groaned; but he continued in earnest prayer, with his eyes and hands lifted up to heaven. The composure with which he ascended the scaffold, and his heavenly countenance, bespoke the calmness that reigned in his soul. To the captain of Count de Broglio’s guards, who had escorted him to Montpellier, he gave his watch, and to one of the intendant’s messengers, who had waited upon him during his imprisonment, he presented his cloak. This done, he essayed to utter a few words as his dying testimony, but the drummers hereupon beating an alarm, he briefly protested that, whatever might be said to the contrary, his only object in returning into France was to fulfill his ministry, in exhorting his brethren to steadfastness; and that he had never failed to inculcate obedience in all things which did not interfere with duty to God. In his last act of devotion, he prayed in few and modest terms for grace to support him in his own solemn situation, but with animation and fluency breathed out fervent petitions in behalf of his suffering brethren, the nation, and its sovereign and magistrates. He then proceeded himself to put off his clothes to the shirt, and yielded himself to be placed upon the wheel, the spokes of which were let into it in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross. As his hands and feet were being bound thereto by ropes, he observed calmly, “It is a comfort to me that my death hath some resemblance to that of my Lord,” At this moment his sentence was again read to him; and, to the surprise of all that heard it, and subsequently to the spectators beyond the reach of hearing it, it announced that he was to be strangled to death, and afterwards broken. “This,” remarks Sir. Quick, “was an unexpected favor. God doth sometimes soften lions.” :Mr. Quick further relates this very affecting incident. The executioner, having fastened him, went down the scaffold, and, being just under the holy martyr, when he had strangled him, the billet brake in his hand, so that Brousson came to himself’ again and prayed. The Abbe Camarignain, hearing him call upon God, came near to him, and Brousson seeing him, said “.Slay God Almighty reward your great charity towards me, and grant us this mercy, that we may see each other’s face in paradise.” These were the last words Claude Brousson was heard to speak in this world. When he was dead they immediately brake him upon the wheel, and afterwards, according to the usual custom, the wheel, with its burden, was raised upon poles, an exhibition, certainly not such as it was intended to be — of infamy — but of triumph.

Thus was another added to the white-robed band who are more than conquerors, having passed through great tribulation and washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. May this brief memoir, which we have carefully condensed, lead many of our readers to exhibit the like courage and self-sacrifice.

NOTES.

WE are proceeding with Vol. IV. of the “Treasury of David,” as rapidly as possible, and a large part of it is in the printer’s hands, but it is not a work which we can hurry over, for we desire to do it well.

We are sorry to be compelled to omit the continuation of Mr. Carr’s remarkably able article upon “Melchizedek.” This deeply interesting paper will be continued next month.

Having with all our heart and soul denounced priests, some genius in one of the daily papers accuses us of want of charity, and intimates that there is not much likeness between us and the monk who brought Christianity to England. We can assure this scribbler that we hope there is no similarity, for all that his blessed monk did was to force Popery upon a nation, which had long before received the knowledge of the gospel by means of apostolical or Baptist missionaries. It would have been a great blessing if that monk had never touched these shores, and it will be a day of jubilee when the last monk, friar, nun and priest shall die out from among men. Charity to priests is like charity to tigers and rattle-snakes; let those feel it who can. They have their civil rights, and no one wishes to deprive them of them; but, as to being at all velvety in our speech concerning them, we are not to the manner born, and shall never learn it.

With deep regret we mark how far the Congregationalists appear to be straying from the old orthodoxy’s. One of them informs us that the wicked will be annihilated, and another that they will be ultimately restored — which are we to believe? Our own intention is to labor with all our might to save men from “everlasting punishment.” We do not wonder, after the cloudy atonement in which some Independents believe, that they are also bent upon evaporating the law as well as the gospel. So far from Baptists wishing to form one body with the Independents, such things as these create fresh gulfs between us. They have often told us that there is no reason for two denominations, and we suppose that they are resolved to create a reason. Some of us would almost as soon be identified with the Church of England as with the Congregational Union, now that its members allow the grossest errors to be vented in its assemblies almost without protest. Surely there are some of the old Puritan sort left who will stand up for the faith once delivered unto the saints.

The annual meeting of the Stockwell .Orphanage was a very happy one. A fine .day, a large attendance, great interest, and much liberality, are items which tend to make a fete agreeable. Nearly £200 was the amount brought in; but our funds are still at a low ebb, for in twenty days that amount has vanished like dew from the grass when the sun arises. We heartily thank those friends who have entertained some of our orphans during the holidays, and we are also grateful for presents in kind. It is a happy work to care for the fatherless; we invite all our readers to join us in the pleasure.

We have received most pleasant letters from our brethren, Messrs. Charles Brown and Robert Spurgeon, in India. We hope they will make two of the most efficient missionaries of modern times. The Lord grant it. Our earnest desire and prayer for our church and college are that many missionaries may be raised up among us and thrust forth among the heathen.

Now is the time for open air preaching’. No minister should keep within the walls of a building when he can preach the gospel upon the beautiful green sward with the blue heavens above him. Brethren, come out of your dens and corners, and make the gospel to be heard by those who are ignorant of it. Fishermen do not wait for the fish to swim to them, but they go after them. Turn out into the highways and hedges and compel the people to come in. In great cities, where there are no fields accessible, use halls etc., and in some way reach the outside non-hearing masses.

Mr. Wenger, one of the most esteemed of our missionaries, who has come home for his health, tells a most affecting story of a number of shipwrecked sailors, who took to the boat, but were lost upon the sea for thirty days, with only nine days’ provisions. Each day began with prayer and the reading of our “Morning by Morning,” which gave them great comfort. Divine providence caused them to be taken up by the vessel in which Mr. Wenger was sailing just as they were ready to perish.

Right royal actions deserve to be recorded. The Messrs. Cory, of Cardiff, have generously allotted to the Stockwell Orphanage £1,000 worth of shares, fully paid up, in their new colliery, and they have given the same amount to the College. This will almost exactly free both institutions from rates and taxes, and we feel deeply grateful for it. If wealthy men thus gave of their substance as a general thing, the Lord’s exchequer would be filled to the brim.

A clergyman writes to inform us that the gout is sent to us as a judgment from God for opposing the Church of England. If a swollen leg proves that a man is under God’s displeasure, what would a broken neck prove? We ask the question with special reference to the late Bishop of Oxford. As for the information that on account of our late speech at the Liberation Society’s meeting we shall soon have another attack, and in all probability will be carried off by it, we will wait and see if it be true. Despite the fact that the writer claims to be a clergyman, we are no more disturbed than if he had signed his name Zadkiel. The amount of bitterness which the post has brought us during the last month has proved to our own satisfaction that our blows have not missed the mark; but none write so furiously as our Evangelical friends, who probably are more uneasy in their consciences than others of the State-church clergy.

We have only two numbers more to issue and “The Interpreter” will be complete. We hope that our subscribers will aid our efforts to improve family devotion, by purchasing this work.

Our settlements of students for this month are numerous and hopeful. Mr. Cox has gone to the church at Market Harboro’, whilst our young brother Higgins has commenced his work as an evangelist, from which we expect much good. Mr. Haines has settled at Eye, in Suffolk, and Mr. Javan with the friends at Lower Norwood, and Mr. Tomkins abides at Barking. Mr. Charlton has accepted the invitation of the church at Maldon, in Essex. Mr. Strong has left to carry on the work at Fareham, which promises much success Mr. Hetherington has settled at West Hartlepool, and Mr. Roberts has gone for three months to try and raise a cause at Aldershot.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon : — May 21, nineteen May 28, eighteen; June 4, eighteen.

Chap 6. AUGUST, 1874.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

AUGUST, 1874.

STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE.

A FEW WORDS BY C. H. SPURGEON.

LOOKING over our visitors’ book at the Orphanage the other day we were much pleased with the following entry from the pen of a Manchester gentleman, dated June 4th, i874, and we thought our friends would like to read it too : —

“I am much pleased with all I have seen at the Orphanage. It struck me that the lads could not be much happier in heaven than here. They are buoyant and hearty, and the dogged and frightened look which is seen in the children of many large institutions is absent here. Much pleased with the style of the education. The boys are turned out fitted to occupy a post in the strictest merchant’s office, and the writing and power of accounts which some of the elder boys possess far exceed the average of the middleclass schools which I have visited. The boys are not crammed as in many elementary schools, but are well grounded in everything that is taught here. May the Lord bless all who bless this institution either by service or contribution. I cannot suggest an improvement.”

Our visits to certain most admirable institutions have sometimes pained us, because we could not avoid noticing just that one fly in the ointment which our visitor seems to have observed also. Children can be drilled into an unnatural order, which is wonderfully taking with crusty disciplinarians, but involves either wretchedness or hypocrisy in the young machines. Kittens will never make good cats unless they are allowed to be kittens while kittenhood lasts. In after life children who are kept under a cast-iron rule break loose, and under the influence of a powerful but natural reaction, frequently become the wildest and most irreligious of men. When religion is associated with all that is stern, gloomy, and repressive, it becomes distasteful, and is avoided as soon as the boy enters upon the liberty of manhood. “I had a sickener of it at school” is a saying which we have heard more than once from men whom we have tried to influence for true religion. Our rule at the Orphanage is firm; anything like sin is repressed with a strong hand, and incorrigibly vicious boys, who sometimes get in among us, are weeded out when nothing else will do, for our institution is not a reformatory, nor do we intend to make it so: but the boys enjoy a large measure of freedom, and fun, and frolic. Manly exercise and country rambles are as much a part of our course as reading, writing, and arithmetic; hence while with us our boys are natural in their manners and buoyant in their spirits, and as a rule when they go from us they give satisfaction to their employers and succeed in life. Under the divine blessing the intention of the sister who founded the Orphanage is being realized more and more, and our own heart is glad. We cannot bear to see the workhouse, pauper look upon lads; we want them to be manly, brightfaced, wide-awake, and ready to do right because of inward principle and not because of outward constraint.

We have daily need of the prayers of our kind supporters, for every time we take new boys there is a season of anxiety and trouble. Coming from abodes of poverty, they generally, before many days, develop some cutaneous disorder, and having frequently been neglected, because their mothers were obliged to be out at work for them, they bring with them the morals of the streets, and sometimes gross vices, learned from evil companions. It is positively astounding how precocious in wickedness even little boys will become. A little fellow of eight years of age was once a torment to us, he seemed to be an apostle of iniquity, and though reproved and chastened, he persevered in-evil with an obstinacy quite amazing, and influenced others of whom we hoped better things. It was clear in his case that, whatever we might think of the value of children’s souls, Satan set great store by them, and put forth all his power to hold them and use them for his own purposes. Nothing but conversion is of any avail in such instances; the evil spirit will not be curbed, and must be cast out by the divine power, but till that is put forth the mischief done in our happy kingdom is painfully harassing to those concerned in it, and we shall be right glad to have a band of helpers who remember our little ones before the throne of the heavenly grace, and so call in celestial succors to our aid. We have a greater need than even heads of families, for into their smaller domain little ones are sent, with fallen natures it is true, but not with the added superfluity of haughtiness, which comes of bad example, and low associations. Fathers and mothers have their hands and hearts full, but in addition to divine grace they have near and dear ties of natural affection, which have a potent influence in restraining from disobedience; these we have not till gratitude creates a somewhat similar force, and while that force is being generated the little sinner plays the rebel, and is a leaven for evil in our community. It is right to say that some children come to us with the benediction of a mother’s prayers, and are notable exceptions to the rule, but as we dare not exclude a child because his mother is not a devout woman, we must always have a large proportion of neglected orphans, and Christian pity would hardly desire to shirk so good a work because of the consequent trial; rather would all of us gird ourselves the more earnestly to our labor, and by more prayer call down the larger blessing which the circumstances demand.

For one thing we praise God at every remembrance of the work. We have in Mr. Charlesworth, the head master, a man who loves the children’s souls, and mingles firmness with a degree of forbearance and affection which come not to all men. Our other teachers, matrons, nurses, and servants occupy their spheres so admirably, and are all so willing, able, and attentive, that what would otherwise be a terrible burden is an easy yoke to us. We have not in a twelvemonth in our large family one tittle as much trouble as falls to the lot of many ordinary households; in fact, for long periods we have no jar of sufficient importance to reach our ears. Infirmities and mistakes are unavoidable, but not once in the whole history of the Orphanage have these caused us any serious anxiety, or even given us an hour’s distress. Kind helpers have doubtless borne burdens in our stead, and their love is recorded in heaven. The Lord bless them for it, and especially remember those who may have escaped our grateful recognition as yet. The beloved brethren associated with us as co-trustees would, we are sure, join in our grateful expressions, while towards those brethren themselves and the secretary our heart is full of love, esteem, and thankfulness, for they are true yoke-fellows in the Lord’s work. Long may they be spared to us. Some people can see no good in their fellow-workers, and much evil in those whom they employ; perhaps their experience has been unhappy; ours has been such that we wonder how such suitable helpers ever came to us, and have remained so kindly faithful, and we can only attribute it to the gracious providence of the Father of the fatherless. Being quite unable personally to claim any special virtues, it is with unaffected humiliation of soul, caused by sincere gratitude, that we record thus publicly a part of the loving-kindness of the Lord in connection with this labor of love.

We hope our readers are not weary of these personal acknowledgments, and lest they should be we close them by thanking hundreds of them for the thoughtful manner in which they have helped to supply the daily needs of the institution. May they have a rich return in their own families. If they count us faithful to our trust, let them assist us still, and remember that if one brother finds a joy in taking so heavy a responsibility, and a little staff rejoice to labor continually with him, it is but just that no unnecessary temptation to anxiety about money matters should be cast in the way of either the leader or his coadjutors. While we thus speak we cannot but add our solemn declaration of firm confidence that our God will supply all our need.

NOTES

OUR work for use at family worship, which for lack of a better title we named the “Interpreter,” now approaches so nearly to completion that we hope the bound volume will be procurable on the first of September. It will cost twenty-five shillings in cloth, but as it is a book for daily use our friends will do better to purchase copies in a more lasting binding. Those who have the numbers can procure the covers and have them bound. This has been a very laborious work to us, for, short as the remarks often are, we have read many of the best writers upon each book before sitting down to pen our own notes. It would have been easier to make the book larger, for it takes much labor to condense. Any family having our “Interpreter” will have lessons for morning and evening throughout the year all ready for use, and we hope it will not only be convenient to the heads of the household but instructive to the family. Several who have used it so far, have given us their grateful testimony in its favor. Nothing but a large sale can remunerate the publishers for the expense involved in bringing out such a work. It will be in outward appearance a noble volume, and we hope will make an acceptable wedding present. Cases for binding, 2s. 6d.

Our Orphan Boys are to have a day’s treat at Margate, August 5th. Friends who would like to go with them can procure tickets at the Tabernacle or Orphanage for 3s. 6d., there and back. Train leaves Victoria 7.45, Clapham 7.50, Brixton 7.53, and returns from Margate at 7.40. As we have had to guarantee a certain number we shall be glad if friends will avail themselves of the opportunity. As the expense of this treat cannot be paid out of the regular funds, Mr. Charles-worth and ourselves will be glad to receive a few donations to pay for it. A day at the seaside is a great pleasure to our boys, and we believe many friends would like to help to give them the enjoyment. Margate friends are, we hear, upon the move towards entertaining the children, and we are very grateful to them under a lively sense of favors to come.

We still need some £2,500 to complete and furnish the College, and our friends propose to hold a bazaar the week after Christmas, or thereabout. We shall be very glad of the help of all our contributors, for we want to have this work done out of hand, and finished without another appeal. So far every payment has been made with punctuality, but we have refrained from giving orders for many necessaries because the money to pay for them is not yet in hand.

In answer to inquiring friends, we beg to say that Mrs. Bartlett’s class is carried on by her with as much vigor and success as ever. Her health is always feeble, but strength is given as required, and her words are so much attended with · divine power that large numbers from her class are constantly added to the church.

The Lord’s work at the Tabernacle prospers.’ Among the converts have been several Roman Catholics and Ritualists, who have become weary of the emptiness of sacramentarianism, and are glad to find rest in the full and finished salvation of Jesus Christ. On the 24th instant we held a noble meeting of the Bermondsey Mission, conducted by Mr. W. Olney, jun. By this effort 102 persons have been added to the church. God is with the earnest band, and souls are won.

For a reply to Bishop Fraser’s remarks upon our conversion, we would refer our readers to our sermon, “Is Conversion Necessary?” which can be had in book form for one penny. We have endeavored, in a Christian spirit, to vindicate the gospel doctrine of conversion, and we trust the discourse will be profitable.

On the 14th instant we opened a new :Baptist chapel at Surbiton, near Kingston. The ground was given us by a generous friend, and the London Baptist Association gave £1000 towards the erection. We hope Surbiton will prosper. We are anxious to found Baptist churches where there is need for them, and shall be always glad to hear of earnest friends who will cooperate with us in taking the gospel to destitute neighborhoods.

We rejoice to see that the friends at Victoria Chapel, Wandsworth Road are building schools. They deserve help.

Government has made two attempts to patch up the old house of Establishment, but the concern is too rickety to bear any extensive repairs. :Pieces of new cloth pieced into old garments make the rent worse, and this will be the result of the Patronage Bill and the Public Worship Bill. Mr. Disraeli, without intending it, has commenced the separation of Church and State.

Our earnest evangelist, Mr. Higgins, is ready to visit the churches of the College Conference. He is an earnest soul-winner, and willing to be always at work. We hope he will find many open doors.

In answer to C. S. we would remark that to preach in the same pulpit as another man should not be construed into an endorsement of his views. If we are asked to preach a sermon for a good brother and afterwards find that he has also engaged a preacher whom we cannot regard as sound in the faith upon all points, are we to break our word and run away from preaching the gospel? It does not seem to us to be right to act in such a manner. Perhaps in future it may be well to ask the question, Who else is to take part in the anniversary services? For then it will be open to the preacher to decline the invitation; but after a promise is once made it ought to be kept, and if necessary the statement may be publicly given that the course taken does not involve agreement with the error held by the other preacher. It must be a very extreme case indeed which would justify a man’s refusal to keep a positive engagement. By the way, the habit of putting down upon bills a number of names of speakers who never appear is not very creditable. Who is to be blamed? The issuers of the bills, or the parties whose sweet names are not duly answered to when the muster-roll is read?

The College Session commences August 4. Young men who would wish to enter should now apply, so as to be in time for next session, which comes after the Michaelmas quarter- day. Applicants must be preachers of some experience and ability, sound in the faith, and earnest in soul, or we cannot receive them; of such brethren we cannot have too many; we will take all who offer if they be really such. No considerations of poverty or

backwardness in education need prevent earnest and efficient speakers from applying to us. Brethren, pray the Lord to send us the right men, and to bless them when they come.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle, by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon : — June 22, nine; June 2,5, eleven. By Mr. J. T. Wigner, July 2, eleven.

Chap 7. SEPTEMBER, 1874.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL 

SEPTEMBER, 1874.

ECCENTRIC BUT USEFUL

WHEN the population of the United States was sparse and widely scattered, the public services of religion could not have been maintained at all if the Lord had not raised up a race of zealous itinerants, who passed rapidly from one hamlet or homestead to another, and, by their intense earnestness, kept alive the sacred fire. We allude to a period ranging from one hundred years back to within half-a-century of the present date. The men of that time were necessarily strong physically, o,: they could not have borne the hardships of their wandering miss/on, and they were also sturdy mentally, and needed to be, for they met with people who required vigorous handling. Of course they were rough and unrefined — what could they have effected had they been otherwise? Of what use would a razor be in clearing a forest? Very frequently they were wildly humorous as well as vehemently zealous, but probably this play of their spirits was needful to keep them from sinking down under the burdens of their uncomfortable and trying circumstances. At any rate, they did the work which God gave them to do, and left America a Christian instead of a heathen country, which last it might readily have become had it not been for their efforts. We do not commend all that they did, much less hold them up for imitation, but we think it profitable to see how others did their work, and therefore we present to our readers’ notice Jacob Gruber, of whom his contemporaries said, “He is a character, and copies no man.” Our present article consists of extracts from a biography written by W. F. Strickland, which has not been published in this country, and it will give some idea of Gruber’s usefulness; his eccentricities will be more clearly seen in a second paper, which we hope to insert next month.

“At the beginning of the present century there appeared at the seat of the Philadelphia Conference a young man from Bucks county, Pennsylvania, who was impressed with the conviction that it was his duty to preach. The homestead which he had left was the place of his birth, which occurred February 3, 1778. His parents, whose Christian names were John and Platina, were of German descent, and had been brought up in the faith of the great leader of the Reformation. The German Reformed Church was among the earliest organized in Pennsylvania, and for many years, in the particular section about which we are writing, that denomination had the exclusive control of the religious interests of the neighborhood. The time, however, came when this quiet was broken. Two itinerant Methodist preachers had divided up the country into circuits, and claiming to be successors of the apostles themselves, thought it no robbery to imitate them in traversing the country, and preaching the gospel whenever they found an open door. The strangeness of their manner, and the wonderful earnestness of their preaching, attracted the attention of the people, particularly the younger portion, and the cabins and barns where they held forth were crowded.

“Young Gruber listened to these circuit preachers with amazement; and though they were denounced by the staid and sober Reformers as wild and fanatical, he nevertheless felt strangely drawn to their meetings. There was such a fervor in their prayers, such a zeal and earnestness in their preaching, and such a power in their songs, that he was entirely fascinated, and soon became convinced of the need of conversion. To obtain a thing so desirable, he made a solemn vow that he would pray seven times a day. His prayers for a change of heart were soon answered, and with gladness he went with his parents to the place of meeting, and with them joined the Methodist church.

“That the reader may have a correct description of the religious condition of this particular neighborhood, we give an account prepared by Gruber himself. He says: ‘ The Methodist preachers came into the neighborhood, and held several meetings. As the result of their labors a revival commenced, and quite a number of persons were converted and professed a knowledge of sins forgiven.’ Some of the members of the German minister’s church went to the old gentleman, expressing a desire to know something about this new doctrine. In reply to their inquiries about the knowledge of forgiveness, he said: ‘ I have been a preacher more than twenty years, and I do not know my sins forgiven, and indeed it is impossible that any one should know it.’ It was not considered very wonderful by some that this preacher should be in darkness on that subject, as he frequently became intoxicated. An aged woman, a member of the German church, at one of the revival meetings where some were praising God for having pardoned their sins, stood thoughtfully shaking her head and said, ‘ It could not be, for if they had to answer a hundred and sixty questions, as she had before she got religion, they would learn that it could not be obtained in such quick time.’

“Among the early itinerants who visited Pennsylvania about this time was the eccentric Valentine Cook. He was fresh from the halls of Cokesbury College, and perhaps the first native college-bred preacher that had appeared in the American Methodist church. When Cook made his appearance, and it was rumored that he was a graduate of a college, he attracted general attention. The German Reformed, like several other churches we could name, entertained the idea that no man could possibly be qualified to preach who had not received a classical education; and hence vastly more respect was paid to Cook than to any of his colleagues in the ministry. His learning, however, did not always avail to insure him respect, as the following incident will show : — After traveling a whole day without refreshment in a region where he was not known, he called a halt in the evening at the house of a German and asked if he could obtain feed for his horse and something for himself to eat. Being a tall, gangling, rough-looking specimen of humanity, the good woman, who was engaged in spinning, mistook him not for a German but an Irishman. She was not at all favorably impressed with his appearance, but at her husband’s request she procured a lunch for him and returned to her wheel, saying to her husband somewhat petulantly in German, she hoped the Irishman would choke in eating. After Cook had finished his repast he asked the privilege to pray, which being granted he knelt down and offered up a fervent petition in German. In his prayer he besought the Lord to bless the kind woman at the wheel and give her a new heart, that she might be better disposed towards strangers. Such a personal reflection was more than the good woman could stand, and she left her wheel and ran from the house overwhelmed with chagrin at her wicked wish.

“We mention these incidents for the purpose of giving the reader some idea of the times in which young Gruber commenced his religious career. Being a sprightly lad, he was soon called out to exercise his gifts in public prayer and exhortation. As usual in such cases a storm of persecution arose, not only from those who were outside of the church and the family, but his own household. Father, mother, brothers, and sisters, as if by one consent, rose up against the young exhorter, and he was obliged to leave home and seek more congenial quarters elsewhere. Some of the more zealous Methodists interpreted this differently from what young Jacob had imagined, and persuaded him that it was a clear indication of Providence that it was his duty to abandon everything for the exclusive work of the ministry. Tiffs interpretation of Providence was soon after verified. As he went on his way afoot and alone to the town of Lancaster he met one of the itinerants, who in a short conversation convinced him of the duty of entering upon the ministry, and sent him to an adjoining circuit to fill a vacancy, He accordingly procured a horse and went to the appointment. There was some diversity of opinion about the propriety of this course, even among the preachers. He had a white horse, and one of them jocosely remarked: ‘Well, you have got on the pale horse; death and hell will follow you; only take care that you don’t let them get before you.’ Another remarked that ‘ he would kill himself in six months;’ and still another affirmed that, such was his zeal and physical exertion, tone month would put him to rest.’ None of these things, however, seemed to move this young son of Vulcan (for he was a blacksmith by trade), and, as before stated, he found himself at the place of holding the conference, in the year 1800.

“As the conference embraced sickly regions in its territory, he knew not but he might be sent by the intrepid Asbury to some one of these localities, if for no other purpose than to try his mettle. Many a young man has finished his course in one year’s service; but not so with Gruber. He had a powerful constitution, an iron frame capable of enduring an amount of hardship, labor, and fatigue which made him the wonder of all his ministerial companions. He had some intimations that he would be sent down to Delaware; but when the appointments were announced by the bishop his name was connected with Tioga circuit. ‘ Instead, therefore, of going down,’ as he remarked, ‘ I had to go up — up rivers and mountains, and take my degrees among lakes, rivers, and Indians.’

“The second year of our young itinerant’s ministry was spent on the Oneida and Cayuga circuit, embracing a large field in Western New York. Vast tracts of wilderness interposed between the appointments, and new hardships were to be endured. :Nothing daunted, he scaled the mountains, penetrated the woods, and sought the cabins nestling among them, that he might preach the gospel to their inmates. Here he labored with the most unremitting zeal and diligence. Through his fervent appeals many were awakened and converted.

“Samuel Howe, an old itinerant, relates an incident illustrative of Gruber’s power in prayer. At a quarterly meeting held in a barn in this part of the country, after a most impressive and powerful sermon from the presiding elder, M’Lenahan, Gruber engaged in prayer. ‘ It seemed,’ says Father Howe, ‘ to resemble the day of Pentecost; the barn was shaken, and the people simultaneously sprang to their feet, while shouts of joy and cries for mercy filled the place. Many fell to the floor, and others were filled with fear, and fled in the greatest consternation.’

“At a certain place on this circuit there lived a man who had been in great distress of mind, bordering on despair. He wept much and prayed almost constantly, but found no relief. He was visited by Graber, who conversed with him for a considerable length of time, quoting such passages of the Bible as were applicable to his case. He could not, however, be persuaded that any promise was for him, as he believed his day of mercy and hope were gone for ever. The following colloquy then ensued between Graber and the despairing man : —

“‘ What will become of you?’ ‘ I shall be lost.’ ‘ Where will you go?’ ‘ To hell.’ ‘ But if you go there you will have it all to yourself.’ ‘ What do you mean?’ ‘I mean just what I say: if you go to hell weeping and praying you will scare all the devils away, for I never heard or read of one going to hell weeping and praying.’ At this a smile came over his face like sunshine on a cloud; his despair was gone, and hope fall and joyous sprung up in his soul.

“At the next conference Gruber was sent to the Winchester circuit, having for a colleague a young man by the name of Richards. This young itinerant in a great measure destroyed his usefulness by getting the crotchet in his head that, to maintain ministerial dignity, he must put on some extra airs of reserve and sanctity. Not being afflicted with the dyspepsia, which invariably gives a somber hue to the countenance, it became necessary for him to assume a solemn appearance. A ‘ sad countenance,’ as our old English version has it, in the description of the Pharisees in the days of the Savior, has never been regarded as the true index of spirituality. One of the old preachers who had outlived his day, and was constantly playing upon the thousand-stringed harp, ‘Ye are fallen! ye are fallen!’ remarked on a certain occasion that he wished some of the old preachers were as solemn as that young man. Bishop Asbury, who was present when this remark was made, smilingly said: ‘ Do you make any allowance for solids and fluids?’ When the dyspepsia became a fashionable complaint among preachers such an allowance was made. We recollect a reply once made by a light-hearted, joyous, talented young preacher to a .pious lady, who reprovingly said to him, ‘ I wish you would be as serious as Brother C.’ ‘ Ah!’ said the young brother laughingly, ‘ when I get the dyspepsia as bad as he has it, I will, no doubt, be equally serious.’

“Religion is the sunlight of the soul, and irradiates with brightness and beauty the medium through which it shines. A ‘ sad countenance’ indicates a sad heart; but as religion is ‘ joy unspeakable and fullness of glory,’ all gloom and despondency are driven away by the brightness of its coming.

“He had now been six years in the work of the ministry, and had exhibited such good proof of his fidelity and success that the good Bishop Asbury deemed him qualified for the more responsible post of presiding elder, and accordingly, in the year 1807 he was appointed to the presidency of Greenbrier district. It embraced a wild region of country in Virginia, said to be the roughest in the bounds of the Baltimore Conference. It extended into North Carolina, taking in its sweep the wildest portion of the Cumberland Mountains and Tygart’s Valley. To use his own language, he had ‘ hard work, rough fare, and bad roads;’ but by way of offset to these disadvantages he had ‘great meetings.’ Towards the close of the year camp-meetings were held on every circuit, of which there were eight. At these camp-meetings hundreds were converted, indeed, a camp-meeting in those days without numerous conversions and large accessions to the church would have been a much greater wonder than to witness such a revival at our fashionable camp-meeting picnics of the present day.

“At that time even a quarterly meeting was considered dull and profitless indeed, unless souls were converted and added to the church, and a revival inaugurated for the coming quarter. In describing these camp-meetings Gruber said: ‘ Some complained about too much wildfire, and called the preachers the fire company; but we wanted fire that would warm and melt, not tame-fire, fox-fire, and the like. Some say ice is water fallen asleep. Some cry, Water, water, till all the fire is put out and nothing but ice remains. Then it is a cold time, a winter state truly.’ During the three years on this district he experienced many hardships, enough to try the faith of the most stern and sturdy in the itinerant ranks. In describing his labors he says: ‘ My travels among the Pendleton and Greenbrier Mountains were hard and severe. One very cold night in the winter I took a path for a near way to my stopping place, but got out of my course, wandered about among the hills and mountains, and went to the top of one of them to see clearings, or hear dogs bark, or roosters crow, but all in vain. After midnight the moon arose; I could then see my track. The snow was kneedeep, and I went back till I got into the right course, and reached my lodgings between four and five o’clock in the morning. The family was alarmed, and said I was late, but I called it early. After lying down and sleeping a little I arose, and getting breakfast departed on my da7’s journey, filling two appointments.’

“At the end of his first year on the district he had a line of appointments reaching to Baltimore. On his route he passed through Tygart’s Valley to the head of the Greenbrier River, a wild, m6untain-ous region, traversed by a dim path. Not a single cabin was to be found in a distance of twenty miles. He struck for the path on the mountain about ten o’clock, but had not proceeded many miles until he found it covered up knee-deep in snow, and not a single track to be seen. He picked his way, however, as best he could, and traveled on. During the day it began to rain, which rendered his journey still more uncomfortable. At length he reached Cheat River, and found it considerably swollen, with ice in the middle. When he reached the ice it was with difficulty he dismounted, and then making his horse leap upon it, he again mounted. The ice did not break, and he was enabled to reach the other shore with little difficulty. He then proceeded on his journey, and traveled on in the woods until night overtook him, when he lost his path and became entangled in the forest. The rain, which had been pouring down, now changed into snow, and the wind blew furiously. Besides all this, it was becoming increasingly cold. What to do he knew not, except to pray. The night was spent sitting on his horse. Above the roar of the storm he could hear the scream of the panther and the howl of the wolf. It was a dreadful night, but morning came, and with it he found the path, and reached the Greenbrier River about ten o’clock, which he crossed, and in a short time found himself at the house of a friend. The family were alarmed at seeing him, and expressed their surprise at his undertaking so perilous a journey, as no person had been known to pass through that portion of the wilderness before in winter. Neither himself nor horse had tasted a morsel of food since they started, but they were both inured to hardships, and suffered but little in consequence. After obtaining some refreshment, he started to his appointment, thankful for his escape from the dangers through which he had passed.

“Gruber gives several incidents that occurred at camp-meetings. ‘ In one camp,’ he says, ‘some bold sinners came to fight for their master, the devil; but our captain, Immanuel, made prisoners of them, and then made them “free indeed.” One fine, strong, good-looking young man among the mourners was in great distress, and found no relief until he drew a large pistol out of his pocket, with which he intended to defend himself if any one should offer to speak to him on the subject of religion. When he laid it on the bench beside him the Lord blessed him, and gave him a great victory over his foes. Having grounded the weapon of rebellion, he was prepared to enlist under the banner of the Prince of Peace.’ “In those days it frequently happened that the ministers of different denominations were obliged to preach in school-houses and courthouses, from the fact that there were no churches. A Presbyterian minister one Sabbath afternoon preached, or rather read a sermon, in the village court-house. The discourse was well written, and evinced considerable theological ability; but it was read in such a monotonous manner that it lulled many to sleep. All was perfectly quiet, and nothing disturbed the stillness of the hour. No sound was heard but the voice of the preacher, which fell in soft cadences upon the ear like the murmur of a distant waterfall. Suddenly a Methodist woman in the court-room broke out into a shout of ‘ Glory! glory! praise the Lord for what he has done for my soul!’ Those who had fallen asleep under the soothing tones of the minister were awakened, others were frightened, and the preacher himself was entirely overcome. It was some time before he could rally so as to proceed with his discourse. When the meeting was over the woman was asked why she so disturbed the meeting. She replied, ‘I was converted at a camp-meeting at East Liberty last year, and while I listened to the dry sermon I thought of old times. It was just the kind I used to hear before I was converted; I then thought of the wonderful change, and the happy meetings we have now, and forgetting where I was I had to shout.’”

Gruber was dreadfully severe upon all worldliness, and especially upon foppishness in dress, which he denounced and ridiculed. A little of his healthy banter might be useful in these dressy days.

“While preaching in a certain place on one occasion an unusually tall lady entered. On seeing her he stopped preaching and said: ‘ Make room for that lady; one might have thought she was tall enough to be seen without the plumage of that pird in her ponnet.’ Some days afterward the lady met Gruber and complained that he had treated her rudely. ‘ O sister,’ he replied, ‘ was that you? Well, I did not know it was you; I thought you had more sense.’

“He was particularly severe on some of the modem preachers because they did not preach against the fashions of the world. ‘ Some in preaching,’ he said, ‘draw the bow and take aim at some in the congregation, but the arrow does not hit the mark; it is stopped in the trimming, rigging, muff, drums, bustles, and other fashionable gear of their wives or daughters.’”

(TO BE CONTINUED.)

NOTES.

WHO would have thought that we should have lived to hear Archdeacon Denison talking as he does in a letter in the Church Times, August 14? “Divorce between Church and State is become not right only, but necessary to the keeping of true religion. Meantime an ex-Divorce Court judge is about as fitting an administrator of the new law as could be found.” The Archdeacon is evidently having his eyes opened to some things: we hope the process will continue.

Tidings have reached us of a large legacy soon to be paid to our College and Orphanage. While this hay is being made the flocks continue to eat, and cannot live on provender to come; friends will therefore please not to forget us. The amount, when paid, cannot be used for the College Buildings, and we are still needing help to complete that undertaking. We open the College this month, but the library is unfinished, and much remains to be done when we have the means.

Our friend Mr. Toller, of Waterbeach, sets apart an acre of ground upon his farm for the orphans, and sends us potatoes and flour. Such an example deserves imitation. Many gifts in kind are received by us, for which we are deeply grateful. The boys wish us to say that they are very fond of apples and pears, and are not particular as to quantity.

Our best thanks are due to the friends at Margate in connection with Mr. Drew’s chapel, for so generously entertaining our orphans to tea on the day of their excursion, and also to Messrs. Tebbutts, of Melton Mowbray, for 120 of their first-rate pork pies. To all who so generously subscribed the funds or otherwise helped we give our heartiest personal thanks, and our orphan lads add cheers, three times three, loud enough to make you hope they will soon get through them. Since our accounts were made up a Sheffield friend has sent £10.

Nineteen boys enjoyed holidays through the great goodness of friends who took them in. We hope the ]ads behaved well, and on their behalf, and our own, we tender grateful acknowledgments.

The Colportage advances at a healthy pace. During the past month men have been sent to Worcester, Studley, and Croydon — new districts. We hope to open up other places speedily. This Society will be accommodated in the New College Buildings, and will become (me of the largest societies in England before long. It only needs to be considered to be valued.

As we have previously noted, we intend to hold a Bazaar immediately after Christmas to complete the amount needed for the New College, and we shall be greatly obliged by all the help our friends can afford us. Direct to C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle, .Newington, London.

Our friends will perceive by the Psalm inserted in this month’s magazine that we are well advanced with Vol. IV. of “The Treasury of David.”

What a noise bishops and ministers are making about the silly title of Reverend. If we had not long ago abjured it, we certainly would now. It seems to be the trade mark of priests, “to imitate which is felony.” As for the bishop, after his’ display of arrogance, the title will not be very truthfully applied to him by many sensible people. We suppose he really believes that he is a presbyter in the only true church in this land, but we on the other hand do not believe that he has even been baptized yet; and we could certainly far more easily prove our belief than he could prove his. Dr. Wordsworth ought to know more of the worth of words than to cavil at civilities.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle by Mr. V. J. Charlesworth: — July 27th, ten; July 30th, twenty-two.

Chap 8. OCTOBER, 1874.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

OCTOBER, 1874.

ECCENTRIC BUT USEFUL.

(SECOND PAPER)

AS possibly some reader of this second paper may not have seen the former one, it may be well to repeat the observation that we do not record the eccentricities of our hero — Jacob Gruber — for imitation, but for information. He was a peculiar man, and accomplished a peculiar work; he who should think of imitating him would only make a peculiar stupid of himself. Our former article showed that Gruber was a man ready for stern self-sacrifice and hard labor; if this gives more fully the ludicrous side of his character, let the other be remembered in connection with it.

The Methodists have usually been more attentive to matters of dress than any other denomination except the Quakers. We all know the single piece of ribbon and the plain cut which were once as distinctly badges as ever were the broad brimmed hat and the collarless coat Gruber could not let the fashions alone, but declaimed against every departure from scriptural simplicity. We want some such vigorous reformer now to diminish the infinite vanity of female array. Here is an instance of his queer rebukes:-

“About that time a certain article of dress, known among the ladies as the ‘petticoat and habit,’ came into general use; and as fashion will sooner or later have its way, it obtained among the young ladies of the Methodist church. Gruber was attending a camp-meeting in the neighborhood of Franklin, Pennsylvania. At this meeting there were several young ladies dressed after this fashion. Their appearance so thoroughly displeased him that, true to his instincts, he determined, if possible, to administer a public reproof. During a prayer-meeting some of these fashionables were grouped together, singing a hymn which was very popular in those days. This hymn, the chorus of which was —

‘I want to get to heaven,
My long sought rest,’

they sang with great animation, and their animation increased as they saw the presiding elder advance and join them. It was discovered after a while that he changed the last line of the chorus, and instead of singing,

‘I want to get to heaven,
My long sought rest,’

he sang,

‘I want to get to heaven
With my long short dress.’

One after another, as they detected the change in the chorus, ceased singing until all had stopped, and Gruber was left alone. At this he sang more lustily than ever, so that all around could hear. The ‘long short dresses’ soon began to disappear, and the conscience of Gruber was not again disturbed on that score during the remainder of the meeting.”

“At a camp-meeting on a certain occasion, where considerable difficulty was experienced in getting the people to observe order, from the number of young persons who were walking about, collecting in groups, and engaged in conversation, the presiding elder, in the most respectful and courteous terms, requested them to be seated. Not seeming to understand, or not caring to comply with the request, the young people paid no attention whatever to what was said, but kept up their walking and talking. Gruber, who was present, felt greatly aggrieved, and rising in the stand he roared out, ‘ Mr. Presiding Elder, you called those young folks gentlemen and ladies, and they did not know what you meant!’ He then added, ‘ Boys, come right along and take seats here,’ pointing to the right; ‘ and you, gals, come up and take your seats here on the left.’ Earnest and peremptory as he was, yet so comical was his manner that their attention was at once arrested, and they came smilingly forward and took their seats.”

To us this mode of address would have seemed rude and irritating, and very unlikely to secure the desired end, but Jacob knew the people he had to deal with, and how to handle them. To some persons a polite address sounds like affectation, and, taking it to mean nothing they let it go in at one ear and out at the other; a plain, blunt, commanding mode of speech they see to be earnestly intended, and yield to it. Very much depends upon the character of the persons to whom we speak, and something also upon our own age and position: it would meyer do for a young minister fresh from college to address those of his own age as girls and boys, neither would such a style of admonition be acceptable to our educated young people even if the oldest divine so accosted them. The practical lesson is to have the thing done somehow, if it is right, and to use just such a method of speaking as will be best calculated to secure it. The dread of sinning against etiquette is as much to be avoided as the vulgarity which causes needless offense. The case in which Gruber acted so oddly will perhaps never occur to us, and, if it does, we must use our best judgment, and hope to succeed as he did.

“At another time the same difficulty occurred. At the close of the prayermeeting, when the time had come for preaching, every effort of the elder failed to get the congregation orderly arranged. Quite a number were standing on the seats, and among them several ladies. Gruber again lifted up his voice, the squeaking German accent of which immediately arrested attention, and said: ‘ If those young ladies there only knew what great holes they have in their stockings they wouldn’t be standing on the bench where they can be seen by everybody.’ They all dropped suddenly as if they had been shot. Order was restored, and all was quiet. After the discourse was ended one of the preachers asked how he knew the young ladies had holes in their stockings. ‘ Why,’ said he in his quizzical manner, ‘ did you ever know stockings without holes in them?’”

Now this is bad, altogether bad, if regarded as part of the service, but if viewed as the attempt of a brother to get the place ready for service, we see no harm in it. People must be got into order if any good is to be done, and he who can do this by a pleasantry deserves far more credit than he who scolds, or threatens to call in the police. View the speaker as a verger or sexton doing his best to get the young people into order, and the witty observation is more than excusable; but from a minister who is just about to discourse upon God and eternity it is out of all character, and not to be defended. Another story comes under very much the same category, but is rather better.

“In that day it was often very difficult to control a certain class of persons at a camp meeting. It was particularly so in certain parts of Pennsylvania, where the ruder class not infrequently gave no little annoyance by their violation of the rules of decorum. On such occasions Jacob Gruber’s ready and biting wit often served a good purpose, and frequently succeeded in securing an end when all other means failed. A young gentleman once told me that a friend of his went to a certain camp-meeting, and it so chanced that he borrowed a shirt for the occasion, which shirt had a very liberal supply of ruffle. Like several others, contrary to the rules of the meeting, he mounted one of the seats to overlook the congregation. Some of the ministers from the stand requested him very politely to descend, but he paid no attention. After seeing their failure, Mr. Gruber took him in hand. In quite a distinct and loud voice he cried: ‘ O brethren, let the young man alone; let him enjoy himself. Don’t you see he wants to show his fine ruffled shirt? and after all I dare say it’s borrowed.’ The young man instantly jumped down and made off, saying, with an oath, to a friend, ‘ How did he know I had a borrowed shirt on?’”

“At a camp-meeting near Baltimore, after the trumpet had been blown announcing the time for closing the exercises in the praying circles, one of them, unwilling to stop, kept on singing and praying. Gruber, somewhat impatient, and evidently not pleased at their want of obedience to order, after standing near for a short time, shouted out at the top of his voice, ‘ That’s right, brothers, blow all the fire out!’”

Often has the same thought occurred to our own mind when we have seen unwise brethren ranting on long after the “spirit of supplication” has been fully exhausted. Long prayers and long addresses blow out the fire which they are intended to increase.

Gruber’s later years were more calm and quiet, but they were not quite devoid of stirring incident. The sinners of his day were as eccentric as the preachers who sought to win them. If they were assailed from the pulpit with rough weapons, they knew how to be vigorously offensive in return. Gruber says-

“I was sent a second year to Dauphin circuit. Nothing extraordinary took place, only some fellows of the baser sort made an attempt to blow up our meeting-house in Harrisburg. On a Sunday night after preaching they got in at a window, put something under the pulpit with powder in it and a match. It made a report like a cannon, tore up the pulpit, and broke the glass out of some of the windows. We soon, however, had all repaired, and pursued our course. My colleague this year was a poor thing hunting a fortune. He found out who was rich; but the girls found out that he was lazy, as they called it, so he had little success in winning souls, and none in getting a wife. He spoke to me about what he had better do; my advice was, if he meant to locate, to get married; if to travel a circuit, to keep single. It seems as though some young men think if they can only get married (the sooner the better) they will be at once in paradise; and some young women have an idea if they can only get a preacher they will have an angel for certain; but more than one has been disappointed very much. This is a world of trouble; man is born into it, and full of it all of his few days. But many of the greatest troubles and misery are brought on by Master Self; that self is a great disturber of peace, a great thief, destroyer, and murderer; happy indeed are they who deny self, mortify the deeds of the body, and crucify the flesh with the lusts and affections, and so escape for life, and live for ever.”

“While in attendance at conference in Philadelphia, in 183O, he was appointed to preach in his old charge, St. George’s. He took for his text Psalm lxxxiv. 4: ‘ Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will be still praising thee.’ Retaining a keen sense of the manner in which he was treated by some of the members of that charge, which resulted in his removal at the end of the first year, he felt doubtless disposed to let his hearers know it by some witty and cutting allusions. The sermon delivered on that occasion is thus reported by the Rev. J. L. Lenhart: ‘ It was well arranged, and the matter was in general very instructive. Under the head of “The Character of those who dwell in the House of the Lord,” I distinctly recollect three characteristics.

“‘ 1. They are a humble people, willing to occupy a humble place in the church, indeed, any place so that they might be permitted to abide in the church; but there were some people who were so proud and ambitious that, unless they could be like the first king of Israel, from the shoulders up higher than everybody else, they wouldn’t come into the house at all, but hang about the doors.

“‘ 2. They were a contented people. If everything did not exactly suit them they made the best of it, and tried to get along as well as they could; but there are many who are so uneasy and fidgety that they can’t dwell in the church, but are continually running in and out, disturbing themselves and everybody else.

“‘ 3. They were a satisfied people, always finding something good, and thankful for it. Let who would be their preacher or preachers, they could always get something that would give them instruction and encouragement. But there are some people who are never satisfied, but are always finding fault with their preacher; some preach too loud, and some too long, and some say so many hard and queer things, and some are so prosy and dull that they can’t be fed at all and are never satisfied. If the multitude that were fed by the Savior were like these people they never would have been fed. If one had cried out, “John, you shan’t feed me, Peter shall;” and another had said, “Andrew shall feed me, but James shan’t;” and another, “I want all bread and no fish ;” and others, “I want all fish and no bread,” how could they have been fed? Such dissatisfied people cannot dwell in the house of the Lord. If they are not turned out they will soon die out: they can’t live.’”

The following “Hints to Young Preachers” were found among his papers, and as we do not remember having seen them in print, we think they are of sufficient importance to give to the reader. Though specially designed for Methodists, Baptists may study them to advantage : —

“1. Let your eye be single; seek nothing but God; let your schemes, plans, and views begin and end in him.

“2. Make not this man or that man your model; be yourself, and aim and reach toward the true model of all excellence, that is, Christ Jesus.

“3. Avoid, as much as may be consistent with your duty, all conversation and unnecessary intercourse with the young, gay, volatile, and vain.

“4. Fly from idleness, lounging, gossiping, etc.: your Bible and other valuable books, prayer and meditation, and your duty as a preacher, will leave no time to run to waste. Weeds, briers, and thorns take possession of uncultivated fields.

“5. Remember, it is a great mercy that although you may be greatly useful in the church and instrumental in doing much good, yet all this is hid from your eyes, or at least you see no more than barely suffices as an encouragement to proceed in your work. It is a mercy, because if you saw much fruit it might prove a temptation of a most dangerous kind. Again, if you saw none you would doubt your call, be discouraged, and your spirit sink. Therefore it is good for us to aim high, strive to convert the world, and put out all our strength to pull down the pillars of Dagon’s temple. Yet be contented; indeed, rather pray to God that you may see but little in this world, but much in the day of eternity.

“6. Do not forget a Methodist traveling preacher has every year, in every new circuit, a character to establish. The eyes of all are upon him. Do not say, nay; do not even think, I don’t care what people say of me. This is not the language of humility. They will indeed, it may be, think and say too much evil of you; but certainly you must be careful to give them no cause. Remember, they that have great objects in view can sacrifice little things. Abraham could give up his son, and Jephthah his daughter; you are therefore to give up all little things. Your dress, your food, your company, your very looks and whole deportment must all say to all men, I am crucified with Christ. Therefore for a man who has thus solemnly devoted himself to God to make a fuss about his food, be nice and particular in his dress, to show a fondness for a fine horse and gaudy trappings about his horse, furniture, etc., to sleep and doze away his mornings and evenings when in health, or to be surly, tart, crusty and hasty in his conversation, all show a little, vain mind, and want of grace or want of understanding, or both.

“7. Feed your horse, clean your boots (you may have this done by others in some families; when and where, you may easily see), help the family make the fire, be courteous, humble, condescending; let love sparkle in your eyes, expand your heart, give agility to your feet, tune and oil the organs of your speech, and let all your words and works show that your heart and conversation are in heaven.

“8. Call no man master, yet reverence, respect, and greatly venerate men of holy lives, especially the old prophets of the Lord; yet no man’s ipse dixit is to be your creed. Think for yourself; speak modestly; yet sometimes you must do this firmly in matters of great moment; and a man may maintain a firm, unshaken mind, when at the same time his words and manners may be all meekness, humility, and condescension; and this, in fact, is the very spirit and temper of a Methodist preacher if he has the spirit of his station.”

“Though he was sometimes severe in his criticisms on young preachers, he always entertained for them a fatherly affection, and sought only to correct their errors. At a certain place he preached in a house which was occupied part of the day by ministers of another denomination. The parties had an understanding that they were not to preach on any disputed points of doctrine, or to interfere with each other’s sentiments or usages. One morning a young preacher held forth, and, forgetful or regardless of the mutual agreement, made an onslaught on Methodism, and was very bitter in his denunciations, as well as false in his representations. His sermon was a caricature of Methodist doctrines and usages. Gruber was present and heard him, and was invited at the close of the sermon to offer the concluding prayer. He accepted the invitation, and addressed the throne of grace in his usual manner, praying for the people and the various objects of Christian effort, as well as for a blessing upon the various Christian churches in the land. As was customary he also prayed for the minister, saying: ‘ O Lord, bless the young preacher who has discoursed to us this morning, and in thy mercy make his heart as soft as his head, and then he will do some good.’

“A young preacher, desirous of improving his style as a pulpit orator, and having great confidence in Father Gruber, who, we believe, at the time was his presiding elder, wrote to him for advice. The young man had contracted the habit of prolonging his words, especially when under the influence of great excitement. Deeming this the most important defect in his elocution, Gruber sent him the following laconic reply : — “‘ Dear Ah! Brother Ah! — When-ah you-ah go-ah to-ah preach-ah, take-ah care-ah you-ah don’tah say-ah Ah-ah! Yours-ah,

“‘ JACOB-AH GRUBER-AH.’

“To reprove Jacob Gruber or to criticize his doings was rather perilous. On one occasion, on rising in the pulpit to give out his text, he found the leaf of the Bible containing the chapter torn out. He there.-fore quoted from memory, and quoted it incorrectly: ‘ Beloved, now are we the children of God,’ etc., 1 John in. 2. A young preacher, not lacking in self-esteem and confidence, said, loud enough to be heard: ‘ “Sons,” Brother Gruber; “:Now are we the sons of God.”‘ Instantly he replied, ‘Yes, I know that very well, but I didn’t want to leave the sisters out.’ The congregation was delighted, and the young minister somewhat crestfallen.

“But one of the oddest reproofs I ever knew him to administer was on a larger scale, and proved not less effectual. In a certain church the congregation had an unseemly practice of turning their backs on the pulpit during a certain portion of the singing. One Sabbath Mr. Gruber conducted the service, and, as usual, the whole congregation simultaneously turned round, presenting their backs to the preacher. Instantly the preacher, to be even with them, turned round also, presenting his back [o the congregation. When the time for prayer came, at the close of the hymn, the congregation were astonished to find the preacher turned from them and gazing at the wall. The hint was enough; they did not repeat the objectionable practice.”

Mr. Martin thus describes the closing scene of Gruber’s life : — “He was taken suddenly worse on the evening of the twenty-third of May, having several attacks of fainting or swooning, and no doubt the work of death began at that time, as he gradually grew weaker and weaker, until forty-eight hours afterward the scene closed. It was matter of regret to me that my appointments required me to leave on the morning of the twenty-fourth, and I was thereby deprived of the privilege of being with him in his last hours. His attentive neighbor, S. V. Blake, however, had the mournful satisfaction of ministering to him even to the last, and his unwearied devotion to the bedside of the venerable man is worthy of all commendation. From him I have learned the particulars connected with his death. Brother Gruber was perfectly conscious that his end was rapidly approaching, and sighed for the happy release. He requested Brother Blake, it’ it could be ascertained when he was about to die, to collect a few brethren and sisters around him, that they might (to use his own words)’ See me safe off; and as I am going, all join in full chorus and sing : —

‘“ On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand.”‘

A few hours before he died he asked Brother Blake whether he could stand it another night, and was answered that in his judgment he could not. ‘ Then,’ said he, ‘ to-morrow I shall spend my first Sabbath in heaven! Last Sabbath in the church on earth, next Sabbath in the church above!’ and with evident emotion added, —

‘ “Where congregations ne’er break up,

And Sabbaths never end.”‘ Brother Blake, perceiving that he was fast sinking, and could only survive a few moments, asked him if he felt that he was even then on the banks of Jordan; to which he replied, with great effort, and these were his last words, ‘ I feel I am.’ He was exhorted to trust in Jesus, and not to be afraid, but to look out for the light of heaven, his happy home; and then, in accordance with his request, the hymn he had selected was sung; but ere it was concluded his consciousness was gone. The singing ceased, a deathlike stillness reigned, only broken by his occasional respiration. An overwhelming sense of the presence of God melted every heart. A minute more and his happy spirit winged its way to its long-sought rest, in the seventy-second year of his age.

“So calmly, so peacefully did he fall asleep in the arms of Jesus. Oh, it was a privilege to be there. To see so aged a servant of God finish his course with such confidence, such composure, such firmness, such blessed hope of glory beaming from his countenance, was a privilege indeed, the grandeur of which we will not attempt to describe.”

If any judge too severely the personal peculiarities of such a man, we would urge them to do better; but to us it seems more than probable that were preachers more in earnest we should see more of what are called eccentricities, which are often only the ensigns of real zeal, and the tokens that a man is both natural and intense. If a fisherman can catch fish with silk lines and artificial bait let him be thankful; but if with a superior tackle he is unsuccessful, it shows a very proud spirit if he indulges in harsh criticisms of the style and manner of brethren who succeed better than himself in winning souls for Christ. “Every man in his own order” is a good rule. Apollos may be polished and Cephas blunt, but so far as they are honest, prayerful, and true to the Gospel, God will bless them both, and it ill becomes them to pick holes in each other’s coats. We would never say to a man “Be eccentric”; but if he cannot help being so, we would not have him otherwise. The leaning tower of Pisa owes much of its celebrity to its leaning, and although it certainly is not a safe model for architects, we would by no means advise the taking of it down. Ten to one any builder who tried to erect another would create a huge ruin, and therefore it would not be a safe precedent, but there it is, and who wishes it were other than it is? Serve the Lord, brother, with your very best, and seek to do still better, and, whatever your peculiarities, the grace of God will be glorified in you.
C. H. S.

A STRONG CHURCH.

“IS it a strong congregation?” asked a man respecting a body of worshippers. “Yes,’,’ was the reply. “How many members are there?” Seventy-six.” “Seventy-six.” Are they so very wealthy. “No, they are poor.” “How, then, do you say it is a strong church?” “Because,” said the gentleman, “they are earnest, devoted, at peace, loving each other, and striving together to do the Master’s work. Such a congregation is strong, whether composed of a dozen or five hundred members I” And he spoke the truth.

NOTES.

IN connection with the Tabernacle the most interesting event has been the opening of the new buildings for the Pastors’ College. This very convenient and commodious structure is not yet quite completed, and has not been occupied by the students for regular class work, but being sufficiently advanced for public meetings the opening services have been held. On Friday afternoon, August 28th, the President gathered around him all the students in the Lecture-room, and after praising God for finding the means for the building, he gave an address, and then the brethren united in pleading that the instructions given and received in that room might be attended by the divine blessing, so that able ministers of the New Testament might be there equipped for service. The meeting then moved into the room set apart for Prayer and the Communion, and there supplicated the Lord to be ever attent unto the voice of our cry, and make us men of prevailing power in prayer. The next adjournment was to the large hall, where the College public meetings will be held, and there, prayer was presented on behalf of friends and helpers, that they might be blest in return for their kindness, and encouraged to help us still. Moving once more, the brother. hood met in the Common Room, where the men meet in free conversation before and between classes, and there all united in the petition that in our leisure moments, in our lighter communications, none of us might grieve the Spirit of God. Thus with prayer and song four important parts of the house were set apart for their holy uses. Much power was felt, and a sense of acceptance in prayer enjoyed, and therefore we know that we have the blessings which we then sought for.

In the evening of that day the pastor had invited the sisters who form Mrs. Bartlett’s class to tea, and he availed himself of the opportunity to invite them into the New College. They came with much delight, and each one brought an offering, enclosed in a paper, and marked with her name. The giving was done with great order and quietness, with perfect unanimity, and with eager joy; no one held back, and no one needed the slightest approach to pressing. We had a lively, earnest, spiritual meeting, an earnest of the expected blessing. The immediate conversion of souls was aimed at, and one at least found joy and peace through believing. Thus the Lord set his seal to the consecration, and made the place the very gate of heaven. To Mrs. Bartlett and her loving children we would express our thanks, not merely in passing words, but upon this more enduring page. With scanty means, and many calls, these godly women brought in upon the spot £64, or more, and, not content with this, others gave afterwards: and some even came again and again to the subsequent meetings, bringing an offering each time, for in no case did any one appear before the Lord empty.

With this help, and including all former donations, the President reckoned that he would still need £2,000 to finish his work. Some of the papers speak of that amount being needed to remove the debt; but we have never had a debt, or thought of such a thing; we have paid all demands on the spot, and shall be able to do so to the last penny; for if anything cannot be paid for, it cannot be had. We cannot be said to be in debt until the time to pay an installment arrives, and down on the nail we have paid each portion hitherto, and have no fear as to the rest. There are other stewards of the Lord who will yet be moved to send us help, and we shall not be left at the last any more than at the first.

The following circular was issued to the church and congregation at the Tabernacle, who were divided into four portions and invited on four successive evenings.

“Aug. 24.

“Dear Friend, — Notwithstanding the gracious help sent to the College by the Providence of God I still need at least £2,000 to complete the whole of the work, and perhaps more. I should feel it a special token of our fellowship with each other if every seat-holder and member of the church would have a share in finishing this holy work. To give all an opportunity I intend asking the friends to tea in parties, earnestly hoping that each one will bring a personal offering.

“If you can come, please bring the enclosed ticket, and if not please return it to the friend who will come round to your seat. This will save us much trouble.

“Yours most truly,
“ C. H. SPURGEON.

“THE EVENING WILL BE SPENT IN THE NEW COLLEGE
BUILDINGS.”

In response to this, a goodly company met on the evening of Sept. 8th to tea, and brought in with gladsome readiness the sum of £292, to which Mr. Greenwood added £130, in the hope that the amount might on each evening reach £400, and thus, leaving only £400 for outside friends, the whole £2,000 would be raised at once. This suggestion was not carried out, but it showed the noble spirit of the proposer. It was not the President’s wish to put on any pressure, or perhaps the thing would have been done; but it was well to leave the entire matter to the free, spontaneous movement of the people, and they did nobly. What loving words they gave their pastor! Their grips of the hand he will never forget, and the messages of respect and affection written within the papers and envelopes were as precious as the gifts they enclosed. Brethren W. S. Lewis, Francis Tucker, Dr. Burns, C. Kirtland, and W. Orsman addressed us, and tendered fraternal congratulations; the friends circulated through the rooms, and one of the happiest of evenings came to a gladsome, praiseful close.

On Friday, 11th, the rain came down in torrents, and we wondered that so many weathered the storm. Our numbers were smaller, but the spirit of hearty love was the same, and £126 was freely offered. We had a noble platform, including Drs. Brock and Landells, with our brethren Clifford, Bailhache, Cuff, Rogers, J. A. Spurgeon, and Bernard. It was another evening of the presence of God. The tithes were brought into the storehouse, and the blessing began to be poured out, and will yet come in greater abundance.

On Tuesday, 15th, a large number of our friends came to tea, and still more to the meeting in the College Hall. The contributions, amounting to £301, were given in with the same cheerfulness as on former occasions, and the same kindly wishes were uttered. Our friends Dr. Underhill, Pastors H. S. Booth, Newman Hall, and David Jones, Mr. Carr, and Drs. Fish and Yerkers, from America, gave us hearty words of good cheer, and our hearts were made glad. If anything in this world could afford perfect content it might be found in a pastor’s heart when he found himself so generously supported in a work most clear to him.

One more evening remained; and making our preparations on the same scale as before, we looked for about the same number of friends, but Wednesday, 16th, exceeded all other nights. The number present filled our hall to its last inch, and as we sat receiving the people’s gifts, there seemed to be no end to them. The sums were smaller, but the heartiness of the gifts was rather greater than less. The wish was expressed by scores that they could bring a hundred times as much. Heaping up their little parcels on the table, they made such a hillock that a large basket had to be sent for to contain it all. Never was greater enthusiasm or warmer zeal expressed in any cause. The people gave willingly, for they had a mind to the work. Though no large donor mingled in the willing throng, the amount rose to £163, and thus the four evenings, with subsequent ingatherings, supplied the £1,000 for which we asked at the first. It only remains by a good bazaar, and the help of our readers, to put the other £1,000 into the treasury, and this blessed labor will have been joyfully accomplished. To God be all the glory. We must not omit to say that the speakers on the last occasion were our valued brother Pastor W. G. Lewis, who thus, like Mr. Rogers, put in a second appearance, Mr. Harley, from Savannah, W. Olney, and Mr. Harry Brown. Each speech was fired with the general fervent feeling, and all went on with a zest and a swing not often seen at public gatherings.

The bazaar for the last stone of the College will be held immediately after Christmas, and we beg for the hearty cooperation of our friends in the final effort.

On Monday, Sept. 21, we had the great joy of baptizing our two sons, in the presence of an immense assembly of our beloved flock, who again displayed their hearty union with their pastor and his family in ways most touching to our heart. The Lord has dealt well with us indeed. It was a crowning joy that their long-suffering mother was able to be present for a few moments to see her two boys yield themselves to be buried with Christ in baptism.

The month has bean full of spiritual blessing as well as other mercies. Many are coming forward to confess their Lord, a spirit of prayer abounds, the prayer-meetings and week-night services are unparalleled in number, and the crowds on Lord’s days eager to hear the word are greater than ever. All glory be unto the Lord, who prospers his own truth. If Satan should roar again we shall not be at all surprised; it will be the decisive token that good is being done.

We are pleased to see how much Mr. Crabb is beloved by the church in Rothe-say, who have given him a handsome testimonial in token of their respect for him, and of thankfulness at his election to remain with them rather than remove to a more remunerative sphere of labor.

Mr. Jeffery, a much beloved student, has settled over the church in St. Paul’s Square, Southsea. May the richest prosperity attend him. Our dear brother Mr. Mayers will, we trust, strengthen the hands of the brethren in Bristol; his place in Battersea is ably supplied by Mr. Bax, of Faversham. Mr. Davidson has removed to Chipping Sodbury. Mr. Williams has finished his studies with us and commenced at Clay Cross; Mr. Rotham has settled over the church at Stourbridge; Mr. W. Townsend at En-field Highway; Mr. Soames at Crook, and Mr. Kitchener at Walsingham, both in Durham; and Mr. Askew at Burton-on Trent.

The Colportage Secretary reports that new agents have, during the past month, been sent to Sheffield, Evesham, and Downton; making in all thirtyfive colporteurs now at work in connection with our Society. We were afraid that this society would turn out to be one child too many, but it grows finely, and will, by God’s blessing, do a grand work for this priestridden land, if the sinews of war are still forthcoming. Forty pounds a year will secure an agent in any district, so long as our funds hold out. No other agency is so cheap or more effective.

We are very grateful to a friend who has again sent a pig to the Orphanage, and to another who has sent some fowls, and we are also much obliged for an offer of a truck of coals. We hope other farmers, coal owners, gentlemen, and ladies will follow the good example. Gifts in kind are very gratefully received at the Orphanage, and when they are articles of food they pleasantly vary the diet. Our funds are low at present. We hope friends will not imagine that we have received a large legacy and need no more aid; the legacy is not paid yet, nor can we expect it to be, and while the wheat is growing boys need bread. Not that we have any fear, only we are bound to keep the orphans’ friends well posted up as to their needs.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle, by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon: — August 27th, twenty-three; September 3rd, twenty-one. September 21st, by C. H. Spurgeon, two.

Chap 9. NOVEMBER, 1874.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

NOVEMBER, 1874.

SHOES FOR PILGRIMS AND WARRIORS.

A THURSDAY EVENING HOMILY, BY C. H. SPURGEON.

“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” — Ephesians 6:15.

THE Christian was evidently intended to be in motion, for here are shoes for his feet. His head is provided with a helmet, for he is to be thoughtful; his heart is covered with a breastplate, for he is to be a man of feeling; his whole nature is protected by a shield, for he is called to endurance and caution; but that he is to be active is certain, for a sword is provided for his hand to use, and sandals with which his feet are to be shod. To suppose that a Christian is to be motionless as a post, and inanimate as a stone, or merely pensive as a weeping willow, and passive as a reed shaken by the wind, is altogether a mistake. God worketh in us, and his grace is the great motive power which secures our salvation; but he does not so work in us as to chloroform us into unconscious submission, or engineer us into mechanical motion, but he arouses all our activities by working in us “to will and to do of his good pleasure. Grace imparts healthy life, and life rejoices in activity. The Lord never intended his people to be automatons worked by clockwork, or statues cold and dead, but he meant them to have life, to have it more abundantly, and in the power of that life to be full of energy. It is true he makes us lie down in green pastures, but equally certain is it that he leads us onward beside the still waters. A true believer is an active person, he has feet, and uses them.

Now, he who marches meets with stones, or if as a warrior he dashes into the thick of the conflict he is assailed with weapons, and therefore he needs to be shod suitably, to meet his perils. The active and energetic Christian meets with temptations which do not happen to others. Idle persons can scarcely be said to be in danger, they are a stage beyond that, and are already overcome; Satan scarcely needs to tempt them, they rather tempt him, and are a fermenting mass, in which sin multiplies exceedingly, a decaying body around which the vultures of vice are sure to gather: but earnest laborious believers are sure to be assailed, even as fruit-bearing trees are certain to be visited by the birds. Satan cannot bear a man who serves God earnestly, he does damage to the arch-enemy’s dominions, and therefore he must be incessantly assailed. The prince of darkness will try, if he can, to injure the good man’s character, to break his communion with God, to spoil the simplicity of his faith, to make him proud of what he is doing, or to make him despair of success. In some way or other he will, if possible, bruise the worker’s heel, or trip him up, or lame him altogether. Because of all these dangers infinite mercy has provided gospel shoes for the believer’s feet, shoes of the best kind, such as only those warriors wear who serve the Lord of Hosts.

We shall at this time first examine the shoes, and then try them on. I. Our first duty is to EXAMINE THE SHOES, which are provided for us by our Captain, and in doing so we are delighted to find that they come from a blessed Maker, for the feet of the believer are to be shod with a divine preparation. Many preparations and inventions are used for protecting feet, but this is a preparation in which infinite skill has been displayed, and the same wisdom put forth as in the gospel, which is the master-piece of God. Every p6rtion of the gospel is from God, and all the influence which makes it a gospel of peace is his, and we are therefore thankful to find that we are to wear “the preparation of the gospel of peace. It were not meet that he who is helmeted with divine salvation should be shod with a mere human production; having begun in the Spirit, it would be strange to be made perfect in the flesh. We would not be like the image of the monarch’s dream whose head was gold and whose feet were clay. We rejoice that all the pieces of armor which compose our panoply come forth from the celestial Armorer, whose productions are without a flaw.

We are glad to find that’ the shoes are made of excellent material, for they are composed of the “preparation of the gospel of peace”; and what better material can there be than the gospel — the gospel of peace, and that peace which grows out of the gospel? This is what is meant. We believe in a gospel which was formed in the purpose of God from all eternity, designed with infinite wisdom, wrought out at an enormous expense, costing nothing less than the blood of Jesus, brought home by infinite power, even by the might of the Holy Spirit; a gospel full of blessings, any one of which would outweigh a world in price; a gospel as free as it is full, a gospel everlasting and immutable, a gospel of which we can never think too much, whose praises we can never exaggerate! It is from this choice gospel that its choicest essence is taken, namely, its peace; and from this peace those sandals are prepared with which a man may tread on the lion and the adder, yea, and on the fierce burning coals of malice, slander, and persecution. What better shoes can our souls require? What matchless material for girding the pilgrim’s foot is that which is here mentioned, namely, the peace which comes from the gospel, the preparation of heart and life, which springs of a full knowledge, reception, and experience of the gospel in our souls! What does it mean? It means, first, that a sense of perfect peace with God is the grandest thing in all the world to travel through life with. Let a man know that his sins are forgiven him for Christ’s hume’s sake, that he is reconciled to God by the death of his Son, and that between him and God there is no ground of difference, — what a joyful pilgrim he becomes! When we know that as the Lord looks on us his glance is full of infinite, undivided affection, that he sees us in Jesus Christ as cleansed from every speck of sin, and as “accepted in the beloved,” that by virtue of a complete atonement we are for ever reconciled to God, then do we march through life without fear, booted and buskined for all the exigencies of the way, yea, ready to plunge through fire and water, thorn and thistle, brake and briar, without fear. A man at peace with God dreads neither the ills of life nor the terrors of death; poverty, sickness, persecution, pain have lost their sting when sin is pardoned. What is there that a man needs to fear when he knows that in no affliction will there be any trace of the judicial anger of God, but all will come from a Father’s hand, and work his lasting good? Goliah had greaves of brass upon his legs, but he is better armed who wears a full assurance of peace with God through the gospel; he shall tread down his enemies, and crush them as grapes in the winepress. His stores shall be iron and brass, and shod with them he shall stand upon the high places of the earth, and his feet shall not slip. Achilles received a deadly wound in the heel, but no arrow can pierce the heel of the man whose foot is sandalled with reconciliation by stoning blood. Many a warrior has fainted on the march and dropped from the ranks exhausted, but no weariness of the way can happen to the man who is upheld by the eternal God, for his strength shall daily be renewed.

The preparation of the gospel of peace here mentioned must be understood to comprehend more than the legal peace of justification by faith: if we would enjoy the fullest comfort of the well-shod pilgrim we must have the’ exceeding peace which springs from intimate, undisturbed communion with God. We should pray not only to feel that we have been brought out of our natural enmity into peace with God, so as to be no more culprits but children, but also to dwell in the full joy Of our new relationship. It is a sweet thing for a child of God to feel that he is so acting that his heavenly Father has no reason for walking contrary to him. You know right well that as a child of God you will not be condemned and cast away as an alien, but you also know that as a child you may greatly displease your Father, and render it needful for him to frown upon you and visit you with stripes; now this you should with the utmost diligence and prayerfulness labor to prevent. There are times when the Lord of pilgrims hides his face from them in sore displeasure, and then it is very hard traveling. Life is “a great and terrible wilderness” when the Lord’s presence is withdrawn. The more a man loves the Lord the more does he suffer when there is a temporary suspension of happy communion between his soul and heaven, and he cannot be happy again till he knows that he is fully restored to the paternal favor. Oh, child of God, you will very soon have your feet torn with the briars of the way if you do not abide in fellowship with God. When Adam had lost his oneness with God he found out that he was naked, and so will you if you lose your communion with Jesus. Where before you dashed onward as with a charmed life, treading the world and all its cares beneath your feet, you will find yourself pierced with many sorrows, bleeding with acute griefs, scratched, torn, lacerated with trials, losses, crosses and annoyances endless. If we continue in the love of Jesus, pleasing him in all things, jealously watching and carefully observing his will, our mind will be kept by the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, and our road to heaven will be a pleasant one: it may indeed be very rough in itself and in the judgment of others, but it will be so smoothed to us by the peace which reigns within that we shall glory in infirmity, exult in suffering, and triumph in distress, knowing that the Lord is with us, and no harm can come unto us. Thus you see that the peace which comes of justification, and the fuller peace which arises from enjoying the love of God, are a grand preparation for our life’s journey, a shoe for the foot unrivaled in excellence.

It is also a grand sandal for a pilgrim’s foot when the gospel of peace has fully conformed his mind to the Lord’s will. Some children of God are not at peace with God because they do not fully acquiesce in the divine purposes; to them the pilgrim path must be a painful one, for nothing can please them, their unmortified self-will creates swarms of vexations for them; but to hearts which have crucified self, and yielded all to the will of God, the most thorny paths are pleasant. He who can say concerning all things, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight,” is shod for all ways and’ weathers, and may .march on undismayed. Fully conformed to the divine will, saints are invulnerable and invincible, “none shall be weary nor stumble among them, neither shall the latchet of their shoes be broken.”

“They hold by nothing here below.
Appoint their journey and they go;
Through joy or grief they march the same,
Triumphant still in Jesu’s name.”

Surely it is when the heart is completely at one with God that the true beauty of the Christian character is seen. Then it is that the heavenly Bridegroom cries out, “How beautiful are thy feet with shocks, O prince’s daughter.” Then, too, the church in her tribulation becomes bright and glorious, like her Lord, of whom we read, “His feet are like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace.” Shod with perfect delight in the will of the Lord, we are able to surmount all the difficulties and trials of the way, for it becomes sweet to suffer when we see that it is the will of God. Resignation is good, but perfect acquiescence is better, and happy, thrice happy is the man who feels it. :No silver sandals were ever so precious, no buskins of golden mail adorned with precious stones were so glorious to look upon as a mind moulded to the divine will, perfectly in tune with the mind of the Lord most High.

The preparation of the gospel of peace, you thus see, is, in many aspects, the fittest help for our journey to the promised land, and he who has his feet shod with it need not fear the flinty ways, the craggy rocks, or the thorny defiles.

But the gospel of peace has another side to it, for it not only brings us peace with God, but it inspires us with peace towards ourselves. Civil war is the worst of war, and for a man to be at discord with himself is the worst of strife; the worst peril of Christian pilgrimage is that which arises from the pilgrim’s own self, and if he be ill at ease within himself, his course cannot be a happy one. The prayer of the evening hymn is very suggestive,

“That with the world, myself, and thee,
I, e’er I sleep, at peace may be.”

It is a most needful matter to have peace at home. It is a cruel case for a man when his own heart condemns him; to whom shall he look for a defense when his own conscience indicts him, and all his faculties turn king’s evidence against him? It is to be feared that many believers habitually do that which they would not like to be questioned upon by the rule of the word of God; they have to close their eyes to many passages of Scripture, or else they would be uneasy in their consciences. Brethren, this makes wretched traveling; it is like walking through a wood with naked feet. If you cannot satisfy your own heart that you are right, you are in a sad case indeed, and the sooner matters are altered the better. But if a man can say, before the living God, “I know that what I am about to do is right; and whatever comes of it, I have a pure motive, and the Lord’s sanction to sustain me in it,” then he proceeds to action with a nimble tread. Such a pilgrim is girt for roughest ways, and will hold on his way joyfully to the end. Rest of conscience shoes us right well, but a question as to the rightness of our procedure makes us barefooted. Come what may, if we order our ways with reverent regard to the Lord’s commands, we shall be able to confront the future with serenity, for we shall not have to accuse ourselves of bringing ourselves into trouble by sin, or losing our joys by indulging in forbidden things. When the believer falls into any trouble through having been zealous for God, then may he spread his complaint before God, with the full expectation that he will bring him out of all his difficulties, for is it not written, “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord, not one of his steps shall slide”? Oh, to walk in such a way that your conscience is void of offense both towards God and towards man; then integrity and uprightness will preserve you, and your goings will be established. :’ He keepeth the feet of his saints.” “He shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

While traveling through the mazes of life, another form of the preparation of the gospel of peace will be of essential service to us, namely, peace with our fellow men. The gospel of peace leads us into the closest bonds of amity with our fellow believers, although, alas, it is not always possible to prevent offenses arising, even with the best of them. If we cannot make all our brethren amiable we are at least to be at peace on our side, and, if we succeed in this, no great disagreement can arise, for it always needs two to make a quarrel. It is well to go to bed every night, feeling I have no difference in my soul with any one of the members of Christ’s body, I wish well to every one, and love them all in my heart. This would enable us to travel in right royal style over fields which now are often stony with controversy, and thorny with prejudice. Theological conflicts, and ecclesiastical squabbles would utterly disappear if we were shod with the true spirit of the gospel of peace. An unwillingness to think hardly of any Christian brother is a sandal most easy to the foot, protecting it from many a thorn. Wear it in the church, wear it in all holy service, wear it in all intercourse with Christian men, and you will find your way amongst the brethren greatly smoothed; you will win their love and esteem ere long, and avoid a world of jealousy and opposition which would otherwise have impeded your course.

It is well to travel girt with this shoe of peace with all mankind. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” It is barely possible, but aim at it, and if you do not perfectly succeed try again. Unconverted men will not love your religion, for they are carnal; that you cannot help, but you must love them, carnal an they are, and by degrees you may win them to love both you and your Lord. ]f they will not live peaceably with you, yet give them your love, and live peaceably with them. Be not easily provoked, bear and forbear, forgive and love on, return good for evil, seek to benefit even the most unthankful, and you will travel to heaven in the pleasantest possible manner. Hatred, and envy, and persecution may come, but a loving spirit materially blunts their edge, and oftentimes inherits the promise, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” If you have to feel, “Now I am going this part of the journey with the view of avenging a wrong,” you will not journey pleasantly or safely; but if from the depth of your soul you can say, “When Christ made peace with God for me, he made peace between me and my bitterest foe,” you will march on like a hero. Travel through the world an a sincere philanthropist, with your feet shod with love to all of woman born, and your course will be happy and honorable. God grant us that loving spirit which comes of free grace, and is the work of the Holy Spirit, for that is a mystic sandal which gives wings to the feet, and lightens a weary road.

Having thus described these gospel shoes, I should like to say that the feet of our Lord and Master were sandalled in this manner. He was the king of pilgrims, and to him the way was even rougher than it can be to us; but these were the shoes he wore, and having worn them he counsels us to put on the like. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you,” saith he. Evermore while he dwelt in this world he was in fellowship with God; he could truly say, “I came not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. He that sent me is with me. I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” Ever did he seek the good of his chosen, “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end.” And as for his enemies, he had only prayers and tears for them; he was at peace with all above, around, and within him. That peaceableness of his, that wonderful serenity, was one of the marvelous points in his character. You never find him worried, disturbed, flustered. No, that is our infirmity, because we put our shoes off and are taken by surprise, but his feet were always shod: he dwelt in perfect peace, and therefore he was the grandest pilgrim and the noblest worker. We cannot need to be better shod than our Lord was; let us sandal our hearts with his peace, and we shall be royally prepared for our journey.

I may add that these shoes are such as will last all our journey through. We feel most comfortable in our old shoes, for they fit the foot so well, but they will wear out at last: these shoes of my text are old, yet ever new, and are like those which Israel wore in the wilderness, of which it is said, “Thy foot did not swell, neither did thy shoes wax old upon thee.” The everlasting gospel yields us everlasting peace. The good news from heaven never grows stale, neither will the peace which it brings ever become like the Gibeonites “old shoes and clouted.” The man who wears the preparation of the gospel of peace was comforted by it when he was young, and it still cheers him in his later days; it made him a good traveler when he first set out, and it will protect his last footsteps when he crosses the river Jordan, and climbs the celestial hills.

Friends, are ye all thus booted for your life-journey? See ye well to it.

II. We come now to our second business: LET US TRY ON THESE SHOES.

Here our joy is great to find that they fit perfectly, and need no tugging and straining to draw them on. By a miracle more strange than magic the preparation of the gospel of peace suits every foot, whether it be that of a babe in grace, or a strong man in Christ Jesus. No man can travel well, much less engage in battle successfully, unless his dress is comfortable, especially that part of it which relates to the feet, and here we have the grand advantage that no foot was ever uneasy when once it had put on this shoe. Mephibosheths who have been lame in both feet even from their birth have found this shoe work miracles, and cause them to leap as harts upon the mountains. The gospel of peace helps all our infirmities, heals all the wounds of our old sins, and suits itself to all our tender places. Whatever the weakness may be, the gospel provides for it; whatever the distress, its peace relieves it. Other shoes have their pinching places, but he that wears the preparation of the gospel of peace shall know no strait-ness of spirit, for the gospel gives rest to our minds. Real gospel, really believed, means real peace. That which disturbs us is something alien to the spirit of the gospel, but the spirit of Christ is the spirit of peace. Who would not wear such a shoe?

The preparation of the gospel of peace is a wonderful shoe for giving its wearer a firm foothold. Surely it was of this shoe that Habakkuk sung when he said, “The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” When persons are on slippery rocks, or dangerous eminences, where a fall would be fatal, it is well to be so shod that the feet can get grip and hold. Nothing aids a man to stand fast in the Lord like the peace of the gospel. Many professors are very soon thrown over; they are attacked with doctrinal error, and they yield readily; they are assailed by temptation, and their feet go from under them; but the man who has perfect peace with God, and who relies upon the Most High, shall never be moved, for the Lord up hold eth him. His shoes have driven themselves into eternal verities, and hold like anchors. Tell him the atonement is not true, preach up to him the bloodless neology of modern thought, and he ridicules the ineffectual attempt, because he knows whom he has believed, and feels a heavenly peace within flowing from the substitutionary sacrifice. Tell him that the doctrines of grace are a mistake, that salvation is all of free will and man’s merit; and he says, “Nay, but I know better. I know the doctrines of sovereign grace to be true by experience; I know I am God’s chosen; I know that I am called, I know that I am justified, for I know that I have peace with God, as the result of all these.” You cannot move him an inch, his creed is interwoven with his personal consciousness, and there is no arguing him out of it. In these days of skepticism, when no man seems to have any resting place, it is well to be so shod that you can and do stand on the truth, and cannot be blown about like thistledown in the breeze.

The shoe of our text is equally famous for its suitability for marching in the ways of daily duty. Soldiers have little time for contemplating the comfort of their shoes, or their fitness for mere standing, for they have daily marchings to perform. We, too, have our march-lugs, and as far as some of us are concerned they are no mere parades, but heavy marches, involving stern toil and protracted effort. A soul at perfect peace with God is in a fit state for the severest movements. A sense of pardoned sin, and reconciliation with God, fits us for anything and everything. When the burden of sin is gone all other burdens are light. Since we are no longer on the road to hell the roughest places of our pilgrimage do not distress us. In every sphere a heart at perfect peace with God is the soundest preparation for progress, and the surest support under trials, Try on these shoes, my brethren, and see if they do not enable you to run without weariness, and walk without fainting. All earth cannot find their like, they are unrivaled, they make men like the angels, to whom duty is delight.

These gospel shoes are also an effectual preservative from all the ordinary roughnesses of the road of life, although to most of us it is far from smooth. He who expects to find a grassy walk all the way to heaven well mown and rolled, or looks for a highway levelled by a steam-roller, will be sorrowfully mistaken. The way is rugged, like the goat tracks of Engedi, and oftentimes so narrow and so far on high that the eagle’s eye cannot discern it, the blood of former pilgrims stains the way to glory; yet from all perils to our feet the preparation of the gospel of peace will guard us, from fears within and rightings without gospel peace will surely deliver us. Perhaps we are more vexed with little trials than with great ones, certainly we bear them with far less equanimity; but a peaceful heart protects alike from tiny thorns and terrible rocks. Everyday vexations as well as extraordinary tribulations we shall bear cheerfully when the peace of God keeps our heart and mind.

Beloved, this shoe is also good for climbing. Do you ever practice the holy art of spiritual climbing, God’s blessed Spirit leading the way? Do you ever climb Mount Tabor to be transfigured with your Master? Have you watched with him one hour, and seen his conflict and his victory? Have you ever looked from Pisgah’s glorious heights upon the goodly land and Lebanon, anticipating the glory to be revealed? Has your spirit ever been away there alone in mysterious communings with God upon the Hermons? I trust you know what climbing work means, and that you have enjoyed rapt ecstatic fellowship with Jesus Christ; but of this I am sure, you can never mount on high if your feet are not shod with the peace of God. Unshod with these sacred sandals, there is no climbing. Only those who delight themselves in the Lord God shall ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in his holy place.

The heart prepared by peace with God is shod suitably for rushing as well as climbing. There are periods when all our energies must be put forth, and we must rush forward at the heroic pace, for at certain passages in life’s campaign things must be carried by storm, and every faculty must dash forward at its swiftest speed. We cannot at all times keep up the swiftness which, nevertheless, is occasionally required of us, but the man for a push and a dash is he whose soul abides in peace. Troubled in heart our foot is blistered, our knee is weak, and our movements are painfully slow, but the joy of the Lord is our strength, and in the power of it we become like Asahel, fleet of foot as a young roe. Try on these shoes, my limping brother! What say you?

Lastly, this shoe is good for fighting; and that I gather from Paul having put it among the armor. In the old style, fighting meant hand to hand and foot to foot, and then it was needful for the feet to be well protected, and indeed so well covered over as to be useful in assault, for the warriors spurned with their feet as well as smote with their hands, and many a foe was placed hots de combat with a heavy kick. Christian men are expected to fight with their feet in the battle against sin and Satan, indeed they must fight with all their powers and faculties. That grand promise has been given us, “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” What a tread we will give him when we once have the opportunity! We shall need to have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace to break that old dragon’s head, and grind his snares to powder, and, God helping us, we shall do it. Our covenant head has trampled on the old serpent, and so shall all his members.

Let this suffice concerning these shoes; but a serious question suggests itself to me. Are there not some of you who have to travel to eternity, and yet have no shoes for the journey? How can the unconverted man hope to reach heaven when he has no shoe to his foot? How will he bear the troubles of life, the temptations of the flesh, and the trials of death? I pray you unconverted ones look at yourselves, and at the way, and see how impossible it is for you to accomplish the journey unless you go to Jesus and obtain from him the grace which will make you pilgrims to glory. Go, I pray you, and find peace in him, and then your life-journey shall be happy and safe, and the end eternal joy, for your feet will be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

A BIT FOR THE BOYS.

BY C, H. SPURGEON.

BLESS their hearts, I had forgotten the boys till one of their number wrote to tell me that he always liked to read the magazine, but sometimes wished I would say a word to him and those of his own age. I am right glad that the boys do read The Sword and the Trowel; indeed, I take it as one of the highest compliments which could be passed upon my editorial labors. Do you know, boys, some great swell who did not like my plain way of speaking once took the trouble to write and tell me he had met with some poor negroes who were reading my sermons with great delight, and for his part he did not wonder at it, he said, for in his wise opinion, my discourses were just such as ignorant black people would be sure to relish. No doubt he thought I should have a terrible fit of the blues after that slap in the face, but instead thereof I was as jubilant as I knew how to be, and praised God with my whole heart, because even an enemy admitted that the Lord had taught me how to reach the hearts of the poor. It is very clear that what ignorant blacks can understand the intelligent whites may understand if they like; and so I gathered that my sermons were clear enough to be understood by anybody who was not so conceited as to darken his own mind with pride. Now, if boys read The Sword and the Trowel it cannot be said to shoot over people’s heads, nor can it be said to be very dull and dreary.

But, boys, what shall I say to you? You are growing up, and will soon be men, and therefore I will not write to amuse you, for you are getting out of that, but will ask you to put on your considering caps and be sober for a few minutes. I hear that you think yourselves too old to go to Sundayschool, now that you are getting on to fifteen or more. Well, there’s something in that! Of course you do not want to learn the same elementary things as when you were quite children; you almost feel your whiskers coming through, and therefore you are conscious of becoming young men, and therefore do not want to be treated like babies! I say again, there is something in that! But I do not think there is very much. I think many boys make great donkeys of themselves by trying to be men before they are so. I have smiled at them myself, and wondered how they could be so absurd. Their little stick-up collars, and other silly mimicries of older folks, make them look like mannequins, and not at all like men: they might have made first-class boys, but as men they are very third-rate indeed. Caesar thought he would rather be first man in a village than second in Rome; and I think I would rather be first among boys than be the last joint in the tail of the hobbledehoys, who are neither men nor boys. A word to the wise will be sufficient here.

So you feel too old to be with your teacher any longer? Well, what do you mean to do? Will it not be well to ask admission into a senior class? With a superior teacher such a class will be of great service to you, even for years to come, and you need never feel that you are beyond it, till you become a teacher yourself, or engage in some other work. It is well to be either taught or teaching, and it is best of all to be both a scholar and a teacher throughout the whole of life. We have classes at the Tabernacle in which there are men of thirty and forty, and I remember one dear old boy of eighty who was the pet of one of the classes, and one of the happiest scholars of the whole bunch. If you can get into such a class you will never feel that you are too old for it. A man who is too old to learn is a great stupid; he may think himself a knowing one, but he knows nothing aright, or he would have a teachable spirit. Don’t get notions into your head that you are a somebody, or else I shall be sure you are a nobody. Stick to the old class as long as you can, and when in all soberness you feel that you have outgrown it, then find a better; ask the superintendent about it, or consult your pastor, and something will soon be done for you, at least I hope so.

I earnestly trust that you are not trying in a side way to leave the school altogether. If you mean that, say so, and look the matter in the face, but do not begin finding fault with the teacher and the school, merely because you want to make an excuse for taking yourself off. I have heard of lads who have gone out walking on Sabbath afternoons, because they were too big for Sunday-school, and I very sincerely hope that you are not bent on the same folly. Perhaps you say to me, “What’s the harm of walking out on Sunday?” Well, I will tell you. I have seen some of the best lads I ever knew, whom I really hoped were converted, who have taken to this walking business, and not one of them is now worth a button, for any good purpose whatever. My hope was that by this time they would have been among my best workers, flourishing in business and happy in the service of God, but it is not so. The day they left the house of God for “pleasant strolls” was the day of their doom; they became by degrees careless, idle, boastful, loose in talk and loose in life, and made Satan more and more their lord. Whether a thing is bad or not may be seen by its fruit, and there’s the fruit of being “too old for Sunday schools and classes.” Now, I am sure you do not mean this. You would be sorry to grow up to be despisers of God, and holy things, and therefore I charge you do not take the step which in almost every case leads to such an end.

You have now come to a sort of turning point in the road of life, and it will be well to pause and take matters into account before you go one way or another. Perhaps some very doubtful companion is in a hurry for your answer, — let him wait. He would not stand it any longer, he says, but what is that to you, do not be led by the nose by him. Satan tells you that the way of the world and sin is the road to happiness, and to hear idle boys and girls laugh you might almost think so; but looking on a little closer it does not turn out to be so. Did you never notice how hollow the laughing of ungodly young men always sounds? An old friend of mine used to make jokes in which nobody could see the fun but himself, and I have heard friends whisper to one another, “Why don’t you laugh? Try and laugh and please the good old soul.” But you know it was very awkward to have to laugh to order, and that is just what most of the gay people in the world do, they mimic mirth, and have hardly a taste of real joy. All is not gold that glitters, and there is a kind of glitter which says as plainly as it can, “This is not gold, but I want you to think it is.” It is a silly fish that jumps at every bait; do you wait a while, and look before you leap. If on the whole it would be best to give up all good things and live a wicked life, and die a wretched death, and be lost for ever, you can do all that without being in such a dreadful hurry. Do look about you, and use all the wits you have, so that when your choice is made it may be done with your eyes open, and you may not be quite like the pigs which the farmer carries to any market he likes.

When I was just fifteen, I believed in the Lord Jesus, was baptized, and joined the church of Christ, and nothing upon earth would please me more than to hear that those! am writing to had been led to do the same. It is twenty-five years ago now, and I have never been sorry for what I then did; no, not even once. I have had plenty of time to think it over, and many temptations to try some other course, and if I had found out that I had been deceived or had made a gross blunder I would have made a change before now, and would do my best to prevent others from falling into the same delusion. I tell you, boys, the day I gave myself up to the Lord Jesus to be his servant was the very best day of my life; then I began to be safe and to be happy; then I found out the secret of living, and had a worthy object for my life’s exertions, and an unfailing comfort for life’s troubles. Because I would wish every boy who reads these lines to have a bright eye, a light tread, a joyful heart and overflowing spirits, I therefore plead with him to consider whether he will not follow my example, for I speak from experience, and know what I say. Once as I stood musing at a window I saw a fly upon it, and made a brush with my hand to catch it. When I opened my hand the fly was not inside, but still in the same place on the glass. Scarcely thinking what I did, I made another rush with my hand, and thought I had captured the insect, but with the same result ; — there was the victim, quietly retaining his place in spite of me. It was on the other side of the glass, and when I saw that it was so, I smiled at my own folly. Those who attempt to find pleasure out of Christ will experience a like failure, for they are seeking on the wrong side of the glass. When we are on the side of Jesus, and, having believed in him, are cleansed and forgiven, then our pursuit of joy will be successful, but till then we shall labor in vain, and spend our strength for nought It is of no use digging for coal where the geological strata show that there cannot be any, and equally useless is it to try after happiness where God’s word and the experience of those who have gone before us assure us that happiness cannot be found. But then it is all the more needful that we should seek it where it can be had, and give ourselves at once to the search. He who believes in the Lord Jesus is blessed in the deed. What hinders you from so believing? Boys, why should you not, while yet you are boys, believe in the Lord Jesus unto salvation? May the Spirit of God lead you to do so.

We are looking to you, boys, for our future teachers, deacons, elders, and ministers. As a general rule, I find that the best working Christians were converted when they were young. A tree which has been long planted is the more likely to bring forth much fruit. Our great Captain has found some of his bravest marshals among those soldiers who began as drummer boys in the army. It is not possible to begin serving the Lord too soon; if we would be eminently useful, the earliest moment is upon all accounts the best. To whom are we to look for successors to ourselves and your fathers but to the uprising race of our sons? The grand old banner of the gospel has been carried by your sires unto this day, will you not uphold it as they have done? Soon must we pass away, for our hair is turning white; it will be our greatest joy if we shall know that our sons will take care that the Lord’s work goes on. It Will make our hearts leap within us if we see you enlisted in the army of the bleeding Savior; but if you prove false to your fathers’ God, it were better for you and for us that you had never been born. Do not imagine that you cannot now be Christians; the gifts of our heavenly Father’s love are not reserved for a certain age: boys may be saved, boys may be workers for Jesus, boys may bring great glory to God. Hence it is that just now, at this particular turning point in your lives, we are anxious to see you resolute for the right way. May the Holy Spirit incline you to resolve to be the Lord’s. Others may despise your conscientious choice and make mirth of your holy carefulness, but what matters it? Some of us have been laughed at for these twenty years, and are none the worse for it; we have had all manner of evil spoken falsely of us for Christ’s name’s sake, but we are all the happier for it. Oh, boys, if you are renewed in heart, and become for life and death the Redeemer’s, none can really harm you; all must be right with him who is right with God.

Hold on, then, to the school, and when you cease to be taught, become teachers. Hold on by the Sabbath-services, and all the ordinances of the house of the Lord, and say like Ruth to Naomi, “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.”

Since I wrote the above paragraphs I met with a capital book, entitled “The Children’s Hour,” by Mr. Charles Bruce, f1 and it occurred to me that one of its very telling chapters would just piece in with mine, and might do you good. I have put it in small type, for my space is precious and your eyes are good.

“In a green and fruitful valley, formed by two high hills, stood a cottage, covered with ivy and honey-suckle, and with the monthly rose growing near the door. Its roof was a thatch of yellow straw; its walls were brick and cement, whitewashed over, and the door of good stout oak. The front windows of the cottage looked into a small flower garden, and from thence down the village street; the door and windows at the back opened into an orchard of fruit trees, and beyond them into green meadows.

“When the morning sun peeped over one of the two hills it flooded the cottage and all around it with bright light; and when it sunk to rest behind the other, the evening sky was flushed with rosy splendor, and its last beams lingered on some of its windows. In the quiet hush of evening, or the still deeper solemn hush of night, could be faintly heard the everlasting moan of the restless sea as its waters beat upon the shore miles and miles away. “The rooms of this cottage were plainly but tastefully furnished; carpets were spread upon the floor, curtains arranged at the windows, books scattered over the tables, and a few choice paintings and water-colored drawings hung on the walls, representing incidents of heroic adventure and achievement. On a table in the best room stood a curiously made lamp, but not burning; either there was no oil or some one had neglected to trim and light it.

“In this cottage dwelt a handsome youth, with blue eyes, golden hair, and delicate skin; he had attained to that age when the boy was merging, or rather growing into the young man, and began to feel all the restless impulses and ambitions which mark that period of life. He had lived all his life in the cottage, but until very recently had never thoroughly realized that the cottage and all it contained was his own. Now, however, he was very proud to be able to call it his, and took great pleasure in adorning and making it beautiful; since the fact of ownership had dawned clearly upon his mind, he it was who had hung the pictures on the wall and scattered the books upon the tables. He was never weary of walking from room to room, saying to himself, ‘ This is all mine!’ He would gaze upon the pictures and long to do deeds as brave as were there depicted, deeds that should live in song and story; and he would dream and dream of what he would achieve when he went out into the world to do his life’s work, until the walls of the cottage seemed to fall away, and the whole world was spread out before him, and ha saw himself doing some heroic action among the tumultuous shouts of throngs of innumerable people.

“But always, in the interval between each dream, he heard a knocking at the front door of the cottage, and always, as he inclined his ear and listened, he would think of his untrimmed lamp, and perhaps take it from the table, while be murmured, ‘ I ought to open the door.’ But straightway he would push the lamp on one side, saying, ‘ Time enough yet! I will dream one more dream!’ Then the knocking would cease.

“One day, when he had grown tired and dissatisfied with his dreaming — for, however pleasant, there is little satisfaction to be derived from mere dreams — the knocking sounded louder than ever at the door, so loud, indeed, that it quite disturbed him, so much so that he determined to open it and let the applicant in, but before doing so thought it would be as well to trim his lamp. Now when he took the lamp into his hand, and began to examine it, be found it had grown quite dim, and in one or two places even a speak of rust appeared; not liking his visitor to see it in that condition, he took a piece of leather and set to work to clean it.

“While rubbing away at this self-imposed task, the youth fancied he saw a group of gaily-dressed young men pass the window, while their shouts of merry laughter seemed to float musically on his ear; discarding his lamp, he rushed to the window to make sure his eyes and ears has not played him false; but by the time he reached it the group had vanished, and all he saw was a travel-stained man, standing patiently knocking at the door. Immediately after a loud knocking was heard at the back of the cottage, and loud voices demanding admittance. Neglecting the weary traveler at the front, he hurried from the room, and throwing wide open the back door, bade were there to enter, and they should receive a most hearty welcome. In answer to this invitation a troupe of gaily-dressed, brighteyed, frolicsome youths stepped in, bearing in their hands, and on their heads, flagons of wine and baskets of grapes, these were followed by young damsels playing tambourines and rattling castanets, laughing and dancing as they came.

“Soon the whole cottage resounded with boisterous mirth. The first thing the merry youths did on entering was to seize upon the half cleaned lamp, and throwing it from one to another, ridicule its shape, its make, its color, the purpose for which it was made, and the folly of retaining so useless an article, until its owner grew quite red with shame, and snatching it from one of the group threw it into a disused cupboard, whereat the laugh grew louder, the lest broader, and the merriment more uproarious. Wine was drunk, songs were sung, and dances were danced.

“The owner of the cottage tripped it gaily with the rest, drank as deeply and laughed as loudly, while in his heart he said, ‘ This is just what I wanted; I got tired of dreaming; I wanted excitement; I wanted merriment; I wanted to enjoy life: this is life!’

“And the drinking, and the song, and the dance went on; they became intoxicated, they grew mad with merriment. The knocking at the door was unheeded, indeed, never heard; or perhaps the weary applicant had gone away. The hours sped swiftly on, and it was far into the night ere the merry group took their departure, leaving their host fast asleep in bed.

“At midnight, when the young man had slept off some of the fumes of the wine which had mounted to his brain, he suddenly awoke. The room was in total darkness, and all seemed as silent as the grave; indeed, he could only hear the roaring of the distant sea, but that served only to make the silence seem deeper, while it sent a thrill of fear through his heart, for there was a rumor which had floated to his ears to the effect that one day that sea would burst upon the village and wash it away. Suddenly he was startled by hearing a knock at the door! He sat up in bed to listen. Yes, his ears had not deceived him; there it was again! clear and distinct it fell upon his ear, one long continuous knocking. Surely it must be the traveler he saw there in the morning. Should he get up to let him in? No, he was ashamed; he knew he had been unkind and neglectful in not opening the door before. So he buried his face in the pillow, and threw the bedclothes over his head, that he might not hear.

“Morning light usually brings reflection, and as the light of the sun poured into his room the young man thought how foolish he had been to waste a whole day in boisterous mirth when the time might have been turned to a far better purpose. And as he thought thus, there came the traveler’s knock at the front door, but ere he could move to open it he heard the merry shouts and the loud summons of his yesterday’s companions. For a moment he hesitated which of the applicants he should let in, he felt that both could not, or would not, enter at the same time; if the traveler entered, his merry friends would depart; and if they entered the traveler would cease his knocking. Mean- while both were growing importunate.

“‘ I think,’ murmured the young man, slowly pacing backward and forward, now to one door and now to another; ‘ I think I will just speak to my merry friends, and tell them I can no more entertain them; yes, that will be best. Afterwards I can let in the traveler.’

“He opened the back door, but before he could utter a word, in trooped the gay throng with laughter, and song, and dance, and yesterday’s scenes were enacted over again. Day after day, day after day, the same gay troupe paid their visit, to the young man, who never hesitated now to. open the door to them and bid them welcome: he ceased to pay any attention to the other knock, and, indeed, he but seldom heard it. Sometimes at night, when he awoke from a fevered sleep, it would fall upon his ear, but at those times he would bury himself in bed that he might not hear.

“At last he grew weary of his gay friends, he became sad in the midst of all their fun and jollity; their wine, and song, and dance lost their charm and freshness, they grew stale and unexciting, so much so that, one morning when the troupe pard their accustomed visit, he disregarded their knocking, and, instead, said to himself, ‘I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it? ‘ And as the words fell from his lips he heard a knock at the front door.

“‘ Is it the traveler again? ‘ he exclaimed, starting up; ‘no, no, I cannot let him in, I have other things to do;! must live down this folly, and realize some of my early dreams.’

“Now as he looked up at the pictures on the wall, to recall those youthful dreams to his mind, he found them half defaced by wine stains, and some even torn. ‘ See what my folly has done!’ he exclaimed; ‘ my pictures are spoiled, their freshness is gone, I can scarcely make out their subjects. Fool, fool, that I am!’

“ The knock at the front door sounded louder and louder.

“‘ I will put an end to all this folly, I will win me a name ;’ and so saying the young man rushed from the room, and opening the back door, darted right through his gay friends, unheeding their cries, and sped like the wind down the valley.

“The cottage remained empty for years. The traveler still occasionally returned to the door and knocked, but only the hollow echo of his own knocking replied to him. Every now and again news of the .young man found its way to the village. He had become a soldier, and was winning renown on the distant battle-field, his deeds of prowess and valor were recited at many a fireside, his bravery became the theme of story and song, and the Queen conferred high honors upon him; and people looked upon him with admiration, and sometimes even with envy, because of his fame.

“One evening, in the still twilight, he returned to his cottage. ‘ How many years have passed since I last entered here!’ he said to himself as he paused upon the threshold, and peered into the rooms. ‘ How narrow and contracted the rooms appear, how dull and uninteresting! I declare,’ he continued, entering,’ all the pictures are faded, and the furniture faded and covered with mildew. I have had no time to see to things, they have all gone to rack and ruin. And what have I gained since I was last in this room? I have done great deeds, men have bestowed fame and honor upon my name. I have become a power in the ].and. Yet I am not satisfied, I want something else.’

“And as he thus communed with himself, he was startled by a low, but clear and distinct, knock at the door.

“‘ Ah!’ he exclaimed, starting and looking round, “it must be that traveler come again, — I know his knock.’

“The knock was followed by a sweet voice of entreaty, requesting admittance and rest for the night, promising to repay a hundredfold all labor and expense.

“‘ I wonder,’ said the inmate, ‘ where my lamp is! I feel half inclined to open the door!’

“While he stood hesitating, with one hand half extended towards the door, a stranger entered the room from the back of the cottage, the door having been left unlatched. This stranger wore robes of embroidered gold, with buttons of gold, and with diamond studs in his shirt front, and diamond rings on his fingers; and as he walked, he rustled crisp bank notes in his pocket, and jingled his gold and silver coins. The face of this stranger was the worst feature about him, it was hard and seamed with wrinkles, and yellowish in hue, while his eyes had a cold metallic glitter in them.

“He touched the owner of the cottage upon the shoulder, saying, ‘So you are tired of winning fame, of seeking ‘“ bubble reputation at the cannon’s mouth;” come with me and you shall win riches, wealth, untold gold; the race of wealth never tires, it always brings satisfaction.’

“‘ But I must open this door,” ‘ said the owner,’ hark at the knocking.’

“‘ Time enough to open that when you return replied the stranger; ‘ besides, you will be able to entertain him better when you are rich. Come! ‘

“And the man arose and went; and very speedily became thoroughly absorbed in his search after wealth, it became quite a fever, a passion with him; and it was very instructive to observe that the more money he gained the more he wanted, the more he grasped at. He heaped it up in piles in his cottage, every room contained money, gold; but some of it was wet with tears, and some even red with blood, for it had been wrung from the widow and the orphan, and it had caused the death of more than one; still it was gold, gold, gold! and it was gold the man craved for, gold his eyes gloated over, gold that his fingers so eagerly clutched. He grew old and feeble in this pursuit of wealth, his flesh wasted, his skin wrinkled, his joints became stiff. And when he became too old to gather more, he retired to his cottage, to feast his eyes upon what he had already heaped together.

“But one night, while, as usual, he sat counting his money, he felt a strange sensation steal over him, he scarcely knew what it was; it was a kind of want, an inward craving, which his gold could not meet and satisfy; neither could those sheets of newspaper, and stars and crosses which he had hung up about the room, and which told of his deeds of valor and the fame that had been heaped upon his name; neither could the recollection of those days of mirth and mad revelry, though they stood out clear before him, serve to satisfy this craving want which increased more and more.

“In the midst of his despair he heard once again the knock at the front door Had the traveler returned who had promised him rest and peace? He started from his chair, and, with head bent forward, listened to hear it once more! How solemn the silence! He heard the ‘click clack, click clack, click clack’ of the clock, and glancing involuntarily up at it he saw it was nearly twelve o’clock He heard the hoarse roaring of the distant sea ] Distant? Why, it seemed almost at his very doors, and sounded as though it was coming nearer and nearer every moment. What could it mean? Then, too, a wind began to rise, at first like a moan, and then like a shrill wail, then it increased in volume, and tone, and violence; it beat furiously on the walls of the cottage, it rattled at the windows — oh, it was a fearful wind!

“But through all the noise and turmoil came the clear, low knock to the listener’s ear. ‘ My lamp, my lamp, where is my lamp?’ cried the man, ‘ I must open the door! ‘ He routed everywhere for his long discarded lamp, but could not find it. The storm outside was increasing; in despair he rushed to the door, to throw it open and admit the supplicant. Fancy the man’s agony of terror when he found he could not open the door! He was too feeble, and the door had remained too long closed; it resisted his utmost efforts.

“For the key was stiffly rusty,
And the bolt was clogged and dusty;
Many-fingered ivy-vine
Sealed it fast with twist and twine;
Weeds of years and years before
Choke the passage of that door!

How the man tugged and pulled, how he cried, ‘ O angels, sweep the drifts away — unbar my door.’ How despair lent him energy and strength; how he shouted again and yet again, ‘Push, traveler, push, the door only sticks.’ But there was no voice to answer, and the knocking had ceased, the applicant had gone away never to return. Too long. had the door remained unbarred, it was never to open now.

“While the man was still vainly trying to pull it open, and just as the clock struck twelve, a mighty gust of wind, and a huge, fierce wave from the encroaching sea, together dashed against the cottage and swept it, man and all; away into the storm, and darkness, and night.

“And there was heard a noise as of weeping and wailing.”

NUTS TO CRACK

THE Christian is one who is to be plainly seen, and yet his life is hidden; he is a man in the world, but not a man of the world; he converses with other men, and yet his conversation is in heaven.

He is one who lives to die, and dies to live; yet he is dead while he lives, and lives when he dies.

He is one who lives in another, and for another; he seeks not himself when he aims most at his own good; God is his all, and his all is God; he aims at no end but the glory of God, of which there is no end.

Chap 10. DECEMBER, 1874.

THE SWORD THE TROWEL

DECEMBER, 1874.

A DOUBLE KNOCK AT THE DOOR OF
THE YOUNG.

BY C. H. SPURGEON.

“I have a message from God unto thee.” — Judges 3:20.

My message is not sharp and deadly like that of Ehud, who when he had pronounced the words drove at once his dagger into the heart of the tyrant king. That was the sharp message from God to him. Mine is a message not of death but of life. It anything be killed by it, I trust it may be that sin which otherwise would have killed us. Young man, young woman, “I have a message from God unto thee!”

In ordinary correspondence through the post there are four special marks which occasionally distinguish our letters, any one of which is sure to draw attention to them. There are, in like manner, four attractive features about the message I have to deliver. You sometimes receive a, letter marked “Important,” or another upon which there is written “Immediate.” You will: see to those at the first moment. Perhaps a third comes, “On Her Majesty’s service,” and you will look to that; but I should not wonder if the most pleasing of all in your eyes is that which is tied round with a green string. It is registered, and contains something of value, which you hope may be as precious as you wish. I have four such letters to deliver at this time to my young friends, and I shall ask: their earnest attention to them.

The first-message I have to deliver is

“IMPORTANT!”

I cannot take you by the button hole and hold you fast, but I should like you to think I am doing so, while I try to chain your ears and engage your hearts. Like the old mariner in Coleridges rhyme who detained the wedding 203 guest with his story, so would I try to detain you. Not that I have to tell. you any strange legend, or to relate any re-mantic narrative; but with something practical and earnest I would hold you. Here you find yourself with a career just opening up before you, at the age of fifteen or sixteen, or it may be of one-and-twenty, or five-and-twenty. Infancy at least is behind you, and immediately before you there is the sharing of your life. The reflection you have in your mind, if you judge righteously, will be that since God has created you. and endowed you with all the faculties you possess, he has a. first claim upon you. From your own point of view it is reasonable what the Creator should demand and expect that the creatures he has formed, should answer the ends for which he save them being, and fashioned them as men, for if you construct a machine you expect to get the benefit of your own handicraft, and if after making it you spend money in its maintenance yea expect it to be useful to you. God has made us, and not we ourselves, and we are bound to render service to him. The breath in our nostrils and the pulsing in our veins come to us from an immediate act of God, and, therefore, every second of our lives we ought to live to him, else we do. not live honestly. We are raider solemn obligations that our whole life should be spent for him, and to neglect this is to rob God. Young men and women, will you not acknowledge this obligation? As you have any justice in your souls, I charge you. to do so. Will you defraud your God? I pray you be not so unjust. You see I am not trifling, I am pleading for God, my message is IMPORTANT, most IMPORTANT.

It may encourage you to accept this duty cheerfully if you remember that the service due to God which he asks of you is by no means injurious to yourself In fact his law, when condensed into a sentence, is just this, “Do thyself no harm.” There is not a sin which can by any possibility be really for our benefit, neither is there a divine command, which can be for our hurt. His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all ]his paths are peace. Though in the pursuit of right we may have to suffer, the trials which are necessitated by doing right are not for a moment comparable to those pangs of conscience and agonies of remorse which are sure to follow upon the heels of doing wrong. Notwithstanding that the road to heaven is rough in places, it is a smoother road take it for all in all than yonder attractive road to hell, which so many choose. You shall find the service of God to be liberty. If ye be men, ye shall be the more manly through being servants of God. If you be happy by nature and constitution, you shall be the happier through being devoted to his service; and if you be somewhat dull and inclined to gloom by nature, you shall find the sweetest alleviation of your constitutional depression in the grateful love and devoted service of the Most High. I have known the Lord and served him now since I was fifteen years of age through his love and mercy, and if he were a bad master I would tell you. I would not lie even for him. But I must bear him witness that it; is sweet to do his bidding, and had I done it more perfectly I had been happier than I am. But as it is, to have given my heart to him, and to have sought his glory has conferred upon my life its highest joy and its deepest satisfaction. May I ask you to think of this, and to keep on thinking about it; until you have come to this conclusion, that God is God, and. you will serve him.. I think I hear the good resolve to which you have come.. Your heart is yielding to the truth. I hope it is, for the matter is IMPORTANT! MOST IMPORTANT!

But I have other important things to remind you of. One is that you have not to choose how you shall begin life; for you have begun it already. Unconverted as I suppose you now to be, just reflect where the beginning of life has already placed you. You have already broken God’s commands. I am not going to raise the question as to at what; time a child is capable of knowing right from wrong’, and therefore becomes charged with responsibility. You have passed the period of your childhood, and you have gone through, or are nearly through the days of your youth. You have sinned, you know you have, from childhoods earliest days till now. Now before you can talk about; serving God, remember the past has to be condoned or rather to be atoned for. How is that to be done? I pray you attend to me while in a few words I deliver the glad tidings of forgiveness by Jesus Christ. It is not the first time you have heard this story, but it may be the first time you ever heeded it. Oh, believe it as I tell you it again, practically embrace it, and obey it, and it will give you relief from the guilt of your past transgressions. God was pleased out of infinite mercy to his elect to lay their sins upon Jesus Christ, his Son, their substitute and sacrifice; and Jesus Christ took at1 that mass of sin up to the cross, and there and then so suffered for it, that the sin he carried has been put away for ever, and now God can be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly. You say to me, “Did he carry my sin? That is the point I want to know.” Those for whom Jesus was an effectual substitute are in due time known by their faith. He laid down his life for his sheep, and he has said, “My sheep hear my voice.” If you believe on him your sin was laid upon him. To believe on him is to trust him. You have therefore to put; this question to yourself, Am I trusting my whole soul with Jesus Christ, the God-appointed Savior? For, if you are so trusting, then your transgressions were laid on him and are not on you, for they cannot be on two persons at the same time. Your transgressions are alerted for, and have ceased to be, and you are forgiven. It all hinges on this — do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you rest simply, and alone in him? If so, you are reconciled to God. It seems strange that. any of us should hesitate when such a gospel as this is propounded to us. If the Lord asked some great thing of us we might hesitate, but when he says simply, “I ask nothing of thee, young man, but that thou trust in the blood and righteousness of my Son, and even. that trust I will bestow upon thee by the power of the Holy Spirit,” ‘tis passing strange, ‘tis wonderful, and if we did not know the baseness of the human heart it; would be incredible, that men should start back and. neglect the great salvation. Do not be yourself so unwise, for of all concerns this is the most IMPORTANT.

Do you know also, my dear young friend — I seem to throw myself back to the time when I was your age, and I freely speak to you as I would have liked at that time to have been spoken to myself — do you know that in addition to the sin you have committed there is in you a tendency to sin, as you must have perceived, even though you may not have examined yourself thoroughly. You never require a teacher to lead you. into the wrong path, but you do require a kindly word to conduct you aright. You know ‘that you. never want an incentive to evil, for your heart goes that way as a stone goes down hill, or as a spark ascends. There is a tendency that way. You have seen that; you must have done so. That tendency must be taken from you. The needle of your soul points now in the wrong direction; it must be magnetized in some such way that it shall point to Jesus, the true pole. Now this can. be done. You cannot change your own nature; as well might a stone turn itself into a bird, or a deadly upas into the vine which beareth goodly clusters. But there is one who can do it: it is the Holy Ghost. He can change the whole bent and current of the mind, can remove tendencies to evil, and inspire aspirations after perfection. “Oh,” say you, “how I wish he would do this for me!” If you believe in Christ Jesus that work is done, that change of nature has already commenced, for there never was reliance upon Christ yet in an unrenewed heart. Wherever there is simple faith in Jesus Christ, you may rest assured that the first principles of eternal life are already implanted, which will go on to grow, and operate yet more powerfully upon your character. “Oh,” says one, “that has taken a heavy weight from my mind: I have been looking for some great mystery!” That is all the mystery. Seeing you have believed in Jesus, you are forgiven: being forgiven, you love God for having forgiven you, and it is clear that you are a changed man, or you would not do that. Because the gospel thus reveals to you the intimate connection between the new birth, and faith, it is above all things IMPORTANT.

So, then, I have brought you this important message, that the Lord is able to meet your fallen, condition, — its sin by pardon, its sinful tendencies by renewal; and if this be done there is before you a useful, happy life, and a glorious immortality. Young woman, if you give your heart to Jesus you are safe for time and. eternity. Young man, you have, already thought of insuring your life, may your soul be insured and your character insured; and they will be if you believe in Jesus. He will not surer you. to fall away and perish. “I give,” saith he, “unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hands..” The salvation which comes by faith is not temporary, but lasting;, yea, everlasting. When the Lord once renews a man, he suffers him not to go back like the dog to his vomit, or the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire; he turns the dog into a child, the sow into a sheep. Renewed men love purity and holiness, their tastes and desires are altered, and they cannot return to their former ways. Thrice happy is that young heart which entrusts itself to the hand of Christ, for when the evil days come and the keepers of the house do tremble, and the strong men bow themselves, you will have nothing to dread, but will accept the summons to depart with holy calmness and expectant delight. But ah, if there should be no yielding to God, and no faith in Christ, there remains only for you a life of disaster, a death of darkness, and a resurrection to shame, and everlasting contempt. The world’s mirage and pleasure’s will-o’-the-wisp will deceive for a time, but the sorrow that worketh death will be your portion here, and after death the “for ever! — the dreadful for ever! — the dreadful for ever of which we will not now speak, and which I pray you may never know by terrible experience.

So much, then, concerning the letter which is marked “IMPORTANT.”

We shall now pass on to speak of another letter — the same message indeed, but it is marked “IMMEDIATE!”

I stood a very short time ago by a sick bed, and on it there lay a woman advanced in life, who was gasping heavily for breath. I saw that I had little opportunity for speaking to her about her soul, unless I spoke shortly and quickly to her, as I tried to do. I warned her that she would soon die, and begged her to remember that it would be terrible to pass into another world unprepared. Now you are not gasping as she was; I do not observe any sunken cheeks and glazed eyes, that look like speedy death; but, yet we are all dying men and women, and it becomes us to hear the message of God as such, for persons in hale strength, seeming perfectly well, have on a sudden died, as you know. There is no reason known to you why you may not die while yet these words are under your eye. My message, then, is marked “IMMEDIATE.” And immediate first, because, young friend, you have already lingered long enough. As the prophet said, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” You that are the children of godly parents, you have been already a long time turning over these matters. You have sojourned long enough in the dangerous realms of indecision. Oh, immediately may God grant you grace to decide; immediately, I say, because your character is forming at this very moment. I remember a remark of Mr. Ruskin, which I cannot quote in his beautiful language, but the substance is this, that if particles of chaff or dust fall upon the Venice glass while it is being fashioned, you may in vain invoke the north wind to come and blow upon it until it shall become clear and transparent, for the spots will never depart. So with the flaws of youth. The chaff which falls upon the character while yet in process of formation will leave its trace in: after years. In the erection of a building, if there should be any mistake in the upper part of the structure it will discover itself by and by, and probably may be repaired; but who has not seen a faulty public structure in which the difficulty of rectifying faults of construction was extreme, because the fault was in the foundation? A crack here, a settlement there, how it spoils the whole! Young man, your early days are the foundation of your life-character. Young woman, these bright days of yours represent the time when your vessel is being freighted for its future voyage; when your barque is far out to sea you will have to suffer for the errors or defects of her lading. Your youth, dear friends, is a very beautiful thing to be presented to God. God asks for sacrifice the firstlings, a bullock or a ram of a year old; this shows us that the Lord would have our prime of life dedicated to his praise. You will not have another youth: soon it will no; be in your power to offer to God your beauty and freshness. You may be able to give him the ripeness of middle age, but not the beauty of youth, unless you at once attend to the message which is marked “IMMEDIATE.” Is there not an exceeding preciousness about youth? They gave out that there was a fountain somewhere in the western main whereof if men would drink it would renew their youth, and straightway a gallant Spaniard, as foolish as gallant, Ponce de Leon, with his flotilla scoured the seas for months to discover the fountain of immortal youth, but never found it. His vain quest only shows how precious a thing man counts it, and God counts it precious too. My young sister, give my Lord and Master the flower of your being while yet it is in the bud. Bring him your first ripe clusters, a basket of summer-fruit sweet unto his taste, for well doth he deserve it. But let it be now, for the bloom will soon be gone, and the dewdrops will have exhaled. Your immediate conversion is the object of our prayers. Your mother never ]prays for you to be converted in years to come, her prayer is for your immediate salvation; our anxiety always leads us to that desire. Have I the faith to believe that this writing of mine will be made useful to your souls? Well, if I cannot go so far as that, I can say my soul thirsteth, yea even panteth that you may be led to give your hearts to Jesus at this instant. That is our prayer, and if it be your parents’ prayer, and your friends’ prayer, oh, that the grace of God might hear it, and might hear it at this very moment, while yet the last month of the year is with us.

Dear friend, it is possible that if’ your heart be not given to Christ; immediately it never will be, for you may not live to have another warning, or to receive another invitation. Remember, yet again, that if you should be converted in after life, it is probable that your conversion will cost you great pain., which it may not now. When the Lord’s children come to him early in the morning they generally come to him rejoicing; but if late in the flay they come to him (as they do, for sovereign grace will not. lose its own), they frequently come limping and sorely wounded. Oh it is happy, seeking Christ early in the morning. “ They that seek me early shall find me,” saith he. It is often hard seeking him amid the shades of evening. Sharp affliction is often necessary to men, they will not come to Christ without it; but oh, if we do come without it how much better it is. A gentleman was riding on a coach one day, and the driver observed to him, “You see that off-leader, sir?” “Yes.” “Well, when he gets to that white gate over yonder he will shy terribly.” What are you going to do with him?” “Why, just before he gets there, I shall give him something to think about;” and so he did, in the form of several sharp cuts of the whip. Many of us have been like the horse and the mule, which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle. May you have grace to yield to the influence of gentler means, and it shall be well with you. May his sweet Spirit incline you to do so immediately.

I say “immediately,” because if you should be converted afterwards, the sins of your youth will always trouble you. Mahomet in his early days was poisoned by a Jewish maid, who thought that she should do a. good deed if she put; poison into his meat. His life was preserved, but when he lay dying, and was full of pain, he said to those around him, “I can feel the poison still in my veins.” Many a saved man has felt the sins of his younger days in his bones. I have heard good men say that when a hymn has been sung, a snatch of an old lascivious song has come up before them; and sights which to the unsullied would have suggested nothing but purity, have awakened in them recollections of unclean acts in early youth which have been a cross and a curse to them. May God grant that we may be led in the paths of righteousness from the earliest period, that we may not have to go down to our grave with regrets.

Beloved young friend, wherever you may be, it is not I that invent that word “IMMEDIATE.” It is the gospel’s call. “Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” What God saith ought to have weight with us. “Today,” then I pray you, believe in the Lord Jesus. You cannot possibly yield your heart to Christ too soon. Too soon? Too soon? Ah, it is never too soon to be forgiven when you have committed a fault! It is never too soon to have the kiss from the Father’s lips when you have offended him, and to hear him say, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” It is never too soon to be happy; it is never too soon to be safe; it is never too soon to be a child of God; it is never too soon to gain an inheritance in heaven. It is never too soon to put on the armor of the holy war, never too soon to enlist beneath the banner of Jesus, never too soon to be the Lord’s for time and for eternity.

Thus I have dwelt upon the immediateness of it. May the urgency be felt, and tend to arouse you.

Let us now devote a few minutes to the consideration of a third form of message. A letter marked O. H. M. S. would command prompt attention.

“ON HER MAJESTY’S SERVICE.”

It may be some very unimportant matter, peradventure it is of no consequence whatever, still one is sure to look directly when the envelope bears these royal words on his face.

Now the message I have to you young people is most distinctly” ON HIS MAJESTY”S SERVICE.” We want to enlist you in His Majesty’s army. One occasionally sees in certain places announcements such as this, “Smart young men wanted for the Guards.” Well, I am a recruiting sergeant. My colors are crimson, and I am eager to enlist both young men, and women. I would be glad if I could do a bit of business, and gather up recruits for Christ. Some more aged reader inquires. “Will you not have us old. people?” I would be glad enough, but I am not after you just now. The Lord have mercy upon you and save you, but I have just now a message for the young folks. We want them beyond all others to join the ranks of the covenanted warriors of the Lord.

Why? Because they bring fresh energy into the church. This is much to be desired. A young man, all aglow with youthful ardor and spiritual life, coming into a church sets us all aflame. Everybody wakes up when he begins to pray. Any church in which there is a large preponderance of persons who have passed middle age is likely to be very respectable and excellent, and to possess many of the virtues, perhaps all, but it is not very likely to be consumed with zeal. I seldom hear of persons over sixty setting the Thames on fire. At that mature age people have not, as a rule, any strong proclivities for fervent excitement, and they are of opinion that the Thames had better be let atone. The elders seldom exhibit the enterprise of youth, their business is to take the Conservative side of questions. They are valuable to the church, and cannot be spared, but the church wants some of the fire of youth, sanctified by grace, and made into genuine zeal for the kingdom of Christ. We want you, beloved youths, because the older soldiers are going off the field, and others of us will soon have to think of ourselves as in the same category. Nobody in our army ever retires on half pay; blessed be God they shall have their full joy, even when they can do but little, and they have the pledge of a fall heaven hereafter. Still many have been taken away from us, and our ranks are thinned. Oh for recruits to fill up the vacancies! Good women, earnest matrons who were serving in the schools, and in the classes; good men who were preaching in the streets, and doing good in all ways, are falling asleep. Young men and women, step forward and fill the places of your fathers and mothers! We cannot have a better stock; none could be more welcome than your fathers’ sons and daughters.

Young men are valuable when converted, for by God’s grace how much they may do while yet young. Do you know that John Calvin wrote his famous “Institutes” — a most wonderful production for thought if not for accuracy — before he was twenty-seven years of age? Though Martin Luther did a grand work after he was five-and-forty years old, it is something to say of Calvin, the clearer of the two, that he had commenced his work and wrought wonders when he was seven-and-twenty. Many a Christian man has won his hundreds and some even thousands for Christ before attaining that age. There is power in youth, let it. then be consecrated to HIS MAJESTY’S SERVICE.

I am eagerly desirous that many of you should be converted, because your influence will tell against the truth and the cause of God if you are not, salved. A young man died in New York some time ago whose last. expression was this, “For God’s sake gather up all my influence and bury it with me!” That was impossible. He might be penitent for his wrong doing, but his evil influence was gone forth and could never be stayed. He had perverted many. His brilliant talk had led some into skepticism, and his immoralities had plunged others into vice; and this mischief could not be undone. Every man bring bears in his hand a box. Take off the lid (and it must be taken off, and from it. will either stream the seeds of the disease of sin, or a sacred perfume of grace bearing healing for the nations. Our influence will either, under God, be a channel by which his grace works among the sons of men, or else, if let alone, it will become the means by which Satan destroys multitudes.

What shall I say to you with regard to this service of the Lord Jesus Christ? I will write this inquiry — Who is on the Lord’s side? Who? Young people, if you have believed, and are on his side, come forward and say so. Take up Christ’s yoke early; make a profession of your saith even in your first days, and to life’s latest hour you shall never have cause to regret either that Jesus blessed you, or that you lived for him. You shall love him better every day, and the more your days multiply the more will you rejoice in your Lord.

And now the last thing was the letter marked

“REGISTERED.”

Is it for you? Registered letters are only for those they are sent to. This letter is directed to the young man who has by grace believed. Here is another addressed to the young woman who has trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. I will show you the contents: “I have loved thee” — -thee Mary — thee John — thee William — “I have loved then with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. I have loved thee and giver: myself for thee.” (latch the words: “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my jewels.” That is; for you, young believer, for yourself, all for yourself. Take it; to yourself. Wear these gems, for the Lord presents them to you. You are his chosen; you are his redeemed. He will be with you for ever, and you shall be with him for ever. “What, all these mine?” says one; “I have only lately believed in him.” They are just as much yours as if you had believed in him seventy years ago, for the possessions of the covenant as much belong to the babe in grace of an hour old as to the man who has fulfilled his threescore years and ten in the ways of the Lord. Take that registered letter, rejoice in the sure promises of the God of grace, and may God the Holy Spirit open them up to you, and give you to see that they are all yours, since you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.

Farewell, my message is ended as far as I am concerned, what have you to say to it?

IS THERE ANY ANSWER?

GHOST STORIES FOR CHRISTMAS

WE may be very wrong, but we confess a weakness for a ghost story, and cannot help listening to it, and all the more if it makes the blood curdle and blanches the cheek. It is a sort of stolen water, and that, as the wise man says, is sweet. We lived at one time among a people many of whom devoutly believed in apparitions, and wizards, and witches, and all that horrible rout, and often have we heard the most thrilling stories — stories, we believe, in more senses than one. We had sent us for review some little time ago a book upon apparitions, which claims to be a narrative of facts; and as we read it through we said “Yes, these were facts where they were done,” and we put the book aside, to be looked up somewhat nearer the end of the year, when our Christmas number might excuse our inserting one or more of the aforesaid facts. We are afraid our readers will think us rather a Sadducee, but we are nothing of the kind, nor a Pharisee either; but we do not believe that in nine out of ten ghost stories there is a ghost of truth, and we are not quite sure that we believe the tenth one. The Wesley family undoubtedly were favored with a very noisy visitant of some sort, and we have no idea what it was, only there is no accounting for the noises which rats make in old houses any more than for the foul gases in new ones. When we meet with a thing which puzzles us we pry into the cause as far as we can, and generally find it out; and if we cannot read the riddle we lay it by to be solved another day, never flying to the old-fashioned resort of dragging in the supernatural. We traced a spirit song after much investigation to a foot-warmer filled with hot water, which was being used by an invalid. We found a band of celestial visitants, who whispered to us all night in a country house, and they turned out to be a nest of birds in a hole in the plaster of the wall at our bed head, which hole nearly came through into the room. Nothing supernatural has ever been seen by our eyes, nor do we think we shall ever be blessed with such visions while in this body, for after seeing Robert Houdin and other wonder-workers we are casehardened against the whole set of tricks and sham spirits, and these are the parents of most of the marvels which set silly people’s hair on end. As a general rule, when we hear of an apparition, or anything of the kind, we do not believe it to be other than an illusion or a falsehood. The most wonderfully well-attested narratives seldom bear investigation, they are built up upon hearsay and tittle-tattle, and will not endure a strict examination; like most rumors, they fall like card-houses as soon as the hand of truth touches them. Perhaps a few of them appear to be so far true that we may safely say that they are not yet accounted for except upon a supernatural hypothesis, but we should hesitate to say more. Some are evidently the result of strong imagination, and are true to the parties concerned, affecting their fears and stamping themselves upon their minds too firmly to allow them to doubt.

In many cases religious delusions and errors create a tendency to visions and the like, and the most vigorous repression should be exercised by ministers and other persons of influence. A woman once called upon us in great trouble, for she had seen a human form at the foot of her bed. We suggested that it might be her own gown hanging on a peg. No, that could not be, she believed it was either the Lord Jesus or Satan. We remarked that it did not matter a pin which it was, for many saw the Lord when he was on earth, and our Lord himself saw the devil, and yet was none the worse. To her, however, it was a test matter, and she informed us that she should have known all about it if she had seen its head. We inquired how that was, and to our astonishment she told us that she had a likeness of the Savior, and she should have known him by it, and thereupon pulled out of her pocket a small woodcut which was supposed by her to be like the altogether lovely One. Our reply was an urgent entreaty to burn the horrid thing at once, and to feel certain that if ever she saw anybody at all like that she might be sure that it was as likely to be Lucifer himself as the Lord Jesus. She was evidently greatly surprised, and we fell fifty per cent. in her estimation, for she had expected to have had the opinion of her own minister, a Methodist, contradicted by our authority. We told her that her minister was a very sensible man, and had dealt faithfully with her in telling her not to be deceived by optical illusions; we question, however, whether we shook her faith, for she had a budget of other wonders to tell us, only our declaration that they were “stuff and nonsense,” and our plain statement of the spiritual character of true religion, made her cut the interview very short. Half crazy people come to us in any quantity with such marvels, and we hope we have cured a good many by a little kindly raillery, but a considerable number leave us with the impression sadly confirmed in our minds that there are more lunatics abroad than there are in the asylums.

We do not affirm that ghosts have never been seen, for no one has any right to hazard so broad a statement, but all spirits, as such, must be invisible, and the two sorts of human spirits which we know of are both by far too seriously occupied to go roaming about this earth rapping on tables or frightening simpletons into fits. As for angels, though they also as spirits are not cognizable by the senses, no doubt they have been made visible to men, and there is no reason why they should not be made so now if God so willed it; it would certainly be a wonder, but we do not see that any of the laws of nature need to be suspended to produce it. We can readily believe that those messengers who keep watch around the people of God would be rendered visible to us and to others if some grand purpose could be accomplished thereby, and if the safety of the saints required it. Whether in these days angels or departed spirits ever do assume forms in which they can be seen is the question, and we have as yet seen nothing to lead us to believe that they do. Others assert that they have seen such things, but as they generally admit that they would not have believed unless they had seen for themselves, we hope they will allow us to exercise the same abstinence. Our two stories are so nicely balanced pro and con that when they are read by the advocates of the positive and the negative side we hope they will admire our judicious impartiality. The first story is from “Apparitions: a Narrative of Facts,” f2 and it is entitled

THE MYSTERIOUS HORSEMAN.

“The Traethodydd, or ‘ Essayist,’ a Welsh quarterly periodical for 1853, contains a biographical memoir of the late Rev. John Jones, of Holiwell, Flintshire; and in that memoir there is an account of as remarkable an interposition of Providence by means of an apparition, which resulted in the preservation of life, as any on record.

“I think it will be best to allow Mr. Jones to relate the incident in his own words, as he was often wont to do, merely premising that he was a minister of high principle and unblemished character, andrenowned throughout the Principality for his zeal and fervor as a preacher of the gospel, and one who showed by his life his just appreciation of what Plutarch has so finely said respecting-

‘Truth
‘Than which no greater blessing can man receive or God bestow.’

“One summer day, at the commencement of the present century, I was traveling from Bala, in Merionethshire, to Machynlleth, in the neighboring county of Montgomery, in order to attend a religious meeting. I left Bala about 2 p.m., and traveled on horseback, and alone. My journey lay through a wild, desolate part of the country, and one which at that time was almost uninhabited. When I had performed about half my journey, as I was emerging from a wood situated at the commencement of a long steep decline, I observed coming towards me a man on foot. By his appearance, judging from the sickle which he carried sheathed in straw over his shoulder, he was doubtless a reaper in search of employment. As he drew near, I recognized a man whom I had seen at the door of the village inn of Llanwhellyn, where I had stopped to bait my horse. On our meeting he touched his hat and asked if I could tell him the time of day. I pulled out my watch for the purpose, noticing at the same time the peculiar look which the map cast at its heavy silver case. Nothing else, however, occurred to excite any suspicion on my part, so wishing him a ‘good afternoon,’ I continued my journey.

“When I had ridden about half-way down the hill, I noticed something moving, and in the same direction as myself, on the other side of a large hedge, which ran nearly parallel with the road, and ultimately terminated at a gate through which I had to pass. At first I thought it an animal of some kind or other, but soon discovered by certain depressions in the hedge that it was a man running in a stooping position. I continued for a short time to watch his progress with some curiosity, but my curiosity soon changed to fear when I recognized the reaper with whom I had conversed a few minutes before, engaged in tearing off the strawband which sheathed his sickle.

“He hurried on until he reached the gate, and then concealed himself behind the hedge within a few yards of the road. I did not then doubt for a moment but that he had resolved to attack — perhaps murder me for the sake of my watch and whatever money I might have about me. I looked around in all directions, but not a single human being was to be seen, so reining in my horse, I asked myself in much alarm what I could do. Should I turn back? No; my business was of the utmost importance to the cause for which I was journeying, and as long as there existed the faintest possibility of getting there, I could not think of returning. Should I trust to the speed of my horse, and endeavor to dash by the man at full speed? No; for the gate through which I had to pass was not open. Could I leave the road and make my way through the fields? I could not; for I was hemmed in by rocky banks or high hedges on both sides. The idea of risking a personal encounter could not be entertained for a moment, for what chance could I — weak and unarmed — have against a powerful man with a dangerous weapon in his hand? What course then should I pursue? I could not tell; and at length, in despair rather than in a spirit of humble trust and confidence, I bowed my head and offered up a silent prayer. This had a soothing effect upon my mind, so that, refreshed and invigorated, I proceeded anew to consider the difficulties of my position.

“At this juncture my horse, growing impatient at the delay, started off: I clutched the reins, which I had let fall on his neck, for the purpose of checking him, when happening to turn my eyes, I saw to my utter astonishment that I was no longer alone. There, by my side, I beheld a horseman in a dark dress, mounted on a white steed. In intense amazement I gazed upon him; where could he have come from? He appeared as suddenly as if he had sprung from the earth. He must; have been riding behind and have overtaken me. And yet I had not heard the slightest sound: it was mysterious, inexplicable. But the joy of being released from my perilous position soon overcame my feelings of wonder, and I began at once to address my companion. I asked him if he had seen any one, and then described to him what had taken place, and how relieved I felt by his sudden appearance, which now removed all cause of fear. He made no reply, and, on looking at his face, he seemed paying but slight attention to my words, but continued intently gazing in the direction of the gate, now about a quarter of a mile ahead. I followed his gaze, and saw the reaper emerge from his concealment and cut across a field to our left, resheathing his sickle as he hurried along. He had evidently seen that I was no longer alone, and had relinquished his intended attempt.

“All cause for alarm being gone, I once more sought to enter into conversation with my deliverer, but again without the slightest success. Not a word did he deign to give me in reply. I continued talking, however, as we rode on our way towards the gate, though I confess feeling both surprised and hurt at my companion’s mysterious silence. Once, however, and only once did I hear his voice. Having watched the figure of the reaper disappear over the brow of a neighboring hill, I turned to my companion and said, ‘ Can it for a moment be doubted that my prayer was heard, and that you were sent for my deliverance by the Lord?’ Then it was that I thought I heard the horseman speak, and that he uttered the single word, ‘ Amen.’ Not another word did he give utterance to, though I tried to elicit from him replies to my questions, both in English and Welsh.

“We were now approaching the gate, which I hastened to open, and having done so with my stick, I waited at the side of the road for him to pass through; but he came not; I turned my head to look — the mysterious horseman was gone! I was dumbfounded; I looked back in the direction from which we had just been riding, but though I could command a view of the road for a considerable distance, he was not to be seen. He had disappeared as mysteriously as he had come. What could have become of him? He could not have gone through the gate, nor have made his horse leap the high hedges which on both sides shut in the road. Where was he? Had I been dreaming? Was it an apparition, a specter which had been riding by my side for the last ten minutes? Could it be possible that I had seen no man or horse at all, and that the vision was but a creature of my imagination? I tried hard to convince myself that this was the case, but in vain; for, unless some one had been with me, why had the reaper resheathed his murderous-looking sickle and fled? Surely no; this mysterious horseman was no creation of my brain. I had seen him; who could he have been?

“I asked myself this question again and again; and then a feeling of profound awe began to creep over my soul. I remembered the singular way of his first appearance — his long silence — and then again the single word to which he had given utterance; I called to mind that this reply had been elicited from him by my mentioning the name of the Lord, and that this was the single occasion on which I had done so. What could I then believe? — but one thing, and that was, that my prayer had indeed been heard, and that help had been given from on high at a time of great danger. Full of this thought,! dismounted, and throwing myself on my knees, I offered up a prayer of thankfulness to Him who had heard my cry, and found help for me in time of need.

“I then mounted my horse and continued my journey. But through the long years that have elapsed since that memorable summer’s day, I have never for a moment wavered in my belief that in the mysterious horseman I had a special interference of Providence, by which means I was delivered from a position of extreme danger.”

Our second extract is from Mr. Talmage’s “Christian at Work,” a very lively, interesting, vigorously conducted paper; the extract is entitled

TRUE TALE OF A GHOST.

“The first settlers of many of the New England towns laid out their graveyard at the center of the town, and built up the village around the burying ground as if to keep in sight and have a tender and watchful care over their dead. Upon this public square — a part of which was consecrated to burial purposes — were usually erected all the public buildings. “About the time of which we write, there was much being said and published about witches and ghosts in various parts of the country; very exciting accounts of their being seen and of their strange doings were told, until ghost stories became the topic of gossip in the shop, at the tavern, and at all the village gatherings by night and by day.

About this time the ghosts made such a demonstration at Morristown, New Jersey, as to call forth a printed pamphlet of some fifty pages, giving the details of their midnight behavior, etc., which was read and discussed by old and young, by mothers and grandmothers, until many actually became so timid that they dared not venture out after dark, and children would not go to bed alone. The more people talked about them, the more ghosts were seen; but always at night, and usually when it was very dark.

“It was late in the month of November that some persons in Guilford, Conn., returning from a party one dark, dismal night — -when the winds whistled and the signs creaked upon their hinges as they passed the old graveyard — saw a large white object moving slowly about among the tombstones, and they all unhesitatingly pronounced it a ghost. It could be nothing, else. Such an object in such a place, at such a time of night, must be a spirit of some departed one. Owing both to the fact of the parties being persons of character, and to the feverish state of the public mind, no small sensation was created in the usually quiet old town, and even put the more intelligent people to wonder what it all meant. The next night it was seen again, and for several succeeding nights, by different persons, whose statements of the facts could not be questioned. At last curiosity ran so high, and the facts being unquestioned that there was a real live ghost to be seen every night about midnight in the graveyard, several young men of respectability, who supposed they possessed courage, agreed to arm themselves with lanterns and clubs, and go out the next night and ascertain what it really was that had wrought up so many minds to such a degree of apprehension; and if it was the unquiet spirit of some departed one, to learn, if possible, what it wanted or what was its object in coming every night to disturb the peace and quiet of so many harmless people. They accordingly all met a little before midnight to carry out their plan, but seemed rather reluctant to set forth upon their desperate errand. However, they approached the graveyard; but they had not proceeded far when, sure enough, there was the very identical ghost confronting them, and slowly moving on towards them. This brought them all to a halt, trembling with the cold chills of fear, in the stillness of midnight darkness, not a word spoken by any one. In a moment more they all simultaneously turned and fled.

“The very next night after these brave young men had failed to communicate with the ghost, just at twelve o’clock, in the dead darkness of midnight, when the silence of the sepulcher brooded over the town, the people were aroused from their slumbers by the tolling of the bell high up in the belfry of the old ‘ meeting-house,’ upon the other end of the public square. The next night the same thing occurred again, and, in connection with the current stories of the ghost, now began to excite no small degree of interest among all classes of the community. Several arose from their beds and went out to the meeting-house, and there called to the sexton to know what it meant. But they found the doors all locked and no sexton there. Was the town haunted? At last it was unanimously resolved that something must be done to unravel the mystery. So the next night six of the most resolute dare-devils in the town were bargained with to go into the graveyard and await the approach of the ghost, and when he appeared, to respectfully demand his business, and what his ghostship really wanted.

“The night was fearfully dark and dismal, and when all the inhabitants had retired for the night — with not a light to be seen in any dwelling, and the profound stillness of midnight darkness was spread over the borough — these six young fellows walked out and took a stand near where the ghost had been several nights seen, and waited with no small degree of anxiety for nearly two hours, with their eyes turned in every direction, when, behold! in the dim distance was seen approaching them a large white object moving slowly towards them, or towards the spot where they stood. They all watched with fearful tremor. They were near the center of the grounds enclosed. No one spoke aloud or moved a limb. Some began to feel cold chills creep over them as they cast about in their own minds for a chance to retreat now, as the object, with a heavy tread, approached, and uncertainty began to take possession of them all. But here they were, and they had all sworn to see the end of tams mystery or perish in the attempt: and the end seemed fast approaching that was to put their courage and manhood to the test. The object on which all eyes were fixed, to discern through the darkness something more clearly, had now reached very near them, and as several were on the · eve of turning to run, Fred Meigs, one of the party, who never knew fear under any circumstances, burst out laughing, when they all stepped forward and, behold! Mr. Lot Benton’s old white mare, that for several nights had found her way out of the barn-yard near by, and quietly walked out to graze on the high grounds in the graveyard. And here was solved the puzzle of the ghost. But the bell tolling at midnight in a quiet old New England town for three successive nights, without the aid or knowledge of the sexton, yet remained an unsolved mystery. So the next day after the interview with the ghost, that matter was taken in hand, and with more boldness since the ghost had been discovered, when the fact was developed that a reckless fellow, who had become familiar with the excitement that had for some time existed concerning the ghost in the graveyard, had one night, after dark, undiscovered climbed, by ways best known to himself, into the belfry, and tied a twine string to the tongue of the bell, descended again to the ground and led the string to his chamber window, and there he sat for three nights fanning the excitement of the ghost stories by toiling the great church bell at midnight, until the whole town became alarmed or frightened with a superstitious dread of something — they knew not what. With these discoveries all interest in ghosts and witches ceased, and the people settled down into their usual quietness and sober orthodoxy.” C.H.S.

ONE CONVERT WINS OTHERS.

R. WILLIAM BOOTH, in his magazine, writes: — “ About a month ago one of our people, who had herself been a drunkard, was standing at one of the open-air services on the waste, when she observed a woman who had formerly been one of her bad companions suddenly leave the crowd and walk quickly away. Hurrying after her, she found this poor drunkard in great distress about her soul. ‘ Oh!’ she said, ‘I listened to the speakers ; but when I saw you standing there ,o wonderfully changed from what you used to be, I could stand it no longer.’ She was induced, however, to return to the meeting, and then to attend the service in the hall, where she found salvation. She is now another living witness of the power of Christ to save the drunkard. May God preserve her faithful unto death!”

OUR ORPHANAGE

WHEN the Stockwell Orphanage was built we caused to be printed upon one of pillars of the entrance gate the words, “THE LORD WILL PROVIDE,” as seen in the accompanying wood block. This we did as a public testimony of faith in the living God, and as a lesson to all who entered. Often have the words refreshed us as we have gone into the building; we felt that we had publicly pledged ourselves to rest in the faithfulness of our heavenly Father, and had put his own word in the forefront to he tried and proved. How has it turned out? Glory be to God, he has provided all along, and at the close of another year we bear witness to his faithfulness. There have been several pinches, but never a want, never an hour in which we have stood in real need, and this is much to say when, including all the staff, there are some two hundred and sixty mouths to be filled. Of late we have had a serious source of difficulty, but we shall surmount it by divine be]p, though for awhile it operates against us. A deceased gentleman left us a legacy, of which we heard some three months ago; this was published in the newspapers, and everybody at once said, “The Orphanage has Plenty of funds, there is no need to send any donations.” They forgot that legacies are not generally paid for twelve months after death, and that in the meanwhile we could not feed our boys upon the air, neither dare we run in debt on the strength of money yet to come. We have not received a penny yet, and cannot reasonably expect to do so for some months, yet meanwhile the brook Cherith runs low. The Lord will, however, bring us through right enough, and we publish again our assured conviction that THE LORD WILL PROVIDE.

We have .just lately buried from the Orphanage a sweet child, named Willis Young. He has been pining away a long time, but it has been delightful to see in how holy and happy a manner he has passed away. The Infirmary has long been his abode, but his chamber has not been a sad room, but as cheerful as any in the place. Mr. Charlesworth has gathered up a few of his last words, which we now subjoin.

“When I am gone ask Mr. Charlesworth to tell the boys to love God, to give their hearts to Jesus while young.”

“Give my love to Shook,” (another invalid boy, now at Ventnor) “tell him ] shall be looking out for him.” “God is so good to send me medicine to ease my pain: I do thank him.” “Do you think I shall he in heaven to-night? I hope I shall.”

“Call mother: I want her! ‘ Mother, I am safe in the arms of Jesus.’” (repeated several times.)

His face was a true index of the state of his soul. He was full of joy, and his face was radiant with smiles. Once he said, “My pains are sharp,” and when asked if he was not happy in Jesus in spite of pain, he exclaimed, “Oh, yes.”. When he experienced a relief from pain, he said, “Thank God, the pain is removed from my chest.”

He never uttered a single word of impatience, and never received the slightest attention from his devoted nurse without expressing his gratitude. When too ill to speak, he smiled and nodded his head in grateful acknowledgment of kindness shown. Towards the last, when his sufferings were very great, he said, “Ask God to take me home soon.” Those who were watching by his bedside spent a few seconds in prayer, and in three minutes afterwards the dear little sufferer was gone to be with Jesus. Happy release! Glorious victory!

Other dear lads who have gone from us with a similar disease have died happily also, and though we have rich fruit on earth in the lives of boys now occupying honorable posts in life, we reckon these in glory to be among the choicest flowers of our dear Orphan Home at Stockwell.

REPORT OF THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE,

1878-74.

YEAR after year I have had to tell my friends the same tale. The continued blessing of the Lord has been with us throughout, and therefore we have not been compelled to vary our story with lamentations and woe. Our aim from the first has been to glorify God by the spread of the gospel, and in that object we have obtained cheering success. Nearly three hundred brethren are now bearing witness to the gospel of our salvation as regular ministers who were trained among us, and a more considerable number are acting as evangelists, colporteurs, and lay-preachers; indeed, under the last designation, we have trained several hundreds of young men. Our principle as to reception into the College with a view to the regular ministry is this : — -We receive only those who have preached for about two years, and have proved their calling of God; and these we do not pretend to make into preachers, but simply to aid them to obtain an education. We have no lack of applicants, indeed we are able to make a careful selection, and reject very many, and yet to accept as large a number as we need. Young and ardent spirits are evidently attracted to us, for such have appealed to us from places far away in America, and from different countries of Europe, as well as from every denomination of Christians at home. It has been frequently hinted that our course of study is so short that our men will not wear. Our reply is an appeal to facts, and by those facts we are content to stand or fall. If the men of any other College had done better in that respect, there might have been a reason for our altering our plans, but such is far from being the case. I requested my friend Mr. Rogers to give me a note of his observations upon this head, and he sent me the following : —

“Having visited many of the settlements of the students during the year, in various parts of the country, I am able to speak with some degree of confidence of their adaptation for the work for which they are designed. As the characters formed and the acquirements made at the College are for the accomplishment of a certain end, it is due to those who befriend it to be informed how far it has contributed and is still contributing to that end. If that end be the publication of a plain and straightforward gospel in a plain way, with a direct view to win souls for Christ, it has certainly not failed in its design. Nor does this apply to some few only whose success has been more signally displayed, but as a rule and with few exceptions amongst the nearly three hundred students who are zealously engaged in this work. It is not easy to judge while our students are in College what they will become when thrown upon their own resources, but in general they have exceeded rather than come short of the expectations which had been formed concerning them. Many who have been timid and diffident during the whole course of their studies, and have seldom ventured to take part in collegiate criticisms and discussions, have, soon after entering upon a sphere of labor, gained confidence in their own powers, and found ease and encouragement in their work. Their qualifications when put to the test have dispelled their fears, and evinced both to them and others the adaptation of their training to the end they had in view. The kind reception they have met with, the interest awakened in their ministry, and the early instances of actual usefulness, have quickened their activity and zeal. The fact of a student from Mr. Spurgeon’s College coming into a neighborhood has excited an attention that has been turned to good account, not to temporary merely, but to permanent good; insomuch that cold and dying churches have been quickened into newness of life. As my visits have generally been some few months after the pastorate has been assumed, and I have often revisited the same sphere of labor after several years of ministration of the same pastor, I have had abundant opportunity for judging the capability of the students for permanent acceptableness and growing usefulness among the same people; and I have no hesitation in affirming, though much has been insinuated to the contrary, that they will compare most creditably in this respect with the students of any other similar institution. The men who preach extemporaneously, and who preach a full gospel, and preach from the heart, less need a change of sphere than those who read highly elaborated sermons and preach less from the heart than from the head. The success of our students depends upon the fact that, like the first gospel-preachers, they cease not to teach and preach Jesus Christ, and in his name to look for signs and wonders following. This has secured for them the friendship and goodwill of all who love the old truths, and have no sympathy with the innovations of modern times.”

Some have labored under the fear that too many preachers would be thrust forth — a pusillanimous fear scarcely worthy of a reply. It may, however, suffice to say, that a large portion of our brethren have made their own spheres, and so cannot be charged with crowding out other ministers; and another considerable company have gone abroad — to America and elsewhere — where they were greatly needed, and more are about to go. Our field is the world. Our heart pleads continually for the missionary spirit to move among our brethren, that very many of them may carry the gospel to the regions beyond, both in our own land, among the churches of America, and the colonies, and, better still, among the heathen. This prayer has begun to receive its answer, and will have. in future days, a plentiful reward. The world is all before us, and the more heralds of the cross the better for the dying multitudes.

The New College Buildings are nearly completed, and their occupation is looked forward to with great expectations, for at present we dwell as in dens and caves of the earth in the underground rooms of the Tabernacle. How earnestly I wish that some generous friends, who have not helped me in this erection, would furnish me with the three thousand pounds which I still need to finish this work. The needed money will come I am certain, but from what quarter I know not. It is with deep gratitude that I record the fact that the brethren who were educated in the College have raised £1,000 towards the amount, which I have already received. May the Lord reward them for their love to this work.

Our general funds have, during the past year, never given us a moment’s thought. They have been left to the Lord by simple faith and he has supplied them, as he always will. Our beloved friends at the Tabernacle supplied £1,873 by the weekly offering last year, and so greatly cheered their Pastor’s heart. We want £5,000 per annum at the least, and, if we could be entrusted with more, we could use it most advantageously in helping men to break up new ground and form fresh churches. If we could maintain some gifted and warm-hearted brother, as a traveling evangelist, to stir up the churches, the Holy Spirit might make him of great service. For many reasons, we pray that the means at our disposal may be increased, for we believe there is urgent need. Several dear friends, who have been my faithful helpers, have been taken home to heaven this year; will not others take their places and see that the good cause suffers no lack? The guests at Mr. Phillips’ supper have hitherto contributed a large part of the annual income, and to him, and to them, all of us are deeply grateful, and yet more to our heavenly Father, who has inclined their hearts to aid us so generously. We shall be rich indeed if we have their prayers as well as their gifts.

The statistics of the churches in which our brethren labor are still most gratifying, and we refer our kind subscribers to them as their best reward. To our ministers in foreign parts we have, at the request of the Conference, written the following letter, with which we conclude these brief notes. It will show the union which is maintained among us when college days have long become memories of the past :-

CLAPHAM,
September 30th.

BELOVED BROTHER,

I have been requested to salute you in the name of the Conference of brethren in connection with the Pastors’ College, and I do so most heartily. Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied unto you. But I must also add the assurance of my own sincere love to you, and earnest desire that the Lord may be with you. Oceans divide us in body, but we are one in Christ, and by his Spirit we are knit together in one fellowship. We who are at home have enjoyed a considerable measure of the divine blessing, although we earnestly desire to see far greater things: our prayer is, that you who are abroad may be far more successful than we have been; may you yet do great things and prevail. Your trials are peculiar, but your God is allsufficient. The minds of your people are tinged with the special circumstances of the country, but the gospel is as suitable to them as to our own countrymen. Hearts are hard in every place, but the Spirit works effectually with the Word, and subdues wills most obdurate, to the obedience of the faith. Be of good courage, your God and ours is faithful to his promise, he will not leave you to be put to shame.

I feel sure, my beloved brother, that yore’ growing experience must have endeared to you the gospel of the grace of God, I feel more and more every day that nothing but salvation by grace will ever bring me to heaven, and therefore I desire more and more explicitly to teach the grand truths of electing love, covenant security, justification by faith, effectual calling, and immutable faithfulness. Love to souls as it burns in our hearts will also lead us to preach a free as well as a full salvation, and so we shall be saved at once from the leanness of those who have no doctrine, and from the bitterness of those to whom creed is everything. The happy via media of a balanced ministry we have aimed at, and succeeding years confirm us in the correctness of our views.

I pray you, in these evil days be firm, clear, and decided, in your res-the(my for the truth as it is in Jesus; nothing else will keep us clear of the blood of men’s souls. May the Holy Ghost anoint you anew for the struggle which lies before you. By the love which has long existed between us, I beseech you be faithful unto death, r reach my hand across the flood, and grasp you lovingly, and my heart goes with the word — the Lord bless thee, my brother, and keep thee, and lift up the light of his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

All goes well at the Tabernacle. Our beloved friend, Mr. Rogers, is still among us, enjoying perennial youth in his advanced age. The other Tutors are strong to labor. Our brethren are multiplied, and, as a body of ministers, they are such as you may remember with satisfaction. I am obliged to lithograph this letter, because I could not write so many copies, but in each case the signature is with my own hand, and I pray you, dear brother, do not look upon the lines as mere official writing. I love you in my heart; accept that love and the hearty greetings of a]l our brotherhood at home. Remember us in your prayers, especially remember me. By the memory of happy days in the past, when we looked each other in the face, do not forget us, and far more, do not forget your allegiance to our common Lord. Blessed be His name for ever. We live a]one for H/s glory. May he reign gloriously in your congregation. The blessing of the Triune God be with you, dear brother.

Yours for ever heartily,
C. H. SPURGEON.

VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT

HAPPILY our Report can be made in terms nearly identical with those of previous years. Our system of instruction has shaped itself according to actual requirements, and the continued confidence of the churches leads us to believe that the results are satisfactory.

Class work has gone on with quite an average amount of application and consequent success. No case calling for discipline has arisen during the year, and the evident spiritual life of our young brethren augurs well for their future usefulness. We have had valuable assistance from some of our ministerial friends, and our special thanks are due to the Rev. J. Clifford, M.A., and to the Rev. Elvay Dothie, B.A., for able lectures delivered in the course of the past session.

With renewed vigor we prepare for another year’s campaign. One thing is clear, that good men are still at a premium, and that the demand for such augments year by year. -All care in selection, and faithfulness in weeding out the inefficient brethren, will always leave some few who are not equal to the many and heavy calls which a pastorate in our country inevitably makes.

Our number of unsuccessful students is happily very small, while in several cases, where we once feared total inefficiency, some other sphere of labor has opened up, in which the brethren have amply repaid, by increased usefulness, all the time and expense devoted to them in College. Our opinion is confirmed, however, continually, that we cannot aim too high in our attempts to raise a soundly evangelical and well-educated Biblical Ministry for our denomination.

There can be no doubt that the struggle of our country churches to maintain an educated pastorate intensifies rather than diminishes every day. We are constantly applied to for men of the first order of talent, for some rural district or country town, because, unless such a one can be found, the probabilities of success are very few, and the difficulty of maintaining their present position almost insuperable. We cannot retain our young people unless the life and interest of the public teaching is sustained alike by vigor of thought, and freshness of illustration, as well as by deep piety and ripened experience. We must have for our smaller as well as our larger churches, “workmen who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

There is a loud demand for such men on every hand. We do not believe that the spirit of self-consecration has died out of our churches, nor that men of the right stamp will be wholly lacking; but we want many more of our best young men from the families of our church officers and leading members. We see the sacrifice this will entail on some, who must forego pecuniary advantages, to exist upon the very limited income which our churches, as a rule, offer to their pastors. Our ministers must be better paid, or our pulpits will not long continue to be filled with cultured and able men.

We call attention to this, as we foresee how much it is likely to affect us in the future. Already many of our young men have sought and found in America and the Colonies wider spheres of usefulness combined with much more of personal comfort in their work. We are glad of it, and hope that many more will follow, and thus escape the anxiety of straitened means, to do not less, but often more work for our one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. The area of our work is thus enlarged, and it assumes proportions perfectly gigantic. In the name of God we will go forward to meet it. The harvest truly is great, and the laborer’s few, pray ye the Lord of the harvest, to thrust forth more laborers into his harvest. J.A. SPURGEON.

OUR TUTORS’ REPORTS

I HAVE to report with thankfulness that the course of studies under my own immediate superintendence, during the past year, has been uninterruptedly pursued, and attended with some satisfaction, I trust, both to myself and others. Lectures in Theology and Biblical studies have been regularly delivered. The plan adopted during the year, of giving more frequent opportunities of criticizing sermons has answered well, and the discussions have maintained their usual interest and profit. The more private classes, for Mathematics, Logic, Hebrew, the Greek Testament, Homiletics, Pastoral Theology, and English Composition, have been continued; owing to the changes which are unavoidably made during the year, for mutual accommodation in the arrangement of the several classes by the tutors, some of these may not have been so far pursued and so numerously attended as might have been desired, but the time employed in them, has been sufficient, it may be hoped, to give considerable attainments in some of those studies, and a stimulus for further acquirements in all of them. The attention given by the students to their studies, continues to evince their eagerness to gain that information, and to exercise those gifts which may best qualify them for the one great work to which they have devoted themselves, and which is continually kept in view. G. ROGERS.

THE past twelve months leave a very satisfactory record of painstaking work. The progress of many of the brethren has been marked and rapid, showing a great degree both of diligence and aptitude. The diligence in some cases has been much more observable than the aptitude, it being at first the only visible thing that could warrant the pursuit of such studies, but never failing at length, to create, or to arouse the needed talent. Our class-work, I believe, has had a general healthful effect upon the mind; it has served, in no unimportant way, to discipline the faculties, and cultivate the taste. With a view to such results among others, the subjects of the senior classes have been chosen: these subjects have been the Ars Poetica, and Carmina, of Horace, the sixth Book of Virgil’s AEneid, the Hecuba of Euripides, and Demosthenes De Corona. As bearing, however, more directly upon the preaching of the Gospel, the reading of the Gospel by John, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistle to the Hebrews, in the original Greek, has been naturally the most entertaining of all our work, and the most beneficial. :No pains have been spared in bringing to bear upon the text the most certain results of recent criticism and research, in order that the real meaning might, if possible, be fairly and fully elucidated. The value of reading the New Testament in this manner, is unspeakably great to every faithful minister thereof. D. GRACEY.

THE classes comprising the department of the Pastors’ College under my care, have this year been enabled to get through a good amount of work satisfactorily; this they have accomplished ‘only by hard study, continuous effort, cheerfully put forth and sustained by a deep sense of duty to Him who has called them, and a conscientious appreciation of the requirements of the man who desires to be wise in winning souls. The success of this year of study, I cannot help thinking, is due to fixed seasons of devotion and prayer. All have been constrained to much prayer, and regularly once a month the work of intellectual culture has been arrested, and the greater part of one day has been set apart to wrestling with God for special help in our particular studies, and increased supplies of grace, zeal, fire, and vital energy in that form of spiritual life essential to him who is to live and die catching men. The subjects of study in my department are as follows —

English. All the branches of a plain and thorough Education therein are regularly and daily taught. The text books are : — for Grammar, Angus’s Hand Book of the English Tongue, Fleming’s Analysis of the English Language; Composition, Bain and Cornwall’s Treatises: Analysis, Milton according to Morell and Angus’s system. Geography. Text Books: Cornwall’s General Geography, and Blackie’s Geography of Palestine. Bible, General Knowledge. Text books ; Angus’s Handbook of the Bible. Metaphysics. Text Books: Whateley’s Elementary Logic, Sir William Hamilton’s Lectures on Metaphysics, Wayland’s Ethics, Taylor’s Elements of Thought, and Butler’s Analogy.

A. FERGUSSON.

Chap 11. A RECORD, PREFACE., 1875

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

.

A RECORD

OF

COMBAT WITH SIN
AND OF LABOR FOR THE LORD.

.

EDITED BY C. H. SPURGEON.

.

1875

“They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.” — Nehemiah 4:17, 18.

.

PREFACE.

COURTEOUS READER,

THROUGHOUT another year we have endeavored, month by month, to provide for your entertainment and edification. For both, because the first is to the most of men needful to produce the second, and also because God hath joined them together, and no man should put them asunder. See how in nature the orange tree, side by side with its golden apples, puts forth its delicious blossoms; mark how the painted butterfly flits among the useful herbs of the garden, and observe how the cerulean blue of the cornflower smiles forth from amid the stalks of the wheat. In the temple of the Lord the chosen high priest mingled around the fringe of his robe the tinkling bell and the precious fruit, and on the sacred candlestick were not only seven lamps, but also “knops and flowers upon the branches.” It was an ill day when religion became so decorous as to call dullness her companion, and mirth became so frivolous as to demand the divorce of instruction from amusement. It is not needful that magazines for Christian reading should be made up of pious platitudes, heavy discourses, and dreary biographies of nobodies: the Sabbath literature of our families might be as vivacious and attractive as the best of amusing serials, and yet as deeply earnest and profitable as the soundest of divines would desire. Reader, you see what we have intended: how far short we have fallen you know full well, and we also are not unconscious thereof. It is something to have tried, more to have tried to our utmost, and most of all to have held our own among many competitors, and to have so far succeeded as to have secured a host of appreciating friends. To these we respectfully and heartily present our Christian regards, and all the good wishes of the season.

True to our coat of arms, The Sword and the Trowel, we have smitten here and there, with such force as the case required and our arm allowed, and have builded upon the wall with some measure of diligence. Our object has been practical throughout. We walked the other day through a gallery of portraits, and noticed how little attention they secured compared with the same men and women in historical pictures in another department of the exhibition. Life in action awakens our emotions, mere portraiture has not. one-half the power. In our pages Christian men are seen doing service for their Lord; fifty disquisitions upon usefulness would not have exerted a tithe of the influence. We boast not when we speak of influence, for it has come to our knowledge that many of the various labors of holy zeal which we have here presented have obtained substantial help as the result, and in this we’ greatly rejoice. It might have been policy to have reserved our pen for our own varied enterprises, with the idea of bringing funds into our own channel, as each miller turns the water to his own wheel, but we have not so understood the law of Christ; to us every good man’s work is a part of our own, and to help him is to help ourselves. Whenever we hear of an effort carried on in true faith, with simplicity of motive, and real efficiency, our monthly pages shall still be lent to foster if we can, and if not at least to approve, and show our sympathy.

In our own vineyard, the College has become a tree of larger dimensions than ever, the Orphanage has brought forth sweeter fruit, and the Colportage has put forth new boughs. In all this our readers have had a large share, and we thank them heartily. Two fresh trees of smaller growth have been planted, namely, the Mission among the poor blind people of London, which deserves to be well watered; and last, but not least, Mrs. Spurgeon’s Fund for supplying poor ministers with books, which has made many hearts leap for joy, and must, under the divine blessing, be a fruitful source of benefit to the churches. This work ought to be sustained and increased till no needy preacher of the gospel should find himself destitute of daily food for his mind. The famine has been sore in the land, but this effort shall, we trust, never cease till each son of Israel shall bring home with him his own sack full of grain, for “there is corn in Egypt.” It remains with our at[ached friends to see to it, that nothing fails of all these godly efforts.

We bespeak for this year’s volume the honor of permanence. The cover is an attractive one, which our readers can purchase for sixteen-pence, and so preserve the whole; or the volume for 1875 can be purchased, bound complete, for five shillings. As the articles are of abiding interest we hope to have a place in many a library. We cannot afford that so much labor should, like the ephemera, live only for an hour.

Should any friend spend a few moments in recommending The Sword and the Trowel, and obtaining us fresh subscribers, we should be deeply grateful. If all did so, our circulation, excellent as it is and always has been, might be doubled at once, and our hopes of usefulness increased in proportion. Reader, to the God of all grace we commend you. When the sun of righteousness shines full upon you, pray for,

Yours heartily,

THE EDITOR

Chap 12. JANUARY, 1875.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

JANUARY, 1875.

TWENTY YEARS OF PUBLISHED SERMONS

BY C. H. SPURGEON.

FOR twenty years Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster have issued one of my sermons weekly without cessation, indeed, they have done more, for the number published has been five for every month of the twenty years, and has now reached 1,200. In the “Baptist Messenger ‘ a sermon has been inserted every month during the same time, making 240 more; 34 in addition have appeared in three volumes of the “Pulpit Library,” and 16 in “Types and Emblems.” I do not feel that I may allow the twenty years to close without a few words of thanksgiving. The fear of being thought egotistical does not so much affect me as the graver danger of being ungratefully silent. I am inexpressibly thankful to the God of infinite love, and if I did not give my thanks expression the boards of my pulpit might well cry out against me. Life has been spared, strength has been continued, and power to interest the people has been afforded, together with higher and more spiritual blessings, whose preciousness and number must of necessity move the heart of any man who is the recipient of them, if he be not utterly graceless. “The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.”

Before I had ever entered a pulpit, the thought had occurred to me that I should one day preach sermons which would be printed. While reading the penny sermons of Joseph Irons, which were great favorites with me, I conceived in my heart that one day I should have a penny pulpit of my own. The dream has come to pass. In the year 1854 several of my sermons appeared in Mr. Paul’s “Penny Pulpit,” and in the “Baptist Messenger,” but they were not regularly reported. There was, however, so good a demand for them, that the notion of occasional publication was indulged, but with no idea of continuance week by week for a lengthened period; that came to pass as a development and a growth. With much fear and trembling my consent was given to the proposal of my present worthy publishers to commence the regular weekly publication of a sermon. We began with the sermon for January 7, 1855, upon the text, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6), and now after twenty years it is a glad thing to be able to say, “having obtained help of God I continue unto this day witnessing both to small and great.” How many “Penny Pulpits” have been set up and pulled down in the course of these twenty years it would be hard to tell; certainly, very many attempts have been made to publish weekly the sermons of most eminent men, and they have all run to their end with more or less rapidity, in some cases through the preacher’s ill-health or death, but in several others, to my knowledge, from an insufficient sale. Perhaps the discourses were too good: the public evidently did not think them too interesting. Those who know what dull reading sermons are usually supposed to be will count that man happy who has for a score of years been favored with a circle of willing supporters, who not only purchase but actually read his discourses. 1 am more astonished at the fact than any other man can possibly be, and I see no other reason for it but this — the sermons contain the gospel, preached in plain language, and this is precisely what multitudes need beyond anything else. The gospel, ever fresh and ever new, has held my vast congregation together these many long years, and the same power has kept around me a host of readers. “Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” A French farmer, when accused of witchcraft by his neighbors, because his crops were so large, exhibited his industrious sons, his laborious ox, his spade, and his plough, as the only witchcraft which he had used, and, under the divine blessing, I can only ascribe the continued acceptableness of the sermons to the gospel which they contain, and the plainness of the speech in which that gospel is uttered.

The first seven volumes were printed in small type, and the sermons formed only eight pages, but the abolition of the paper duty enabled the publishers to give a more readable type and twelve pages of matter. This has been better in every way, and marks an epoch in the history of the sermons, for their name was at about the same period changed from the “New Park Street” to the “Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit,” and their sale was largely increased. Constant habit enables the preacher to give generally the same amount of matter on each occasion, the very slight variation almost surprises himself; from forty to forty-five minutes speaking exactly fills the space, and saves the labor of additions, and the still more difficult task of cutting down. The earlier sermons, owing to my constant wanderings abroad, received scarcely any revision, and consequently they abound in colloquialisms, and other offenses, very venial in extempore discourse, but scarcely tolerable in print; the later specimens are more carefully corrected, and the work of revision has been a very useful exercise to me, supplying in great, measure that training in correct language which is obtained by those who write their productions before they deliver them. The labor has been far greater than some suppose, and has usually occupied the best hours of Monday, and involved the burning of no inconsiderable portion of midnight oil. Feeling that I had a constituency well deserving my best efforts, I have never grudged the hours, though often the brain has been wearied, and the pleasure has hardened into a task.

Our place of meeting at New Park Street only sufficed us for six weeks after the publication of the “Pulpit,” and the platform at Exeter Hall was occupied till June of the same year, when, the chapel having been enlarged, the congregation returned to its own abode, to be there crowded, inconvenienced, and almost suffocated for another twelve months; till at last in June, 1856, Exeter Hall was again occupied in the evening and the chapel in the morning. This arrangement continued till, in October, 1856, the great hall in Surrey Gardens was by a remarkable providence prepared for our use. This was indeed so, for its main use and benefit to any one in any sense, until it was turned into an hospital, was connected with our occupation of it. Even at this distance of time I dare not trust myself to write upon the deadly horror which passed over my soul. during the calamitous panic which brought to a speedy end the first service in that place; but God marvelously overruled the sad event for his own glow, leading vast numbers of all ranks to besiege the edifice, and crowd it continually. So far as the printed sermons were concerned, it opened for them a far wider door than before. At the Surrey Gardens the assembly gathered in undiminished numbers till December, 1859, when, owing to the resolution of the directors of the gardens to open them on the Lord’s-day for music, we refused to contribute to their funds by hiring their hall, and left the place to pay a third visit to Exeter Hall; not, however, without deep regret at the loss of so convenient a meeting-place, where thousands had found the Savior. At Exeter Hall the services were continued till April, 1861, when, the funds having been gathered, the Metropolitan Tabernacle was opened, free of debt, and there the congregation has continued’ ever since, with the slight intermission of an excursion to the Agricultural Hall during necessary repairs. From a few hundreds the audience has grown to 6,000, and the sermons issued weekly have increased proportionally.

Several sermons in the series have attained a remarkable circulation, but probably the principal one is that upon Baptismal Regeneration. It was delivered with the full expectation that the sale of the sermons would receive very serious injury; in fact, I mentioned to one of the publishers that I was about to destroy it at a single blow, but that the blow must be struck, cost what it might, for the burden of the Lord lay heavy upon me, and I must deliver my soul. I deliberately counted the cost, and reckoned upon the loss of many an ardent friend and helper, and I expected the assaults of clever and angry foes. I was not mistaken in other respects, but in the matter of the sermons I was altogether out of my reckoning, for they increased greatly in sale at once. That fact was not in any degree to me a test of the right or wrong of my action; I should have felt as well content in heart as I am now as to the rightness of my course had the publication ceased in consequence; but still it was satisfactory to find that though speaking out might lose a man some friends it secured him many others, and if it overturned his influence in one direction it would be compensated elsewhere. No truth is more sure than this, that the path of duty is to be followed thoroughly if peace of mind is to be enjoyed. Results are not to be looked at, we are to keep our conscience clear, come what may, and all considerations of influence and public estimation are to be light as feathers in the scale. In minor matters as well as more important concerns I have spoken my mind fearlessly, and brought down abjurations and anathemas innumerable, but I in nowise regret it, and shall not swerve from the use of outspoken speech in the future any more than in the past. I would scorn to retain a single adherent by such silence as would leave him under misapprehension. After all, men love plain speech.

It would not be seemly for me to tell of the scores of persons who have informed me of their being led to faith in Jesus by single sermons which appear in the twenty volumes, but there are discourses among them of which I may say, without exaggeration, that the Holy Spirit blessed them to the conversion of hundreds; and long after their delivery fresh instances of their usefulness come to light, and are still being brought under our notice. Seldom does a day pass, and certainly never a week, for some years past, without letters from all sorts of places, even at the utmost ends of the earth, declaring the salvation of souls by the means of one or other of the sermons. The price is so small that the sermons are readily procured, and in wonderful condescension the Lord sends the Holy Spirit to work through them. To God be all the glory.

Many singular things have happened in connection with their publication, but the most of them have escaped my memory; the following, however, I may mention. One brother, whose name I must not mention, purchased and gave away no less than 250,000 copies. He had volumes bound in the best style, and presented to every crowned head in Europe. He gave copies containing twelve sermons to all the students of the universities, and to all the members of the two houses of parliament, and he even commenced the work of distributing volumes to the principal householders in the towns of Ireland. May the good results of his laborious seed-sowing be seen many days hence; the self-denial with which this brother saved the expense from a very limited income, and worked personally in the distribution, was beyond all praise; but praise was evaded and observation dreaded by him; the work was done without his left hand knowing what his right hand did.

In the first days of our publishing a city merchant advertised them in all sorts of papers, offering to supply them from his own office. He thus sold large quantities to persons who might otherwise never have heard of them. He was not a Baptist, but held the views of the Society of Friends. It was very long before I knew who he was, and I trust he will pardon me for here mentioning a deed for which I shall ever feel grateful to him.

By my permission, the sermons were printed as advertisements in several of the Australian papers: one gentleman spending week by week a sum which we scarcely dare to mention, lest it should not be believed. By this means they were read far away in the bush, and never were results more manifest, for numbers of letters were received in answer to the inquiry as to whether the advertisements should be continued, all bearing testimony to the good accomplished by their being inserted in the newspapers. A selection of these letters was sent to me, and made my heart leap for joy, for they detailed conversions marvelous indeed. Besides these, many epistles come to us of like character, showing that the rough dwellers in the wilds were glad to find in their secular paper the best of all news, the story of pardon bought with blood.

In America, the sale of the edition published there was extremely large, and I believe that it still continues, but dozens of religious papers appropriate the sermons bodily, and therefore it is quite impossible to tell where they go, or rather where they do not go. Of translations the Dutch have been most plentiful, making large volumes. An edition of two volumes of selected sermons has been circulated in the colony of the Cape of Good Hope among the Dutch settlers of that region. In German there are three noble volumes, besides many smaller ones. German publishers, with the exception of Mr. Oncken, of Hamburgh, seldom have the courtesy to send the author a copy, and I have picked up in divers places sermons bearing date from Baden, Basel, Carlsruhe, Ludwigsburg, and so on. How many, therefore, may have been sold in Germany I am unable to compute. In French several neat volumes have appeared. In Welsh and Italian one volume each. In Sweden a handsome edition in four volumes has been largely circulated, and the translator informed me of the conversion of some of noble and even royal birth through their perusal. Besides these there are single sermons in Spanish, Gaelic, Danish, Russ, Maori, Telugu, and some other tongues, and permission has been sought and gladly given for the production of a volume in the language of Hungary. For all these opportunities of speaking to the different races of mankind, I cannot but be thankful to God, neither can I refrain from asking the prayers of God’s people that the gospel thus widely scattered may not be in vain.

Brethren in the ministry will best be able to judge the mental wear and tear involved in printing one sermon a week, and they will best sympathize in the overflowing gratitude which reviews twenty years of sermons, and magnifies the God of grace for help so long continued. The quarry of Holy Scripture is inexhaustible, I seem hardly to have begun to work in it; but the selection of the next block, and the consideration as to how to work it into form, are matters not so easy as some think. Those who count preaching and its needful preparations to be slight matters have never occupied a pulpit continuously month after month, or they would know better. Chief of all is the responsibility which the preaching of the Word involves; I do not wish to feel this less heavily, rather would I fain feel it more, but it enters largely into the account of a minister’s life-work, and tells upon him more than any other part of his mission. Let those preach lightly who dare do so, to me it is the burden of the Lord, — joyfully carried as grace is given, but still a burden which at times crushes my whole manhood into the dust of humiliation, and occasionally, when illhealth unites with the mental strain, into depression and anguish of heart.

However, let no man mistake me. I would sooner have my work to do than any other under the sun. Preaching Jesus Christ is sweet work, joyful work, heavenly work. Whitefield used to call his pulpit his throne, and those who know the bliss of forgetting everything besides the glorious, all-absorbing topic of Christ crucified, will bear witness that the term was aptly used. It is a bath in the waters of Paradise to preach with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Scarcely is it possible for a man, this side the grave, to be nearer heaven than is a preacher when his Master’s presence bears him right away from every care and thought, save the one business in hand, and that the greatest that ever occupied a creature’s mind and heart. No tongue can tell the amount of happiness which I have enjoyed in delivering these twenty years of sermons, and so, gentle reader, forgive me if I have wearied you with this grateful record, for I could not refrain from inviting others to aid me in praising my gracious Master. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name.”

NOTES

A FRIEND who writes to express thanks for the benefit received from our printed sermons by himself and his afflicted wife, sends us a copy of an inscription written in a copy of THE INTERPRETER which he gave to his niece and her husband on their wedding day : — “ This work, which was written by Mr. Spurgeon to promote the worship of God in families, is presented to Henry and Ellen T on their marriage, by their pastor, at the request of their uncle and aunt, whose earnest desire is that they may habitually use it for that purpose. Luke 11:9. 10; Philippians 4:6.” May the Lord of all the families of Israel fulfill the desire of his servants.

FROM AMONG MANY OTHER KIND LETTERS UPON
“THE INTERPRETER” WE SELECT THE FOLLOWING : —

“Dear Sir, — The writer of this, a retired minister of the Methodist New Connection, has the pastoral charge of an excellent charity known as Firth’s Almshouses, founded in 1869, by Mark Firth, Esquire, of Oak Brook, Sheffield There are thirty-six houses for forty-eight persons; twelve of the houses to be occupied by man and wife, or two sisters, widows, or two spinster sisters, the rest widows or spinsters, one in each house; they should be sixty years of age, natives of Sheffield, and members of a Protestant congregation. One part of the pastor’s work is to conduct a short service each morning, sing, read the Scriptures, prayer. At first we read from ‘ Cobbin’s Condensed Commentary,’ the chapter, and reflections at the end. Also frequently from ‘ Morning by Morning,’ reading a chapter containing a passage on which you have reflections, and found them very profitable. Sometimes a portion from ‘Dodridge’s Family Expositor,’ occasionally from ‘ Jay’s Morning and Evening Exercises,’ only a few of the shortest. Two years ago you announced the ‘Interpreter.’ I ordered the first number, and at once concluded it was the work we needed, and begun with it the first of January following, and have read from it by far the greater part ever since. The writer of this was surprised after the eighth number to find Mr. Spurgeon expressing a little surprise that the sale was not more extensive, and saying it was suggested that the mode of publication in numbers had interfered. The writer of this felt assured this was the case, and was strongly inclined to write and encourage by assuring him it would make its way when complete in one volume or two. The booksellers would not allow me the usual discount to ministers, because it was a periodical; and if they have done so in other towns, many ministers and others may have preferred waiting, as it would be cheaper, etc. But as for me — aged — my people aged, we did not know we should live two years, and could scarce expect it in some instances, and to have waited two years to save a few shillings would have been a great loss in the way of instruction and spiritual profit, so we went on in numbers until complete, and though some have died in the course of the reading — died in the Lord — yet most are spared to this present. When you commenced with the New Testament we began to read in the New every other week. My people have often thanked me for placing ‘ The Interpreter’ before them; by it their faith in the truth as it is in Jesus has been greatly confirmed, their views of Christian privilege and duty enlarged, and their personal piety promoted. We sincerely thank God that this work was suggested by the Holy Spirit, that your valuable life has been spared to finish it. We have no doubt it will prove to thousands, as it is to us, a great blessing. I read it to the alms-people in my family worship, and often in my closet. I trust the Great Head of the Church has a great deal more work for you to do, and if so, he will spare you until it is done. The ‘Sword and Trowel’ is read, and then I send it round, as a weekly tract, to the delight of our folks. — Yours, C. J. DONALD.”

On Friday, December 11th, the men of all trades who had worked in the building of the New College came to supper with us. More than 250 accepted the invitation. A choir of Orphanage lads sang to them, and Mr. Murphy, Mr. Cuff, Mr. Smith, and Mr. W. Olney took part with us in addressing the men. There was great attention, and a deep feeling was aroused in many. We feel sure that conversions were wrought that evening. The welcome at the feast upon the tables before them prepared their minds to hear the more readily of the feast of mercy.

Another of our students, Mr. Miller, leaves us to become a missionary in India. We are more glad of this than tongue can tell, for we count it the highest honor the College can have, to send out missionaries to heathen lands. Men who will leave all for Jesus are wanted. Are there not more in our churches?

Dr. Barnardo had a great meeting at the Tabernacle, December 8th. We need a great deal for our own works, but we are glad that our friends at the Tabernacle should help other workers also, and Dr. Barnardo is one of the greatest of them all. May God ever bless him and prosper his many noble enterprises.

On Monday evening, December 7th, many hearts were touched, and an after-meeting was held in the vestry, at which several testified that they had found peace with God. We have a continuous work of grace going on among us. Nearly fifty were added to the church on the first Sabbath of December, and one hundred in October and November.

Mr. W. Joynson, of St. Mary Cray, who on many occasions proved himself to be one of the best friends of our work, has gone to his rest. His loss will be severely’ felt all over the county. His generosity to churches and individuals was very great. Possessing immense wealth, all gained by his own exertions, he was very independent in spirit, but had a large and generous heart. ,May the divine blessing rest upon his descendants evermore.

Mr. Evans, from our College, has accepted the pastorate of the church at Staley Bridge. Mr. Pring is visiting Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet with the view of establishing Baptist churches in those towns. Mr. Baster has commenced his work at Surbiton, which place has been hitherto supplied by our esteemed helper, Mr. Dunn.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle, by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon : — November 26th, twenty-three; December 3rd, fourteen; December 14th, twelve.

Chap 13. FEBRUARY, 1875.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

FEBRUARY, 1875.

OUR WINTER RETREAT.

OR reasons of health we take our “minister’s holiday “ in the winter instead of the summer. It suits us best to leave our seaport isle when it is most smothered in fogs. It is a long time since we had a day’s sunshine, and we are about to make a journey in search of it. We remember a book entitled “A Stray Sunbeam”; surely the bad example set by one has affected all the rest, and the sunbeams have turned every one to its own way. We go to find out where their haunt is. When this number of The Sword and the Trowel reaches our readers we hope to be far away from fogs and frosts; not exactly in a land

“Where everlasting spring abides
And never-withering flowers,”

but in a region as near akin to it as we can expect to meet with in this world of changeful seasons. We shall at least be in a spot where the swallow never migrates, where the lizard basks and sports in the sun all the year round, where the brilliant dragon-fly darts before the eye in midwinter, and the spider spins his web every month in the year, and finds abundant insect food. On our last visit we remained for a whole month and never saw a drop of rain, and only noticed a single threatening cloud, and that was the theme of conversation among the sojourners beneath that azure sky; so that we could almost realize the expectation of rain which filled Elijah’s bosom when he saw the little cloud arising out of the sea. The benefit which we derived from our stay was so’ great that we cannot think of it without gratitude, and the wish that many other rheumatic sufferers were able to share the privilege. The dryness of the atmosphere and the delicious warmth of the sun proved to be nature’s best medicine, and we returned to pass a whole year with only a slight return of our disorder, though working on with incessant strain.

Thinking that our friends would like to see our retreat as far as it can be represented upon paper, we have borrowed two or three of the many engravings which adorn our friend Dr. Henry Bennett’s most valuable work, entitled “Winter and Spring on the Shores of the Mediterranean; or, the Riviera, Mentone, Italy, Corsica, Sicily, Algeria, Spain, and Biarritz, as winter climates,” published by John Churchill and Sons, New Burlington Street. This book is exceedingly well written, and, unlike a guide book, is attractive reading even to those who may not be able to visit the places personally. The author has an eye for the sublime and beautiful, a taste for natural history, a relish for the moral teachings of creation, and an absorbing interest in his subject; hence he is never prosaic and dry, though always practical and to the point. He has been in a very large degree the maker of Mentone as a health resort; and as Brighton honors “the first gentleman in Europe,” and Cannes cultivates the memory of Lord Brougham, from a lively sense of obligation, Mentone may well cherish the name of J. Henry Bennett as her benefactor. Restored from the borders of the grave by the influence of its sunny clime, this able physician makes Mentone his constant winter residence, and draws towards it, both by his book and by his personal influence, so large a number of visitors, that it is almost to be feared that accommodation will soon be difficult to obtain, for even now villa residences can only be procured for the season at enormous rents. At present, however, one may spend five weeks at the best hotel, and after paying the railway fares of both going and returning, will find that he has not expended more in the whole time of his absence from home than it would have cost him to reside in a corresponding hotel at Brighton. This may encourage invalids who suppose the expenditure to be excessive. Compared with the once popular voyage to Madeira, the cost is little and the toil of traveling nothing at all. It is a long way for a sick man, but it can be accomplished in four comparatively easy stages; London to Paris, Paris to Lyons, Lyons to Marseilles, and Marseilles to Mentone. The strain upon the strength cannot be mentioned in the same day with a sea voyage down the Channel into the boisterous Atlantic.

Mentone is a small Italian town of about five thousand inhabitants, pitched upon a inure cornice of land, guarded by a background of hills, and shut in by an amphitheater of lofty mountains which most effectually protect it from the north-west, north, and north-east winds. The mountains seem to fold it in their arms and clasp it round, as a mother embraces her babe; indeed, the simile may be pushed further, for as the child lies upon the warm bosom of love, so does Mentone flourish in the radiated heat which the limestone rocks pour forth. There are occasional frosts, but the abundance of lemon and orange trees covered with fruit at mid-winter, and the blooming of the veronica and the flowering of the rose at the same season, prove that these are not very frequent nor of great severity. Ice may be found in the valleys which are chilled by down-draughts from the mountains, but cold is a thing of the night, when the invalid is safe in his chamber; the day is warm, and, as he sits in the sun, he is generally glad of an umbrella to screen him from its powerful rays, and that, be it remembered, when further south at Florence or Rome he might be shivering with cold. The temperature falls suddenly when the sun sets, and, consequently, it is the invalid’s duty to get within doors at once; but from sunrise to sunset he may move out at a gentle pace, or sit under the rocks, and think that summer is holding sway; indeed, it seems almost ridiculous to read in our letters from home of the wretched weather, the deep snows, or the dense fogs, which are afflicting our friends in the land we have left behind us. We never felt so much before the beauty of the comparison of the Lord Jesus to the sun, for in the Riviera the sun is everything, he is the father of the flowers, the ruler of the weather, and the comforter of those to whom his wings bring healing: out of his range the balm departs from the air, and the climate is little or no better than elsewhere, but beneath his beams life laughs for joy. The Italians have a proverb that where the sun does not enter the physician must, and we have proved it true all too sadly, for in a room with a northern aspect at Nice we were chilled to the bone, and assailed in such a manner with our painful disorder, that it was a month before we recovered. If the Sun of Righteousness does not visit our souls, we shall soon be in an evil case, languishing and pining for lack of the spiritual health which he alone can supply.

Those who require dissipation to render a holiday pleasant will think Mentone dull, and prefer the gaieties of Nice — our taste lies in the direction of quiet and repose. “There is nothing to see here” was the exclamation of a young swell, who reckoned theaters necessaries of life. Nothing to see, with that glorious sea before you, those innumerable valleys, that gorgeous scenery, those weird olive groves and golden gardens! Nothing to see, where every turn opens up a new vista among the mighty hills, or, as you climb, fresh Alps on Alps tower before your eyes! To the blind, beauty herself has no charms. To the man who sees in nature the garments of the Invisible One, the footprints of infinite love, all nature furnishes recreation and enjoyment. The fact is that it would be hard to find a place with so many walks near at hand as Mentone; you are out of the town in a moment, a single turn takes you into a secluded valley, or to a lonely foot-track among the rocks, whence you have only to look back upon the glorious Mediterranean, or forward to lofty mountains. There are footways innumerable among the olive and orange gardens, and one’s rambles are not abruptly brought to a pause by announcements that “TRESPASSERS WILL :BE PROSECUTED,” such as in our own country confine us to dusty roads shut in by hideous walls, which deny to the tourist even a glimpse of nature’s loveliest landscapes. Here, when feeble knees forbid a walk of many miles, a few minutes will place the invalid upon a position fit for an emperor, where he may sit under the olive and figtree, none making him afraid, and drink in health and beauty at the same moment. Nothing to see! The fop, the debauchee, and the idiot may have the monopoly of such an exclamation. There is everything to see that a restful spirit can desire.

Never shall we forget when our eye first caught a glimpse of Corsica across a distance of at least one hundred and twenty miles: it rose like a dream of fairy-land, a vision hardly to be realized as actually before our opened eyes. We had been told that at sunrise the tops of the mountains of Corsica could be seen, but we had looked in vain, and it was while we were climbing a rock in the afternoon of the day that quite to our surprise the fair island seemed to rise like Venus out of the sea. Owing to the rotundity of the earth the shores of Corsica, which are ninety miles distant, are not visible, but the mountain summits, which are from six to nine thousand feet above the sea, are distinctly to be seen, with the markings of the clefts and ravines, and even the masses of cloud anchored upon them. The clearness of the atmosphere may be readily inferred from this fact. When our heart is clear of all doubts and unbelief’s our spiritual eye can behold the land which is very far off, and far over the sea of time the bejewelled city may be seen gleaming in a glory brighter than the sun.

The old part of Mentone is just like every other Riviera town, made up of lofty houses, arranged in narrow alleys instead of streets. Standing on the pitch of a hill it is all up and down, except in the part which visitors frequent, which is a wider street, and forms a portion of the famous Corniche road. This road keeps very near the sea for the simple reason that the -locks come down so nearly to the water, in many parts of its course, that it must either run by the ocean’s edge or be carried aloft over the hills. In passing through Mentone it traverses one or two bridges over mountain torrents, and beyond it, towards St. Remo, it is carried over the lofty arch which spans a ravine dividing France from Italy. From this main road by the sea there are lesser roads, bridle paths, and walks into the mountainous regions. Beyond the frontier are the famous bone caves, in which have been found organic remains, flint instruments, and portions of charcoal. The supporters of the pre-Adamic existence of man have here gathered ammunitions of war, but for our part we are not converted to their theory, and moreover our hands are so full of matters which concern the present race that we care not to inquire whether any other humanities occupied the world before our own came upon it. Even if men existed before Adam, it would make no difference to the Mosaic history, which does not profess to tell us of any other race but our own. We think the idea to be all moonshine, but are not at all alarmed for the Scriptures, whether it should turn out to be true or not. It is, however, very interesting to see the indisputable evidences that the caves were once inhabited by creatures which were neither vegetarians nor members of the Peace Society, but in all probability were men of like passions with ourselves. Many of the remarkable relics are preserved in the local museum.

Everybody who visits Mentone goes over to Monaco. The Casino and gaming-tables there are great attractions to gamblers of both sexes, but altogether apart from these enticements the spot is charming. The little principality of Monaco is almost the only place in Europe where the abomination of public gambling is allowed, and there under the eye of all comers it is carried on to the fullest extent. It is sad to see this vice so glaringly displayed in a place which, for its beautiful gardens and picturesque position, is worthy to be called a paradise. Truly the serpent is in every earthly Eden. While we were enjoying the loveliness of land and sea we heard the cooing of pigeons, and saw that vast numbers of the pretty creatures were preserved in elegant houses, and were kept in readiness for pigeon-shooting. On the outside of the houses were poor wounded birds wanting to get in and associate with their old companions. We were sick at heart to see them suffering. What sport our countrymen find in shooting these innocent creatures we cannot tell! It is an amusement only worthy of savages, and yet the aristocracy are the chief patrons of it. It is sad that it should pollute so lovely a scene. And yet we do not know; perhaps this pigeon-shooting outside is an instructive arrangement, intended to warn the unwary who venture within the gambling saloons, an intimation that what is done outside by means of powder and shot is performed upon superior game within the Casino by a surer method. Many a bird is trapped, plucked, wounded, and done to death at the gamblingtable, where sights are occasionally witnessed which the lover of his race would wish to forget. The rock of Monaco is altogether a thing of beauty, whether you walk around it or look down upon it from the lofty platform at Turbia, which well repays you for the labor of the ascent.

Roccabruna and Castellar also afford excellent excursions, and to Nice by road and back by rail is an easy day’s work. In the other direction Bordighera and San Remo are very pleasant rides along the shore. To us the most charming resort is Dr. Bennett’s garden, just over the Italian frontier. The main avenue of it salutes the eye upon entrance, and, being full of the choicest flowers freely blooming, it delights you at once. The doctor has terraced the rocks, and, by employing women to carry up baskets of earth to fill up the terraces, he has, by perseverance and skill, created a garden where else had been nothing but bare stone. He has also restored an ancient Saracenic tower, which forms a picturesque object. The view is magnificent, and there are dainty seats at points of sight most desirable. There is a croquet-ground, fernery, and summerhouse, and best of all a hammock where the sick man may lie at ease and gaze around him. If he does not get well there what can become of him? We never knew hours roll away so swiftly as those we spent in friendly chat with the Doctor in his Elysium; all that could comfort the suffering body and brace the wearied mind we had around us, and we praised God at every breath for his infinite love in providing “so sweet a rest for wearied minds.”

The doctor says of his garden : — “ I have long had a garden in heatherclad, fir-covered Surrey, where summer flowers smile on me when I return from the south, bat it is only a few years ago that the thought came to establish a garden on the sunny shores of the Riviera. At first I was satisfied with the luxuriant wild vegetation of winter in this region, with the sunshine, and with the natural beauties of the district. As I became more and more familiarized with my winter home I began to grieve that the precious sunshine, light, and heat, that surrounded me should be turned to so little horticultural account. Nature in these southern regions is left pretty much to herself as regards flowers, and it is surprising what fioricultural wonders she does produce unassisted. Then the desire came to see what I myself could do with the gardening lore previously acquired in England. So I purchased a few terraces and some naked rocks on the mountain side, about a mile from Mentone, three hundred feet above the sea level, with a south-westerly aspect, and thoroughly sheltered from all northerly winds. Here, hanging as it were on the funk of the mountain, I have set to work, assisted by an intelligent peasant from the neighboring village of Grimaldi, whom I have raised to the dignity of head-gardener, and in whom I have succeeded in instilling quite a passion for horticulture. We think we have done wonders in the first three years of our labors, and, as the results obtained throw a considerable light on the winter climate in this part of the world, I shall briefly narrate them. I am encouraged to do so also by the reflection that should this work fall into the hands of others trying, like myself, to establish a winter garden in the south of Europe, my experience, slight as it yet is, may be of some avail.

“I would firstly repeat that I think I have found out why horticulture is so utterly neglected in the south of Europe, and in warm countries generally. Mere ordinary gardening — the cultivation of common garden flowers — is attended with considerable expense, owing to the necessity of summer and even winter irrigation, if any degree of excellence, or if certain results are to be obtained. In climates where, as on the Riviera, it does not rain from April until October, where the rain falls tropically, in cataracts, at the autumnal and vernal equinoxes, and where often in midwinter there are droughts of six weeks’ duration under an ardent, burning sun, frequent watering becomes indispensable for most garden plants. Thus additional labor is required, and a heavy expense entailed, in addition to that of the ordinary work of the garden.

“On the other hand, southerners of the higher and middle classes are thrifty and economical, have few outlets for activity, and are at the same time indolent. Those who have property usually live on one-fifth of their income, and put by the rest. They thus provide for their children, and yet can remain quiescent, taking life easily, and spending their days in an agreeable state of ‘ dolce far niente.’ By such persons horticultural expenses are considered an extravagance, and those foreigners who indulge in them are thought to be all but demented. They understand paying labor for planting and irrigating orange-trees, cabbages, peas, or wheat, because there is a return — -a profit on the transaction; but to spend good money on roses and jasmines, unless to make perfumes for sale, passes their comprehension. Thus my Mentone neighbors think I am preparing for the erection of a large house, and nearly all the masons in the country have applied to me for my patronage. They cannot understand any one making a mere flower garden for pleasure on the mountain side, a mile or two from the town.

“In the gardens planted as adjuncts to the villas built for strangers many flowers and plants will thrive and blossom, more or less, all winter, with scarcely any care. Thus, the following grow luxuriantly : — Aloes, Cactaceae in general, his, Maritime Squill, Wallflowers, Stocks, Carnations, Marguerite, Geranium, Marigold, Primula (common and Chinese), Violets, Pansies, Nemophila, Crocus, Snowdrop, Hyacinth, Ranunculus, Narcissus, Ixia, Sparaxis, Hepatica, Roses, Chrysanthemum, Salvias of many kinds, Lavender, Mignionette, Tobacco, red Valerian, Daphne, Veronica, Nasturtium, Petunia, Cyclamen, Camellias, Azaleas, Calla AEthiopica, Begonias, Cineraria, Verbena, Cytisus, Cistus, many species of Passion flowers, Chorozema, and many Australian winter flowering Mimosae and Acacias. As stated, many of these plants can rest in the warm, dry summer without being injured thereby. They are all, or nearly all, perennial in this climate. They start into life with the autumn rains, flowering more or less early in the winter or spring, and most of them continue in full bloom from Christmas to April, a month which, horticulturally, corresponds to June in England.

“Most winters, in England, paragraphs appear in the newspapers, from residents in the more favored regions of our island, giving lists of the flowers still blooming in their gardens. It may be remarked, however, that these lists never appear after Christmas, or the end of December at the latest. The fact is that in England November and December are generally rainy, and not very cold months; although the weather is very often damp, foggy, cold, and unfavorable to human health, it does not actually freeze so as to destroy vegetable life, The hard frosts of winter generally commence about Christmas or the week after, and then the autumn flowers are all destroyed to the ground, and no such floricultural triumphs are possible. On the Genoese Riviera, on the contrary, after Christmas, if there has been sufficient rain, vegetation takes a start and rapidly gains ground, under the influence, not so much of a higher night temperature (for we feel the January cold of continental Europe), but of the increasing length of the day, and of the ardent light and sun of an unclouded sky.”

Lest we weary our readers with a theme in which they must naturally take less interest than the actual visitor to that sunny region, we break off abruptly for t. he present, hoping to resume the theme when on the spot; if we do so we shall insert a second article in our March number. Till then we ask for prayer that our many enterprises may not flag during our absence, that no untoward incident may occur, and that the means for carrying on the Lord’s work may be constantly forthcoming. Brethren, pray for us.

THE GREAT MASTER.

“I AM my own master!” cried a young man proudly, when a friend tried to persuade him from an enterprise which he had on hand;

“I am my own master.”

“Did you ever consider what a responsible post that is?” asked his friend.

“Responsible? Is it?”

“A master must lay out the work which he wants done, and see that it is done right. :lie should try to secure the best ends by the best means. He must keep on the look-out against obstacles and accidents, and watch that everything goes straight, else he must fail.”

“Well.”

“To be master of yourself you have your conscience to keep clear, your heart to cultivate, your temper to govern, your will to direct, and your judgment to instruct. You are to be master over a strong company, and if you don’t master them they will master you.

“That is so,” said the young man.

“Now I would undertake no such thing,” said his friend. “I should surely fail if I did. Saul wanted to be his own master and failed. Herod did. Judas did. No man is fit for it. ‘ One is my Master, even Christ.’ I work under his direction. He is regulator, and where He is Master all goes right.”

“‘One is my Master, even Christ,’” repeated the young man slowly and seriously; “all who put themselves under his leadership, win at last: he shall be my Master henceforth.”

NOTES

We had a glorious Christmas at the Orphanage. Our loving friends sent us much more than was needed to provide for the expenses of the day, and there is quite a bonus to pay ever to the general fund. Great was the joy and rejoicing, and there was nothing to mar the pleasure. The orphan lads presented to the President an album containing all their portraits, with the inscription, “From the boys of the Stockwell Orphanage to their best earthly friend.” A little lady who was told that this was our Christmas present, wanted to know however Santa Claus could get it into our stocking! A very natural inquiry, seeing that the album is the largest we have ever seen, measuring nineteen inches by fifteen.

New Year’s-day was a second high-day at the Orphanage, for then mothers and aunts came to see the boys, and Mr. Spurgeon gave away the prizes. It was a very excellent meeting, much was said that was well calculated to be a blessing to the poor widows and to their boys, and their real gratitude was shown by the hearty way in which they brought in the various small sums, which in the aggregate made up the amount of £75 17s.

The Annual Tea Meeting of the College was held Wednesday, Dec. 30. The ladies, with their usual generosity, gave the tea, and we gave our Sermons in Candles. We are afraid that misreports of our remarks at that meeting may lead to misunderstanding. Our students are in all respects equal to those which have preceded them, and we trust that many of them will become eminently useful. Still, we earnestly wish that young men of the upper and middle classes would consecrate themselves unto the Lord; their carly advantages would be much in their favor, and help them to take leading positions in the church. Many who think themselves called to preach are evidently under a delusion, for they have neither capacity for learning, nor ability for teaching; we, should rejoice indeed to see those young men coming forward whose five talents employed in business would make them rich, or exercised in a learned Profession would bring them honor. We want the best men for Jesus. The noblest human mind is not too good a raw material for the Lord to use in fashioning a minister of the gospel. We fear that wealthy parents discourage the aspirations of their sons to preach the gospel, because they see our ministry to be poor; but, though this is too sadly true, yet for Christ’s sake even poverty should be endured. The cure for the poverty of our ministry lies in the increase of its mental and spiritual power. We believe that for young men of ability, zeal, and abundant grace, there is no more honorable, happy, and holy course open in this world than the ministry of a Baptist church.

The best laid plans of mortal men are often set aside. Instead of journeying to our warm retreat, we are made the prisoner of the Lord at home. Pain seized upon us suddenly as an armed man, and made our feet and legs useless except for suffering. We had much to do, — too much, and to our grief we could not even so much as think of all the good things we had planned. We have the best advice, both from our surgeon and physician. Our friend Dr. Palfrey, who has watched us for years, came again to counsel us. The disease springs from mental causes, and can be as fairly reckoned upon, when an extra pressure of care or labor occurs, as the tides may be calculated by the moon. We shall now have rest, if the Lord will, and be at our work again when that rest is over, but it is very sad to be pulled up thus in full course, when good is to be done -and so much of it lies before us.

The Annual Church-meeting at the Tabernacle was held Jan. 8, without the Senior Pastor, whose absence and sickness · every one bewailed. After tea, Pastor J. A. Spurgeon took the chair, and there was a warm-hearted, loving, prayerful, enthusiastic meeting. Everybody seemed to feel that as the leader was absent each one must do his best to keep up the interest, and prevent the meeting from flagging. The right noble officers who so faithfully aid the pastors at all points were there in force, and so were the hundreds of loving brethren and sisters who make up the strength of the thousands of our Israel.

We have received many prescriptions for the gout, both for inward and outward application, and should have been dead long ago if we had tried half of them. We are grateful for the kindness although we cannot utilize it. Those who would really aid in the restoration of our health can best do so by preventing our having any anxiety about either College, Orphanage, or Colportage while we are away. If the funds keep up, and the works are carried on by those engaged in them, and especially if the Lord will bless the enterprises, it will be better to us than all the lotions, liniments, specifics, and elixirs put together, with twenty sorts of magnetisms thrown in.

In leaving home the Pastor commits his church to the Lord’s hands, hoping that as last year a revival broke out during his absence the same may occur again. Special services to that end will he trusts be held, but he leaves all to the brethren at home.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle, by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon : — December 31st, 1874, twenty-three.

APPEAL FOR PRAYER ON BEHALF OF MORE THAN ONE
HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLIONS OF CHINESE.

There are nine provinces of China, each as large as a European kingdom, averaging a population of seventeen or eighteen millions each, but all destitute of the pure gospel. About a hundred Roman Catholic priests from Europe live in them, but not one Protestant missionary.

Much prayer has been offered on behalf of these nine provinces by some of the friends of the China Inland Mission, and during the past year nearly £4,000 has been contributed, on condition that it be used in these provinces alone. We have some native Christians from these regions who have been converted in our older stations, and who are most earnestly desiring the evangelization of their native districts. Our present pressing need is of missionaries to lead the way. Will each of your Christian readers at once raise his heart to God, and spend ONE MINUTE in earnest prayer that God will raise up this year eighteen suitable men to devote themselves to this work? Warmhearted young men who have a good knowledge of business, — clerks, or assistants in shops, who have come in contact with the public, learned to discover the wants and to suit the wishes of purchasers, are well fitted for this work. They should possess strong faith, devoted piety, and burning zeal; and be men who will gladly live, labor, suffer, and, if need be, die for Christ’s sake.

There are doubtless such in the churches of the United Kingdom. May the Lord thrust many of them out. We shall be glad to hear from such.

J. HUDSON TAYLOR China Inland Mission,

6, Pyrland Road, N.,

January, 1875.

Chap 14. MARCH, 1875.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

MARCH, 1875.

NOTES FROM “THE DIARY OF JAMES CALDER.”

WITH REMARKS BY C. H. SPURGEON.

IN years gone by we were frequently assailed by brethren who insisted upon it that a deep and continual sense of the corruption of the heart was the main token of a child of God. To be tempted was to them the index of spiritual life. They looked upon strong faith as questionable, and upon full assurance as presumption; joy in the Lord they were afraid of, and abiding peace they dreaded as “a treacherous calm.” We remember well the croaking of a brother of this school, whose looks were black as a raven, and whose tones were mournful as the cry of the bittern. His was a deep experience, rumor also added that it was an unclean one; he knew the plague of his own heart, and the hell which lurks within the breast, and being thus made wise by experimental teaching, he was able to sweep away the whole race of professors with the bosom of destruction, for he viewed them all as rotten at the core, “dead-letter men at best,” and utter strangers to the essential experience of the tried children of God. Of this we have had enough and more than enough, and we feel some consolation in the belief that this peculiar phase of thought is passing away: but we have had little space for congratulating ourselves, for the peculiarities of one party have only vanished to give room for those of another. The pendulum is now swinging in the opposite direction, and the watchword of “Corruption deplored” is now exchanged for “Perfection attained.” We do not judge the teaching which has led up to it, the disciples may misrepresent their masters; but we now hear of brethren who are “pure as the driven snow,” whose experience is victory unbroken and conflict closed, and from whom doubt and sin are utterly banished. If we believed these good people’s descriptions of their own characters and attainments we should rejoice; but being always dubious of a man’s recommendation of himself, and being painfully aware that we personally have nothing whereof to glory, we hesitate to accept, we question, and in some cases we utterly reject, the assertions of these super-excellent beings. There is abundant room in the church for very great advances in the divine life, and we do not doubt that many beloved brethren have made these advances; long may they maintain them, and still proceed from strength to strength: trot we are sure that they are not beyond the assaults of Satan, the suggestions of the flesh, and the power of original corruption. They do sin and will sin; they will be tried, and the reality of their graces will be tested, and, it may be, some of that which glitters will not turn out to be gold; they will find daily need for divine help, for flesh is frail, and the firmest resolves, like those of Peter, may not survive the appointed ordeal; they will learn that they are men of like passions with the rest of us, and that even if they daily walk in the light as God is in the light, and have constant fellowship with Him, they will still need that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son should cleanse them from all sin.

We have frequently turned to our well-furnished library of Christian biography to discover whether those whom we have been accustomed to revere as men of God were in the habit of talking as our superior brethren are wont to do. With the exception of Fletcher of Madeley, and others of his school, we find none. On the contrary, Watts well describes the saints of other days in that verse : —

Once they were mourning here below,
And wet their couch with tears;
They wrestled hard, as we do now,
With sins and doubts and fears.”

It is consolatory to see the footsteps of the flock, and to know that in the sorrows and conflicts of our inner life we are companions of those who have gone before. Though we dare not frame excuses for ourselves from the failings Of others, we may at least be preserved from despairing selfaccusations, by observing that others, who were undoubted saints, were, like ourselves, compassed with infirmity.

These remarks were suggested by the perusal of “The Diary of James Calder of Croy,” f3 one of those mighty apostles of the Highlands, whose spiritual power is felt to this day, though they have been with God these hundred years. Mr. William Taylor, of Stirling, has done good service to the church of God by the publication of this Diary. Its deep, rich, fresh, loving records will awaken echoes in many hearts, as they have done in ours. Eschewing both the incessant moans of the corruptionists and the immutable smiles of the perfectionists, Mr. Calder’s face, as seen in the glass of his Diary, appears to us to be the natural countenance of a spiritual man; and as in water face answereth to face, so does our inner life tally with his. We have purposely selected passages which illustrate the good man’s changeful moods and show the hills and dales over which he followed the pathway to the skies.

1763. Friday, October 27th. — This day my sore complaint of heartcoldness, heart-estrangement, heart-atheism, was awfully felt, especially in the morning, as it has been for some mornings past, to the terror and distress of my poor benighted soul. Had some little breathing of relief; through the Lord’s mercy, in secret prayer and at family worship. But, alas! I still carry about this sore and awful plague — the want of heart-felt love to Christ, and soul-solacing complacency in God. Ah.! I fear that rye somehow provoked the Lord to hide his blessed face from me and to withdraw the benign influences of his Holy Spirit. O blessed Lord! show me wherefore is it that thou contendest with me; and oh! may I be helped to look up, and sigh, and pray, and wait for the dawning of the day and the cheering beams of the Sun of Righteousness.

Saturday, 26th. — In yesterday’s memorandum it was my petition that the Lord would let me see why he contended with me and hid his face from me. This day I perceive that the Lord, by the present heavy dispensation, is rebuking me in my solitude for the little care [took to keep near him and to solace my soul with his presence, his countenance and his love, while my children were about me. This I saw in a light that was very affecting and humbling; and, glory to his name! while I was confessing my spiritual idolatries, shameful departures, and backslidings, and attempting to betake myself to the blood and righteousness of Christ with all my sins, and follies, and deadness, and coldness, and darkness, he was pleased of his infinite mercy to receive me graciously, and to manifest somewhat of his love and glory, and his reconciled countenance to my poor soul. This was a sweet reviving cordial. My darkness vanished, my cold heart began to warm, and my weary soul found rest under the shadow of Emmanuel’s wings, and was blessed with some little delightful experiences of what I was earnestly praying for several days past, and that is, a heart-felt complacency in the ever-blessed God in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks! eternal thanks, to the God of all grace for this seasonable savor and revival. O for a clearer display of his glory shining in the face of Christ — for richer and sweeter experiences of his loving-kindness that’s better than life! May I be thankful for this sweet dawning, and may I take it as an earnest of the rising sun and the perfect day.

1768. Jan, 11th. — Saturday, Sabbath-day, and tills day, my soul has been (except the time I was lecturing and preaching in the house of God) involved in darkness, distress, and awful desertion, which was most sensibly felt at the midnight hours, when mine eyes were kept waking and my soul meditated terror. On Sabbath night especially I had a clear, distinct, and most humbling and alarming view of the atheism and vileness of my heart and nature — of the pride and vanity and formality which mingled with duties and my sacred administrations. The sight filled me for a moment with trembling and horror, and “unless the Lord had been my help, almost my soul had dwelt in silence; when I said, My foot slippeth, my soul sinketh, thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.” I was held up a little, yea, sustained, by these words, “Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;” and these other comfortable words, “The Son of man came to seek and to save that which is lost;” and many other passages and promises of the Word of God came to view in this sore emergence, which removed a great deal of that terror and slavish fear that had seized on my soul. Nevertheless a perfect cure was not yet effected; my sore still ran in the night. I remembered the happy time when I had my songs in the night; but now! thought the Comforter was at a distance, and my silent harp hung on the mournful willows. But blessed be his name, though weeping endureth for a night, on the morn joy ariseth! The clouds began to scatter in the morning by some comfortable beams of the Sun of Righteousness that darted in from his blessed Word on my benighted, disconsolate soul; and at family worship in the morning I had uncommon liberty and enlargement. At night my discouragements recurred — the clouds began to gather again; but in time of the evening sacrifice they were happily dispelled.

Two things I observed as to this dispensation: one is, that at this precise time, when! was in greater distress of soul than I had experienced for twenty years past, providence (and a noted providence it was) put into my hand the Memoirs of the great and venerable Mr. Thomas Shepherd, in which I found exercises and distresses of soul very much resembling my own, for which he blessed God as an infinite mercy to him; and glory to his name, I hope I can join my note of praise to his! I had infinite need of these humbling views of ‘myself; and I think I see more need of Christ this day for my poor soul than I have seen for twenty years past; and I see enough in Christ — glorious, precious Christ, the adorable Redeemer — to justify, to sanctify, to save, to solace, and glorify a poor castaway like me, a mass of guilt and corruption like me, to the eternal praise and glory of free, free grace! May heaven and earth praise him! Amen.

The second thing I remarked with respect to this distressful exercise is, that whereas there are several young people at this time under my ministry, and under my particular inspection and care, though few of them are of this poor parish, who are in great distress of soul under a deep law-work and spirit of bondage, as some of them have been for a year or two; and though they are daily on my heart at a throne of grace in my poor way, and though I have visited several of them at their distant habitations, and spent many hours in conference and prayer with them in my house; yet it is now a very long time since my soul was in the case of their souls, I thought, and I still think, that my fellow-feeling and sympathy with their sore and agonizing distress and soul-anguish, was not, and is not, so very tender and affectionate as it ought to be; and therefore I thought that the Lord saw it meet to hold this bitter cup for two or three nights and days to my mouth, to give me a new taste of the wormwood and the gall of their anguish and distress, which I long since experienced; to awaken in my soul more tender and deep sympathy towards them, and more fervent prayers for them than ever. — This I hope is, and will be, one of the happy effects of my sore exercise . . . O how loudly am! called now from my late experience to be more concerned for them than I have ever been! Lord Jesus, hear the sighs and groans of these precious prisoners of hope, and turn them to songs of praise and joy! Amen.

12th. — From morn till eve there were here with me one after another a number of exercised souls, some of them in great soul-distress, but under a most promising work, which I believe on solid grounds will terminate happily in glory to God and the Redeemer, and eternal salvation to them! This resort of exercised souls to my house, seeking Jesus who was crucified, I take for my delightful New-year’s gift from my infinitely liberal Master; and glory to his name, some such inestimable New-year’s gift he was pleased to give me for some years past. Glory to his name. Amen. 17th, Sabbath .Eve. — The Lord was singularly kind to-day, especially in the second exercise. Sweet, satisfying, and glorious were the views I had of the mystery of redemption through Christ, and great was the liberty I had in declaring to the great congregation the views I then had of Christ and of God in Christ, and the great and solacing truths of the gospel. I observed several of my auditory as much affected as I was, and some of the gallery bathed in tears. Lord, follow with a remarkable blessing! Amen.

1768. Feb. 3rd. — Would wish to be retired to-day. Many are my calls, great are my errands to a throne of grace, outward troubles and inward distress, without are rightings, within are fears, afflicted, tossed with tempests and not comforted, the knell of death ringing in my ears, and the Comforter that should relieve my soul at a distance ; — mourning without the sun. O my God; my soul is cast down in me; depth called unto depth, thy waves and billows going over me. Nevertheless, I trust that the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the day, and that yet his song will be with me in the night, as it sometimes has been, and my prayer to the God of my life. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Hope thou in God, for I trust I shall yet praise him? Amen! Besides, I have a great and solemn work in view, and the time is drawing nigh. Let me be helped, O Lord, by thy blessed Spirit this day, to plead and wrestle at a throne of grace for thy most gracious countenance, and most favorable and special presence on that occasion, if I am spared to set about it.

Six o’clock afternoon. — Adored for ever be the Lord for his marvelous lovingkindness shown to my poor distressed soul to-day! It well becomes me to say and sing with the psalmist, “I was brought low and he helped me.” He brought me out of a horrible pit and out of the miry clay, and established my feet on a rock, and put a new song in my mouth, even praises to my God and Redeemer. O! let heaven and earth praise him; for I cannot do it enough. It is now some years since I had such near access, such humble confidence, and such holy joy in the Lord as he vouchsafed me this day. He helped me to read clearly his special paternal love in a long train of merciful dispensations, signal interpositions, gracious vouchsafements, seasonable chastisements, remarkable deliverances, wonderful manifestations, sweet satisfying consolations and sealings of the Spirit, surprising assistances in duties — out of weakness bringing strength, and his frequent and merciful acceptation of my poor oblations in and through Christ, and giving many answers to my poor prayers, and many, many a time turning my heaviest groans into the sweetest songs. And shall I not now say and cry out with humble joy, “My Father, my Father, thou hast been the guide of my youth, and the strength of my age”? I then was led to see what an undutiful, untowardly, prodigal, disobedient child I was; which I was made to bewail bitterly before him for some time, with vows and resolutions, in the strength of grace, of a more filial temper and conduct for the future. As to some sore external trials, I was likewise eased by being helped to plead his fatherly power, wisdom, love, and faithfulness, as to their having a happy issue — plead likewise as to the other points, and specially the solemnity in view; and I hope, unworthy as I am, for an answer of peace in due time, for the sake of our adorable Jesus, to whom, with the Father and Spirit, be eternal praise and glory. Amen! Amen!

1774. Sabbath, Jan, 9th. — Some sweet liberty in the first discourse; much confusion and formality in the second. Lord forgive, for Jesus’ sake! I brought this darkness, formality, and confusion on myself by setting out in a proud and blind dependence on myself, on what I had lately received, and often received. Lord, make me wise to my own salvation, and that of others! Amen.

Monday, 10th. — Glory and praise for ever be to God in Christ, for the sweet and blessed liberty he has afforded me this morning. My clouds of yesterday, yea, all my clouds, are scattered, all my bonds are loosed; my soul is established on the Rock laid in Zion. I stand accepted with unspeakable .joy in the perfect and most glorious righteousness of my redeeming God. I have access, with humble boldness, to a throne of grace, to a mercy-seat, and there I am at once blessed with pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace! What shall I render to the Lord? Heaven and earth praise him! Amen, amen! — Visited worthy E — th G — t on a bed of languishing. Great sweetness, light, and liberty in conference and prayer with this dear, blessed, handmaid in Jesus! Conference with sundries. This was a blessed day to my soul — the best, upon the whole, I had for seven, I may say for twenty years back. I was never more sweetly and solidly established on my Rock, my Center, my Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessings, blessings, blessings to Him for evermore! Amen.

“SPURGEON’S ABSENCE FROM THE TABERNACLE.”

A CASUAL visitor, with a fixed idea in his mind, sees, or thinks he sees, what would never be thought of by those who are constantly on the spot. Proverbially lookers on at chess see more than players, and the same remark applies to other matters. A writer in the Christian World has visited the Tabernacle during the Pastor’s absence, and has made observations which have excited more indignation among our friends than anything which has appeared in print for many a day. All who have called upon us in our sick chamber have, without exception, denounced the article as a comedy of errors, and have marveled that such things could have been concocted. We felt that if the writer’s remarks were well deserved our lifework had been a very poor one: if our people can only receive their spiritual food from one hand, and will only hold together because of the presence of one man, they are individually childish and collectively a rope of sand. We could not think so badly of them, but we were saddened to read that any outward signs had led an evidently friendly writer to form such an estimate of them. One thing we knew, namely, that the pretty anecdote given in the article was utterly without foundation. The writer says, “We have heard that there are seatholders frequenting the Tabernacle who will rudely walk away on seeing a stranger in Mr. Spurgeon’s place; and these selfish souls are said to have been scathingly rebuked by a smart American brother who could flourish a little mother-wit when occasion demanded. Casting his eyes round the sanctuary, and instantly divining the reason why one and another were leaving their seats, the Rev. Mr. Jonathan gave a parting blessing to those who usually frequented that place for the purpose of worshipping Mr. Spurgeon. By-and-by he hoped that they who were there to worship God would have it nice and quiet to themselves. Such a speech was terribly severe, but it was well deserved.’ Now, to our knowledge, nothing of this kind ever occurred, The tale is old and hackneyed and was worn threadbare in the days of Rowland Hill, it is scandalous to plaster it upon the Tabernacle walls.

NOTICES OF BOOKS

ISRAEL’S IRON AGE; OR SKETCHES FROM THE PERIOD OF
THE JUDGES. BY MARCUS DODS, D.D. HODDER
& STOUGHTON.

DR. DODS seems to think that to find in Samson and other judges types of our Lord Jesus is “mere fancy” and that he has got hold of a “rational principle of interpretation.” He tells us that “if you merely wish to find analogies and figures for New Testament truth, it is very easy and very profitless work.” So he may think, but Paul was of another mind when he found in the story of Sarah and Hagar such admirable illustrations of the two covenants. Mr. Dods “rational principle” makes his book very dry and savorless to spiritual minds, and deprives it of much of the value it might otherwise have had. He is, moreover, a dangerous teacher when he says so much n defense of speculative minds whose border runs very close to heathenism; he compares such to the tribe of Zebulon, who feel “the irrepressible longing of the born seaman, who must lift the misty veil of the horizon, and penetrate its mystery.” Had he likened them to pirates we should have endorsed his metaphor.

His sketches are, however, useful in their way, and may be profitably referred to as casting a sort of moonlight radiance upon a portion of history which needs still further illumination.

MOTHER’S FRIEND. HODDER AND STOUGHTON

THE volume in paper is cheap at 1 s. 6d., and is full of useful instruction.

NOTES.

WE do not know how it can be managed, but it would certainly be an excellent thing if the Nonconformist bodies could organize a representative system by which they could speak for themselves. As it is, we hear of a Nonconformist committee doing this and another committee resolving that, and a third committee declaring the other. Possibly the representative authority of these gentlemen may equal, or ,even exceed, that of the nine tailors of Tooley Street; but we certainly should like to know their names and the sources of their representative power. We are now in great danger of being misrepresented by little knots of individuals who assume to speak on our behalf; and perhaps we are equally in peril of being ,dragged through the mire by a few ‘talented but headstrong leaders, who, possessed by one idea alone, rush forward blindly like so many infuriated bulls. Presumption might be checked and impetuosity moderated if the voices of the more temperate minority could be heard, but under present circumstances the dissidence of Dissent fails to secure a hearing. ‘Concerning certain resolutions passed of late by the great unknowns who work the Nonconformist oracle, we have said again ,and again, “Speak for yourselves, gentlemen. You do not represent the Dissenters of England. No, nor half of them.” A large number of Nonconformists would attend a meeting called at a particular crisis, and give their opinions upon an important question, who nevertheless will never be active members of political societies, having, as they judge, something better to do: these persons ought not to be left to be misrepresented by a handful of wirepullers, but should have some means of recording their judgments. If Nonconformity is to be a power in the land, it must grow out of its almost self-elected committees, and provide itself with legitimate representation. For London the board of Deputies of the three denominations offers the most available nucleus. [By those deputies the churches who choose to send their delegates are already represented, and all other Presbyterian, Baptist, and Congregational churches have the same liberty.

We venture very humbly to suggest that the Nonconformist opposition to Mr. Forster has been quite as earnest as is consistent with a Christian spirit. It certainly does not fall short in point of bitterness, nor do its failings lean to the side of forbearance. Mr. Forster is no enemy to Nonconformists; he has a crotchet and he sticks to it, but we believe that he has a warm side towards us. Is he to be driven from us? We are great claimants of liberty for ourselves; do we allow none to others? The noblest order of men are seldom driven by opposition, except it be in a direction the very reverse of that which was aimed at by their antagonists. This may be an infirmity of noble minds, but it is one to which we in a great measure owe Mr. Gladstone’s liberalism, — Oxford goaded him into a position in advance of his anticipations. Are the Nonconformists desirous of following the suicidal tactics of the university Tories? We believe Mr. Forster to be a most sincere and honest Christian man, open to conviction, and ready to go as far in our direction as his conscience will allow. He has made mistakes in his Educational Bill, but what mortal man could avoid doing so? The Dissenters themselves could not at one time have told him their own minds, even if he had been willing to legislate for them alone. Had any other member of the Gladstone cabinet been charged with the arduous task of preparing a School Bill he must have incurred an equal share of unpopularity from one side or another, and probably might have provoked even more opposition. The mistakes of a friend should not be viewed in the same light as the willful attacks of an enemy. The continuous concentration of Nonconformist wrath upon the head of an individual because he conscientiously differs from us upon one point may possibly be justifiable, but it is not at the first blush so manifestly Christian as to evoke admiration. Our duty is done when we add that against the perpetual hunting down of Mr. Forster we enter our personal protest, and we believe we speak the mind of multitudes of the very staunchest of Dissenters.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Mr. Henry Vincent delivered a Lecture in the Tabernacle, in connection with the Liberation Society. An attempt at disturbance on the part of certain Church Defenders was very readily put down. If we are not to be allowed liberty to express our own views in our own buildings things have come to a pretty pass. Happily there are yet laws which secure us freedom of speech, and the Tabernacle is the very last place in which the breach of those laws will be tolerated. Romanists murdered Murphy for using free speech, and semi-Romanists appear to be following their example by creating riots at Nonconformist meetings, but we warn them that they mistake their times. Such tactics are out of date, and will recoil on those who use them. We accord to others the right to promulgate their views without riot and disturbance from us, and we mean to maintain the same right for ourselves. That cause which needs the aid of disorder surely be upon its last legs.

We are very sorry that our esteemed friend, Dr. Kennedy, issued a pamphlet severely criticizing the labors of Messrs. Moody and Sankey, whom we judge to be sent of God to bless our land in an unusual degree. Dr. Bonar’s reply strikes us, as amply meeting Dr. Kennedy’s strictures, and needing no supplement. But we are sorry to read every now and then the most bitter reflections on Dr. Kennedy, as though he were an enemy of the gospel. Now, we know him to be one of the best and holiest of men, and quite undeserving of severe upbraiding. Nothing but zeal for the truth has moved him we are quite sure. He is fearful lest the doctrines of grace should be forgotten, and he is jealous for divine sovereignty. Tie is also fearful that the work owes more to music than to the force of truth, and is more the work of fleshly excitement than of the Holy Spirit, Is it altogether an unpardonable sin to feel such a sacred anxiety? We think not. At the same time we do not feel as Dr. Kennedy does. Had the revival under our American friends been what he thinks it to be, and what most similar ones have been, his remarks would have been timely and useful, although they would even in that case have been fiercely resented. As it is there are many things suggested by his pamphlet which it will be well for the people of God to ponder, and in so doing they may be saved from grievous disappointments. We feel sure that Mr. Moody does not count Dr. Kennedy an enemy, nor wish to silence him, and we trust that others will learn the same moderation of temper and speech. Convince Dr. Kennedy that the Lord’s hand is in the work, and his powerful voice and pen will be secured, and he will not be slow to issue a retraction: but to denounce him as an opposer of the Spirit’s work is unchristian, and to those who know the man it is a monstrous libel. We cannot expect all men to see alike, and we ought to admire the courage which enters an honest protest, even though it be a mistaken one. We wish that the religion of this age had more in it of the deep, heart-searching, devoted, and unflinching piety of our Highland brethren; while we also wish that some of our northern friends were more joyous in heart, and less severe in their judgment of other servants of the Lord. The matter ought to end in both sides quietly learning something from each other, and resolving that if they cannot agree in each other’s views they will at least abstain from ungenerous judgments and angry replies. The work which God is doing is so great and manifest that it cannot be injured by any man’s comments upon it; those engaged in it can afford to turn such things to profitable account.

Our evangelist, Mr. Higgins, has wasted no time, but has from Jan. 10 — 17 been laboring in Newtown, Montgomery, in connection with the church under our friend, Mr. Thomason. Both church and congregation felt much benefit from our brother’s earnest labors. From Jan. 20 to 26 Mr. Higgins worked at Wells, Somerset, where we hope to raise a Baptist church. We have placed a student there, and also at Shepton Mallet, and in both cases we hope to get a permanent footing. The evangelist is the best pioneer. We wish that friends of the Baptist denomination living where there is no church of our faith would let us knew their need, and aid us in planting new interests.

During the early part of February Mr. Higgins aided the special meetings at the Tabernacle, and preached in London. His engagements stand Feb. 27 — a fortnight of services in Shoreham. March 10 — -Ilkeston, Derbyshire. for a month. May the Lord set his seal upon this work, and move his people to aid in it.

As it is now some eight years since the Tabernacle was painted and repaired, it is resolved to perform this necessary work while the Pastor is laid aside; the building will therefore be closed on Sabbaths March 7, 14, and 21. Week evening services will be conducted as usual in the lecture hall, and the Sunday School and Classes as usual.

It is amusing to us to read accounts of our being in Italy and hoping to return at such and such a time, the fact being that up to the morning of this day Feb. 19, the time of writing this, we are still at home, with no prospect of a holiday abroad, but some hope of a change at the seaside. If newspapers would take even the smallest care to print the truth they might be of some use, but, as it is, it is generally safest to believe very little more than half of what you see in their columns.

The funds of the Orphanage are very low. When the tide has ebbed quite out the flood will come. Our 230 boys persist in eating and wearing out their clothes, or we would not even mention the matter of failing funds; but appetites are stubborn things, and our boys have double-barreled ones.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon : — Feb. 4, twenty-two.

Chap 15. APRIL, 1875.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

APRIL, 1875.

LONDON.

A PLEA, BY C. H. SPURGEON.

TRAVERSING all parts of London very frequently, we are nevertheless lost in it. Has any living man any idea of the vastness of our metropolitan world? It is not a city, but a province, nay, a nation. Every now and then we find ourselves quite at sea in a locality which we thought we knew as well as our own garden; the large mansion is gone, and the park which surrounded it, and our friend’s house with its almost rural appurtenances is swallowed up by a town, the garden and paddock of six acres are cut up into building lots, and a large public house stands on the site of the arbor where we held familiar chats and talked about the cows. We lose our bearings, and think we have taken the wrong turning, for lines of contractors’ make-believe houses have replaced that fine old avenue of trees, and the green pastures and still waters have vanished, dissolving into an ugly view of rows of tenements, all of the same hideous pattern, with roads not yet recovered from being up for the drains and gas. We need explorers to pry into the mysteries of London, old and new, and the maps need as frequent altering as the almanacs.

We cut out from an American paper the other day a short article which shows how what Cobbett called “the great wen” is demanding more and more space in the body politic; it is worth reading, though it contains not a tithe of what might be said.

“In few cities are there more than half-a-dozen railway stations. In London there are at least one hundred and fifty. Some of the railways never pass beyond the limits, and of one, the Tottenham and Hampstead, ‘ Punch’ says ‘ No one ever travels by it, as no one knows where it begins or where it ends.’ The Metropolitan and other intramural railways run trains every three or five minutes, and convey from twenty to fifty millions of passengers annually. Clapham Junction is the great south-western center, and through it seven hundred trains pass every day. Its platforms are so numerous, and its underground passages so perplexing, that how to find the right train is one of those things that no fellow can understand.

“As a proof of the expansive nature of London traffic, it was supposed that when the Metropolitan Railway was opened, all the City to Paddington omnibuses would be run off the ground: but, although it carried forty-three millions of passengers last year it has been found necessary to increase the number of omnibuses on the southern route, and they yield one per cent. more revenue than before the opening of the railway.

“Besides the railways, there are some fourteen or fifteen thousand tram cars, omnibuses, and cabs traversing the streets; there are lines of omnibuses known only to the inhabitants of their own localities — such as those across the Isle of Dogs, from Poplar to Millwall; from London Bridge along Tooley Street to Dock head, etc. The London Omnibus Company have five hundred and sixty-three omnibuses, which carry millions of passengers annually.

“It is more dangerous to walk the streets of London than to travel by railway or cross the Atlantic. Last. year one hundred and twenty-five persons were killed and two thousand five hundred and thirteen injured by vehicles in the streets. Supposing every individual man, woman, and child made one journey on foot in London per diem, which is considerably above the average, the deaths would be one in eleven millions, while the railways only kill about one in fifty millions of passengers, and the Cunard Company of Atlantic steamers boast of having never lost a passenger.

“Other tokens of the immensity of the population of London are that threequarters of a million of business men enter the city in the morning, and leave it in the evening for their suburban residences.

“There are ten thousand policemen, as many cab-drivers, and the same number of persons connected with the post-office: each of these tribes of workers, with their families, would make a large town. When London makes a holiday, there are several places of resort, such as the Crystal Palace, the Zoological Gardens, Kew Gardens, etc., which absorb from thirty to fifty thousand visitors each. The cost of gas for lighting is £2,500,000 annually; the water supply is one hundred millions of gallons per diem. In the year 1873 there were five hundred and seventy-three fires; and for the purpose of supplying information on the passing events of the day, three hundred and fourteen daily and weekly newspapers are required.

“What London will eventually become it is idle to predict. It already stands in four counties, and is striding on to a fifth (Herts.) The probability is that by the end of the century the population will exceed five millions, and will have quintupled itself in the century. Should it progress at an equal rate in the next, it will in the year 2,000 amount to the enormous aggregate of twenty-five millions; and the question that naturally arises is how could such a multitude be supplied with food. But the fact is, the more its population increases the better they are fed. In the Plantaganet days, when the population was not a third of a million, famines were of frequent occurrence, but now, with the command of the pastures, the harvests, and the fisheries of the world, starvation becomes an almost impossible eventuality, even with the twenty-five millions of mouths to feed.”

Our heart has been palpitating with the question, — what is to be done for these millions religiously? Whatever it is, it ought to be done at once. We ought not to allow new towns to spring up around us, and to begin their history without the means of grace. It is far easier to secure a fitting position for the house of prayer at the founding of a new suburb than it can be afterwards; and we are much more likely to get the ear of new-comers than if we allow them to form the habit of going nowhere, or of frequenting the mass-houses of ritualism. Every Christian denomination should be on the alert for London; it is the first duty of Londoners themselves, but believers in the country are also concerned in the right condition of the metropolis. London is in some respects the very heart of the world; it influences every land, its vice is a plague to the whole human race, and its religion may be a balm to the remotest lands. London must be the Lord’s; we long to see it set as a gem in the diadem of Jesus, as the Kohinoor among his crown jewels.

We long to commence more churches in and around London, and to see those churches comfortably lodged in suitable meeting-houses, or chapels if we must use that name. The Anglican church builds its temples everywhere; they spring up in amazing numbers, and no fear is entertained that they will be too near each other. They secure the people by being first on the ground; dissenters are slow, and find themselves too late; if they were more generously enterprising they would not remain so much in the rear. We know of an instance where a piece of land was given for a chapel, the London Baptist Association voted its annual .grant, friends on the spot added to it, a neat house of prayer was built, and a good man placed in it. Three or four gentlemen guaranteed a moderate salary, and the work began. In one year a church has been formed, a large Sabbath school collected, and a good congregation gathered. The place has been selfsupporting from the first, the guaranteed income has been exceeded, the debt is but nominal, and a tower of strength has been added to the Baptist body. What has been done in one case might be accomplished in scores of positions. We have done a similar work over and over again by means of our College, and when our health is restored we mean, by God’s grace, to be at it again. Without the slightest injury to existing interests new ones may be formed, and the work, by God’s blessing, can be carried through with ease. The people want the gospel; in some localities they are pining for it; only let the fountain be opened and the thirsty .ones will flock to it. We have lacked faith, but whenever God has given it to any they have found difficulties vanish and success awaiting them.

For our own part we cannot live if Christ’s kingdom does not grow,

NOTES.

HAVING asked our esteemed friend, Mr. W. Olhey, to send us for publication a brief account of the Lord’s work in our absence, he has sent the following, which we give without alteration.

“During the month of February a series of Special Services for the revival of religion have been held at the Tabernacle, with gratifying results. The meetings extended over three weeks, and were well attended throughout. As their principal object was the salvation of souls, united prayer was offered concerning them, and earnest gospel addresses were delivered on different evenings by Brethren F. White, H. G. Guinness, G. Waterman, W. G. Lewis, W. H. Burton, W. Stott, Dr. Cultess, J. Box, Pastor J. A. Spurgeon, and several of the Elders of the Church. The meetings were much en-livened by the use of Sankey’s Hymn Book; many of the most solemn of the hymns being sung as solos by our Brother J. M. Smith, from the East London Tabernacle. A very solemn feeling prevailed over all the meetings, and in the inquiry meetings, which were held afterwards on every occasion, very many persons were led to the Savior and found joy and peace in him.

“On Wednesday, Feb. 24th, the young converts were invited to meet Pastor J. A. Spurgeon and the elders of the church for prayer and thanksgiving. That evening was one that will, we think, never be forgotten by any person present. Eighty-two persons then stood up as a declaration that they had sought and found the Savior during the last three weeks, and between thirty and forty of them came up to the platform and made public confession of their saving faith in the Lord Jesus. It is well known to the elders of the church that many persons were not then present who also had been brought to a decision during the meetings. The elders of the church and our dear sister, Mrs. Bartlett, have found these meetings to be very blessed seasons. Conversion work has been very clear and genuine, and in many instances which will come before our beloved senior pastor’s notice on his return among us again, the change was very striking and remarkable.

holding one weekly every Wednesday evening in the Lecture Hall, and last Wednesday the room was not large enough to contain the numbers who came. An instruction class held weekly for the young converts is arranged for, which is presided over by Elder Nesbitt. The Assembly’s catechism, as prepared by our pastor, being the class-book from which instruction is given. One effect of the meetings has been the quickened, earnest zeal of many of the members of the church, evidenced by their inducing their relatives and servants to attend meetings, and sending up to the platform requests for prayer for their immediate decision for Christ.

“Elder Davis, the superintendent of the school, reports very many conversions among the senior scholars, and an evidently increased earnestness among the teachers. Our Elders’ Bible Classes have also received a blessing from these services, and Mrs. Bartlett reports from her class a very largely increased attendance and very many decided cases of conversion. At our Sunday School at the Almshouses also very much good has been done lately, and Mr. Bartlett, the superintendent, reports twenty to twenty-five conversions among the elder boys and girls in the school. It is the desire of the elders of the church that this good work should continue and increase, and every means will be taken to foster it by special prayer and effort until far greater results are attained. For this, earnest sympathy and prayer are asked from every member of the church, that when our beloved pastor is restored to us again his heart may be greatly gladdened and a fresh impetus be given to the good work by his ministry. May he come among us in the power of the Holy Spirit, and enjoy a larger and richer blessing in the conversion of souls than has ever yet been given him. ‘The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.’ He hath been mindful of us. He will bless us.”

How all this ought to encourage churches to work, and not rest on the Pastor. Here we have a people deprived of their minister, and yet receiving a larger blessing, though no professional revivalist is called in to fill the preacher’s place. God be thanked for our beloved co-pastor, deacons, and elders, and for a membership alive unto God by vital principles, and not dependent upon such a poor instrument as their so often afflicted preacher. How glad is he to be nothing and less than nothing so long as the Lord’s work goes on.

From our hearts do we bless God for moving dear friends to aid our various objects while we have been laid aside. Friends, you have our hearty thanks and hearty Christian love. The Lord bless you, and return your gifts into your bosoms a thousandfold. Your friend C. H. S. in his sickness has owed much to your cheering words and kindly deeds, and in his prayers commends you to the God who is able to enrich you with his abounding grace.

Having often heard it questioned whether the work of Messrs. Moody and Sankey would stand the test of time, we requested an esteemed friend to get the opinion of one of the most calm and judicious · of the Newcastle pastors. It will be remembered that in that town they labored with great acceptance. We are right glad to give the reply publicity, and have all the more confidence in doing so because the writer is one of the last men to ‘be carried away by popular enthusiasm, and is eminently one who thinks and judges for himself. He says, “I have no hesitation as to my answer to your question about Moody and Sankey. We here are all of us the better, and our churches in many ways, for their visit; permanently the better. More living, more aggressive; quicker to desire and bolder to execute plans of usefulness: and the converts, so far as I can judge or hear, stand wonderfully. I do not mean that there are no disappointments, it were madness to expect that; but they are, to say the least, in every respect of stability and character, equal to the converts received at other times. I do not, of course, commit myself to every method our brethren use; but the men are worthy of all confidence and love; and their work leaves a real blessing behind, especially to those who go in for hearty cooperation with them. You are quite free to give this opinion as mine, for whatever it is worth, to Mr. Spurgeon, or any other friend who is anxious on the subject.”

The prayers of God’s people are earnestly entreated for a blessing to rest upon the Annual Conference of Ministers educated at the Pastors’ College. The meetings commence (D).V.)on Monday, April 12th, by a Prayer Meeting at the College at 3, and a Public Meeting at Kingsgate Chapel, Holborn, at 7, at which Mr. Spurgeon hopes to preside. The meetings will be held throughout the week at the New College. Mr. Phillips’ supper is fixed for the 14th, and the Tea and Public Meeting at the Tabernacle on the 15th- O Lord, send now prosperity!

Chap 16.MAY, 1875.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

MAY, 1875.F4

INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF THE PASTORS’
COLLEGE CONFERENCE FOR 1875

WHEN the late excellent Field-Marshal, Sir John Burgoyne, took the chair at the Tabernacle, at a lecture by Mr. Henry Vincent, he discharged his duty as chairman briefly but admirably, by swing that, as chairman, he looked upon himself as merely called upon to ring the bell to announce the starting of the train. That is somewhat my position with regard to this Conference, only it rises to a higher degree of responsibility, because your president has not only to start the train of good thoughts and words for this week, but to a large measure he will give a tone for better or worse to all that shall follow. I am, therefore, more like the pitch-pipe of the olden times, which gave the key-note to the singers in the gallery, and through them to the whole congregation, and I feel inexpressibly anxious that the key-note should be a right one. Brethren, a measure of the sense of responsibility is helpful, and in many ways qualifies a man for saying the right thing, but it may be pushed too far, it may go beyond humbling the mind, and reach to the crushing of the spirit; it may so overwhelm you with the feeling of what is to be done as utterly to disqualify you for the doing of it. I am somewhat in that condition as to my part in this Conference today. I pine to inspire and not to repress your zeal, I long to lead you into the highest spiritual condition, and not to divert your attention to lower matters, and these strong desires master me; my heart conquers my head, and disturbs the equanimity so needful .for the creation and utterance of thought. However; I shall do my best, and leave myself in the hands of our great Illuminator, the Holy Spirit, that he may speak through me as he wills.

Our subject is a duplicate, and involves the advocacy of personality, or say individuality, and its opposite, for which I cannot find the exact word, either in the English or Latin tongue. I want to show that each one of us is a man by himself, and then that no one is alone by himself. Our individuality and our fellowship, our personality and our union with the Lord, our separate existence and our absorption into Christ: these are the themes I would dilate upon.

Perhaps my one thought will come better if I give you a text from the 1st of Corinthians, the 15th chapter and tenth verse : — “ I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I.” “I and not I;” I to the very full, every bit of me: Paul, once the Pharisee, the blasphemer, the persecutor, called now to be an apostle, who finds it cause of joy that this grace is given unto me to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ: I, not a whir behind the very chief of the apostles; and yet not I, for I feel myself to be nothing, yea, and less than nothing, and Christ is all and in all. So it is I and not I.

Commencing, then, let us speak of our individuality. Dear brethren, may we, every one of us, be as far removed as possible from anything like egotism, which is hateful to the last degree. It is to be hoped that vanity is rare in ministers, for vanity is the vice of novices, and may be sooner excused in young students than in actual teachers of the Word. Experience, if it be worth having, exterminates a man’s vanity; but so bad is our nature, that it may increase his pride if it be an experience sweetened with success. It were hard to say which is the greater sin, vanity or pride, but we know which is the more foolish and ridiculous. A proud man may have some weight, but a vain man is light as air, and influences no one. From both these egotisms may we be kept, for they are both injurious to ourselves and hateful to God. Too frequent an intrusion of self is another form of egotism to be avoided. I hope our sermons will never be of the same order as those which were set up by a certain printing office, and the chief compositor had to request the manager to send for an extra supply of capital I’s. The letter “I” is a noble vowel, but it may be sounded too loudly. Great “I “is very apt to become prominent with us all; even those who labor after humility can barely escape. When self is killed in one form, it rises in another, and, alas, there is such a thing as being proud of being humble, and boasting one’s self of being now cleansed from everything like boasting.

Brethren, I hope that however useful God may make us in our spheres, we do not conceive ourselves to be vastly important, for indeed we are no such thing. The cock was of opinion that the sun rose early every morning on purpose to hear him crow; but we know that Sol did nothing of the kind. The world does not revolve, the sun does not blaze, the moon does not wax and wane, the stars do not shine, entirely for the especial benefit of any one brother here, however admirable he may be in his own place; neither does Christendom exist for the purpose of finding us pulpits, nor our own particular church that it may furnish us a congregation and an income; nay, nor does even so much as one believer exist that he may lay himself out for our sole comfort and honor. We are too insignificant to be of any great importance in God’s great universe; he can do either with or without us, and our presence or absence will not disarrange his plans.

Yet for all that, our subject is individuality, and we hope that each man will recognize and honorably maintain his personality. The proper recognition of the EGO is a theme worthy of our attention. I will make a word if I may: let egotism stand for proud, vainglorious, intrusive selfhood, and let egoism stand for the humble, responsible, and honest self hood which, finding itself in being, resolves to be at the divine bidding and to be at its best, to the glory of God. In this age, when crowds follow their leaders, and bold men easily command a following; when the flocks cannot move without their bell-weathers, and rough independence is rarely to be found, it is well for us to be self-contained, whole men and not limbs of a body, maintaining ourselves in the integrity of personal thought, conscience, manner, and action. Monopolizers now-a-days almost push the individual trader out of the market: one party cry up wood as the only material for building the house of the Lord, and another sect with equal zeal extol their own hay and stubble. We shall not by all their efforts be induced to cease from building with the few precious stones, which the Lord has entrusted to us; nor shall even our brethren who so admirably pile up the gold and silver persuade us to hide away our agates and carbuncles. We must each build with such material as we have, neither, if the work be true and honest, ought we to censure others or condemn ourselves because our labor is after its own kind.

Upon this matter of individuality note first, the necessity of an earnest sense of our individual interest in the gospel which we preach. Brethren, we shall never preach the Savior of sinners better than when we feel ourselves to be the sinners whom he came to save. A penitent mourning for sin fits us to preach repentance. “I preached,” says John Bunyan sometimes, “as a man in chains to men in chains, hearing the clanking of my own fetters while I preached to those who were bound in affliction and iron.” Sermons wrung out of broken hearts are often the means of consolation to despairing souls. It is well to go to the pulpit at times with “God be merciful to me a sinner” as our uppermost prayer. Some mourners will never be cheered till they see the preacher smite on his own breast, and hear him confess his personal sense of unworthiness. It would not be right, however, for us to stay upon such low ground, for we preach the gospel, and not the law; we are bound, therefore, to rejoice because we feel the power of the blood of Jesus upon our own consciences, giving us peace and pardon in him. Our joy will give life to our message. We have also tasted of the honey of communion with Jesus: we have not, perhaps, feasted upon handfuls of it, as some of our Samsons have done, but we have at least, like Jonathan, dipped the end of our rod into it, and our eyes are enlightened, so that our hearers can see them sparkle with joy while we tell them how precious Jesus is. This gives emphasis to testimony. When we speak as ministers and not as men, as preachers instead of penitents, as theologians instead of disciples, we fail: when we lean our head too much upon the commentary and too little upon the Savior’s bosom, when we eat too largely of the tree of knowledge and too little of the tree of life, we lose the power of our ministry. I am a sinner, a sinner washed in the blood myself, delivered from the wrath to come by the merit of my Lord and Master — all this must be fresh upon the mind. Personal godliness must never grow scant with us. Our own personal justification in the righteousness of Christ, our personal sanctification by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, our vital union with Christ, and expectancy of glory in him, yea, our own advancement in grace, or our own declension; all these we must well know and consider.

We must never preach to others with a counterfeit voice, narrating an experience we have not enjoyed, but if we feel we have backslidden ourselves, we must rally to the mark, or penitently speak from the standpoint we actually occupy. On the other hand, if we have grown in grace, it is wicked to conceal what we have tasted and handled, and affect a mock humility; in fact, we dare not do so, we cannot but speak what Christ has taught us. We must speak out of the God-given fullness within, and not borrow from another; better far to be silent than to do that. We must be true to our personal condition before God, for perhaps the Lord allows the state of heart of his ministers to vary on purpose that their roving paths may lead to the discovery of his wandering sheep. I have sometimes traversed a portion of the pilgrim path by no means to be desired, and I have groaned in my soul, “Lord, why and wherefore is it thus with me?” And I have preached in a way which made me lie in the dust, fearing that the Lord had not spoken by me, and all the while he was leading me by the hand in a way I knew not, for the good of his own. There have come forward ere long one or two who have been just the people God intended to bless, and they were reached by the very sermon which cost me so dear, and grew out of an experience so bitter. “He carried me in the spirit,” says one of the prophets, and such carryings, so often as they occur, are matters for praise. :Not so much for our own good or edification so much as for the benefit of our fellow men are we borne into valleys of dry bones and chambers of imagery. We must watch these phases of soul, and be true to divine impulses. I would not preach upon the joy of the Lord myself when I feel broken-hearted, neither would I enlarge upon a deep sense of indwelling sin while rejoicing in a full sense of cleansing by the word. We must pray the Holy Spirit to keep up and elevate our individual life in its connection with our ministry. We must ever remember that we are not preaching doctrine which is good for others merely, but precious truth which has been proved to be good for ourselves. We may not be butchers at the block chopping off for hungry ones the meat of which we do not partake; but we must ourselves feed upon it, and must show in our very faces what fattening food it is which we present to the starving sons of men.

Brethren, this personality of life in Christ being well kept in our minds, it will be well for us never to forget our personal commission to preach the gospel, for I hope you have each of you received such a personal commission and know it; or else why are you here? Leave the ministry, brethren, if you have not received it of the Lord. I preach — I dare say it — because I can do no otherwise; I cannot refrain myself; a fire burns within my bones which will consume me if I hold my peace. Every Godsent Christian minister is as much called to preach the gospel as was that apostle who spake of “the Lord, even Jesus, who appeared unto me in the way.” This makes our preaching a solemn business. Suppose that this morning in going down the stairs of this college alone an angel should meet you and lay his hand upon you and say, “The Lord God Almighty has sent me to commission you to preach the gospel henceforth.” Brother, you would feel a burden laid upon you, and yet you would feel renewed confidence and ardor. No angel’s hand has touched thee, brother: the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who redeemed thee with his most precious blood, has laid this necessity upon thee. The pierced hand which gave thee healing now appoints thee to his service, and grasps thee as a vessel chosen to bear his name. Hear from his lips the commands, “Feed my sheep” and “Feed my lambs,” even as Peter did by the sea of Galilee. Keep that clearly before you. Who shall stand to oppose your preaching if the Lord has bid you preach? Who shall dictate your message or drive you to change it, if the Incarnate Wisdom has taught you what to say? You are well equipped for testimony if you can truly say, “I received it not of men; neither was I taught it; but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Dear Brothers, we must feel just that. I believe you do. I want you to keep the feeling fresh and warm. Kings, you know, claim to reign by the grace of God. It may be so. God is very gracious to allow some of them to reign. But of this thing I am sure, every true minister is a defender of the faith, “Dei gratia,” “By the grace of God I am what I am” as a minister as well as a believer. There may be a question about the legitimacy of monarchs, and a tribunal of judges is too often needed to test the election of senators, but if the Holy Spirit witness within us, our kingdom cannot be moved, our election cannot be disproved.

Brethren, we ought in connection with our individuality to feel a great respect for our own sphere of labor. You who are pastors are not only set to be watchmen for souls, but to be watchmen for the souls in particular places. You as a whole are to go into all the world to preach the gospel, but each one of you must feed that flock of Christ over which the Holy Ghost has made you an overseer. There your principal labors must be expended, for there your principal responsibilities lie. I would have every brother think very highly of the position in which God has placed him. If I am a sentinel to guard the army at a certain post, I know that every post in the whole cordon is important; but I am not to dream that mine is not so. If so, I may be inclined to sleep, and the foe may surprise the camp at the point which I ought to have guarded. I am to feel as if the whole safety of the entire camp depended upon me — at least, I ought to be as zealous and as watchful as if it were so. You see the links of that chain: each one of them has a strain upon it. Suppose that one of them should say, “I may rust through; it does not matter, for many other links are strong.” No, my friend, the chain depends upon each link; and so for the completeness of church work and for the perfect edification of the body of Christ, a great weight of responsibility lies upon you. I am very responsible; I admit it, but you have each one your measure of responsibility, which you cannot shift to another’s shoulders. If all the world should be blest, and the hamlet to which you minister should be unvisited, the general revival would be no joy to you if your negligence had made your little vineyard a mournful exception to the rule. You would rejoice in the increase of blessing elsewhere, but the deeper would be your regret that you had no blessing at home.

Let each man stick to his work. If I felt that I had a call to be an evangelist and to go everywhere preaching the word I would not retain my pastorate, because it would be unjust to the people who call me their pastor. I rejoice when I see very useful brethren traveling far and wide, but I lament when I find their churches left, to be starved and scattered. “They made me a keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard have I not kept.” If we cannot do the two things we had better not try. I am not for a moment wishing to discourage the most extended labors on the part of any of our brethren: the farther you can go the better, for all the world is your parish: but this must not be done at the expense of the work to which you have pledged yourselves by accepting pastorates. A dear brother said to me, “I wish you would go abroad and preach through the land;” and he urged as a reason that my people would appreciate me better if they had less of me. I replied that I did not want my people to appreciate me any more, for they go already as far in that direction as would be safe, and I assured him that I should stop at home for fear they should appreciate me more. I might have rambled all the world over and done great good, if that had been my calling, but the day will declare whether I have not been more in the path of duty and real usefulness by fostering institutions at home and scattering the word by my printed sermons far more widely than I could have done with my voice. :Be it so or not, brethren, when you know which part of the Lord’s work he has committed to you, give your whole souls to it. Going through the famous factory at Sevres the other day, I noticed an artist painting a very beautiful vase. I looked at him, but he did not look at me. His eyes were better engaged than in staring at a stranger. There were several persons at my heels, and they all looked and made observations, yet the worker’s eye never moved from his work. He had to paint the picture upon that vase, and what benefit would he get from noticing us, or from our noticing him? He kept to his work. We would fain see such abstraction and concentration in every man who has the Lord’s work to do. “This one thing I do.” Some frown, some smile, but “this one thing I do.” Some think they could do it :better, but “this one thing I do.” How they could do it may be their business, but it certainly is not mine. Remember, dear brother, if you give your whole soul to the charge committed to you it does not matter much about its appearing to be a somewhat small and insignificant affair, for as much skill may be displayed in the manufacture of a very minute watch as in the construction of the town clock; in fact, a minute object may become the object of greater wonder than another of larger dimensions. Quality is a far more precious thing than quantity. Have you ever seen the famous picture at the Hague, called “Paul Potter’s Bull”? It is one of the world’s immortal paintings. What is it? Well, it is only a bull, and there are, besides, a man, and a tree, and a frog, and a few weeds. It is only a bull. Ah, but there is not upon canvas another bull in the world to equal it. Many a man has attempted to depict a marvelous piece of natural scenery in the Alps or in Cumberland, or he has tried his pencil upon a magnificent sea piece, with a fleet of yachts dancing on the waves, and he has not succeeded. The subjects were superior, but the art was poor. We must never think because the particular work we have in hand seems to be insignificant that therefore we cannot do it, or should not do it, thoroughly well. We need divine help to preach aright to a congregation of one. If a thing is worth doing at all it is worth doing well. If you had to sweep a crossing, it were well to sweep it better than anybody else. If you only preach in Little Peddlington, let Little Peddlington know that you do your best, and mean its good. Many a minister has achieved fame, and, what is far better, has brought glory to God, in a congregation which could be counted by units, while another has presided over a large church, and though at first there was a great blast of trumpets it has ended in the silence and sadness of utter failure. Know your work and bend over it, throwing your heart and soul into it; for, be it great or small, you will have to praise God to all eternity if you be found faithful in it.

Come fair or come foul, my comrades, hold ye the fort. Some men attempt to excuse their own negligence by blaming the times. What have you and I to do with the times, except to serve our God in them? The times are always evil to those who are of morbid temperament. A scholar tells us that he once read a passage from a book to a worthy gentleman of the desponding school; it described these days of” blasphemy and rebuke” — I think that is the correct expression — and lamented the failure of the faithful from among men. “Ah, how true!” said the worthy man, “it is the precise picture of the times.” “What times?” exclaimed the scholar. “These times, of course,” was the reply. “Pardon me,” said the scholar, “the sentiment was delivered about four hundred years ago: examine for yourself the date of the volume.” The benefit of railing at the times it would be hard to discover, for railing does not mend them. What have you to do with the times? Do your own work. Charles the Twelfth of Sweden had his secretary sitting by his side writing from dictation, when a bombshell fell through the roof into the next room. The secretary, in alarm, dropped his pen, upon which the king demanded, “What are you doing?” The poor man faltered, “Ah, sir, the bomb!” The king’s answer was, “What has the bomb to do with what I am telling you.” You will say that the secretary’s life was in danger. Yes, but you are safe in any case, for you are side by side with Jesus in holy service, and no evil can befall you. Watch on and work on even to the crack of doom. Leave the seasons with God, and go on with your work. Carlyle speaks somewhere of the house-cricket chirping on while the trump of the archangel is sounding : — who blames it for so doing? If God had made you a house-cricket and bidden you chirp, you could not do better than fulfill his will. To-day he has made you a preacher, and you must abide in your vocation. If the earth should be removed, and the mountains should be east into the the midst of the sea, would that alter our duty? I trow not. Christ has sent us to preach the gospel, and if our life-work is not finished, (and it is not), let us continue delivering our message under all circumstances till death shall silence us.

We should consider, in the fourth place, our personal adaptation, desiring to keep it ever in the best condition. There is not only a work ordained for each man, but each man is fitted for his work. Men are not cast in molds by the thousand; we are each one distinct from his fellow. When each of us was made, the mold was broken — a very satisfactory circumstance in the case of some men, and I greatly question whether it is not an advantage in the case of us all. If we are, however, vessels for the Master’s use, we ought to have no choice about what vessel we may be. There was a cup which stood upon the communion table when our Lord ate that passover which he had so desired to eat with his disciples before he suffered, and assuredly that cup was honored when it was put to his lips and passed to the apostles. Who would not be like that cup? But there was a basin also which the Master took, into which he poured water and washed the disciples’ feet. I protest I have no choice whether to be the chalice or the basin. Fain would I be which the Lord wills so long as he will but use me. But this is plain — the cup would have made a very insufficient basin, and the basin would have been a very improper cup for the communion feast. So you, my brother, may be the cup, and I will be the basin, but let the cup be a cup, and the basin a basin, each as he is fitted to be. Be yourself, dear brother, for, if you are not yourself, you cannot be anybody else; and so, you see, you must be nobody. The very worst notes in music are those which are untrue; each true sound has its own music. In my aviary are many birds, and they sing very sweetly, but there are three grass paroquets among them which do not sing, but imitate the other birds, and very effectually spoil the concert. Their imitation seems to drown the natural music of the rest. Do not be a mere copyist, a borrower and spoiler of other men’s notes. Say what God has said to you, and say it in your own way, and when it is so said plead personally for the Lord’s blessing upon it.

Keep your adaptation for your work up to the highest pitch. Be not in so much hurry to do that you forget to be, — so anxious to give out, that you never take in. This is the haste which makes no speed. Old Nat had a large wood pile before him, and he sawed very hard to make that pile smaller. His saw wanted sharpening and re-setting; and it was dreadful work to make it go at all. An honest neighbor stepped up to him, and said, “Nat, why don’t you get that saw sharpened? You want to get that put to rights, and you would do a deal more.” “Now then,” said Nat, “don’t come bothering here. I have got quite enough to do to saw that pile of wood, without stopping to sharpen my saw.” It is unnecessary to point the moral of that anecdote; take note of it in future and act accordingly. It is a waste of time, not an economy of it, to dispense with study, private prayer, and due preparation for your work.

Keep your adaptation right, especially in a spiritual sense. We have more cause to pray and read our Bibles than any other people in the world. It was a very wet day the last time I was at Cologne, and I occupied a room in the hotel, which presented me with a highly picturesque view of a public pump. There was nothing else to see, and it rained so hard that I could not shift my quarters, and so I sat and wrote letters and glanced at the old pump. People came with pails for water, and one came with quite a barrel on his back and filled it. In the course of an hour that individual came several times, indeed, he came almost as often as all other comers put together, and always filled up his vessel. He was coming, and coming, and coming all the while; and I rightly concluded that he was a seller of water, and supplied other people; hence he came oftener than anybody else, and had a larger vessel. And that is precisely our condition. Having to carry the living water to others, we must go oftener to the well, and we must go with more capacious vessels than the general run of Christians. Look, then, to the vigor of your personal piety, and pray to be filled with all the fullness of God.

Once more, remember our personal responsibility. I shall not trust myself to go very deeply into this question, but every brother should remember that however well or ill another man may do his work, it can have no effect whatever upon our own personal responsibility before God. Some blame others with a kind of silently implied belief that they are thereby praising themselves, for if we censure the modes of another worker, we tacitly suggest that our own modes are — or, if we had any, would be — superior to theirs. Well, brother, it may be so. It may be that others are not wise, are scarcely sound, are fanatical, erratic, and the like, but what hast thou to do with them? To their own Master they shall stand or fall, and God’s grace shall make them stand; but your wisdom which criticizes them may prove a snare to you, and make you fall. You have yet to bring your work before God, to be tried by fire. Souls are entrusted to you, and for these you must give account. God does not mean to bless those souls by anybody else; they are to be converted through you; are you acting, living, and preaching in such a way that God is likely to convert them through you? That is the question.

Personal responsibility we ought to feel now, or it may one day come home to us in a way both forceful and painful. If you are smitten with sickness, and lie hour after hour tossing upon the bed in the silent watches of midnight, if you have a little respite from pain, or even if you have not, you will, in all probability, occupy your mind mainly with the overhauling of the work which you have hitherto done or left undone. Believe me, brethren, this overhauling does not minister to one’s gratification. There are portions of your work over which you linger with joy, and you say, “Glory be to God, this work was done, at any rate, with a pure heart and to his glory, and he blessed it;” and you feel ready to sing over it; but you have hardly time to finish the song before you have to weep over a piece of work that was slurred and blotted, and you cannot help wishing that you could do it all over again. Oh, brethren, we shall soon have to die. We look each other in the face to-day in health, but there will come a day when others will look down upon our pallid countenances as we lie in our coffins, and we shall not be able to return their glances. It will matter little to us who shall gaze upon us then, but it will matter eternally how we have discharged our work in life. “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin “ — “ Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting “ — . will that be the verdict on any one of us when we shall stand before the Lord God Almighty, who trieth the hearts and searcheth the reins of the children of men? His fire is in Zion, and his furnace is in. Jerusalem. His jealousy is most fierce against those who come nearest to him, he will not tolerate sin in his choicest servants, for he slew Nadab and Abihu because they offered strange fire upon his altar, and he made the false apostle to be an eternal monument of scorn. May we be kept by grace almighty, or the responsibility which rests upon us will grind us to powder.

I feel that this matter of personality may be pressed very earnestly upon you, my brethren, in all five of its points; and in all it will be useful. If our individual responsibility be well felt we shall refrain from judging others. We are all too ready to ascend the judgment seat. One man judges his fellow, and condemns him because he had had so few additions to his church. I should myself be sorry if I saw few conversions, and I should severely censure myself, but I should be very, very wrong if I were to utter an indiscriminate censure upon others. Our brother’s congregation may be smaller than ours; the people’s hearts may have been long steeled by a cold, dead, stereotyped ministry, and it may be that there is a good deal of work to be done before they will become interested in the gospel, much less affected by it. Possibly it may happen that the preacher who has one convert might say as the lioness did about her one cub, when the fox boasted that she had so many, — “ One, but that one a lion!” The minister whose whole year’s work ended with one convert, and that one was Mr. Moffatt, did not reap a scant harvest after all.

On the other hand, I have noticed — and I think rather more frequently that brethren who have few converts judge those who have many. Now, that also would come to an end if each man knew his own place, and had joy in his own work, and was not envious of another. You say, “Oh, but these numerous conversions cannot all be genuine.” Why not? Why should their number create suspicion? I have very few sovereigns in my purse, and there are heaps at the Bank of England, yet I guess that in the multitudes of golden coins which pass into the Bank of England there is not so much probability of there being a counterfeit as in the few which reach my pocket or yours. Quantity need not deteriorate quality. I have an idea sometimes — I do not know whether it is correct — -that where there are very few converts added to the church there may be some unbelief. When I came along the Corniche Railway, from Genoa, it was broken in several places, and in one spot the embankment was not quite destroyed, but it was weakened, and therefore they passed the carriages over it one by one. They were afraid of the road, and so did not allow too many upon it at one time. I may not judge, but I sometimes think when brethren bring the converts in so slowly that they have a little trembling about the power of saving grace to bear so many. It would not be difficult to be censorious on either side, but we shall not be so if we look well to the charge committed to us, and feel our own need of divine help.

Our individuality will preserve us, by God’s grace, from envying others. This vice is loathsome, and eats as doth a canker. “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” I have known persons utter sentiments which condemned themselves merely with the view of injuring others. They cared not if they perished like Samson so long as they pulled the house down upon others. An ancient story tells us that a king invited two men to his palace, one of whom he knew to be the slave of envy. “Now,” said he, “I will give you whatever you please, upon the condition that this man shall choose first, and his companion shall have twice as much as he.” The first man was envious: he desired great wealth, but he could not endure that the other man should have double. He therefore thought that he would reduce what he asked for, but this also left his companion his superior, and as the fable goes — for peradventure it was but a fable — his envy so prevailed that he chose to have one of his eyes torn out that the other man might be rendered totally blind. Somewhat similar is the spirit of those who oppose others upon principles fatal to their own work. Brother, do not so. If thy brother be honored of God, thank God for it: if thou art not so honored, be humbled and pray more earnestly. If the blessing come not to thee, still rejoice that it gladdens thy comrade. In any case do not envy.

On the other hand, dear brethren, this sense of individuality ought to prevent our despising others. The question sometimes comes to the lip concerning a very weak and scantily gifted brother, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” The answer of the Lord is, “What is that to thee? Follow thou me.” There are much better ways of spending our time than in deriding or despising our brethren. A better work by far is to help those who are weak, and to encourage those who are cast down.

Dear brethren, here is enough on this point, and I shall not be so long upon the other lest I should weary you. I wish, however, that this may abide in the hearts of us all. Come we now to the opposite side of the matter. I shall not imitate the old logicians, who could “confute, change sides, and then confute,” for what I have to say is not in opposition, but in apposition, it is not the reverse, but the converse. I cannot find the word with which to head it. Our language is still imperfect; it does not contain the converse of individuality. I looked in “Roget’s Thesaurus,” I did more, I consulted a living dictionary now among you, but I could not find the word, and there is not such a word, though there ought to be. Will anybody here, who is a word maker, be so kind as to coin me a word to stand in opposition or apposition to the word individuality? Till then I must dispense with a catch-word and proceed.

Let us all feel, dear brethren, that though we have each a work to do, and are fitted for it, we are not the only workers in the world. Brother, you are not the only lamp to enlighten earth’s darkness, not the only sower to sow the field of the world with the good seed, not the only trumpet through which God proclaims his jubilee, not the only hand by which he feeds the multitudes. You are only one member of the mystic body, one soldier of the grand army. This thought should encourage you and relieve the despondency engendered of loneliness. When God sent the flies, and locusts, and caterpillars to conquer Egypt, Pharaoh might have ridiculed any one of these insignificant warriors and said, “What can this caterpillar do? I defy the Lord and his caterpillars.” But the caterpillar might have answered, “Beware, O King, for there are ten thousand of us. We come in mighty armies, and will cover all the land. Weak as we are one by one, the Lord will evidence his omnipotence by the multiplication of our numbers.” Thus was it in the early days of Christianity. Christians came into Rome, — a few poor Jews they were, and they dwelt in the Ghetto, in obscurity: byand-by there were more. Meanwhile a few had passed over into Spain; soon there were more. A few had reached Britain; soon there were more. The nations, angry at this invasion, set to work to destroy those pests of society, which turned the world upside down. They tormented, burned, and destroyed them; but they continued to come in shoals and swarms, and though they were slain without mercy, there were always more to follow. The foes of God could not possibly stand against the vast host that pressed forward. Even so is it at this day. “The Lord gave the word: great was the multitude of them that published it.” You publish not Christ alone, your voice is but one of a mighty orchestra. The whole world is full of the praises of God; their line has gone out throughout all the world, and their word unto the ends of the earth.

Nor do we think only of the church militant, we lift our eyes beyond the firmament and see a still more glorious band; for the master’s honor and glory is not left in the hands of workers here below, toilworn and weary. His glory is sounded from harps that never clash, struck by hands that are never defiled. As a college we have our comrades in yonder host whose memories are yet green. I will not mention many names, but I can never forget our early brother, Alfred Searle, in character beautiful as a choice flower; and Paterson, in perseverance indomitable, who wore himself out in self-denying labor. Never can we fail to remember our apostolic brother Sergeant, worthy of a monument of precious stones; and Benjamin Davis, unwearied in his Master’s cause. It would only awaken mournful reflections if I were to continue the right noble list of those who have gone up higher; may we prove as faithful as they were. But it is not merely with them that we have fellowship, we are one with all the faithful. Luther and Calvin, and Wycliffe, and Latimer, and Whitefield, and Wesley, are our comrades, and all the saints who have preached Jesus Christ. They are not preachers now, it is true, but they are still glorifying God, and that after the noblest fashion. It refreshes my heart to think of those whose battle is fought and won for ever. We are told that the Venetian women, when their husbands are out upon the Adriatic fishing, go down to the verge of the sea on the sweet summer evenings, when all is calm and bright, and begin to sing a hymn. They sing the first stanza in the shrill silvery notes of woman’s voice, and then they wait. They cannot see a single boat upon the sea, the blue Adriatic is not dotted with a sail; but presently, mysteriously wafted across the waters, comes the second stanza. Their husbands are out of sight, but they are not out of hearing; and they have taken up the second part of the hymn. Even thus at this moment our friends on the shores of heaven are chanting to us! Hearken, I pray you! This is the strain, —

“All we who dwell above
In realms of endless love,
Praise Jesu’s name.
To Him ascribed be,
Honor and majesty;
Through all eternity,
Worthy the Lamb!

Did you not hear that canticle? Shall we reply? Come, my brethren, let us answer them I Let us rapturously sing, —

“While you around the throne
Cheerfully join in one
Praising his name,
We who have felt his blood,
Sealing our peace with God,
Sound his dear fame abroad.
Worthy the Lamb.”

Brethren, we are not alone. Legions of angels are around us. Hosts of glorified spirits look down upon us. We are surrounded with a mighty band of helpers. We are compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses. “Wherefore, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus.”

It is well for us to remember in addition to this that although we are individuals, and must keep up our personality, we are only instruments of the Divine purposes. We are nothing at all apart from God, and blessed be God we are not apart from him. It is well to fall back every now and then, in sheer weariness, upon predestination. It is a bed for some men’s idleness; to us it should be a couch for our refreshment. After all, God’s will is done. His deep, eternal, immutable purposes are accomplished. The rage of hell and the enmity of men are neither of them able to stay the course of the eternal decrees. God doeth as he wills not only among the armies of heaven, but among the inhabitants of this lower world. He maketh the wrath of man to praise him, and out of evil he bringeth forth good. It is so sweet to feel that God is behind you, that God is in you, that he is working with you. Mr. Oncken, in the early days of his preaching at Hamburgh, was brought up before the burgomaster many times and imprisoned. This magistrate one day said to him in very bitter terms, “Mr. Oncken, you see that little finger?” “Yes, sir.” “As long as that little finger can be held up, sir, I will put you down.” “Ah,” said Mr. Oncken,” I do not suppose you see what I see, for I discern not a little finger, but a great arm, and that is the arm of God, and as long as that can move you will never put me down.” The opposition which is urged against the true minister of Christ does not, after all, amount to more than the burgomaster’s little finger, while the power which is with us is that eternal and omnipotent arm whose forces sustain the heavens and the earth. We need not, therefore, fear. God’s presence makes us bold. Let the Uhlan in the late war be our example. Picture him, a solitary man, brave and cool, riding upon a fleet horse. He is going along one of those interminable French roads which have no variety, except that now and then one poplar may be half an inch taller than another; he rides hard and fearlessly, though there are foes on all sides. That one man passes through a hamlet, and frightens everybody. He enters a town. Is he not foolhardy? All alone he has ridden up to the Town Hall, and demanded beds and stores. Why is he so bold? They are all afraid of him, evidently. Ask the man why he is so daring, and he replies, “There is an army behind me, and therefore I am not afraid.” So must you, dear brother, be one of the Uhlans of the Lord God Almighty, and never be afraid, for the eternal God will be your rearward. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” says our commander, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” I feel as if he were here this very morning, looking on you as his soldiers and saying, “Conquer in my name.” Go, then, my brethren, ride to those villages and arouse them. Go to those towns and summon them to surrender. Go to the great cities and tell them “Christ demands that you yield your hearts to him.” Do this, and he will make your word effectual.

It is well for us to feel, in association with this matter of individuality, that we have the Spirit of God in us. I am what I am; but I am much more than I am, for there is resident within me the Holy One of Israel. Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost? :Not the country residences, the mountain chalets of a traveling personage who will tarry there for a little while. Your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost. This ought to make us respect ourselves ; — understand me, and do not misconstrue the expression. You should feel that what you do under the influence of the divine Spirit is not such a feeble work as otherwise it would be. Where the Spirit is there is power for the accomplishment of the divine purposes. It would be far better to speak six words by the Spirit of God than to speak six thousand without him. A sermon is not to be judged according to its words, a certain inner force is its soul and life; and God’s judgment of the discourse will be according to how much there was of the real flower and fruit of the indwelling Spirit underlying the leaves of the sermon. Dear brethren, I have heard persons say, “I heard so-and-so preach, and there really was nothing in it; but still a great many were impressed.” Just so; God does not need a painted temple; stained glass, and all manner of adornments and outward array, he cares not for. The man who thinks so is popish, whether he thinks so concerning the temples made with hands, or the temples of our manhood. Is there not a popery of intellect and a popery of elocution, in consequence of which we suppose that God is not resident in the uneducated or hesitating speaker, — but only dwells with fluency and elegance. Where God chooses to dwell there is a palace. His presence glorifies the place of his abode. Is there anything very wonderful in the architecture of Shakespeare’s house at Stratford-onAvon? Yet from the utmost ends of the earth admirers of the world’s great poet will come, because Shakespeare was once there. Suppose Shakespeare were there now! What would his admirers do then? ]Now this day, brethren, our poor humble constitutions and frames and bodies — be they what they may — are the temples of the Holy Ghost. It is not only that he was there, — that makes us respect the very ashes of the saints, but he is there now. May we never have, to lament his absence. You may see a fine house of which the owner is dead, only the picture of him hangs on the wall; but our delight is that the living Christ is in us now by the power of his Spirit. I went to the monastery which adjoins the church of Saint Onofrio, in Rome, some years ago, and they showed me there the rooms in which Tasso lived, and they had so skillfully drawn his likeness on the wall, that it looked for all the world as if Tasso were there. There were also his bed and his pen, and his inkstand, and some of the paper on which he wrote; but there were no fresh stanzas of” Jerusalem Delivered” to be heard. Even so we may have the likeness of Christ in our theological knowledge of him, we may have the pen with which he used to write in our power of speaking for him, and we may have the paper on which he was accustomed to write in hearts that are ‘interested in the gospel; but no “Jerusalem Delivered” will be produced, unless Jesus himself is there. Brethren, we must have Christ in us, the hope of glory; the Spirit dwelling in us, the pure, the ever-flowing life, or our lives will be failures. O Lord, abide with us.

I must conclude with the remark — that it is a very delightful thing to feel that all the work we are doing is Jesus Christ’s work, and that it is not onehalf so much ours as his. The sheep we have to shepherd are his sheep; the souls we have to bring to him were bought with his blood; the spiritual house that is to be built is for his habitation. It is all his. I delight in working for my Lord and Master, because I feel a blessed community of interest with him. That is not my Sunday-school, it is my Lord’s, and he says, “Feed my lambs.” It is not my church, but his, and he cries, “Feed my sheep.” Mine are his, and his are mine; yea, all are his. In the days when servants used to be servants, and were attached to their masters, one of our nobility had with him an old butler who had lived with his father, and was now getting gray. The nobleman was often much amused with the way in which the good old man considered everything that was his master’s to be his own. I was not only pleased with the story, but it touched my heart when I heard it. His lordship once said to him, “John, whose wagon is that which has just come up loaded with goods?” “Oh,” said he, “that is ours. Those are goods from our town house.” His lordship smiled, and as a carriage came up the drive, he said, “John, whose coach is that coming into the park?” “Oh,” said he, “that is our carriage.” “But,” said the master, “there are some children in it, John; are they our children?” “Yes, my lord, they are our children, bless them, I will run and bring them in.” My Lord Jesus, how dare I have the impertinence to claim anything which is thine? And yet when I gaze upon thy church, I am so completely thy servant, and so wholly absorbed in thee, that I look upon it as mine as well as thine, and I go to wait upon thy beloved ones. Yea, Lord, and all these my brethren are going too. Come with us, Lord, for thy love’s sake. Amen.

NOTICES OF BOOKS.

WHEN books are sent to us for review we will give our honest judgment upon them, but it is unreasonable to expect us to enter into controversies, or even reply to protests. We say this very courteously, but very firmly. Those who do not relish our notices of their books should be careful not to send us any more, but we earnestly urge them not to write to us to complain, for it will only be a low of their time and postage. We do not ask any one to send their works to us, they can use their own liberty about that: neither do we promise to notice all books sent to us; we claim the liberty of silence, and exercise it at our discretion: but when we have taken the trouble to read and criticize a book we cannot spare further time to justify our criticisms to the author in private. Of course, nobody likes his writing severely handled, and each author believes his own publications to be faultless; and therefore we fear we shall never be able to please all, though we are very sorry to displease even one. There are editors who butter and sugar their clients all round, and we recommend thin-skinned writers to send on their compositions to those amiable gentlemen; as for us, we do not belong to the Mutual Admiration Society, and have a very unpleasant way of saying what we think, whether we offend or please. We have sold whole editions of a book by a favorable criticism, because the public believe that our reviews are honest and discriminating; such we mean that they shall be still, and therefore, take notice, ye who want nothing but approbation.

EFFIE RAYMOND’ S LIFE-WORK. BY JEANNIE BELL.
GLASGOW: JOHN S. MARR AND SONS. LONDON: SIMPKIN
AND MARSHALL.

A TOUCHING, tender, holy narrative. The happy combination of pure and undefiled religion, with earnest temperance teaching, commends the story to us, and we shall be greatly disappointed if it does not become a general favorite. Although, according to certain teetotal advocates, the cooperation of non-abstainers is a thing to be despised, we trust that all earnest Christians will pocket the affront, and work none the less for the promotion of temperance in the way which best commends itself to their judgment, and the circulation of such excellent books as the one before us is a most admirable mode of so doing. Sufficient prominence is given to “the pledge” to satisfy the most intense advocate of it, but the renewing power of the gospel is put in the forefront, as it ever ought to be.

-BIBLE MONTHS ; OR THE SEASONS IN PALESTINE, AS
ILLUSTRATIVE OF SCRIPTURE. BY WM. H. GROSER.
SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION.

WE shall only say one sentence about this little book, and that we utter emphatically to all Sabbath school teachers, BUY IT.

A FATHER’S LETTERS TO HIS SON UPON HIS COMING OF AGE.
BY THE LATE DR. URWICK, OF DUBLIN. RELIGIOUS TRACT
SOCIETY.

THE name of the late Dr. Urwick is quite sufficient to commend any production of his pen. The letters are judicious, devout, and weighty.

NUTS FOR .BOYS TO CRACK. BY JAMES TODD. BEMROSE AND SONS.

A CAPITAL book for boys. Too well known to need any praise from us. We give an extract elsewhere, to let our readers see the excellent quality of the nuts.

THE IMAGE OF CHRIST AS PRESENTED IN SCRIPTURE.
BY J. J. VAN OOSTERZEE, D D. HODDER
AND STOUGHTON, 27, PATERNOSTER ROW.

COPIES of human works may be so faithful to the original that it may be impossible to distinguish between them, but when the copy is human and the work divine the case is far different. The spirit of the original, upon which imitation chiefly depends, is less likely to be transferred. We do not, therefore, look in human works for a perfect copy of the image of Christ as presented to us in the Scriptures; and yet such copies have their use, as they may not only lead to the study of the original, but assist greatly in the discovery of its distinguishing peculiarities. Though the image of Christ as presented in this book is one thing, and the image of Christ in Scripture is another, yet we may distinctly recognize all the leading features of the one in the other; while the lines and shades of deviation of the human from the divine are precisely those upon which the true followers of Christ are not universally agreed, and do not affect the resemblance as a whole. Every true Christian will say of the image of Christ, as it is here presented,” This is my Friend and this is my Beloved;” and he who cannot say this, is without Christ and without hope in the world. It is refreshing and reassuring to those who have their doubts and fears of Continental piety to look upon so clear and faithful a reflection of the image of Christ in the Scriptures, from a Professor of Theology in the University of Utrecht. On this account, as well as on account of its own intrinsic value, we gladly welcome its translation into the English language. The person and work of Christ are here exhibited and defended with much learning and zeal, in honorable distinction from the numerous instances in which scholarly attainments have in recent times been misapplied.

THE STEP I HAVE TAKEN; BEING LETTERS TO A FRIEND ON
TAKING HIS PLACE WITH “BRETHREN.” BY EDWARD DENNETT.
PRICE FOURPENCE. W. IT. BROOM.

DESTROYING’ AND .BUILDING; OR A FEW REMARKS ON A
PAMPHLET ENTITLED” THE STEP I HAVE TAKEN.” BY JOAN COX.
PRICE TWOPENCE. HOULSTON AND SON.

A CERTAIN man looked down upon the waves so long that at last his head swam, and he fell into the sea: this we suppose to be the case of Mr. Dennett. His change of mind will be viewed in different lights according to the opinions of the parties, but we think that both must regret his compromising a worthy and too trustful friend; and for our own part, we more than regret, we reprobate a man’s wantonly bespattering the friends whom he leaves behind. How dare Mr. Dennett say to his “friend,” “besides yourself, I never met with a dissenting minister who held the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures?” After such a statement, surrounded as Mr. Dennett has been with Baptist ministers, who hold this truth tenaciously, we feel quite sure that he has gone to his own place, and will be able to distinguish himself among “brethren.” Mr. Cox in his pamphlet very ably notes the weak points of Mr. Dennett’s paper, which are not a few.

THE MINISTER’S ELOCUTIONARY GUIDE TO THE PUBLIC
READING OF THE SCRIPTURE AND THE LITANY. WITH
ILLUSTRATED PASSAGES MARKED FOR CORRECT PITCH
AND EMPHASIS. ALSO SOME OBSERVATIONS ON CLERICAL
BRONCHITIS. ELLIOT STOCK.

THIS guide contains some very sensible observations, as for instance when it says, “Clerical bronchitis arises, in most instances, from a vicious mode of delivering the voice; that is, by speaking from the throat instead of from the chest; an unfair use of the vocal organs, and a bad economy of respiration in speech.” The writer has done his best, but very little can be taught upon this matter by a book. Each man’s faults need correcting individually, and he can only learn by observation and by practice. B natural is the best note for a preacher, but this we cannot expect from A FLAT.

SUNDAY MORNINGS WITH MY FLOCH, ON ST. PAUL’S LETTER
TO THE COLOSSIANS. A SERIES OF DISCOURSES, FORMING
AN EXPOSITION OF THAT EPISTLE. BY JAMES STRICT,
D.D. HODDER & STOUGHTON.

COMPELLED by long affliction to leave the pulpit, Dr. Spence has endeavored to benefit the church by his pen, and he has succeeded right well. Expositions of the Word, well wrought out, and delivered in plain language, are among the choicest treasures of the church, and benefit not only their readers, but the wider circles which those readers reach when they in turn become teachers of others. Dr. Spence is not a member of the school of doubt, neither does he pour a luminous haze over the text; he discourses in a manner at once simple and instructive, practical and thorough, Those divines who have but scant knowledge of theology frequently try to cover their ignorance by the affectation of despising antiquated dogmas, and they endeavor to make up for their want of acquaintance with God’s truth by great glibness in dealing out speculations which they have borrowed from some of the many heresy dealers: men who have real knowledge and culture, on the other hand, abide in the old paths, and are content with opening up the word of God as the Spirit teaches them. The Colossians has not been an epistle greatly run upon by expositors, and Dr. Spence’s work will therefore be all the more valuable to students of the Bible. We think we see clear traces in these discourses of that mellowing process which very seldom takes place in men except in connection with personal affliction. We are, doubtless, all of us gainers by the good doctor’s loss’ of health. May he be a gainer abundantly above us all.

NOTES.

FRIENDS will note that the extra accounts are not allowed to lessen the matter of the magazine, but constitute eight extra pages.

The extract embodied in our article entitled “London,” which we cut from an American paper, turns out to have been originally in the “City Press.” We cheerfully acknowledge the true parentage of the interesting description of the metropolis, and should have done so at the first had we been aware of it. Papers ought not to appropriate the best parts of other people’s articles, and insert them without a word of acknowledgment, for besides their own first wrong they lead innocent people into error. We honestly mentioned the source of our information, and had no idea that it had been stolen in the first instance from the always interesting pages of our own metropolitan “City -Press.”

Our thanks are hereby tendered to the many friends who have nourished the Orphanage during the ‘last few weeks. Their generosity will not be without its reward. Will friends be a little more careful when they send money: we have several receipts returned to us from the Dead Letter Office; and in one case we have answered a letter three times according to the address given, and in each case the reply has come back with “not to be found” written across it. It is very common for persons to write only the street at the head of their note and to omit the town, and if the postmark be not legible we cannot reply. A friend sent 6d. for the orphanage, and we had to pay 8d. for it. Another sent £20, but did not pay the postage, and therefore we refused the letter until the postmaster informed us of the contents. The mistakes made are marvelous, we were about to say miraculous. We have letters constantly about enclosures which are not enclosed, and we are requested to place our replies in accompanying directed envelopes which are not to be found. Friends, do be careful in sending moneys, or you cause us great trouble, and prevent our duly acknowledging your contributions. When you write upon matters which are no concern of ours, you ought, in all honesty, to send a stamp if you expect to be answered; and when you forget to do so, do not wonder if no answer ever comes, for the payment of postage so heavily taxes our resources, that we are making a rule not to answer those who fine us a penny for doing them a favor.

Very deeply grateful are we to friends at the Downs, Clapton, and New Cross, who invited our Orphanage choir to give a service of song on behalf of the orphans’ fund. Our lads were generously entertained and encouraged to sing their very best, and the ladies and gentlemen brought up their friends to swell the audience, and increase the proceeds. Could not other churches do the same? The loan of the chapel, the sympathy of the minister, and the attendance of the friends, is all we ask; the pecuniary result would be sure and very acceptable.

We purpose to celebrate the Anniversary of the Stockwell Orphanage, and the Chairman’s Birthday, by a fete at the Orphanage, June 18th. Particulars next month. [We thank the collectors who came up so nobly on April 20th. We should be delighted to furnish boxes or books to more collectors, to be brought in on June 18th, as a birthday offering for the Orphanage.]

The Annual Conference of the Pastors’ College has passed off gloriously. “The Lord was there.” More than two hundred ministers were up from their charges, and with students and associates the attendance at the Conference Meetings averaged three hundred men. The Monday evening meeting at Kingsgate chapel was well attended, lively, earnest, and useful. On Tuesday the President’s address and Mr. Rogers’ paper concluded a morning spent in earnest prayer. The evening was occupied with a soiree at the Stockwell Orphanage, where Mr. Bax, in the best of spirits, read a paper on “Temper in Ministers,” and Sir. Gracey discoursed upon Christian Experience, very much to the edification of us all. The evening afforded an occasion for unrestrained brotherly intercourse, and greatly promoted that hearty fraternal love which is both the basis and the object of our Conference.

On Wednesday, all punctually assembled in the New College at Eleven; much fervent prayer was offered, and Mr. J. A. Spurgeon, Vice-President, addressed the assembly with much power. Excellent papers by Messrs. J. Turner and E. Henderson followed. The brethren dined and had tea together. In the evening the guests at Mr. Phillips’ supper, under the genial leadership of Mr. Samuel Morley, subscribed nearly £2,000. The Lord be praised for this help to the work. The largest yet received, given freely and joyfully, and accepted most gratefully.

On Thursday, unhappily, the President was so ill as to be unable to be present, but he was cheered with the good news that the meetings were full of spirit, and above all were lighted up by the divine presence. The public meeting at the Tabernacle, enlivened by the sweet singing of Mr. Mayers, was one of the finest ever held The brethren who spoke were all at their best, and by their speeches created great enthusiasm for the College among Tabernacle friends. After the meeting Mr. Phillips entertained the brethren. May every blessing rest on our princely host.

Friday morning saw the Tabernacle crowded to the ceiling to hear Messrs. Moody and Sankey, who were helped in the highest degree by the good Spirit, and were enabled not only to arouse the sympathy of all hearts for their own work, but to stimulate every one to holy zeal. With a sweet Communion season the week closed. Happy and holy had it been; but there was one who, above all others, desired to be present, who was kept at home half the time the Lord’s prisoner. He is able, however, to write, “The will of the Lord be done.” [Many workers behind the scenes deserve our special thanks. Chiefly our ever diligent brother Mr. Murrell, and our brethren, Messrs. Mills, Chilvers, Pasfield, and others. Thanks also, very hearty, are due to the many friends who lodged and entertained the brethren.]

The statistics of work done by our brethren are this year very pleasing. Will our readers please note the account on the next page, and praise God with us that the College has not been carried on in vain. Think of 30,600 added to the churches by this means in ten years. Who would not have a share in such a work?

A most interesting and enthusiastic meeting was held in the Lecture Hall of the Metropolitan Tabernacle on Wednesday, the 17th ult., in connection with Richmond Street Ragged and Sunday Schools. After tea, at which about six hundred persons sat down, Mr. Olney took the Chair, and the public meeting was addressed by Dr. Barnardo, J. M. Murphy, and W. Alderson, Mr. Curtis, of the Ragged School Union, and the superintendents, Messrs. Burr and Northcroft. Mr. J. T. Dunn gave a brief sketch of the rise and progress of this good work. The friends heartily responded to an earnest appeal for help to build new schools, and contributed £128 17s. ld. It is proposed to raise another £100 by 23rd of June. The friends have thus raised in a few months over £350, which, with Mr. Spurgeon’s promise of £150, makes £500. At least £300 more is required.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle, by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon: — March 29, twenty-one; April 1, eleven.

Chap 17. JUNE, 1875.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

JUNE, 1875.

A PLEA PASTORS’ COLLEGE.

BY C. H. SPURGEON.

IT is of the utmost importance to the church that her ministers should be men fully equipped for their sacred work. Under God the church will generally be very much what her ministers make her; for the old proverb, “like priest like people,” may be transferred from priests to pastors, and it will still hold good. When we reflect upon the influence for good or evil exercised by the pulpit, we feel that were all Christian people to concentrate their prayers upon that one point the object would be worthy of all their earnestness. Yet how seldom do believers pray the Lord to send forth laborers into his harvest: it seems to be the very last petition which they will offer, though it ought to be among the first. Jesus in ascending thought it to be a worthy celebration of his triumphal ascent to bestow on his church the various gifted men who should be her preachers and teachers, but we, on our part, as a rule, think so little of these royal favors. that we will not even ask for them. Is it any marvel that as eminent ministers die, their successors are not forthcoming? Need we wonder that preachers of power are so few and far between? If we do not know how to prize the gifts of heaven, and do not even think it worth our while to pray for them, it is but justice that they should be withheld. If there be any one thing which above all others would be profitable to the churches, it would be universal and unanimous prayer for ministers: for those we have, and for the raising up of more. We would earnestly entreat every Christian, by the love of Jesus, and the needs of the age, to beseech the Lord to send us men of his own choosing to gather in the wanderers, and feed the flock of God.

True ministers of the gospel must be of the Lord’s choosing, endowing, and qualifying. Churches which supply their ministry by training unconverted men with a view to their taking the cure of souls are acting a suicidal part. They set wolves to watch over the Lord’s sheep, and children of the Evil One to sow the field of the kingdom. It is, besides, a most presumptuous intrusion into the office and work of the Holy Spirit for any man, or set of men, to think of making one of their fellows a minister of Christ. Both those who usurp the Spirit’s office and send, and those who submit to the imposture and are sent, may think themselves mercifully favored that they escape the immediate judgments of God; but they may be assured, beyond all hope, that no power of a divine kind ever will or can rest upon the ministrations thus inaugurated; for God will not own the messenger of man, nor set his seal to a commission which did not originally emanate from his throne. We believe that the illiterate prelections of a gracious man called of God from the plough-tail are infinitely more effectual for good than the most elegant utterances of an archbishop, should that dignitary be unregenerate and destitute of the Holy Spirit’s anointing. The universities can do nothing in this business to compensate for the absence of the divine power, neither can aught be accomplished by episcopal hands, and the chanting of appointed psalms. The unregenerate and uncalled put on the surplice, but the prophetic mantle falls not upon their shoulders; they use the sacred words by which devils are cast out, but the evil spirits defy them, crying, “Jesus we know, and Paul we know, but who are ye?”

Pure churches have in all ages recognized the great truth that the Lord must give pastors after his own heart, and they have in prayer looked up to the great Head of the church for such pastors; but they have not usually rested content with mere verbal prayer and passive waiting, they have proved the sincerity of their prayers and expectations by action fitting and appropriate. Care has been taken in various ways that godly youths of promise should be encouraged to exercise their gifts, should be enabled to devote much time to the study of Scripture, and should be associated with ministers of experience by whose example they might be impressed. In different ways provision has been made that each eloquent, but halfinstructed, Apollos should learn the way of God more perfectly. Pauls have gathered around them their Timothies, even as the prophets of old had their schools; and these Timothies in their turn have been anxious to commit the things Which they have learned to faithful men who would teach others also. It has never occurred to instructed and thoughtful minds that to give further education to men called to the ministry would be an intrusion upon the work of the Spirit: it is true, an extreme section have acted upon this supposition, but their own decline both in numbers and ability will ere long either convince them of their error or cause their extinction. The fact is that the Spirit of God will not do for us what we can do for ourselves. He has given us an inspired book, but he does not enable human beings to read it without having learned their letters, neither does he miraculously endow men with a knowledge of the original tongues. Unless men are actually inspired, and the inspiration is so complete that it exercises no function but the voice, and leaves the mind as passive as the wall on which the mysterious hand-writing was written, or as the ass which spake to Balaam, preachers must be instructed in some measure, and the only rational questions which can be raised relate to the measure, the manner, and the subjects of the instruction. Schools of the prophets were not inconsistent with the spirit of prophecy; no one thinks they were; why then should it be imagined that schools of the preachers must necessarily be subversive of the Spirit’s prerogatives in the gospel ministry?

Our Lord endowed his apostles with no mean measure of the Spirit, and yet for three years he instructed them as carefully as if he had not intended them to be his heralds among the nations; nay, all the more carefully because they were to be such. The illumination of the Holy Ghost which is vouchsafed to ordinary believers, does not by any means make them independent of the usual means of spiritual edification: they read, meditate, study the word and hear it preached; it would be singular indeed if those among us who are called to teach others should be released from this obligation, and should be allowed to inhale heavenly knowledge from the air, and idly breathe it out again in mere mechanical speech. To what end did the apostle exhort his young disciple in his absence to give attention to reading? Why did he bid him study, if all learning but that which comes by inspiration be a superfluity to a preacher of the word? Surely the time is past in which we need seriously to argue for the utility of mental and spiritual culture. We trust the church will never be duped into renewed faith in that conceited ignorance which is infallible in its own assertions, and therefore refuses all further light. We have had enough of

“That lib’ral art, which costs no pains
Of study, industry, or brains.
That voice which speaks through empty soul,
As through a trunk, or whisp’ring hole.”

When learning vaunts itself, and decries that teaching of the Holy Spirit by which men who never sat in her academies are made wise to win souls, we do not give place to her, no, not for an hour; and shall we after this allow ignorance to ride rough shod over us? If the idol of gold be broken, its pedestal is not reserved for an image of brass. God has no need of man’s wisdom, but he certainly has no need of his ignorance. We do not exalt the Spirit of God, but we do the very reverse, when we lead men to suppose that he is unable to influence educated minds, and that he can only work by men uncouth and boorish; he is surely able to achieve his purposes by a learned Saul of Tarsus, and a Timothy who has known the Scriptures from his youth.

We are not among those who make sport of the inspired cobbler, or even of the popular coalheaver; but the cobbler developed into the distinguished linguist, and even the coalheaver styled himself the Doctor. The tendency of godliness is to make converted men more prudent and thrifty in the things of this life, and by the same process the possession of the inner life leads men to prize intelligence and knowledge, so that if they do not always set about the improvement of their own minds, they almost invariably value the mental endowments of their fellow Christians; their new-born instincts teaching them that ignorance has kinship with darkness, and darkness is the congenial clement of sin, while true knowledge has affinity with light, and light is the joy of the holy. Now, it is impossible that the attempt to improve himself which is so commendable in a private believer can be censurable in one who is called to the ministry; and if it be plain that to help an ordinary Christian in his efforts for the improvement of his mind is a praiseworthy effort, it is utterly inconceivable that to assist a minister in the same direction can be other than a good work. Even those who pretend to despise education are displeased when men “banish the letter H from ‘ouse, and ‘ome and ‘caren ;” if this grosser ignorance jars on their ears, should they not have some sympathy for others who are equally afflicted with false pronunciations and grotesque blunders? But enough of this; it is more than probable that the majority of persons who need such reasoning as this are already too far gone to feel its power, and therefore we shall only waste our powder and shot, and excite renewed opposition where we hoped to create conviction. We are fully persuaded in our own mind, and believe that the vast majority of believers are of the same persuasion. Our assured conviction is that there is no better, holier, more useful or more necessary Christian service than assisting to educate young ministers.

The teaching given in institutions for the further education of the Lord’s servants should have for its one end and object the furnishing of them for their work. They are not to be warped into philosphers, polished into debaters, carved into metaphysicians, fashioned into literati, or even sharpened into critics, they are to be “thoroughly furnished unto every good work.” The Scriptures must be their chief class-book, theology their main science, the art of teaching their practical study, and the proclamation and exposition of the gospel their first business. With all knowledge they may intermeddle; but upon the knowledge of Christ crucified they must dwell. Books and parchments should be prized, but prayer and meditation should be supreme. The head should be stored, but the heart also should be fed with heavenly food. The tutors should be men of equal learning and grace, sound scholars, but much more sound divines, men of culture, but even more decidedly men of God. Such men will watch the opening mind with interest, but their keenest glances will be directed to the inner man; they will sedulously warn their pupils against pride of knowledge, and urge them to growth in grace as beyond all things the preacher’s first necessity. The young men will under such guidance be kept from despising the less proficient, and preserved from estimating the gifts of nature above the priceless graces of the Spirit. Criticism of each other — an exceedingly valuable process — will not degenerate into fault-finding, but will be sanctified into zeal for the common advancement; the classes will not be a dreary routine, but cheerful conferences, such as they held of old who met at the wells to draw water, fulfilling the old proverb that “as iron sharpeneth iron, so doth a man’s countenance his friend by hearty counsel.” Human studies should not only be subordinated to the divine, but they should be pursued in a devout spirit, so as to be elevated into branches of divinity, or at least consecrated, so as to be like the bells upon the horses, “holiness unto the Lord.” To lose in ardent piety what we gain in classical elegance is not to be educated, but despoiled; the process which produces such a result is not training, it might rather be called, if there were such words, the uneducating and untraining of the soul, and might be likened to the tearing down of the vine from its trellises, or the unharnessing of the colt to turn it loose upon the wild prairie. Such as Arabia was to Paul, and Patmos to John, ought the retirement of college life to be to students for the ministry: they should seek to abide with Jesus, to study with him, and to learn of him. Can this be realized? We have heard men rejoice that so they have found it to be. Many a minister has thanked us, and praised the Lord, that in the Pastors’ College he was no loser in zeal or spirituality, but a life-long gainer of the best form of wealth, quickened and not deadened in fervor of love to Christ by his tarrying with the brethren; and we believe that such grateful testimonies were not only true, but are common among those who have been our students. By no care or wisdom of tutors or president can it be so to all men; this must depend upon the man, and the supply of the Spirit; it is encouraging when it is so to many, and it leaves the responsibility upon the individuals themselves when it is otherwise. Earnestly have we striven after this; it has been our ideal, and we are not content till we reach it more fully; wherein we have had success we give all glory to God: our failures humble us before him, and provoke us to more sedulous endeavors to reach the desired goal.

It is a happy circumstance for a college when it is associated with an earnest working church, and if it grows out of the church, and is mainly supported by it, so much the better. Isolation from the actual activities, trials, and successes of Christian life cannot be a benefit, and may prove a great evil to those whose future career is to be intimately connected with such matters, and to exercise an influence over them. We at the Pastors’ College are happy in our position, for we are connected with the largest church in Christendom, and are fostered beneath its wing. Our Institution is the beloved object of the care and generosity of the church at the Tabernacle; our students are members of that church and are expected to unite in its meetings for prayer, and to aid and assist in its operations. The method of church government comes as a matter of practical fact under each student’s eye if he be mindful to observe it, and this is no small privilege to him if he be wise enough to made good use of the opportunity. In the revivals of the church he will naturally become a partaker, and in its joys and sorrows he will be found an intense sympathizer. He will be at no loss for Christian friends and counselors, and need never stand idle in the market-place for a single hour, for work of all kinds invites him. He not only learns homiletics, but hears sermons; he not only reads of pastoral oversight, but witnesses it; he not only acquires the method of dealing with men’s souls, but observes it in action. The method of placing a young preacher with an older one, that he may catch his spirit and learn from his experience, is identical with our plan, save only that the solitary student’s place is occupied by scores. An observant young man cannot fail to carry away with him ideas, plans, methods, and stimulating influences, which will perhaps unconsciously affect his whole future career. The plan is probably impracticable in the case of many theological academics; with us it has been, from a happy necessity of circumstances, one of the first elements of our existence.

The manner of College training, which brings many young men under one roof, and removes them from family life, has its advocates, and these have no difficulty in showing its advantages. We do not wish to enter into any controversy, but to us it has always seemed better that students should not be isolated from every-day existence, and placed in an artificial condition. They will, in most instances, have to economize a small income, and they had better see how others do the same. Tendencies to levity are more likely to be indulged when they are always in the society of those of the same age; the sobriety’s of a household are beneficial, and the oversight of small companies is more easy and more constant than any which can be exercised over larger numbers. Our method has therefore been to board and lodge our students in selected families, and we have had no reason to regret our choice. We are thus able to receive as many or as few as may be accepted, and the whole of our College accommodation is available for teaching. If two hundred suitable men should be forthcoming, as the result of the present religious awakening, we are quite able to receive them; and if only forty or fifty should be sent to us of the Lord, we shall not have empty chambers to mourn over. We are free [o act as circumstances require.

With great pleasure we welcome brethren who have already acquired the ground-work of a good education; but it has always seemed to us most desirable that men of natural gifts and much grace should not be refused, because they happen to be extremely backward in knowledge, through the straitness of their circumstances, or other causes. The Pastors’ College has received men who knew no more than “their Bible true,” and Christ a precious Savior. Many of these have become eminently devoted ministers, and some of them have even overtaken the more cultured, and gained sufficient scholarship to come into the front rank. It is, of course, harder work for them, and their mistakes and early failures have been quoted against the College; but, if they can bear the labor, we can endure the discredit, knowing that the pleasure of seeing their future usefulness will abundantly repay us for the occasional pain of being taunted with their inefficiencies and crudities. To keep these men utterly silent for a time is no part of our plan, though policy suggests it; their immature utterances bring us into disrepute, but they are a part of the process by which the men become developed, and for their sakes we endure the evil for the sake of the far greater good. Muzzling these oxen would be very convenient but very cruel. We ask them to be careful, and if we cannot always induce them to be so, we believe that they will learn by experience, and the criticism they are sure to encounter will be one of their best monitors. They must preach; for this purpose were they born if they are the men we want. They have already preached two years or so before coming to us, and the fire is in their bones; they must not desist altogether, or the flame may be repressed, and thus the very force we wish to nourish may be weakened. We are aware of the cost to the reputation of the Institution, but, as reputation is not our object, we have put up with the temporary consequences hitherto, and intend to do so still. No man finds our doors closed because he is poor or illiterate; if we can but be convinced that the Lord has called him to the work of the ministry, he is heartily welcome. His wants shall be supplied, his deficiencies shall be borne with, and he will suffer no contempt from his fellow-students, or harshness from his tutors.

To board, lodge, educate, and in many cases, to clothe, students, is an expensive business. In most of our colleges a man must have some means; in our ease, students who are absolutely penniless are taken, and this increases our outlay materially. Yet funds have always been forthcoming without waiting upon subscribers, or drawing from public funds. Our confidence is that the Lord will always find means for his own work, and that confidence is unshaken, for he has raised up a long succession of generous helpers who make the financial burden a light one. Chiefly the church at the Tabernacle, and the guests at Mr. Phillips’ annual supper, are the means of our sustenance, and we would tender our grateful acknowledgments to both. When our need is less our funds decrease, and when we need more they are sure to rise correspondingly, and therefore the measure of elasticity is adapted to the peculiarity of our condition: we cannot tell how many students may come to us next year, but we know of a surety that we need not reject a single individual on the sole ground of want of funds, for if the Lord meant us to take five hundred, he would cause proportionate funds to flow in.

If it were needful to speak of the success which the Lord has given to our young brethren, we should not fail for want of materials. The ministers who have gone from us are in the field, and several of them are very widely known; let the Christian public judge for themselves. To single out an instance of failure, and to measure all by that standard, would be so unfair that we do not suspect any Christian of such injustice: to expect that all should be as distinguished as some have been, would be unreasonable, but without vaunting, we can claim that as winners of souls, as founders of churches, and as workers in the ministry, the men from the Pastors’ College occupy, by God’s grace, no dishonorable position. May the Lord make them a thousand times more useful, and give the like blessing to all his servants of every college or no college.

A friend who has often aided us has just sent in £100, with the remark that as the result of such a revival as is now progressing we shall be sure to want more preachers, and therefore he is pleased to aid the Institution. Is it not so? The power of the Holy Spirit is being felt in almost every quarter, souls are yielding to the love of Jesus, and in flocks they are confessing their faith in the Savior; the area of hearing is being enlarged, and more men will be needed to proclaim the quickening word. God will send us these men, shall we welcome them? they may come forth with a deep experience and a ripe knowledge of the word, and if so, may the Lord direct them at once into the thick of the harvest, where their sheaves shall be plenteous; but they may also come forth with zealous hearts, and burning tongues, yet; with shallow knowledge and scant acquaintance with the Word; in this ease we should prove the cordiality of our welcome by being ready to assist them to obtain further instruction in divine things. The young converts brought out by the present revival will need teaching, and this can only be given them by those who are themselves well instructed in the truth as it is in Jesus. Evangelists need not the same stores of knowledge as pastors, these last should possess the keys of those granaries of truth wherein are laid up things new and old for the feeding of the saints. Help us then in our effort to aid the progress of the future under-shepherds of the flock.

Nor is this all, there is yet very much land to be possessed. The masses of our countrymen have yet to be reached. Tens of thousands have of late gathered to hear our beloved brethren, Messrs. Moody and Sankey, but there are other hundreds of thousands who are not moved as yet. Hundreds of preachers are needed for crowded cities and benighted villages; our own land needs nothing so much as earnest heralds of the gospel, and America feels the same lack. Meanwhile the mission field calls eagerly for men; lands newly opened to the Gospel, such as Spain and Italy, demand faithful laborers. The fields whiten day by day, and cry aloud for sharp sickles. More precious than a wedge of gold is a man, a live man, a man on fire with love divine; and wise is it on the part of the Church of God to care for such men when she gets them, and allow no stumbling blocks to lie in the way of their usefulness.

Our appeal is for the Pastors’ College, for in that our heart is bound up, it is dear to us as life itself; but we would with equal sincerity commend to the reader’s prayers and kind consideration all institutions with similar aims. Differing modes are of small consequence if the spirit be the same. Where men are sharpening their swords to fight beneath the banner of truth, where trumpeters are practicing the notes which are to stimulate the battalions of Immanuel to the attack, where perpetual prayer goes up like pillars of smoke to heaven — there, even there, wherever it may be, may the Lord command the blessing, even life for evermore.

NOTES.

On April 27th our Primitive Methodist friends held their annual missionary meeting at the Tabernacle. They do not fill the house so full as they did at first, neither do they exhibit the same degree of enthusiasm. We hope our brethren are not growing respectable and losing their fervor. Their wild notes are the sweetest, and we hope they will never aim at polish and refinement, so as to lose power and energy.

We were glad to see the Baptist Union dining in our Lecture Hall, April 29th. The numbers attending, and the harmony exhibited, appear to increase every year. Our present Chairman, Alexander Maclaren, is a noble example of the cultured orator and the simple believer united in one. The influence of his inaugural address must be salutary to an immeasurable degree. We heartily rejoice in the choice of our esteemed friend, Dr. Landels, as Vice-Chairman. Two such mighty men are not often found in conjunction.

On May 3rd the Colportage Society held its annual meeting at the Tabernacle, and a very lively and intensely interesting meeting it was. The College has the chief place in our columns this month and the Colportage must come next month, but meanwhile we would express our delight at the work done by the colporteurs, and our earnest hope that funds will be forthcoming to a larger extent. It transpired in the report that although we have had this year our largest number of colporteurs, yet towards the close of that period some men have had to be dismissed from want of support. This ought not to be. Will friends remember that £40 per annum will supply a district with a man? The stock and. management our society will supply. Good, hardworking men are wanted for the Colportage, and they can apply to Mr. W. C. Jones, The College, Temple Street, Newington Butts.

On May 4th our beloved brother, Mr. W. J. Mayers, gave’ us a service of song for the Orphanage. He has a noble voice, and the service all through is a grand affair, and calculated to be very useful. We enjoyed it thoroughly, and felt sure that the Lord was blessing it. Happy are our friends at Bristol in having such a pastor, they will never be destitute of harmony. With our brethren Gange, Evans, Norris, and Mayers at Bristol we are strong in the west.

May 5th. In the morning we united with other ministers at the Bible Society’s annual meeting at Exeter Hall, and in the evening the Liberation Society met at the Tabernacle. It is well to have a change of air. The soft breezes of Christian love and the rough gales of Christian conflict must alternate in this world so long as we dwell among men in whom there is much to love but in whose position there is much to deprecate. Sincerely to love those whom we earnestly withstand should be our endeavor. It is not likely that they will understand us, but that we cannot help. While the Church of England refuses to revise its Popish Prayer Book, and takes’ up a position in connection with the State which no church ought to occupy, we cannot cease our protests; yet every child of God in it is our brother in Christ.

May 6. — Mr. George Muller, of the Orphan Houses, Bristol, preached for us at our usual Thursday evening service. It was a sermon long to be remembered. The wise and holy counsels then given were rendered the more weighty by the character of the man from whom they came. He has fought a good fight and kept the faith, and it is delightful to hear him in his hale old age bearing sweet testimony to the faithfulness of God, the power of prayer, and the pleasures of true religion. May our venerable friend be attended with the divine sunlight during his present evangelistic movements, and till the daybreak, and the shadows flee away.

May 7 and 21. — We preached at the Bow Hall, the immense area being crowded before the time appointed for beginning service. This effort is a most trying one, and we feel it for days afterwards, or we should have been glad to aid Mr. Moody oftener. We cannot too earnestly express our intense sympathy with the blessed work which our American brethren have been privileged to carry on. We wish they would keep in one place, for we fear that they must be wearing themselves out, and we are sure they are losing power by trying to be at two or three places at once. To work one huge place of assembly well will answer far better than to leave the public uncertain where to find them. However, that is a matter for their own judgment. We only hope THE SOUTH will have them constantly when they are with us, be the time long or short.

May 14. — The students from Harley House, Bow, came over to the Pastors’ College and spent the afternoon with us. This institution aims at training men as evangelists and missionaries, and has hitherto succeeded admirably. Dr. Barnardo is a beloved friend and adviser to this institute, but we were wrong in putting it down as one of the enterprises under his care. Mr. Guinness is the founder and principal director, and our beloved brethren Frank White and Archibald Brown are his coadjutors. We had a very happy season, and were rejoiced to see how the soldiers of the two regiments fraternized. One spirit possesses us all, one faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, one love to the glorious gospel of the blessed God. We rejoice at the valiant way in which Mr. Brown is fighting the Lord’s battles in the east of London. He fears no man, and has no need to do so, for God is with him.

On Monday, May 17th, six new elders were chosen by the church at the Tabernacle, and prayer is requested for them that they may have grace to discharge their office as in the sight of God, to the benefit of the flock, the comfort of the Pastor, and to the honor of our Lord. On May 24, earnest supplications were put up for them by the brethren assembled for prayer.

May 24. — Mr. Spurgeon gave a tea to poor blind persons and their guides, and afterwards gave them an address. They were very happy and attentive. The blind and their guides numbered one hundred and eighty. Mr. J. Hampton continues to devote himself to the care of the blind, but he is sadly hampered by the want of a larger room. When we can get the means, we intend to build a chapel or hall for the blind congregation which he has gathered. The work is one of the best in connection with the Tabernacle, and owes its existence to a working man. Mr. Hampton earns his bread as a painter.

We are glad to see that Mr. White of Enfield is building a chapel. He needs help in the work, and greatly needs it just now. ]Friends interested in Enfield should aid at once. We have sent on our donation of £50, and mention it to lead others to help. At Southampton the church under Mr. Osborne enjoys much prosperity, fifty-three having been added to it during the year. Messrs. Charlesworth and J. T. Dunn have been visiting there and holding happy services. May the Lord continue to bless.

We hope to have a great day on June 18th, when we celebrate the Anniversary of the Stockwell Orphanage and the President’s birthday. The Earl of Shaftesbury has promised to take the chair at 6.30. Gates open at 3. We hope to hear Mr. Brown’s drum and fife band at 3. Mr. Duncan S. Miller, and the rest of the Royal Osborne Hand Bell Ringers generously give their entertainment at 4. Tea at 5. Mr. Chown, Mr. Lewis, and other ministers will address the evening meeting, There will also be a sale of goods in the tent: friends who are going to send articles should do so a few days before the 18th. Special collecting cards can be had on application. Friends will be glad to know that a legacy of £1,000 left to the Orphanage by the late Mr. Pedley has been joyfully paid by his executors, who are as hearty in the work as was the deceased.

God be thanked for this grand supply.

Our evangelist Mr. Higgins has been hard at work at Long Eaton, Stapleford, Tenterden, and Attercliffe. We have received several kind testimonies to his usefulness. He is an earnest and self-denying laborer. If we were helped in the support of this brother we would undertake another, and another, and so secure a small squadron of evangelists who would scour the country; but at present few seem to feel enough sympathy with the object to help us in it. We shall keep on as long as our means enable us, and we do not fear but what the experiment will ere long succeed so well that others will be glad one day to have a share in the work.

Our assistant, Mr. J. T. Dunn, asks us to insert the following appeal, and we do so with great pleasure, as we regard the work as our own, and must see it through.

“The Richmond Street Ragged School was started in February, 1859, with four scholars; the number speedily increased, and finally we took the whole house, employed paid master and mistress, commenced a penny bank, clothing club, band of hope, week evening lectures for working people, Sunday and week evening open-air preaching, mothers’ meetings, lending library, secular classes, Bible classes, and temperance meetings, etc. At the latter end of 1871 we removed to larger ‘premises in Villa-street, Walworth. At the close of 1874 we were compelled to remove again, owing to expiration of lease, and we are now using Shaftesbury Street School-room, kindly lent to us by the Vicar of St. Peter’s, Walworth, Mr. Statham, but the tenure is only from month to month, to be used on Sunday, and not in the week. We have, consequently, been obliged to abandon nearly the whole of our work. This is a cause of much anxiety, but we must thank God for the past and take courage for the future. There are about five hundred children and young people in regular attendance on theLord’s-day, and fifty earnest teachers. Many of our former and present scholars. have been rescued from the paths of sin,. and are now in fellowship with the church of Christ. Several of the present teachers were formerly scholars. At the annual meeting of the Ragged School Union, held in May, thirteen scholars took prizes, having kept their situations over twelve. months. Great blessing is now resting on the teachers’ work, many young people are giving their hearts to Jesus. Only last Lord’s-day a poor girl expressed great desire to tell the whole school that she had found the Savior. She was permitted to do so, and the effect of her testimony was to bring many to tears, and it is hoped it will lead them to Jesus. We have taken the ground for a new building, and have raised, together with a kind promise of Mr. Spurgeon of £150, over £500 since September last. At least £300 more is required. Will the good readers of The Sword and the Trowel help us to clear this off? We are exceedingly grateful to the friends who have sent us help. We only want a little more effort and the thing will be done. May the blessing of many who are ready to perish rest upon every loving heart and willing hand.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle, by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon. — April 26th, twenty-one; April 29th, thirty-three May 6th, five.

Chap 18. JULY, 1875.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

JULY, 1875.

HINTS ON THE VOICE
FOR YOUNG PREACHERS.F5

BY C. H. SPURGEON.

IF you have any idiosyncrasies of speech, which are disagreeable to the ear, correct them, if possible, f6 It is admitted that this is much more easy for the teacher to inculcate than for you to practice Yet to young men in the morning of their ministry, the difficulty is not insuperable.

Brethren from the country have a flavor of their rustic diet in their mouths, reminding us irresistibly of the calves of Essex, the swine of Berkshire, or the runts of Suffolk. Who can mistake the Yorkshire or Somersetshire dialects, which are not merely provincial pronunciations, but tones also? It would be difficult to discover the cause, but the fact is clear enough, that in some counties of England men’s throats seem to be furred up, like longused tea-kettles, and in others they ring like brass music, with a vicious metallic sound. Beautiful these variations of nature may be in their season and place, but my taste has never been able to appreciate them. A sharp discordant squeak, like a rusty pair of scissors, is to be got rid of at all hazards; so also is a thick, inarticulate utterance in which no word is complete, but nouns, adjectives, and verbs are made into a kind of hash. Equally objectionable is that ghostly speech in which a man talks without using his lips, ventriloquizing most horribly: sepulchral tones may fit a man to be an undertaker, but Lazarus is not called out of his grave by hollow moans. One of the surest ways to kill yourself is to speak from the throat instead of the mouth. This misuse of nature will be terribly avenged by her; escape the penalty by avoiding the offense. It may be well in this place to urge you, as soon as you detect yourself interposing hum-haw pretty plentifully in your discourse, to purge yourself of the insinuating but ruinous habit at once. There is no need whatever for it, and although those who are now its victims may never be able to break the chain, you, who are beginners in oratory, must scorn to wear the galling yoke. It is even needful to say, open your mouths when you speak, for much of inarticulate mumbling is the result of keeping the mouth half closed. It is not in vain that the evangelists have written of our Lord, “He opened his mouth and taught them.” Open wide the doors from which such godly truth is to march forth. Moreover, brethren, avoid the use of the nose as an organ of speech, for the best authorities are agreed that it is intended to smell with. Time was, when the nasal twang was the correct thing, but in this degenerate age you had better obey the evident suggestion of nature, and let the mouth keep to its work without the interference of the olfactory instrument. Should an American student be present he must excuse my pressing this remark upon his attention. Abhor the practice of some men, who will not bring out the letter “r,” such a habit is “vewys wuinous and wediculous, vewy wetched and wepwhepwehensible.” Now and then a brother has the felicity to possess a most winning and delicious lisp. This is perhaps among the least of evils, where the brother himself is little and winning, but it would ruin any being who aimed at manliness and force. I can scarcely conceive of Elijah lisping to Ahab, or Paul prettily chipping his words on Mars’ hill. There may be a peculiar pathos about a weak and watery eye, and a faltering style; we will go further, and admit that where these are the result of intense passion, they are sublime; but some possess them by birth, and use them rather too freely: it is, to say the least, unnecessary for you to imitate them. Speak as educated nature suggests to you, and you will do well; but let it be educated, and not raw, rude, uncultivated nature. Demosthenes took, as you know, unbounded pains with his voice, and Cicero, who was naturally weak, made a long journey into Greece to correct his manner of speaking. With far nobler themes, let us not be less ambitious to excel. “Deprive me of everything else,” says Gregory, of Nazianzen, “but leave me eloquence, and I shall never regret the voyages which I have made in order to study it.”

Always speak so as to be heard. I know a man who weighs sixteen stone, and ought to be able to be heard half-a-mile, who is so gracelessly indolent, that in his small place of Worship you can scarcely hear him in the front of the gallery. What is the use of a preacher whom men cannot hear? Modesty should lead a voiceless man to give place to others who are more fitted for the work of proclaiming the messages of the King. Some men are loud enough, but they are not distinct, their words overlap each other, play at leap-frog, or trip each other up. Distinct utterance is far more important than wind-power. Do give a word a fair chance, do not break its back in your vehemence, or run it off its legs in your haste. It is hateful to hear a big fellow mutter and whisper when his lungs are quite strong enough for the loudest speech; but at the same time, let a man shout ever so lustily, he will not be well heard unless he learns to push his words forward with due space between. To speak too slowly is miserable work, and subjects activeminded hearers to the disease called the “horrors.” It is impossible to hear a man who crawls along at a mile an hour. One word to-day and one tomorrow is a kind of slow-fire which martyrs only could enjoy. Excessively rapid speaking, tearing and raving into utter rant, is quite as inexcusable; it is not, and never can be powerful, except with idiots, for it turns what should be an army of words into a mob, and most effectually drowns the sense in floods of sound. Occasionally, one hears an infuriated orator of indistinct utterance, whose impetuosity hurries him on to such a confusion of sounds, that at a little distance one is reminded of Lucan’s lines: —

Her gabbling tongue a muttering tone confounds,
Discordant and unlike to human sounds;
It seem’d of dogs the bark, of wolves the howl,
The doleful screeching of the midnight owl;
The hiss of snakes, the hungry lion’s roar,
The bound of billows beating on the shore;
The groan of winds among the leafy wood,
And burst of thunder from the rending cloud!
Twas these, all these in one.”

It is an infliction, not to be endured twice, to hear a brother, who mistakes perspiration for inspiration, tear along like a wild horse with a hornet in its ear till he has no more wind, and must needs pause to pump his lungs full again; a repetition of this indecency several times in a sermon is not uncommon, but is most painful. Pause soon enough to prevent that “hough, hough,” which rather creates pity for the breathless orator than sympathy with the subject in hand. Your audience ought not to know that you breathe at all — the process of respiration should be as unobserved as the circulation of the blood. It is indecent to let the mere animal function of breathing cause any hiatus in your discourse.

Do not as a rule exert your voice to the utmost in ordinary preaching. Two or three earnest men, now present, are tearing themselves to pieces by needless bawling; their poor lungs are irritated, and their larynx inflamed by boisterous shouting, from which they seem unable to refrain. Now it is all very well to “Cry aloud and spare not,” but “Do thyself no harm” is apostolical advice. When persons can hear you with half the amount of voice, it is as well to save the superfluous force for times when it may be wanted. “Waste not, want not” may apply here as well as elsewhere. Be a little economical with that enormous volume of sound. Do not give your hearers head-aches when you mean to give them heart-aches: you aim to keep them from sleeping in their pews, but remember that it is not needful to burst the drums of their ears. “The Lord is not in the wind.” Thunder is not lightning. Men do not hear in proportion to the noise created; in fact, too much noise stuns the ear, creates reverberations and echoes, and effectually injures the power of your sermons. Adapt your voice to your audience; when twenty thousand are before you, draw out the stops and give the full peal, but not in a room which will only hold a score or two. Whenever I enter a place to preach, I unconsciously calculate how much sound is needed to fill it, and after a few sentences my key is pitched. If you can make the man at the end of the chapel hear, if you can see that he is catching your thought, you may be sure that those nearer can hear you, and no more force is needed, perhaps a little less will do-watch and see. Why speak so as to be heard in the street when there is nobody there who is listening to you? Whether in doors or out, see that the most remote hearers can follow you, and that will be sufficient. By the way, I may observe, that brethren should, out of mercy to the weak, always attend carefully to the force of their voices in sick rooms, and in congregations where some are known to be very infirm. It is a cruel thing to sit down by a sick man’s bed-side, and shout out “THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD.” If you act so thoughtlessly, the poor man will say as soon as you are down stairs, “Dear me! how my head aches. I am glad the good man is gone, Mary; that is a very precious Psalm and so quiet like, but he read it out like thunder and lightning, and almost stunned me!” Recollect, you younger and unmarried men, that soft whispers will suit the invalid better than roll of drum and culverin.

Observe carefully the rule to vary the force of your voice. The old rule was, to begin very softly, gradually rise higher, and bring out your loudest notes at the end. Let all such regulations be blown to pieces at the cannon’s mouth; they are impertinent and misleading. Speak softly or loudly, as the emotion of the moment may suggest, and observe no artificial and fanciful rules. Artificial rules are an utter abomination. As M. de Cormorin satirically puts it, “Be impassioned, thunder, rage, weep, up to the fifth word, of the third sentence, of the tenth paragraph, of the tenth leaf. How easy that would be! Above all, how very natural!” In imitation of a popular preacher, to whom it was unavoidable, a certain minister was accustomed in the commencement of his sermon to speak in so low a key that no one could possibly hear him. Everybody leaned forward, fearing that something good was being lost in the air, but their straining was in vain, a holy mutter was all they could discern. If the brother could not have spoken out none should have blamed him, but it was a most absurd thing to do this when in a short time he proved the power of his lungs by filling the whole structure by sonorous sentences. If the first half of his discourse was of no importance, why not omit it? and if of any value at all, why not deliver it distinctly? Effect, gentlemen, that was the point aimed at; he knew that one who spake in that fashion had produced great effects, and he hoped to rival him. If any of you dare commit such a folly for such a detestable object, I heartily wish you had never entered this Institution. I tell you most seriously, that the thing called “effect” is hateful, because it is untrue, artificial, tricky, and therefore despicable. Never do anything for effect, but scorn the stratagems of little minds, hunting after the approval of connoisseurs in preaching, who are a race as obnoxious to a true minister as locusts to the Eastern husbandman. But I digress: be clear and distinct at the very first. Your exordia are too good to be whispered to space. Speak them out boldly, and command attention at the very outset by your manly tones. Do not start at the highest pitch as a rule, for then you will not be able to rise when you warm with the work; but still be outspoken from the first. Lower the voice when suitable even to a whisper; for soft, deliberate, solemn utterances are not only a relief to the ear, but have a great aptitude to reach the heart. Do not be afraid of the low keys, for if you throw force into them they are as well heard as the shouts. You need not speak in a loud voice in order to be heard well. Macaulay says of William Pitt, “His voice, even when it sank to a whisper, was heard to the remotest benches of the House of Commons.” It has been well said that the most noisy gun is not the one which carries a ball the furthest: the crack of a rifle is anything but noisy. It is not the loudness of your voice, it is the force which you put into it that is effective. I am certain that I could whisper so as to be heard throughout every corner of our great Tabernacle, and I am equally certain that I could holloa and shout so that nobody could understand me. The thing could be done here, but perhaps the example is needless, as I fear some of you perform the business with remarkable success. Waves of air may dash upon the ear in such rapid succession that they create no translatable impression on the auditory nerve. Ink is necessary to write with, but if you upset the ink bottle over the sheet of paper, you convey no meaning thereby, so is it with sound; sound is the ink, but management is needed, not quantity, to produce an intelligible writing upon the ear. If your sole ambition be to compete with-

“Stentor the strong, endued with brazen lungs,
Whose throat surpass’d the force of fifty tongues,”

then bawl yourselves into Elysium as rapidly as possible, but if you wish to be understood, and so to be of service, shun the reproach of being “impotent and loud.” You are aware that shrill sounds travel the farthest: the singular cry which is used by travelers in the wilds of Australia, owes its remarkable power to its shrillness. A bell will be heard much further off than a drum; and very singularly, the more musical a sound is the farther it travels. It is not the thumping of the piano which is needed, ‘but the judicious sounding of the best keys. You will therefore feel at liberty to ease the strain very frequently in the direction of loudness, and you will be greatly relieving both the ears of the audience and your own lungs. Try all methods, from the sledge-hammer to the puff-ball Be as gentle as a zephyr and as furious as a tornado. Be, indeed, just what every common-sense person is in his speech when he talks naturally, pleads vehemently, whispers confidentially, appeals plaintively, or publishes distinctly.

We are bound to add — endeavor to educate your voice. Grudge no pains or labor in achieving this, for as it has been well observed, “However prodigious may he the gifts of nature to her elect, they can only be developed and brought to their extreme perfection by labor and study.” Think of Michael Angelo working for a week without taking off his Clothes, and Handel hollowing out every key of his harpsichord like a spoon, by incessant practice. Gentlemen, after this, never talk of difficulty or weariness. It is almost impossible to see the utility of Demosthenes’ method of speaking with stones in his mouth, but any one can perceive the usefulness of his pleading with the boisterous billows, that he might know how to command a hearing amidst the uproarious assemblies of his countrymen; and in his speaking as he ran up hill that his lungs might gather force from laborious use the reason is as obvious as the self-denial is commendable. We are bound to use every possible means to perfect the voice by which we are to tell forth the glorious gospel of the blessed God. Take great care of the consonants, enunciate every one of them clearly; they are the features and expression of the words. Practice indefatigably till you give every one of the consonants its due; the vowels have a voice of their own, and therefore they can speak for themselves. In all other matters exercise a rigid discipline until you have mastered your voice, and have it in hand like a well-trained steed. Gentlemen with narrow chests are advised to use the dumb-bells every morning, or, better still, those clubs which the College has provided for you. You need broad chests, and must do your best to get them. Do not speak with your hands in your waistcoat pockets so as to contract your lungs, but throw the shoulders back, as public singers do. Do not lean over a desk while speaking, and never hold the head down on the breast while preaching. Upward rather than downward let the body bend. Off with all tight cravats and button-up waistcoats; leave room for the full play of the bellows and the pipes. Observe the statues of the Roman or Greek orators, look at Raphael’s picture of Paul, and, without affectation, fall naturally into the graceful and appropriate attitudes there depicted, for these are best for the voice. Get a friend to tell you your faults, or, better still, welcome an enemy who will watch you keenly and sting you savagely. What a blessing such an irritating critic will be to a wise man, what an intolerable nuisance to a fool! Correct yourself diligently and frequently, or you will fall into errors unawares, false tones will grow, and slovenly habits will form insensibly; therefore criticize yourself with unceasing care. Think nothing little by which you may be even a little more useful. But gentlemen, never degenerate in this business into pulpit fops, who think gesture and Voice to be everything. I am sick at heart when I hear of men taking a whole week to get up a sermon, much of the getting up consisting in repeating their precious productions before a glass! Alas! for this age, if graceless hearts are to be forgiven for the sake of graceful manners. Give us all the vulgarities of the wildest back-woods’ itinerant rather than the perfumed prettinesses of effeminate gentility. I would no more advise you to be fastidious with your voices than I would recommend you to imitate Rowland Hill’s Mr. Taplash with his diamond ring, his richly-scented pocket handkerchief, and his eye-glass. Exquisites are out of place in the pulpit, they should be set up in a tailor’s window, with a ticket, “This style complete, including MSS., £10 10s.” Notes.

WE have had during the last few weeks to thank several schools, and senior classes, for help sent to the orphans. Nothing seems more natural and beautiful than that happy young people, with tender parents living, should help those who have lost their father, and are dependent upon a poor, struggling, widowed mother. We thank the considerate teachers who have moved the children to thin good work, and with equal sincerity we thank the lads and lasses themselves.

We observe with much gratitude to God that at a meeting held to celebrate the Centenary of the Baptist Church, Wokingham, a resolution was moved by Pastor Longhurst, of Reading. seconded by Pastor Brooks, of Wallingford, and carried unanimously, expressing the opinion that the Stockwell Orphanage has special claims upon the Baptist denomination, and ought to be liberally supported by it. Our friends around Reading lead the van in the generous help which they give to our work, and we feel most thankful to God for moving them so to do.

If friends sending goods to the Orphanage would always put their names and addresses in the parcels it would be a great help to us in replying to them, and if they would write to Sir. Spurgeon at the same time the packets would be readily identified. Our endeavor is to acknowledge every gift as speedily as possible, but we are not always at home, and are frequently so occupied that we must leave matters of detail to others. Friends, we are sure, will try to save us all the care they can, and by attending to this request they will materially lighten our daily load. We are under deep obligations to many farmers, millers, and others who send us help in the form of goods.

A case has been reported in the papers of the forging of our name to a post-office order. The instantaneous discovery of the crime may reassure all doubting senders of money. It is almost impossible for money to be lost, if reasonable care be taken, as this instance proves. The letter was not delivered to us, but stolen by some person unknown, and yet the cash was not obtained and is not likely to be, for the authorities know that only through our bankers will orders due to us be presented to them. Still we wish senders of donations, who wish for personal acknowledgments, would send us their correct addresses, for in one case we have had three letters returned, [all addressed according to the sender’s desire; and in many other cases we have the returned envelopes from the dead letter office to show that we have written, but cannot communicate with the parties to inform them that the error lies with them and not with us.

The anniversary of the Orphanage and the celebration of the Pastor’s Birthday came off as a fete at the grounds, Stock-well. Despite the rain it was the best anniversary the institution has ever had. The attendance was so large that two meetings had to be held, and the amount brought in exceeded £500. The Bazaar goods sold well, and all went off happily. The Earl of Shaftesbury kindly spoke at both meetings in the most hearty manner, as also did Messrs. Chown and Lewis, while Messrs. J. Wisher, Cuff, Barnard, Inglis, Mayers, S. H. Booth, Rowe, Williamson, Samuel Minton, and many others cheered us with their help and presence. Pastor A. G. Brown not only presided at one of the meetings, but supplied us with a capital drum and fife band. The day was rendered specially attractive by the matchless music of Mr. Duncan S. Miller and his friends, the royal campanologists; these gentlemen have carried the art of bell-ringing to perfection. The tunes familiar to our Zion sounded very sweetly as they rung them out. The whole day was bright with mercy, though damp with ram.

Will hospitable friends, as on former occasions, take an orphan each for a fortnight’s holiday? There are many who give them a change, and we hope our heavenly Father will tell some of his children to see to it.

We are glad to see that the new chapel at Bulwell is being proceeded with so vigorously. Truly the desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose. Our young brother, Mr. Douglas Crouch, has been enabled to do wonders, but he has very uphill work to raise funds for the much needed edifice. We hope all Nottingham friends will promptly aid this most deserving work.

Just now our Colportage department is most in need. We are going on from hand to mouth, and are hardly able to support the men we have. No enterprise more richly deserves to be supported, for it is most cheap and effective; but we have had to give up some of our districts for want of funds. Have all the Lord’s stewards exhausted their trust money? Are there no pounds hidden in the earth? We believe that no true work of God would ever need to ask for pecuniary help if the gold and silver in the hands of believers were viewed as “not their own.”

It has given us much pleasure to assist our brethren Messrs. Moody and Sankey at Camberwell Hall, and we would have done far more, only our own enterprises demand our constant attention: our heart is very warm towards them for their work’s sake. The fuss made about their preaching at Eton is a sad sign of the condition of Episcopalians. Among no other sect of Christians would respectable persons have been found to oppose the useful labors of our American friends; all other Protestants would have welcomed them. Our inestimably precious National Establishment has of late had singular opportunities for displaying her bigotry. She tyrannizes in the graveyard, and excludes her ministers from active communion with other Christian pastors, and there really was no necessity for any of her sons to go out of their way to that two true-hearted foreigners with indignity. Are there not enough poor Christian Englishmen to brand as schismatics, and ranters? Was there need to grow wrath at two Americans whose teachings are perfectly colorless as to any point in which mere Churchism is involved? We are sure that all true Christians in the Establishment must feel ashamed of this wretched bigotry. What Americans will think of our aristocracy we can shrewdly guess; we only hope they will not confound the rest of our countrymen with these honorable and distinguished gentlemen, nor judge the Christians in the Episcopal body by the conduct of the worldlings who belong to it.

We have hitherto had no obituary department in our notes, but we must have one in future. We mourn the decease of Mr. James Mursell, of Newcastle, a singularly solid, judicious, and weighty brother of our own denomination. He was not brilliant, but burned with a steady light, which increased in power. He laid himself out for Christian service in all directions, and was ever ready to help those who needed his aid. His hearty cooperation with the revival leaders in :Newcastle was a clear proof that beneath his calm exterior there burned the sacred volcanic force without which great results in conversion will never be attained. We also mourn the decease of our well-beloved brother Dr. Arnot, one of the pulpit poets of the Free Church; a man of a choice spirit, tender as a maiden, brave as a martyr, combining the much talked of “sweetness and light” with much of fire and force. His literary works we regard as a priceless legacy to the entire church of God, and though we lament his departure, we are grateful, considering the tendency of his constitution, that he was spared so long, and thankful that he died as he did, instead of lingering in sad decline, or suffering protracted agony. Adieu, brother, till the day break and the shadows flee away!

On June 14th we attended the anniversary of the Tabernacle Home and Foreign Working Society. The name hardly indicates the object of this quiet but most excellent institution. The ladies who compose it make garments for missionaries and ministers at home and abroad who are poor enough to need such aid. When we give alms to mendicants we frequently do more harm than good, but to help a needy saint is altogether a good work, and to relieve a poor servant of God in the ministry is best of all. Our friends send out clothing for the pastor’s wife and children as well as for himself. They are now in the day of small things, but the society has so good an object that it must grow. We are sorry that any minister should be poor, but glad that men can be found who are willing to preach the gospel in poverty. Such men ought to be helped. A poor preacher with seven children and £70 per annum, prizes a box of clothing as those can hardly imagine who roll in riches. We shall be glad to receive materials and half worn garments for this excellent Society, and cash will be equally welcome. The ladies by giving their work make a little money go a long way. Our friend, Mrs. Evans, who has led the way in this enterprise, has our hearty thanks, and so have all her helpers. Till brighter days shall come, and God’s people shall grow more careful of their pastors, we hope that this Society will provide for at least a portion of those good men who were educated in our College, and are now giving their whole souls to working among a poor people from whom they cannot expect to receive even food and raiment sufficient for their station.

Mrs. Spurgeon, our beloved and afflicted wife, begs us to say that she has been so much interested in reading the book entitled “Lectures to my Students, by C. H. Spurgeon,” that she would like to bear the cost of giving a copy to each of a hundred poor Baptist ministers who would accept it of her. She mourns that she can do so little personally for her Lord. and hopes that this little gift may be owned of God to the stirring up of some of his ministers to yet more earnest labor for his glory. We cannot deny our dear sufferer anything which causes her pleasure.

Chap 19. AUGUST, 1875.

THE SWORD THE TROWEL

AUGUST, 1875.

DYING MINISTERS.

BY C. H. SPURGEON.

WE have-been passing through a long period of serious ministerial thinning. From the Baptist body our Lord has taken away, not the veterans, whom in the course of nature we might look to lose, but men in the prime of life from whom many years of service might have been expected.

One by one they have departed quite unexpectedly, and left sad gaps in our ranks. Attempts have been made to account for this, and theories have been started. According to some there must have been great sin in the denomination, and therefore we are visited with these judgments. We agree in this opinion only so far as to wish that there may be great searching of heart among us all; but we are quite unable to accept it as an interpretation of the matter. We have seen times of far greater lethargy, and far less Christian love than the present, but there was no remarkable mortality among our leading ministers; indeed, we have even known seasons in which fierce discussions among brethren must have grieved the Holy Spirit, and yet neither the more litigious spirits nor any others of the offenders were cut off. That God does occasionally, for their sins, visit churches in the sickness and death of their members is certain; but there seems to us to be nothing in the present case to warrant the idea that he is doing so. In general the removals of his servants may be viewed as loving chastisements to the survivors, but to trace them to some supposed fault would be a dangerous practice, for it would, like the arguments of Job’s comforters, cause very much needless grief at a time when the heart needs consolation, and it would logically involve the flattering conclusion that, when ministers are spared, God must be well pleased with their people, and the churches must be in a good condition. The fact is the Lord takes his servants home according to his own pleasure, and has other objects in view, and other reasons for his acts besides the censure of his saints. It may be that he calls home his beloved ones when he knows that the church will suffer least by their withdrawal: he may see in his people certain elements of strength which will enable them to bear the bereavement better at this time than at any other; and, viewed as a sign of the times, the deaths of valued pastors may be rather a token for good than for evil. We have always proofs enough that our churches are not perfect, and had need amend; loud calls for humiliation and awakening come from our own consciences, and from the world perishing around us, and there is therefore no need to invoke the aid of that superstitious feeling which must needs see a judgment lurking in every painful providence. The Lord prunes his vine branches, not because he is displeased with their barrenness, but because, being charmed with their fruitfulness, he would see it increased. The church is to be congratulated that her Lord has found in her garden so many flowers fitted by his grace to be gathered to himself. Not in anger but in love has the Well-beloved gleaned her roses and her lilies.

We have observed that certain other brethren are of opinion that the rather numerous deaths of the last few months may be traced to severe mental labor, involving sickness, depression, and premature exhaustion. So much is required of ministers now-a-days that the brain grows weary, and the soul is drained of vital force. In some of the cases over which we mourn this may have been the fact, but it certainly was not so in all. Brethren have gone from us who rejoiced in their service as the war-horse rejoices in the day of battle; they took their labor happily, and their cares sat lightly upon them; wearied no doubt they often were, but they showed no sign of flagging, and bemoaned no physical or mental strain. They fell we know not why, their bones were full of marrow, and their bows abode in strength. The Lord alone knoweth why and wherefore he released these his faithful ones so early from their warfare in the high places of the field. Yet if but one true-hearted minister has been made the victim of unnecessary toil, and has fallen beneath burdens which he ought not to have carried, it behooves the churches to prevent the recurrence of such a calamity. Why cause us to serve tables so much as many of us are compelled to do? Why expect us to attend every religious service, and compel us to do so, or else to mourn that the interest flags and the meeting falls off? Why bring every petty matter to us for judgment when there are other spiritual men to be found quite able to decide the question in dispute? Why hound us to the death to attend readings, committees, soirees, conferences, conventions, tea fights, ordinations, recognitions, bazaars, anniversaries, stone-layings, chapel-openings, school-treats, etc., etc.? There must be an end to this slavery, and it ought to come, not through the refusal of the oppressed worker, but from the generous consideration of his friends.

It has also been hinted that an insufficient maintenance, and consequent anxiety, has a tendency to shorten life. This also is true. That many brethren have pined away in poverty we are unable to doubt, and that there may yet be many more we have grave reason to fear. Surely this involves criminality somewhere. If one worthy brother has succumbed beneath the pressure of pecuniary want, or died of a broken heart through the unkindness of professed friends, it is a matter to be heard before the judge of all, and woe unto those by whom the account must be rendered; for the Lord looks narrowly to the blood of his messengers, and will visit it upon the covetousness which starved or the contentiousness which smote them. We would fain hope that in no one case of recent death could such a charge be truthfully laid; nay, more, we are fully persuaded that no such accusation would even be suggested; but at all times it has not been so, we know instances in which pastors have been as much murdered as if they had been stabbed to the heart, or slowly poisoned. The Lord will certainly require this at the hand of the guilty in the day of reckoning which cometh on apace.

The practical point of the matter, which it is always well to seek out, lies in the suggestion that we do all we can to disencumber the work of our ministers of all that does not properly belong to it by our — selves fulfilling our own part of the Lord’s service according to our ability. We must no longer leave the mouth to do the work of the hand, but each member of the body must fulfill its office. The inevitable labor of the pastorate is great enough for the most laborious, wise, talented, and healthy of men: let us not lay upon them grievous additional burdens, let us not expect them to do impossibilities, let us not selfishly demand more of their attention than is our proper share, let us not harass them with idle gossip, or tax their time with objectless interviews. They have enough anxiety in dealing with impenitent sinners, doubting inquirers, desponding saints, and miserable back-sliders; it is wanton cruelty to cavil with them about mere words or unimportant doctrines, and it is real brutality to carry to them the hard speeches of the godless, or the petty quarrels and jealousies of professed believers. Let us help, and not hinder them. Let their peace be precious to us: worry shortens life, and therefore since we would have them live long and win souls for many years to come, let us minister to their comfort. It will do us good to be their active assistants, and it will relieve them of a great load if they see the various departments of church work efficiently worked by our earnest efforts.

Another point well worthy of attention is — let us pray for more ministers of the word, and do our best to aid all likely young men in the noble desire to fit themselves for the holy service. We cannot recall the departed, let us look out for their successors: and if we have not dealt so well as we should have done with those who have gone before, let us pay the arrears to those who are coming on. Young brethren are beginning in a humble way to open their mouths for the Lord Jesus, let us not snub them and quench their feeble light, but do our best to encourage their efforts, hoping that the Lord’s anointed may be before us. It would not be possible to calculate what possibilities of benediction are contained in one true-hearted minister; God seldom gives to earth a greater blessing. The churches must revise their feelings upon this matter. There must be no more sneers at the one man ministry, since it is by the leadership of the one man that the blessing evidently comes. There must be more prayer for our colleges, and a greater interest taken in them. This interest should be shown by individuals devoting their substance to support young men whom God has called, so that their charges while under tuition may not be burdensome to any. If the fathers are taken from us we must expect to receive the promise which gives to us their sons. When God reaps we must sow again. The drilling of recruits must be vigorously pushed forward when the efficient soldiers are being removed from the war. The mass of Christians do not attend to this; they under-value the ascension gifts of Jesus, and do not even think them worth asking for. This must be changed, or the Lord may cause a famine of the word to come over our land, until a man shall be more precious than a wedge of gold. It has almost come to this already, and it is high time it became a matter of prayer and effort. The Holy Spirit lies been grieved on this point, and we must humble ourselves before him, or he may restrain his working among men until we have no more a prophet or a wise man in Israel.

As for the writer, he hears from the graves of brethren now with God a cheery call to look for coming rest, and therefore to labor on while life or breath remains. O that health permitted us our former labors! Wherefore is a willing heart joined to an ailing frame? We champ the bit ; — but we know that the Lord is wise. If asked what are our main thoughts when such names as Vince, Mursell, and Best pass over our memory, we would reply, we inquire where are the men to fill their places? In the midst of the battle we must not give way to lamentations over those who fall, but must cry to the commander-in-chief to close up the ranks. We die, but God’s church does not; our anxieties are not needed by the dead, we must fix them upon the living. God is never short of men though we are. The ranks must and will be closed up: God will have it so. Is there anywhere a David concealed among the sheepfolds? We will seek him out. Is there a Timothy hidden in a quiet, godly family? We will encourage him to testify for Jesus. Is there an Apollos, mighty in the Scriptures, who yet needs to be taught the way of God more perfectly? We will lay ourselves out for him and such as he is. Reader, what will you do?

CRAZY MINISTERS MR.

TALMAGE is not only a great preacher, but a mighty editor. His “Christian at Work” is all alive, and when we begin to read it we are compelled to go on. After writing the previous short article our eye fell upon the following, which will make an excellent pendant to it. We know that what Mr. Talmage says is too true. To us personally our friends at home are very considerate; but we know that many other pastors could not say as much, for their people have not half as much consideration for them as they have for their saddle-horses. It is not that they are unkind, but they are thoughtless; and, after all, whether a shin of beef it comes to very much the same thing Here are Mr. Talmage’s lively remarks” —

A some one sends us a newspaper with a list of four ministers who recently have become insane, the newspaper having a marginal note desiring us to explain. We have no capacity to demonstrate the certain cause for such clerical dementation, but we may imagine several reasons for such disaster. Perhaps they may have lost their balance through a large number of begging letters. They may by every mail have been solicited for money that they did not possess. They may have been violently charged with niggardliness for postponing immediate response. For instance, we have on our table a pile of letters from the grasshopper regions, asking for relief; from Western Sunday-schools, who want a new library; from a young man, who needs a new suit of clothes; from a woman in Pennsylvania, who says her husband is unable to support her; from England, Ireland, and Scotland, asking for help in the building of chapels, — a heavy rain of applications that is enough to set any man’s brain afloat; and we may imagine that some of the persons spoken of in that newspaper were mentally swamped in that way.

“Another possible cause for the seeming epidemic of insanity among the clergy may be the demands of lecturing committees who want you to go and speak in behalf of their Church or Young Men’s Christian Association, and who persist in having you go after your telling them it is impossible. They break through all your established hours of privacy. They wake you up after you have gone to bed, or stop you in the street with their long yarn of necessities. If that will not make a minister crazy, nothing will. “We present another possible cause for the series of intellectual collapses, spoken of in the newspaper article aforesaid, in the exorbitant and unreasonable demand for impossible pastoral services. They may have been confused by the attempt to attend three funerals in the same hour three miles distant from each other. Being able to go to but one of the three, of course the other two families will feel that they have been outrageously neglected. They will write sharp letters, talk profusely throughout the congregation, and possibly leave the Church in high dudgeon. The attempt of a minister to be in three places at once will naturally divide and shatter his intellect.

“We do not know that the above causes worked in the unfortunate cases referred to, but we only assign them as sufficient causes of aberration. We are not surprised, like our correspondent, that there are so many lunatic ministers, but rather amazed that there are so few. It is a matter of congratulation that, under the pressure, there are so many clear-headed clergymen.”

Perhaps the minds of these ministers gave way through the perpetual motion of their door bell No sooner did they settle down to study than a newspaper correspondent requested an interview, a lady with a mission demanded an audience, a traveling peddler disguised as a minister desired a few minutes’ conversation in order to sell a box of pens, a tourist wanted a chat and an autograph, a secretary requested half an hour in which to puff his society, a mad engineer begged to display a wonderful invention, and so on, ad infinitum. This pest and the cheap postage threaten to craze some of us. — C. H. S.

A LETTER TO MY READERS.

BY THE EDITOR.

DEAR READERS, — Being prevented from day to day from preaching, through a partial return of my painful malady, it came into my mind to write you a brief epistle. You so constantly help me in my many enterprises, and are, many of you, so kindly interested in my welfare, that I cannot but feel towards you very warmly. Our relations are not the mere common ones which exist between an editor and his subscribers — you are all my friends, and some of you are very dear brethren and sisters in Christ. Permit me, then, in an hour of pain and weakness, to solace myself by writing to you.

And, first, will you pray for me? Pray that I may have bodily health, if the Lord will. I grudge these hours in which I must lie back and gaze upon the battle without being able to wield sword or battle-ax in the conflict for my Master. I get to work, and plunge into it right heartily, and then I overdo it. and am down again, jaded in mind, and racked in body. I am anxious to do all I can, but, alas, my ability is greatly decreased through the weakness of the body. I did something to help my brethren, Moody and Sankey, but not a tenth of what it was in my heart to have done. My church grows, and needs perpetual oversight, the College, Orphanage, Colportage, the Magazine, and my books, all call me hither and thither from morning till night, and yet when I would be doing good, I must perforce lie down and mourn my inability. Ask then that, it’ the Lord will, I may recover my former strength, and be able to work on. If the Lord do not hear you, I will bow my head, and be content to do as much as he permits me, add try to do that measure of work as best he enables me,

But the main subject which presses upon me .just now is the spiritual state of each of my readers. I feel a burden upon me about the souls to whom I speak by this magazine. I generally cater for you as for believers, warring and working, with Sword and Trowel; but there may be, there must be, some of you who could not be so described. This is painful to think upon. Would to God it were not so. You, dear unconverted readers, are favorable to religion, and yet do not favor it enough to yield your hearts to its power. You have not yet repented of sin, and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently you are none of his. Shall this state of things continue? Is it right to be an unbeliever? Is it safe? Can you endure it any longer? The world is very fascinating, perhaps, but when full of pain I do not find it so, and hence I infer that when the death-sweat lies on men’s brows it must yield them but poor comfort. Do you think the world will be any stay to you in those last hours, which must come one day, and may come so very soon? Probably you are convinced, as I am, that nothing short of a good hope through faith will cheer you in your mortal agony; why, then, are you not seeking that good hope? Nay, why is it that you have it not even now, since it is to be had immediately by trusting in the Redeemer? You are waiting — waiting for what? What more can you desire? Has not God given his Son? See how the tints of autumn are appearing! Another summer is almost gone and you are still unsaved! Years fly as the eagle, and tarry not — why do you tarry? What nils you? Life, eternal life, is proclaimed to you in the name of Jesus, and you refuse to have it. Ah, me! How shall those be saved who are so careless about salvation? It seems to me that if men were to throng our houses of prayer, and demand with clamorous cries what they must do to be saved; if they were to follow us to our houses and fall down on their knees and entreat the Lord’s ministers to explain the gospel to them; yea, if they were to suspend all labor and business, and weep day and night till they found Christ, the excitement would not be worthy of censure, nor be one whit greater than the case would justify. How can you rest in a state of enmity to the God of love? How can you bear yourselves while the wrath of God abideth on you? My heart weeps over you, and chides my pen for writing so coldly. Thus saith the Lord, “Consider your ways.” Now, reader, just now, pause, reflect, bow your knee in prayer, and end this long delay. Your sin is a burden to you; look to Jesus, and see it laid on him. One glance of faith will do it all; and these few lines will be repaid a million times if they should, through God’s good Spirit, lead you to it.

To those of my readers, and I believe they are by far the major part, who are already one with Christ, I may be permitted to say — Brethren, it behooves us to be in good order as before the Lord, good order I mean for enjoying his fellowship, for performing his bidding, enduring his will, or removing to his throne. Yet it is not easy to be always as we should be. Our graces are apt to rust and lose their brightness in the damp atmosphere of this poor, cloudy world: even under the best circumstances we deteriorate, unless we use great watchfulness. We are so busy too with minor matters, and do not seem able to help it. The house work must be done, and Martha does not see how she could sit down with Mary, though she would be glad enough to do so if the dinners would cook themselves and the children’s faces would only keep clean. The business wants our thoughts, and even the church causes us care ; — what are we to do? We shall get choked up with these things if we are not continually awake to keep our hearts clear. Going up the Thames the other day in a pretty little steam vessel we were continually hindered by the weeds which wrapped themselves around the screw. Every now and again we heard the cry, “Stop her,” and when we inquired what was amiss, it was the weeds, always the weeds. In the voyage of life we must be well awake to the weeds; long golden bands hold the wealthy Christian, black, rope-like growths twist about the poor, a wretched tangle of distracting doubt encumbers the educated, and a miserable mass of ignorance hinders the ignorant; the weeds are of all sorts, and must be cleared out or progress will be impossible.

If ever an age needed and suggested the highest form of Christian devotedness it is the present. Visited with revival on the one hand, and weighted down with infidelity on the other, threatened by superstition and invaded by skepticism, the church is called by her mercies to all that is heroic, and urged by her dangers to all that is intense. Both heaven and hell invoke us. Time and eternity are crying to us. We have glorious opportunities and fearful perils, among which the most fearful of all is the peril of being found unworthy of our calling and traitors to our trust. O could I coin my heart into living words, and make this page burn with them, I could not sufficiently exhort each individual believer to yield himself wholly unto God. labor as in the presence of your bleeding Redeemer. Love souls and pray for them, and woo them to Jesus as in the immediate shadow of the Judgment-seat. Be conscientious as to personal service, and do not stand in need of pastors and leaders to be as taskmasters to you. By the love and blood of Jesus, beloved in the Lord, bestir yourselves.

Especially let us be more constant and instant in prayer. Small bands of two and three, meeting in parlors, drawing rooms, or kitchens may pray down great blessings. Prayer at casual meetings of believers, prayer at odd times when workmen and servants are resting, prayer under the hedge in the corn-field, prayer anywhere and everywhere, will be sure to command a blessing. If anything in this world is sure of success it is believing prayer. Trade fails, crops perish, property wastes, inheritances are lost, but prayer is never a failure, for the Lord liveth, and he cannot lie. Therefore, brethren, LET US PRAY.

Yours, with all my heart,
C. H. SPURGEON.

Chap 20. SEPTEMBER 1875

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

SEPTEMBER 1875

WHOSE FAITH FOLLOW.

AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON TO THE MEMBERS
OF MRS. BARTLETT’S CLASS ON THE SABBATH AFTER
HER LAMENTED DECEASE.F7

My dear Friends, — On this occasion I will not try to comfort you, for I fear I might only aggravate your sorrow. I have already attempted the painful duty on two occasions, both at the time of the funeral and also this morning; but your wounds are too new and too deep. May the Holy Spirit exercise his chosen office of Comforter, and then your griefs will be assuaged. I shall rather endeavor this afternoon to make practical use of the life and character of our beloved friend. I am sure if we could hear her wishes from her own mouth she would say, “Weep not for me, but follow me so far as I followed Christ” and she would not forbid my speaking of her if thereby any of you might be benefited, for she lived only for your good. In that respect her desires are unchanged; even in glory she loves you still. Anything about her that would glorify Christ she would not wish me to withhold.

The Apostle Paul addressed the Hebrew believers in the thirteenth chapter of his epistle at the seventh verse, and said, on the behalf of teachers and pastors (and Mrs. Bartlett was both of these), “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God, whose faith follow.” Those last words shall serve me for a text, “WHOSE FAITH FOLLOW.”

I could, this afternoon, have held up our departed sister as an example in a great number of points of character, but in selecting her faith I halve chosen that which lay at the root of all the rest. “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” and therefore until we believe in the Lord Jesus none of those things which, are pleasing to God are to be found in us. Faith is the boring-rod which taps the great “deep which lieth under” and enables the fountain of grace to well up in streams of Christian virtue. With faith we must begin, with faith we must continue, and with this we must close; for, as the first sure token of salvation is faith as a grain of mustard seed, so its perfection is faith with the far-reaching boughs, beneath which the weaker ones find a shelter. “The just shall live by faith.” Hence the apostle in saying “Whose faith follow” means, in fact, that we are to follow them in every grace, only he points his finger expressly at that which is the center and kernel of all.

But; have you faith? Have you all believed in the Lord Jesus Christ? If you have not, why not? and wherefore? We are sometimes attacked by unbelievers, and they seem to think it will be difficult for us to justify our faith: we do not find it so, but, on the other hand, you unbelievers have a task before you which you will never be able to accomplish, namely, to justify your unbelief. Many of you know that the gospel is true, you know that Jesus is the Son of God, you know that his blood taketh away sin, and yet you are not trusting in the cleansing blood, you are not believers in the Son of God, but you remain still without Christ, unpardoned, unrenewed. How can you excuse your unbelief? How will you excuse it at the last great day? You have no faith, and therefore you are “condemned already, because you have not believed,” and remaining as you are you must be lost; for ever. I would to God that this afternoon you might follow Mrs. Bartlett’s faith by resting as she did in the great sacrifice. Come to the Savior just as you are:, with all your sins and weaknesses, and tell him you are lost and undone without him, and that from his feet you will never go until he look upon you and say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” Come without fear, for Jesus has sweetly said, “Him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out.”

There are some points about our beloved sister’s faith that I would urge you to follow, and the first relates chiefly to you who are young. Oh that you might follow her in the early birth of her faith. She was quite a child when the Holy Spirit wrought saving faith in her. I do not see many here so young as she was when she made a profession of her faith in our blessed Lord. I would urge upon you younger ones to pry in the language of the psalm, “O satisfy us early with thy mercy, that; we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” I have noticed that many of the most eminent saints were called early. Sin, even when repented of and blotted out, leaves a weakness behind, but when the sour is preserved from falling into the grossest sins through early conversion there is often developed by the Holy Spirit a character of peculiar beauty aria a piety of special excellence. Your Samuels, and Josephs, and Josiahs, and Daniels, are “men greatly beloved,” and young women who give their hearts to Jesus when they are young are most likely to grow up into Christians who shall be like Deborah, who was “a mother in Israel.” Those who give to God the morning of their youth shall find him doubly precious in the evening of their days. From seven to seventy makes a grand Christian life, and roughly speaking our beloved friend realized that joy. I am myself a living testimony to the sweetness of giving the dewy morning to Jesus. I was not vet; sixteen years of age when I was baptized into the name of the sacred Three, and I have never regretted that with my mouth I thus early made confession of the Lord Jesus. Oh that I had sooner believed: It is, quite impossible for us to find eternal life too soon. It were well to be so soon converted as to have no bad example to regret, no wasted years to mourn over, no formation of evil habits to lament, no memories of a conscience tampered with to embitter the future. Oh, you who are very young, dear Mrs. Bartlett speaks to you, and from her grave reminds you that those who seek the Lord early shall find him.

I would new say follow her faith in the continuance of it. During all those long years our beloved friend was kept by the grace of God standing on the same rock on which she put her childish foot, looking up to the same Savior whom she, had saluted in her girlish days as Christ her Lord, growing in grace, becoming rooted and grounded and built up in him. She continued walking in the same way — the good old way — abiding steadfast in the fulfill even unto life’s close. We have been so stunned by the blow of her unexpected death that we have, perhaps, forgotten that it was almost time for her to go home. She had reached her threescore years and ten, so that hers was not a life terminated before its time. She has been gathered like a shock of corn fully ripe that cometh in its season. Throughout that life which, according to the rule of nature, may be considered to be a complete one, she was enabled to press forward in the heavenly race with undiminished ardor. True to the last hour to her life work, she spent the last gasp of her breath in her Lord’s service. She was for years what She used frequently to call herself “a dying woman,” but site labored on to the end. She lived until her work was done; we are sure of that, for had there been more for her to do her Master, and ours, would have permitted her to remain to do it. Her work was finished; through divine grace and the power of the Holy Spirit it was finished: the last warning to you all she had. given, the last invitation to come to Jesus she had presented, the last prayer for you she had offered, and the last tear for you she had shed; and then she went home, and her Lord said to her, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Oh, my sisters, let us follow her faith in this. May we never be backsliders, never lose our first love, never turf. aside to crooked ways. If any of you have clone so, return I pray you. By the prayers and tears of her you loved so well, return, return! And may the Lord so restore you and stablish you in the faith that from this moment until you are summoned home you may never desert your post, nor slumber at it. “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” Mrs. Bartlett stood firm to the last; let us gird ourselves also with the same mind. “Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

Another point in her faith which I earnestly commend to this class, and all here present, was its unalloyed simplicity. Ever since I have known my beloved sister, now with God, I have admired the way in which she has kept to the simplicity of the gospel, both in her own experience and in her teaching. Many have come and gone, but we have always known where to find her. I remember her tremblings when certain novel views were introduced into the class by a good but unwise brother. Site came to. me and said, “ This will never do; those young people know nothing of those points, and do not need to know; they will be puzzled and led away from simply looking to Jesus.” I was of her mind, and rejoiced in her common sense, and in her holy resolve to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and him cruel-fled. In her time she, with me, saw the rise and fall of many wise ones, who had found out something new: — oh, so new, so wonderful, so delightful! I have seen others go after these will-of-the-wisps until they have plunged into the mire, but none of these things moved her. There she stood, knowing in her soul two things, herself a sinner and Christ a Savior. You have heard, I dare say, a good deal of talk about higher 1ife and perfection; you never heard a syllable from her concerning any higher life than the life of faith upon the Son of God, and vet if ever woman possessed the higher life she had it, and because she had it she could not see it in herself, and would never have been so vain as to assert that she exhibited it. The spiritually ugly see beauties in themselves; but the beautiful in heart mourn over their spots and imperfections. She knew that there is only one true life, namely, life in Christ, and there cart be nothing higher than that, for it is the life of God in the soul; and whoever strains after anything higher than that leaps at a shadow, and is in danger of missing the substance. Exalted views of their own spiritual attainments frequently crush men in despair when the bubble collapses. She kept to this — “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him.” You never heard from her any “divers and strange doctrines.” I know that you have listened to everything that fell from her lips, some of you for many years, and you can bear witness that the end of her conversation was, as Paul puts it here, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and for ever.” If there was anything beyond Christ she did not seek it; if there was anything beside Christ, she did not desire it. Her motto was “Jesus only,” and this made her so safe a guide for young minds, and this made each one of you feel when you got anywhere under her lee like a ship in a quiet harbor. Now, dear young friends, and older friends too, imitate her faith in its simplicity. Be not dazzled with this or that. If any say, “Lo, here!” or “Lo, there!” say to yourself, and say to others too, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I commend to you the faith of your departed teacher for its intensity. She heartily and thoroughly believed, what she taught. Intense faith is not very common. We are very apt to take things at second-hand, and put them down as orthodox, and consider that we believe them. So to believe that when you are on the borders of the grave you can steadily gaze upon eternity without fear, this is faith. So to believe that, like my dear brother, William Olney, we can realize death and feel nothing but pleasure at the thought, because we shall so soon be with Jesus: riffs is to believe indeed. Often has Mrs. Bartlett in spirit skirted the casts of eternity, for she was frequently prostrated with pain, and by that extreme weakness which succeeds it, and at; such times she has never displayed the slightest sign of doubt or dread. Her heart was fixed, trusting in the Lord. Her intense faith yielded comfort to herself, but it also affected others. She spoke because she believed, and her confidence gave her power. This is an age of falsehood, and the good must expect to be abused, but I have never heard anybody hint that Mrs. Bartlett did not believe what she taught, or was not in earnest while teaching it: surely Satan himself dared not insinuate that. Her pathetic pleadings have forced the tear from the eyes of strong, minded men, for she felt every syllable that she uttered, and made others feel it. Through God’s Holy Spirit, her unstaggering reliance upon the Savior has led many of you to confide in him. You saw how she believed, you saw the joy which her faith brought to her, the calm rest and power which she obtained, and you were led to Jesus Christ, perhaps unconsciously to ourselves, very much through her example. She was a thorough and complete believer; downright in her convictions and rooted in her principles. She was immersed into the Lord Jesus, she had not, been content with a mere sprinkling of faith; and according to her faith so was it unto her.

Imitate her faith, next, in its activity. What a worker she was. Nobody will ever know until the books are opened at the last how much she did. Her Sabbath-day work was but a small portion of her holy toil: she almost looked upon it, as relaxation: her work continued all the day, and every day of the week. How many times she has come to me with the burden of your souls upon her, to speak of the tempted, the afflicted, and the backsliding! How frequently, also, did she tell me glad tidings concerning souls awakened and troubled ones brought to rest in Jesus. Your despondency’s, your temptations, your failings, she carried them all on her heart. I do not believe that any mother in this place knows her children much better than she knew the members of this class; and, what is more, I believe that there are few children who would tell their inward feelings to a mother so frankly as many of you have unbosomed yourselves to her. There was about her a sympathy of heart and an affectionateness of manner, and. an absence of everything like reserve and haughtiness, which drew you towards her and held you fast. Her heart was large and her efforts incessant. If her son, Mr. Edward Bartlett, were to rise and tell you what she did, which I am sure he cannot do, he would have a long story to tell. He himself has been fired by his mother’s zeal, and is one of the most industrious workers among us, and may God spare him long to labor on. She was a worker who neither needed the pastor’s praise to encourage her, nor his exhortation to enliven her. She needed the bit rather than the spur, for she went beyond her strength, and when ordered to rest she only went away and worked elsewhere. It is well to remember this, for this will make us see how long she lived: if we measure life by work rather than by years she lived as long as the ancients before the blood. My dear sisters, are there not some among you who love the Lord who could be equally active for him? I do not think we shall find her equal in all respects for many, many a day to come, but every working sister must be after her own order, and if you consecrate yourself as perfectly as she did you may not be useful in her line of action, but you will succeed in some other. God will open a door of usefulness, and help you to enter in. Some of you who have the gifts and the graces qualifying you to lead, should give yourselves up to the Lord, and ask him to anoint you with fresh oil. Our ranks are thinned, close them up. A brave officer has fallen, let each private soldier see to it that; the fight does not falter. Be instant in season and out of season, and so follow her faith’s activity.

Again, imitate her in her self-sacrifice, though not exactly in the form it took. Few could rightly make so supreme a sacrifice as Mrs. Bartlett did When she first came among us she was in a good position, obtaining by her own efforts a considerable income, but when the class multiplied it; called for so much of her time and attention that she determined to give up all, and devote herself entirely to this work. Accordingly she east herself upon the providence of God, and the kindly support of her two loving sons: but, as in the order of God’s providence her sons did not prosper as we would have desired, she had much reason to regret the step which she had taken, and yet so possessed was she with the passion for soul-winning that I do not think such a thought ever crossed her mind. I marked her self-denial, and it. was my great privilege to help her in divers ways as best I could, always judging that anything I could[do for her was exceedingly well laid out. I rejoiced to know and help a woman who could, for Christ’s sake, relinquish everything, just; before she died, as you perhaps know, her son, whom God has greatly prospered in America, came over to this country. She told me herself that he pressed her to return with him, as he could provide for her most comfortably in his adopted country; he also urged his brother to emigrate, for there would be good prospects before him. She told me last Sabbath week that she knew it would be for her temporal advantage, but she added, “How could I leave that dear class?” The mother would gladly have joined her son, but; the lover of souls was stronger than the mother, and she said, “How can I leave the class which God has given me? How could Edward leave his work at the Alms Houses? It is impossible for me to go.” I rejoiced in both the mother and the son, and thanked God that I had such helpers. I am sure it was to Mrs. Bartlett a deliberate giving up of earthly comforts for your sakes when she resolved to abide with you She could not tell then, of course, that she was on the doorstep of heaven at that very moment when making, once again, a supreme sacrifice for her Lord and Master. She could not have made a more complete surrender, even had she known that the Lord was so near. Yet see how, in her self-renunciation, she after all was led to do the best thing for herself; for now she did not die on her passage across the sea, and she did not die in a strange land, but she fell asleep amid old and happy associations, just as she would have desired to do had it. been left to her choice. May we also be willing, if it be for God’s glory, to suffer the loss of all things that we may win Christ, and be found in him.

I am sure if all could be told — and I am not authorized to tell it, nor would it be right for me to do so — she would be reckoned among the most illustrious of consecrated women. “Whose faith follow,” my sisters.. “Whose faith follow,” my brethren. Reckon yourselves rich, not in proportion to what you have, but in proportion to what you can sacrifice for Christ. Reckon yourselves to be wealthy, not in proportion to what you can lay by, but in proportion to what you can give to the Master’s cause; for he is most honored who can most completely forget himself and live entirely for the Lord. May that blessed Spirit who enabled her to present herself as a living sacrifice enable each one of us to do the same.

Last of all, “Whose faith follow” in the consummation of it; for now her faith has attained its reward. We think a great, deal of the dying words of good men and women; but perhaps we go too far in so doing. Some professors ought to bear a, good testimony for Christ when they come to die, for they have never done so ,luring their lives. Sometimes God enables his feeble ones to say good things when they are dying, for the sake of their relatives, who might otherwise have been overwhelmed with sorrow. I have no ambition myself to sit up in my bed and gather a company around me, and talk as some dying Christians have done; I would prefer to bear my testimony while I live, as Whitefield did. A friend remarked to him, “I should like to be near you when you die, Mr. Whitefield.” “Why?” said the man. of God. The answer was, “Because you will bear such a testimony for Jesus.” “No,” said Whitefield, “I do not suppose I shall; there is no need for it, for I have testified to hundreds of thousands all the while I have been living.” I want you so to live that if your life should be, suddenly cut short your work would be finished. There are so many unfinished lives: as you look at them you lament over them as fragmentary and unsatisfactory. Oar dear sister’s life has long been such that had she been called home at, any hour she would have died in harness and gone from her post to her portion. There was nothing particular for her to do when she reached her last; moment. I did not hear of her sending for anybody to ask their forgiveness, nor that there was anybody whom she had to forgive; nor did she need to send for a minister to cheer her, nor to say to those about her, “Have pity upon me, oh my friends, for the hand of the Lord has touched me.” She had but one thought which was at all distressing; it was concerning those she left behind, and very largely about you, and who would watch over you in her absence. Beside that she had nothing to do, and that really was no work of theirs, because no worker is called upon to find his own successor. We must all be satisfied like Moses to work up to the point at which God calls us away, and then leave him to find the Joshua who shall crown the enterprise. Her work was finished. Standing here and. looking back upon it; as calmly as I can, I pronounce hers to be a finished life. To God be all the glory.

Your class is now like a vessel without a captain; but meanwhile the Lord will bless you. Follow the faith of the departed by believing in God, and not in flesh and blood: “Whose faith follow” by expecting a great blessing still. Do not be discouraged. Be not afraid: “only believe.’” I recollect a time when for certain reasons this class became very thin, and its condition was unsatisfactory, but Mrs. Bartlett said to me, “Well, if they all go away, I will begin again and gather another class.” and she buckled to the labor with such indomitable zeal that very soon all was flourishing again. Now that this trial has come, we will not dishonor our God by unholy mistrust, but we will begin again by God’s good blessing; nay, rather, we will keep on where she has left us, and I am sure that God will certainly find for the class the teaching which you need. We will do our best, all of us resting in the power of God, and the work of her hands shall be established for many years to come.

As for her who is gone, if anything could make heaven more heavenly to her it would he if she could look down and see the class quickened with a divine ardor, passionately longing for the conversion of souls, keeping well together like a well regulated army, and continuing that, blessed warfare which she for so long a time carried on in this place. I charge you by the love of Jesus Christ and by the love you bear her, try to make this class in years to come all that it has been in the past. Regard it; as her living monument. While some are planting flowers over the graves of their dear ones, be you yourselves the flowers, and this class the little garden, which shall keep loving memories from dying out. Never let the class flag in numbers, in earnestness, in prayer, or in service. Pray for it; work for it; live for it; because if God has magnified himself in it, it ought to be very precious to us.

To her God, and my God, and your God I commend you. He ever liveth and ever worketh. We who minister among you are all passing away, but he is the same, and of his years there is no end. Look up, I beseech you, from the coffin and the grave to your risen Lord, and his abiding Spirit, and hear him say, Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

NOTES.

WE have this month received the largest amount, save one, ever entrusted to us at one time, namely, £10,000, being a legacy left to us last year by the late Mr. Matthews, and notified to the public at that time. One half is for the College, and upon the strength of it we have received thirty more students, and have entered upon new fields of labor. The other moiety is for the Orphanage, and will be invested, according to our general rule with legacies, unless our daily needs should cause us to draw upon it. When our capital becomes large enough to put the Boys’ Orphanage somewhat more off our hands, it may be the Lord will then enable us to build a Girls’ Orphanage too. Had there not been a sum given at the commencement, as an endowment, we might not have thought of one, but as that was the basis at the commencement we feel bound to increase it when legacies are given; using donations for our every-day expenses.

Mrs. Spurgeon requests us to say that she was very sorry to decline some applications for lectures, and that she is exceedingly grateful to those friends who have so generously enabled her to resume the distribution. ‘She has acknowledged these kind gifts personally, and would have printed the list, only she believes that the donors do not wish to have it so. Poor ministers, really ministers, and really poor, can now apply; and those declined before will be among the first attended to. As there must be some limit, it is thought best not to include local preachers, and others who have resources beyond the support given by their people. Mrs. Spurgeon is every day sending out books to needy brethren whom we ave selected for her, and it gives her intense pleasure to be thus of use to the Lord’s people. She suffers very greatly, and this holy service cheers the tedium of sickness, and affords her great comfort. Those who have sent the means have roads us both very happy, and we earnestly pray the Lord to reward them. Very cruel is the poverty of many Baptist ministers. How can they feed the people when they never see a new book? To supply them with mental food is a boon, not to them only, but to all their hearers. We trust this beneficent service will be continued. We have named the work MRS. SPURGEON’S FUND, and we believe that it will not soon come to an end, but will do great good.

The loss of our excellent Mrs. Bartlett, and the continued illness of Mr. William Olney, our right-hand helper in spiritual things, are subjects for much earnest prayer. We feel both these sorrows very greatly. Yet there are sweet alleviations in the love of our people and their zealous endeavors to supply every lack of service. Nothing flags. Converts are more numerous than ever, and the crowds at the Tabernacle so vast as to cause great difficulties as to modes of admission. We have done our best, and those who cavil at our plans little know what anxieties surround us on this account, or they would not judge us so severely. When everybody is overcrowded and inconvenienced, and those who suffer most from pressure bear it all patiently, it is a pity that a few should be so loud in their complaints, and throw abroad charges of discourtesy and so forth. If our friends could know how many conflicting claims we have to meet, they would see that ours is no ordinary case, and cannot be managed by ordinary methods. If this great pressure continues, a crowded house and an enormous church will lay burdens upon us which will make our position one of eminent trial. We and our worthy helpers at the entrances are all doing our best, but we claim the sympathy and aid of all who worship with us, and we ought not to be saddened by ungenerous remarks.

It was great delight to us the other evening to meet a numerous band of workers who have rallied round Mr. William Olney, junior, the eldest son of our worthy deacon. In one of the worst parts of Bermondsey he is carrying on a mission work, which for life, energy, and real results is second to none.

Our excellent helper Mr. Dunn has worked hard to erect a new mission house and school in a very poor part of Walworth, but he still needs £200. We hope our Tabernacle friends and others will see this good work carried through at once, for it concerns our own neighborhood, and we must not neglect it. No debt should ever be thought of.

This cannot meet the eye of any blind gentleman, but we hope some wealthy blind friend will ‘near of it. We are very anxious to build a chapel for the poor blind. Mr. Hampton needs such a place for his noble efforts. We think we can get a site, and as these poor people often bring their dogs with them, and as we have to provide them with tea, a separate well ventilated building is greatly wanted.

God has been very gracious to the Orphanage in the matter of health. While epidemics have been raging we have had only one case of fever, and that by no means an aggravated one. The sad visitation at the noble Orphanage at Bristol made us tremble, and while we prayed for our brethren there, we also cried to the Lord to avert the scourge from us, and now we bless his name that he has done so.

A fourth teacher is needed for the Orphanage. A Christian young man would find a great sphere of usefulness among the boys. For particulars apply to Mr. Charlesworth, The Orphanage, Stock well, London.

Our Friend, Mr. Hayles, Hanover Street, Kennington, has very kindly painted and grained our Orphanage gates, and lettered the great board. We are very much obliged to him, and hope that other tradespeople, by following so good an example, of helping in their own line of things, will save the Orphanage much expense.

A friend, J. R., a draper, has sent a fine collection of dress materials, which have become unsaleable by change of fashion. Our worthy sister, Mrs. Evans, will be right glad to make them up for the daughters of our poor Baptist ministers. All sorts of material for garments will be turned to good account by her Home and Foreign Mission Working Society at the Tabernacle.

A friend who asks for information is informed that warm socks, shirts, collars, etc., are always acceptable at the Orphanage, whether in large or small quantities. We thank those who have it in their hearts to aid us by their own work.

Grand news comes from Reading of the bazaar to be held ‘there for the Orphanage. The stalls will be many, and the supply of goods promises to be abundant. We cannot tell how grateful we are for this. May every worker, donor, and helper have as much joy in it as we have. To help poor helpless widows and orphans is a work which angels might envy us.

We are very grieved to hear of the death of our friend Mr. Edward Webb, for twenty-five years the beloved pastor of the Baptist church, Tiverton. Very ill can the churches afford to lose such a man. “O thou sword of the Lord, how long shall it be ere thou be quiet.” Our ranks are thinning sadly, and’ as yet we see not the men arising to fill the vacancies. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest to. send forth laborers into his harvest.

Since writing this we find that Mr.. Joseph Wilshire, of Derby, has also fallen, asleep and left a family of seven children totally unprovided for’. He also was one of our active brethren, and will be greatly missed. The death of that noble old man, and ripe scholar, Dr. Davies, of Regent’s Park College, is yet another irreparable loss. What repeated crashes are heard in the forest! Our cedars fall. How long will it be ere the fir-trees shall follow?

The noble Duke of Westminster has generously given some houses for the enlargement of the Baptist Chapel, Chester, where our friend Mr. Durban preaches. He has also opened his bazaar. May he. receive the reward of those who help the servants for their Master’s sake. Our denomination ought, after this, to carry Mr. Durban through his effort on the crest of the wave.

Mr. Oldring, who is laboring so hard at Burnley, we commend to the liberal aid of all our friends in that region.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle By Mr. V. J. Charlesworth — July 22nd, nineteen; July 29th, sixteen. By Mr. J. A. Spurgeon: — August 16th, seventeen.

THE TESTIMONIAL TO MR. SPURGEON.F8

IN January last the church members at the Tabernacle presented the senior pastor with a beautiful calligraphic testimonial, the words of which are as follows : —

“Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. The Baptized Church of Jesus Christ meeting in the Metropolitan Tabernacle, assembled in its Annual Church Meeting on Friday, January 8th, 1875, resolved unanimously, —

“That we desire as a church to record our devout gratitude to. our Heavenly Father that he has sustained our dear Pastor C. H. SPURGEON through twenty-one years of faithful, loving, and eminently successful ministry in our midst. Beyond all precedent in the history of the Lord’s people has been the result of the preaching of the word of God, as manifested in the gathering in of the saints, and the maintenance of Christian fellowship and ordinances among us. For this the Lord’s name be praised.

“To you our dearly beloved Pastor we desire to express our growing attachment and increasing love and esteem. With you we rejoice over the issue of the twenty volumes of sermons, in the hearing and perusal of which so many of us have found salvation, and all of us instruction, stimulus, and comfort. Fervently do we pray that many thousands of readers may be by them refreshed, quickened, and guided into all truth.

“Our hearts share your joy because the good hand of God has enabled you to erect and open free from debt the New Buildings for the Pastors’ College. Our desire for you is that for many years you may be permitted to train up there a goodly band of preachers, who shall faithfully maintain those truths which you have so eloquently preached to us. The conjunction of these three striking events in your life has led us thus to address you in this testimonial.

“We commend you and your many works of faith to the great Head of the Church, and assure you that we esteem it a priceless privilege to follow in your steps, to listen to your ministrations, and cooperate with you in all your services for God.

“May all grace be yours to sustain you in your afflictions, to prosper you in all your labors, and bless you in yore’ person and in your family.

“Praying that in the years to come we may see yet greater things than these, we are your loving people in the fellowship of the Gospel.

“JAMES A. SPURGEON, Co-Pastor.
“Signed on behalf of the Deacons, WILLIAM OLNEY.
“Signed on behalf of the Elders, JOHN WARD.”

Our friends at home and readers generally may be glad to learn that the above has been copied in fac simile by the Woodbury process of photography, and may be had of Mr. E. Marshall, 1, Crown-buildings, Queen Victoria-street, London, and of Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster, 4, Paternoster Buildings. When framed this work of art is quite suitable for any drawing-room, and its execution has already called forth the highest encomiums of the press. There are three sizes, the smallest corresponding with the ordinary cabinet album portraits, whilst the middle and the largest sizes make tolerably large pictures. The prices are one shilling, half-a- crown, and four shillings. It should be added that portraits of Mr. C. H. Spurgeon and Mr. J. A. Spurgeon, taken expressly for the purpose, embellish the border of the Testimonial. These are not in the original, but they add interest to the copies.

NOTES.

MRS. SPURGEON has been able to distribute a large number of parcels of books to ministers whom she knew to be in need. Several friends have sent sums of money, to these she tenders her sincere thanks. We trust that from time to time others will do the same. One gentleman has sent a number of exceedingly good books for the same object. We have on several occasions in days past received parcels consisting of old magazines and the sweepings of libraries, and we have concluded that the donors thought we kept a butter shop; but this friend sent really standard volumes which will, we trust, be a boon to some poor preacher. This good work of providing mental food for poor preachers ought never to cease till the incomes of all ministers are doubled. May “Mrs. Spurgeon’s Book Fund” become a permanent source of blessing to ministers and churches. Mrs. Spurgeon is still able to give a copy of “Lectures to my Students” to all poor ministers who apply to her.

We are now working the College upon an enlarged scale. We have some ninety-two men, and the weekly payments cause our cash in hand to melt like snow in the sun. Having received a large sum, and finding that the dearth of ministers increases, we resolved to refuse none who were suitable, however great our expenditure might be. We have, however, now gone very nearly to the end of our tether, for the present expenditure is very large. Our students are continually going forth to fill vacant pulpits; in fact, from the camp at the College a line of warriors never ceases to march forth. Friends, do not forget us in your prayers, for the work is a very responsible and anxious one. Who is sufficient for these things.?

Mr. Gammon, of our College, has been accepted by the Baptist Mission for Turk’s Island. Mr. Martin, who has long led the College as its secretary, has settled over the church which he has gathered in Erith, Kent. We believe that with God’s blessing Mr. Martin has a life of great usefulness before him. Mr. A. E. Johnson has also accepted the pastorate of the church at Mount Zion, Swansea. We need an assistant schoolmaster at the Orphanage. A young man who loves the Lord Jesus, and feels at home in teaching children, might here find a suitable sphere.

Our friend, Mr. Toiler, at Waterbeech, Cambridgeshire, who always sets aside an acre of ground for the Orphanage, reports — “ Wheat threshed; yield poor. Potatoes now being taken up, quality good, but crop light. All shall be sent in a day or two. This is a bad year, the worst I have ever known; next year may be the best.” Mr. John Saunders has done the same as Mr. Teller. but we hope his crop is better. If we had an acre in every county the yield would probably be an average all round. Cambridgeshire is well represented, who will see to another county for next year? To support poor orphans is the business of all-true Christians, and not ours alone. We trust that without needing to beg our treasury will not be suffered to fail.

The Collectors for the Orphanage are invited to meet Mr. Spurgeon to tea, at Stockwell, on Friday evening, October 22nd. Views of the Thames will be exhibited.

Friends in Berkshire and vicinity will please note that through the noble exertions of the friends of the orphans at Reading a grand bazaar will be held there, October 12th, 13th, and .14th. Mr. Spurgeon will open the bazaar at 12 o’clock on Tuesday, and preach on the Wednesday. Very earnestly do we thank those who have made the effort, and we trust the result will be such as to gratify them. Reading is the town which beyond every other, except perhaps Liverpool, has always helped the Stockwell Orphanage.

Our orphan boys would gladly give a Service of Song for the Orphanage in any London chapel which may be lent to us. This way of helping us would burden no one, and yet promote our object greatly. The season for such things is now beginning, and arrangements should now be made. Mr. Charlesworth also is ready to lecture for the same object any Tuesday evening, and he can do it.

August 20. — A most interesting meeting was held at the Tabernacle of the friends who work with Mr. William Olney, Junior, in Bermondsey. This earnest company of workers carry on missionary operations in a very destitute district with very remarkable success. Mr. William Olney, our beloved deacon, was present, but we regret to add that his health is not improved, and he is not fitted for any public service. O that the Lord would restore him to us. Meanwhile we rejoice that his son follows so diligently in his father’s footsteps.

September 16. — Our beloved brother, Mr. Orsman, baptized at the Tabernacle twenty-one persons, whom the Lord has lately called by grace, out of the region of Golden Lane. These are only a part of a larger band who are yet to come. Our readers know something of this mission among the costermongers and the poorest of the poor. Glory be to God, it is not in vain.

Sept. 17. — Mr. C. H. Spurgeon presided at a meeting of the Tabernacle Evangelists’ Society, and was delighted to hear of the zealous efforts of the brethren and sisters in street preaching and the holding of cottage meetings. Our people are alive, and the neighborhood is made to hear the gospel of Jesus.

The meeting of the Baptist Union commences at Plymouth October 4th. The prayers of believers should ascend to heaven that the gatherings may be a great means of blessing to the denomination and the town.

Mr. Hampton’s work among the blind goes on admirably in all aspects but the pecuniary one. The funds have run out, and we have had to make him an advance. Yet these poor blind people must have the gospel, we are persuaded it is the Lord’s will, and we are confident he will send the means for getting them together to hear the word.

The Colportage Association also drags somewhat heavily in money matters. The Lord has been very gracious to relieve us from all anxiety upon some parts of our work, but he somewhat tries us as to other portions of it. Nevertheless, we are sure he will not suffer his own work to want. God only knows what we have to do, and how tempted we are at times, but our faith is firm that he will not fail us nor forsake us.

“John Ploughman’s Talk” has now reached to the surprising number of 230,000, and still it goes. John begs us to say that his Sheet Almanac for 1876 is almost ready.

Our usual Penny Illustrated Almanac will be issued in a few days.

Friends making wedding or birthday presents would find our “Interpreter” in its best dress a suitable gift. It would be a very plain suggestion to a newly married couple of the desirableness of having family prayer, and also a grand help to them in carrying it on.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle: By Mr. J. A. Spurgeon: August 25th, 22; Sept. 2, 22. By Mr. W. J. Orsman: Sept. 16th, 21.

Chap 21. NOVEMBER, 1875.

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL

NOVEMBER, 1875.

IN COURT.

A SERMON BY MR. C. H. SPURGEON.

(SUGGESTED BY HIS BEING SUMMONED TO ATTEND THE POLICE COURT AS A WITNESS.)

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD. “ — Isaiah 43:10.

It is some time since I have known what it is to be at leisure. One’s time from morning to night is occupied in different departments of the Master’s service, and it has been peculiarly troublesome to rue during the last week to be compelled[to spend many hours in a police court. While sitting on the bench my text has again and again occurred to me. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord.”

A great trial is going on, of which all worlds constitute the jury — a great trial between the powers of evil and the one perfect Lord of good. Slanders have been vented against the name and majesty of heaven, and plots have been invented with the intent to overthrow holiness and truth. The whole fraternity of hell have stirred up their malicious craftiness to defame the God of heaven and earth. We know which way the suit will be decided, for we know where the truth lies; but, lo, these many centuries the matter has been hanging in the balances. Sometimes it has seemed that truth had gained the day, but at other times the powers of evil have come to the front. This trial is still proceeding. Satan brings up his witnesses, ready enough to lie and to establish the teachings of the father of lies; and, on the other hand, the Lord brings up his witnesses to bear testimony for truth and righteousness. There are many in this place of whom the text speaketh.

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord.” We are summoned in this great trial of the ages to stand forward as witnesses for God.

Very simply, indeed, let us talk of this matter. At the outset we will take the simple assertion that WE ARE WITNESSES, and inquire what sort of witnesses we ought to be? I count it no small honor for the good Lord to call me as a witness in his case. Hence I, for one, am a willing witness. I need no subpoena to compel me to come forward and bear such witness as I can for the glory of his great name. Such of you as can cheerfully come forward for the Lord should attend to the duty of witnesses well. Let us see what are the main points of that duty.

First, let us be present to witness, in our proper place, at the proper Nine. I know some Christians who are of a very “retiring” disposition. — I believe that is their favorite word. I fear truth would say they are cowardly, and hence they are silent when their witness should be borne. They are willing enough to bear testimony when thousands are. doing: the same, and they can shout “Hosanna” when all the streets are ringing with it; but not so many are prepared to witness for Christ when the hoarse cry of “Crucify him! crucify him!” is heard on every side. If we are witnesses for God we are bound to be witnesses to all that we know, but flesh and blood will suggest to us to be out of the way when unpopular truths are in question. Certain brethren find it convenient to insist upon quiet portions of the word of God, and not on truths which might cause them trouble and provoke discussion. That doctrine which is received already they will affirm, because all men agree with them, but the very portion of truth which most needs witnessing is shirked, and even looked down upon with disfavor. Let us be always in the way when there is a witness wanted to be browbeaten and abused because he slates unpalatable truth. Never pick and choose in truth, or in your witness to it; or if you must make a choice, vindicate that truth most which is most despised. If you happen to be where men are blaspheming, witness against that blasphemy, calmly but firmly. If you dwell where error is taught, wait till you have a fair opportunity, and then stand up for Jesus. I do not say that you are to rush about like a knighterrant, fighting with everybody; but when there is a demand for a witness upon any point of truth, be you the man, and witness a good confession for Jesus your Lord.

Next, if we are witnesses for God, we should not only be in our place, but we should be willing to speak up when the time comes. No redeemed man must be in any degree an unwilling witness for his Lord. It is a pity when truth has to be extracted from us with as much difficulty as a decayed tooth. That is the best wine which flows most freely from the grape, and that is the best testimony which a man bears with cheerful spirit because he values the truth in his own soul, and would have others prize it too. The thought that our Lord Jesus was silent for us should prevent our ever being silent towards him. One word from his mouth in Pilate’s hall would have broken the spell which bound him to death, but he would not speak it; and now, if one word from our lip would sign our death-warrant, if it be a word for truth and Christ, let us speak it and joyfully accept the consequences God’s true children are never born dumb; therefore speak out like a true man. What thou knowest, tell What God has taught thee, teach. What thou hast learned in the closet, proclaim on the housetop; and what was whispered in thine ear in communion with thy God, blaze it abroad before all men. Speak up, speak up for Jesus.

It is required of the Lord’s witnesses that they steak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Every witness in the court is sworn to do that, and every child of God is bound by the most solemn obligations to his Lord to do the same. Our God never requires a man to tell a lie for him. The Jesuits have held the theory that the end sanctifies the means; and so those — I was going to say diabolical — beings suppose they are glorifying God when they heap falsehoods pile on pile. One of the chief qualifications for a priest is to be able to tell a lie without the slightest sign of blushing; and I must give some of them credit; for great proficiency in the art. Our Lord would not have us speak falsely for him, or even suppress the truth, to serve his cause. Occasions may sometimes arise when you feel — “Well, I don’t know: my friend will be annoyed if I confess that truth. I will not exactly deny my belief in it, but I will depreciate it as a small matter of very slender importance.” Thus you will do evi1 that good may come. Some say to themselves “I am in a false position, but had I not better remain in it, for it gives me great opportunities for usefulness. It is true I do. not believe in the teaching of my church, but may I not still belong to it? Her catechism and ritual do not represent my views, and there are many persons of an opposite way of thinking who are very glad to use the very language which I profess to believe in, and express thereby the most abominable of dogmas: all this is deplorable, but had I not better put up with it and go on as I am?” My dear friend, I do not believe that God ever desires any of his people to occupy a position in which they cannot be strictly truthful; and I do not believe that he will justify them in retaining such a position. Whether I am useful or not is not one half so ranch my business as whether: I am faithful and true. Equivocation and suppression of truth cannot serve the cause of God. You are to speak the truth for God. He does not want you in one syllable or word to speak anything but the truth. And you are to bring out all the truth as far as the Lord has taught it to you. Do not conceal anything on the ground of policy. At the same time do not exalt, any one truth out of its fair proportion. If a man’s portrait had to be drawn it would be a mistake to paint his nose and nothing else, or to make that organ so large that you could not see his eyes. Never distort truth. Some doctrines fill up the background of a picture, but were never meant to stand in the front; still background, foreground, and every part must be truthful. My Lord will not call liars to witness for him, for they are detestable in his sight.

Remember, also, that we must be personal witnesses. A witness the other day got as far as, “And he says to me, says he” — but he was immediately stopped with the sharp rebuke that it was not evidence, and could not be listened to. In our courts of law we do not allow of second-hand evidence. “No,” says the judge, “what did you see yourself, my good man? We want to know that.” It is so with regard to your witness for God. You must testify what you have seen and felt for yourselves. It is very easy to read biographies of good men, and then come forward and talk experience; but. it is a very wicked thing to do. Let your experience be your own, and your testimony for God be what you have tasted and handled of his good word. There is a vast. difference between second-hand spiritual, gossiping experience and the first — hand personal testing and trying of the promise and the word of God. You cannot tell what power you will have with children if you tell them how the Lord dealt with you when you were a child; and upon the unconverted, if you tell them what you have discovered of the folly of sinful pleasures, and the emptiness of the world. Nothing is more useful to a young convert than to tell him how you found the Savior, and what the Savior has been to you. In dealing with those who are doubting and desponding, your own trims and your own deliverances win be the most helpful subjects. Personal experience must furnish you with personal testimony, and this you must never withhold.

In the matter of witnesses there are great differences between one and another. Both witnesses may speak the truth, but you would far sooner believe one than the other, because of the previous character of the witness. Good lawyers do net count heads, but; they weigh them, and if they have one man of known position and honesty, and he will assert such a thing, they scarcely need to support his evidence; whereas, half-a-dozen witnesses of rather a shady description will scarcely be able to prove a fact. In witnessing for God the holier your character the better. It does not do to say one thing with your mouth and another thing with your hand. Your witness for Jesus Christ in the school will be spoiled if at home there is no piety, if in business there is a want of honesty. If your character is doubtful, you will rather damage than help the good cause. The devil once wanted to be a witness for Christ; and some of us would have thought it would be a fine stroke of policy to put the devil into the box, and make him speak the truth; but the Lord Jesus Christ would not have it. He said, “Hold thy peace and come out; of him.” Truth did not want any assistance from the father of lies. I do not invite the ungodly man to be a witness for Jesus Christ Unto the wicked God saith, “What hast thou to do to declare my statutes?” Still, if you are a child of God, the weight of your evidence will be considerably lessened if your character be not pure. For your Lord’s sake, then, I beseech you, watch your lives and walk according to his commands. Oh, never let it: be said that Christ was wounded by us — by us for whom he died — by us who have leaned our heads upon his bosom. God grant that front first to last we may be mighty witnesses, because our character is known and read of all men. May the Holy Spirit, who sanctifieth us, help us in this matter.

One thing more. Every witness should be ready to bear cross-examination. Oh, how some Christians dislike this. Even as to joining a church, I frequently hear my brother ministers say that we should make the way into the church as easy as possible, that we should not question the “dear young friends,” and a lot of rubbish of that kind. I, on the other hand, believe that if they cannot give a reason for the hope that is in them, it is time they should learn; and if they cannot face their own Christian brethren and relate their experience, it is more their minister’s fault than theirs. I am not going to gather together a horde of cowardly members, nor excuse any from declaring what the Lord has done for their souls. There are plenty of churches where young ladies and gentlemen are taken in because they write a very pretty little letter, and some friend hopes they are all right, and so they are received, and thus we are inundated with people who never speak for Christ, and tremble to call their souls their own. We have tot) much of this kid-gloved, lavender-watered religion, and for my part I would not care to march through the world with such a regiment of feather-bed soldiers. Give me the men who can bear persecution, who are ready to go into the streets and preach Christ at the corners, and are bold to speak a word for Jesus to anybody they shall meet. We need a race of heroes, of cowards we have plenty. Dear friends, we must bear to be cross-examined, for the world will cross-examine us with harsh words, sneers, insinuations, misrepresentations, and falsehoods. The more outspoken we are the more of running of the gauntlet we shall have to undergo; but we must be prepared for it. If our sires, not without blood, passed to their thrones, and we have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin, shall we speak of Christ with bated breath, or dastardly consent to hold our tongues? “I had as lief not be as live to be in awe of such a thing as I, myself.” Is a Christian man to be afraid of man, and conceal his principles for fear he should be ridiculed? God forbid. Leave shame for those who have no religion, or have a religion which is of no value. Let us be true witnesses for Christ in life and death, worthy of the ancestors that went before us, and mindful of the eyes which rest upon us.

We will now change the strain, and dwell upon the fact that WE HAVE EVIDENCE TO GIVE. Let us inquire to what matters of fact we are able to bear witness?

Let us think a little. Supposing us all to be Christians, we cannot all bear witness to precisely the same facts, because there is a growth of experience; bat vet there are some facts to which all of us who know the Lord can bear most positive testimony.

First, we can bear witness to many of the attributes of God, as for instance, that he is true. We find him stating in his Word that man is fallen…that his heart is deceitful. Is it so, brethren? What is your witness about yourselves? If you cannot speak of other people, how do you find it in yourselves? Truly I must bear painfully decided witness to the depravity of my heart! When I saw, or thought I saw, the evil of my nature, I was driven to despair by the sight, and though a sight of Jesus Christ has given me peace, yet I never can forget how vile my nature is. It only needs that God should withdraw his grace, and as the floods drowned all the world, so would the deeps of our depravity drown everything gracious within us. We. know that God has spoken the truth there, because facts in our own case prove it. The Lord has promised that whoso believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ shall have eternal life. We have believed in Jesus Christ; have we found that new life has been bestowed upon us? Let us speak out. Are we conscious of possessing a heavenly life? If there is anything true in the world, we are sure that this is so. Grace has changed us. Eyes have we, with which we see the invisible, ears have we with which we hear the eternal. We have learned to realize the things not seen as yet, our faith is “the, substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” There is a spirit-life within us. We cannot describe it. We could net make another man who is unconscious of such a life know what it is; but that we have it is a certain fact, and we bear willing witness to it. There are some who ridicule religion altogether, and have ridiculed this fact among the rest; yet they have no right to do so. There are many of us Who are as honest and trustworthy as other people. and almost as sensible. If we were to enter a witness-box our evidence would not, be questioned: even those who ridicule us would believe us there, why do they not believe us now? Why they should think it proven that there is no such thing as a new life, because they have not felt it, I cannot see. Negative evidence is worthless in such a case. If we bear testimony that we have felt it, it is fair that they should accept the testimony, whether they personally know the truth of it or not. At any rate, let us be very, very plain about it, and say, “Yes, our God was true in what ]he said about our fallen state, and God is true in what he says about the renewal of the soul by the Holy Ghost through faith in Jesus Christ.”

That God is true will also appear in his answering our prayers, his delivering us in time of trial, his fulfilling his promises, and in divers other ways. Whenever any of these occur to us let us stand forth as witnesses and say, “Surely the Lord is true.”

We ought, also, to bear witness, beloved, to the love of God. We have an old proverb that everybody should speak as he finds. Speak of the Lord as you have found hits. I am sure that this is more than I shall ever be able to do to my own satisfaction. My blessed God! Was there ever any like unto thee! If the gods of the heathen were gods, yet were they not worthy to be mentioned in the same day with our blessed God. What love he has lavished upon some of us! I doubt not that all of you who know the Lord will echo my words, but I must say that the Lord surprises me every day with his lovingkindness and his tender mercies, He melts me down by the fires of his grace. I cannot understand why he is so good to me. If he had only pardoned his rebellious child, and allowed him to be a scullion in the royal kitchen, I would have kissed his feet with gratitude; but, behold, he has said unto me “Thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if a son then an heir, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ.” If he had only permitted me to have one glimpse of his love, so as to let my soul know that I was not utterly lost, I would have praised him to all eternity; instead of which, he has made all his goodness pass before me, and proclaimed his glorious name. As to his tenderness to me in providence, his goodness in chastening, his gentleness in restoring me, am overwhelmed with it. Blessed be his name! You may have what master you like, but he is mine for ever; and you may worship what God you please, but I will have none but the Lord. You may praise up year beauties as you please, but my Beloved is altogether lovely.

Again, brethren, we can testify to our Lord’s wisdom, can we not? We younger folk cannot do it so well as our elders; but my veteran friends here who are getting into their sixties and seventies delight when they speak of the wisdom of the Lord. Yon are living proofs that all the ways of the Lord are wise, for he has overruled all things for your good, and here you are to praise his name. By-and-by, when life’s journey is more nearly over, we shall be able to tell to others yet more of that wisdom and prudence wherein the Lord has abounded towards as. For the present let us testify what we know.

Beloved friends, we can also bear witness to the immutability of God. Of course, our span of life is so little at the longest that we cannot bear much witness to the eternal unchangeableness of Jehovah. Still, take our fiveand-twenty years of Christian experience; or some of you can take your fifty, has there been any change in your God? We are fickle as the winds that: blow; but there certainly has been no change in him. He loved us, and he loves us still; he forgave us, and he forgives us still; he chastened us, and he chasteneth us still; but he sustained us, and he sustains us still.

Immutable his will;
Tho’ dark may he my frame,
His loving heart is still
Eternally the same.
My soul thro’ teeny changes goes,
His love no variation knows.”

We have proved this by actual trial. Perhaps in the time of trouble we thought that his love was failing as; but in looking back we confess how wrong we were. There was as much love in the Lord’s chastenings as in his caresses, we were as much loved when we were hiding under the shadow of his wings as when we were reveling in the light of his countenance. Blessed be his name, he changes not.

Now, brethren, besides the things which have a manifest respect to God, in which we are witnesses to the character of the Most High, there are other facts to which we testify, and one is this: we can witness to the power of prayer. As I uttered that last word, my eye caught the glance of a sister below me whom I will not indicate. She and I knew how we wrestled together in prayer for a certain sick daughter, and how the Lord heard us, so that I rose from my knees and said to her, “Go your way you will fled your daughter recovering when you reach the house.” She knows that she found it so, and how, since then, in many other ways, God has heard her prayers. I speak to some with whom prayer is an every-day matter; a commerce with God which they do not carry on at certain seasons, but all the year round; and, if you do that, answers to prayer become so usual that you forget a large proportion of them, and only the more singular abide upon your memory. If a man tells me. that God does not hear prayer, I laugh in his face. He might as well tell me that the sun does not shine, or that twice two do not make four. God hears prayer every day, and every hour of the day, and I know it, and man might sooner beat nee out of the belief that I exist than out of this knowledge that God listens to my requests. Upon this point I do not stand alone, for there are thousands who will unite in declaring “Verily there is a God that heareth prayer.” When I hear brethren say how wonderful it is that God has heard prayer, I think it far more wonderful that they should talk so, for surely it is not surprising that God should keep his word. No, these are the common places of genuine Christianity — a prayer-giving God working in the heart, and a prayer-answering God working both in providence and in grace. Brethren, never be slow to bear your testimony to a prayer-hearing God.

We are also quite clear upon the efficacy of the gospel. Where the gospel is truly preached there will be results; and where the gospel is believed it is the power of God unto salvation. Some here present are witnesses to that. You have taught a class in the school, and you have seen the boys or girls converted to God. There are brethren in connection with this church who have evangelized the lowest parts of London, and they have seen those regions abound in precious fruit unto God. Others haw. introduced the gospel to the utterly fallen, and they have seen them reclaimed. The manhood which appeared extinct has become bright; the womanhood which seemed to be crushed out has shone like a precious jewel. God’s gospel has done wonders It is not remarkable that a minister gets skeptical if he never sees conversions. The proof of the gospel lies in what it does. If it does not: save men from sinning, if it does not lift up the fallen, if it does not; give light and joy to the despairing, then, surely, it lacks the evidences of its divine mission; for even Jesus Christ himself gave to his own mission this as the proof — “The deaf hear, the blind see, the lepers are cleansed, the poor have the gospel preached to them.” If these things be not true now, we may doubt whether the gospel which we preach be the gospel of Jesus Christ. But we can bear witness — and, oh, how joyfully we do it! — that the gospel has not lost its power.

Another point, as God’s witness, we can speak to is the sweetness of near communion with himself — a theme upon which I hardly dare to trust my wandering tongue. Oh, brethren, there is nothing like the joy which comes of high fellowship with God. Mr. Aitken told us the other afternoon that he would give us a recipe for being miserable; I think his words were — “Be half-and-half Christians.” He said, “If you are a worldling you will get some sort of pleasure: you will get the painted bubble, though it will soon burst, but you will get that; and if you are a genuine, thorough-going Christian you will get the joy of the Lord; but if you are a sort of neitherthis-nor-the-other you will get nothing.” Have you never seen little boys, when they go to bathe in the morning, stand up to their knees shivering? Of course they shiver. The way to get warm is to plunge in head first. Some professors stand in very shallow water, and they shiver and cry —

“Tis a point I long to know,
Oft it causes anxious thought” —

and so on. Oh, my brother give yourself up wholly to Christ, and the joy of the Lord will be yours as it is ours. These are some of the things we can speak of.

Very briefly, in the third place. When a witness is called for one side he is against the other side: so we also must remember that OUR EVIDENCE CONDEMNS THE OTHER SIDE.

We are witnesses against sin. Sin comes with a painted face like Jezebel; but we witness that she is a destroyer and must die. The pleasures of sin are but a masquerade of misery. Happy they who never drink of the cup which this siren presents. My God, grant that none of our young friends may try the pleasures of vice, for they are as deadly hemlock. Those who have been converted in later life bear very sorrowful witness that sin is misery, and that the wages of sin is death.

We bear witness also against self. Many say with the proverb, “Self is the man” — self will save — self is righteous; but our witness is that self has no strength to performs his own resolutions, that self is a ragged beggar When he thinks himself a king — that self is emptiness and vanity, deceit and death. We bear that witness now, and we always shall have to bear it.

We bear our witness against unbelief. Is there any Christian here who has ever gained anything by being unbelieving? Has any child of God ever escaped from trouble by mistrusting the faithfulness of the Lord? No, we have been losers all round by cur unbelief, but never gainers. Unbelief is a sorry cheat. Mr. Bunyan says that Incredulity was taken and condemned to be hanged, but he very rightly says that he broke out of prison, “for he was a nimble-jack.” The only part of “Pilgrim’s Progress” that I felt inclined to find fault with was where Mr. Greatheart cut Giant Despair’s head off, for to my knowledge he is still alive, But Bunyan sets that right by saying in his rhyme —

“Sin can rebuild his castle, make’t remain,
And make Despair, the giant, live again.”

Oh, that wretched unbelief. Brethren, let your witness against it be clear and distinct.

Moreover, we bear testimony against Satan, whom we know to be a deceiver, a liar, and a murderer. Evil is never good, nor dare we give place to it in order to turn it to useful ends. We must resist the evil one, steadfast in the faith, and ever witness that he is the deadly foe of the soul, whatever disguise he may assume.

In closing, let me say that there sure times when our witness is peculiarly valuable. Do you ask — and when is that? I reply, Your witness will be precious when others are sinfully silent, if you live in a place where there are few earnest Christians, and error abounds, be faithful, my brother. Your light is needed where lamps are few. You need not find fault with others, for that will not help the matter. If the place is dark, shine the more, if error prevails hold forth the truth. There is no argument against error equal to truth, advocated, delighted in, and practiced. Testimony becomes more precious as it becomes more scarce. You might have held your tongue, perhaps, had advocates been plentiful; but now that they are so few be doubly earnest, like your divine Lord, to bear witness to the truth. Witnesses become valuable, again, in times of persecution. Have you been made to suffer for Christ’s sake? Brother, be glad, for “so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.” If you can be patient, if you can bear ridicule without resentment, if, being reviled, you do not revile again, you have a grand opportunity. The world looks on a man under scoffing and ridicule to observe how he behaves; and if he conducts himself like a Christian it feels this power, and respects his consistency. Give way a little, and you will have to give way more, and be despised; but adherence to principle commands respect. Put your foot down; stand firmly where God would have you stand, and your testimony will gather value flora the very ridicule which is poured upon it.

My brethren and sisters, your testimony will be none the less valuable because you are poor. Nothing does the gospel more honor than the godly lives of humble Christians. It honors the gospel when a man both wears a coronet and prays, but how few have done so! The poor man who is happy, contented, thankful, and trustful is one of God’s nobility, and the church of God honors him. We rejoice to see such men standing in the witness-box to declare the lovingkindness of the Lord.

Testimony becomes all the weightier as we grow older. People pay more attention to the words of experienced men; it is natural and right that they should do so. As years creep upon us, we ought to be all the more earnest that our testimony for God should be clear, solid, and frequent. An aged Christian who has little or nothing to say for his Master is a sad drawback to young beginners. I very greatly deprecate the example of some who have been long professors, but who still remain babes in Christ, if they be in Christ at all. It is a great pity to see the head white with the sunlight of heaven, and yet so little of heaven in the daily conversation. Rise up, ye grave and reverend sires, and declare the faithfulness of our God.

Very choice, too, are the testimonies of the sick. It is a great trial when those whom we love are continually suffering, we wish we could bear their pains awhile and give them respite: yet no greater blessing can come to a man’s house than an afflicted child of God. The tried ones go so deep, they speak so sincerely and so touchingly. There is no nonsense about their religion. Racking pain very soon drives away illusions; and pretences and shams do not stand before the solemn reality of continued sickness. Witnesses in the furnace of affliction are powerful indeed. We hear no songs in the night till breasts are pierced with the thorn. If there were not some who, like the Arab divers, plunge deep into the depths of sorrow, we should have fewer pearls; but there are such, and their testimonies are precious. When your turn and mine come to go upstairs awhile, and preach from our beds, God grant that we may deliver gracious sermons.

Lastly, there is something peculiarly valuable about the testimony of the dying saint. The Lord might well say to these, “Ye are my witnesses.” Some of us remember testimonies that we were privileged to gather up from dying men’s lips, and they have been great strengtheners to our faith. I remember a brother who used[to walk out to preach in the villages, a man of very little talent, but with a great heart. I hardly know any word of witness more powerful than the utterances of his last hours, lie was blinded by disease, and when he heard a friend’s voice he addressed him thus —

“And when ye see my eyestrings break,
How sweet my minutes roll!
A mortal paleness on my cheek,
But glory in my soul.”
His tones of joy added deep solemnity to his words.

Oh, those sweet testimonies of the dying, how we store them up! Children talk of Jesus in their last hours as wisely as old men. Mothers and fathers leave witnesses behind them precious as gems. But I refrain: you and I will go soon; may grace enable us to expire with a glad witness on our tongues.

Alas, I recollect as I finish that some of you are not witnesses for God, for you know nothing about him. Remember, if you are not witnesses for God, you will be prisoners at his bar; and you must either occupy the witnessbox for God, or else take the prisoner’s place, to be tried, cast, and found guilty. Oh, sinners, I wish you would try our God, whose witnesses we are. If we had found him untrue, we would tell you. If we had found that Christ could not save, we would tell you. If we had found that God could not pardon, we would tell you. If religion made us miserable, we would tell you, or you would find it out. If God could not be trusted in providence, and did not hear prayer, we would tell you, for we hope we would not maintain a lie. But we have no such disclosures to make; we bear our willing testimony for God. Remember, it is written, “Him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out.” Go and test the veracity of that promise, and God bless you, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

MITE OR SPIRIT — WHICH?

WITTY writer, in describing a thoroughly business man, says, “He knows the world as a mite knows cheese. The mite is born in cheese, lives in cheese, beholds cheese. If he, thinks at all, his thoughts (which of course are mitey thoughts) are of cheese. The cheese press, curds, and whey, the frothy pail, the milkmaid, cow, and pasture, enter not the mite’s imagination at all. If any one were to ask him, ‘Why cheese? ‘ he would certainly answer, ‘ .Because cheese ;’ and when he is eaten by mistake, he tastes so thoroughly of the cheese that the event remains unnoticed, and his infinitesimal identity becomes absorbed in the general digestion of casein matter, without comment of consumer.”

Truly this is a photograph of the mere worldling; he is of the earth earthy, he feeds upon earth like the serpent who was doomed to have dust for his meat, he accumulates earth, he adds field to field, he thinks and dreams of the earth, and when he dies, though his body is buried in earth, his all is gone because he is removed from the only sphere of his joys. We must not expect wise judgments from him as to heavenly things, for they are far above and out of his sight. Is he an infidel, or a philosopher of the Tyndall school, we need not wonder, what more can he be? Alas, poor mite! What can he know beyond his cheese?

How different is the regenerate man. He lives with a heavenly life, and his conversation is in heaven. He has borne the image of the earthy, but the image of the heavenly is now stamped upon him. His nature grows into the character of his spiritual meat, and his thoughts, desires, and aspirations are for the things eternal and divine. His whole mind is seasoned and flavored by that Holy Spirit which dwells in him, and is preparing him to dwell for ever above. Reader, which are you, the earth-worm, or the new-born spirit? Search well your heart and see.

TESTIMONIAL TO MR. OLNEY.

THE history of the Olney family forms an interesting chapter in the records of the church at the Tabernacle. Mr. Thomas Olney, senior, was one of our earliest and truest friends, and was spared to us until the Tabernacle had been erected, and the institutions of it set in going order. He was always ready to render the moral and material aid at his command, and, in a thousand ways, proved himself a deacon worthy of the name; indeed he was a deacon of deacons, as evidently made for it as Moses was made to lead the children of Israel. He was universally beloved and esteemed, and Father Olney’s name is still a household word among us. Out of his four sons, all members of the Tabernacle, one has suddenly fallen asleep since we commenced this month’s magazine. He was a warm friend of the Lord’s cause, and was about to have become deacon of the new chapel at Balham. The surviving members of the family have been true and devoted, like their father, and Mr. Thomas is the treasurer of the church, but Mr. William has been the most prominent in spiritual work. At the time we undertook the pastorate he had been a member of the church for twenty years, and had proved his worth in connection with the various offices he had filled, but we believe that the last twenty-two years have out-. stripped their predecessors.

His piety being of the most pronounced and ardent type, he has been the pastor’s right-hand man in all things pertaining to the spiritual work of the church. He has a passion for souls, and when warm in the work of addressing them, he is one of the most fluent speakers we have ever met with. In the conduct of evangelistic services and prayer meetings he has displayed an ability which, had he entered the ministry, would have placed him in the foremost rank of successful pastors. During the pastor’s absences on the Continent, he has worked with double energy, and many have been gathered into the church by special services. Other officers of the church toil for it with great self-sacrifice, and deserve our warmest love, but the peculiar gifts of this brother have made him one by himself. Few men are more widely known or more justly esteemed. The students of the College have found in him one of their truest friends, and, when settled in their various spheres, they have been only too glad to secure his services as chairman or preacher. For some years past he has been impatient of the restraints of business, and has longed to be set free, to devote his whole time and talents to the Master’s cause, but the way was not quite clear. A painful and distressing disease, alas betrayed itself some months ago, and for the present his more public labors are suspended, and the chamber of affliction has become his place for glorifying God. The Lord has the sovereign disposal of his servants, and he doeth all things well, else we should be utterly cast down by this most grievous loss. As it is, we pray that it may long be postponed. Should our beloved brother be called away after his forty years’ service he will leave a blank which few can fill, but the record of his life-work will form a history for which the church will be abundantly grateful.

It was most appropriate that the church should desire an opportunity for presenting him with a testimonial expressive of their love and esteem. and should be glad to record their indebtedness to his life and labors. An address, beautifully engrossed and framed and glazed, was presented on Monday, September 27th, at a large meeting of the church and congregation, and is worded as follows :-

To our beloved brother, WILLIAM OLNEY, Senior Deacon of the Church worshipping at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

Dear Friend, — We have all of us thanked God for many years for the gifts and graces with which he has seen fit to endow you, and for that spirit of love and burning zeal for which you have been distinguished. We are all sensible of the debt of gratitude which we owe to the Great Head of the church for raising you up among us, to be the friend and helper of us all, from the pastor to the youngest member. We all love you heartily and esteem you very highly for your works’ sake. Therefore we have watched with deepest sorrow your declining health and severe afflictions, and we have not ceased to pray for your complete restoration to health, if the Lord will.

We have groaned in spirit at the very thought of your being taken from us, and viewed your sickness as a chastisement upon us all. We have not failed to see that your illness has by no means damped your ardor, but has been sanctified to the maturing of your piety; and for this very reason we are the more solicitous that you may recover strength.

Dear Brother, your partial recovery has filled us all with hopeful joy, and we have made it the opportunity for presenting you with this token of our pure and fervent affection. You are very precious to us, for we see the spirit of your Master in you, and we long to have you among us for many years to come. Long may it be ere our Lord and },{[aster will say to you, as he will do, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Peace he to you and to your beloved household, to which the church has so many ties. May you live to a green old age, as your honored father did before you, and, with your beloved brothers, see the good of Zion all your days. In the name of our Lord Jesus we wish you every blessing.

Signed on behalf of the whole church at our meeting,

In presenting the testimonial the Pastor paid a hearty tribute to the value of his beloved friend and coadjutor, but he felt that he dared not attempt to express a thousandth part of what he felt.

When Mr. Olney rose to reply many in the audience were moved to tears. The scene was most impressive, and will not soon be forgotten. The stillness was solemn in the extreme as he proceeded to speak in tremulous tones. Had he come from the other world to deliver a last message to the people among whom he had lived and labored, it could not have been more effective. His reply was as follows : — I most cordially accept your very handsome present with great gratitude, and warm and earnest thanks. It is all the more welcome to me as it comes as a testimonial of your Christian love and affection, and not in any measure as a matter of merit or reward. In the latter sense it would have been incongruous and out of place, as my forty years’ connection with this church has left me every year deeper and deeper in debt to the church — in fact, under obligations which I shall never be able to repay.

The day of my baptism and joining the church was truly the happiest and best day of my life, and here I have found ever since then my choicest companions and dearest friends. In your worship and service I have spent the happiest hours of my life. Here I have learned the most important lessons which have been taught me from my youth up, and in the service of this church I have found the noblest sphere of Christian work, and have frequently been brought into such close fellowship with another world that heaven has begun on earth, and my soul has been filled with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.

In giving myself to the church at fifteen years of age, I was enabled to do so fully, and became at once from that time a regular attendant on the Sabbath and week-day services, which I have never ceased to attend regularly from that time till now. To this I owe much of the joy and peace I have had in the service of the Lord, and I feel confident there is no means of sanctification and growth in grace so effectual as an earnest interest in the welfare of the church to which you belong, and a regular attendance at all its services. The week-day services have frequently been blessed to my sours good, even more than I realized on the Sabbath-day, and there is nothing I more strongly recommend to the younger members of this church than a regular attendance at the prayer-meetings and week-evening lectures. My first post of service for the church was in its Sabbath-school, and there I labored for twenty years as teacher, secretary, and superintendent; afterwards I worked for the Lord in leading the singing at the week-evening services, and since then in the distribution of tracts, the visitation of the sick, addressing the different classes, and in attending to the duties of elder and deacon.

It has been my privilege to secure the esteem of the five successive pastors who have presided over the church during my membership, though to none of them have I been so indebted as to our present honored and beloved pastor, whose ministry has been to me, as to many hundreds of thousands, a constant source of instruction and joy. I might say much more, but I feel in the present state of my health it is not advisable. I will therefore close by again thanking you for the testimonial you have given me, by expressing the earnest wish that this church may greatly prosper in every respect. Peace be with you, brethren. “Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

When he had concluded the reading he added a few words expressive of the peace he had enjoyed during his most painful affliction. Not for one moment had his confidence in God been shaken, nor had a single cloud eclipsed the face of his Savior; then, with an emphasis which only such circumstances could impart, he urged the unconverted to seek the Lord. A wave of emotion broke over the entire audience, and every soul was thrilled. In the closing hymn the congregation sang of the confidence which had been expressed by the beloved friend whom they had met to honor and commend to the grace of God.

“Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on his gentle breast,
There by his love o’er shadowed,
Sweetly his soul shall rest.”

In the death of Mrs. Bartlett and the illness of Mr. W. Olney the church and its pastors have sustained two of the heaviest losses which could possibly have happened to them, but the divine Head of the Church will no doubt overrule all for good, and out of our midst there will arise others who will bear the ark of the Lord. After two-and-twenty years of the Lord’s abounding lovingkindness, it would be shameful to doubt him, and therefore we are not afraid. Still there is grave cause for constant prayer, and we ask it of all our friends.

NOTES.

In answer to many inquiries, we are happy to state that Mrs. Spurgeon is out of immediate danger, and, although appearances are not implicitly to be relied upon, she appears to us to be decidedly better, and is certainly freer from pain. Her physicians believe her to be so much better that we may safely take our needed holiday in the south. She herself earnestly wishes us to go, fearing lest there should be two invalids in the house at the same time. She has ever thought more of her husband’s welfare than her own, looking at the matter from the highest of all points of view, namely, the needs of the church of God.

During her extreme illness, the work of distributing books to ministers has been delayed, but Mrs. Spurgeon has now resumed it. The delight with which the volumes sent out have been received is a great joy to the poor invalid, and to us it is a matter of supreme satisfaction. We have met with brethren who have only four books, and others who have a few more, all of a worthless character, for hardly one out of the number would be worth buying for sixpence at a book-stall. There is an absolute famine of books among poor Baptist ministers, and the work of supplying them is one of the most needful which Christian charity can undertake. We are feeding the church when we feed the minister’s mind. God the Holy Spirit must teach him to profit, but by supplying instructive books we have at least used the means. So long as funds last Mrs. Spurgeon will continue the distribution, and it is not supposable that she will be left without the needful money, while so many of our Masters stewards are increasing in wealth She has still a number of copies of “Lectures to my Students” to give to any poor minister who may apply, whether a Baptist or not. Letters to her at Nightingale Lane, Clap-ham, Surrey, will be speedily attended to.

BAPTIST UNION.

The meetings of the Baptist Union at Plymouth were, we trust, really profitable all through. We felt ashamed to be so very prominent, for it is the last thing in our thoughts to wish to be placed in the front; but the friends would have it so, and we yielded. It is, however, contrary to our own idea of things wise and proper for one person to occupy so much space in these meetings, and hence we have frequently staid away altogether, and propose to do so next time. Let the younger men have opportunities of coming forward, and let the preachers and speakers be selected from as wide a range as possible, consistently with efficiency. We feel very anxious that the proposed Annuity Fund for Aged Ministers and their Widows should not fall through. It is a sin and a shame that we, as Baptists, have not had such a fund long ago, and we ought not now to permit an hour’s unnecessary delay. We propose that our wealthier friends should give £100 a year each for five years, or less sums if these are too large, so as to raise a capital sum of from £20,000 to £50,000. Then if upon a certain Sabbath all the churches would make a desperate effort, and put their ministers upon the fund, with all the premiums paid up for life, this would be a grand commencement. The principle of each minister’s insuring his own life for an amount which he will receive as a matter of right is a sound one. To add as much as possible to the amount which will come to him should be the ambition of all who love the Lord, and desire to roll away reproach from that portion of the church to which we belong. Infirm ministers and widows of the Lord’s servants have a claim upon us, and our Baptist friends must not allow the present project to end in talking and planning. We can do the work if we only resolve to do it Wanted — a first-class secretary, and a liberal public. Let the watchword be for all Baptists throughout the kingdom “ALL AT IT,” for one of the grandest causes conceivable.

ORPHANAGE.

This month we have had many generous helps, but one of them, for magnitude, exceeds all others. The good friends at Reading have held a Bazaar for our Orphanage, and the net result is £1,158! We never dreamed of such a thing, and can hardly realize it now. This is royal munificence, surpassing anything done for us by any town in England. We are overwhelmed by the loving respect which we received personally, and yet more by this token of interest in our work. We can never sufficiently thank these noble helpers. Everybody in the town, of every sect, seemed to have a hand in the work from the mayor down to the artisan. Specially are we grateful to our beloved friend, Mr. W. Anderson, of King’s Road Chapel, and certain ladies of his congregation, whom we should like to mention, but we fear we should grieve rather than please them if we did. We bless the name of the Lord and take courage. We can now go away to our short rest without the slightest anxiety on the score of the Orphans. Among the contributions of the month some are very pleasant as being given out of the Lord’s purse by those who regularly devote a portion of their substance to the Lord, and one is peculiarly so as being part of the first wages of one of the Orphans.

COLPORTAGE.

Additional Colporteurs have been appointed to the following new districts —

Bacup, Lancashire, a large, densely populated, and manufacturing district.

Countesthorpe, in the neighborhood of Leicester, an agricultural district, partly supported by the Leicestershire Baptist Association.

Stow on-the Wold, Gloucestershire, being the second district partly supported by the Oxfordshire Baptist Association.

Hawkhurst, Kent, supported by local subscriptions, forwarded by Mrs. J. Brine.

We hope that other county associations, in addition to those now mentioned, and several others affiliated with our Society, will soon take up this valuable, important, and economical work of Christian colportage. Wherever fairly tried it gives growing satisfaction; and while mainly aiming at the counteration of the perils of pernicious literature, our system of Colportage blends true missionary work with its book-hawking enterprise; and has been blessed by God to the conversion of many souls. If only the necessary funds were forthcoming there are many needy districts which might be worked with good results at once.

Applications for the appointment of men in districts where £40 a year can be guaranteed may be sent to Mr. W. Cordon Jones, Pastors’ College, Temple Street, S.E.

COLLEGE.

The venerable Thomas Cooper, without fee or reward, has delivered three lectures on the Christian Evidences to the students. He was heard with great enthusiasm. In addition to the good which he accomplishes, it is a great intellectual treat to listen to “the old man eloquent.”

Mr. Paxton Hood has commenced a course of lectures to the College upon “The Defenses of the Old House of Faith.” After their delivery they will probably see the world in print.

Our friend Mr. Chown has engaged to lecture at the College during our absence. Mr. Sankey, of our College, has accepted the unanimous invitation of the church at Ramsey, Hunts. Mr. Ensoll also goes to Attercliff, near Sheffield, with most hearty welcomes from all concerned.

MISSIONS.

On Monday, Oct. 11, a very happy and hearty meeting was held at the Tabernacle to bid farewell and God speed to four members of the church who are going forth among the heathen, and to one brother of another church who sails with them. Miss Bertha Thorne goes to undertake Zenana work, and Miss Burnett goes to be married to our brother Mr. Charles Brown, who is already in the field. Mr. Gammon goes to Turk’s Island, and was unavoidably absent. These friends go forth in connection with the Baptist Mission, and there was a grand muster of friends of that society. The other two missionaries elect were brethren who go forth under the superintendence of the apostolic Hudson Taylor, to labor among China’s millions; one of these, as we have said, is from our church. Our Sabbath School has of late been very fruitful of missionaries, and the College also. May all this be but as the first gleams of the morning. Four at a time is hopeful. When shall we see the young warriors go forth by forties for the Lord Jesus?

Monday, Oct. 17. — The prayer-meeting was rendered doubly interesting by an address from Mr. Thomas Ness, once our assistant minister, but for a long time laid aside by ill health. We were all glad to hear his clear and loud utterance of most suitable exhortation, creating the hope in every heart that he may long be spared, and may sufficiently recover strength to be able to preach the gospel frequently, if not constantly.

Our friends at Charles Street, Kenning-ton, have taken down their old chapel to save it the trouble of tumbling down. Their minister, Mr. Griffin, is a worthy brother, and they are an earnest people. We commend them just now to the kindly aid of our friends. The late Mr. Thomas Attwood, their former pastor, was a choice .spirit, but the church could never grow in the confined and dilapidated structure in which it worshipped; we are rejoiced to see the new house in actual course of erection.

Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle; By Mr. J. A. Spurgeon: September 23rd, twenty-three; September 30th, twenty-two.