What Saith the Scripture?
LIFE AND WORKS
OF REV. CHARLES H. SPURGEON
HENRY DAVENPORT NORTHROP, D. D.
This book is in the public domain.
OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and reformatting by Katie Stewart
continued BOOK I.
Rev. C. H. Spurgeon: The Story of His Life and Labors.
The Pastors' College.
The First Student.-- Call for Preachers to the Masses.-- A Faithful Instructor.-- Growth of the College.-- Efforts to Secure Funds.-- Generous Gifts.-- Unknown Benefactor.-- Provision for Students.-- Opinion of Earl Shaftesbury.-- New Churches Founded.-- Mr. Spurgeon's Annual Report.-- Milk and Water Theology.-- Rough Diamonds.-- Course of Study.-- Earnest Workers.-- A Mission Band.-- Interesting Letters.-- Help for Neglected Fields.
IN the early part of his career Mr. Spurgeon founded a school for the education of young men for the ministry. It has been a very successful institution, the training place of a large number who have gone forth, some of them even to the ends of the earth, bearing the "glad tidings." The object, methods and results of the school are stated by Mr. Spurgeon as follows:
The College was the first important institution commenced by the pastor, and it still remains his first-born and best-beloved. To train ministers of the gospel is a most excellent work, and when the Holy Spirit blesses the effort, the result is of the utmost importance both to the Church and to the world.
The Pastors' College commenced in 1856, and during this long period has unceasingly
been remembered of the God of heaven, to whom all engaged in it offer reverent thanksgiving.
When it was commenced, I had not even a remote idea of whereunto it would grow. There
were springing up around me, as my own spiritual children, many earnest young men
who felt an irresistible impulse to preach the gospel, and yet with half an eye it
could be seen that their want of education would be a sad hindrance to them. It was
not in my heart to bid them cease preaching, and had I done so, they would in all
probability have ignored my recommendation as it seemed that preach they would, though
their attainments were very slender, no other course was open but to give them an
opportunity to educate themselves for the work.
A Young Apollos.
The Holy Spirit very evidently had set His seal upon the work of one of them, by conversions wrought under his open-air addresses; it seemed therefore to be a plain matter of duty to instruct this youthful Apollos still further, that he might be fitted for wider usefulness. No college at that time appeared to me to be suitable for the class of men that the providence and grace of God drew around me. They were mostly poor, and most of the colleges involved necessarily a considerable outlay to the student; for even where the education was free, books, clothes, and other incidental expenses required a considerable sum per annum. Moreover, it must be frankly admitted that my views of the gospel and of the mode of training preachers were and are somewhat peculiar. I may have been uncharitable in my judgment, but I thought the Calvinism of the theology usually taught to be very doubtful, and the fervor of the generality of the students to be far behind their literary attainments.
Preachers for the Masses.
It seemed to me that preachers of the grand old truths of the gospel, ministers suitable for the masses, were more likely to be found in an institution where preaching and divinity would be the main objects, and not degrees and other insignia of human learning. I felt that, without interfering with the laudable objects of other colleges, I could do good in my own way. These and other considerations led me to take a few tried Young men, and to put them under some able minister, that he might train them in the Scriptures, and in other knowledge helpful to the understanding and proclamation of the truth. This step appeared plain; but how the work was to be conducted and supported was the question-- a question, be it added, solved almost before it occurred.
Two friends, both deacons of the church, promised aid, which, with what I could give myself, enabled me to take one student; and I set about to find a tutor. In Mr. George Rogers, God sent us the very best man. He had been preparing for such work, and was anxiously waiting for it.
An Able Tutor.
This gentleman, who has remained during all this period our principal tutor, is a man of Puritanic stamp, deeply learned, orthodox in doctrine, judicious, witty, devout, earnest, liberal in spirit, and withal juvenile in heart to an extent most remarkable in one of his years. My connection with him has been one of uninterrupted comfort and delight. The most sincere affection exists between us; we are of one mind and of one heart; and, what is equally important, he has in every case secured not merely the respect but the filial love of every student. Into this beloved minister's house the first students were introduced, and for a considerable period they were domiciled as members of his family.
Encouraged by the readiness with which the young men found spheres of labor; and by their singular success in soul-winning, I enlarged the number; but the whole means of sustaining them came from my own purse. The large sale of my sermons in America, together with my dear wife's economy, enabled me to spend from three thousand dollars to four thousand dollars in a year in my own favorite work; but on a sudden, owing to my denunciations of the then existing slavery in the States, my entire resources from that "brook Cherith" were dried up.
I paid as large sums as I could from my own income, and resolved to spend all I had, and then take the cessation of my means as a voice from the Lord to stay the effort, as I am firmly persuaded that we ought under no pretence to go into debt. On one occasion I proposed the sale of my horse and carriage, although these were almost absolute necessities to me on account of my continual journeys in preaching the Word. This my friend Mr. Rogers would not hear of, and actually offered to be the loser rather than this should be done.
Then it was that I told my difficulties to my people, and the weekly offering commenced; but the incomings from that source were so meagre as to be hardly worth calculating upon. I was brought to the last pound, when a letter came from a banker in the City, informing me that a lady, whose name I have never been able to discover, had deposited a sum of one thousand dollars, to be used for the education of young men for the ministry. How did my heart leap for joy! I threw myself then and henceforth upon the bounteous care of the Lord, whom I desired with my whole heart to glorify by this effort. Some weeks after, another five hundred dollars came in, from the same bank, as I was informed, from another hand.
The College Grows.
Soon after Mr. Phillips, a beloved deacon of the church at the Tabernacle, began to provide an annual supper in the Mends of the College, at which considerable sums have from year to year been given. A dinner was also given by my liberal publishers, Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster, to celebrate the publishing of my five-hundredth weekly sermon, at which twenty-five hundred dollars were raised and presented to the funds. The College grew every month, and the number of students rapidly advanced from one to forty. Friends known and unknown, from far and near were moved to give little or much to my work, and so the funds increased as the need enlarged. Then another earnest deacon of the church espoused as his special work the weekly offering, and by the unanimous voice of the church under my care the College was adopted as its own child. Since that hour the weekly offering has been a steady source of income, till in the year 1869 the amount reached exactly £ 1,869 ($9,345).
The Trial of Faith.
There have been during this period times of great trial of my faith; but after a season of straitness, never amounting to absolute want, the Lord has always interposed and sent me large sums (on one occasion five thousand dollars) from unknown donors. When the Orphanage was thrust upon me, it did appear likely that this second work would drain the resources of the first, and it is very apparent that it does attract to itself some of the visible sources of supply; but my faith is firm that the Lord can as readily keep both works in action as one. My own present inability to do so much, by way of preaching abroad, occasions naturally the failure of another great source of income; and as my increasing labors at home will in all probability diminish that stream in perpetuity, there is another trial of faith.
Yet, if the Lord wills the work to be continued, He will send His servant a due portion of the gold and silver, which are all His own; and therefore as I wait upon Him in prayer, the All-sufficient Provider will supply all my needs. About twenty-five thousand dollars is annually required for the College, and the same sum is needed for the Orphanage; but God will move His people to liberality, and we shall see greater things than these.
An Unknown Benefactor.
While speaking of pecuniary matters, it may be well to add that, as many of the young men trained in the College have raised new congregations and gathered fresh churches, another need has arisen namely, money for building chapels. It is ever so in Christ's work; one link draws on another, one effort makes another needed. For chapel-building, the College funds could do but little, though they have freely been used to support men while they are collecting congregations; but the Lord found for me one of His stewards, who, on the condition that his name remains unknown, has hitherto, as the Lord has prospered him, supplied very princely amounts for the erection of places of worship, of which more than forty have been built, or so greatly renovated and enlarged as to be virtually new structures. Truly may it be said, "What hath God wrought!"
Pecuniary needs, however, have made up but a small part of our cares. Many have been my personal exercises in selecting the men. Candidates have always been plentiful, and the choice has been wide; but it is a serious responsibility to reject any, and yet more to accept them for training. When mistakes have been made, a second burden has bee laid upon me in the dismissal of those who appeared to be unfit. Even with the most careful management, and all the assistance of tutors and friends, no human foresight can secure that in every case a man shall be what we believed and hoped.
A brother may be exceedingly useful as an occasional preacher; he may distinguish himself as a diligent student; he may succeed at first in the ministry; and yet, when trials of temper and character occur in the pastorate, he may be found wanting. We have had comparatively few causes for regret of this sort, but there have been some such, and these pierce us with many sorrows. I devoutly bless God that He has sent to the College some of the holiest, soundest, and most self-denying preachers I know, and I pray that He may continue to do so; but it would be more than a miracle if all should excel.
While thus speaking of trials connected with the men themselves, it is due to our gracious God to bear testimony that these have been comparatively light and are not worthy to be compared with the great joy which we experience in seeing so many brethren still serving the Lord according to their measure of gift, and all, it is believed, earnestly contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints; nor is the joy less in remembering that eleven have sweetly fallen asleep after having fought a good fight. At this hour some of our most flourishing Baptist churches are presided over by pastors trained in our College, and as years shall add ripeness of experience and stability of character, others will be found to stand in the front rank of the Lord's host.
The young brethren are boarded generally, in twos and threes, in the houses of our friends around the Tabernacle, for which the College pays a moderate weekly amount. The plan of separate lodging we believe to be far preferable to having all tinder one roof; for, by the latter mode, men are isolated from general family habits, and are too apt to fall into superabundant levity. The circumstances of the families who entertain our young friends are generally such that they are not elevated above the social position which in all probability they will have to occupy in future years, but are kept in connection with the struggles and conditions of every-day life.
Devotional habits are cultivated to the utmost, and the students are urged to do as much evangelistic work as they can. The severe pressure put upon them to make the short term as useful as possible, leaves small leisure for such efforts, but this is in most instances faithfully economized. Although our usual period is two years, whenever it is thought right the term of study is lengthened to three or four years; indeed, there is no fixed rule, all arrangements being ordered by the circumstances and attainments of each individual.
Fields White for the Harvest.
As before hinted, our numbers have greatly grown, and now range from eighty to one hundred. Very promising men, who are suddenly thrown in our way, are received at any time, and others who are selected from the main body of applicants come in at the commencement of terms. The church at the Tabernacle continues to furnish a large quota of men, and as these have usually been educated for two or more years in our Evening Classes, they are more advanced and our better able to profit by our two years of study. We have no difficulty in finding spheres for men who are ready and fitted for them. There is no reason to believe that the supply of trained ministers is in advance of the demand.
Even on the lowest ground of consideration, there is yet very much land to be possessed; and when men break up fresh soil, as ours are encouraged to do, the field is the world, and the prayer for more laborers is daily more urgent. If the Lord would but send us funds commensurate, there are hundreds of neighborhoods needing the pure gospel, which we could by His grace change from deserts into gardens. How far this is a call upon the reader let him judge as in the sight of God. Shall there be the gifts and graces of the Spirit given to the Church, and shall there not also be sufficient bestowed of the earthly treasure? How much owest thou unto my Lord?
The College was for some little time aided by the zealous services of Mr. W. Cubitt, of Thrapstone, who died among us, enjoying our highest esteem. Mr. Gracey, the classical tutor, a most able brother, is one of ourselves, and was in former years a student, though from possessing a solid education he needed little instruction from us except in theology. In him we have one of the most efficient tutors living, a man fitted for any post requiring thorough scholarship and aptness in communicating knowledge. Mr. Fergusson, in the English elementary classes, does the first work upon the rough stones of the quarry, and we have heard, from the men whom he has taught in the Evening Classes, speeches and addresses which would have adorned any assembly, proving to demonstration his ability to cope with the difficulties of uncultured and ignorant minds. Mr. Johnson, who zealously aids in the evening, is also a brother precisely suited to the post which he occupies.
These Evening Classes afford an opportunity to Christian men engaged during the day to obtain an education for nothing during their leisure time, and very many avail themselves of the privilege. Nor must I forget to mention Mr. Selway, who takes the department of physical science, and by his interesting experiments and lucid descriptions gives to his listeners an introduction to those departments of knowledge which most abound with illustrations. Last, but far from least, I adore the goodness of God which sent me so dear and efficient a fellow-helper as my brother in the flesh and in the Lord, J. A. Spurgeon. His work has greatly relieved me of anxiety, and his superior educational qualifications have tended to raise the tone of the instruction given.
Earl of Shaftesbury's Testimony.
As to the quality of the preachers whom we have been enabled to send forth, we need no more impartial witness than the good Earl of Shaftesbury, who was kind enough to express himself publicly in the following generous terms:
"It was an utter fallacy to suppose that the people of England would ever be brought to a sense of order and discipline by the repetition of miserable services, by bits of wax candle, by rags of Popery, and by gymnastics in the chancel; nothing was adapted to meet the wants of the people but the Gospel message brought home to their hearts, and he knew of none who had done better service in this evangelic work than the pupils trained in Mr. Spurgeon's College. They had a singular faculty for addressing the population, and going to the very heart of the people."
Each year the brethren educated at the Pastors' College are invited to meet in
conference at the Tabernacle, and they are generously entertained by our friends.
The week is spent in holy fellowship, prayer, and intercourse. By this means men
in remote villages, laboring under discouraging circumstances and ready to sink from
loneliness of spirit, are encouraged and strengthened: indeed, all the men confess
that a stimulus is thus given which no other means could confer.
Breaking up New Soil.
All things considered, gratitude and hope are supreme in connection with the Pastors' College; and with praise to God and thanks to a thousand friends, the president and his helpers gird up the loins of their minds for yet more abundant labors in the future. To every land we hope yet to send forth the gospel in its fulness and purity. We pray the Lord to raise up missionaries among our students and make every one a winner of souls. Brethren, remember this work in your prayers, and in your allotment of the Lord's portion of your substance.
When the necessity for new college buildings was plainly indicated, a friend in May, 1873, sent $5,000 towards that object. On October 14, 1873, the foundation-stone of those buildings was laid, when the people contributed $5,000, the students gave $1,500, and undertook to raise the amount to $5,000. In 1874 Messrs. Cory and Sons, of Cardiff, sent for the benefit of the fund $5,000 worth of paid-up shares in their colliery company. In July, 1875, the president received $25,000 for the same object as a legacy from the late Mr. Matthews. These are named as examples of the various ways in which God has answered prayer and rewarded the faith of His servant in that important work.
Shortly before the new College buildings were commenced, Mr. Spurgeon, by an article in "The Sword and the Trowel," directed public attention to the institution. The following extract will suffice:
The supply of men as students has been always large, and at this time more are applying than ever. Our one aim has been to train preachers and pastors. The College is made into a home missionary society for the spread of the gospel. One of our students, Mr. F. E. Suddard, was first, in 1872, among seven competitors for one of Dr. Williams' scholarships at the Glasgow University. In the metropolis alone, forty-five churches have been founded.
One of the students has commenced a cause in Turk's Island; he is now carrying on evangelistic work in St. Domingo, where, if he is spared, he is likely to become the apostle of that island, and also of Hayti. One brother has gone to serve the Lord in China, two others are laboring in Spain. Several are doing a good work in Canada, and more than twenty brethren have become pastors in America, and seven others are gone as far south as Australia. One is a missionary in India, and another in Prince Edward Island.
How the Money Came.
The suitable and commodious new buildings, which have been erected and furnished, cost about $75,000, all of which is paid. Here we have a fine hall, excellent class-room a handsome library, and, in fact, all that a college can require. The way in which the money was raised was another instance of divine goodness; $15,000 was given as a memorial to a dear and lamented husband; $10,000 was a legacy to the College from a reader of the sermons. The ministers who had been formerly students came to our help in a princely fashion. Large amounts were made up by the unanimous offerings of Tabernacle friends on days when the pastor invited the members and adherents to be his guests at the College. In answer to prayer, the gold and the silver have been ready when needed. How our heart exults and blesses the name of the Lord.
The Evening Classes are in a high condition of prosperity, there being about two hundred men in regular attendance, and a considerable number among them of hopeful ability. Out of this class city missionaries, lay preachers, writers for the press, and colporteurs are continually coming. It is an eminently useful part of the College work.
There are now hundreds of men proclaiming the gospel who have been trained in the College. We are daily expecting more missionaries to be raised up among us.
ONE OF MR. SPURGEON'S ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE COLLEGE.
OUR statistics, which are far from being complete, show that these brethren baptized 20,676 persons in ten years (1865-74), that the gross increase to their churches was 30,677, and the net increase 19,498. LAUS DEO.
On enquiring the other day for the secretary of one of our largest societies, I was informed that he had gone to the seaside for a month, in order that he might have quiet to prepare the report I do not wonder at this if he has aforetime written many descriptions of the same work, for every year increases the difficulty unless a man is prepared to say the same thing over and over again.
Very few can, like Paganini, perform so admirably on one string that everybody is charmed with the melody. The task grows still harder when the year has been peaceful and successful. It has been truly said, "Happy is the nation which has no history," because it has been free from changes, wars, convulsions, and revolutions; but I may remark, on the other hand, unhappy is the historian who has to produce a record of a certain length concerning a period which has been innocent of striking events,-- making bricks without straw is nothing to it.
No Milk and Water Theology.
The Pastors' College has of late maintained the even tenor of its way, knowing little of external attack and nothing of internal strife. Regular in its work and fixed in is purpose, its movement has been calm and strong. Hence there are no thrilling incidents, painful circumstances, or striking occurrences with which to fill my page and thrill my reader's soul. Gratitude writ large is about the only material at hand out of which to fashion my report. "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" is my one song, and I feel as if I could repeat it a thousand times.
The College started with a definite doctrinal basis. I never affected to leave great questions as moot points to be discussed in the hall, and believed or not believed, as might be the fashion of the hour. The creed of the College is well known, and we invite none to enter who do not accept it. The doctrines of grace, coupled with a firm belief in human responsibility, are held with intense conviction, and those who do not receive them would not find themselves at home within our walls. The Lord has sent us tutors who are lovers of sound doctrine and zealous for the truth. No uncertain sound has been given forth, at any time, and we would sooner close the house than have it so.
An Army of Prophets.
Heresy in colleges means false doctrine throughout the churches; to defile the fountain is to pollute the streams. Hesitancy, which might be tolerated in an ordinary minister, would utterly disqualify a teacher of teachers. The experiment of Doddridge ought to satisfy all godly men that colleges without dogmatic evangelical teaching are more likely to be seminaries of Socinianism than schools of the prophets. Old Puritanic theology has been heartily accepted by those received into our College, and on leaving it they have almost with one consent remained faithful to that which they have received. The men are before the public in every part of the country, and their testimony well known.
This institution has now reached its twenty-fifth year, and in object, spirit, and manner of work remained the same. It was intended from the first to receive young men who had been preaching for a sufficient time to test their abilities and their call to the work of the ministry; and such young men have been forthcoming every year in growing numbers. Some bodies of Christians have to lament that their ministry is not adequately supplied: I know of one portion of the Church which is sending up to heaven bitter lamentations because as the fathers depart to their rest there is scanty hope that their places will be filled; but among the Baptists the candidates for the ministry are, if possible, too plentiful.
Object of the College.
This is a new state of things, and is to be interpreted as indicating growth and zeal. Certainly the applicants are not tempted by rich livings, or even by the prospect of competent support; or, if they are, I take abundant pains to set before them the assured truth that they will find our ministry to be a warfare abounding in long marches and stern battles; but equally notable for meagre rations. Still they come, and it needs a very hard heart to repel them, and to refuse to eager brethren the drill and equipment which they covet so earnestly. If it were wise to increase the number of students, another hundred of suitable men could at once be added to those who are already under tuition.
From the commencement our main object was to help men who from lack of funds could not obtain an education for themselves. These have been supplied not only with tuition and books, gratis, but with board and lodging, and in some cases with clothes and pocket-money. Some very successful brethren needed everything, and if they had been required to pay, they must have remained illiterate preachers to this day. Still, year by year, the number of men who are ready to support themselves in whole or in part has increased, and I believe that it is increasing and will increase.
As a college we have had to struggle with a repute based upon falsehood and created by jealousy; but this has not injured us to any great extent; for men come to us from America, Australia, and the Cape, and applications have frequently been made from Foreign countries. German students have attended our classes during their own vacations, and members of other colleges are usually to be seen at our lectures. The institution never deserved to be charged with giving a mere apology for an education; and if ever that reproach could have been justly cast upon us, it is utterly undeserved now that the time of study has become more extended, and a fuller course of training has thus become possible.
Diamonds in the Rough.
Scholarship for its own sake was never sought and never will be within the Pastors' College; but to help men to become efficient preachers has been and ever will be the sole aim of all those concerned in its management. I shall not, in order to increase our prestige, refuse poor men, or zealous young Christians whose early education has been neglected. Pride would suggest that we take "a better class of men;" but experience shows that they are not better, that eminently useful men spring from all ranks, that diamonds may be found in the rough, and that some who need most pains in the polishing, reward our labor a thousandfold.
My friends will still stand by me in my desire to aid the needy but pious brother, and we shall rejoice together as we continually see the ploughman, the fisherman, and the mechanic taught the way of God more perfectly, and enabled through divine grace to proclaim in the language of the people the salvation of our God.
Period of Preparation.
During the past year about one hundred and twenty men have been with us; but as some have come and others have gone, the average number in actual residence has averaged one hundred. Of these a few have been with us three years, and more have entered upon the third year. The rule is that a man's usual period terminates at the end of two years, and his remaining, longer depends upon the judgment formed of him. Certain men will never get beyond an English education, and to detain them from their work is to repress their ardor without bestowing a compensatory advantage.
In other cases, the longer the period of study the better. Probably the third year is to many a student more useful than the other two, and he goes forth to his life-work more thoroughly prepared. I could not lengthen the course in former days, when churches tempted the brethren away before the proper time, as they too often did. They told these raw youths that it was a pity to delay, that if they left their studies souls might be saved, and I know not what besides; and some were induced to run away, as Rowland Hill would have said, before they had pulled their boots on. If I constrained them to remain, the good deacons of the eager churches thought me a sort of a harsh jailer, who locked up his prisoners them up at the entreaty of their friends.
Not a Donkey.
One wrote and bade me loose the brother, for the Lord had need of him, and I would have let the young man go if I had thought that he was one of the donkeys to whom the passage referred. That a number of brethren may have entered upon their ministry prematurely was no fault of mine, but of those who tempted them to quit their classes too soon. However, there have been periods in which there is a lull in the demand of the churches for ministers, and then we have been able to retain the men for a longer season. Such a time is passing over its just now, and I do not regret it, for I am persuaded it is good to give the brethren a longer space for preparatory study.
I have been very ill through the greater part of the past year, and have therefore been unable to give so much personal service to the College as I have usually done. This has been a sore trial to me, but it has been much alleviated by my beloved brother, J. A. Spurgeon, the vice-president, who has looked after everything with great care; and I have also been greatly comforted by the knowledge that the tutors are as deeply concerned about the holy service as ever I can be.
Digging up the Weeds.
It has been my joy to learn that the College was never in a better state in all respects than now, and that the men under training give promise of becoming useful preachers. I have had very little weeding work to do on my coming, back to my place, and those 1 have removed were not chargeable with any fault, but their capacity was questioned by the tutors. All through the year this painful operation has to be carried on, and it always causes me much grief; but it is a necessary part of my official duty as president.
Young men who come to us loaded with testimonials are occasionally found after a while to be lacking in application or in spiritual power; and after due admonishment and trial they have to be sent back to the place from whence they came. Others are as good as gold, but their heads ache, and their health fails under hard study, or from lack of mental capacity they cannot master the subjects placed before them. These must be kindly but firmly set aside; but I always dread the task.
An Earnest Band.
This thinning-out process is done with conscientiousness, under the guidance of the tutors; but this year there has been little need of in and I have rejoiced in the fact, since frequent depression of spirit has made it undesirable to have much trying work to do. I am glad to say that very rarely have I had to deal with a case of moral failure. Bad young men have crept in among us, and no men are perfect; but I have great comfort in seeing the earnest and prayerful spirit which has prevailed among the brotherhood.
Foremost among our aims is the promotion of a vigorous spiritual life among those who are preparing to be under-shepherds of Christ's flock. By frequent meetings for prayer, and by other means, we labor to maintain a high tone of spirituality. 1. have endeavored in my lectures and addresses to stir up the holy fire; for well I know that if the heavenly flame burns low, nothing else will avail. The earnest action of the College Missionary Society has been a source of great joy to me; for above all things I desire to see many students devoting themselves to foreign work. The Temperance Society also does a good work, and tends to keep alive among the men a burning hatred of England's direst Curse.
The Divine Anointing.
We need the daily prayer of God's people that much grace may be with all concerned in this important business; for what can we do without the Holy Spirit? How few ever pray for students! If ministers do not come up to the desired standard, may not the members of the Churches rebuke themselves for having restrained prayer on their account? When does a Christian worker more need prayer than in his early days, when his character is forming and his heart is tenderly susceptible both of good and evil influences? I would beseech all who have power with God to remember our colleges in their intercessions.
The solemn interests involved in the condition of these schools of the prophets compel me to entreat, even unto tears, that the hopeful youth of our ministry may not be forgotten in the supplications of the saints. For us also, who have the responsible duty of guiding the minds of these young men, much prayer is requested, that we may have wisdom, love, gentleness, firmness, and abounding spiritual power. It is not every man who can usefully influence students, nor can the same men have equal power at all times. The Divine Spirit is needed, and He is given to them that ask for His sacred teaching.
A Missionary Society.
In Great Britain hundreds of our former students are preaching the Word, some in the more prominent pulpits of the denomination, and others in positions where their patience and self-denial are severely tested by the present depression in trade, and the consequent inability of rural congregations to furnish them with adequate support. The College has reason to rejoice not only in the success of her most honored sons, but in the faithfulness and perseverance of the rank and file, whose services, although they are little noticed on earth, will receive the "well done" of the Lord. This institution is not alone a College, but a Home and Foreign Missionary Society. Our three evangelists have traversed the land with great diligence, and the Lord has set His seal to their work.
It is my greatest pleasure to aid in commencing new churches. The oftener brethren can create their own spheres the more glad shall I be. It is not needful to repeat the details of former reports; but many churches have been founded through the College, and there are more to follow. I announced at the beginning of this enterprise that it was not alone for the education of ministers, but for the general spread of the gospel; and this has been adhered to, a part of the income being always expended in that direction.
An Interesting Letter.
A very considerable number of Pastors' College men are to be found at the Antipodes [Australia and New Zealand]. I cannot forget that there I have a beloved son; but next to that in nearness to my heart is the fact that so many of my spiritual sons are there, prospering and bringing glory to God. It was with no little delight that I received the following letter from some of them. Readers must kindly excuse expressions of affection which are so natural from friends; I could not cut them out without destroying the spirit of the letter:
Nov. 2, 1880.
REV. C. H. SPURGEON.
HONORED AND BELOVED PRESIDENT,-- A number of former students of the College being met together at this metropolis of the Antipodes, it was most heartily agreed that we should send you an expression of our warm love. For truly we can say that instead of distance or even time causing any abatement of love towards you personally, or towards the institution which we may with truth style our Alma Mater, we find it intensified and hallowed.
The meetings of the Victorian Baptist Association are now being held in this city, which has brought most of us together; but the Melbourne Exhibition has brought to us Brother Harry Woods from South Australia, and Brother Harrison from Deloraine, Tasmania. Our Brother A. J. Clarke's house is the rendezvous for all the brethren, and the cheery hospitality of himself and wife prove them to be called to the episcopate. Though all the brethren, so far as we know, have had blessing, this year, some of them wonderfully so, yet our Brother A. J. Clarke, here at West Melbourne, has experienced a year of toil and harvesting in which we all rejoice, and which exercises a stimulating effect upon all who hail from "the College."
When a number of us were bowing in prayer together, we felt how thoroughly you would have been with us in spirit, as we prayed that we might oppose, in the might of God, the awful world-spirit of this region, and that our souls might be kept wholly loyal to King Jesus, having no "fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."
Finally, beloved servant of God, we hail you in the name of our Triune Jehovah! No words of ours can express our personal obligation to you. But by fidelity to Christ and to truth, by manifesting that we have caught the spirit of burning love to souls which burns in your own breast, and by serving to our utmost ability, and to the last day of life, in the kingdom and patience of Jesus, we hope to show that all your care and that of the tutors and friends of the Tabernacle has not been ill-bestowed. We remain,
Yours, in the bonds of eternal love,
CHRISTR. BUNNING, Geelong.
WILLIAM CLARK, Ballarat.
ALFRED J. CLARKE, West Melbourne.
H. H. GARRETT, Brighton.
HENRY MARSDEN, Kew.
J. S. HARRISON, Deloraine, Tasmania.
HARRY WOODS, Saddleworth, S. Australia.
F. G. BUCKINGHAM, Melbourne.
Similarly in Canada the Lord has been with these who have gone from the College. My brother, J. A. Spurgeon, during his visit to Canada, formed a branch of our Conference there, and from it the annexed loving epistle has lately come:
567 YORK STREET, LONDON, EAST ONTARIO, CANADA,
April 6, 1881.
BELOVED PRESIDENT,-- We, the members of the Canadian branch of the Pastors' College Brotherhood, herewith greet you lovingly (and our brethren through you) on the occasion of your Annual Conference, which we hope may surpass even the best of by-gone gatherings, in all holy joy and such spiritual refreshing as may fit all for more abundant service.
Need we say how deeply we feel for all the sufferings by which our President is made to serve, the while we gratefully recognize "the peaceable fruit" of those sufferings in such enriched utterances as we have lately read? We love our dear President as of yore, remembering days of prayerful tryst in which we heard him sigh and groan his longings for our course.
During another year we have been "kept by the power of God," and used in service; and although we are in some cases separated even here by many dreary miles of continent, we still hold and are held to and by the old-time kindness; and, better still, "the form of sound words."
We "shake hands across the vast," loved President and brethren, and wish you every joy in Conference. For the Canadian Brethren.
President of the Canadian Branch of the
Pastors' College Brotherhood.
A point of great interest, to which I hope the Lord may turn the attention of many of His servants, is that of English evangelists for India. Mr. Gregson, the well-known missionary, has urged upon me the great utility of sending out young men who should preach the gospel to those in India who understand the English language, whether British, Eurasian, or educated Hindoo.
Help for the Heathen.
He advises that the men should be sent out for five years, and therefore be subjected to no remark should they return at the end of that period. He thinks it probable that they would acquire a language and remain abroad as missionaries; but if no, they would be missionary-advocates on their return home, and arouse among our churches fresh enthusiasm. It is believed that in many cities churches could be gathered which would support these men as their ministers, or that at least a portion of their expenses would be found on the spot. I have determined to enter upon this field as God shall help me; and Mr. H. R. Brown, who has been for years the pastor of the church at Shooter's Hill, has reached Calcutta, on his way to Darjeeling in the hill country. If the Lord shall prosper him there, I hope he will live long in that salubrious region, build up a church and become the pioneer of a little band of evangelists.
The English Tongue.
Our native tongue is sure to spread among the educated Hindoos, and hence many a heathen may be brought to Jesus by evangelists who do not understand any of the languages of the East; and meanwhile our countrymen, too often irreligious, may be met with by divine grace, and find Christ where the most forget Him. I hope many friends will take an interest in this effort, and assist me to carry it out.
Funds have come in as they have been needed; but apart from a legacy, now nearly consumed, the ordinary income has not been equal to the expenditure of the year. The balance at the banker's is gradually disappearing; but I do not mention this with any regret, for He who has sent us supplies hitherto will continue His bounty, and He will move His stewards to see that this work is not allowed to flag from want of the silver and the gold. With a single eye to His glory I have borne this burden hitherto, and found it light; and I am persuaded from past experience that He will continue to keep this work going so long as it is a blessing to His Church and to the world.
A Legacy Lost.
I am greatly indebted to the generous donors at the annual supper; and quite as much to the smaller weekly gifts of my own beloved congregation, which, in the aggregate, have made up the noble sum of $9,100. I am sorry to say that a considerable legacy left to the College will in all probability be lost through the law of mortmain. This is a great disappointment; but if one door is shut another will be opened.
Into the hands of Him who worketh all our works in us we commit the Pastors' College for another year.
"LIFE AND WORKS" CHAPTER 7
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