« ZurückWeiter »
SPURGEON AND THE SHOEMAKER.
persecution, the symbols of their martyrdom, and even the very instruments of their torture. For in these halls of silence and gloom slumbers the dust of many of the martyrs and confessors, who sealed their testimony with their blood during the sanguinary ages of persecution; of many of the early bishops and pastors of the Church, who shepherded the flock of Christ amid the danger of those troublesome times ; of many who heard the word of life from teachers who lived in or near the apostolic age, perhaps from the lips of the apostles themselves. Indeed, if we would accept ancient tradition, we would even believe that the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul were laid to rest in those hallowed crypts—a true terra sancta, inferior in sacred interest only to that rock-hewn sepulchre consecrated evermore by the body of our Lord. These reflections will lend to the study of the catacombs an interest of the highest and intensest character.
SPURGEON AND THE SHOEMAKER. A man of uneasy conscience, sitting in church during a faithful sermon, is quite apt to hear something which exactly hits his case. Ministers have in many instances been accused of being in collusion with some one to learn a particular hearer's private affairs, so exactly have they described that hearer's circumstances and state of mind.
Perhaps the most remarkable example of this close tallying occurred in Mr. Spurgeon's experience while preaching at Surrey Gardens. In the course of a sermon he said :
- There's a man here who is a shoemaker. He keeps his shop open on Sunday ; and last Sunday he sold goods that came to the value of ninepence, and there was fourpence profit out of it.”
Directly in front of the preacher there was a shoemaker who had done that very thing. The Sunday before he had sold a pair of child's shoes for ninepence, and fourpence was just the profit. The man had come out of curiosity to hear “that queer fellow Spurgeon," and he sat amazed to hear his case pictured so perfectly. But instead of getting angry, and declaring that somebody had been telling Mr. Spurgeon about him, he went home after service confounded and frightened. The impression wore away during the week-partly; but next Sunday he found he could not stay away from Surrey Gardens. He left his daughter to open the shop, went to the great hall, and hid himself in the corner of the upper gallery, where he sat unseen, but hearing
What was his astonishment when presently the
THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST.
preacher called out, “Ah! siuner, sinning by proxy is just as bad as sinning yourself. It's of no use any of you coming here yourselves, and at the same time leaving your daughter to keep shop." The terrified shoemaker was now certain that God's voice had spoken to him. The Almighty was following him, and would not let him escape. That second warning led him to confess and forsake his sins.
In both these instances where the preacher's words proved so aptly descriptive, the aptness was entirely accidental. Nr. Spurgeon knew nothing of the shoemaker, and had no idea he was making so personal an application ; but his vivid and direct way of putting things made it seem so, and in preaching against a common sin, naturally enough out of a thousand facts and examples there happened to be one which his language literally fitted.
A city missionary in the west of London heard the above story from the shoemaker himself, and told it to Mr. Spurgeon. The occasion and circumstances of his conviction and conversion seemed miraculous to the humble workman; and as for Mr. Spurgeon, he makes no doubt that the singular accuracy of the hit he made was by direction of the Holy Spirit pointing his words. It is hardly to the purpose to quote the “ bow drawn at a venture," or,-
“Full many a shaft at random sent,
Finds mark the archer little meant.” The Holy Spirit does not promise much aid to random preachers, and every intelligent minister, while not intending to be personal, means to hit the sinner's conscience if he can.
THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST.
It is only since His divine form has arisen before my soul that I have learned to know the true condition of man. Formerly comparing myself with what was small, I appeared great in my own eyes; but since I have compared myself with Him, how insignificant have I become. When we hear a man whom we feel to be truthful and humble speaking great things of himself, it has a humiliating effect upon us. And when the Saviour utters such words as, “I do always those things that please Him"--and I believe it to be in very truth that He utters this—I then become conscious of what man, who is created in the image of God, ought to be.
When I see how, in all things, He sought not His own glory, but that of His heavenly Father, I am ashamed of my ambition ;
CHRISTIANITY AND IGNORANCE.
when I see how He came not to be ministered unto but to minister, I am ashamed of my pride; when I see how He took the
cup which His Father gave Him, and drank it, I am ashamed of my disobedience; when I see how He bore the contradiction of sinners against Himself, and, when He was reviled, reviled not again, I am ashamed of my impatience and my passion. Nothing has so subduing and humiliating an influence upon me as my Saviour's example. As Luther beautifully writes: “. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ,' says the apostle. That is, indeed, most attractive. For he must be a knave who would see his Lord fast and suffer hunger, while he himself was feasting and living in idleness and pleasure. Who will be able to move or attract him, if he is not excited, admonished, and charmed by the example of Christ? What should the noise of pamphlets and discourses be able to accomplish, if the louder thunder of Christ's example fails to arouse us ?”
CHRISTIANITY AND IGNORANCE.
Let men understand that Jesus Christ has no part in this world with ignorance. There are among philosophers those who delight to call themselves agnostics, or, as we used to call them in political parlance, know-nothings; but in the school and the church of Jesus Christ ignorance is at a fearful discount. His disciples are stimulated by every precept of the gospel to the attainment of every sort of knowledge. “If there be any truth, if there be any virtue,” the apostle bids us “ think on these things.” So soon as anything is proven to be truth, it becomes part of the message of Jesus Christ to us. It is not our business to enter into limited, local, and partial controversies of men ; but when either scientist or philosopher has eliminated positive truth, we receive it and are bound and pledged to receive it, by the very charter of our relationship in the commonwealth of faith.
Christendom is the name for civilization. It would be impossible to picture the actual condition of this world should the forces that have been set to work by Christianity be withdrawn from society. What would be the laws, what the tastes, what the usages of the world, in even its most cultivated portions, if the influence of the gospel of the Galilean should be annihilated? The name Truth, which the Lord Jesus assumed, itself suggests the thought that a stimulus is given to the mind by the acceptance of His service. And we have grounds for believing that He is not content with that disciple who does not make the most of his faculties.-Rev. S. H. Tyng.
STRENGTH FOR THE DAY.
The morning breaks in clouds, the rain is falling,
Upon the pillow still I sigh for rest;
That I can only pray,
“ Strength for the day.” 'Tis not a prayer of faith, but weak repining,
For with the words there comes no hope, no light; In other lives a morning sun is shining, While mine is but a change from night to night.
So while I weep I pray,
Strength for the day.”
Climbing with tired feet an upbill road;
Desponding still I pray, “Strength for the day.”
Now looking back to the long hours ended,
I wonder why I feared them as they came; Esch brought the strength on which its task depended, And so my prayer was answered just the same.
Now with new faith I pray,
“Strength for each day.”
God's help is equal to our every need;
Believing, when we pray,
“Strength for the day.”
Who walked each step along the path we tread,
He'd give us all the way,
We read a great deal about goats and sheep in the Bible, from the days of Abraham to the time when the Son of God was in the world.
This is a picture of a Syrian goat. You will see that it is not like one of the goats that may be seen in England or Wales. Neither were the goats of Persia, Arabia, Syria, or Judea, all alike. This Syrian goat had very long ears; its hair was often black, and growing to a great length, was used by the shepherds for tents. From their skins, which were stripped off their bodies after they were killed, those leathern bottles were made to which our Lord alludes (Matt. ix. 17). These were the tame goats; but there were also many wild goats, and the Psalmist tells us that the high hills were their refuge or hiding-place.
But the sheep was always a greater favourite than the goat, and is to this day. It was because it was quiet and willing to be led where the shepherd wished. But the goat was rough, and rude, and vicious. And this may be why, our Lord compared the sheep to good men, and the goats to bad men (Matt. xxv. 33). Beside He Himself was compared to a lamb of the sheep, for He was “brought as a lamb to the slaughter.” John, when he saw Jesus coming to him, said, “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
At another time Jesus Christ said that the shepherd “ calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they