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prevented me from exhorting them to repent and believe the gospel At length, after much prayer and searching the Scriptures, I found that God had commanded all men everywhere to repent, and that the invitations of God's word must be addressed to men, notwithstanding their inability to obey them This kind of preaching, although blessed of God to the salvation of many souls, soon gave great offence to several members of the church, who immediately did all they could to prevent a free salvation from being preached. I resigned the pastorate, and made up my mind to leave the country. I was just about to accept an invitation from a church in Natal, when I received unmistakable proofs that my work in Greenwich was not yet done Large numbers of people came to my house begging me not to leave them, and assuring me that my ministry had been greatly blessed to their souls. In these perplexing circumstances I consulted with Mr. Spurgeon, and, by his advice, the large Lecture Hall of the Literary Society was rented for the preaching of the gospel. This was a great undertaking, but, by the assistance of Mr. Spurgeon, all expenses were met, and, in a short time, the effort was crowned with success. On Wednesday, the 4th, and Friday, the 6th of February, 1859, the opening sermons were preached by this honoured servant of God, and on Wednesday, the 16th of March, he presided at a crowded meeting, wbich had been convened for the public recognition of the newly-formed church."
In this building he was to spend the remaining portion of his ministerial life, with the exception of three or four memorable Lord's days.
Then followed years of patient, unbroken, and unwearied toil-preaching, lecturing, overseeing the church; schemes for getting a chapel, committee meetings without end, letters by hundreds, journeying up and down to collect money. How such things worry and chafe and take the spirit out of a man; how gradually they find out the weak points in his constitution, and make him an easy prey to any disease which may assail him. When it had been decided to erect à chapel, it was at first determined to build on land occupied by houses in the Blackheath-road, but this was afterwards abandoned in favour of a plot of ground in South-street, which was purchased on more favourable terms; and on the 5th of July, 1871, the foundation-stone was laid by Mrs. J. T. Olney. During the next eight and a-half months the Pastor made prodigious efforts to augment the building fund, and it is not improbable that the physical and mental strain which he underwent so depressed his vital powers as to render him unable to offer a successful resistance to the malady which carried him so swiftly to an early grave.
It is only those who have carried a great work to a successful issue that can estimate the joy that our brother felt when he hailed the completion of the noble chapel in South-street, and saw, on the 21st of March, 1872, his faithful friend, Mr. Spurgeon, ascend the platform to preach the first sermon. The words selected by Mr. Spurgeon were from Luke xii., 49:-“I came not to send peace on earth. No one there could foresee the fiery trial that was at hand for the Pastor, his family, and the church. The opening services were continued by different ministers, so that some time elapsed before Mr. Davies entered upon what he and others thought would be his permanent work in the new edifice. On the 7th of April the church held their first communion at the Lord's table in South-street Chapel, and the Pastor, after congratulating his people on the new and hopeful circumstances in which they were placed, said: -" I feel now as if I could say with Simeon, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.””
His last week-night sermon was preached May 1.
The following day he walked out with his wife. In the evening he was seized with a shivering fit, but it excited no apprehension. Why should it? It was only the forerunner of a cold, and colds had often come and gone before. The Bazaar had been advertised for the following Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but the Pastor was absent. This cousiderably marred the enjoy. ment of the occasion, and caused many anxious enquiries to be made as to the cause. He was unwell, and under medical treatment, but no doubt a little rest and attention would set him right in a day or two. No one in that excited assembly saw the deadly blow that had fallen on the dying man at Mordenplace. Thursday night was one of suffering and restlessness, and grave apprehensions began to haunt the mind of at least one faithful watcher. Still, the heart clung to the hope that his sickness was not unto death. The next morning less favourable symptoms appeared. The doctor feared the worst, and a physician was fetched in haste from London ; but it was too late! too late ! It was a season of fearful agony to the poor wife and children. Their sole earthly prop was struck down. Husband and father was being taken from them. But the sufferer himself was calm and full of trust in God. The words which he uttered were touching and beautiful, and showed how completely he realised the fact of his personal union with Christ. “ Let me," said he, “go down into the valley quietly!” Shortly afterwards he asked his wife to pray for him, after which he prayed himself. He then appeared to listen as though he heard sounds, and exclaimed, “ They are singing in the house !” His wife said, “No, my dear, there is no singing." He repeated the words>" They are singing," and added, “but it is not unpleasant !” Once more he seemed to listen, and asked Mrs. Davies—"The singing is very sweet-can't you hear it?" "No, my dear, but you are nearer to them than 1,—what do they sing?” “HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD!” was the reply. Then fixing his eyes on his broken-hearted wife, he said, “ Precious wife!" And so he lingered on until shortly before day-break on the 11th of May, when-unseen, and unheard-he went away with the angel-choir that had been waiting for him in the house, and cheering his last moments with celestial harmonies. Before the sun rose on that house of mourning, a brighter sun had risen on him ; and while his widow and orphans were weeping over their great loss, he was singing with the ransomed hosts in glory—“ HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD!"
“Oh! change-oh! wondrous change,
Burst are the prison bars;
Beyond the stars.
There lies the soulless clod;
Wakes with his God.” On the following Thursday (May 16th) all that remained of this brother beloved" was borne to the Nunhead Cemetery, followed by his family and a large concourse of mourners. Devout men carried him to his burial. The funeral service was conducted by Mr. J. A. Spurgeon, whose words of tenderness and power on the occasion will be long remembered by many who heard them. And then the long train of mourners left him, asleep beneath the calm summer beauty of that silent “ City of the dead," with his face turned heavenwards, as though he was “looking,” even in death, “ for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
The deep and widespread sympathy which Mr. Daries' death called forth took a most practical form. Within a few weeks of his decease the sum of £1,400 was raised, and put in trust for the benefit of his widow and orphans. On the very day of his death Mr. Spurgeon generously offered to provide for two of the boys in the Stockwell Orphanage, where they now enjoy the comforts and advantages of that noble institution. When the Orphanage was opened Mr. Davies made a speech at the evening meeting, in which the possibility of such a provision being required at some future time was very touchingly alluded to: “When we get to our comfortable homes, and are surrounded by our little ones, our hearts should be filled with gratitude to God.
But who can tell how long we may be spared to them? As I looked at the laying of those foundation-stones, I thought to myself— Will any of my poor children ever stond in need of a home here? Who can tell ? It may be so. And I felt-well, . if ever God should take me away, and there should be no other provision for them, I believe that my dear brother Mr. Spurgeon would do what he could for them.'”.
Circumstances brought me into close and not infrequent contact with Mr. Davies. At our first interview I formed a high estimate of his character, which a more intimate knowledge of him helped to confirm. A more genial, brotherly, and sympathetic man it would be difficult to find. He had large benevolence, and would cheerfully give himself any amount of trouble to serve those who peeded help. There was no lack of public spirit in him, and he always held himself ready to give to every philanthropic and patriotic movement, the whole weight of his advocacy. On all ecclesiastical, educational, and political questions he was quite sound, and was never asbamed to accept his full share of obloquy and reproach which belonged to any question that commended itself to his conscience. During the excitement which prevailed about the disestablishment of the Irish Church, he was rudely assaulted at a public meeting by some zealots who fancied they were doing the church service by tearing his coat into shreds. But Benjamin Davies was not the man to be cowed by such pitiable exhibitions of " muscular Christianity.” He was always ready to unfurl the white flag, but could never be prevailed upon to show the white feather. His theology was sometimes assailed, but his personal character was above controversy. To say that he had infirmities of temper is simply to affirm that be was human. Who is there among us that is so angelic, and has his tongue and temper so completely under control, that he can claim the right of casting the first stone? Mr. Davies was deeply attached to bis church; and he possessed the art of conciliating the goodwill of many outside his congregation. He had a great capacity for work, and did eve ything he undertook in an orderly and methodical way. And though he was sometimes depressed by the responsibilities which he had undertaken, he was generally hopeful and cheery. The world has great need of such men; and how it came to pass that Benjamin Davies was removed from a poble work in his fortieth year is a mystery which we cannot penetrate. The Master had need of him elsewhere. Full explanation will be given when the proper time comes. Even now it is not all gloom. Light-dim and shadowy, but soft and chastened-ariseth in the darkness. There is light in the declaration, “God IS LOVE ;" and in the promise, “GoD SHALL WIPE AWAY ALL TEARS FROM THEIR EYES, AND THERE SHALL BE NO MORE DEATH, NEITHER SORROW, NOR CRYING; NEITHER SHALL THERE BE ANY MORE PAIN."
The Citty Schoolman.
(ENTREMETS.—No. 8.) ONE day the celebrated schoolman Thomas Aquinas, being present with U Innocent the Fourth, some money was brought into the chamber, and the pontiff remarked, “You see that the age of the church is past when she could say, “ Silver and gold have I none." "Yes,” replied the doctor, " and the day is also past when she could say to the paralytic, - Take up thy bed and walk."" Do we measure prosperity by gold merely? A divinely inherited power of imparting good will yield higher interest than hoarded wealth. Gold gives power of a kind, but to covet this before such strengh as the Spirit of God imparts will be to strand our barque on treacherous sands when we might otherwise stand secure on the Rock of Ages.
Exposition of the Psalms.
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
PSALM LXXXII. TITLE AND SUBJECT.-A Psalm of Asaph. This poet of the temple here acts as a preacher to the court and to the magistracy. Men who do one thing well are generally equal to another; he who writes good verse is not unlikely to be able to preach. What preaching it would have been had Milton entered the pulpit, or had Virgil been an apostle.
Asaph's sermon before the judges is now before us. He speaks very plainly, and his song is rather characterised by strength than by sweetness. We have here a clear proof that all psalms and hymns need not be direct expressions of praise to God; we may, according to the example of this psalm, admonish one another in our songs. Asaph no doubt saw around him much bribery and corruption, and while David punished it with the sword, he resolred to scourge it with a prophetic psalm. In so doing, the sweet singer was not forsaking his profession as a musician for the Lord, but rather was practically carrying it out in another department. He was praising God when he rebuked the sin which dishonoured him, and if he was not making music, he was hushing discord when he bade rulers dispense justice with impartiality. The Psalm is a whole, and needs no formal division.
EXPOSITION. N oD standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth U among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked ? Selah.
3 Defend the poor and fatherless : do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness : all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth : for thou shalt inherit all nations.
1. “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty.” He is the overlooker, who, from his own point of view, sees all that is done by the great ones of the earth. When they sit in state he stands over them, ready to deal with them if they pervert judgment. Judges shall be judged, and to justices justice shall be meted out. Our village squires and country magistrates would do well to remember this. Some of them had need go to school to Asaph till they have mastered this psalm. Their harsh decisions and strange judgments are made in the presence of him who will surely visit them for every unseemly act, for he has no respect unto the person of any, and is the champion of the poor and needy. A higher authority will criticise the decision of petty sessions, and even the judgments of our most impartial judges will be revised by the High Court of heaven. “He judgeth among the gods." They are gods to other men, but he is God to them. He lends them his name, and this is their authority for acting as judges, but they must take care that they do not misuse the power entrusted to them, for the Judge of judges is in session among them. Our puisne judges
are but puny judges, and their brethren who administer common law will one day be tried by the common law. This great truth is, upon the whole, well regarded among us in these times, but it was not so in the earlier days of English history, when Jeffreys, and such as he, were an insult to the name of justice. Oriental judges, even now, are frequently, if not generally, amenable to bribes, and in past ages it was very hard to find a ruler who had any notion of justice apart from his own arbitrary will. Such plain teaching as this psalm contains was needful indeed, and he was a bold good man who, in such uncourtly phrases, delivered his own soul.
2. “ How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked ?" It is indirectly stated that the magistrates had been unjust and corrupt. They not only excused the wicked, but even decided in their favour against the righteous. A little of this is too much, a short time too long. Some suitors could get their claims settled at once, and in their own favour, while others were wearing out their lives by waiting for an audience, or were robbed by legal process because their opponents had the judge's ear: how long were such things to be perpe•trated? Would they never remember the Great Judge, and renounce their wickedness? This verse is so grandly stern that one is tempted to say, “Surely an Elijah is here.” “ Selah.” This gives the offenders pause for consideration and confession.
3. “ Defend the poor and fatherless." Cease to do evil, learn to do well. Look not to the interests of the wealthy whose hands proffer you bribes, but protect the rights of the needy, and especially uphold the claims of orphans whose property too often becomes a prey. Do not hunt down the peasant for gathering a few sticks, and allow the gentlemanly swindler to break through the meshes of the law. “Do justice to the afflicted and needy.” Even they can claim from you as judge no more than justice; your pity for their circumstances must not make you hold the scales unfairly; but if you give them no more than justice, at least be sure that you give them that to the full. Suffer not the afflicted to be further afflicted by enduring injustice, and let not the needy long stand in need of an equitable hearing.
4. “ Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked." Break the nets of the man-catchers, the legal toils, the bonds, the securities, with which cunning men capture and continue to hold in bondage the poor and the embarrassed. It is a brave thing when a judge can liberate a victim like a fly from the spider's web, and a horrible case when magistrate and plunderer are in league. Law has too often been an instrument for vengeance in the hand of unscrupulous men, an instrument as deadly as poison or the dagger. It is for the judge to prevent such villainy.
5. “They know not, neither will they understand.” A wretched plight for a nation to be in when its justices know no justice, and its judges are devoid of judgment. Neither to know his duty nor to wish to know it is rather the mark of an incorrigible criminal than of a magistrate, yet such a stigma was justly set upon the rulers of Israel. “They walk on in darkness." They are as reckless as they are ignorant. Being both ignorant and wicked they yet dare to pursue & path in which knowledge and righteousness are essential : they go on without hesitation, forgetful of the responsibilities in which they are involved, and the punishment which they are incurring. “ All the foundations of the earth are out of course.” When the dispensers of law have dispensed with justice, settlements are unsettled, society is unhinged, the whole fabric of the nation is shaken. When injustice is committed in due course of law the world is indeed out of course. When “Justices' justice” becomes a by-word it is time that justice dealt with justices. Surely it would be well that certain of " the great unpaid " should be paid off, when day after day their judgments show that they have no judgment. When peasants may be horsewhipped by farmers with impunity, and a pretty bird is thought more precious than poor men, the foundations of the earth are indeed sinking like rotten piles unable to bear up the structures built upon them. Thank God we have, as an almost invariable rule,