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BY C. H. SPURGEON.

[PART 11.] Dan HOSE words which have the best excuse for their utterance

are generally the least acceptable. Speak to the point with practical aim, and either somebody's toes will be trodden upon, or a hubbub will be raised by theorizers as to possible

toes which may have been inconvenienced. For instance, in the Preface to the last volume of The Sword and the Trowel, we re. corded our fear that the Nonconforming Churches had not enjoyed a prosperous year, and that the lean kine were eating up the fat kine. We believe that we stated facts; at any rate, we had consulted and had followed statistics which are usually relied upon. We did not pour forth the unfounded imaginings of a morbid mind, or speak as if the end had come, and our churches must cease to be : on the contrary, we bade our brethren be of good courage, and hope for brighter days, and work in expectation of them. We little knew that in even mentioning a gloomy fact, we were sinning grievously. The Christian World, in a leading article, came down upon us heavily, because we had written what the enemies of Dissent could quote, and had already quoted, to show the decline of our cause. What was that to us? What do we care what use our adversaries may make of a truthful statement ? David might have refused to write psalms, because the devil would quote them for the worst of purposes, if the possible uses to which writings may be turned are to be taken into consideration. Are we to represent everything which concerns Nonconformity with the coleur de rose ? So it

5. The shall be jured: of made

would seem, not only from this little incident, but from the general manner and attitude of certain Nonconformist advocates. Everything that has to do with Dissent is to them necessarily good, and to be gloried in, and the faults of our systems are either to be defended or denied. They have probably borrowed this evil habit from their opponents, for the rabid Episcopalian is equally resolved to fight for every whim and crotchet of mother church. This seems to us to be an unwise and unworthy course of action; it is childish, and even wicked. We sincerely wish that all our Dissenting churches were sound in the faith, earnest in Christian labour, and increasing with the increase of God—but we shall never try to prove our zeal for the grand old cause by asserting that these things are so when we fear they are not ? We wish that all Nonconformist ministers were paragons, all their plans perfection, their spirit angelic, and their success unbounded,but in order that our loyalty to Dissent should be placed beyond all suspicion are we to declare that these desiderata are already possessed ? If so, we rebel. We shall no more think of lying or suppressing truth to aid Dissent, than dream of glorifying God by blasphemy. When we observe an evil we shall point it out; when we see a failure we shall speak of it as such, and if perchance this injures the cause, let it be injured. If truth hurts an interest or party, let it be hurt. It is the height of madness to pretend that we, the Nonconformist churches, make no mistakes, are always prospering, never quarrel, are quite able to do everything, and are far beyond the need of improvement. Such crowing may be practised so successfully that we may even rival the noble chanticleers of the Establishment, whose voices are peculiarly loud, and clear, but what is the good of it? Suppose they brag of the blessing of a national church, is it really the best way to answer them to cry up our working of the voluntary principle, as if we had done all we could or should ? The principle is perfect but we sometimes fail to carry it on to its full triumphs, and when we come short, the manliest plan is to admit the fault. The bepraising of our noble selves is not a beneficial exercise, it tends to foment party pride and prevent real progress.

Still, says one, it is a pity to mention anything which our enemies can use against us. So think the timorous, whose faith in the invincibility of truth is hampered by their greater belief in caution and policy. We feel too sure of the ultimate victory of our principles to care much for the screams and yells of our adversaries when they hear us heave a sigh, or utter a lament. Suppose The Church Times did rejoice over the witness of a well-known dissenter to the want of success among his own sect—what of that? Did that make us any the weaker, or the Ritualists any the stronger ? Who winces at such things save cowards who cannot bear a sneer? For the life of us we cannot see how we “ furnished our foes with an argument." What was the argument ? How did it run ? The Dissenting Churches did not increase last year, therefore therefore what? Therefore they never will—is that the idiotic inference ? Therefore they are in the wrong—is that the insane conclusion ? To all the legitimate comfort which Anglicans can draw from such facts we make them heartily welcome. For our part, we feel that with truthful principles, and an honest heart on his side, a man may give his opponents leave to make the most they possibly can of all his personal confessions of imperfection, and admissions of occasional failure; and it will never enter his head to look around before he dares to speak, lest haply a listening chiel should take notes and print what he may say.

We beg permission to say if the Voluntaries will do more, they may without injuring their cause, say less about their doings, and if Dissenters will evangelize the country more thoroughly, they may spare some of those modest eulogiums which their worthy advocates are so prone to utter. Having said thus much, we shall proceed to the practical matter which made us take up our pen, and at the risk of further trangressing we shall point out a fault in most of our religious systems.

It is a singular fact that our churches have suffered the chief agency for carrying the gospel into new regions to fall into almost total disuse. The settled ministry among us, especially when it brings out and wisely directs the gifts of the church, is eminently adapted for conservative purposes, for edifying the saints, training young converts, and cultivating the soil which has been already fenced in by religious agencies; but only to a very small degree is the ministry aggressive or can it be. If it does its homework well it has enough to do, and its further efforts will never be very extensive as a rule. To carry the gospel into the regions beyond, and form new churches—whose business is this? Among the heathen we have our missionaries, but what agency are we employing in our own country? In a small way in connection with regular organizations the work is attempted, and irregular agencies perform it on a larger scale, but for all that, most of the Christian churches, as such, are negligent in the service, and have no specific agents set apart to attend to it as a matter of church work. To extend the Redeemer's kingdom and win the world for Jesus is the great purpose for which the church exists, and yet, to a very large extent, she leaves this, her supreme vocation, to hap-hazard.

Our Lord, when he would arouse Palestine, sent forth seventy evangelists. Not one of these was bidden to settle in any place, or to become a pastor, but to go and preach the gospel from town to town. They were itinerant gospellers. After Pentecost, the disciples being scattered abroad, went everywhere preaching the Word, they broke up new ground, and made the truth known among those who had never heard it before ; so far they did the work of evangelists, and the kingdom of Christ came with power. The apostles and others travelled into regions where the name of Jesus had not been known, and everywhere told forth the glad tidings of salvation : whatever else they were, they certainly fulfilled to the full the office of evangelists. We have a few who exercise that office now, but they are rather tolerated than appointed, and certainly their work is not regarded as a part, and a necessary part, of our ecclesiastical action. It would be easy to prove that in all times of her spiritual health and growth, the church has owed much ta her holy pioneers who have led the way to sacred conquests. Without burdening the leader with church history we may cite the Methodist revival as an eminent case in point, for it was mainly due to those who left regular pulpits and gospel-hardened congregations to preach Jesus

among colliers and street crowds. It would be equally easy to prove that by ministries exercised in churches and chapels we can never reach those who shun all religious edifices, neither can we hope to found new churches in neglected counties unless we send forth men whose direct object it is to labour to that end.

In many districts of England there are no Baptist churches, and we will make these districts the example for our present object. Now, as far as the Baptist churches are concerned, have we any men, appointed by the church, whose business it is to spread the gospel, as we believe it, in these places? We know of very few. But our conviction is that if we were doing our duty after the apostolic fashion we should soon find in our midst, thrust forth by the Holy Ghost, evangelists who would till these fields of labour. Suppose a man of power, full of the Holy Ghost, and gifted for the work were maintained in a county-say Cumberland or Westmoreland, with the view of preaching all through the region, and forming churches wherever the Lord might bless his word; might we not expect to see the churches increased in those parts. He ought not to be a mere common man, much less an inferior preacher for whom an office is made because no regular congregation will hear him. We should like to see the experiment tried with one of our best men, we would have him liberally supported, and supplied with ample means for travelling, and hiring rooms and halls. We should almost envy him the opportunity for toil, self-denial, and success. If the Lord anointed such a man he would be the pioneer for scores of pastors who would take up the young Christian communities as fast as they were formed, while the evangelist would move on and dig out new foundations for other churches. A dull commonplace official would make a miserable mess of such work, and disappoint those who support him, but we think we know at this moment two or three men who, by God's blessing, would make full proof of their calling.

Our belief is that scriptually there should be at least as much work done evangelistically as pastorally. Now, we provide for pastors, and rightly so, but few, if any, churches provide for evangelists. We have the right men, but no organization for their support. We serve out their rations (often scanty enough) to the militia who defend the country, but for our brave Uhlans who are in the van of our conquering hosts we make little or no provision. Some few churches have their evangelistic missionaries, but, alas, how few! And these are usually in connection with their own immediate neighbourhood, so that still the neglected large towns, and immense agricultural regions are left, as far as we are concerned, without the gospel.

We rejoice in the zeal of Methodists and Independents in spreading themselves in every direction throughout England ; if we were a Free Churchman we should like to see a Free Kirk in every village in Scotland ; and being a Baptist we desire to see a Baptist church in every town in England. This, of course, is judged to be a very wrong desire by those who think that we should interfere with their monopolies, but the desire to us seems natural and laudable. How then can it be accomplished ? How can any Christian community cover the land with its adherents? We see no means at all comparable to the support of good, efficient, well-sustained evangelists.

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