« AnteriorContinuar »
best agencies for spreading Christian principles in these dark villages. Only yesterday I called at a clergyman's house. After he had asked me into the study he eulogised our work, and said that such efforts as ours were the best means to bring about a higher spiritual life, which he greatly desired.
A Wesleyan minister writes concerning one of the colporteurs :-"Having had frequent opportunities of meeting him at public meetings in the villages around, I am fully convinced that he is doing a good work for our Lord and Master. Many have been led to the Saviour by him. The aged and afflicted are especially looked after and regularly visited by him. It is the opinion of all I have met with that he is the right man in the right place.""
THE COLPORTEUR AN EVANGELIST.
I am thankful to say that God is doing wonders here. He has blessed the word to eighteen souls, and a glorious work is still going on among the young men and women. For the last month I have been holding special services, and though at first a heavy cloud seemed to hang over the meeting, at last the cry broke out. "What shall I do?" The whole congregation was in tears. Last Sabbath I preached at H.............. The people flocked in and the place was filled long before the time. Some were up the staircase, and many had to return home. God blessed the word to six souls that night. Two young men came to hear me on Sunday night and to have a bit of fun, but while there the Lord pricked their hearts. My persecutions have been great and my name scandalously spoken of, but I care not for this as Christians are stirred up and souls saved. After a week of special prayer and addresses the colporteur writes, we had a glorious meeting at my house, for there two found the Saviour, and several others are under deep conviction. I go to G......... once a month to preach on Sunday, and the chapel there that was in a dead state seems all alive; last time I was there it was crowded. I have to walk six miles there and six miles back again, and go three miles each way by water, and sometimes it is very rough, but God is with me. I visit the Union and I believe God has made me a great blessing to several in it. I am engaged by Wesleyans, Independents, Primitive Methodists, and Baptists to preach once a month, beside week-night Bible classes and prayer meetings. The Sunday before I had a hard day's work. I went to G...... and preached, and a young man told me what a blessing the Lord had been made to him. I landed at S...... at half-past eight and then took the Ragged School service. Praise God! a revival broke out there: it would have done you good to have heard eighteen or twenty on their knees praying for salvation. I believe they all found it. After that I had to go visiting the people's friends. They took me about to the sick and I did not get to bed until twelve o'clock.
THE COLPORTEUR; A TEMPERANCE ADVOCATE.
As I was going from house to house in a back street, on opening a door I found myself unexpectedly in a public house. I thought it best not to beat a retreat, but to stand like the brave with my face to the foe. In the first room there were six or seven women drinking. One of them said, "Why, you have come to a public house!" I said, Yes, and I wish you were all teetotallers." Looking for a suitable tract I found one entitled, "Scotch Jim, the drunken Ballad Singer." A man then called me into the next room where about twenty men sat smoking and drinking. They commenced laughing at me, one in particular, to whom I then gave a tract called "Don't laugh it off." I also supplied each with a tract, and invited them to the house of God. One asked me to have a sip of beer, but I told him I did not mind having a glass of water and paying for it, which the landlord kindly fetched free of charge.
It will, we trust, interest our readers if we subjoin a list of the eighteen Colporteurs and their spheres of labour. Will the number ever increase to eighty? Perhaps some wealthy person who will read this, carries the answer in his pocket.
DISTRICTS SUPPLIED WITH COLPORTEURS BY THIS ASSOCIATION. Ely, Cambridgeshire: A. SMEE. -A very successful district for sales, which amount to upwards of £250 a year. The agent visits some fifteen villages, and is heartily received by the people.
Eythorne, Kent: R. MARSHALL.-One of the longest established, the guarantee for which is given by the Baptist Church at Eythorne. The colporteur supplies one or two preaching stations, and his work is much appreciated.
Haydock, Lancashire: JOHN VARNHAM.-A mining district, needing constant and earnest effort. The agent here conducts frequent open-air services, night schools, and cottage meetings, and many souls have been won to Christ through his instrumentality.
Warminster, Wiltshire: S. KING.-The agent here travels as much as twenty miles from his centre, very often accomplishing the journey on a velocipede, and his visits are eagerly watched for and highly valued by many of God's aged people, while his testimony to sinners has not been in vain.
Harold Wood, Essex: A. E. INGRAM.-The colporteur here in addition to his rounds has the charge of a small chapel. The population of the district is sparse, but a fair attendance is secured and the worshippers assist in the support of the agent.
Bushton, Wiltshire: B. SUMMERSBY.-Rather an extensive district like that at Warminster, but equally successful. The colporteur being assisted in his journeys by using a pony and cart. Many souls have been blessed in this district.
Minster, Isle of Sheppey: W. BAKER.-This colporteur has been greatly used of God in the conversion of souls. Several meetings weekly are held in various parts of the Island, and are well attended and much blessed, especially the Bible classes held by the agent at his own house.
Burnley, Lancashire: JOSEPH POWELL.-A manufacturing population, among whom the last agent laboured with success. The present agent is only recently appointed, but writes encouragingly of the prospects of the work.
Ross, Herefordshire: S. WATKINS.-The local Baptist Union subscribes for the support of this district, which comprises a large number of villages regularly canvassed, and several services conducted therein.
Arnold, Nottinghamshire: D. J. WATKINS.-A manufacturing district, recently commenced and partly maintained by a Bible class at the Tabernacle. This promises to become a very successful agency.
Sunderland, Durham: F. W. BLOOMFIELD.-A good sphere for a colporteur. The agent here will labour in connexion with a Mission Church situated near the Quay, where an earnest band of Christian working men welcome his co-operation.
Forton, Hampshire: H. C. ALGAR.-This district consists of a number of villages in the neighbourhood of Portsmouth. The labours of an earnest man are much needed here, and it is hoped that the colporteur may be much blessed.
Riddings, Derbyshire: H. BOYD.-This agent has recently commenced the work here, and met with much encouragement. It is a very promising sphere.
Tewkesbury, Gloucester: R. TRENCHARD.-A very favourable locality for a colportage agency.
Stafford T. RICHARDS.-This district is in great need of such an agency, and is supported by the kind liberality of a Christian lady.
Gloucester: S. SHEPHERD.
Long Eaton C. SLACK.
Shrewsbury J. H. CHARLTON.
The last three are new districts commenced on trial in the hope of obtaining local support.
Scotland is well supplied with this class of labourers, and they are even more wanted in England; will not friends be found to subscribe 407. per annum that a man may give all his time and energies to the district in which they take a special interest? In the county of Surrey a half a dozen men could be most usefully employed. We mention it because it lies at our door, and is peculiarly in need. We should like to have a man at work in a district running from Clapham to Croydon, Sutton, Epsom, Kingston, and Wandsworth, and hoping some loving friend will supply the means, we will set a man going at once in full
confidence that the funds will be forthcoming. Although quite willing that our little society should be merged in a larger one, we should be still more gratified if it should grow into a large institution, and remain attached to us, for we can see many advantages connected with its present working which might be lost in a society with a wider constituency and less firm in its principles. We ask and we expect help. The Christian public will not allow so excellent a work to languish; above all, the Great Head of the Church will look upon it and supply all its needs. This enterprise is of God, and must go on. The more we see of its working, the more we are enamoured of it; it only needs thorough working to be made a mighty means for good.
Easter in Paris.
BY PASTOR W. P. LOCKHART, OF LIVERPOOL.
RIPS to the Continent are now so common, and such facilities are afforded for "running over to Paris," that it is a waste of time to write about the ordinary sights to be seen there. Neither do the great religious ceremonials, which are in full bloom at Easter, present the same novelty they once did; for a section of our National Church has, unhappily, made the bulk of our people familiar with nearly all that used to be considered peculiar to the ritual of Rome.
There are, however, some Christian efforts at present being put forth in Paris which may not be much known to the readers of "The Sword and the Trowel," and a short description may stir up more prayerful interest in the work of French Evangelisation.
First among these, because first established, stands the work of M. Armand Delille, a French Protestant pasteur. Towards the close of 1869 he was led to think much of the spiritual darkness of the people of Paris. Like Paul at Athens, "his spirit was stirred in him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry," and after prayerful deliberation he resolved to consecrate himself to aggressive effort." In his interesting report of the first two years' work, he says the considerations which weighed with him in throwing himself into this work were chiefly these:
"We have in Paris," he says, "many Christian flocks with their respective shepherds, but who cares for the enormous mass of our population which lives and dies in darkness and misery? Business men go to their offices every day; men at the exchange, merchants and brokers, are always at their post and do not spare themselves; small traders cry their wares in the streets from morning to night; while we, the preachers of the gospel, are satisfied with opening our churches and chapels once or twice a week. If this were a question of morals only it would be sufficiently serious, but it is a question of eternal interest, of the one truth which alone can save a ruined world. Surely then we are not justified in keeping it under lock-and-key for six days of the week and bringing it out only on Sunday. If the apostle Paul said, Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel;' surely I too, like him,
must preach it in season and out of season: ' and if the police regulations prevent our preaching in the open air, we must preach in rooms in public thoroughfares, and by loving persuasion at the doors, try to induce the passers-by to enter."
While he thus mused, the fire burned within him, the fire of love for precious souls; and, being assured of the help of one or two friends, he commenced operations in April, 1870. He rented the well-known room in the Rue Royale (used on Sundays as an English Independent Chapel), and announced that the gospel would be preached there every day from three to four p.m.
It may seem to some that there was nothing very formidable in the undertaking, but we must bear in mind the position of the people. Frenchmen are often peculiarly suspicious of evangelistic effort. They are either devoted Romanists, and look upon all preaching which is not flavoured with the right kind of sauce as opposed to their best interests, or, revolting from the grossly superstitious religion in which they have been educated, they become thoroughly infidel and look upon all preaching with contempt, and even with positive hatred.
Among such people did the warm-hearted M. Delille commence and continue his efforts. Since the 4th of April, 1870, the daily meeting has been sustained almost without interruption. It has never been very largely attended-the average is about eighty-and yet each year the gospel has thus been preached to an aggregate of thirty thousand people. The work partakes largely of that of seed-sowing, and as most of the hearers are fresh every day, the importance of the effort in disseminating gospel truth among the people is very great. This will be seen when we mention that during a recent journey through the South of France, M. Delille found himself recognised and warmly saluted by many in different parts of the country, who said they had heard him with pleasure in the Rue Royale.
All through the dreadful war the meetings were continued. When the excitement was at its height, while the city was besieged, and the people of the surrounding villages crowded into it for shelter, and during the still more fearful horrors of the Commune, M. Delille and his fellow workers kept at their post. Gradually many of the distressed citizens learned that daily at the Rue Royale they might hear words of tenderness and pity, and find true consolation in looking to the loving Saviour who came 66 to seek and to save that which was lost."
From the beginning the meetings have been most informal. Sometimes a hymn is sung; sometimes prayer is offered; sometimes the Scriptures are read; sometimes there is one address, sometimes three or four brethren speak. Occasionally some one in the audience raises an objection which has to be met. Sometimes also a question is earnestly and respectfully put to the speaker by one of the hearers. But one thing there is always, a loving and simple setting forth of Jesus as the only Saviour. Much incident and illustration is used to engage the attention and enforce the truths of the gospel, and an opportunity is always given for personal conversation at the close of the meeting. When we heard M. Delille at Easter, the meeting was not very large, the day being wet. Most lovingly did the venerable pasteur speak to his hearers of Jesus, and with a tenderness and a reality which I have
seldom heard equalled, he sought to lead them into personal contact with him.
As we might expect, God has sealed this effort with his approval, and his servants are permitted to rejoice over some souls brought to Jesus. In work of this kind, however, many of the results must remain unknown. How many have found rest to their souls through trusting in Jesus, the day alone will declare.
The journal kept by M. Delille has already been alluded to. In it there is a record of nearly every day's work for two years, and most interesting though very brief details of some individual cases. Here are some of the things that cheer the hearts of the workers.
"May, 1870.-At the close of the meeting a young man, a Spaniard as I afterwards find, comes forward to speak to me. It is not the first time he listens to our appeals. He is not infidel but indifferent. He adds that he feels he ought to return to God, but he does not know how to do so. I lend him a New Testament, urging him to read it prayerfully.
June 8.-At the close a gentleman accosts me, with an earnest expression on his countenance, 'Do you recognise me'? I remember having seen him before but cannot recall the circumstances, but when he saysSpaniard' I remember the conversation of a few days back. He brings me the New Testament I had lent him, being delighted with its contents. 'It is an admirable book,' he says, especially the gospel of St. Matthew; have you ever read the fifth, sixth, and seventh, chapters? I never read anything so beautiful.' He also tells me that till lately he had never done more than repeat forms of prayer mechanically, but now he hopes he is beginning to pray truly. When I ask him to take back the New Testament and continue reading it in the same spirit, he leaves me full of joy. There is, I hope, a work of God in his soul.
"June 14.-The Spanish gentleman again comes to me. His face fairly shines with joy. Before he speaks I guess what has taken place. He believes in the Lord Jesus. He has received his grace. I am no longer alone,' he says, I pray always and everywhere.""
Shortly afterwards hearing that this Spaniard was about to return to his own country, M. Delille asked him to say a few words at one of the meetings. With much modesty he spoke to the following effect." "A traveller is walking through a sandy desert under a burning sun. Broken down with fatigue, and ready to perish with thirst, he fears he will sicken and die. Suddenly he hears a slight sound, and turning to the side whence it proceeds, he finds to his surprise a spring of fresh water; he stoops down and drinks, and rising refreshed, he joyfully pursues his way. If, after proceeding a few steps, he were to meet another traveller worn out and thirsty as he had been himself, would he not have great joy in pointing him to the spring from which he had got refreshment and life? Well, dear friends, that is my case. I have read the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have there found pardon and peace and I want to show you how you too may receive like blessings." As we may imagine, this touching address was listened to with the deepest interest.
Not long after the work commenced, another foreigner was drawn to