On Tuesday evening, March 26th, the first of the Public Meetings in connection with the opening of the Tabernacle took place. It was limited exclusively to the Contributors to the Building Fund, of whom more than three thousand were present. Up to the moment Sir HENRY HAVELOCK took the Chair the platform below the pulpit presented a busy scene, as it was here the collecting cards had to be turned in. Some half-dozen gentlemen officiating as clerks were for about an hour unceasingly engaged in receiving and recording the contributions handed in by some hundreds of volunteer collectors, the respective amounts varying from a few pence up to many pounds. Rich and poor vied with each other and it would be hard to say which excelled. The whole matter seemed to awaken a personal interest in each individual.
When the period arrived for commencing the business of the meeting Mr. SPURGEON gave out the third hymn, which had been composed expressly for the occasion –
“Sing to the Lord with heart and voice,
You children of His sovereign voice;
The work achieved, the temple raised,
Now be our God devoutly praised.
For all the treasure freely brought–
For all the toil in gladness worked –
For warmth of zeal and purpose strong–
Wake we today the thankful song.
Lord of the temple! Once disowned,
But now in worlds of light enthroned–
Your glory let Your servants see
Who dedicate this house to You.
What if the world still disallows –
Our corner and our top-stone You!
Your shame and death and risen joy,
Shall here our ceaseless thought employ.
Be Your dear name like ointment shed
O'er every soul, on every head.
Make glorious, oh our Savior King,
The place where thus Your chosen sing.
More grand the temple and the strain
More sweet, when we Your Heaven shall gain
And bid, for realms where angels dwell,
Our Tabernacles here, farewell!
After offering up a few words of prayer and reading portions of the 35 th of Exodus, descriptive of the offerings brought to the Tabernacle by the Jews in the wilderness, he briefly introduced Sir Henry Havelock, the Chairman for the evening.
The CHAIRMAN said he hoped he should be excused if he were at a loss how to address such a meeting as this, because he supposed that a similar assembly in a building like this had never been addressed before in England. The kind way in which they had greeted him gave him encouragement and was sufficient to enable him to give utterance to thoughts, which, but for their hearty welcome he would hardly have power to express. He had been expressing a doubt to a friend near him that he should not be able to get through the duties which devolved upon him satisfactorily, but his friend remarked to him that this was not an occasion when speaking was required, for the occasion spoke for itself. He thought it did speak for itself. They could not look around that magnificent building without feeling that it was entirely of God’s doing. The progress which had been made in that work of God was the most extraordinary thing in modern Church history.
It began two and a half years ago with fear and trembling. But from the first they had been triumphantly advancing and they had seen the work grow larger and larger, until now they saw it completed. It was impossible to come to any other conclusion but that God had worked mightily with His people. Then let them look at their pastor and at the different phases through which he had passed and they would agree with him that God had been with him in each of them. At one time it was said the work would break down in a month but it did not come to pass. It was also said that it was a passing excitement and would soon come to an end, but he thought their appearance there did not look like passing excitement.
What excitement there might be before the end of the meeting, he could not foretell. But if they were really mad, as some people said, there was certainly a great deal of “method in their madness.” He was no orator and they should not expect a long address from him but he thought they ought to thank God for the blessings which He had showered upon that building at each stage of its erection. There had been nothing like it accomplished before. Let them hope it was but the beginning of many such undertakings destined to be carried to a similarly successful end.
Their pastor, in speaking to him of the building, pointed out some deficiencies in the inner room. He said that everything was not as yet quite comfortable and remarked that it was like a newly married couple coming to a new house. Now, he (the Chairman) hoped the simile would be carried a little further and that the church would not only be like the newly married couple in a new house, but like the noble matron who had become the mother of many children. They had heard that the small sum of £3,000 was required for the complete payment of every liability connected with past expenditure and from what he saw there that night he felt convinced that all would be speedily given.
And when no more should be needed, that need not prevent them from displaying their liberality in the cause which they had at heart. They had just had a precedent in Scripture brought before them where the people of old were told they need not bring any more to the tabernacle. But they had not been told so there. He therefore hoped they would still contribute to the work until they had accomplished everything which they desired. It was intended that after the building itself had been paid for, the remainder of the money which might be raised should be devoted to the education of young men intended for the ministry.
In addition to that there was accommodation beneath the church for about two thousand scholars. And he was sure that was a purpose for which their contributions would still be given, even though the money might not be wanted for the mere bricks and mortar of the structure. He trusted they would excuse him saying more. But he could not conclude without thanking them kindly for so patiently listening to the remarks he had made.
The REV. C. H. SPURGEON said they were all aware that there was a happy contest between himself and his congregation. It was a very bad thing certainly for a newly married couple to fall out, especially in the scarcely furnished home but it so happened that the contest in their case was as to which should bring the better dowry to stock the house with. The minister should in every case do his share of the work, or how could he with any conscience appeal to his flock?
Now, he had undertaken that he would bring in £1,000 between the month of January and the opening of the building. He had fulfilled his pledge. In fact, he had gone somewhat beyond it. They might remember that on the last occasion they left off with a drawn battle. Having two or three bankers behind him who generously came to his aid, he had outstripped the congregation by some thirty shillings. However he considered it an undecided battle and if they could beat him tonight he should be very glad.
He then read over a list of the various contributions he had received, amounting to £1,170 14s. There was still, he said, a shot or two in the locker to win the victory with even should their industry and zeal excel in their results what he had accomplished. They might say the amount was £1,200 and it was matter of wonder and thankfulness that the bazaar had realized a clear £1,200. He ought to state and he should not be saying more than should be said, that there were many ladies in the congregation who had been working very, very hard and had always been at the side of his beloved wife whenever there had been a meeting for work. Still the main anxiety and arrangement had rested upon her and had it not been for those ladies, who, like the women of Israel, brought the labor of their hands the work could never have been so singular a success.
Of old it was written (Exo. 35:25, 26)–“And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands and brought that which they had spun, both of blue and of purple and of scarlet and of fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats' hair.” So now they did the same. Thus had the willing-hearted people of God, each in their own way, brought an offering unto the Lord of gold and silver and copper and blue and purple and scarlet so that the house of the Lord might be completed. So large a sum as had been realized spoke well, both with respect to individual co-operation and to the sympathy of the Christian public.
The result which they had attained was exceedingly satisfactory because almost every farthing which they required had been raised. He would not say the whole of it. But they would, no doubt, have the amount in a few minutes. The topstone would soon be brought forth with shouts of praise. How had such a result been attained? The reply was, that there had been three main elements in it. The first was faith in God. At the beginning of the year, they wanted £4,000 and an entry to this effect would be found in the Church book, signed by himself and the deacons–“This Church needs rather more than £4,000 to enable it to open the New Tabernacle, free of all debt. It humbly asks this temporal mercy of God and believes that for Jesus' sake the prayer will be heard and the gift bestowed, as witness our hands.”
As for himself he never had a doubt about the opening of that place free from debt since he attached his name to that entry. The work in which they had been engaged had been a work of faith from the beginning to the end. The Lord has fulfilled His promise to the letter–for according to our faith has it been done to us. Why not have faith in God for temporals? Will He ever allow His own cause to lag for lack of means? In this case, as the need grew, the supply increased. As the proportions of the project were enlarged, the liberality of the Christian public increased. And even during the last three or four weeks he had been amazed at the contributions which he had received. Contributions had come by post varying in amount from pounds to a few shillings. They had come from America, from Australia and from almost every country in the world, from men of all ranks and persons of every denomination.
Universal sympathy had been strewn and most of the donations from readers of the weekly sermons were accompanied by letters so affectionate and encouraging that it was a happy thing that such an opportunity had been given for the utterance of up to now unknown Christian love. Faith in God had done much of that which had been accomplished and unto a faithful God be glory. But “faith without works is dead”–very dead indeed in chapel building! One must work there and he could say he had toiled as hard as any man could to accomplish his purpose.
The house had been built for God and his sole object with regard to its future income was that it might be applied to the tuition and training of young men as ministers–that thus the Church in the Tabernacle might be a helper to many of the Churches of Christ. But besides individual energy there had been a third thing, combination of numbers laboring with one aim. Many poor persons had brought offerings which they could ill afford to spare and no one should ever know how many of them had received back, indirectly from himself, the amount they had given, but which they would have been grieved if he had refused. He publicly thanked all his generous friends throughout the world for their co-operation and he would thank them all, individually if it were possible to do so.
Before the Chairman sat down Mr. Spurgeon paid a warm tribute to the memory of General Havelock, the Chairman’s father. They might not, he said, be aware that there were only two dissenting lords and those two were Baptists. There were only two dissenting baronets and those two were Baptists also. Both of them had earned their titles fairly–those were Sir Samuel Morton Peto and Sir Henry Havelock. The one the king of spades and the other the savior of our empire in India. He was sure the country would for many years remember the name of Havelock.
As a Christian minister, he was no apologist for war, but it was a righteous cause in which Havelock was engaged. It was rather to save than to subdue–to rescue women and children than to slaughter men. But he was sure that when his fame as a warrior should cease to be heard, his name as a Christian would live. He was glad to see Sir Henry Havelock with his father’s people in a Baptist Tabernacle. He hoped they would see him for years to come and that the blessing of the God of his father might richly rest upon him.
Mr. MUIR said there was no one who attended the last meeting held two months ago but must have felt a desire to do all they could to show their zeal in raising that building and he was very glad the wish had now been accomplished. At the time to which he referred it was his intention to take a journey to the north and he thought he would do what he could to further the work. He accordingly took a number of cards with him in order to collect contributions. Some of his friends gave very liberally, although he must confess that he had more difficulty in obtaining contributions from others. He then read his list of contributions, which amounted to £123 14s. The REV. F. TUCKER of Camden Road Chapel, said he could echo every word that had fallen from Mr. Spurgeon with regard to the gentleman who occupied the chair that evening.
Long, long indeed would it be before to any Baptist, or to any Christian, or to any Englishman, the name of Havelock would be a common or indifferent word. He had himself come there that evening partly from sympathy for he knew what it was to have to do with a chapel debt. And although the debt upon his chapel was only about one-tenth part of that which rested upon theirs, he only hoped it would cost him one-tenth part of the trouble. One of the most difficult things in the world to deal with was the tail of a debt. They might bury the body of the animal, but if the tail still was above ground–it was like the tail of the rattlesnake–it made a great and formidable and alarming noise although the body had been safely interred.
Now, that night, he understood they intended to bury the rattlesnake, tail and all and over that grave no one might write “Resurgam.” He had come, however, personally to congratulate them. It was not the first time that he had stood within these walls. He was at the first public meeting held in that place some few months ago. It was then in its deshabille and yet he looked around the place with admiration and he felt, as he told his Brother Spurgeon, as he supposed the captain of some ordinary seafaring steamer must have felt when he first stood in the hold of the Great Eastern.
The Great Eastern was now on the Gridiron in Milford harbor. They intended tonight to float their magnificent vessel off the Gridiron and might God grant her a long and prosperous voyage. He congratulated them not merely on the size of the great building, but also on its beauty. He did not think it was anything too large. His own chapel would seat about eleven hundred persons and it was large enough for him. But if John Bunyan were on the earth, should they like to confine him to a little company of eleven hundred persons?
If George Whitfield were on the earth, should they like to limit him to a little company of eleven hundred? Now they had got Charles Spurgeon on earth, should they shut him up in a little company of eleven hundred? As to the beauty of the building, no words he could use could adequately describe it. He did, from his heart, congratulate them on the size and beauty of the edifice. But he had also to congratulate them upon another matter–upon the doctrines that would be preached in that grand building. He was not there to give account of every word that his Brother Spurgeon had ever uttered, nor of every aspect of every doctrine which he had presented. But as an older man than his Brother, he was sure he would not be thought impertinent if he said that he, with many of his Brethren throughout the country, had watched Mr. Spurgeon’s course with intense and prayerful interest.
They could see his growth and development towards a liberality and a symmetry of creed which had filled all their hearts with gratitude and joy. Just as dear Jonathan George–dear sainted Brother–just as he had at the meeting to which he (the speaker) had referred, there were some people who wanted to keep the eagle in a very small cage. But he said it was no use doing that–the eagle would either break his wings or break the cage. Well, they rejoiced that night that it was not the wings of the eagle which had been broken, but the cage. And they now saw the noble bird careening through the firmament in the shining light of the Sun of Righteousness.
He looked upon his Brother Spurgeon as one who upheld the sovereignty of God and who, on the other hand, declared the responsibility of man. He preached that never could the sinner repent without the aid of the Holy Spirit and yet he called upon every sinner to repent and believe the Gospel. Especially did his Brother make prominent the grand doctrine of the atoning sacrifice of Christ and the kindred doctrine of justification by faith in the righteousness of the Lord and Savior. He took it that the central object which would be exhibited by his Brother in that place would be the Cross and nothing but the Cross. The central object would not be the roll of the eternal decrees, not the tables of the moral Law, not the laver of baptism, not the throne of judgment–the central object would be the Cross of the Redeemer.
Right and left they would find the roll of the eternal decrees, the tables of the law, the laver of baptism and the judgment throne, but the CROSS of Jesus would stand in the midst, shedding its pure and harmonizing light over all besides. There was many a building in the Established Church of this land where they might enter and they would hear as clear an exposition of Gospel Truth as they would from Mr. Spurgeon, but in many another building of the Established Church, all was priestly power and sacramental efficacy. In many another all that was preached was reason, intuition, the wisdom of man and not of God. And yet all those men had subscribed to the same articles, all those men belonged to the same Church.
Come within this building, whenever they might, he believed they would hear nothing of sacramental efficacy on the one side, or of man’s reason or intuition on the other. But their dear Brother would say that he had determined not to know anything among them but Christ and Him crucified. One word more and he had done. They were living in the days of “Essays and Reviews”–living in the days of a Nationalism, which, for his own part, he considered far more unscriptural than any Romanism. He wished to explain himself. He meant to say for himself that he would rather be a poor humble-minded member of the Church of Rome, believing too much, than he would be one of those modern philosophers, too wise to believe anything at all. With this modern philosophy he had no patience!
The Bible, according to those men, was an old-fashioned book which had its value two thousand years ago, but now its value was diminished by all the length of those two thousand years. They had now out shot the Bible, said these men–they had got ahead of the Bible. They were now more intelligent and more wise than the Bible. Well let them take it as those men said and then he (the speaker) would add, let the venerable Book have fair play after all. If by it those men were so much wiser than they would have been, then, he said, it was only fair that they should strip themselves of all they had learned from the Bible–with regard to the attributes of God, the origin of the universe, the standard of morals, the destiny of spirits beyond the grave–and if they did that he could fancy he saw them peeling off coat after coat, like an onion and getting “small by degrees” but not “beautifully less,” and he did not know what would remain of them.
Why, in ancient Greece there were intellects as subtle and spirits as profound as any in modern times. He believed that on some lines of philosophical inquiry none had been able to surpass them. But when those men entered on the doctrines of theology, how far did they get? Why, just as far as this, “the world by wisdom knew not God.” That was as far as they got. The youngest Sunday-School child, he was going to say, knew more about God than Socrates and Plato. And if these men knew more about God than Socrates and Plato, where did they get their knowledge, except where the little Sunday-scholar got his, from the Scriptures. It was easy to stand on the Mount of Revelation and then to spurn the ground upon which they stood. But let them cut that ground from under them and down they would go into the pit.
There was, he continued in ancient Athens an old cynic who went into the marketplace with his lantern kindled in the full blaze of day and said, in the Market of Athens, “I am come to look for an honest man.” And all Athens smiled at the satire. But suppose he had said, “I have come here at noon-day with my lantern to light up the scenery, to bring to view those grand hills and this glorious city and that blue sky?” Would not the cry have rung through Athens, “Diogenes is mad”? What then is the insanity of the men who, in the full noon-day of the Gospel illumination, bring forward the little lamp of their own intuition and say, while turning their back upon the Sun of Righteousness shining in His strength, “See what our little lantern can show? See what a vast circumference it illuminates?”
But oh, let that sun but withdraw his shining and the pall of night come down upon the scenery and what a very twinkle would their lantern be in that abyss of darkness!
The REV. J. BIGWOOD said he could not fail to express his deep gratitude to God that He had permitted such a building as the present to be erected in which the glorious Gospel in all its purity and simplicity would be preached. He had been wondering why it should be called a tabernacle–a tent–a place that was to pass away. Surely if there was a mansion in London, this was the one which would remain when all others had passed away. Was it not rather a temple than a tabernacle? Regarded in an ecclesiastical point of view, it was a marvel that such a building should be built and opened free from debt. What was the secret? If was the faith which the pastor and Church had exhibited in the mighty power and goodness of God. The minister was not alone. God was with him and he with God. He walked with God and relied upon His power and God had granted him the desire of his heart. He congratulated them with his whole heart upon what they had accomplished and he hoped that God’s blessing would rest upon them and that thousands might there be born again to God.
The REV. J. RUSSELL congratulated Mr. Spurgeon and his friends on the completion of the Metropolitan Tabernacle at Newington. Its being erected so near the Borough made him feel a deep interest in it, for he was born in the Borough and knew the whole neighborhood well. Close by, in former days, there stood the Fishmongers' Alms-houses with their pretty gardens and there his beloved fisher used to go and speak to some of the aged inmates of the love of Christ. And he hoped the members of this church would visit the poor all round and make known to them the glad tidings of mercy through Christ. It was called a Tabernacle, which curiously enough in its derivation meant a little wooden house–taberna, a wooden house, tabernaculum, its diminutive–but the general sense is an habitation and its sense in Scripture, the habitation of God.
They had erected a large and magnificent house, but its size, its splendor, its elegance, its beautiful columns would avail nothing if it were not the habitation of God. But he believed it would be and that would be its glory. He rejoiced that a place of that size had been erected. There were large theatres, large Roman Catholic chapels, why should there not be large chapels where great numbers of people might be brought together to hear the Gospel? He hoped there would be others like this. They had showed great zeal and liberality. It was a coincidence rather singular that it was computed the poll-tax on the children of Israel, for the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, amounted to about £35,000 and the cost of their tabernacle was not much less.
It was entitled to the name of Metropolitan, for it drew its hearers from all quarters and the results of this great effort will affect not only the metropolis, but the world. The numerous Sunday-School children there instructed would grow up and carry with them to many distant parts the good Seed of the kingdom. He thanked God for what Mr. Spurgeon and his friends had been enabled to accomplish and he trusted they would have the continual and abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Mr. SPURGEON said they might get their hymn books ready. But he would first give them a statement of the liabilities that had been sent up to him. They wanted for the builder, £3,000. For the architect, £200. For gas, £160, for the gates and boundaries, £300. For the treasurer, £100, matting, carpets, etc., £350, for fittings, furniture, etc., about £100–which made £4,200, or thereabouts. These calculations were made so that they would meet all demands. But the pledge he made to the public was that they should enter that place free of debt and that would be accomplished when rather more than £3,000 had been paid in, for the other matters could wait awhile and would not be undertaken until the funds were in hand to warrant their being done.
He read additional lists of contributions received from various sources and gave the following abstract of the whole–he had brought in over £1,500, his wife and her lady friends, £1,200 the people that night, about £771. Clear proceeds of the lecture by Mr. Layard £100. The collection on the previous day amounted to rather more than £120, making a total of £3,700. Mr. Spurgeon then called upon the whole assembly to sing the Doxology, the congregation immediately rose and sang with great fervor those words of praise to the God of Heaven and repeated them with enthusiasm at the request of the rejoicing pastor.
The REV. C. STOVEL was then called upon. They had maintained, he said their operations with a constant living zeal and he wished them to receive the affectionate assurance of his joy in their success. Yet he could not join in any flattery that should lead them from the point where zeal, care and discretion would be required. Not a little would it require of personal effort and of wisdom to maintain the institutions in this place in due order and in effective operation. Not a little would be required of patient reliance upon God before the agencies committed to their trust should have been brought out for use. They must become learners at the feet of Jesus and while they kept the Cross in the center, as Mr. Tucker had reminded them and promised in their behalf, they were to remember that above that Cross–the Cross never to be forgotten–there would be a living Savior before whom they must all bow.
Reference had been made to some of the features of there own time. He wished not himself to enter the Establishment and define its various features. He had read the book, or nearly the whole of it, to which reference had been made. He besought them not to turn to that book to awaken a theological odium about it, but to study practically in the testing house of daily life the points which it threw out into public light. His impression was that there was more to be dealt with than at first sight might be suspected and they might be assured, that in the present time they stood in a position where the docility of a learner was much required to bring the Truth of Heaven home to the direction of our present affairs.
If they would take his advice–he presented it only for what it was worth–it was that they should entangle themselves as little as possible with the theories of the past, or with the speculations of the present–but to keep themselves in thought, in heart and in action free to follow the commandments of Him who lived and ruled forever. For his part he could not help thinking that the personality of our Christianity was precisely the point on which their thoughts should ever rest. The reverend gentleman enlarged upon this topic and concluded by assuring the meeting that they had the most tender and sincerest desires of his heart for their spiritual welfare.
Mr. SPURGEON then stated that while the last speaker had been addressing them Sir Henry Havelock had been compelled by his camp duties to retire and Mr. Moore of the eminent firm of Copestake and Moore had occupied the chair at his request. He should by the chairman’s leave, depart from the ordinary rules of public meetings by putting two or three motions to them. The first was that their hearty and sincere thanks should be tendered to Sir Henry Havelock for presiding over them, coupled with their kindest wishes and earnest prayers for his esteemed mother, Lady Havelock and the whole family. The motion was carried by acclamation.
Mr. SPURGEON then proposed a vote of thanks to the architect and the builder for their joint skill and liberality. The builder, he was happy to tell them, had become a deacon of the church. And in referring to the architect he remarked that the chapel would be a model for others, whether large or small. The motion was carried in the midst of loud applause.
Mr. POCOCK, the architect and Mr. HIGGS, the builder, both returned thanks and were warmly applauded.
Mr. SPURGEON said he wished them to signify their hearty recognition of the splendid Christian liberality of which they had been partakers by proposing a vote of thanks to the contributors to that magnificent building. The motion was carried by acclamation.
Mr. Spurgeon: Now, my Friends, I would ask you tonight to offer one more prayer for me than you have offered before. What am I to do with such a work as this upon me? It is not the getting up of this building, it is not the launching of the vessel–it is keeping her afloat. Who is sufficient for these things? How shall I, a young man, a feeble child, go in and out before this people? Blessed be God, there is a glorious answer to this question. “My strength is sufficient for you, My strength shall be made perfect in your weakness.” That arm which has upheld us up to now shows no sign of palsy. That eye which has smiled upon us until now has not grown dim. The promise has not failed.
We have had this day another pledge of His faithfulness and another foretaste of His future goodness. In the name of the Lord would I set up my banner tonight. He has been Jehovah-Jireh here, now, tonight we would call this place Jehovah-Nissi–for here has the Lord’s banner been displayed. But, Brethren, as to the future we must ask for the blessing or we shall not have it. If you ever prayed for me before, pray for me tonight. Oh, my dear Brothers and Sisters, upon whose hearts I have been borne so long–you who have listened to me so patiently and have sometimes had your souls comforted, do not forget me.
Of all men the most pitiable if you take away your prayers and if, in consequences, God take away His Spirit–of all men the most happy if you will bear me in your arms, if the Lord shall still be my Strength and my Shield. More than I have done to advance His Gospel I cannot promise to do, for God knows I have preached beyond my strength and worked and toiled as much as one frame could do. But I hope that in answer to your prayers I may become more prayerful, more faithful and have more power to wrestle with God for man and more energy to wrestle with man for God. I pray you, as though I asked it of you for my very life, do this night commend me to God.
If you have ever been edified, encouraged, or comforted through me I beseech you carry me before God. And especially you that are my spiritual sons and daughters, begotten of me by the power of the Holy Spirit–you who have been reclaimed from sin, you who were wanderers in the wild waste until Jesus met with you in the Music Hall, in Exeter Hall, or in Park Street–you, above all–you must pray for me.
Oh, God, we pray You, let multitudes of the vilest of the vile here be saved. I had rather die this night, on this spot and end my career than lose your prayers–y aged members, deacons and elders, will you not be more earnest than ever? My younger Brothers and Sisters, my co-equals in age, comrades in battle, you, young men and women, who are strong to overcome the Wicked One, stand up with me, shoulder to shoulder and give me your help. Let no strife and no division creep in among us. Let no vain glory mar our deeds. Let nothing be done which could drive away the sacred dove and rob us of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Brethren, pray for us, in the name of all the ministry, I say, pray Brethren, pray for us. But I think the ministers here would rise as one man and say with me, standing as I do in the most perilous of positions “Brethren pray for me.” For oh, if I fall, what dishonor to the Holy Church at large? If your pastor sins what shame! If this Church become a failure, what dishonor! Great God, we lay hold upon Your promise tonight. We did pray last Sabbath evening, “If Your spirit go not with us carry us not up hence.” And now we grasp the promise and by faith would we believe in its fulfillment–“My presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.”
Mr. SPURGEON concluded by proposing a vote of thanks to Mr. Moore, who occupied the chair and it was also carried by acclamation.
Mr. MOORE, in returning thanks, said, he had never seen a sight so thoroughly charming as the one before him. Speaking in sober earnest and as a Churchman he must say that this was a magnificent sight. Mr. Spurgeon had done the Church of England more good than any clergyman in it, in his opinion. He had watched his career ever since he came to London, when he was supposed to be not quite so sane as he was now. He had listened to his sermons and he had considered his success a miracle.
He believed that Mr. Spurgeon was a miracle raised up by Almighty God to advance His kingdom. He had had something to do with selling that plot of land, as he was one of the Fishmongers' Company and he must say that he had been astonished how they had raised the money. It would have taken churchmen ten years. It was a thing almost unexampled in the Christian church. There was no one who sympathized with them more than he did and he believed that that Church would be instrumental in bringing many to Christ.
He would just say one thing further in reference to the miraculous influence which the preaching of Mr. Spurgeon had had on the Christian world. He had said a hundred times that they should never have had St. Paul’s nor Westminster Abbey, nor the Theatres opened for Sunday preaching if it had not been for such influence. He hoped Mr. Spurgeon’s appeal for their prayers would be listened to and he prayed God himself that their minister might never be left to disgrace the position in which he was placed.
Mr. SPURGEON then pronounced the benediction and the proceeding closed with the Doxology.